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Decisions, Decisions!

Discussion in 'The Okie Corral' started by C150J, Aug 30, 2004.

  1. C150J

    C150J Crackberry

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    Hi guys - long time no post (been busy with senior year!). Just a vent, don't really expect much insight on this one:

    About a year ago, some of you were very helpful when I asked about a career in aviation vs. law enforcement. I decided to take the LE internship this past summer, and was offered a job at its conclusion (a FLETC date after graduation to become a GS-1811 special agent). I put my application with the NY-ANG on hold to do this.

    I have not officially turned it down yet, but do not plan on accepting the agent offer. The work was too white collar/office-bound (it was NOT a street-oriented agency, however) and I did not enjoy the G's red tape (I was in DC, so that didn't help at all). I might apply for various GS-1811 slots (AFOSI,in particular) later in life, but not right now.

    That being said, I am in the application process with several AZ law enforcement agencies (city level), and have to fly out there (commercially, from NY) multiple times this year for testing. I have kept my flying up throughout.

    Today, I get word that the local 135 operation wants to hire me (they sought me out due to recommendations from local pilots). Pay is decent, and should I stay on, I would have the opportunity to fly Hawkers, Falcons, and GIVs. The intitial position is a part-time (due to my class schedule) SIC slot - no specifics on which aircraft, but it would entail getting systems training due to their insurance policy.

    So, just when I had it all planned out (out to AZ for a little local LE), I get this opportunity. I know I am very fortunate to have such choices, especially as a 21 years old, but it's tough! Here are my thoughts:

    - Flying is a given. I know I'd enjoy it, but don't know if it would ever meet my need to serve at some capacity.

    - Local law enforcement has been good to me (limited, but involved roles), and the brotherhood cannot be beat. It's a love-hate relationship, though. Wish someone would just tell me it isn't worth it, haha - I seem to be a sucker for it!

    - I would be working in the town I grew up in, but I would be travelling a lot.

    Just a rant, thanks for listening!
    J.
     
  2. BillCola

    BillCola Supreme Cmdr ®

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    Did you ask for my advice? Well, I know you meant to:

    GRAB the flying job, now.

    A) You may get furloughed anyway, but you'll have climbed a rung or two up the desireability ladder.

    B) You will still be attractive to law enforcement for several years, at your age.

    C) You may elect to go into LE later, and have the resume for air wing duty, and win on all counts.

    Not a bad set of problems you have, youngin! ;f
     

  3. ateamer

    ateamer NRA4EVR

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    If I was 21 again and in your shoes, I'd take the flying job. True, the younger you start as a cop, the sooner you can max out your retirement benefits (and anyone who doesn't consider things like retirement and fringe benefits when looking at departments is foolish - it's a job you'll have for only a quarter to a third of your life), but you have what may be a great opportunity to get your foot in the door of an aviation career.

    There are upsides and downsides to both careers, but you can get into police work in a few years if aviation isn't paying the bills. If the money in flying is good, I would stick with that. Being a cop is a great job, but the one job I would rather have, if I was doing it all over again, is being a pro pilot. And you won't have any near the number of nevergonnabes second-guessing your every move and giving you advice based on all the TV shows they have watched.

    Getting paid to fly jets? Sounds like a fun job (if the pay is right). Heck, give it a shot and see what happens.
     
  4. flyandscuba

    flyandscuba

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    Have you thought of this option? Get the best of both worlds -- aviation and law enforcement. Go through USCG OCS, apply for military flight school (your civilian qualifications will have you well prepared and at the top of the pack), go either in the direction of the Falcon Jets, or something really fun and exciting like HITRON's (Helicopter Interdiction Tactical Squadron) MH-68A Stingray in a direct law enforcement role...

    http://www.gocoastguard.com/dc/DCPrograms/ocs.htm

    http://www.gocoastguard.com/dc/dcprograms/blue21.htm

    http://www.uscg.mil/hq/g-cp/history/AC_HITRON_History.html

    If I was 21 and know what I know now -- I'd do this in a heartbeat. Just think, you could probably retire at age 42 as a Commander or maybe even Captain and get 50% of your pay for the rest of your life!
     
