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.
Beginning of a career. Where to go, where to start?
After over 5 years of constant research and information searching into pursuing my career I have decided to write a post here, which I was intending to do last year. I have a folder on my computer with over 300MB of documents and research into my desired career - so I don't come here clueless! lol
There are a lot of skeptical things on here, so I thought I'd ask questions myself even though some of these questions have been answered before - so please don't shoot me down. I'm posting for additional information that I'm after, not what a previous poster asked. Whether it's a few months ago or years ago, haha.
I am 17 years old and am soon finishing Year 12. Since I was 5 my passion has been Aviation and to become an airline pilot, no matter what people or critics say, that's what I want to do and that's what I am going to do.
In 2010, I completed Work Experience at Qantas. In that time I racked up over 4 hours on 734/737NG and A330 simulators. I also conducted in Emergency Procedure training, Cabin Crew training and I even sat into half a weeks worth of a 737 endorsement course. I don't mean to brag, but I love saying this. I could answer the questions that were being asked before the trainees! Which were two New Zealanders being training for Jet Connect 737's. Was a memorable experience.
I initially started flying lessons in 2008 at Moorabbin airport at RVAC in order to gain my SPL. I was nearing the stage to go solo, but I made the decision to wait until I had finished school to fly and gain the ATAR I need, rather than focusing on flying and also due to financial constraints which are still present.
It's coming up to the time where University preferences are needed to be selected. I've been looking at courses for over a year now. Originally Swinburne in Melbourne (My current residence), however, I've looked all around Australia, from courses at ECU in Perth, Griffith in Brisbane and UNSW in Sydney. There are obviously Bachelor of Aviation Flying and Management courses. I am very wary and financially mindful so I don't intend to get myself into well over $100,000 HECS / FEE-HELP debt. So therefore I have been looking at the Management Bachelor Degree. Not only to save me money, but because I have a natural ability in Business. I know you've all said to not go into a University to endeavor with Aviation. But it's all I want to do, so I do not plan on looking elsewhere - nor am I interested in a trade! I believe, after well researching that you're able to get into a very nice management position in or out of Aviation with a Bachelor of Aviation Management.
Anyway, that's sort of the background and basis of my post and there will be a few parts to this post.
I'm not sure on how to go about with everything. I'm looking at undertaking a GAP year and during that time work and save money, but undertake lessons to gain my PPL at the same time. Then whilst at University, concurrently work and fly towards my CPL then eventually MECIR. Obviously I have no idea how much that workload would be. So I'm asking if to take up that method is a good idea or not? I have a great passion for flying and I don't think sitting around at Uni would be the best idea for me, I get bored at school and I think the same would go for University day in day out.
A second option would be to complete my entire 3 year course, with no GAP year then commence flying lessons afterwards whilst saving during my entire stint at University. That's a path I honestly do not want to take. 3 years is a long time (Even though people will say it's not). But I will still take this option if it's what is better to do.
Option three, the option I know some of you will chose is to commence all of my flying. Gain PPL/CPL/MECIR and ATPL subjects, get experience and go to University AFTER I have a job at University. The problem in my eyes about this option is that once I'm in a aviation / airline job, I'm not going to want to go study. I see why too. But I want a backup in case I cannot pass a medical or become unfit for flying. I'm quite confused about all of this. So I'd like it if people are able to post their pathways through aviation to the airlines and from or to University. I've read a few peoples pathways on here, but I'd love to hear them again as other threads aren't exactly everything I'm searching about. Plus anyone's recommendations!
Another question is. Either after, or before Uni. Is it a wise idea to join a "Flight Training Academy" such as Oxford, Basair, Airline Academy of Australia etc.? To me, those courses seem very mouth watering and tempting. But the problem I have with them is the extra studies involved in gaining Certificates and Diplomas. There's no problem for extra education, I'm all for it, but is it necessary? Is it a better idea to join a normal flying school and just go at my own pace? The academy's seem to have much better organisation in their training. With systematic approaches to training and theory and good instructors (Correct me if I'm wrong). Do airlines highly regard academy's? To sort of answer my own question by just the basis of research (But I still would like answers) I believe they do. AAA is a Qantas approved flight training school, Oxford is endorsed by Jetstar and Qantas plus other European airlines and Basair has some airlines behind it I think. I can't remember.
