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Thread: The Value of ProPilotWorld (My Take)

  1. #1

    Join Date
    May 2016
    Segment of Industry
    A few rodeos and a couple of times around the block
    ATP, and some other stuff collecting dust
    Type Ratings
    CL-30, DA-2EASy, DA-2000, DA-50/900, CE-680, CE-560, CE-500
    Current Position
    Climbing via the SID
    Aircraft Flown
    Jet stuff, turboprop stuff, recip stuff, one Ford Tri-motor, a Stearman, this and t-shirts
    Total Flight Time

    The Value of ProPilotWorld (My Take)

    Hello, all! And welcome if you are here visiting for the first time.

    I want to share my experience as a ProPilotWorld member because I know there are those here reading this who, just as with me a few years ago, are experiencing uncertainty in the aviation industry for the very first time. You’re here reading this as a guest because you’ve most likely either recently lost your job or are uncertain about what the future holds in the midst of a global pandemic. If that’s the case, right here right now with this forum is a good starting point. I can’t say enough good things about community here and I highly encourage your joining and participating. If you decide to connect with this community, it will be what you make of it, so make the most of it. Join, engage and interact. Here’s my story……

    Accidents, Setbacks and Job losses…What Brought Me Here

    In March of 2016, I experienced my first downturn-related job loss. The oil company I had been employed with for the past eight-plus years experienced the repercussions of a downturn that echoed globally throughout the oil industry. Up till this time, they had operated their own aircraft for the past 70 years and, in the history of the company, had never cut a pilot. Following four rounds of job cuts between July, 2015 and March, 2016, my former company cut 50% of their staffing within every department both domestically and internationally which included shutting down their aviation satellite base, selling one of three aircraft and cutting five of the ten pilots.

    On top of that downturn, I had experienced a car accident in Feb 2015 that left me with four broken vertebra (one cracked, one broken, one crushed and one burst). The accident happened the day after an aviation department meeting where we, the aviation staff, learned that job cuts later that year would be most likely. Following a one-week hospital stay in College Station, TX, an airlift ride to Little Rock, AR, and anther two-week hospital stay thereafter, I went home. A week later, sporting a turtle shell style back brace and a walker, I returned to work and flew a desk for the next five months while performing my once-normal duties as the flight department safety officer as well as providing additional administrative support.

    In late July, two weeks following my release to return to flying status by my neurosurgeon, I was called into HR and was told that I was being transferred to Houston, TX where I would be working safety with company production facilities in the Gulf of Mexico. This news, along with now being six months out of the cockpit, was heartbreaking. Physically, I was still in pain and had lost twenty-five pounds from medications and no appetite. Mentally, I was worn down from being deprived of being in my career field. At this point, I truly didn’t know if I would ever fly again.

    Needless to say, following the job cut, I was devastated. My job searching skills were nonexistent. Positives were that I had been diligent in keeping my logbook current, and I had a fresh Class I in my pocket. Other than that, I had no network, no prospects, no real idea of which direction to turn, and I had been out of the cockpit for well over a year.

    Five weeks after the job loss, I joined ProPilotWorld (PPW). I didn’t realize it at the time, but joining PPW would come to positively change my outlook on the aviation industry. Over time, I would meet and get to know others while developing new friendships outside of my very small circle. I would fly with others who pulled my skill level up to new heights. The confidence I was lacking would return to a level that was stronger and much more reassuring than I had ever before experienced. The icing on the cake would be my becoming involved with the aviation community as a whole through engaging with others on the forum.

    ProPilotWorld…Engaging with the Community and Landing a Job

    In the beginning, like most, I was a lurker. Frantic and fearful, I perused the job postings and not much more. Seemingly, everyone on the forum was fully engaged in both dialog and flying, and the amount of talent on the forum was more than a bit intimidating to say the least. In June of 2016, I was offered a flying job with a nonprofit organization through a contact my wife had made. While this got me back in the cockpit, I didn’t really see the position as being a long-term opportunity. And even though this job hadn’t come from a PPW posting, it did allow me a door back into the industry I loved, and it allowed me to feel as though I belonged once again. Over the course of the following year, I began to slowly engage and participate on PPW with the occasional ‘like’, or a post here and there. While I had originally joined PPW to aid in finding an aviation job, as time progressed, I began to see the true value and potential of the PPW site. The posts were informative, members were welcoming and helpful, and my knowledge base began to expand and grow as a result.

    As the year passed, I made additional contacts through the forum and the network I never had begun to develop and grow. In March of 2017 I started my search, on a serious note, for a flying position that would provide a better quality of life for the family, both timewise and financially. In May, with the help of PPW job postings, I secured a lead captain position with a jet management company that came with a better quality of life and a much better salary range that put me back in line with current industry standard pay. In addition, the job, boosted my confidence to a level that was beyond what it had ever been. The industry contacts I mad through that job are still a part of my network today.