  5. Wulfenite

    Wulfenite The King

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    I'd go the aviation route and hook up with the locals reserve program. You could be checking both tickets at the same time. If you're carrying reserve tin and you've got a pro pilots log book you're pretty much a shoe in for any LEO Aviation jobs that open up. Might be a good idea to add a helo rating somewhere along the way.
     
  6. sopdan

    sopdan

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    That is exactly what I was thinking. When I was trying to decide between aviation and LE, this is how I reasoned my choice of continuing w/ aviation: if I pursue a career as a pilot (at about any level) I can still be a reserve officer if I choose. However, on a LE officer's salary, it would be difficult to fly very much. As of right now I'm just about to get my multi-comm. and I don't regret anything (so far ;) ).
     
  7. C150J

    C150J Crackberry

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    Thanks guys!

    The reserve idea is a great idea, but it would definitely require relocation (none in this area).

    As for a P.O.'s salary - I would probably make more as a police officer than a pilot. Starting pay with the agencies that I am trying to work for are twice as much as most regional airline salaries, and CONTINUE to be higher than pilot pay for many, many years.

    The higher pay only comes when you upgrade to CA (up to about 50K/yr) for a regional or bump up to the majors. Even NetJets starts at 24K. Most regionals start anywhere between 17K and 20K. Poor guys.

    J.
     
  8. Texas T

    Texas T TX expatriate CLM

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    If pay is a determining factor then it seems that you have already made up your mind. However, if pay is not in the equation I would agree with most everyone else and take the flying job. It's a sure thing, you'll build hours and experience in a crew environment, and as others have said you can always go LE in the future.
     
  9. C150J

    C150J Crackberry

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    Thanks T -

    I have always put satisfaction before pay, so it's not a major factor. However, after talking to many of my professional pilot friends, who still live with their parents and are years from being able to support a family (or have the time to start one), airline pay is starting to make me think twice. In fact, the only financially comfortable regional guy I know is married to a doctor. I have real admiration for those willing to make the sacrifice, but since LE is just as appealing AND has aviation opportunities, I'm kind of leaning that way.

    On my last day with the Fed agency I worked for, one of the senior special agents said, "I hope you do the right think and end up carrying a gun and a badge on that hip, whether you're with us or not. I know you could do a lot of other things, but you would be a great asset to the law enforcement community." I know I shouldn't let other people's opinions weigh too heavily on personal life decisions, but this one hit hard.

    In addition, I have lived in the same town all my life, and really want to get away from the east coast. I don't think I could do that on a really low salary with minimal job security.

    So, as for now, I'm going to try the flying slot for the second semester of my senior year here and see where it takes me. I feel like I have no right to make a decision until I know what it's like to be in the right seat. I should note that the first a/c I'd be "SICing" in would only require in-house training: they are aware of my career intentions and won't spend more money on me than they have to, unless I make it clear to them that I plan on sticking around...


    Thanks again guys!
    J.
     
  10. dozing4dollars

    dozing4dollars Plasticized ! CLM

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    C150J:

    For what its worth, I think that if I were in your shoes, I would take the GS-1811 slot and go thru the FLETC course and start a career in FEDERAL law enforcement. Although the specific slot awaiting you may be flying a desk, with the FEDS you can transfer to other agencies. You may not have as much flexibility with state and local LE depts.

    For example, you could later transfer to DEA, Customs, etc and hope to get a flying slot. A number of Federal agencies have aviation branches.I would urge you to continue your civilian fixed wing flying and seek helo ratings if you can, to make you more marketable.

    I have been flying heavy metal for a number of years and would urge you to seek employment somewhere other than the airlines. The airlines, ALL OF THEM, are in a turbulent, power off glide, simultaneously dodging thunderstorms and MANPADS in a high sink rate with a below minimums forecast at the destination (bankruptcy court).

    I would urge you to try to merge your interests in LE and flying if possible, but take the sure thing in FEDERAL LE for both job security and career mobility.

    While I love flying as much as the next guy, and it has been very good to me, I strongly urge you to think about YOUR future. This industry is completely different from the zenith of its pre-911 days !!

    You have the luxury of choice, and I wish you the very best !!

    :)