Once all tertiary education plus licences and subjects are complete, what is the likelihood of being accepted into an airline. Note, this will be at minimum 4 years away and I'm actually liking the way Aviation is going at the moment. DOWN! It's like a stock market, it has to go up again. So in my mind, by the time I've completed training Qantas (Probably Jetstar still.... -_-) will be getting 787's, which mean existing pilots will get preference and that'll leave gaps of pilots. Which will probably go right down to QantasLink and regionals. Even Virgin seem to be looking a great way to go. With their "apparent" cadetship commencing at the very end of this year in-taking 8 or so cadets yearly for 777 cruise FO and ATR FO's a result out of it. I know I'm going very far ahead now. But I know Aviation cannot go down hill forever. Especially with new aircraft plus old, very old Qantas staff which are surely approaching their retirement age, so surely there'll be an influx of "newbies" within the next few years. That's my view of it at least.
My lifelong ultimate goal has been to become an Airline Pilot and as I mentioned, I'm going to do anything to achieve this. I'm willing to do almost anything to do so. So please don't let this extend into an argument over Uni vs Training or anything like that. I'm just asking for additional advice on where to go from here now that it's time to act upon my career. Where have you been and come from to get where you are? What are the best ways to get into an airline position or at least a flight instructor position - really, anywhere to be paid to be a professional pilot? And most importantly, why?
Sorry for all the questions. I really have a lot more. But I don't want to ask too much at once. I want to sort myself out and figure out where I'm going to go before more start coming out of me!
Thanks for any help given. It's all much appreciated and all taken in, I assure you. Although, I think that's the basis of why I don't know where to go! haha!!!
Had a quick flick through. There are a few things there. And will continue to search. But don't get me wrong though, I'm so willing to pursue this career - I'm happy to go anywhere around the world!
I'm kind of wary to post in that forum! Can't see anything with people physically asking direct career questions - just has info about it. But I'll have a post on some of the cadetship / airline recruitment threads in there, should be helpful.
haha! Don't worry, I know I don't know everything. Hence the questions : P. But I do sometimes appear as a know-it-all or very arrogant over the internet. I'm not, but that's how it comes out! lol : ( Just a heads up about me! It certainly does appear as though knowledge comes with age though. The older you are, the more trustworthy. Who listens to a teenager?! I don't!
To me, I couldn't just stop there. I held the controls of an airline aircraft before September 11 and it's been drilled into my mind that this is what I will do, at all costs. Since I was almost 5 this is what I've wanted to do. Trust me, I am no way a rich and delusional child. I am willing to work my ass off, for years to get to where I want to be. With no backed support from my parent (Single mother), plus no way to get a full loan amount for training costs. To me, it seems better to go to OAA in the UK - but that's a rather extreme approach.
What's gone so wrong in the Aviation industry for people to say it's turned into a hobby? Yeah there are lots of issues going on at the moment. But is that really the way people feel? I know quite a few pilots personally - they don't seem to have much of a problem
I am in the ATPL training business and the first thing I tell anybody asking for advice is to get a Class One Medical from the country where you expect to do your training and to issue your licence, before you place all your eggs in one basket and build your hopes up too high.
Far too many dreams have been shattered of young men and women who, like yourself, were prepared to put everything in to their chosen career, only to find out that they do not meet the medical requirements for commercial aviation, often owing to something they had no previous knowledge about. You may think you are fit and healthy but it is better to be safe rather than sorry, especially when we are talking of tens of thousands of dollars worth of training.
The standards vary between countries so make sure you research this area throughly.
The reason I say to do it sooner rather than later is twofold: 1. To prevent future disappointment; 2. Renewal standards are not so stringent as initial standards so it's better to get thing sorted before any degenerative conditions start kicking in, not that degeneration should be a problem at your age but no-one knows what's around the corner and there can be adverse effects from many apparently unconnected medical conditions.
