If you clicked on the blog you might be interested in what I have to say, or you might be looking for an excuse to make fun of me. Both are acceptable choices in my opinion. Hi! My name is Spence, and I am one of the chief pilots here at the school. I have also been working in aviation for almost 10 years. I don’t claim to know everything, shoot I don’t claim to know much at all. However, I am a student of the industry, and since I’ve been changing things on this website, I figured I’d give myself an outlet to post once in a while. If you look at that picture preceding the blog you might be thinking, “Man I bet his mom took that in the driveway.” Guess what, my mom took that in the driveway when I first upgraded to captain at an American Eagle carrier. I played it off like I did not want to take the photo, but I was immensely proud. Aviation is tricky. It’s almost an addiction, but it’s one we don’t like to hide. We call it the bug, and when you get it you have it, and when you have it, the bug is here to stay. Then, once you start flying, you can’t help but talk about it incessantly. Showing your friends and family pictures, going on about your latest flight etcetera. We own it because we love it. Once you start flying it’s like you enter an exclusive club, but it’s a kind of club that is different than any sorority of fraternity. We speak a totally different language to each other, and the stories we tell can mostly only be understood by other aviation professionals. Your goals and aspirations change. Your drive to get to that next level is heightened. Pilots are a different breed. We continually strive for that next goal, sometimes even when we have the dream job. For example, you might get hired at Delta. Well, as most of us know that’s a typical Atlanta kid’s dream job, but guess what, we’re not done trying to move up there. We scratch and claw and bide time until we have the experience and seniority to upgrade to captain. Boom you made it. You’re a Delta captain. Some sit tight there, and there’s nothing wrong with that. The work to get to that point is immense, however there’s a bunch of us that wouldn’t stop there. The next step could be training department, union positions, or even management. What I’m getting at is that there is always room to grow professionally, and that fits most of our personalities.
The old adage is, “you can go to med school or you can go to flight school, they cost about the same, and they both take about the same amount of time.” Now I guess it depends who you are and where you learn how to fly, but there are a few elements of truth to that. What it comes down to is that it’s a commitment. You have to want it, and you have to be driven. The owner of All2Fly, Marcelo Bessegato once told me “If you want to fly money is not an issue, you’ll find a way to make it work.” That kind of stuck in my crawl. I remember when I was struggling my way through my primary ratings. I didn’t have a good paying job, heck what 17-year-old does? I had the occasional help from some family, but I used to sign my $300 paycheck every week right over to the flight school. It was a long arduous process, but I ended up making it work. I scrounged where I could, I ran up debt, but in the end I had my dream job. Now I’m not saying money is truly not a factor- I understand that it is 100% a large factor. However, I really believe nothing in aviation is unattainable for someone who truly wants it. Other than running up credit cards, which admittedly I did, there are loans, grants, and even scholarships that are available all the time. You just have to look!
I like to call flying for a living dynamic. It is ever changing. What do I mean by that? Well, lets just take a normal private pilot as an example. When they sit down in their 172 for a flight there has already been a fair amount of work done. Looking at weather, weight and balance calculations, pre-flighting the airplane to make sure its airworthy, and any other preflight rituals one has. Then they hop in fire it up and are on their way. Enroute you must deal with any changing weather, mechanical issues (that while are rare, you may encounter), air traffic control throwing you curve balls, and a plethora of other things. If you climb into a bigger plane, say and airliner, and are flying for hire there’re even more variables. Company dispatch, passengers, and even other crew members just to name a few. As a professional, or even private aviator we’re trained to be able to roll with the punches. It’s not only a great skill for the job at hand, but truthfully, it’s a great skill to have for life, and that’s how I’d like to end this rambling blog post. When you decide that flying is the right thing for you, whether you’re going to do it as a hobby, or as a profession, remember that you’re not just learning how to pull up and push over. There are a ton of fundamental life skills you can improve on when taking on this challenge. I’ve seen it in friends, students, coworkers, and even myself. Also, for my already seasoned aviators out there, I hope this didn’t make you cringe too hard. I had a lot of fun writing this, but admittedly I’m no writer so I want to apologize to my english majors out there! Thanks for taking the time to read my ramblings. I’ll post up a nugget like this every now and then. See ya!