View Full Version : Starting from Scratch.
30th Nov 2008, 05:05
Ok so I've decided that I'm 100% dedicated to persuing a career as a pilot, but I have very little knowledge of how to go about it.
I'm from Glasgow and I've checked out the local flying school here which interests me.
But can someone give me a step by step process on how to go about persuing a career as a pilot? I understand it will be a very complicated process but I'm open and very appreciative to any info.
What's the very first step I need to take?
How hard is it realistically to become a commercial airline pilot?
On average, what are the total costs to obtain the necessary licenses?
As I say any info is much appreciated.
30th Nov 2008, 07:39
There's loads of info on here if you use the search, but off the top of my head:
1. Get a Class 1 medical. No point doing anything until you have that. This involves going to the CAA at Gatwick and costs over £300 (plus your travel/hotel expenses). You could get a Class 2 locally, but just be aware that you still need that Class 1 before you can start CPL training, so it's desirable to get it first, then there's no doubt.
2. Do your PPL. Probably around £8k these days once you've bought all the required gear, decent headset etc..
3. Fly lots of hours. You need to get 150hrs total time, of which 100 is you in command. Cost? Varies - a lot go to the USA to do this. Anywhere between £5k in the states to £12k or more over here.
4. Do the ATPL exams. This requires an approvel groundschool course (between £1k and £2k depending on provider, plus expenses) which you must attend for specified amounts of time in addition to home study. Takes a year (give or take), there are 14 exams, each one costs over £60 to take. You must take them all within an 18 month period.
5. Once you've got all them, do your CPL course. You may or may not choose to combine this with a multi-engine rating. Anywhere between £5k and £10k.
If you didn't combine it with the CPL, do a multi rating.
6. Do your instrument rating. Mostly done in the sim, but it'll be at least £10k, probably nearer £15k with the flying portion done in a multi. CPL and IR must be done within 3yrs of passing your last ATPL exam.
7. Do an MCC course - hand-holding teamwork stuff for multi-pilot environments. A couple of grand, usually.
8. Now you need a type rating. The traditional route is that any airline who employed you would pay for this, and bond you to work for them for a specified number of years to essentially recoup the cost. In a market saturated with pilots wanting jobs, some have chosen to pay for this themselves in the hope it will make them stand out from the crowd. I believe a 737 rating is about £20k. Contentious issue as to whether you should or shouldn't.
You now have all the neccessary bits of paper to go and work for an airline as a first officer. Now... the reason you took the ATPL exams as opposed to the CPL/IR exams is that when you've logged 1500hrs, of which 500 must be multi-crew (ie. airline), plus a few other requirements, you are eligible to take the ATPL skills test. This allows you to legally command a public transport flight (ie. captain), although you'll need a load more experience before you start getting a sniff at promotion.
Basically it'll cost you a fortune, you'll spend many years living on the breadline and eventually, many years in the future you might, just might end up with a nice captains job and a decent salary.
If you really have money to burn, there's something called the integrated route. This is a full time course where you start from zero and end up with a CPL/IR. Some providers of integrated training have connections with airlines, meaning you might get a sniff of a job straight after your course. However you're essentially making a £20-30k bet on that, which is the difference in cost over doing it the modular way as described above.
30th Nov 2008, 09:25
Really appreciate all that info Shunter!
Now, with regards to financing, how does one go about paying it all of? I mean I'm 21 yrs old and will be working full-time in a job with a reasonable salary, but am I able to pay these costs on a monthly basis or..?
Grass strip basher
30th Nov 2008, 10:22
Try working for 5 years and saving most of the money. You will only be 26 post that and in 5 years the industry will probably be starting to pick up from the vicious down swing it is currently experiencing.
During those 5 yrs get yourself down to your local flying club at weekends and help out etc to get your face known. You really have no rush and much as you want to be an airline pilot given the current mess the industry is in the sooner you except that it ain't gonna happen for a few years the better off you will be.
No one is recruting low houred pilots at the moment and this situation is unlikely to change for at least a couple of years.
30th Nov 2008, 15:25
Wilson87, I think Grass Strip Basher has a good point. Do try and save as much money as you can before beginning your training. I can't speak from experience, but it seems like a few students in my ATPL class are struggling a bit with bank loans. Some of them are tied to one specific school, so they can't leave if they're unhappy with their training.
Don't get discouraged with waiting, though. At 22, I'm among the youngest in my ATPL class. Most are at least mid-twenties, and quite a few are in their thirties and fourties! It's never a bad time to start.
Best of luck!
30th Nov 2008, 15:32
What flying school you thinking about joining? I'm from Glasgow as well, might be able to help you out with some instructors etc.
30th Nov 2008, 16:45
try reading the stickys ontop of each forum. plenty of information there that will answer all your questions you have now, and many more you will ask later!
30th Nov 2008, 18:10
The Clive Hughes book lays it out for you;
Book a class one medical, then go and do the GAPAN assessment at Cranwell.
A wealth of information on Pprune, worth trawling through the archives, all the information is here.
30th Nov 2008, 18:17
Hit the advanced search function at the top and search for all posts by
"Wee Weasley Welshman" -read as many as you can.
30th Nov 2008, 19:38
Was thinking about going to the Glasgow flying club located beside Glasgow airport to obtain my ppl.
Would this be advisable?
What route did you take?
Thanks again for all the info here guys.
1st Dec 2008, 00:06
Glasgow has a lot of really good instructors, but the problem is price. I believe they charged £24 per landing which is a lot of money! (Typical BAA!)
I would maybe look at Prestwick Flying Club, Cumbernauld Flying School, Highland Flying School or Tayside. HFS is probably the cheapest, Cumbernauld I wasn't impressed with and PFC is a cracking place but a wee bit pricy compared to HFS however the experience of the instructors is top notch, guys like Stuart Hill, Steve Maric are top notch guys.
Stuart is the CAA Examiner at the moment, but he used to be an instructor with Prestwick BAe (Know known as Flight Training Europe) and was a training captain for BA Express. Stuart hill, the CFI, currently flies for FlyBE as a Captain at the moment I believe on the BAE 146, top notch guy knows his stuff very, very well.
There are a number of other flight instructors at PFC who are top notch as well.