If you are thinking of doing your training in the UK (or any EASA country) you WILL have to travel to that country for the initial medical.
Jay, I only skim read your main post. Before you commit any thing to the industry. Visit your local DAME and get your Class 1 medical out of the way. If you don't know any, go to the CASA site and look them up.
I'd stick to Australia for the time being. If you get tagged for a cadet scheme, good luck but if you don't, you don't have to spend a small fortune to get a start. GA is still happening and it's a very good place to start for your airline career.
One word of warning, do not come across as a smart arse. At this stage of your life and career, humility with quiet confidence will stand you in far greater stead.
I shall organise getting a Class 1 conducted within the next few weeks - if time permits. Still pretty busy completing Year 12. I certainly don't want my dream shattered! I know we have a DAME just around the corner from where I live, so I'll try pop down and organise it.
I'm hoping for a good cadet scheme to pop up, which seems to have occurred with the Virgin Australia cadetship announced yesterday. So hopefully that'll relieve my worries if I can get into it. Although only 8 people are accepted - so I have to try my best and hope.
I'll try not come across as a smart ass redsnail. I assure you I am not, it's just I come across as one... I've been trying to fix that for a while, lol.
Thanks again 2close and redsnail. Much appreciated and all taken down!
They are not "your jobs". Its just market economics pure and simple. People are still willing to invest £100,000 even when the result is a flexi crew contract. My gut tells me things will have to get a lot worse before people stop signing up. It is my personal belief that eventually first officers will be completely unpaid for the first X many months. We really don't have a great distance to travel before we get there and even this wouldn't stop people signing up.
You've clearly put some time and effort in to your research and your enthusiasm is unquestionable. Just remember though that every time you say things like, "My lifelong ultimate goal has been to become an Airline Pilot and as I mentioned, I'm going to do anything to achieve this. I'm willing to do almost anything to do so" some accountant in an office somewhere starts rubbing his hands in glee thinking about how little he can pay you to work harder than anyone has ever worked before.
I've said it before but remember in your calculations that at the end of the day it is simply a JOB. Your perspective after doing it for 5 years will be wildly different to your perspective on it now. Trust me on that.
veetwo - Although I will do almost anything. I won't sacrifice the standard of living. Not because I'm after the money, but because I know there will probably will be a chain effect which could end badly. Plus it's not fair for others. So I'll do anything except sacrifice pay! lol
I trust you, but I sure hope my viewpoint doesn't change dramatically in those 5 years
I know youre eager, but I wouldnt do a gap year. Youll thank yourself when you graduate. I started flying at the end of my second year of my degree (biology) and will be entering my fourth and last year in September. Ive logged 75 hours so far just by flying on weekends at my own convenience. If you only flew 2 of 3 hours a month over the course of your studies, you could easily graduate with a ppl, however Im not sure what your financial situation is. If you really want to fly you probably wont want to be in school like me so its good to get it out of the way as soon as possible. I can see myself wanting take a gap year too if I wanted to be a pilot in highschool, but Im quite pleased how things have progressed for me thus far.
Some interesting and well thought out advice you're getting on here my friend. Take heed of those that have blazed the trail ahead of you.
Just a couple of points I thought of (just my two cents worth so take it or leave it);
1) don't waste your time and money doing a bachelor of aviation management. I say this after having done one myself. If a university degree is something you are serious about doing a human factors focused degree is highly desirable for aviation employers now.
2) don't be in a mad rush to fly the "big boys" straight away. I certainly admire and can empathize with your desire to fly that line of work, but enjoy early days of training, hour building etc. remember flying is meant to be fun. Of you are learning, building hours towards requirements, and enjoying it then you will be satisfied flying whatever, wherever and for whoever and your career will progress at its natural speed. I know many a pilot who wishes they'd spent more time enjoying the early days of VFR single prop flying rather than getting stressed out about getting in turbines ASAP.
Keep us posted on how everything is going!
Just remember if it takes full power to taxi in you may have left the wheels up.