Best route to becoming a pilot for me?

Hello my name is Connor, and I’ve been trying to figure out the best route to take for me to become a pilot. I’m the kind of person who likes to ask others with more experience about what’s the best way to start in this career field but I haven’t had much like in finding people to ask, so this place seems as good as any.

I currently have a little one on the way in a couple months, I’ve done my discovery flight and absolutely loved it, but I haven’t been able to do any other flights due to baby appointments, bad weather, planes coming in late, and my job which takes up a lot of my time (I’m a car salesmen and work a little over 50 hours a week). I have a little bit of college, I was actually a few credits away from my associates whenever Covid hit and diverted my plans for awhile.

My ultimate goal is to become a charter pilot or an airline pilot, basically a well paying field so I can provide well for my families future, all while doing a job I love. I’ve heard getting your PPL from a mom and pop airfield is the best way to start, but after that I’m struggling to figure out how to progress from there. Money is tight in this economy of course, and I don’t want me becoming a pilot to become a financial stressor on my family since it seems that it could take multiple years. I’ve looked into flight schools which is appealing due to the fast track programs but the loans seem intimidating to me and I can’t exactly go fly for 5 days a week while taking care of my son (my wife works a very good job where she makes 100k a year and I would start working from home to help with the baby, she goes to work at noon and gets home in between 10-12). So basically I just would like to know all of my options and which ones you all think might work best for me, I am determined to become a pilot and will do whatever it takes, I just don’t know the most efficient route to take considering my situation. I would love to be able to work towards being a pilot and work, but I don’t want it to drag out for 5 years until I begin my career, and then there’s also my son to take into consideration as well.

Thank you for your time and all of the help!

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Connor,

The above is an interesting quote, especially when you list ALL the “buts” you have. It sounds like you’ve done some research which is good but it also sounds like you’re looking for loophole. So let’s go over a few things:

First, not sure who told you being your PPL at a mom and pop is a good idea, but you’ve already seen first hand why it’s not. “Baby appointments, bad weather, planes coming in late, and my job” are just a few of the issues. You left out planes out on maintenance, instructor availability and every other life issue that can and will get in your way. There’s a reason the military and the airlines train full time. Successful flight training requires consistency. If you’re bout consistent you’re wasting time and money.

Next, regardless of the economy flight training is expensive and unfortunately there’s no way around that. While I understand and appreciate you don’t want to put a strain financially on your family, unless you’re born wealthy, have a huge nestegg or hit the lottery, you’re going to have to. This is a “well paying field” (better than most) but the price of admission is high. You also need to know after you complete your training the sacrifice doesn’t end. While you’ll no longer be paying to fly, you will need to build the required 1500hrs to get hired by an airline. That usually takes about 1.5yrs IF you’re instructing full-time. Part-time can take a whole lot longer. After that your first few years at an airline will mean you’ll be away from home alot. Until you build some seniority you’ll be flying when, where and how often the airline needs. That means missing holidays, ball games, school plays, anniversaries, etc etc etc. I’m not trying to disuade you but this career requires sacrifice on many levels. If you think you’ll somehow believe you’ll be able to do this how and when you like, without a serious financial and time sacrifice and strain on your family, you in for a big disappointment.

Finally you say you’re looking for the most “efficient” route and there’s really only one. That means biting the bullet and training full-time. Anything else and the odds of success are extremely low.

Adam

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