Professional Pilot Training (includes ground studies)A forum for those on the steep path to that coveted professional licence. Whether studying for the written exams, training for the flight tests or building experience here's where you can hang out.
A question to all you full time aviators....I'm in the military, in a non-flying job, but am a wannabe! Trouble is, I'm at that age where the career path splits. I could pursue my wannabe ambitions and take an intergrated ATPL and hope that I get employment, or stay in the military and coninue doing the same dull job, but taking Lizzies pay, safe in the knowledge I will always live comfortably (unless it's in a tent somewhere in the middle of hells derriere).
I have passed aircrew selection with the RAF but was not taken on into training due to recruitment cuts in 95/96. I am approaching 28 years old, and although I do not have a PPL, I have quite a few hours on Chipmunks, gliders (inc solo), 1 hr on a Twin Squirrel egg beater and 1 hour on a Jaguar (honest guv)! I also have letters of recommendation from QFIs...
So, gents....if I cut away, pass my course, and offer my self to your employers, what are my chances!? Pse be honest, as I am concerned I could be cutting my own throat, after reading all the negative comments about there being a glut of low hours frozen ATPLs out there!
I think no one has replied as no one can give you an answer. I think you have to research through all the aspects of your career, and your wannabe career like costs etc If it works out in the favour of doing an integrated course, then go for it. You know what they say, you only live once!
ps, for whats its worth, on my integrated course at the mo there are about 3 or 4 people in a similar situation to you, career switching in their late 20's early 30's.
Why integrated? There is no real advantage to a self-sponsored student unless they think they have a realistic chance of their first job being with British Airways (even Citiexpress accept modular graduates). The hours you already have (at least any logged, except the Jag and the Squirrel) will also count for more than they will with the integrated.
I admit I work for a modular school, but I am ex-Navy and would not dole out bad advice even to a crab . At the very least talk to a school that doesn't have an expensive integrated course to try and justify. I got very bad advice on this line from a school that shall remain nameless when I looked for a course, that tried to sell me an integrated course I knew was wrong for me even before I knew the difference. I had 180 hours fixed-wing logged and an FAA PPL, yet they didn't even offer me a modular course. I went elsewhere.
Save £12,000 or more, and fly 60 more hours. It only takes about 2-4 weeks longer, all things being equal. You can also do a good bit toward the course with HM's subsidy, without leaving the force yet. Send me a PM for contact details of the RAF flying club I know just North of London.
In view of the current rumours of an impending 25% cut in RAF personnel, I wouldn't be too sure that your pay from Aunty Betty is as secure as you'd like to think it is! Since 1990, the RAF has reduced from 91,000 unformed personnel to its current level of approximately 50,000. Much of that was achieved by voluntary and compulsory redundancy. There is no reason to believe that any further reductions would be handled differently.
In that light, you may want to revise your thinking about retraining for another career; it may be forced upon you! Looked on from that perspective, you may feel that entering ATPL training is less of a risk than you thought.
I was thinking Integrated because of time - I dont want to be mid 30s by the time I start cavassing for jobs...!
And Scrogs, I understand what your saying about the military cuts - I have a bit of insider info on this through some guys i know in the Personnel HQs...I work in Ops (DAMO if your interested), and this is seen as a key post to retain, so I am not too bothered about those cuts - besides, if it happens I will gladly take severence pay!
The cuts are, sadly, going to affect Flying crew more than any one else - Orders of Typhoon, FLA, C130 J, Merlin etc are all being slimmed down - remember, 'an Air Force that, person for person, pound for pound, is second to none'! Pound for pound alright, because no other country limits their defence spending to just 1 pound!!!
Sorry, we diverge! Yes, I am still thinking seriously about cutting away, and as ever finanaces are the burdening factor - par example: Looking at FO fATPL wages, and career progression, it will take me 5 yrs post trg to regain my current salary (by which time, hope to be RHS or very close) - admittedly, salries take off from their (kinda) - but pensions are another factor.
In a perfect world, what send clowns says is the way forward - I can hang around here for another 5 yrs, gain PPL and hours on the cheap with our flying clubs and also continue saving, and accruing a pension. But as I said - 33 on leaving, 34 ish on completion of trg - would the regionals take on at that age?
I figure I need to write some letters to the recruiters - I dont really care if it pi**es them off, I guys gotta get info from somewhere, and where better from the horses mouth!
Ok, if you think your post will be safe, then Clowns' advice is correct: stay where you are and do a modular course while still earning. You have sufficient leave available to do the bits that require constant attendance during leave, and you should have access without too much difficulty to relatively cheap flying - especially if you're anywhere near Brize Norton. You may find that some parts of the course can be considered as duty - if you have a co-operative Education Section - and you will certainly be able to complete things such as the Instrument Rating as part of your Resettlement Training; you may even be able to get HMG to pay for some of it.
I would have thought that you could achieve an fATPL within 2 years, if you put your mind to it. As for what jobs might be available, by all means contact operators now. Don't expect many replies, and don't expect those you do get to be anywhere near the truth of what may happen 2 years down the line! Most airlines' recruiting departments don't really know what's happening next week, let alone that far in the future!
With your Movements background, you should have a considerable advantage over those Wannabes from non-aviation fields. I don't think it's unreasonable to suggest that aviation is finally on the rise after its lowest low since WW2; there will be lots of jobs available in a couple of years time - but they'll be as oversubscribed as always!
I will be moving south in the next week or so, and will be able to get access to a few air force clubs in the area, so I guess it starts here! And will certainly be off to visit the old eduKators too...
One last question....I note that airlines stipulate good education quals for entry - as I only have the min for RAF (6 GCSEs 2 A levels) would it be wise to tag another A Level on the end....? or, with my military career history, age, charm and good looks, would this be a pointless affair!? I'm thinking pointless, but a second vote would be handy....
Your employment history is far more important than your academic qualifications now and, in any case, yours are adequate. Don't waste your time and money with more A-levels; get on with the ATPL groundschool stuff.
And, while you're at it - and before you spend too much money elsewhere - get a Class 1 medical. It shouldn't be an issue for you, but you never know - it would be a shame to spend loadsamoney and put all that emotional investment into new hopes and dreams and find out that you have an eyesight problem that invalidates it all! Your SMO should be able to point you at an AME within the RAF who can do the required CAA Class 1, though you may have to go to the CAA at Gatwick for an initial issue. Check that out with the CAA or your SMO.
Just for information, don't assume an integrated course is shorter than modular: the whole course is, within a few weeks, the same length (modular is not to be compared with the old CAA "self-improver" route). As discussed some of the modular can also be done now, even if it as you are waiting for release, so shorting it to the quicker option.
Secondly don't assume just because you are in an important position you cannot be made redundant if you want to. A friend of mine was a qualified Sea Harrier pilot (just retrained from rotary) when one lot of volunteers was asked for. Everyone said he had no chance, but he and one other put in, and got it! It was a numbers game, MOD bureaucrats didn't care who went.
If you want the redundancy, go for it! Start flying while waiting, then when you're outside start full-time modular.
Cheers for all your replies, help and advice...like I said, this decision is a tricky one at best, but have learned the hard way that you have to look out for yourself, and not rely on our lords and masters to back you up when you need it (loyalty goes up but not down the chain)!
In light of all your encouragement and advice, and the lack of from Lizzie's little helpers, I have decided to go for it, and to do it Modular....
Naturally, I'll have to track some of you down to pester for further advice and help and also, to forward on my CV when I reach the dizzy high of fATPL...
In the meantime, ta.....and see you around the airways maybe!?