    ProPilotWorld…Round Two in the Job Arena

    Unfortunately, my new-found job was to be short-lived. Six months into the job, the aircraft I was hired to fly sold. Following this sale, the company made me a floater captain on another aircraft. This resulted in meeting more folks and increasing my network. My position as a floater captain lasted until October of 2018 when an untimely aircraft sale left me once again searching for work. In November, I accepted a position with another 135 operation with a completely different busines model. While the job provided a much-needed immediate income, as a newly minted FO with no time in service, the pay was a little more than half of what I had been making and well outside of the salary range I needed to run our household. In September of 2019, for the second time, I gained employment through a PPW job posting. This time, it was for a part 91 department and in an aircraft I wasn’t even typed on. I was seen as a good fit and was started out at a salary range that was, once again, in line with industry standards for a captain. This time though, along with the PPW job posting, networking played a huge part in my securing the job. Earlier in the year, I had interviewed with a subsidiary (another PPW job posting), but did not get the job. However, the chief pilot of the subsidiary that didn’t hire me contacted the chief pilot of this company to express his thoughts about me. Not long afterward, I was invited for an interview. Afterward, I was approved to be put on their insurance with no type and returned for five days of flying. At the end of those five days, I was offered a job.

    In February of 2020, I gained my type and began flying as a captain. A month later, COVID-19 brought with it one of the most devastating downturns in the history of aviation. On April 24th of this year, with the ink barely dry on my new certificate, my position was cut due to the pandemic and the affect it had on the company financials.

    ProPilotWorld and COVID-19

    To cut to the chase, I just secured employment for the third time with the help of PPW. This was preceded by three months of intense job shopping (a dragnet of resumes, cover letters and applications), networking, multiple interviews (some with ongoing dialog), TBNT emails, and an offer that fit what our household currently needed. I had lots of help and support from the PPW community that was invaluable when it came to personal recommendations, letters of recommendation and just plain old friendly support (knowing that someone else is in your corner is huge when it comes to maintaining a positive attitude and pressing ahead). Make no mistake, I had to work hard on a daily basis; hours each day spent applying for jobs, follow-up emails, etc. but this didn’t happen with my efforts alone. We all arrive somewhere because someone else in some way, shape or form helped us get there.

    My Take Aways…Personal Thoughts in No Particular Order

    • Keep your resume current. Even in the most seemingly secure position, unforeseen circumstances can change the landscape overnight. That job you believe you’ll keep till the day you retire can be gone tomorrow.
    • Whether you land a job or not, follow up with a respectful email to someone within the company with whom you’ve been in dialog with. It speaks volumes about you personally. You never know when someone may remember you because of that email. No matter how insignificant sending that email may seem, that’s a valuable part of increasing your network.
    • Don’t say ‘it can never happen to me’. It can. I’m the poster child for ‘it can, and has, happened to me’.
    • Keep your logbook up to date, be it old school paper (mine) or electronically. There’s of companies who will want to see the last few pages of an up-to-date logbook.
    • Never turn down a chance to interview. It’s good practice and it increases your network. If you haven’t picked up on it by now, I’m big n networking in this industry.
    • Create, nurture and grow a network. That means staying in touch. There are people in my circle (some of whom I’ve never met) who have been instrumental in providing a much-needed job lead, have hand-delivered a resume to get it in front of the right person, or have provided something as simple as a supportive text saying “Hang in there” or “Just wanted to check in”. Sometimes, it’s just good to have an ear to bend where your words are received with unbiased sincerity.
    • What comes around goes around. When it’s your turn to be supportive, do so. Your world may be perfect, but you have a buddy in some other part of the country who’s lost his/her job and their future isn’t so bright at the moment. Be encouraging and supportive. Put the word out in your circle; that next job lead may come from you.
    • Humor. I can’t stress the importance of humor. Laugh at yourself, and share a good laugh with others…daily. WE ALL NEED THIS.
    • Keep a positive attitude. When times are bad, this will carry you further than you or I could ever realize.
    • Don’t let a TBNT detour you. And don’t take it personal. Whether you are hired or not, you’ve made another contact in the industry….treat it as such. You never know when that contact may pay dividends down the road. See the positive. I’ve gotten a TBNT, or interviewed and didn’t get the job, only to have someone who was on the interviewer turn around and recommend me to someone else who hired me. EVERY CONTACT IS IMPORTANT.
    • Don’t pin your hopes on that ‘one good job’. There’s always another opportunity. If you apply for that ‘dream job’ and you wake up in the morning and find five more jobs worthy of consideration, by all means, apply to all five of those jobs.
    • Realize that sometimes, we truly don’t always get what we want, but we often do get what we need. We may not realize it till much later down the road, but sometimes, we dodge a bullet with a TBNT, or even a job loss. The company that cut my job in 2016 completely shut down their flight department following another oil industry hiccup combined with the onset of COVID-19. Had I’d been there, I’d be on the street right now, completely unprepared with no industry contacts and no finances to weather this storm current storm.
    • Get out, and STAY OUT of debt. Sans a mortgage (and one within your financial budget), don’t borrow someone else’s money if you can help it. And you can help it. If you can’t pay cash for it, it’s not for you.
    • Keep money in the bank. Too many folks out there living beyond their means and giving no thought to the ‘what ifs’ of life. Job losses and financial setbacks happen. Be prepared to weather the storm…they will come. In 2016, I was not prepared…never again.
    • When you wake up in the morning, tell yourself that you have 24 hours in that day, then go make it count…you don’t get it back.
    • Don’t look at a job loss as a negative. See it as an opportunity to go live the next adventure. Chin up. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
    • Join this community. Engage. Participate. Laugh. Share. Be yourself.


  2. #2

    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Segment of Industry
    Type Ratings
    Current Position
    Aircraft Flown
    Total Flight Time

    Re: The Value of ProPilotWorld (My Take)

    Great words of wisdom my friend.

    Cheers, Bill

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