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Aviation Careers Podcast Episode 024 – Preparing For A Midlife Career Change; The Successful Part Time Flight Instructor.

It has been said that the passion for aviation is an incurable disease which is treated by hours of flying. Well one person who you can tell has been bitten by the aviation “bug” is Paul D’Auria. When I first met Paul his childlike smile as he talked about aviation made me realize this person is hooked.

Although full of youthful exuberance and hope normally associated with a teenager heading to college, Paul has not seen his teens for decades. With that said Paul personifies a passion for flight no matter the age of the pilot.

Recently Paul decided to transition from his desk job at a large corporation to flight instructing full time. Years before that transition he worked getting his ratings and building a client base for his flight instructor business.

Today we are going to speak with Paul about working part time as a flight instructor and how to prepare for a transition from a desk job to a full time flying job. His story is one we will watch unfold and hope to have him on again when he is working full time in the field.

Paul and I Discuss:

  • How Paul developed his passion for aviation.
  • Keys to being a successful part time flight instructor.
  • How to prepare for the transition from desk job to a full time flying position.
  • Methods of building your client base as an independent flight instructor.
  • Working with flight schools as an independent instructor.
  • Why it is never too late to start looking towards a career in aviation.
  • Defining your unique aviation career goals.
  • Challenges for the middle age career transition.


I receive e-mails from listeners wanting to change careers but they can’t because as their income has increased so has their lifestyle. If this has happened to you don’t feel bad because this commonly happens.  If you feel you are attached to a lifestyle as if chained to a heavy anchor no need to worry because there is hope.

The first step is to stop your high consumption lifestyle, begin living within your means, and start saving money. We all think we want to be rich because we want to buy the things rich people have. But to feel rich we begin buying those things that might make us feel happy at the moment but straddle us with debt or transfer our savings to an inanimate object.

If your dream is to have a career in aviation you will need to be very conservative in your spending and your lifestyle. This is due to the high cost of training, low starting wages, and the years it might require to gain experience to make you marketable throughout the industry.

You will need to start living within your means but this is difficult without some guidance and examples. As pilots we try to emulate the skills and safety practices of those pilots and instructors we admire. You also should try and emulate those who are financially successful such as millionaires.

I think you will find the information in the book Stop Acting Rich valuable and discover that many of the millionaires in this country became wealthy by leading a frugal lifestyle and not becoming caught in a high consumption lifestyle that we often associate with wealth. The greatest lesson I learned from this book is that if you look at the things you purchase from a practical standpoint as opposed to how it makes you feel you will be well on your way to the financial security you will need while navigating your way through your aviation career. I think by reading this book you will learn something that will help you move towards financial security and allow you to concentrate on obtaining your aviation career goal.

Career Questions Answered:

  • Can an individual can be successful as a ground instructor?
  • Is there a market for ground instructors?

I hope you have enjoyed listening to Paul D’Auria’s  story and come back in the future to hear how he is progressing with his flight instructing.  If you have any questions for Paul please feel free to contact us and we will pass along the question to Paul. Simply click on the contact page on our website AviationCareersPodcast.com/contact and send us a message.

Remember to like AviationCareersPodcast on Facebook and follow us on Twitter to get up to date information.  You can of course ask us questions on facebook and twitter or you can e-mail me directly at carl@aviationcareerspodcast.com or leave a voicemail at 347-MY-WINGS (347) 699-4647.

Before every flight a pilot takes time to plan for a normal flight. A good pilot places just as much thought into contingency plans.  It is a good idea to follow the lead of a good pilot in command and spend adequate time both planning your career and making contingency plans.

By having financial stability it makes your plan go much smoother. Financial stability is like having extra fuel in the tanks because you can make many diversions but still make it to your destination without stopping along the way. This is the reason I recommended Stop Acting Rich.  By avoiding a high consumption lifestyle you will be able to use the money to progress towards your career goal.

Remember extra fuel is like extra money in the bank.  By being a good steward of your money you will make it to your career destination with greater financial safety and speed.  I Hope you have enjoyed today’s show and I look forward to seeing you next episode. Safe Flying!

Related Links:

Episode 003 – How to be a Successful Part Time Flight Instructor

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