View Full Version : iv made my decision. where to now?

22nd Jul 2001, 03:14
i have made my decision to leave college with my as-levels and start my long road to becoming a pilot now.
the thing is i dont know where to start.
Can anyone suggest anything?
(please dont try and talk me into going back to college)
thanks in advance

Nick Mahon
22nd Jul 2001, 03:43
Well I know you dont want me to talk to you about going into college but airlines/forces educational requirements normally ask for 2 A-Levels.

Anyway, try to seek sponsorship, or, if you're fortunate enough to have enough dosh for a ppl then find your nearest flying club and crack on with learning to fly. A ppl in Britain will probably set you back around 4000 (I think!!!)

If anyone disagrees then just say so as I'm quite junior myself within the aviation world.

Gash Handlin
22nd Jul 2001, 03:53

Think long and hard about jacking college now.

I binned Uni 2 years through after the RAF binned me and it was the biggest mistake I've made in my life.

It's much better to get your a levels and then you've got a chance of joining the forces or getting sponsorship, what's another year in your life when your 17
and there's nothing to stop you doing your A level and having a part time job so you can start your PPL, It'll just take a lot of work.

But the main thing has to be get A levels, not just as a fallback if the medical or something doesn't work out but wouldn't it be far nicer to have BA pay for your licence than have to spend the next X years struggling to get there through your own finances?

Sorry if this isn't what you want to hear, and I'm sure you've got great reasons for leaving college now, I know I did and look where it's got me.

Not big or clever :mad:

22nd Jul 2001, 03:55

I know you won't be talked into going back, but don't get into thinking that people will employ you with AS levels. All they show is that you did GCSE's and have a little bit more experience...But other than that they mean very little unless backed up with the more in depth A2 study - believe me, it's in depth!

For now, if no oppourtunities jump out at you - get working for a few months, think about the USA for the PPL...Ormond Beach and Naples etc... have some attractive packages... :)

Don't close any doors yet mate, and don't rule out Year 13 all together!



22nd Jul 2001, 04:16
like said the decision HAS BEEN MADE! so if you can help me what should i do next?

22nd Jul 2001, 04:54
To be fair mate, if you're getting out of college at this point without knowing where to go, that is mistake number one that you have already made. I would not be surprised if degrees become a prerequisite in the future, and as others have said, another year in education is not long compared to your career: you may want to rush into it now but it is quite possibly a big mistake. Few people will employ or sponsor 17/18 year old, especially without A-Levels. AS-Levels are not really a hugely recognised qualification beyond GCSE, and additionally, whatever you may feel right now, there is no need to rush in as soon as you can. There are jobs and there will be for a while.

You have the opportunity to open your options; why close them prematurely?

Seth Gecko
22nd Jul 2001, 05:06
The next thing to do is to get a reasonably well paid job and save as much money as you can for a couple of years or so. In the meantime you can try for sponsorship opportunities (although the chances of getting on to one of those schemes are less than favourable with AS qualifications).

If you can get your hands on 55K though, go straight to an approved flying school and get yourself a JAA CPL/IR with frozen ATPL.

Remember there are no formal educational requirements for pilots (although it helps) other than the CPL/IR with ATPL.

[ 22 July 2001: Message edited by: Seth Gecko ]

22nd Jul 2001, 08:27
Come on people - liquidhockey did say the decision has been made! We don't even know if the decision is in his/her control!

Liquidhockey - Assuming you don't have 55k stashed away just yet... the way I'm doing it in NZ is in 3 phases (though I'm doing it slowly, as I'm studying as well).

Phase 1: Work and get your PPL at the same time. This will quench your immediate thirst for flying, while not costing the earth.

Phase 2 (where I am now): Work and save for a big stint of training to get a plain CPL (in NZ no-one will employ a 250hr pilot on twins - in the UK you might want a MEIR and frozen ATPL?)
Keep current with as much cost-sharing flying as you can get. Take your friends, your friend's friends and your friend's friend's friends, though don't piss anyone off by twisting their arm! Cost sharing is great as you get to go wherever you want for 1/4 of the price - a great way to build hours (and it is possible - I've got 35 cost sharing hours, with another 15 or so in the pipeline).

Phase 3: Train for CPL with cash saved, and either find a job or do an instructor rating and find a job.

