Should I pursue a career in aviation

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Re: Should I pursue a career in aviation

Unread post by kayliegh.adrianne » Thu Aug 29, 2019 6:27 pm

mythbuster007 wrote:
Thu Aug 29, 2019 9:15 am
A wise man once said : 'Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward. For there you have been, and there you will always long to return.' ”

Good luck!
This is so true. I work and live in between two airports so all day I hear planes passing above me and stick my head out the window every time to take a look. I have literally taken this quote to heart! :lol:
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Re: Should I pursue a career in aviation

Unread post by kayliegh.adrianne » Thu Aug 29, 2019 6:31 pm

Cherokee6 wrote:
Thu Aug 29, 2019 9:40 am
kayliegh.adrianne wrote:
Wed Aug 28, 2019 5:13 pm


I am hoping it will be a job that will pay as well if not better than finance, allow me to emigrate, travel and have a sense of accomplishment and making a difference.
To address these parts of your questions:

1. Pay better than finance? You say you’re already highly qualified and have a great career on track in finance. In that case, the time and money you lose by starting a new career in aviation is going to come at significant opportunity cost and no doubt you already understand the power of compounding... so on this count, a career in finance wins.

2. Allow you to emigrate? Yes, aviation can do that. But then a highly qualified finance person can already emigrate very easily too.

3. Travel? Yes, aviation will certainly do that. But after a lifetime of traveling for work, I can tell you that there’s “travel” and “travel”...

4. A sense of accomplishment? Certainly can be found in aviation, yes.

5. Make a difference? Hmmm... that’s tough. Truth is, airline pilots are largely seen as glorified bus drivers these days. Rescue pilots or bush pilots or EMS pilots might score higher. But then they don’t earn so well...

Other considerations:

- if family are important to you then honestly, career in aviation is not ideal. The money in aviation is best towards the top of the chain as a captain for an airline, flying long haul. You’ll be away from home a LOT. You will miss birthdays, anniversaries, weddings and funerals. Among those pilots, divorce rates are extremely high and relationships with parents, children etc. are difficult to maintain. This is a huge downside to the career. It matters more as you get older.

- if health is important to you, then airline flying is a poor choice. This is a terrible lifestyle for the body. Long hours, interrupted sleep, poor quality food and difficulty with creating regular exercise routines.

- the numbers game (he/she with the most hours wins) is an anomaly specific to the aviation game. Basically, once you’re employed at an airline, all you have to do is keep on flying and building hours. Seniority (and therefore opportunity and salary) is based purely on numbers as opposed to merit. IOW, it’s not the best pilot who gets promoted. It’s the one with the most hours at the airline. So if you are more talented or do a better job than your colleagues, it makes no difference- the chain of seniority is all that matters. It’s quite bizarre and for many, quite frustrating. If you’re the kind of person who is happy to just watch the years tick by and wait for the numbers to slowly climb, then you’ll like it. But if you are someone who likes to determine their own fate, or wants to do better than their colleagues in return for greater reward, then it’ll frustrate you. I’m not saying that it’s a cake walk - being an airline pilot carries huge responsibility and you’re always being tested, but it is still the only field that rewards loyalty over performance.

Here’s a fact for you: a large percentage of airline pilots really hate their jobs. Probably just as high a percentage as the finance people who hate their jobs. A good friend of mine has just retired from 747s and he absolutely loves flying (aerobatics in particular) but he would rather be absolutely anywhere rather than on the flight deck of a 747. The novelty of rank and the perception of glamour fade very quickly, while the downsides which I have mentioned above grow in impact over time.

If you want a happy, healthy life, then think long and hard.

