Hi! I’m looking for some opinions on the somewhat old –fashioned ‘self improver route’. I have thought seriously about doing this, but now it is looking increasingly more difficult to do!
I had thought initially about obtaining my license then going to Southern Africa to try and get a gig bush-flying in a C208 or something similar, then return to the UK and hopefully get job with an outfit like Eastern or Loganair, then progressing perhaps onto Monarch or Flybe. Then after that depending on what’s available at the time BA or Emirates.
Over the last year I’ve seen this route become increasing difficult to achieve. Eastern charge for a fairly useless TR and Flybe seem to have turned to hiring their own MPL cadets and closing the doors to others. I’ve found a few small outfits around in the UK and cannot see any information about hiring. I assume this is all done through contacts or maybe turning up personally with your CV at the right time? With this route there seems so many places you could potentially get stuck, with the doors beginning to close for expat pilots in Southern Africa (Namibia now demanding 2000TT before granting expat visas) the number hired there will dwindle. More traditional airlines such as Loganair have now turned to OAA to get a small number of cadets. It seems as if it is becoming progressively more difficult to advance to the next ‘tier’ of job.
It also seems that there is no set criteria on advancing to the next rank or so to speak. What I mean by this is on a flight a while ago I was invited to visit the flightdeck and the Captain was a bush-flyer in Kenya and then (IIRC) was hired straight into a jet airline (BMI). Another pilot on a recent flight of mine was an FI then did turboprop flying before being hired by GB Airways and then merged into easyJet.
Opinions appreciated, thanks in advance!
I think there will always be people going the self improver route.
Simply because there will always be some kid brought up on a council estate who wants to fly but simply can't afford the MPL\ Integrated\pay to fly route and has no choice.
And long may it continue.
Get the licence and class 1 before you earmark your preferred choice of airlines you'd like to fly for. Baring in mind your 17 according to your profile, you are at a disadvantage because of your age, no one will take you on that young or even 18/19 in Africa because of insurance and experience, plus your forgetting the conversions you also have to do to fly there.
I'd say get your PPL build up some hours, get decent grades and when your slightly older (20,21) depending on the outlook take it from there. There is a lot of older freshly qualified's without a job, even to get on the BA scheme if your very lucky there is very few that will be under 23 on the scheme.
I hope this route remains...
I've been chipping away at it for the past six years around my day job as an Aerospace Engineer. The reason being; I don't have anyone who would stand guarantor for large loans... My family dynasty makes Baldrick's look distinguished.
At the minute, there's not many routes in because Oxford/CTC etc. appear to have monopolised most of the routes into the industry. Even good regional operators that used to take Modular students now appear to be going straight to the like of Oxford to fulfil their requirements (Think Flybe etc.).
At the minute, I'm scheduled to finish at the end of this year, with minimal debt. I've only really borrowed for my CPL and IR, but I still couldn't live off the starting salaries on offer when repaying my loan. Bear in mind, I'm a single bloke with almost no debt.
So... who can do this?
Furthermore, who can pay for a Type Rating, take a reduced salary... then move to the work! The numbers on this don't add up anymore.
The only people who can enter this job now are rich, middle class kids who can have their pilot training funded or TR paid for... and then be 'cushioned' for the first 18 months or so of the job while on a reduced salary.
Oh! And all the while, lowering the Terms & Conditions for the next guy. Bear in mind that, Ryanair F/O's were on around £40,000 only a few years ago. Starting salary now is 17,000E.
Who can live off that money?! And indeed, why should they??
Anyhow... Thanks guys... You've effectively forced me out of my life's work and left with me with a "£40,000 PPL". All so you could go straight into a jet... :rolleyes:
Me? I'd be glad to fly anything, military or civil because that's all I've ever wanted to do... But because GA is so shocking that isn't even an option nowadays and to be truthful hasn't really been for a while...
I'm almost a 'Gary Speed' case because I've done everything right; made an abundance of contacts who are high up in many of the top UK airlines over the years through networking; unfortuneatly, their airlines will now only take integrated cadets or those with the money for a TR and the ability to live off reduced salary for about 18 months. They're now powerless to help, much to their frustration... In my day, I was sponsored by the RAF (Flying Scholarship), did a Mechanical Engineering degree, TA Officer whilst at University, to put me through my course... Aerospace Engineering job in a flight test environment on a large CS-25 aircraft... That was until I lost my job because of defence cuts, but that's another story.
