Life in the aviation industry

I’ve picked up the habit of listening to National Public Radio (NPR) on my way into work in the morning.  I get on the road just a little bit before 7:00, so I hear the 7:00 news every day, and then I hear about 15 minutes of “Morning Edition,” another news program that does longer pieces and weekly focus concepts and stuff like that.  It helps me keep track of what’s happening outside the small world of home and work, lets me keep track of what the president is doing and how the economy is faring and other interesting bits like the pirate capture of the merchant-ship captain and the earthquake in Italy and the flooding in North Dakota.  I like knowing what’s going on, and it makes my morning commute really interesting.

On my way home, if I listen to anything, I’ve been listening to Escape Pod, a really fantastic sci-fi podcast that Nathan sent me.  I *love* it and I’ve only got, what, like 2 more years before I’m caught up with current stories.  And then I’ve got Pod Castle and I Should Be Writing and a couple others that I’d like to be listening to, too.  But my growing podcast addiction isn’t on my mind this morning.  I just wanted to mention it because I’m pretty sure I hadn’t mentioned it yet and I wanted to let Nathan know that I *love* Escape Pod.  Thank you for sending me that CD.

But my point when I started writing this, was that “Morning Edition” this week is featuring a story series about problems in the aircraft industry.  They’ve talked about commercial airlines and how they’re doing, ticket prices, all that stuff.  And this morning, they talked about corporate jets and how that part of the industry has been crushed by all the bad press in Washington.


Because, seriously, corporate jets and small personal airplanes have been given such a horrible reputation lately and treated like they’re this horrible, sinful thing and it’s really hurting those of us who build and develop those airplanes.  Personal jets have a lot of positive aspects that people don’t often think about.  Business men can have meetings while in the air.  They can fly to several different cities all in one day and have meetings in all those cities, too.  And those meetings could be building revenue for the company and helping the economy.

In the piece this morning, the company that I work for was listed as one of the top three companies in the industry.  And we’re having to lay off workers because people just aren’t buying airplanes.  Lay-offs for the plant where I work will go into effect in the middle of next month.  So far, no one really knows for sure if they’re in or if they’re out.  We just finished the voluntary separation option and those people taking early retirement or voluntary separation are leaving this week and next week.  One person from my direct department is leaving as part of that, four people total from the all departments under our director.

If the rest of us in my department make it through reduction in force (RIF), then we’re going to have a very quiet July.  The current decision from upper management is that we’re going to be on a four-week furlough starting on the 29th of June.  No one works.  No one gets paid (unless they use vacation time).  The good news is that I’m eligible for unemployment and I’m going to be getting a check from that.  Benefits will also continue through the furlough.  So we won’t be totally high and dry because of this.  We’re just going to be *kind* of high and *slightly* dry.

I’ll be honest.  I’m worried.  But we’re ahead on a handful of our loan payments, so we can let some of those slide for one month when we’re short.  We have some things that we could cut down on that month.  There will be some adjustments we have to make and we won’t be able to keep up the really aggressive loan payment schedule that we’ve been following.  BUT.  It’s only for that one month.  The month after, I get to go back to work and we can get back on schedule again.

And there are a lot of things that I’ll be able to do while I’m “on vacation” for those four weeks.  I’ll be able to really focus on my small business and try to track down some clients.  I can’t make any money or I won’t get my unemployment check, but I can keep on getting experience and references and start really getting the hang of what I want to accomplish with this concept.

I could go running or do yoga in the morning and then go swimming in the afternoon.  It’s going to be a hot month, but I should be able to work on my weight a lot that month.  Especially because we’ll probably be cutting down on our grocery list for that month, too.  And we certainly won’t be going out for dinner.

I could write and read books.  I could work on several different projects in the house and in the yard, as long as I don’t have to buy anything for those projects.  I could look at my office and see how I really want it arranged and maybe finally get the pictures hung on the walls.  Did I mention writing?  I could write!  I could play piano.  I could sew.  I could take pictures daily.  There are lots of things that I’ll be able to do.

So it’s going to be interesting and it’s very likely going to be difficult, but it’s not, by any means, going to be boring.

If you have any ideas of other things I could do while I’m off, please drop me a note and let me know.  I’m working on a list.

I’m going to try to format those pictures I took last night and get them up into a little gallery sometime in the next couple days.  It takes me a little while because I resize them and adjust the resolution and, very occasionally, adjust the levels.  But I’m hoping to have them up before the end of the weekend.

I hope you’re all having a great day so far!


  1. Sounds a little scary. Cut back a little starting now so you have a tiny bit stockpiled. I would funnel your “out to dinner” money to savings or toward gas cards or something you absolutely know you will need. Buy only groceries that you are sure you are going to use. Save a little for going out, because you’ll need a break.
    Have you read any of Dave Ramsey’s books or attended his Financial Peace classes? He has a list of priorities in regards to money that I think make a lot of sense. The first thing he says to do before paying off extra on debt is to have $1,000 in a reserve emergency fund. Then he says to pay off debts with the snowball approach followed by building up savings to cover 3-6 months.
    You probably know all this already though!

  2. Thanks for the suggestions, Amy! Anything we could be doing better with our money, we’re trying to be doing. We have been doing some pretty aggressive saving lately, too, on top of the loans work. We have at least 3 sets of plane tickets to buy this year (Jessi’s graduation, Pat’s wedding, and Christmas in WI), and that’s on top of the $1000 we have in reserve. I wish we had enough in savings for 2-3 months of bills, but I’m sure we’ll get there eventually–once we’ve paid off a substantial chunk of our debts. We’re going to give our budget a really solid trimming over the next several months. It’s certainly going to be interesting…. 🙂 I hope you’re all feeling okay! Take care!

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