Archive for the Finance Tag

Reaching 1,000 Hours

Robert Chapin
2016-12-24T13:27:36+00:00

There is no time to celebrate.  For most new pilots, career advancement means flying 1,500 hours as fast as possible.

Cloud layers seen while flying

Having a nice view is one of the daily thrills of flying professionally.

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27 Oct 2014

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Career

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Reaching 500 Hours

Robert Chapin
2014-02-26T01:52:28+00:00

Goals, time building, industry changes, and future advancement.  A look at the modern career pilot.

Flight photo of earth and sky.

Flying Over Texas

Chart of flight hours

Work Weeks Include up to 30 Hours of Flight

At the 500-hour milestone, experience comes more quickly for me.  I enjoy six days per week at the airport, often arriving at 6:45 am and returning home by 8 or 9 pm.  My schedule is not consistent, though.  If I am training new students, the appointments always fall between 7 am and 5 pm.  But the instrument students are scheduled by airplane availability, which means my shift sometimes begins at 4 pm and ends at midnight or 1 am.  Fortunately, my company requires ten hours rest.  I stay home and sleep if the schedule gets overbooked or loaded with back-to-back shifts.  There is always a chance of bad weather or mechanical problems forcing cancellations within the schedule, which adds to the inconsistency.

A few years ago, someone in my position could spend their spare time looking into which airlines are hiring pilots, at which experience level, and at which locations.  This changed with the addition of FAR § 121.436 last year, requiring all new airline pilots to hold an airline transport pilot certificate.  I am not yet eligible to apply for that certificate, which has become my next career goal.

In terms of the calendar month when I could be ATP certified, there is no precise forecast.  The situation is optimistic, but complex.  Under the provisions of FAR § 61.160 (b), I could accumulate 1,000 hours of flight time within perhaps 4 to 12 months, and still have no expectation of eligibility.

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30 Jan 2014

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Career

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How to Credit Card

Robert Chapin
2014-01-31T02:50:29+00:00
Three Credit Cards

Photo by Petr Kratochvil

If credit were as simple as cash, we wouldn’t need cash anymore.  Credit cards are very complicated sometimes, yet the fundamental financial skills needed to use them are not taught in schools or colleges.  Here are my secrets to success in managing credit accounts.

#1  Always have at least two credit accounts

This is the number one, most important lesson.  Credit cards help to establish your history of responsible borrowing, whether or not you use them at all.  For pilots especially, it’s a good idea just to have a credit card in the airplane in case of unexpected expenses while traveling.  And believe me, a credit card can stop working at any time for a wide variety of reasons.  Two “reliable” credit accounts is my bare minimum.  If one credit card is restricted to specific stores or small spending limits, then I need to have three cards or more so that I always have a fallback.

#2  Get your rewards

All the best credit cards put something back in your pocket when you spend money.  Rewards might be in the form of billing credits, gift certificates, or free air travel.  If you’re not getting rewards, it’s a bad deal.  Look into it.  Shop for what you like.  Don’t take bad deals.  Don’t open accounts that mention any annual membership fees.  If you are attending a flight school that accepts credit card payments, this will be a matter of hundreds of dollars in rewards!  Do the shopping before it’s too late.

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26 Dec 2013

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Flight Training Survival Guide

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Emissions Trading Explained, With Stick Figures

Robert Chapin
2014-01-31T02:51:12+00:00
Government stick figure giving free CO2 allowances to power plant stick figures.

It begins with a number of allowances.

Behold the combination of my graphical design talent with my ability to explain the inner workings of the European Union’s Emissions Trading System (EU-ETS).  Both are amazing, I know.

Here’s the background.  Europe (the blue stick figure) has been concerned about air pollution and global warming for many years.  In 2005, to reverse the trend of increasing pollution, Europe invented a new market instrument called the EU Allowance (EUA).  That was how the trading system began.

Enough background, though.  I want to explain the less-technical parts first.  Instead of using the name EUA, I will call those things Alpha Bills to make them sound more like a currency.

To get a trading system started, Europe orders up two billion Alpha Bills from its printing presses and starts doing some trading of its own.  The blue stick figure visits Power Plant #1 and says, “I would like to purchase your air pollution.  I see that you are producing 100,000 metric tons of CO2 every year, so I will give you 100,000 Alpha Bills per year in exchange for your pollution.  The only catch is, if you produce more than 100,000 metric tons, you will either have to get someone else to buy the excess or you will have to pay me a fine of 100 dollars per ton.”  Of course, the power plant is European and doesn’t actually have dollars, but I’m trying to keep this simple.  Both the blue stick figure from the government and the red stick figures at the power plant get to keep their dollars because no real money has changed hands yet.

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2 Dec 2012

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On Assignment

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