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Help, I don’t think I want to be a pilot anymore!

Asked by: 5223 views Commercial Pilot, General Aviation, Private Pilot

Now that I got your attention, that's not entirely true.  I do still want to fly, but I want to be an air traffic controller more.  I am going to a university for a Professional Pilot B.S., and have my private w/ instrument, and almost done with commercial.  I just don't want to waste all of the time and money invested.  Is there a way to still use those certificates and ratings to actually make money, (not just for personal flights), while still switching lanes to become a controller?  I know the controller shifts wouldn't allow doubling up and becomming a corporate or personal pilot also, but is there something else I'm overlooking that could be an option?  What would you do?  Thanks for your input!

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2 Answers

  1. Micah on Aug 04, 2011

    Jim, good for you. I think you’ll find that your flying experience will be useful to become a good controller. You know that once you get a certificate, it never expires (so don’t stop before you get your commercial), but don’t discount your experience. I don’t have much experience with bad controllers, but I think every controller could be better if they had experience thinking like a pilot. That experience should be to your advantage.
    Concerning the money you’ve already spent–it’s already spent! Don’t worry about the sunk costs (more on that below). Water under the bridge doesn’t come back. Remember, the money is spent–not wasted. Is there anything you can do with these certificates/this experience to earn some money? It’s not likely that you’ll find a lot of flying jobs with your experience that pay more than any other (reasonable) part-time gig you can get. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to keep flying–I used to right seat for an aicraft management company for $75/day. That’s not much money, but I flew into Dallas Love, Van Nuys, Chicago Midway, and Milwaukee Logan in a Citation II or King Air F90. That was excellent experience (experience that many pilots would pay to have) and the experience more than made up for the small pay.
    Back to the money you’ve already spent: you can’t waste your future thinking about your past. An easy example is going to a movie. You spend $5 to buy a ticket to see a 90 minute movie. After 30 minutes you decide you don’t like it. Do you stay to the end or do you get up and leave? If you have nothing better to do then maybe you would stay and finish the movie. But if you can be doing something better than watching a movie you don’t like (and you’re not going to get your $5 back) then it’s actually wasteful to stay and finish the movie. You’ve spent $5 but you’ve wasted and hour (since you could have left to do something you enjoy). I don’t think the money you’ve paid to do your training is wasted at all, but it’s spent. If you focus on “getting it back” you’ll probably end up wasting your time.
    Good luck.

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  2. CFI Academy on Sep 20, 2011

    I suggest that you become a flight instructor after you get your commercial. With your ATC skills, I am sure that you will be a GREAT CFI. Plus, this is a profession where you can control your schedule and your availability. And in many cases, you don’t have to be at “work” at a certain time everyday.
    You may or may not make a lot of money, but you sure will enjoy flying, and teaching, and making some money while doing so, and above all, you’d be helping others with your knowledge of not only flying but also a different perspective of an ATC controller.

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