The flying is fun, and everyone likes that on clear sunny days.. and when you get days and weeks off all over the world... it seems great... because IT IS.... but for all the good parts... and there are a LOT of them... there is a dark side that most candidates do not know about. If I can talk you out of being a pilot... then you should not have been one in the first place anyway. (IMHO) It really is a job that takes more focus and dedication than most. Sounds to be a big statement... but remember that you are going to be re-qualified EVERY year, and depending on your job, can be twice a year.. and if you are flying more than one type of aircraft.. 3 or more times a year... Go ask your family doctor when he was requalified last.. or your highschool teacher, college professor.. and the answer will be the same.... huh??? Bear in mind also, that you don't just screw up a test and get to retake it... your records are maintained by your company for the Federal Government.. and EVERY checkride, oral exam, written exam, line check, etc... is recorded along with the results. EVERY job you apply for.. the first thing they are going to do is pull your records...and if you had any problems along the way... you will be explaining them. Most pilots (more than 50%) have a CLEAN record... probably higher percentage than that... no mistakes, no retesting, no failures.. so the bar is set high... If you get a DWI... you have a major problem that will disqualify you on the spot for most jobs. As with anything else... when there is a shortage... it might be overlooked.. but that doesn't happen very often. Since 9/11... there have been no shortages... Now, for instructors, there is almost always a shortage because it is the lowest paying least desireable job there is in aviation. I would rather pump gas than teach basic Private Pilot.
So it becomes a career of compromises... where you are going to live, the plane you will fly, the schedule you will work, the money you will make are balanced against your "quality of life" issues. What is more important to you... being near your family, or advancing your career? Then you will see the great divide.. some guys will walk in to ask directions for some other job.. and be offered a job on the spot... while you beat your head against the wall trying to get the same job for years. You will see complete and total idiots out online, that are down right dangerous... and they make it through training.. and you will say goodbye to a friend in your hire class that was washed out that was a much better pilot. That's the way it goes sometimes. You will constantly be making decisions on what job to take or pass, move or stay... and all the while you will be dealing with a very unsympathetic company that is only concerned with the bottom line. You lose an engine, and fly the remainder of the flight perfectly smooth, nail the landing and taxi to the gate (if they let you) and the people getting off are grateful.. but the company sees only that you did what you were trained to do... so don't get too excited about your work.
You start out VERY proud, excited, enthusiastic.. and it just grinds you down over the years. You see other guys go on to real estate, software development..etc.. and they are making 3 to 4 times the money and home every night...this might not be for you...
I would not urge someone to NOT be a pilot... I started flying when I was 16, and I still fly now, just not for a living... I still love it.. but I don't miss the crap.. and there is a LOT of crap that goes with it.
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