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.
Hi all. I need a few opinions on training, so thought I'd drop a post on here. Basically i've been floating around in aviation on a private basis for a few years now, and have managed to achieve ppl, night, imc and 160 hours. From the outset I always intended to try and make a career out of it, but have been somewhat stalled by the gloomy economic outlook over the past few years.
As of recently I have 0 commitments again (The dating scene just doesn't seem like its for me at the moment lol) so I have once again started considering my options regarding training. So... a few points...
1) If I got started fairly soon, given my age is a bit adavanced on that of some starters (I'm just 27) is there a chance of making a decent career out of it? I'm not looking to get rich and retire at 50 (In fact I don't really plan on retiring at all, but simply getting stuff paid off and continuing to do various intereting jobs on the side). However, I would obviously like to get some sort of return on my investment to enable me to live a bit of a life. I was looking at going down the CPL FI TR route and perhaps trying to get into biz jet flying within say 3 - 5 years (Making me early 30s), giving me hopefully another 30 years to make some money out of it.... does this sound feasible?
2) I potentially have an instructor job at my club lined up for when I qualify, as the CFI there is very impressed with my flying. It wouldn't be much but it would be a start, which given what I read around the forums is not to be sniffed at in the current climate.
3) Finally... I have a background in teaching and classroom instruction... Do you think this could be used to compliment my aviation career (And earnings) in the early stages... perhaps through doing lots of groundschool instructing (If there is much of this type of work available?)
Any opinions on my plans / situation are much appreciated.
I visited the Flyer Exhibition at Heathrow today and was told by a representative of one of the big FTOs in no uncertain terms (albeit politely) that at 35 and beyond I would have practically zero chance of getting an airline job on completion of my training.
Is this pretty much true or was it being exaggerated a little? It would be good to know as I don't want to invest a huge amount of money into the training when there's nothing to be gained from it in terms of airline employment at the end.
At 36 I was told pretty much the same thing (from a number of different sources). Didn't stop one of the big three offering me a place on an integrated course though!
Fortunately I don't intend on aiming for the airline sector. And I'm following a modular route outside of the big schools. We'll see where it takes me. Whatever happens, it won't be wasted time and money, for me at least.
I questioned the individual about BA's FPP and his answer was that the airlines can't be seen to be discriminating about age etc.
There seems to be a lot of mixed messages on this thread and that of course is down to everyone having different experiences. I might add that this person didn't say that I wouldn't be able to start training with them, just that there wouldn't be much chance of airline employment afterwards.
There are chances for the older ones too, however maybe not that many as for the younger.
I think you need to have the mindset that you might never get an airline job, and if you accept this, and don't mind spending the money, than you will be fine!
I know of people who have got jobs being older, but don't expect to be first choice for companies like Ryanair etc., however I do believe they do ever now and again take a lucky oldie to show that they are not discriminating. That's my impression from RYR pilots I know. But your odds are very low.
Forget the mantra that older guys are good for biz jets., because some biz jet companies have stricter requirements than the airlines.
In the end, it is all about who you know, I know loads of people who recently got jobs, but mostly it was either RYR, contacts they had (or contacts from friends/family) or that they paid TR and line training! That is the ugly face of it now.
I personally got my own personal dilemma tonight. One job I should be able to get 99% unless i screw up during training, pay my own TR and get 3 year contract at crap pay, but on a good type, and many hours or on Friday a friend of mine from my schooldays, called me and told me to send my CV to him, and he would try to get me an interview.
This second offer is fairly good pay, and they pay the TR, but the dilemma is, that he does not know if and when I can get the interview. You can talk about lousy timing, I know how to decide between these to options, one being nearly the sure thing by 99% but crappy T & C's, the other being great T & C's, but not knowing if it will work out, but would be the best! (Would save me a fortune on TR)
So shows age is what you make it to be, not easy to decide though!
It's a punt at the best of times, in your mid thirties even more so. If you treat it as such and can afford to do it without risking your livelihood, then go for it. You'll find numerous examples on here of people who made it into airlines at that age and older, albeit few recent ones.
but for goodness sake, get yourself independently aptitude tested e.g. GAPAN.
That's the best bit of advice, aside from getting the medical.
but for goodness sake, get yourself independently aptitude tested e.g. GAPAN.
They told me a few years back that I had "a low chance of success in pilot training". I passed all my ATPLs first time, first time pass at CPL, first series pass IR, employed within 3 months of finishing course, gained command in minimum hours.
I guess I'm one of those "very, very few" for whom the tests are inaccurate.
I got my first "proper" airline job at 39 - granted I took the interview when I was just coming up 37 and then was made to "swim" in a hold pool for years - but in the end it worked out. I was not a complete newbie, as I had done a few years of Air Taxi (PA31 Navajo) on and off and was an ICAO licence converter.
It can be done, and older guys (>30) can still get flying jobs. I now work for a well established regional TP operator.
Like Artie, I think I would have pretty much fluffed the GAPAN type tests. Nevertheless I also managed to get first time passes in all the required stuff and this was the key element for gaining an interview. Operators really can pick and choose right now, so if you are a slightly more "mature" applicant, make sure you get top marks and study / fly hard.
