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Old 25th Jun 2009, 19:23   #2 (permalink)
G SXTY

Supercharged PPRuNer
 
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: I wish I knew
Posts: 1,127
In this industry, timing is everything. You're asking the ten million dollar question - "when should I aim to qualify?" - and it's impossible to give anything more than an educated guess.

The job market is awful, and there are no signs of improvement anytime soon. On the contrary, BA are looking for volunteers to take redundancy or unpaid leave, and are unlikely to be recruiting for the foreseeable future. That matters, not because you're likely to get a job with them at 200 hours, but because when they recruit, the effect is felt all the way down the pilot food chain - people move on, turboprop pilots move onto jets, flying instructors move onto turboprops, etc etc. Right now, the entire process is at a standstill. To make matters worse, there are still experienced commercial pilots out of work and looking for jobs.

To try and answer you question, this industry tends to work on a 7-10 year cycle. If you look at previous downturns, the industry has been well into recovery before low hours, newly qualified pilots were recruited in significant numbers. Right now, we are a long way from that - it would take a brave man to claim that the recession has even bottomed out, let alone that we're on the road to recovery.

Remember that once you have the ATPLs passed, you have three years to get the IR. And that the CPL/ME & IR can easily be done in 3-4 months. If I was in your shoes, I'd be taking my time with the ATPLs in order to stretch out that three year period as far as possible, then waiting for the likes of BA to start recruiting again before I even thought about getting a CPL & IR.
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