Too many hours for ATP? What direction next?

Hello everyone.
Intro: I am 38years old, I have 1100+ Single engine hours, 600+ cross country, 75 instrument, 100 + night and am a CFII (though none of the time is from instructing) and advanced ground instructor). I do have an Associates of Applied Science degree in Aviation Maintenance Technokogy and I originally went into maintenance because it paid the most right away ( back in 2010 when first officer pay was "minimum wage to 28k a year). So I have been working as an A&P IA for 12 years and have worked in most areas of the maintenance world, I.e. helicopters old and new, jets, warbids, GA and currently am assembly lead at an aircraft manufacturing company in Bentonville AR. I have had a Cessna 172 for 14 years and the majority of my time has been in that aircraft. I have never had the need for a multi because I don’t instruct and I wasn’t planning on buying a multi.
So now that I feel I have plateaued on maintenance and pilot jobs are paying well I’m thinking of pursuing piloting instead. Here is where my ignorance starts to show. I called ATP asking about just a multi rating and an atp course and they said they only have two entry points “before your private pilot license and right after”. He said I had too many hours for their program. So I’ve been looking around for multi schools and a way to build 25-50hr a multi time but at $300 and hour for a multi that’s a lot of money to come up with out of pocket (at least with ATP I could get student loans).
So after all that I’m looking for advice. I have been toying with the idea of buying a cheap twin, getting my time and selling it bringing the hourly cost down to 100-150 + mo they cost of the aircraft and insurance, roughly break even after two- three flight hours a month. Don’t really want to get an instructor job to build time because 1 that’s a slow process, 2. I’d have to quit my current job and 3. I don’t have to working just long enough to get 150 hrs then quit on the company.

Other important data may include:

  1. I’m generally focusing on Envoy
  2. I would like to stay as close to NW Arkansas / SW Missouri as possible so I am going to try to be based out of DFW
  3. I already have my first class medical
  4. I can build additional time if needed in the 172 for the cost of fuel

Any advice or input on anything mentioned would be appreciated, I.e. schools to call, people with cheap twins for sale or in need of maintenance, contacts at an airline who could help.

Thanks
James H

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I forgot to mention I have a clean record, no dependencies other than Dr. Pepper, no drama, married with a wife and two kids who are all onboard, no real debt to speak of, ohh and I like long walks on the beach.

Thanks again.

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James,

At 38, while you’re not old the clock is ticking. Yes 25hrs × $300 is alot to lay out, BUT Envoy’s starting pay is now $90hr and they’re offering $100k+ in hiring bonuses. Further the top pay at the airlines is $400k+ and every year you wait is money and seniority you’ll never see.

Frankly I think you’re being penny wise and pound foolish.

Adam

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Adam,
Thanks for the input. To be clear you think it’s better to just pay for the time now to get it done rather than buy a cheap twin?

James

Maybe try to find some other pilots needing to build some time and split the airplane costs. You may have to travel to a bigger area or search through Facebook groups to find someone looking to do the same. But as Adam said, the money spent now will be a drop in the bucket when you look back years later. If it is what your rally want to do, you’ll be able to find a way to make it happen. Good luck!

James,

What I’m saying is do whatever you need to do to get your time and get hired.

You also say that you’ve built most of your time in your own 172. I don’t know what kind of flying you’ve been doing, but you should know that the airlines expect you to be a current and VERY experienced instrument pilot. If you’re skills aren’t where they should be, I’d spend your remaining time getting them there.

Adam

Adam,
Understood. I have been mostly VFR flying so I will take your advice on IFR competency.

Thanks again for your input it is appreciated.

James

I am with Adam here. The clock is definitely ticking, you need to get that time and get to the airlines as soon as possible. I would also strongly recommend that you work on your instrument skills as that is how we fly in the airlines.

You will probably need to consider getting your full degree somewhere along the way.

Chris

Thanks everyone for the input!

James,

A good amount of aerial surveying jobs are flying a light twin. I’d first find a local school to knock out your multi engine rating. Then job search and see what you can find. If you could knock out those last 400 some hours in a multi engine airplane, while on IFR flight plans… that’s best case scenario to get the valuable time you need before hitting the airlines.

400 hours will take somewhere from 4-6 months to build. It’s not ideal to quit after such a short time but you’re within your right to as long as they don’t have you sign a contract upon accepting the job. You could also purchase a plane or buy in to a fractional ownership but it seems to be a huge headache and turns out much more costly than anticipated.

Hannah

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Hannah
Thanks for the input. I will take it into consideration. That timeline looks like late April to early May, seems like it would be a good time to start.

James

Don’t know what your credit is but I would think many Banks/Credit Unions would let you take out a small personal loan to help pay for the multi time. 7,500-9,000 on a personal loan even if the interest rate isn’t good sure seems like a hell of a lot better than a Sallie Mae loan for 100k!! I bought an older car once with a personal loan which was $5000 so I know it can be done. Good luck!

James,

As mentioned by others already, finding a way to pay for the multi rating and time now is the way to go. It is a smaller price to pay for the growth potential at the airlines. You mentioned it yourself, the maintenance career has hit a growth plateau. Make the jump for an accelerated multi course. If you can afford a cheap twin and want more hours, then that is probably the way to go. After that, spend a lot of your free time building quality time in the 172. Once you have a good idea of how far out you are, then start reaching out to those regionals!
Side note, if you are looking for a time building partner in the 172 (or multi if you purchase)… I am a short 4 hours west of you and would totally be down to split costs with you on weekends.

Timothy Davis

Timothy
Thanks for the response. I may be interested in splitting twin time if I go that route. As for now I’m going to refresh my IFR skills and build time in the 172. Then get the multi rating and most likely just rent to get to 25 hrs.

Thanks everyone for you input.

James.

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