Time and Money Clarification

Hello everyone!

I have been lurking the forums for a couple of weeks now while I play around with my decision to take the jump into ATP. Before I get into my question, I wanted to get into a little background.

I am 22 (almost 23) years old and took the traditional graduate high school and get a business degree route. I decided to jump into events and took the corporate world by storm. Well, I realized how draining and life-sucking the corporate world can be. I’ve always loved airplanes and airports, however, my dad (who is 6’6 and me 6’3) has always said “You’re too tall to fly” which has made me always believe I couldn’t fly.

Up until recently when I realized the corporate world and lack of control of your own life, I decided to look back into flying and took a couple of discovery flights. As I am sure everyone has said here, I am hooked.

But that brings me back to my question… I am fortunate enough to live with my parents and have them support me via food and housing. I am still in the events world until I finally make the jump. However, I am still eager to start my own life, move in with my girlfriend, and have my own space.

  1. How was your experience with going from a full-time job to 9months of zero income?
  2. Post-graduation, how were you able to balance your funds? Were you able to make payments and afford to live (with help) on your own? I took out student loans (about 38K) and would definitely need to take out a loan for ATP (Should be able to do it without a co-signer, 750+ Credit Score).
  3. Are you still paying off your loans? How long did it take you? Any advice or things you wish you knew before?
  4. If my desire is to eventually move out (GF and I would be splitting an apartment, maybe a third roommate to help) is this possible with payments + living expenses on a regional salary?

I really appreciate all of your help. Please let me know if you have any additional questions. Hopefully, I will be seeing you all in the skies real soon!

Gavin,

  1. I moved home while I was in the program too. That’s how I was able to get by during the program.

  2. Post grad, I lived in student housing. Back then it was $300/mo. I also received Tuition Reimbursement which helped me stay on top of loan payments. That said, I also relied on my credit card.

  3. My loan will be paid off 5 years from now, total of 10 years. My advice? Save and budget. Download a personal finance app. I recommend Mint, but there are others. Also, take advantage of Tuition Reimbursement ASAP.

  4. Impossible for us to determine. Depends on where you live, what you agree to pay for, what you’re comfortable living off of, etc. you should be able to figure that one out pretty easily if you know how much you need per month. Airline Pilot Central shows annual wages for each airline. That should give you an idea of what to expect. You shouldn’t have a problem. I figured it out and I live in Washington.

Tory

Gavin,

This is where I often get myself in trouble so I’m going to try and tone it down some. While I appreciate your concerns (to some degree) regarding your finances during training and your future I cannot lie as I’m scratching my head a little. They say one’s perspective is their reality so I’ll share where I (and many others on this forum) are coming from.

When I made the decision to change careers there were no parents to help with anything. I WAS the parents. I had 3 young children, a wife, 2 car payments and a mortgage. Further there was no pilot shortage or virtually guaranteed interviews, no Tuition Reimbursement, no hiring bonuses and first year pay was 1/3 of what it is now. Through hard work and sacrifice me and my family survived and I’m finally in a very good place as a Capt at a Major.

I’m not trying to make light of your concerns but simply offer some insight to the fact that things are literally the best they’ve ever been in this industry. Aside from the question of whether you’ll be successful in training the rest is pretty much a lock.

Adam

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Tory,

In Airline Pilot Central, do you know if the pay scale for Captains is based on years as a Captain or years of service in the airline? For example if you were a first officer for 5 years, would your Captain pay scale be based on Year 6 or Year 1?

Alex,

It’s always years of service. I’ve been at Hawaiian 7yrs and have only been a Capt for 2yrs BUT I’m on 7yr Capt pay.

Adam

That’s good to know, thanks. Speaking of being a captain, how is moving from one seat to another go? Is that also basically years of service or do you have to be promoted based on performance (among other factors)?

Alex,

It’s neither. EVERYTHING at the airlines is based on seniority. Once you satisfy the basic time requirements (121.436, basically 1,000hrs 121 SIC or other 91/135 PIC) it’s simply a matter of having the seniority to hold the seat. Delta had pilots upgrading to Capt in under 2yrs because 717 LGA was so junior.

Adam

Gavin,

Welcome to the forums. Thank you for the detailed introduction, it really helps us to answer your questions.

  1. I went straight from college to ATP, so I cannot speak to this one.

  2. I was lucky enough to work at an ATP training center that was near my parent’s home, so I lived there. I did make payments during my time as an instructor. It was tight, but doable.

  3. My loan was a fifteen year term. I paid it off in ten.

  4. Absolutely, but do not expect to be on the top floor of Trump Tower.

Let us know what other questions you have.

Chris

Ah, I guess I made the mistake of equating seniority with years of service with the company. Sounds like it’s more to do with the type of plane, location and perhaps other things in addition to shear time. Thanks yet again.

Alex,

Seniority and years of service go hand in hand. Although if an airline does not hire for a few years, seniority will not go up during that time frame.

Chris

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Alex,

Seniority does go with years of service but there’s also “relative” seniority on a particular aircraft, seat or base. In system or airline seniority I’m around 60% (almost half way up. Lower the % the more senior) and that only changes when we hire or when people leave. We only have one base so that’s not a factor. I’m currently a 717 Capt and at about 80% which is relatively low. I can hold 321 Capt but that would put me even lower at around 90%. Now if I wanted a better quality if life I could bid back to 330 FO which would put me around 55% or 321 or 717 FO which would put me at 5%. Great schedule but lousy pay. Make sense?

Adam