On the other hand, for those who really have the passion, there is absolutely no other career to even consider. :)

Good luck!
Thank you so much for such an in depth reply! As well as for mentioning the additional aspects that I need to consider. Really appreciate it :)
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Re: Should I pursue a career in aviation

Unread post by kayliegh.adrianne » Thu Aug 29, 2019 6:35 pm

Airwayfreak wrote:
Thu Aug 29, 2019 1:09 pm
So Kayleigh, are you regretting posting this on Avcom yet ? :lol: :lol: :lol:
No... Not yet :wink: :lol:
Great advice and perspectives! Much appreciated to be honest :)
Have been researching this like crazy and pondering the decision everyday - enough to drive one a little insane so great to get it off my chest and be able to talk about it!
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Re: Should I pursue a career in aviation

Unread post by Jean Crous » Thu Aug 29, 2019 6:36 pm

kayliegh.adrianne wrote:
Thu Aug 29, 2019 6:27 pm
mythbuster007 wrote:
Thu Aug 29, 2019 9:15 am
A wise man once said : 'Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward. For there you have been, and there you will always long to return.' ”

Good luck!
This is so true. I work and live in between two airports so all day I hear planes passing above me and stick my head out the window every time to take a look. I have literally taken this quote to heart! :lol:
:D :wink: I got involved in aviation at the age of 31, been in it 23 years. Barrydale is a nav reporting point for the Aifa aircraft from Oudtshoorn. My aircraft workshop is just outside the village, and even after all these years whenever I hear an aircraft overhead......I just HAVE to go take a peek and see :lol: Some days are quite busy overhead, then my work program suffers :roll: :shock:
Jean
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Re: Should I pursue a career in aviation

Unread post by Wilco » Thu Aug 29, 2019 7:06 pm

[/quote]
:D :wink: I got involved in aviation at the age of 31, been in it 23 years. Barrydale is a nav reporting point for the Aifa aircraft from Oudtshoorn. My aircraft workshop is just outside the village, and even after all these years whenever I hear an aircraft overhead......I just HAVE to go take a peek and see :lol: Some days are quite busy overhead, then my work program suffers :roll: :shock:
Jean
[/quote]

That's not bad.

I know a few people that have sat in a windowless office and when they would hear the sound of a plane, they would look up... :roll:
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Re: Should I pursue a career in aviation

Unread post by Scrapyard Dog » Fri Aug 30, 2019 2:20 am

Hi there Kayleigh, interesting post, if I may add to it...

Having read all the replies to your post, I find it ironic that the most disparaging ones are from people who aren’t commercial pilots, yet they feel fit to comment on a career choice that they have zero experience of in terms of actually living the reality.

Here’s my humble opinion as a career airline pilot having come up through the charter and contract scene to the domestic airlines and now flying 747’s internationally.

Right off the bat one can see you are extremely passionate about flying for a living.
One can tell that you are cautious and evaluating the pros and cons, which is the right thing to do with any major step, however there comes a time where you have to take a leap of faith despite even the smallest of misgivings.

Having achieved a CA you clearly have the aptitude to apply yourself and pass the exams up to ATPL level, as well as all the other rigours of learning to fly and beyond.
This is a fearsome combination and should you embrace this career I should say you’d make an absolute success of it.

There is nothing stopping you running your finance career in parallel to your aviation one. Most of the guys I fly with have other interests in business, for example share trading etc. Two of my colleagues even own and run resort hotels in Mozambique and Vietnam!

Getting a commercial/ATPL licence is a wise investment. The market is booming and every day you see adverts for even low time pilots, which says there is a shortage.
I can comment from personal experience that there is a shortage of airline pilots which will have a ripple effect on the rest of the market. Just yesterday I saw an add for a Caravan pilot for US$6000 per month, requirement was 750hrs TT.
Some Captains at UPS on the Jumbo are on US$620 000 a year, gross package. There are CEO’s that earn less than that.

My advice is go for it. Yes initially you may have to go to the Congo or Afghanistan and sit there for a while but what an experience! You will learn more about yourself and become a better pilot doing that than you will in 20 years of corporate life.

The reason we are on earth is to be happy. If you know in the bottom of your heart that you want to fly, which it sounds like you do, then do it.

Take the risk and one day when you are old and grey, you’ll be able to look back and know that you had a life well lived, not the regret of not trying something that you knew would make you deeply happy and set your heart on fire every time you walked out to your aircraft.

I wish you only the best, I hope you have a long and successful career flying whatever makes your heart happy!
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Re: Should I pursue a career in aviation

Unread post by SandPiper » Fri Aug 30, 2019 3:45 am

Cherokee6 wrote:
Thu Aug 29, 2019 9:40 am
kayliegh.adrianne wrote:
Wed Aug 28, 2019 5:13 pm


I am hoping it will be a job that will pay as well if not better than finance, allow me to emigrate, travel and have a sense of accomplishment and making a difference.
To address these parts of your questions:

1. Pay better than finance? You say you’re already highly qualified and have a great career on track in finance. In that case, the time and money you lose by starting a new career in aviation is going to come at significant opportunity cost and no doubt you already understand the power of compounding... so on this count, a career in finance wins.

