View Full Version : To Fly or Not To FLY?

Jeffrey S
17th Dec 2003, 07:51
Hi there fellow aviators.

My name is Jeffrey. I was studying for my PPL at my local aerodrome as a first step to ATPL.....However in september 2003 i received a call from Oxford Aviation about an Airline Preparation Programme i applied for, and the lady said that she would like to invite me to the selection process. I have some questions to you pilots that if you could possibly answer very kindly, i would be much appreciative.

Q #1 Every time i visit this website, i hear of many, many qualified "type rated" pilots being made redundant, especially by the UK carriers. Now.. i am a very keen aviator but do you think its rather a bad time to start to embark on such a career? I would love to now i am in a job where i have the potential to earn 80-100K per year, so as to pay for it but i have the funds already from a house sale.

Q #2... I have been advised by my physiotherapist NOT to fly anymore because of the state of my back....to cut a long story short, this is due to the fact that i was a former Domestic Appliance Engineer for the country's largest Domestic Appliance Manufacturers (Its obvious who this is..) lugging 8 Stone Washer drums about, Coupled with the fact that i had an accident in my van whilst at work, causing whiplash and lumbar injuries which i have to have physio weekly for. Does this mean i will never be able to get my class 1?

Help!!:sad: :sad: :sad:

17th Dec 2003, 16:38
I think #2 is the important one. Get a Class 1 before anything else. If you cannot get a class 1, then that's it anyway. Then get a second opinion on your back and maybe a third. If the medical advice really is not to fly then you'd be fairly daft to ignore that. But spend nothing on anything else until you know exactly what your medical position is.

As for the rest, it is a case of thinking about how much you want it. You don't say if you enjoy your current 80k job, but if you do then i'd think hard about just getting a PPL and spending the 70k on a share in an Extra 300 (or whatever else appeals). You can have an awful lot of fun with a PPL. If, on the other hand, being an airline pilot is the thing you've always wanted to do then go for it. You've got the money, it may not happen (look for posts by WWW on how many people never make it from fATPL to F/O) but you have a chance to try.

...and ignore what Oxford are saying. In the end they're trying to get you to spend 70k (or whatever it costs) with them :)

17th Dec 2003, 16:43
My attitude is there is no 'good' time to start training, you've just got to go for it and work your hardest.

Regarding the problem with your back. I am not medical expert, I would go and see a Aviation Medical Examiner (AME). I have a class one medical and through this experience I suspect that you may have a problem getting a medical.
For your initial class one medical you have to go to Gatwick, and they charge 400 for it. Maybe phone them at Gatwick and take it from there.
Aeromedical Centre
Aviation House
Gatwick Airport South Area
West Sussex RH6 0YR
01293 573700

Hope this helps.

Jeffrey S
17th Dec 2003, 16:50
Thanks Evo....
You know what? Youre right about the flying for pleasure thing.

I was deplaning in the carribean earlier this year where i spoke to the captain, who was very nice. He said that its better to fly for pleasure now as the industry isnt what it used to be.

Since september the 11th attacks the industry seems somewhat deflated... there's so many qualified pilots here who have got no job, not to mention the people like us who are looking to be atpl's.

dont mean to be negative, but it can't be good to spend 75k on flying training with Oxford and then find myself in the dole queue.



thanks for that, was helpful...

one question.. what do they do to you on the day of the medical? blood tests?

17th Dec 2003, 17:01
It's a fairly similar position to the one i'm in, although I don't have the medical worries (I hope :) ). I'm in a reasonably well-paid job which I enjoy, and much as I'm tempted by a fATPL I've decided that flying for fun is the way for me to go (unlike FlyingForFun, but that's another story ;) ). At some point in the future i've got plans for something like a Cap10, and i'm quite tempted to instruct for fun one day as well - but i'm not planning on flying for a living.

Jeffrey S
17th Dec 2003, 17:07
The temptation is there for the atpl but, i must say its a massive gamble. Even though were all very keen.

17th Dec 2003, 17:14
Its more of a question of what don't they do!
Take a look at http://www.caa.co.uk/docs/49/SRG_Med_Initial_Class1_Medex.pdf
I hope you do pass the medical, all the best of luck.

17th Dec 2003, 17:18
I've decided that flying for fun is the way for me to go (unlike FlyingForFun, but that's another story).;)


Jeffrey S
17th Dec 2003, 17:26
oh dear!
thanks for that..:O

no sponsor
19th Dec 2003, 07:16
I've had a few problems with my back, although nothing like yours. Even so, at the class 1, the medic did make me do a few bending exercises to make sure I could bend in different directions. As for blood tests, there are two performed at the class 1: one for hemoglobin content of the blood (the oxygen carrying capacity of the blood), the other for cholesterol (amount of fat in the blood).

19th Dec 2003, 16:48
Well there is nothing to say you have to jump in head first and get a fATPL straight away ! You can do it in a modular fashion, which is what I am doing / have done.

I work for a living, got my PPL back in 2K, went to the US, got my IR in 2001, flew for fun since then. Then I went back in 2003 and got my FAA Commercial MEIR. This has put me in a very good position to convert to JAA, as the average conversion course to JAA fATPL is around 5000-7000.

My Class 2 medical is up for renewal again this March, and I'm thinking of getting the Class 1 instead, and if I get this, doing the ATPL ground exams. Once all this is out of the way, I may convert to JAR.

So far I reckon I've spent $30,000 on flying, add another 10,000 to that for the JAA conversion and I could end up with an FAA CPL ME IR and a JAA fATPL with in excess of 350 hrs.

Why pay through the nose when you don't need to? There are now companies in the US which will take an ICAO (JAA/CAA) PPL holder with around 150 hrs, and take them all the way to JAA fATPL (including FAA CPL/IR) for less than 14,000 including all conversion costs.


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