Hello all. My name is Nick and I’m currently a 23-year-old that’s ~7 months into a finance job post-college. I planned on being a pilot for as long as I can remember, but never took action due to fear of the cost and training commitment.
Although I haven’t been working for long, I’ve found myself extremely unhappy with my current career and know that I will need to make a change at some point in the future. I’ve taken a few flight lessons recently and have absolutely loved it and know that it’s something I’d enjoy doing for the rest of my life.
My only issue is that I can’t get myself to make the jump. I currently have a six-figure job (that I hate) and will be taking quite a pay cut for a few years if I go down this path. I’ll also have to take out a loan to complete my training since I only have ~$50k saved up. Maybe it’s the way I was raised, but the idea of going into a lot of debt has always made me uncomfortable. I’m wondering if anybody on this forum has any advice or has ever had this dilemma. Appreciate the help in advance.
I will share my two cents, but ultimately the choice is yours.
Usually when someone is not sure if aviation is a good fit, we recommend an intro flight, but it sounds like you’ve already done that. It also sounds like you had a good experience.
So, really it sounds like it just comes down to the money.
I, too, was hesitant to take out a loan of that size when I was in your shoes. I hadn’t taken out a loan of any size before then. The difference is that I had less than $5k in savings and I did it anyway. I applied for a living stipend in addition to the loan.
For me, it was the best decision of my life. My debt will be paid off by 2025 which is a few years sooner than the loans term.
Tuition reimbursement also helped while I was teaching. I did it through Horizon. $5 per flight hour as a CFI until 1500 hours and then $500/mo for 12 months.
I managed to refinance a few years ago as well. Went from a 9% to 5% rate.
The upfront cost may seem intimidating at first, but if this is something that you really want to do this career will pay off your loan in dividends.
Having gone through it myself, I would do it all over again.
Suffice to say virtually EVERYBODY on this forum has had (or is having) this dilemma. Flight training is expensive and it requires a HUGE commitment.
BUT, what always makes me scratch my head is EVERYBODY on this forum also always says “I’ve always wanted to do this”, “this has always been my dream”, etc etc. Again flight training will never be cheap but if having the opportunity to not only fulfill a life time dream, but also see the world and make 4 times what you’re making now isn’t worth some debt and sacrifice, I don’t know what is?
Your choice but when it was mine it was the best one of my life.
Since you are unsure of this, I would recommend taking several lessons at your local flight school. Sometimes it takes more than just one intro flight to really see where you stand, some people go all the way to soloing or obtaining their private license before deciding, these are certainly options for you as well.
For me, the flight school loan that I took out has been the best investment I have ever made. It has paid for itself many times over and affords me a career that I really enjoy. Your mileage may vary, but for me it was a great call.