View Full Version : Alternative career
10th Jun 2012, 18:22
Hey everybody. I want to become a pilot, but training is so expensive and there aren't really any sponsorships flying around.
So... I was thinking, is there another aviation related career which offers decent satisfaction, doesn't cost the world to train for and pays reasonably well? I was thinking ATC, but training is also very expensive, job prospects don't look to healthy and to be honest I don't fancy being cooped up in a tower all day! :yuk:
Actually, I've thought about it. The alternative career doesn't even have to be aviation-related, I suppose. Just something that someone who is interested in become a pilot might find interesting...?
10th Jun 2012, 18:40
At the ripe old age of 17 the world is your oyster.
Perhaps consider going to university and getting a decent profession via that route. Could study aeronautical engineering perhaps? This COULD lead to a decent salary to which you could then save towards your pilot training. That is by this time you still wanted to do so.
All the best for the future. I know if I was 17 again I'd have done things differently.:\
10th Jun 2012, 18:52
stay away from aviation, go in a professional school and learn a real profession, then later if situation goes better, airline will call you...pilot is not a real profession, it 's a hobby!
aviation is finished, but nobody believe me, they all think airlines will run after self sponsored pilot and pay them big money...no way!!!!!:ugh:
10th Jun 2012, 21:39
I was thinking ATC, but training is also very expensive, job prospects don't look to healthy and to be honest I don't fancy being cooped up in a tower all day!
Keep walking...nothing to see here......
10th Jun 2012, 22:34
ATC... where? It's great when you're working but when yo are not, all the skills you acquired don't amount to crap in the rest of the job market.
15th Jun 2012, 16:41
pilot is not a real profession, it 's a hobby!
Not quite sure if I agree with that... At least, if you make it to the airlines, it certainly is a profession!
Everyone tells me the same thing: "get good A levels!!!" But you have to be very smart to get lots of A's! So what you're saying, Yahoo!, is that I've had it if I don't get lots of A's and A*s??
LVL_CHG, thanks for the head's up. Aeronautical engineering sounds interesting, but also very academically demanding (going back to my point about A levels...)
18th Jun 2012, 11:34
Aeronautical Engineering was the most academically challenging thing I have ever put my hand to - it is several orders of magnitude more demanding than CPL or ATCO exams academically. HOWEVER, academic ability is no indicator of success in either of these jobs and probably not really a requirement for them either. I belive that some flying and controlling skills are innate and some can be learned (faster by some than others). I have seen excellent controllers with no qualifications and have also seen clever buggers fail to make it. With controlling and flying I believe personability can also be a major factor. Get on with people and you can get on.
If you think you could enjoy ATC then I'd say go for it whatever your grades and don't see it as a easy fall-back career (it really is not easy) rather a potentially enjoyable job which could give you some feeling of being in the aviation industry and slightly insulated from the peaks and troughs of job security.
18th Jun 2012, 15:35
Hmm, I keep getting told that entry qualifications are so high for everything and that my grades are all important.
Anyway, you reckon ATC offers job security? How come? Because if the pilot job market is so poor then isn't it logical to assume that ATC jobs are in short supply, too?
18th Jun 2012, 16:53
Anyway, you reckon ATC offers job security? How come? Because if the pilot job market is so poor then isn't it logical to assume that ATC jobs are in short supply, too?Airlines cut back 10% on operations = job market for pilots dries up.
10% less traffic and ATC is a little bit less complex or busy. But the aeroplanes are still using the same airspace.
18th Jun 2012, 21:48
Yeah, so if air traffic is less complex and less busy, then you will need less ATCO's wouldn't you?
Ah, never mind, this is a bit off topic anyway lol
The Many Tentacles
19th Jun 2012, 07:18
No you wouldn't. In layman's terms, at a few times of the day UK airspace is full so you need to have enough staff to cover those periods as otherwise you've got to explain to the airlines why there are delays.
The downturn in traffic meant that these periods are shorter, but you still need to have the staff for them and given the way our shifts work you can't cut back on the staff.
Plus, to train a new ATCO takes up to for years and even to train a valid ATCO in a different sector can take up to a year. You can find a new pilot a lot easier so the job market is much more volatile as a result
19th Jun 2012, 08:31
I don't fancy being cooped up in a tower all day!
Aside from the fact that most controllers don't actually work in towers, have you ever actually been in a control tower? Talk about an office with a view.
You keep on about academic qualifications and studying. Whether it's ATC or flying for the airlines, you're going to have to study damned hard. If you're not prepared, or capable of doing that, then your best bet if you really want an aviation job is probably working as a baggage handler. I hear the money is good, but it's not a job for someone that's afraid of hard work.
Oh, and as far as being in a profession if you get into the airlines, there are plenty of F/Os that paid for cadet-ships and would be earning more money driving buses than they're earning from their airline.
19th Jun 2012, 12:39
Yes you might get a good view, but only when you can look up from your monitor that needs staring at. And even if a f/o gets paid peanuts, it's still pay and therefore makes him/her a professional. You can hardly claim that working as a pilot for an airline is a hobby!
"The Many Tentacles", thanks for that explanation - I get it now!
Thanks for all the replies regarding my OP.
19th Jun 2012, 14:22
but only when you can look up from your monitor that needs staring at.
You need to do some research about what the job entails (and that's the same for any job!) - there are plenty of sources (books and on the net) which will show what's involved. Either way you will have to study hard and repeatedly. Good luck, whatever you decide...
19th Jun 2012, 15:46
Maybe it's worth looking whether there are ATC facilities in your vicinity that offer open days, or even ask directly whether you can come and watch for an hour or so. Friend of a colleague of mine is an ATCO and invited us once to the Austrian ARTCC, was a really interesting experience. And at least in Austria, they are quite desperately looking for ATC trainees as far as I know (which cannot be said for the pilot market).
BTW, one YT video on ATC I am aware of (partly made by armchairflyers ;); click the "CC" button for English subtitles): The Life of the Air Traffic Controller / Via
19th Jun 2012, 15:55
<<Yes you might get a good view, but only when you can look up from your monitor that needs staring at>>
A GOOD tower controller spends his time looking out of the window. You need to know a lot more about ATC!
19th Jun 2012, 16:17
(going OT a little)
A GOOD tower controller spends his time looking out of the window.
Agree completely! However, progress/new technology is not helping - EFPS/SAMOS/VCCS/ATM/Lighting Panel and other 'new fangled' touch screen or mouse operated equipment makes it increasingly a heads-down task. I used to be able to make phone-calls, operate the lighting panel, move strips etc by feel and continue to look outside - now I cannot do that as I have to look at where to put my finger/mouse-cursor/EFPS pen. The price of progress I suppose.
20th Jun 2012, 01:20
Try being a Flight Dispatcher for a major airline. After all the daughter of one is going to be your future Queen!
20th Jun 2012, 12:48
I can not think of a better workplace than a control tower. Having experienced an 'office' when I was a clerk with the Surrey Constabulary :(, the factory-like atmosphere at London Air Traffic Control Centre :(, the only place that rivalled the 3 control towers I had the privilege to work in after escaping LATCC, was the flight deck of a Hercules.
The OP should get a visit to the nearest control tower and control centre - there are far worse places to work!