Yet now, I may never ever get into this because I can't afford to pay for a TR or accept a shocking salary.
Incidentally, I write this from my Gran's spare room, where I have resided for the past few years to ensure I have negligible outgoings... no flash car, no holidays, few nights out, no girlfriend... the list goes on of my sacrifices.
Think long and hard about the impact upon your own life and other people's before you enter this; as this 'here and now' generation has achieved nothing other than wholesale destruction of Terms & Conditions for this entire 'profession'.
At the minute, the only way I see Modular students having a chance of getting into this is industry is if someone was to mount a commando raid on Oxford Aviation's flightline...
I'm off to Goodison now... going to handcuff myself to the goalposts... :mad:
To show you how pro-self improver route I am, I could actually afford to go to CTC, OAA or FTE without debt, and that would be including every thing from food to exam fees. I was considering it, but my sane side prevailed. I was very fortunate to have some finances behind me, but that alone wasn't enough so I did have to work constantly for a good few years to get to that position. I realise I'm a lot luckier than some.
But I went modular. Why? Because I wasn't somebody who just had the money and threw it at the nearest school promising me a job. Because I didn't want to be ripped off for the same license. Sure you can paint a pretty picture, maybe you get a little bit more for your money like a personalised pen and name badge or a "pretty much guaranteed job".
I wouldn't pay double for a car just to have it delivered to me with a Formula 1 suit and a personalised key ring. Yeah you might get a job quicker, but whatever. For me it wasn't 'how quick can I get a job in the RHS' it was more 'whats the sensible way to do this'.
I too will finish end of this year and when I do I'll go find a job in operations somewhere if I can or work somewhere in the industry. I could apply to RYR, if I got in, could I pay for the TR without debt? Yes. Will I? Hell no.
I'm a self-respecting person. Nobody's gonna rip me off like that. And that's all it comes down to for me anyway. I'll get that job flying one day where I'm treated like a person, as will the guy posting above me. I do remember reading on this forum somewhere recently that somebody's employer only hires from within or modular students. So there it's not all bad news.
I can see why some people go to the big 3, but I do wonder about the sanity of a lot of them.
I really wouldn't worry that much. I work part time at a CPL school and their figures for students getting hired by the airlines is just as good at the integrated boys.
Yes they may have had to work a summer or two instructing but the openings are very much there.
It's a good job to because we have also had a far number of FTE & Oxford boys who haven't managed to secure a jos and have managed to relaunch a career after picking up an FI rating with us.
Thanks for the feedback and encouragement. My reply was not intended to demonise people who are more fortunate than myself in the financial department. Good luck to them. We are all dealt a different hand. Some better than others. It's poor judgement that's my enemy.
To be honest, certain sections of my family have 'middle class' money; but unfortuneatly; like a lot of people in my city... they have an 'underclass mentality' towards finances...
Think; blow every penny or hoard your money like Scrooge, all the while living off Al Qaeda water and 'Billy Bob's B*stard Beans'...
As an aside, my family tried to burn me as a witch for going to Sandhurst and University. :8
My problem resides with those who have the poor judgement to pay for an integrated course and then a Type Rating on top, all the while on shocking entry level salaries. This has set an awful precedent for Terms & Conditions which appears to have now pushed me out.
I have to respect your common sense approach. Why pay £70,000 for a fATPL, when you can get it for about £40,000?
If other people employed the same intelligence and will power we would not have the Ryanair contracts or Flexicrew.
But, hey! These people are not doing it with their money. It's a different situation when it's your loan or savings, as opposed to a trust fund/equity in the family home.
Good luck to you.
Thanks for the heads up. I do know of a few Modular guys who have got in recently; but they all are on reduced salary and had to pay for their TR. But it's nice to know that there might be a glimmer of hope.
I find it interesting that you have a lot of ex Oxford/FTE guys training as FIs - so much for the promise of a job that justified paying all of that extra money to these schools, for their 'contacts'. :ugh:
"A fool and his money are easily parted."
Should be the corporate motto at Oxford/CTC etc. :rolleyes:
Of this group, all ten secured airline placements as part of their course, prior to actually having a licence in their hand! Two of the group also had some monies refunded to them by virtue of their previous PPL experience resulting in cost reductions of around 5%. Eight of the ten, have had their type ratings paid for by the partner airline, and during the first six months will have about ten percent of their course cost refunded to them as part of their placement. They will also receive allowances but no base salary. At the end of their placement, they should have a good type rating and close to 500 hours on type. At that point they may (or may not, depending on the state of the market) be offered a regular contract. The remaining two have placements that involves them having to pay for their own type ratings for an additional sum of around £9000.
