Sign in to follow this  
michal

Serious questions about flight school. serious and mat...

Recommended Posts

Hello,Let me warn you now, this may get kinda long, so please just bear with it.Let me start out by saying this: I have a passion for Helicopters. I have no clue where this comes from either. When I was a child, other than trying to build an airplane out of my Red Flyer and some "scrap" lumber, I didn't really have much of a introduction into aviation. However, my father did take me to two airshows in the south Louisiana area in the early 90s. One Blue Angels show and some other large aircraft show (I just remember a lot of large aircraft on the tarmac and thinking that a turbine looked alot like the fan in my room.) With the Blue angels I don't remember much, but I do remember watching a black non-rotary wing aircraft hoving OGE and thinking it was the most boring thing ever. I was pushing 6 or 7, #### maybe even 5, so it may have actually been the LATE 80s. Anyway looking back now an aircraft hoving would be much more appreciated by me now. These 3 incidents didn't "grab" me though, and I don't recall even thinking of things other than nintendo, ninja turtles and then onto girls till I was roughly 15. One day I just had a hankering to fly a helicopter, so a quick net search yeilded a game called Commanche Gold. It was a trial. One of my first attempted manuevers was a lateral hover taxi. I knew jack about flight mechanics, and only knew what attitudes a helo was capable of from t.v. & movies. I just nudged the cyclic leftward and instead of the gentel lateral drifting motion I was expecting, she yawed and rolled left. I assumed this wasn't the correct outcome, so I started thinking how a pilot performs this. I had already used the tail rotor to yaw so I assumed if I applied nose right yaw with a left cyclic movement it should maintain a heading. Tried it and sure enough it worked(to wit, the control inputs in the game were far more than used in FS, but the same technique applies to maintain heading in hover). With absolutely no flight knowledge, I had solved my first aviation related problem with simple "monkey-see/monkey-adapt" thinking. Sadly my 1997ish-windows-95-running-wal-mart-bought AST computer just couldn't handle the game efficiently so I didn't get to play CG much.Fastforward a few years and I find myself with a GED and talking to an Army Recruiter about this "Air traffic control" job my older, Marine brother was pleading I take if I could get. Fast-Forward roughly another year, I find myself at 17 years old, in BDUs with a CTO and CIC responsibilities at a stagefield in New Brockton, AL (Fort Rucker and yes, I said seventeen). I still remember my first day going to that tower. Some of the awe of airfields had already worn off because I had actually been assigned to another SF for about 24 hours (just enough time to ride out to the field with the Chief and get an FTM), but manning dictated a move and I ended up where I did. To go from watching an 64Apache float down 10 yards from the tower, to go to another field where a olive and orange oh-58 buzzes down from a straight in approach was unsettling. But the airfield was pretty and I liked it. My soon to be Shift Supervisor wrote some terminology on the plexi and handed me the mic within 5 mins. With an unconfident voice, I stumbled through his words stopping every 3 seconds to nervously and euphorically chuckle. It was that chuckle and smirk you get when the brain gets cracked over the head with a realization that a far-off dream is now reality. Over the months, I found my 'controllers voice' ('Pilots Voice' for controllers ;;) and I became a rated controller, then , not a week later, CIC. I had been carrying with me, since '97, this urge to fly and this fixation with helicopters. And when I took my Airspace orientation flight for controller "training" (pronounced Joy Ride), I was hooked. What had simply been a career plan/urge/want/desire to fly became a full fledged obsession. Man I still remember the inertial/ low G effect, and how I literally felt like I was being lifted up as opposed to pushed back in an airplane. It the same effect I think, but it just felt more pronounced in a helicopter. Even thought I wasn't flying, I had a grin from EAR TO EAR the entire flight which lasted only a few mins (one extended pattern, VMC landing). I began to seriously research procedures to get myself a commission and get in the Aircraft. And I prepared to make my move.It never happened though. In the span of about two months over half the tower personnel were put elsewhere and we hit a dangerously low minimum manning stint lastin about 4 months. With a 2 PCS', NCO schools, and 4 people going to WOCS the manning was depleted and I got stuck. It was so bad that if someone would have gotten the sniffles and went TDR we'd have been undermanned, #### we had to juggle just to get someone position training. And minimum manning is no joke at a ~18 hour tower when combined with standard military operations aswell (PT, formations, inspections etc). We were getting really stressed.By the time we started getting manpower back up to norms, I had decided to finish out atleast this initial assignment. Incase the flight school didn't work out I'd have a CTO rating as backup incase I'de been assigned to some crappy W.O. job with no civilian counterpart, I'de still have some formal training and accredidation. I was comming up on my two year mark being assigned to PP, and noone stays at rucker more than 2 years at a time. Then, bam! I came on orders for germany! (the one I wanted ;;) and was preparing to go to germany for atleast a little while, just to go. Then what had been simple inspections turned into an all out war in Iraq and my Germany orders were deleted. I was kinda stuck again. Then something stupid happend. I,SPC at the time, decided I wanted to get promoted to SGT, BEFORE I did a flight packet (for easier selection to WOCS). And it was the first of many stupid things I did. This brash race I put myself in to become E5 before I was 20 killed me. It ate up so much time and I was volunteering for everything, and being volunteered by my Supervisor for everything else. I started doing college courses, correspondence, SOM boards ANYTHING that could yeild an award or certificate or could somehow be converted to points for the board. I killed myself. I