My ex­pe­ri­ence be­com­ing a pro­fes­sional pi­lot

Serve Daily - - BUILDING COMMUNITY - By Rhett Young

My first dis­cov­ery flight was in a he­li­copter, and from the very be­gin­ning I knew I wanted to fly air am­bu­lance. The ex­cite­ment of our emer­gency na­ture and suc­cess of help­ing out peo­ple in dis­tress seemed very ap­peal­ing. It has been a fun jour­ney mak­ing those dreams come true, and cur­rently I am fly­ing PIC of a King Air for Air Med­i­cal Re­search Group out of New Mex­ico. The pay and sched­ule are amaz­ing for my limited ex­pe­ri­ence in the avi­a­tion in­dus­try. I couldn’t be here to­day with­out the help I have re­ceived along the way. I had great flight in­struc­tors such as Dar­rel Pug­mire, Joshua Wil­liams, Mar­i­lyn Rid­dle and Jay Less­ley.

I com­pleted my train­ing through cfr. part 61 schools and was able to ac­quire my li­censes with very lit­tle stu­dent loan debt. Pay­ing for your flight train­ing com­pletely out of pocket may be im­pos­si­ble for some given var­i­ous cir­cum­stances. How­ever, I would like to stress to avoid cfr. 141 schools that are triple the cost of avi­a­tion pro­grams such as Di­a­mond Flight Cen­ter

I flew with fel­low cap­tains at Amer­if­light that went to Emby-Rid­dle and had ac­quired $180,000 in stu­dent loans com­pared to my cost at $45,000. Yet, here we were fly­ing the same equip­ment for the same pay. With loans in this ex­cess, their en­tire pay­check went to mak­ing the min­i­mum monthly pay­ment.

A mas­sive shift is tak­ing place in the avi­a­tion in­dus­try due to the pi­lot short­age, and whether you want to go to the air­lines or ap­ply your­self to­wards a cfr. 135 job out of school, there are op­por­tu­ni­ties ev­ery­where. I loved my time fly­ing feeder-freight for Amer­if­light. It pro­vided real-world fly­ing ex­pe­ri­ence both do­mes­tic and in­ter­na­tional in all types of weather and con­di­tions. I had to grow up quickly! I went from fly­ing gen­eral avi­a­tion di­a­mond equip­ment to PIC in a King Air BE99.

Flight In­struct­ing gave me the fun­da­men­tal skills I needed to be a suc­cess­ful sin­gle-pi­lot. Af­ter my two years fly­ing with Amer­if­light, I ap­plied to AMRG and dur­ing the hir­ing process, I learned the im­por­tance my sin­gle-pi­lot skills had to of­fer. AMRG and other air am­bu­lance com­pa­nies will only hire from sin­gle-pi­lot op­er­a­tions.

Re­gard­less of the path a pi­lot chooses, be will­ing to re­lo­cate in or­der to chase op­por­tu­ni­ties as they present them­selves. As you ex­pe­ri­ence the hard­ships of the avi­a­tion in­dus­try, it will be very easy to be­come jaded, but I can at­test that through hard work and mak­ing sound ca­reer de­ci­sions, any­one can be­come fi­nan­cially suc­cess­ful while pur­su­ing their avi­a­tion goals.

*** The fact, in short, is that free­dom, to be mean­ing­ful in an or­ga­nized so­ci­ety must con­sist of an amal­gam of hi­er­ar­chy of free­doms and re­straints. ~Sa­muel Hen­del

Pi­lot Rhett Young al­ways knew he wanted to fly air am­bu­lance.

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