Regional Airline Pilot to IFR Controller, worth the switch?

This forum has been developed to discuss ATS related topics.

Moderators: ahramin, sky's the limit, sepia, Sulako, North Shore

Post Reply
Message
Author
bearitus
Rank 2
Rank 2
Posts: 79
Joined: Fri Mar 06, 2015 8:17 am
Contact:

Regional Airline Pilot to IFR Controller, worth the switch?

#1 Post by bearitus » Sun Dec 02, 2018 8:01 am

Hello,

I am a current regional airline first officer flying out of YYZ. I am entertaining the idea of switching careers to an IFR Controller. My main motivations are better pay sooner in my career and a better family life (less time away from home).

I have read the forums and spoke to several controllers and I think if I do take the plunge IFR would be the only stream I am interested in due to the higher starting pay and the fact that I would like to remain in YYZ.

My main concern is the low checkout rate for IFR controllers. I am about 5 years away from making good money as an airline pilot (if things continue as they are today) and from what I have read IFR training for Atc takes at least 2 years from the time the course begins to get fully checked out. If I do get accepted to Atc training and I fail, I will have essentially lost 2-3 years of time where I could have been building seniority with an airline.

If anyone has been in my shoes before or has any info on IFR checkout rates please let me know what you would recommend.

Thanks!
---------- ADS -----------
  

ant_321
Rank 5
Rank 5
Posts: 388
Joined: Wed Jun 30, 2010 8:43 pm

Re: Regional Airline Pilot to IFR Controller, worth the switch?

#2 Post by ant_321 » Sun Dec 02, 2018 9:03 am

I have 5 friends who made the switch (not in yyz). 1 doesn’t regret it, although flying was only ever a job for him, not a passion. 3 although they enjoy there job now they regret leaving flying and 1 hasn’t been doing it long enough to know yet. If you are entertaining the idea I would say you it isn’t so much about missing flying but more so whether you think the risk is worth it.
---------- ADS -----------
  

A346Dude
Rank 3
Rank 3
Posts: 112
Joined: Sat Jun 01, 2013 12:22 pm

Re: Regional Airline Pilot to IFR Controller, worth the switch?

#3 Post by A346Dude » Sun Dec 02, 2018 5:19 pm

If your primary motivation isn't a burning desire to do the job, in my opinion you have a low chance of success. Nav Canada is not a shortcut to a big payday and cushy lifestyle. Financially, you are taking a risk if you accept a training offer because a lot of people don't make it through and the training salary is not that high (though better than it used to be). That risk was worth it for me, and many others, but only because it was a job I really wanted.
---------- ADS -----------
  

bearitus
Rank 2
Rank 2
Posts: 79
Joined: Fri Mar 06, 2015 8:17 am
Contact:

Re: Regional Airline Pilot to IFR Controller, worth the switch?

#4 Post by bearitus » Mon Dec 03, 2018 6:09 am

Thanks for the realistic answer. I have always thought of Atc as a good stable career that pays well. I think I would enjoy it but I never had a burning desire or passion to do it as I did with flying when I started. The reason for me considering the switch is that my priorities have changed. With a young family at home, I now value lifestyle and pay more than loving my job.
---------- ADS -----------
  

Yycjetdriver
Rank 1
Rank 1
Posts: 32
Joined: Fri Nov 04, 2016 11:00 pm

Re: Regional Airline Pilot to IFR Controller, worth the switch?

#5 Post by Yycjetdriver » Mon Dec 03, 2018 7:03 am

Cab driver, babysitter, janitor, waiter, retail sales associate, burger flipper, grocery store clerk, dog walker.... and many more would be justifiably/financially worth the switch from a regional airline f.o. nowadays.
---------- ADS -----------
  

Kjs
Rank 0
Rank 0
Posts: 12
Joined: Mon Nov 13, 2017 10:07 am
Location: YYZ

Re: Regional Airline Pilot to IFR Controller, worth the switch?

#6 Post by Kjs » Mon Dec 03, 2018 7:21 am

Some good answers but I just want to chime in and say at the very least you may as well start the application process now. Even if you're still unsure, the process to even just get on course can be long and even with your flying background and a basic understanding of ATC, it still takes a bit of luck to get an offer considering the huge amount of applicants. I'd say keep doing what you're doing and just go through the whole process and see where/when it takes you.

There's also the chance of simply getting streamed VFR even if you specify an IFR preference.

I think it can't hurt to start now and use the time it takes to continue weighing your options.
---------- ADS -----------
  

Lotro
Rank 4
Rank 4
Posts: 264
Joined: Sun May 01, 2011 9:15 am

Re: Regional Airline Pilot to IFR Controller, worth the switch?

#7 Post by Lotro » Mon Dec 03, 2018 6:18 pm

The risk is that you don't make it as a controller. If you're willing to accept that risk after 2+ years of work then go ahead. In the YYZ FIR qualification rates are Getting better, but still low depending on where you get placed. The last national average I heard of was 25% of those coursed. Some specialties are higher, some are lower, like, embarrassingly low. Caveat emptor.

It's a good idea to apply and see if you get in/get an offer.

I wish I took a leave of absence from my career before starting this new gig. It would have given me more options down the line having something to go back to readily available.

Controlling is the greatest job in the world. It's also the hardest job to get (IMHO).

Good luck.
---------- ADS -----------
  

Braun
Rank 7
Rank 7
Posts: 680
Joined: Thu Mar 23, 2006 11:32 pm

Re: Regional Airline Pilot to IFR Controller, worth the switch?

#8 Post by Braun » Fri Dec 07, 2018 7:35 am

Hard job to get but worth it if you make it. I would never suggest to someone that they apply if they are only doing it to sleep at home at night and the salary. The training is too hard to if you don't have the proper motivation.

I love my job and wouldn't change for anything but it's not for everyone!
---------- ADS -----------
  

Post Reply

Return to “ATS Question Forum”