TLDR available at the end.
First off, thank you to all that dedicate so much time and effort to keep this amazing resource functioning and thriving. I’ve silently been reading for weeks as I debate a huge decision.
After reading most similar posts, I come to you as a somewhat broken record and with TIA for playing along.
About me - I’m Travis, a 29 year old Healthcare Management professional with 10 years of military (healthcare) experience. When I was 18 and preparing to join the Navy, I completed my first discovery flight as I was extremely torn between Naval Aviation and a career as a greenside Corpsman (cringe - but many would consider/or falsely equate this similar to a “Combat Medic”). I had always loved flying, and for a long time thought that would be my pursuit. However, when I was 17, was involved in a Mountain Climbing accident that resulted in my best friend passing, and also involved the SAR aircraft crashing (thankfully, no loss of life). This trauma pushed me (naively) to want to get the best training so that I’d never be in a situation where I couldn’t “save” my family or friends. Thus, I elected to complete Hospital Corpsman basic “A” school, and Field Medical Training Battalion “C” school, and ultimately serve 5 years on active duty with both Marine Corps combat arms and Naval clinical settings. Fast forward to an accident in 2019 which made me non-deployable (this will not prohibit FAA medical clearance, btw), and I decided to pursue a career in civilian healthcare management.
While I’ve learned a lot and am proud to have made an impact on others, I know this isn’t my calling. You can probably see where this is going.
The first step of obtaining my PPL has been on the radar for years, but entry costs associated with obtaining this first certificate level have kept in on the back burner. Namely, VA benefits can’t be used for PPL, but can for the remainder of certifications.
Then I stumbled upon ATP’s career pilot program. It’s perfect, I thrive in fast-paced, fully immersive settings and careers. There is little doubt that this would be an appropriate path for me. That said, sacrificing my income for 7+ months isn’t a dealbreaker, but a significant barrier. Options appear to be either sell my house, commit full time, and fund my training and expenses with equity going down to a 1 income household (wife has a steady, remote based career), OR continue working ~7-3 (mostly remote) and hoping to find an instructor willing to base training on evenings (4-whenever) and heavy weekends.
I know. Burnout is the concern and frankly, is unavoidable, and this certainly wouldn’t be sustainable throughout the entirety of the program. I’ve come up with what I believe to be the most efficient and practical juggling act, and would love to hear your thoughts.
Based on the below link, complete as many written exams as possible before classing up (roughly 2 months to complete, so ~June start date if possible).
By June, coordinate a schedule that allows for ~3 days of extensive career focused work, likely 12 hour days with only limited, but consistent studying. This would open up 4 days where I can commit to 8+ hour availability for aviation training, and should I find an accommodating instructor, i am confident I could remain proficient and sharp.
When crew, commercial, and CFI travel is required (likely between November-February), this could be coordinated ahead of time with heavily stockpiled time off balances (workaholic tendencies have allowed for a huge accumulation), I should be able to manage. At the very latest, upon completing CFI, I would emphatically embrace terminating outside employment and shifting focus to becoming the best instructor I could possibly be. Note: training has always been a top passion of mine, especially when training young Corpsman who will ultimately hold others lives in their hands; I view a future of instructing aspiring pilots (ironic, from someone who’s not yet a pilot in any regard, I know) as a tremendous blessing and the ultimate responsibility (AKA, mission - as my military mind will never “separate”).
Sounds perfect, right? I’m not naive enough to think this is practical, easy, or ideal in any way. The concern from my “been here since breakfast” perspective is that the burnout would be the major concern, and flying while “exhausted” is not only less than ideal, but dangerous. Subjectively, I’ve thrived on being told what I can’t do, or what is impossible, or that I’m crazy and my goals are unrealistic. But I don’t take this career or the expensiveness of this type of training lightly, and want to seek the experts opinions on the matter.
- Is this possible?
- Is it reasonable to approach this as outlined above, and if seeing early on that sustainability is a concern, default to utilizing more loans or equity from primary residence and terminating outside employment?
- Have you seen others succeed with similar lifestyle balance concerns? If so, have you also seen others attempt this approach and fail?
- What variables have I not considered?
- Is it disrespectful to even attempt the above, as during the entire process the potential to harm others is present if not fully invested into training and constant risk management?
Note: Intro flight scheduled Monday, 3/28.
TLDR; Is it possible for an obsessive aspiring pilot to coordinate a FT flexible work schedule AND a FT training program safely and effectively?