Artie - I would respectfully point out as well that it is but an indication: if for whatever reason you sat more than one standard distribution below the mean for all the characteristics tested, while past data suggested all those successful had been above that point to within one standard error, you would be the valid exception to the rule, even if all concepts and parts of the CPL/IR came to you as naturally for you than for any of your coursemates.
I confess I really don't understand the above, but put quite simply, I was told politely but firmly that I had no chance whatsoever and should believe what I was told.
I know GAPAN have the most honourable and decent intentions with their tests, but how many fledgling careers have been unnecessarily cut short at Cranwell? The real scandal is we don't know and nor do they!
put a little faith in a huge body of scientific statistical data.
Well that's my gripe. Do they ask for feedback on how the GAPAN test candidates eventually fared in pilot training? I've certainly never been asked. How can they be so certain that their tests accurately reflect the demands of modern civilian pilot training?
Three people I know scored low on the hand-eye coordination part of the test. This despite reasonable accomplishment in Pitts and Cessna aerobatics (requiring somewhat different skills, but both good hand-eye coordination), and vintage dissimilar-type formation (also requiring some stick finesse).
I tend to agree with Artie, although it must also be said that there are so many people applying that they can afford to turn away good people because the remainder are likely to be good. The danger comes when the not so good get through, either because they're good at those tests, or the standards are dropped. Then the filtering criteria becomes financial, and that isn't so good. In my opinion, that is.
I'm a young gun, I'm only 23, but I'll offer up my advice, for what it's worth (which to you is probably not a lot, to me it's the world )
Are you loaded, filthy, wipe your ass with $100 bills rich? Then no you're not insane, have fun...I am jealous.
Are you married? Then maybe you're a little more crazy, depending on the kind of woman you're married to.
Are you married with kids? Then yes, you are insane...in my opinion.
Are you single with the finances to go through with it? Then you'd be insane not to do it! Who cares how old you are. Chances are you won't make it to the left seat of a BA 747 in your career, but you do still have 24 years left before the mandatory retirement age, so have at 'er. You're only as marketable as you make yourself out to be.
Here's how I look at it. There are a lot of naysayers in the aviation world. A lot. In fact for the last, oh I'd say 5-6 years, I had completely given up any hope I ever had of being a professional airline pilot, thanks to said naysayers. Threw out Flight Simulator, gave away my Justplanes DVDs, started drinking my money instead of saving it, etc. etc. Then I joined the military. And you know what I realized...people are always going to whine and bitch, regardless of how good they have it. I have the jammiest job, and for the amount of work I actually do vs. how much I get paid, I'm richer than Bill Gates himself. But all I hear from coworkers is complaints. Whine, whine, whine. I get wicked money, a sweet pension, get to travel the world, do some super cool things (ever had a helicopter dunk you numerous times into the ocean? Didn't think so, I did) and the list goes on. And while I'm not a complainer it made me realize - do what you love. Seriously. The only thing that's going to make you happy is doing what you love. Sure a good salary, and security and what not are important, but so many people I hear whining make it the be all and end all. I've only come to this conclusion very recently so now instead of signing a longer military contract, I'm getting out in a few short years and pursuing my dream. I don't care how long it takes and how poor I am. I'd rather be happy than comfortable. Maybe I'm seeing life through rose coloured glasses...but I've seen infanteers in Afghanistan in the most brutal conditions who are happier than a pig in because all they ever wanted was to be a soldier. Goes to show, in my book.
I'm 37 now. Started on this route when I was not far off 36. Still working on it although not married, I'm not loaded either. Have writtens + CPL done, Savin up for the rest. I don't regret a thing. If I can get a job, great. I've years of professional work experience to bring with me. If I don't get a job, those years of professional experience will keep a roof over my head.
You're asking people to predict something infinitely random - life. Make your decision, live with the consequences, take responsibility for yourself and have no regrets. Any other advice is useless noise.
As others have alluded to "it depends". Have you done a medical? (eyes, ears, diabetes) Do you have the money to throw away? Do you have a family that is depending on you for a certain lifestyle and expectations, such as uni? After you've finished the flight training, can you survive on an effective income of £20,000 for 5 years? What's the economy doing? Aviation is very sensitive to it, and does follow the "boom/bust" cycles reasonably closely. Have you researched the market for employability of 40+ YO new CPL holders?
(That should concern you)
If your goal is to become a flight instructor and possibly some charters (piston or turboprop) on the side, or a turboprop job suits (note, not big money), then by all means crack on. If you just want to do it for the intellectual challenge, go for it. However, if your goal is to be a captain of a B744, then perhaps you should rethink.
You may think "oh it's not the money" - believe me, it is. If you're going to invest a small or large fortune in yourself, you want the returns. When it's your signature on the Flight Log, you want suitable compensation.
There is another aspect to all of this, I agree that if your goal is the airlines, the road is long and the sacrifices of low pay to gain the experience are high, but there are other aviation fields where you might get somewhat of a decent pay in a few years at it, helicopter pilot for example, I know of folks that are now working air ambulance in bell jet rangers that weren't even pilots 6, 7 years ago, flying for a sheriff's department, flying for a government agency inspecting electrical network, I know a good friend doing that now that started 5 years ago instructing in piston helos, flying turboprops for custom patrols, those guys don't make tons of money but they have some good benefits, whatever the case you will have a few years of growing pains, the person you need to discuss this is with your better half, without her 100% on board with making cuts the first few years, it's not going to work. Good luck