1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Aviation Career

  1. Sep 15, 2013 #1
    I'm new to the forums but joined because of its aerospace and math topics.

    Just wanted to ask if anyone was interested in an aviation career. I'm considering pursuing one..not sure where to start. I did find an aviation consulting firm; "SkyCrew Aviation, Inc." apparently its for guys like me to help get started..

    anyone thought of an aviation career?
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 15, 2013 #2


    Staff: Mentor

    you could start here:


    I have a friend who's almost done with the program. It can be very costly due to getting your flight hours up and having to rent planes to fly.
  4. Sep 15, 2013 #3


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor


    We also have a Career Guidance forum, to which I've moved this thread. :smile:
  5. Sep 16, 2013 #4
    The best way to make a small fortune in aviation is to start with a large one. Yes, that's a joke, but there is a lot of painful truth behind it.

    I know of more than a few pilots with plenty of hours, Airline Transport Pilot certificates and Flight Instructor certificates, Multi-Engine and Instrument certificates, and yet... they can't find work.

    Aviation is a tough business with lots of regulation and competition. The regulatory enforcement is often spotty and can be rather arbitrary and capricious.

    The hours are long, and for most, the pay is just a hair better than poverty wages (I'm not making that up).

    But the view is fantastic, and the bragging rights are incredible. You can regale your tales of wild and crazy rides and ridiculous situations to friends and colleagues the world over. Mastery of a complex, high tech, airliner with incredibly weird and archaic modes of navigation and communications is a hoot. If you want adventure, become a "freight dog" pilot. There are many routes to fly in Cessna Caravans to pick up and deliver packages. They do it in all kinds of terrifyingly poor weather, at night, at airports that may be only a dirt strip in the middle of nowhere. It pays poorly, and it is not something to be done by the faint of heart. But if you want real adventure, it is out there.

    I chose to go the route of private aviation. I got my private pilot license, and I got an instrument rating. I used to own an airplane. It was fun while I was able to afford it (before I got married and had kids). I really enjoyed being able to file flight plans on my own schedule. If the weather sucked, or the airplane's mechanical condition wasn't to my liking, I could stay on the ground or divert to another airport (if I was already en-route). And I could do this without wondering where my next meal would come from.

    As for building aircraft, legal liability has changed the industry --and not for the better. Many respectable aircraft companies have gone out of business because they couldn't handle the frivolous law suits. There have been some notoriously awful court decisions that have put many companies in to bankruptcy. Even laudable and innovative companies like Cirrus are having a hell of a time fending off law suits caused by stupid pilot tricks.

    You COULD look at air traffic control. The stress can be extraordinary, but the pay ain't bad, and there will be significant demand for more air traffic controllers as many hired during the 1980s PATCO strike begin to retire.

    As for design, well, read what I wrote about manufacturing.

    The wonder is that there is still an aviation business at all. The airlines would like to squeeze everyone else out of the sky. Our Federal Government would love to oblige, but they keep running in to that pesky problem: where is that next generation of pilots going to come from, and who is going to do all that specialized flying like freight carriers, firefighting, air ambulance work, and the like?

    If you really don't care about making money until you are middle aged, then aviation is for you. Starting commercial pilot pay can be as low as $25k to $35k annually. People can make the same or better money managing a fast food joint. Keep a plan B for a secondary career handy because at some point you'll probably need it.

    Good Luck!
  6. Sep 16, 2013 #5


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    Competition got so fierce in the commercial/military aircraft industry that the two of the biggest survivors after the plane manufacturers merged, Lockheed-Martin and General Dynamics, diversified into shipbuilding, which is even more capital intensive than aircraft manufacture. It remains to be seen if this diversification works out, or if two industries essentially go up in smoke. Boeing can stay the biggest, because they got rid of their boat building subsidiary long ago, but the technical problems they are having with their DreamLiner (NightmareLiner) might cause them a world of hurt if they can't be solved. Airbus still lurks, and they will soon be setting up shop in the US.
  7. Sep 17, 2013 #6


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    Or from the other side of the pond, Boeing still lurks :smile:

    It's fascinating to have an inside-the-industry view of both Boeing and Airbus. Just looking at their final assembly lines tells you a lot about who is ahead in the game. But of course Boeing will be around for as long as the Department of Defense keeps feeding them tax dollars.

    But remember what happened to the US car industry when it had to face some real competition, and read that across to a company whose cash cow in civil aviation (the 737) will soon be a 50-year-old design....

    and the 747 is more than 40 years old already.
  8. Sep 19, 2013 #7
    Do note that age alone is not the issue. In fact, like boat forms, there are certain styles that will always be around.

    The airframe of the Piper Cub is a classic. It has been tweaked and redesigned over many decades, but is essentially still the same airframe and it still sells well to this day. Likewise, the 737 is a classic airframe. The engines are different, the avionics and cabins are different, but the airframe itself is a very solid design.

    What aviation REALLY needs is a massive shakeup. I have often wondered what would happen if someone built an aircraft designed to fly right out of the earth's atmosphere in to a ballistic trajectory aimed to cross oceans or continents and then land.

    It could cut transcontinental and transoceanic travel time by many hours. But nobody does it because there isn't enough demand, and forward thinking airline companies like Pan Am just don't exist any more.

    The problem with aviation across the board is that people have discovered something that works adequately, and further development is being actively discouraged. Only mavericks are spending significant effort and because their funding is so thin, their chances of success are minimal.

    Enter aviation if you are looking for a real challenge "guidance guy," but do note that you'll have to fight some intense bureaucracy every step of the way.
  9. Sep 21, 2013 #8
    Military aviation is a reasonable option. Getting a lot of flight hours is important and the military can do that for you if you go into the transport end of it which would be a pretty good life if you like the military.
  10. Sep 21, 2013 #9


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    So you are "interested in an aviation career". That is a very broad field, encompassing thousands of occupations. Most of the above posts focus on being a pilot. Pilots are only one tiny fraction of the sum total of the aviation industry.
    Every area of aviation, from initial design to manufacture and test, both military and civilian, has room for specialists. Maintenance is a major part as well. Don't forget the "Rotary Wing" aircraft and the "Lighter than Air" types, too.
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Similar Discussions: Aviation Career
  1. Career in IT (Replies: 5)

  2. Careers in biology (Replies: 6)

  3. Suggestion on career (Replies: 5)