Courses following on are also receiving similar placements. Obviously this is a snapshot in time and doesn't (as always) guarantee anything, nor does it represent what might be the reality in 3 months from now, however it is what it is.
So taking this "snapshot group" 24 months (six months from now) after they started, they have paid a net sum (excluding living and ancilliary costs) of around £70,000. They have a recognised integrated training background. They have a good jet type rating (free in some cases although offset by lack of a base salary) they have nearly 500 hours of line experience. The strong likelihood (although no guarantee) of a contract with the placement airline. All things working in their favour, thrity six months after starting out from scratch, they have all of this plus around £40,000 of gross salary.
You can perhaps see why, the quote you made, doesn't hold a lot of water for this and similar groups. Being £40,000 out of pocket with the likely prospect of years of expensive renewals, can be outweighed (in some cases) with higher up-front investment in some cases.
Beazlebub, I could name similar situations for people who have gone modular where people have had bonded TRs and working with a company straight out of training with slightly higher salaries than you described, although they got their jobs about 4 years ago, so not as recent.
But what you describe isn't the same for most students. I've read countless posts of integrated students having no jobs and even more posts saying nobody is looking for new pilots bar a few. Unless of course you're talking about a cadet scheme which is different. What school and companies were this group involved with?
It's good they got that treatment, nice to see there are jobs for new guys and they aren't being treated completely like dogs. I'm not debating integrated vs modular, I chose my way purely based on the chances of me getting a job within a year are low on either route, so I chose mine on cost. Exceptions apply of course.
Beazlebub, you also need to factor in the interest on the £80,000 loans and the fact that most modular guys are getting paid in other employment throughout most of their training.
The figures don't look so good then.
The problem often centres around this idea that anybody with a minimum of hours is anything other than a "cadet" at these entry points. Cadet programmes are almost always through the same few integrated training providers and the status is either predetermined at course onset or decided after the completion of the course. Look at where the airlines that are recruiting cadets are sourcing them from?
The self improver route has a long history, and has been a succesful route for many people into a good aviation career. However the route itself has changed radically over the last decade. 200 hours has never, ever, been the benchmark level for airline recruitment other than through a handful of cadet programmes and through a handful of "approved" training schools. In many respects that is just as true today as it ever was, other than in regards to the fact that the specific market has grown. That growth has been masked to some extent by the general recession, but the fundamental point is obvious.
The self improver route which once required 700 hours minimum, and then usually a number of "stepping stone" progressions to the big league, has been swamped by both the growth in the integrated provision, and the fact that "aerial work" CPL's at merely 200 hours is simply a super saturated marketplace, that never had any history of success at all, as it didn't exist (in the UK) prior to JAR.
So now not only do you have all these "200 hour licence holders" looking for the few aerial work positions that are available, but due to the other economic realities you also have large numbers (as you have already pointed out) of integrated school graduates also chasing these same few opportunities.
In many respects the "self improver" climb always was a difficult one. Now it is even more so because of the fact that the "CPL" can be achieved via this route with barely a quarter of the experience that was required previously.
You pay your money and you take your choice! I try not to promote any particular school, airline or programme, but to keep the observations as general as possible. The truth is that if anybody believes a first tier airline career is waiting for them at "200 hours" they had better be lucky, determined, resourceful, and on one of these integrated programmes.
Following the "self improver" route, there may well be rare first tier opportunities, but the sheer weight of numbers imposes a sobering reality check for anybody prepared to use foresight or wait until that reality hits home. Nevertheless, it will continue (by choice but usually necessity) to be far and away the most popular methodology employed.
As an analogy you can win the jackpot with £100 of premium bonds. However your chances of winning it are vastly improved by holding £30,000 worth of bonds. Are the large volume holders "fools"? You decide.
There are no guarantees. It is all about giving yourself the best odds. The best chance of success. I can only tell you what I see and what I have experienced over the last 35 years. The response is honest, and it is the advice I would give my own kids. Take it or leave it, I am not offended or rewarded either way.
You can factor in no end of things. Loans at 3% with inflation running at 5%. Working as an Insurance salesman when some others are flying 80 hours a month as a 737 or A320 First Officer. What looks "so good then" is a matter for you to decide. However we are talking about achieving a goal here. A lot of people won't, but that is the basis of the premise. I absolutely agree that if the risk, financial commitment and circumstances don't satisfy somebody, then yes absolutely do what works for you. I am simply pointing out a set of realities that many people are very reluctant to address.
