Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Final Tally

A little more than 6 years after signing on the dotted line....my flight training loan is paid off. It hasn't been easy.

Back in March 2006 I was sitting behind my desk playing Microsoft Flight Simulator 2004. I've never been a fan of Microsoft Flight Simulator X. I was trying to relax after sitting all day in a cubicle scanning log files for the software company I worked for.

My wife walked in the room and saw me a little unhappy. She asked what was up, even though she already knew the answer. I hated my job.

She asked what I really wanted to do. Out on the desk was a flying magazine opened to an ad for ALLATPs. I told her I wanted to fly for a living, but the cost were just too high. My wife looked at the ad and bluntly said, "Either go fly or shut up about it. I will help pay for the training."

It helped she has a really good job and that we live under our means. A few phones calls and emails later and we suddenly had a new debt of $57,990.

Because we had great credit the interest rate was a reasonable 5.75%. The payment was $482 for 15 years. We had no plans on paying that little for that long. We paid, on average, more than double.

I didn't add up all the interest (I was told there would be no math!), but a simple loan calculator showed that when I finished the loan I still paid $14,000 in interest. That's a really good used car. If I carried the loan out for the full 15 years the interest would have been more than double.

Was it worth it? Well everything in life has a value attached to it. For my family the price was worth it. I'm much happier now than I was then. We've traveled to places (often in First Class) that we likely never would have visited. We are able to visit family around the country whenever we want....and often at the last minute. For us it was a small price to pay. Working for an airline makes the world much smaller.

One could say we could have taken the roughly $71K and used that to pay for all the airline travel we've used. True...but what fun is it paying for airline tickets?



  1. Christopher RandalJuly 22, 2014 at 3:04 PM


    Now you have a little extra to do a little more...

  2. Congratulations! The great wife, good credit and paying faster have all saved you some big bucks. Are you happier? Yes, but... Is this really the right course? yes, but. I celebrate your achievement and yes, I know how good it feels to be free from that substantial obligation. Fingers crossed that you will Move on up - and relatively soon. Are you ready? Within the <100 seat, regional class, I hear a pilot ready to move up. It may even become a career, especially when one considers the inconveniences that you will suffer if you migrate to your major, but as a junior FO. Tough choices await you. IMO, as noted more than once before, the QOL issues that you value may well trump any move to Big Brand flying as a junior FO. Where will you be in 5, 10 years? A Happy Camping senior Captain on a branded feeder line is not a horrible place to build a a real career. Will they sell out from under you? Will your brand feeder grow? Only you know the answers. All that said, it looks like you are in the pilot's seat. Now free of education debt, the world belongs to you - sort of. Your excellent credentials, unqualified ATP and the demonstrated ability to acquire additional type certificates, (let alone a hefty logbook of total hours) make you a hot candidate for several major brands. Is it right for you? How much [nasty word] will you put up with - and for how long - to move to a major? Only you and Mrs. Geek can answer that one. Best wishes and thanks for sharing some of your experiences with us. -CG


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