SIngle Dad... anyone else? how do you manage

I’m looking to start a new career. I’m a single Dad with a 4 almost 5 year old. Has anyone else done this program in this situation. What did you do for health insurance for your little one?

I too desperately want a career change just joined this sight due to being in the same situation you’re in. I have a 5 month old daughter and my wife is a stay at home mom. I need to find a school that will best suite me having to continue my current career, support my family and go to school. Need answers ASAP as well

I am in a similar place although not a single dad, I am 40 with 3 kids and another due in November. I am going to be working full time and be in college for flight school full time so that will be a rough couple of years! I think it will depend on how much money and time you have availible, how fast you want to make it happen and your goals. If you want to be an airline pilot at the regionals, they are gone 4 days at a time a lot. I don’t think it’s too late but you probably don’t want to wait a lot longer either again depending on your goals.

First, I have not even decided to do the ATP program yet; but I’ve been researching “the leap” quite a bit and I can tell you a few things generally:

  1. If you are starting with zero hours and want to fly as an airline pilot you’ll need to handle 9 months of full-time studying, with no possibility of earning pay…ATP will cost you about $90K. You’ll need savings, a rich relative, or good credit to get loans.
  2. It’s another 12 to 18 months instructing (about $30-36K/yr) and you’ll be hustling to build hours so a regional will take you (Airline Pilot Central can show you salaries, for three to five years you may not be impressed).
  3. You’ll be on the bottom of the totem pole so choice of home base to fly from at the regionals will not be yours, are you willing to move or commute daily, or rent a crash pad at your home base on your relatively low salary?
  4. Health insurance, your problem because each person and their family have their own level of need for care.
  5. Demanding family life, you’ll need about two solid years of low-drama while you crank through the heavy study and grinding out hour-building (however you do that, instructor or crop dusting, or whatever).
  6. Do you already have retirement savings or a pension lined up? You can only fly as a professional airline pilot to 65…5 of those years will be lean, another 5 will be better but not impressive (as you pay off loans accrued during training). Will you be okay with NOT flying for Delta or American for the “big bucks” that get quoted all over many forum discussions?

The Pilot mentors on this site will cut to the chase on a key point as well. Do you love to pilot a plane? Not fly in coach or first class…it’s not remotely the same. At the end of this process you’ll have a ton of certificates and debt. What will you do with any of that if you hate the lifestyle, lose your medical certificate, or other circumstances make you leave this field.

The money may be good after the early years if the stars align, and due to the predicted increasing pilot shortage they might - but then again the economy may tank or some other mess may knock the airline industry for a loop and the pay may stagnate (or layoffs might happen).

Your motivation to take on this career path needs to be very high, you need to be able to consume lots of information in a new technical language with a nice dose of applied physics in a rapid fashion. You must be able to not only regurgitate for a test (like in many college programs) but apply what you learn in dynamic evaluation settings…and a “C” level effort won’t cut it.

People in their late 30’s and 40’s have some very unique financial, family, medical, and legal backgrounds that all may scuttle your plans. So do your research. This site and the countless articles and pilot websites out there all contain kernels of truth that you will need to piece together to come to your decision. I find that using the “search” function at the top right of the page works well to help you sift through this site. Type “too old” and you’ll find discussions like these with tons of angles and questions addressed. Type “home base” to ask about choice of your home base and how stable (or not) your future might be. You get the point…use the site. Hundreds before you have already asked how to make this career choice work and how to get through it fastest, cheapest, with the best quality training etc.

Good luck!