I think the argument here is that to what extent people "achieving their goal" is damaging the industry and pushing chaps who are not 'men of means' out of the running completely.
I concede, an Integrated course could more than likely lead to employment quicker than Modular. Equally, there were a lot of Integrated blokes in some really bad positions and renewing just the same as Modular students over the past few years. But these chaps were £30,000 lighter than their Modular counterparts, as a result of their chosen route.
On the flip side, the scheme that you have described sounds very good. BA Future Pilot also sounds pretty good in my estimation. Flexicrew and Ryanair do not.
So... overall the debate here is around "severity of risk" and of individual 'means'. If you have good financial backing you can push the financial realms of this to a great extent. You can be baled out, if things go awry.
The fallout from this 'stretching'; is the lowering of terms & conditions to ridiculous levels.
Bear in mind, there are a lot of blokes who've devoted everything to this and who are now effectively forced out. If we seem a tad bitter or angry, wouldn't you be if you had not had a life for the past five years and sacrificed almost everything in order to pursue this?
Try walking a mile in our shoes before you judge us too harshly.
I'm still curious as to what school and airlines this scheme involves. Sounds good to me, nothing like what I've read on here apart from any cadet schemes such as Monarch MPL or BA FPP.
I agree with everything Beazlebub says. If it works out like he describes you're laughing.
If it doesn't work out you are going to be £90k deep (possibly + interest) facing some very tough decisions.
If you have access to the cash (and can afford to potentially write it off) fill your boots!
Well that's just it isn't it, if. I have the money for it, but without a name of this school or airline and assuming it isn't a cadet scheme I have no way of looking into what Beazle describes.
I'm a strong believer that I'll get a job via modular, maybe not within a year or 5 years but I believe I will get it.
Might be wrong, but it sounds very much like CTC and their deal with Easyjet that Beazelbub is talking about??
I don't know all the details, but 'cadets' initially fly for easy on a flexicrew contract for 6 months on something like circa a grand take home a month? They then hope to get a permanent contract on proper money. At the moment this is likely but it hasn't always been the case. A couple of years ago or so, people in some instances went onto another temp contract or were let go.
But, despite the cost of the integrated course and reduced initial wage, rhs of an airbus with a company like easyjet with just 200h is difficult to knock.
Could be completely wrong though!!
Thanks for everyone's answers, certaintly didn't mean for this to become a mod vs. int debate!
I also didn't mean to pick airlines I wish to work for, I was just throwing names out there as examples.
I'm just trying to do as much research as possible!
17000EUR for a FO at Ryanair?? That doesn't sounds right from what I've heard... I would be interested to know where you got that number from. I believe you earn around £50 per hour assume you do 800 then it will be 41000EUR?
WRT CTC and easyJet I believe the inital flexi-crew contract is a 3 year contract where for the first 8 months you earn £1000 then after that you earn £43/hour. You must contribute £9000 towards the TR. It seems that there are opportunities for perm positions on the continent. They also seem to pay very well (Madrid). Most commands seem to be offered at LGW (makes sense). Monarch are also doing an MPL at CTC and seem to have increased the recruitment via that path starting with summer contracts and the possiblity of going perm after that.
I do like the look of the self-improver route though, it looks fun and is what you have to do if you fly in South Africa (my family live there) so that possibility is also there.
€40,000 was slashed to 28k for a top FO. The 17,000 is what you're given for the 1st year on the line. Not sure if you get additional pay per sector or something.
Something like that anyway, I stand to be corrected. It was discussed on this forum somewhere.
Thanks for the info pudoc. It seems that this route is becoming far more difficult to achieve... :( It looks like fun aswell. I had a flying lesson on Thursday and realised I would love to be an FI, but if you cannot progress from there then financially you are pretty stuffed!
Is there anyone who recently has managed to make the transition into a jet from a TP? or from instructor onto TP (say last two years). I see Air Mauritius require 2000TT for an A319 job. That could be an potential route for progression if it is the same in a few years time (unlikely) and you can put up with a company run by morons!
I'm not sure if someone can answer this but a thought I had. If easyJet and Ryanair recruit only cadets surely there will then be a shortage of SFOs ready for command? I've seen Ryanair recently recruited for Captain so do they just fill the gap like that then? Sorry for all the questions!
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