2. Allow you to emigrate? Yes, aviation can do that. But then a highly qualified finance person can already emigrate very easily too.

3. Travel? Yes, aviation will certainly do that. But after a lifetime of traveling for work, I can tell you that there’s “travel” and “travel”...

4. A sense of accomplishment? Certainly can be found in aviation, yes.

5. Make a difference? Hmmm... that’s tough. Truth is, airline pilots are largely seen as glorified bus drivers these days. Rescue pilots or bush pilots or EMS pilots might score higher. But then they don’t earn so well...

Other considerations:

- if family are important to you then honestly, career in aviation is not ideal. The money in aviation is best towards the top of the chain as a captain for an airline, flying long haul. You’ll be away from home a LOT. You will miss birthdays, anniversaries, weddings and funerals. Among those pilots, divorce rates are extremely high and relationships with parents, children etc. are difficult to maintain. This is a huge downside to the career. It matters more as you get older.

- if health is important to you, then airline flying is a poor choice. This is a terrible lifestyle for the body. Long hours, interrupted sleep, poor quality food and difficulty with creating regular exercise routines.

- the numbers game (he/she with the most hours wins) is an anomaly specific to the aviation game. Basically, once you’re employed at an airline, all you have to do is keep on flying and building hours. Seniority (and therefore opportunity and salary) is based purely on numbers as opposed to merit. IOW, it’s not the best pilot who gets promoted. It’s the one with the most hours at the airline. So if you are more talented or do a better job than your colleagues, it makes no difference- the chain of seniority is all that matters. It’s quite bizarre and for many, quite frustrating. If you’re the kind of person who is happy to just watch the years tick by and wait for the numbers to slowly climb, then you’ll like it. But if you are someone who likes to determine their own fate, or wants to do better than their colleagues in return for greater reward, then it’ll frustrate you. I’m not saying that it’s a cake walk - being an airline pilot carries huge responsibility and you’re always being tested, but it is still the only field that rewards loyalty over performance.

Here’s a fact for you: a large percentage of airline pilots really hate their jobs. Probably just as high a percentage as the finance people who hate their jobs. A good friend of mine has just retired from 747s and he absolutely loves flying (aerobatics in particular) but he would rather be absolutely anywhere rather than on the flight deck of a 747. The novelty of rank and the perception of glamour fade very quickly, while the downsides which I have mentioned above grow in impact over time.

If you want a happy, healthy life, then think long and hard.

On the other hand, for those who really have the passion, there is absolutely no other career to even consider. :)

Good luck!
Excellent post, spot on.

Back to bed, this jetlag is killing me... :D
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Re: Should I pursue a career in aviation

Unread post by ARM505 » Sat Aug 31, 2019 11:13 am

It's very person- and 'lifestyle aspiration' specific - if you value family/social life, and have hobby interests outside of aviation that involve group activities (eg. sports, any hobby that involves group meetins/competitions etc) then aviation generally kills that. You can almost never do something that involves, say, 'karate classes are on Monday and Wednesday evenings', because you don't have a routine and will likely miss events based around normal peoples work hours. Your workdays are potentially 24/7, 365, job dependant (for example, domestic airline crew in South Africa will almost certainly at least get to bed by 0130, or only start at 0430 at the earliest). Those that do contract work are away for a bit, and catch up on their lives when they''re at home for a while, those that work domestically (like domestic airline pilots) have very little time off at a stretch, and it often has to be heavily planned (ie. leave, or some sort of requested time off). That depends on the company, but most want a lot of time from you as a pilot to make their investment/salary to you worthwhile.

