Pilot to ATC??

cmsuflyboy

Newcomer
Aug 30, 2009
9
0
1
Hey fellas Im sure it's been covered before a little but here goes. I am a 135 pilot flying a couple King Air's, and FO on a jet. I also fly lifeguard flights and am on-call pretty much 24/7. Im sick of the schedule, the low pay (40K), no raises (due to the economy so my boss says while he spends 75K on a new Mercedes), no job security (several friends have been laid-off) etc etc. There is guys with 10,000 hours sending us resumes to fly our Baron. I don't want to be that guy. I think I've had enough of this and sent my app in for the last PUBNAT and was accepted to take the AT-SAT test. As a career ATC sounds so much better but I am nervous that I might miss flying (I think I'm so used to the abuse) but it doesn't seem worth it just to fly planes anymore. It's all I ever wanted to do but now I feel like I've checked off all the boxes I wanted. Im mostly ranting but anyone else feel this way and made the switch? How has it been?
 

irishcarbomb

Epic Member
Dec 3, 2008
1,801
6
38
Houston, TX
welcome to stuckmic! We are seeing more and more pilot's make the swtich...including myself and my wife. Motivated by being able to eventually buy an airplane and fly for fun. Among other obvious benefits. I never believed that flying professionally could turn into "just another job" but it did, and I love flying too much to let that happen.
 

Markv

Rookie
May 19, 2009
31
0
6
I was an regional FO for 2 yrs until I got furloughed. I had gone through a CTI program in college as a backup just in case something like that happened.

I'm going to miss flying the jet, but I'm hopeful about a much better quality of life (no commute, job security, better pay, home every night). I knew I was gonna have to work hard and sacrifice to get to the majors one day and I was willing to do it. But as time goes on, and I get a bit older (only 25) I realize I don't have forever to meet my deadlines for certain things I wanted to do in this lifetime (get married, buy a house, and have kids). All of those things are doable if I continue with an airline career but they would be so much harder. I just decided that my dream of having a family was more important to me than my dream of being an airline pilot.

Who knows how I'll feel years from now, but right now, I have no regrets (or very little). I'm hopeful about my new future and excited to learn and be a good controller.

Good luck with your choice. Its really a tough one but either way, just make the most of it, no matter what cards you're dealt.
 

cmsuflyboy

Newcomer
Aug 30, 2009
9
0
1
Thanks I think there are a lot of us that have been there, done that at this point and now see work as a means not an end. To put so much heart, time and effort into something and get so little in return, I think I've finally wised up and can be comfortable making the switch.
 

rdaher

Newcomer
May 27, 2009
10
0
1
I'm with you guys 100%. I was a regional FO for 2 years before getting furloughed as well. The way I look at it is that flying as an airline pilot was a phenomenal experience. I would never trade that for anything. In fact I commuted across the country (LA to Dulles) 2 x per week on the red-eye on avg. that was enough to feel as if I had also got the experience of flying with the majors (without the additional pay of course). I sat in the jumpseat so much on everything from the 737's to the 767's to the Airbus equipm't. Most of the conversations were always along the lines of how those guys would do something else if they could. I say "guys" b/c most of the female pilots I encountered were usually very content for whatever reason or just didn't voice as much opinion. Point being, when these guys (and ladies) apparently have the job that us regional people yearn for one day and still complain if not more about everything, what is that telling you? It's a pretty good sign that things don't get much better. Still overworked and underpaid, miss out on time with your family and never get to sleep in your own bed, not to mention the adverse health effects of not having access to proper nutrition and exercise.

ATC is the way to go to stay involved with Commercial aviation and get paid very well along with living a healthy lifestyle. No question about it!
 

jaxpilot

Junior Member
Jun 12, 2009
90
0
6
Miami, FL
Im making the switch as well. Headed to OKC in a couple weeks for Enroute Basics and then going to Miami Center. Im a corporate pilot with 3500 hours and 3 jet type ratings. When I got the FOL from Miami, it was very tough deciding what to do. But the combination of higher pay and stability with ATC led me to decide to take the job as a controller. I plan on instructing or right-seating once I get down to Miami and have some training under my belt.
 

ECHODELTA85

Senior Member
May 5, 2011
198
1
18
Broken Arrow, Oklahoma
I'm currently in a CTI school but I have enjoyed flying so I plan on doing both. I don't want to give up on being a controller though because flying is something I have come to enjoy. But from what I can see being a pilot for a living is no longer a good option. When I was growing up and someone said he/she was a pilot, it made people say oh..that's great. Now, it like...oh okay. Which is sad because it used to be such a great profession. IMO.
 

MikeATC

Retired FAA, NATCA Member
Apr 3, 2009
1,230
3
38
Nashville TN
Over my career I've worked with controllers who still actively fly for the fun of it, as well as worked part time as flight instructors. The real benefit will come when because of your experience you are able to help a pilot out of a serious situation. NATCA has some pretty awesome stories about controllers that are pilots saving the day.