Is this the right move?

Good Morning,

I am looking for some advice ,maybe more of a push, that I am sure has been asked a million times already.

Recently my life has been completely flipped upside down and allowed me time to do a lot of self reflection. Some background information - I am 26, from the UK but a permanent resident in the US. I have become complacent after university and getting my masters in my comfy corporate job that pays me well, but I am not satisfied.

Having things go on in my personal life allowed me to realize that I settled and did not chase my dreams, the biggest one becoming a pilot. It was a track I wanted to be on but life got in the way. I have flown in a single engine before back in Scotland and loved it! I had my first experience of that very young and knew since then that it was meant to be.

My main concern is going from a 6 figure salary to earning nothing for a long time - how did others handle this? I do not have any student debt and have good credit so know I would be okay in terms of getting a loan but how far does that stretch?

Any and all advice would be great!

2 options.

  • Get license and fly for fun.
  • Total career change.

You can get a reasonably priced airplane and fly about 100hr/yr for around $500-1000/m. I’ve had corporate workers as students who love to fly choose this route.

Usually in these situation I like to get a white board out and make a pro/con chart about $, time, & personal factors.

Many have asked this same question, I would use the search function for things like “career change”. You can read about some students experiences with the career change / Atp training in these forums.

I would argue the most stable choice is the former, while the one that might bring the most happiness could be the latter.

Take your time with the decision,
Chris F

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A 3rd option is get your private and fly for fun in a flight club or in your own plane.
If you want the career change still, you can join ATP and make the switch.

Another resource for information on options is Aviation Career Mentorship on FB.

Chris F


By the sound of your post (you don’t give much detail) you’d like to fly professionally. Honestly I’m not sure what advice you’d like. As you said you’ve read through the forum and have seen this come up many times.

This is a grown up decision that only you can make for yourself. I did it and it was the best move I’ve ever made but the internet is full of people who will tell you otherwise. If you have a dream to fly professionally it will require sacrifice financially but it’s very doable. The question is that what you want? If it’s something you think you might like doing then maybe take a few lessons and see if you really enjoy it. Whether or not its worth investing over 2yrs of your life living lean again is something only you can decide.

If you feel you need a push then I’d really think hard on it. Flight training requires YOU to push YOURSELF. There’s very little hand holding or coddling. If that’s what you need again this might not be for you.


Hey Adam,

Thanks for the reply. You’re right in thinking I want to fly professionally.

It had always been my dream and goal, but life got in the way. I guess what I was looking for is just advice on how other people have made it financially etc. and what that exactly looks like.

I am a very motivated person and know this isn’t a decision to be taken lightly. I know from flying in the past that I feel at ease and peace in the air and want to do it for a living, I just need that push to get there and here that other people have done the same!


When I started the program, I left a $40k salary. So, I don’t know what it would be like to leave a six figure salary and I don’t know what your overhead looks like, but if I could do it with $2000 to my name, you should be able to do it too. You may need to make some adjustments to your lifestyle to minimize your monthly expenses.

To cut living expenses during the program I lived at home and borrowed money from the “bank of mom.” Then, when I started earning money as a CFI I moved into the student housing and then at 900 hours I received tuition reimbursement from Horizon which helped me meet my monthly loan payments.

If you need to take out a loan for the program, there are a couple of different options depending on your needs. You are able to ask for additional money for living expenses and you’re also able to apply for interest only payments. Contact Kirk in financing for more info.


Hey Chris -

Thanks for taking the time to respond!

I am seriously leaning towards the latter option - just need to take that leap!


Wow! That is insightful to hear.

I definitely leaned on the bank of mum and dad for my university education, however, they now live thousands of miles away back in the UK!

I will contact Kirk and see what that all looks like - thank you!

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If it really is a passion of your to fly professionally, you will make the sacrifices. I am in a similar position sitting in a very comfortable well paying job. Being a pilot has always been something I dreamed of. I let life get in my way a few times and currently at 35 I made the decision to take the leap. I am taking out the loan and in my mind I will do what needs to be done to pay it off in the future. Don’t think too much into it because life it too short. Pursue your dream of flying and know that enjoying your job will help out in all aspects of your life. If you have followed the form is seems like the common theme is the money will be there to pay the loan once you get hired.

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You seem very unenthused about the career change and flying. Maybe your just coming across cautious and reserved but if this is something you’re going to do you can’t be “Luke warm”, “half in”, etc. You need to know you can fly and train in small airplane and that it’s something you are passionate about enough to stick it through all the tough times. Getting your ratings is hard, living off a small CFI income is hard, building 1500 hours instructing is hard, initial jet training is hard. I hope you’re getting my point that you need to want it enough to endure the challenges it brings.
Financially, as Tory said, it’s a big risk for everyone unless you have a trust fund sitting around. You’ll find that many pilots didn’t start out in an aviation career but at one point, all of us had to give up financial stability to pursue it. To help cushion the shock, plan ahead for your start date and save for a few months. Then try to keep your expenses small, living with someone else or moving home. As you start instructing, seek out tuition reimbursement programs with the regional of your choosing. Those help tremendously relive the financial burden. It won’t be easy but it is doable.


Hey Hannah -

Sorry if I came across unenthused! I guess thats the British way, ha!!

I have been in a single engine before back home and LOVED the experience, I am just nervous about taking such a huge leap so was curious on other peoples perspectives as that helps!

All brilliant advice on how to save, thank you! I have seen your replies on a few other threads I have read and your career path seems so interesting!

Thanks Joshua!!

Oh good, I’m sorry if I misinterpreted the British way! Hah Glad to hear!
Thank you, covid has effected us all in one way or another. For me it opened my eyes to the 135 world I otherwise might not have experienced! I hope others can learn from it as well!


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