Because it's so dependant on the person and their goals in life, you get many different answers here. A young, single person won't see the problem, an older, more jaded person with a wife and two+ children in school will see things very differently. My own personal regrets involve the loss of almost every hobby I've enjoyed, and the brutal toll on family and social life - it's hard watching the ones you love pay for your career. The actual job is great (I'm a domestic airline pilot btw, to give an idea on my perspective). The little irritations get harder and harder to swallow, but that's the same with everything.
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Re: Should I pursue a career in aviation

Unread post by flysouth » Sat Aug 31, 2019 6:37 pm

Over 20+ years pf purely non-commercial flying, because I loved it, I never ever managed to rationalise what I was spending with NIL expectation of financial return - and believe me I tried to make the numbers appear reasonable and justifiable - quite impossible!

You at least do have an expectation of a cash-flow in the inward direction!

Eventually you come to realise that in the span of a life and the dreams you have to pursue, you have no need of rationalisation and/or justification!

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Re: Should I pursue a career in aviation

Unread post by SlowApproach » Sat Aug 31, 2019 7:37 pm

(To the OP): Something that is not often (if ever broached) is whether you would be happy to be a virtually life-long employee who is not really in charge of their own destiny but subject to the whims and desires of your employer(s). (This is obviously dependent on the direction you are most likely to pursue as a professional aviator). In today’s fickle, ultra-competitive world, the scenario of “flying for fun” (or perhaps even “semi-pro”) while pursuing some other career where you could possibly become your own boss (or even an employer yourself) will more than likely have a better outcome…
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Re: Should I pursue a career in aviation

Unread post by ABW » Mon Sep 02, 2019 5:07 pm

I know two individuals, one was a Doctor in the UK and he gave that up and is now flying professionally, and the other who was flying professionally, she stopped and became a Doctor. Life and it’s choices is what you make it.
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Re: Should I pursue a career in aviation

Unread post by Jean Crous » Mon Sep 02, 2019 6:26 pm

ABW wrote:
Mon Sep 02, 2019 5:07 pm
I know two individuals, one was a Doctor in the UK and he gave that up and is now flying professionally, and the other who was flying professionally, she stopped and became a Doctor. Life and it’s choices is what you make it.
Like wise there is an Aviation Medical Examiner, here in SA, who flew commercially till the age of 50. He then went on to study medicine, and is still practicing 30 odd years later. He has his practice in Mosselbay.
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Re: Should I pursue a career in aviation

Unread post by Jack Welles » Mon Sep 02, 2019 6:49 pm

Jean Crous wrote:
Mon Sep 02, 2019 6:26 pm
ABW wrote:
Mon Sep 02, 2019 5:07 pm
I know two individuals, one was a Doctor in the UK and he gave that up and is now flying professionally, and the other who was flying professionally, she stopped and became a Doctor. Life and it’s choices is what you make it.
Like wise there is an Aviation Medical Examiner, here in SA, who flew commercially till the age of 50. He then went on to study medicine, and is still practicing 30 odd years later. He has his practice in Mosselbay. Jean.
Wasn't he a cropspray pilot?

And FWIW I flew cropspray/game and gave that up to study law ...
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Re: Should I pursue a career in aviation

Unread post by Jean Crous » Mon Sep 02, 2019 8:39 pm

Jack Welles wrote:
Mon Sep 02, 2019 6:49 pm
Jean Crous wrote:
Mon Sep 02, 2019 6:26 pm
ABW wrote:
Mon Sep 02, 2019 5:07 pm
I know two individuals, one was a Doctor in the UK and he gave that up and is now flying professionally, and the other who was flying professionally, she stopped and became a Doctor. Life and it’s choices is what you make it.
Like wise there is an Aviation Medical Examiner, here in SA, who flew commercially till the age of 50. He then went on to study medicine, and is still practicing 30 odd years later. He has his practice in Mosselbay. Jean.
Wasn't he a cropspray pilot?

And FWIW I flew cropspray/game and gave that up to study law ...
Correct Jack, and he owned the company as well.
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Re: Should I pursue a career in aviation

Unread post by mythbuster007 » Mon Sep 02, 2019 8:53 pm

And I’m a demand planner, planning on taking steps to get my ppl, have fun, work my way to a cpl whilst keeping a job, then go wherever it takes me:-) It’s my dads fault, and maybe multirotordronepilot for telling me that my model jets cost what some real planes costs... and then Trent Palmer’s YouTube videos came up on YouTube ...I have grown up with aviation, or with a passion for it. I just battle staring at those spreadsheets and end up saying to myself I could rather be flying now.
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