I remember a long time ago when I thought about flying airplanes as a career. I sat down with my father and started to discuss the idea of making a goal and then figure out how to go about making that goal. At that point in time, we really did not know anything about an aviation career from a personal perspective, all we had was speculation. Now speculation is fine for some things, but I am sure most people would rather sit down and discuss hard cold facts with someone that has traveled that journey. That kind of mentor would be able to make sure you thought through some ideas and concepts that may not have occurred to you. Those kind of experiences are pure gold to someone who may just be starting out in an aviation career decision.
The goal of this article is to create an exhaustive flow chart that will help you answer a lot of questions. The best way to get answers, is to start at the beginning and ask certain questions that will help formulate and mold your choices. While these are not cast in stone, it is the process that I would like to emphasize as critical. I missed that when I was planning my aviation career. For example, I had heard that airline pilots were paid well and that senior pilots had super easy international trips that were full of fun and intrigue and paid gobs of money. At the time this was speculation based on the early seventies model of the airline life. Today’s landscape is far different and there is no need to guess.
Instead ask yourself these twenty questions and then hone your answer. Craft it into the lifestyle you want to create. This article will be part one of a four part flow chart that will help you figure out the perfect aviation career for you. It will include several articles plus real life timelines for you to map out your plan of attack. One word of advice, think deeply about each question. Do not try to rush through the list and move down through the rest of the flow chart. Taking notes and doing more research will help you formulate a more thorough plan that keeps surprises to a minimum and eliminates guesswork. This is going to take a while.
Is it only about money?
What is your aviation career Lifestyle?
Plan A and Plan B
See this article for aviation strategies
Spiritual Well being
Does it matter what type of aircraft you fly?
Do you find joy in teaching?
See this article about flight instructing
Does working for yourself excite you and motivate you?
Are you an out of the box thinker?
Is image important?
What kind of lifestyle do you envision for yourself when you retire?
Do you have personal debt?
How old are you now, timeline
Have you research the current trend in pilot hiring?
Do you understand the union concept?
Have you embraced technology?
Do you have social skills?
Do you know the average upgrade time at major airlines?
Do you know what quality of life really means?
Do you understand the paying your dues concept?
See this article on paying your dues in the industry
Too much to remember? We are going to make this available for your to download as one worksheet so that you do not have to try and remember where you saw any particular facts. Take it with you, make some notes and figure out your timeline without being online. As each of these questions are published, we will link to them in the site.