I’m flying down to Carson City in a couple of hours, whenever the plane from Tunt to Bethel arrives! It’s a Sunday, so probably even further off normal schedule than usual 🙂 With a couple of hours layover in Anchorage and then in Seattle, should get into Reno around 10.15a.m tomorrow which isn’t all that bad. Made sure I got seats on the Anchorage – Seattle flight well away from the wings to minimise engine noise so I can get some sleep.
On Tuesday I’m due to visit the National Pilot Academy in Carson City, pretty much the main reason I’m heading to the lower 48. I’ve wanted to fly since I was a kid having looked at both the RAF and Navy whilst at high school, but the idea of x number of years military service blindly attacking potentially innocent targets appealed to me as much as the ridiculous cost of general aviation in England making flying out of my reach. The last year or so I’ve been looking into various flying schools across the US, and the National Pilot Academy looks to come out on top, especially given their location. That said, it’s still going to come down to whether I want to spend a few years sitting as a first officer on $20,000 a year not doing a great deal of flying myself with someone like SkyWest, or look at a part 135 operation like the bush flights up here. Both have their own appeals, but quite different approaches to getting there.
Anyway, hopefully everything will go fine on Tuesday and it will at least clear up whether the National Pilot Academy is definately a viable option. The deciding factor is still going to come down to the cost of training – although taking out a large educational loan doesn’t class as bad credit in terms of how much money you owe, the idea of easily looking at $300-$400 a month loan repayments whilst only making $1200 a month is just a little too crippling for the first few years. Although salaries do rise rapidly over time, any time you step into another airline the drop back right down the pay ladder is always a worry. Working as bush pilot up here in Alaska eases that somewhat by both Kat + I being on much higher salaries than in the lower 48, plus the experience of flying up here would be awesome.
But, I’ve setup a little tumblelog at fouldsy.tumblr.com which will let me post quick snippets and photos from my cell phone whilst away since I don’t know whether I’ll easily find internet connections.