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Physics I currently am a physics major in college and I really want to fly.

  1. May 25, 2012 #1
    I currently am a physics major in college and I really want to fly. What are some career options?
  2. jcsd
  3. May 25, 2012 #2
    Re: Flying

    Speaking as an instrument rated private pilot for over 20 years and as someone who has owned airplanes in the past, aviation is a wonderful way to spend your hard earned money with little hope of ever making a living at it.

    Those who do make a living in aviation are rarely ever paid well. Those who are paid well usually do not have much job security.

    Ok, I've said my piece. If I haven't scared the crap out of you, here are your options:

    1. Get in to Air traffic control. The current crop of ATC staff are closing in on retirement. Read up about when President Reagan fired the entire union of PATCO controllers. Most of the staff hired back then are nearing retirement. They need replacements YESTERDAY.

    2. Flying planes is a job where the wages are just above the poverty line. Becoming a civilian pilot is not easy. It is often better to get some experience while working for your country's armed forces.

    3. Don't overlook the job of mechanic. These are certified people who earn their stripes the hard way. They don't make a whole lot either, but they do get flown around to some pretty interesting places where they will need to make repairs.

    4. Consider doing something else that pays the bills and getting a private pilot certificate. That's what I did. You won't have to wonder whether your decision not to fly in potentially ugly weather will cost you your job. If conditions or aircraft maintenance takes a turn for the worse, you can walk away with few consequences.

    Schools to consider for aviation certification include University of North Dakota, and Embry Riddle (Florida).

    I wish you the best of luck. You're going to need it. This aviation disease bites hard and it sucks your finances dry. But you won't care. You'll have been there and done it.
  4. May 28, 2012 #3
    Re: Flying

    I have a relative that is an international airline pilot for a major airline. He is always trying to convince me that it is the best job ever. He flys all over the globe and was showing me pictures of the Czech Republic, Germany, Tokyo, Nigeria, etc. The aircraft he flies is a technological marvel. He gets free hotel stays in quality hotels (if not THE best hotel in places like Nigeria) and gets to experience all kinds of culture (the mustard he brought me from Germany is the best mustard I have ever eaten). I disagree with the above post in that his airline is unionized and therefore he has great job security.

    Anyway, the I'll share some of his spiel he gives me me about the profession.

    Get your hours up. If you have a pirvate pilot license, fly as much as possible. Get your instrument and multi-engine license as quick as possible too. The more hours you have the easier it is to get on board with a major carrier. His job sucked at first. He flew regionally so the hours were long and erratic and the pay was low (probably common to most careers). But as he built up more hours he also was put behind the wheel of increasing larger aircraft. He was willing to do the work hard at first and it has definitely paid off for him. That is pretty much it. Just take advantage of training opportunities once hired on by an airline and fly as many hours as possible. To be honest, he's not at all special among individuals but was willing to sacrifice to land himself a dream job.

    However, this job is unlike most in that it will require long periods of abscence from your home and family and this will more than likely lead to strained personal relationships with spouse and/or children. I find that part to be odious and that I have greater interests keeps me out of being a career pilot.
  5. May 28, 2012 #4
    Re: Flying

    Well, we are still looking for someone to fill the job title of Superman.

    Other than that, are you looking to fly commercial airplanes or fly to outer space?

    I don't know much about commercial airplanes but if outer space is what you are looking for, I hear SpaceX is trying to commercialize space travel. That might be something you want to look into.
  6. Jun 5, 2012 #5
    Re: Flying

    Have you considered the Military?

    Join Air Force or Navy as an Officer, apply to Flight School.

    If you are on the Top in Flight School, you likely will get your first choice of which aircraft you would like to fly.

    And once you get out of the service, I assume you won't have a problem transitioning into a civilian pilot or Nasa's Astronaut program.

    This is risky because you might not be selected for Flight School and will have to just do what the Service wants you to do for 5 years.

    Hope this helps!
  7. Jun 5, 2012 #6
    Re: Flying

    And that last bit is really quite important. I lost my medical just before I was due to take my private pilot test, but, I had the privilege and joy of riding around by myself in an aeroplane. I have met no end of people who live with the regret of not having learned to fly.

    Even if you don't make a career out of flying, get your wings - be they glider, fixed wing or helicopter. (Glider Tug pilot is a good way of building up hours and good flying experience, Instructor is another way (but you definitely need a day job!).
  8. Jun 5, 2012 #7
    Re: Flying

    This is the route I'm currently going (I'm an EE at a service academy). The biggest issue right now for the OP would be trying to get their foot in the door as an Officer in the military. Perhaps ROTC if they haven't graduated would be best, but they would have to perform really well to get flight school. They've really slowed down OCS classes, especially in the Air Force.

    All of the services have pilots, and 3 have flight officers. I can't post links on here but google can help you out.
  9. Jun 5, 2012 #8
    Re: Flying

    Maybe you could go into engine design.....
  10. Jun 30, 2012 #9
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