started losing sleep. Stressing out. I began to get really aggrevated by little things. Before you knew it, the week after a perfect Commanders Review and my First Sergeant hand-delivering my waiver & packet for early promotion board attendance to Battalion, I ruined it all by saying one simple word. "No."Without going into extensive details I had been tasked to a detail and I refused it. simple as that. Further incidents compounded it and I was looking at some serious problems. And if I would have just delt with it, it wouldn't have been career ending. But I didn't. I was really out there at the time. Even now three years later, I still sit here and think "What the #### was I doing?" If you've stayed with me this long you are probably familiar with the army/military, so it's almost needless to say what happened. But let's just say, in under a week, I destroyed my previous 2.5 years of hard and diligent work.After being discharged however is things got really bad. Not a week after I got out I was involved in a car wreck and lost my vehicle. After being in perfect health for the past 19 years I started having medical problems. An ant bite got infected and turned into an absess which had to be removed. I started getting thrush, of all things, constantly. Which was being miss diagnosed as HIV/LUKEMIA/insert STD here. And medical bills piled up. I had no transportation and I couldn't work. I lost my house and everything but a few material possessions and had to move back in with family.Sadly, this wasn't the extent of my troubles. Things got progressivly worse, I couldn't maintain employment (when I could even get it) because of sickness, transportation, depression or other things. Bills turned into collections, collections turned into charge-offs and more collections. Things just were bad for the last 2.5 years. But about 6 months ago, I started working. I met a girl at work and started a relationship. I was able to save money to buy my own vehicle, and one day a really good deal literally fell in my lap. So now I have my own car again, PAID FOR. I recently found out my "STD" was infact "Advanced" Thrush, for which I can take a simple anti-fungal medicine. Things are just generally starting to look up again. Which brings me to now.My passion for helicopters is still there. It is currently being subdued with FS2k4. So here I am, and I think you may know what's coming, but lets list all the factors, then I'll ask my specific questions.I have atrocious credit, 17 collections/charge-offs in all, totaling somewhere in the vecinity of 12-15k. I was discharged from the Army under OTH, and let's face it, salary employers honestly don't like it. On a positive note, I have 70 credit hours of college from Army training and self study. Which puts me 8 classes away (core courses. math, science, english etc) from an Associates Degree in Science Technology - ATC, and a further 8ish classes yeilds the Bachelors. I still have a CTO Card, even though I know I will NEVER get any type of federal ATC job. I still want to fly. Now with my history, I may never get a high profile aviation job, but, come #### or high water, I am getting my PPL. In your opinion, do you think with my history as it is, that any kind of high profile Pilot job is just out of the question? Regarding credit, I'm not going to say I can make my credit immaculate, but with information flow as it is today I have come to realize that I can actually clean alot of it up. So for the time being, any type of loan is out of the question. So for me to get a PPL, it's going to take saving money, budgeting etc. But what about specific jobs. Should I even bother to get the advanced ratings in the hopes I'll get a decent pilot job one day? Also concidering the pilots/job selection ratio. I guess what I'm asking is, do you think anything past a PPL is worth it? Do you know of anyone with a history similar or worse than mine ever getting any measure of success in aviation? or do you think I should just scrap the dream because I just put it off too far then really messed it up?And if perhaps anyone of you is an ATCS, I know of non-FAA jobs but I have been reluctant to apply. Can you give me any infomation or opinion. I WANT TO FINISH the degree also because it's so close, but for an aviation degree, is it even worth spending the time/money?I guess what I'm asking is this: Should I spend anymore time or money on anything related to the aviation field? Taking into concideration the highly competitive job market and other factors. I mean, regardless of my history with the military, you can't say that I don't have a solid foundation of aviation knowledge. Meaning prior job, education, slowly building my actual knowledge of helo flight and also experiences. I am simply looking for sound advice from people in the field to help me decide if I should just scrap anything aviation related, and go to school for some other job training. Trust me I know my pros and cons, I know I'm really messed up right now, but is there a possiblity of a future in this field? Thank you,

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Help AVSIM continue to serve you!
Please donate today!

Condense your post to a couple of paragraphs and re-post in the Rotorheads forums at www.pprune.org. You will reach 1000 times more instructors and commercial pilots and getter better feedback.Before you post, it is worth browsing and searching because many of your questions have almost certainly been asked before.Good luck!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's certainly an interesting story!I know it sounds cliche, but you can do whatever you put your mind to it. I don't have a college degree, and I've done... well, not many people would scoff at my income.Aviation is difficult, but I think if you wanted it bad enough, you could eventually find yourself making a living. You could certainly be a flight instructor for years while earning a living somewhere else, and when you've built up a few thousand hours, start asking around- you'll know alot of people by then!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

>Condense your post to a couple of paragraphsI agree with this suggestion. I recall from history that Napoleon would fire his admirals if they were unable to give him a concise state of the Navy in two paragraphs. ;)Michael J.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this