QUOTE(mistahmiles @ Jan 17 2008, 09:48 PM)
I am 15 years old and have a passion for aviation. I have never touched the controls of a real plane (that much is coming soon, however), but I do play flight simulator and use the most advanced addons available. I am currently a pilot for United Virtual, flying the regional B190 routes.
I am seriously considering becoming a pilot when I grow up. What better career is there than that where you get paid to be around your hobby and passion? However, the only problem I have is the pay. I know that "flying isn't a career you take for the pay." However, I've heard horror stories from my neighbor (who has a Commercial License, although he decided not to become a paid pilot, and whose friends fly for United, Delta, and America West). He says that the pay, at least until you become a senior pilot, is "dirt." He said you'll commonly find 5 or 6 new pilots sharing an apartment, making close to minimum wage being flight instructors.
Basically, I want to be a pilot; but I want to make at least a decent living. Has anyone been through this experience? If so, how did you manage? I obviously do not live on my own, so I would not know what it's like to have to survive on my own. I want to be a pilot, but I don't want to be poor.
It's the great dilema when it comes to becoming a professional pilot at the major airline level. You have to pay your dues along the way. Is it as bad as what your friend is telling you? It sure can be that bad. I know many, many pilots who exist in exactly that environment. This business is a series of long, hard struggles. For a young guy/gal who wants to fly for a living they are faced with having to get a four year degree, earning all of their licenses and ratings, figuring out where to go and who to talk to to build the time that they need to have, flying lousy hours for lousy carriers, the list can go on and on. I crawled that list myself, so I know. BUT
, (and this is a big but..) anything worth having is worth earning. If you really want it and you're willing to make all of those sacrifices, then once you get there it's a sweet thing.
Disclaimer; I've been accused of painting too pretty a picture when it comes to becoming a professional pilot. You need to know that it does take a lot of hard work and more importantly, a lot of someone's money. That's spelled $$$$$
in capital letters. And there is a good chance that you won't make it. You're an accident/incident/violation, one failed physical or one failed check ride away from professional aviation oblivion. So why do it? Because it's the best job in the world. I haven't worked in 29 years.