I joined EAA this year at AirVenture (what an event!). I have always been an aviation enthusiast, but after my first (yes I can't believe only my first) AirVenture this year, what can I say? I need to finally learn to fly, and simply get more involved in what has seemingly been the passion in my heart for a long time now. So many ways to go about doing that of course. I've been speaking with several local flying clubs and FBO's. I'm seeking advice from several sources. Seems to make sense to also seek advice and guidance from my fellow EAA'ers right?
My initial goal has been to simply achieve a private pilot certificate. After that, I imagine I'd want to add Instrument, then who knows. So, I have been looking at flying clubs and FBO flight schools. Recently, however, I decided to take a longer look at a more complete training to include a degree. This led me to look at Eastern Michigan University's Aviation Flight Technology degree program (http://extended.emich.edu/aviation/flight.aspx). This program takes students all the way through Certified Flight Instructor as well as Commercial Pilot Certification.
A little background, and full disclosure: I'm 42 and I believe way past starting a new career as a commercial airline pilot. Aside from the age limitation, I also have a family to support, so cutting my existing salary more than 50% to start a new aviation career just doesn't seem wise right now. Even so, I would not shut out the idea of someday flying transport, charter, or corporate as a full-time job.
On a somewhat separate note, I've been thinking of going back to school to get my degree, and lately I've been thinking that an aviation degree may not be a completely crazy idea. Although, my current career and field of expertise is in Information Technology, I know that many employers in my industry aren't concerned as much about your Education Major as long as you have a degree and your work experience relates to the position for which they are hiring.
So, I have two goals in mind: Learn to fly, and accomplish a Bachelors Degree. I am starting from scratch with both, and I realize I'm late in the game. However, my thinking is that:
This leads me to solicit your advice:
- Having an Aviation degree certainly cannot hurt even if I remain in my current field of IT
- By pursuing an Aviation degree, I can learn to fly at the same time as working on a degree
- I may, in fact open some options for financing (student grants, loans) the flight training if it is part of a larger degree program
As mentioned, I really don't believe I will ever become a Commercial Pilot for a major airline. Do you feel that taking a degree program like the Aviation Flight Technology program at EMU would still be beneficial to my goals, or would I be wasting time (and money)?
Based on the little you already know about me, do you think I should separate my education and flying goals or does it make sense to combine them?
I appreciate your opinion (and honesty). I don't foresee my desire to fly going away, and I'm searching for the best path to accomplish my goals.
EAA # 1069440