What a great site for looking for help regarding anything aviation related. I am currently 28 serving in the USAF stationed overseas in the United Kingdom. I have 2 years left on my enlistment in which my wife and I are considering getting out of active duty and potentially serving part-time (guard/reserve) to maintain some benefits. I have had a life long passion for aviation and until recently, I have made excuses to not fly or life got in the way. Its to the point where my age would be restricting me from flying in the USAF. To realize this life-long dream, I have been considering many flight programs across the USA. The plan is to move back to Tulsa, Oklahoma and get situated there. What lands me here on this site and looking at ATP is there location in Tulsa.
I love the fact that it is fast-paced and provides a career guide to being a professional pilot. My ultimate goal is to become a commercial airlines pilot. I realize that this will require low salaries and large debt. I’ve been doing alot of research and it seems that these factors, along with various others, can potentially create a negative atmosphere. I just finished my masters degree from the University of Oklahoma in Criminal Justice with a 4.0 so staying focused and studying will not be an issue. I think my biggest concern is making money while attending flight school. I have a very supportive wife who wants to work (she has her masters as well) to get us by while I’m in flight school. As far as being away from family, that is not an issue, and something I have had to adapt to since enlisting. I’ve been stationed in Europe since 2012 and just being in the United States close to friends and family will be a dream come true.
Does anyone here have any experience with being in flight school and serving part-time? I would love to serve in the Air National Guard which requires one weekend duty a month and two weeks out of the summer. Would that be something I could do while attending ATP? Of course, deployments, activations are things I have some control over but you never know when it comes to the military, hence, I would have to stop flight training temporarily. I see that as a potential issue but not much else.
What are you guys’ opinion on the debt accrued from flight school? Obviously ATP wont take most of my VA benefits so taking out a loan is looking like what I’ll have to do. In my eyes, its an investment in my future, something I have to deal with to do something I love. It sounds like the first few years will be tough but I’m not exactly rolling in the dough as a staff sergeant either, which I’ve managed to get by living in Europe. I was luckily enough to get my undergrad and graduate degrees without taking out any loans.
It seems as if the benefits outweigh the negatives when it comes to being a pilot. I’m not sure where my passion for aviation came from (plane-spotting with my dad as a kid or flying FSX on my home computer) but it has never been stronger. Feel free to comment, I would love to hear back from people in the industry. Thanks!