From there it's just a matter of getting hours, an MEIR, a twin job, and climbing the ladder as high as you want to go :rolleyes:

Hope that helps - make yourself a timeline of what you're doing and when. Work as much as you can, live frugally, and above all STICK TO IT and you'll make it eventually!!


clear prop!!!
22nd Jul 2001, 14:14

Well, you have ruled out sponsorship due to your lack of qualifications, that does not make you a bad person, but it’s a fact, but not the end of the World

You now have to accept, like most student pilots, that you are on that well worn money trail. There is no other way round it you will have to find a way to pay your way through your own training.

So, two questions to ask yourself…and give yourself honest answers or you will pay the price later on.

1 Do you have the academic skills and ability to study HARD for the ATPLS? The college work you are giving up is a breeze compared to what you are about to take on!

2 Can you raise the money to start and FINISH what will be a long hard expensive slog. Whatever anyone tells you add at least 15% for living expenses, re-sits, exams, tests, equipment etc etc etc!

As has been said earlier, age is on your side in many ways, and against you in others, so,… take your time.

I would suggest that modular is your best route. Stop at CPL and do some instructing. Build some hours, experience, some money then do your IR (you’ll have 3 years). You will then have the hours, the age and experience on your side to start looking for Airline work. IMO to go integrated and come out with 250hrs at 18 puts you pretty low down the list of airline candidates. I expect to be shot down in flames for that, and yes I know there are exceptions.

Your problem is not so much which route to take, but how to find the money an lots of it!.

Good luck

Sick Squid
22nd Jul 2001, 15:24
Liquidhockey, with respect you are either making one of the boldest decisions of your life, or the biggest mistake. You may be too physically close to that decision to realise it.

So therefore, if you are being offered feedback, it is best to accept it in a non-defensive manner. I use those words carefully, they come straight from a document used in my airline to highlight some of the traits demonstrated by an effective crew member. Would you choose to fly with someone whose position was "I've made my mind up and will not change it on receiving further information" with regard to a dynamically evolving situation, like the working environment you want to enter?

I wish you luck, but caution that you turn down advice offered on this board, freely and with good intentions, at your peril. From my personal take, going only on the wording in your post above and not knowing any other background I would step back and reconsider for a while, a week, a month whatever.. a flying job does not happen overnight, and you must manouever yourself into the correct position before you even enter the frame. By restricting yourself academically you close many more doors than you open for a flying job.

Once again, good luck, but believe me decisions that can seem so clearcut one day can look so foolish the next. I've been there before.


[ 22 July 2001: Message edited by: Sick Squid ]

22nd Jul 2001, 16:49
Liquid Hockey,

This may seem harsh, but quitting college to become a pilot 'not having a clue where to start' is absurd. :eek:

I assume you can quit because you've got 55k in the bank for an Integrated ATPL course? If so I take it back. If not, why not just continue for 1-2 years (or how ever long you have left) just to apply for sponsorship. Even if unsuccessful with sponsorship get a good job and start saving.

I know you seem to have made up your mind but please think again.
If you are so sure however, start reading up on the modular route to a CPL/IR which will cost you around 30-40K (thats the cheaper option).

JT8 :p

22nd Jul 2001, 16:49
Lets not be too hard on this lad!

Hes made his decision (or his parents have) to leave college with AS-levels. Lets face it, the purpose of A-Levels is really to allow entrance into University. Yes I'm aware BA and RAF require two A-levels. However, most jobs want either GCSEs or a degree in a related subject. Thus if you intend to leave anyway with A-levels and not go to university its not such a tragedy. I am aware that education is never lost, broadens horizons and helps self study skills - important for those ATPLs! However, its not the end of the world though!!

Liquid you should really have had a sound battle plan worked out before leaving, but sometimes you have to take stock of the situation and take time out to think what youre going to do next.

I was in a similar position to yourself, although much further down the education path in the realms of postgrad. I made a break from that because I was deeply depressed and now I'm happy earning money towards my flying.

Hope everything works out for you.


22nd Jul 2001, 18:17
It seems that the general concensus is that you should reconsider your decision to leave college. Even suppposedly final decisions can be reversed!

Unless you have hit the principal or something similar, swallow your pride and get back to college. 3 or 4 years can appear an extremely long time when you are 18 years old or so, but in reality it isn't.

Unless you have the necessary 30-55k sitting around you will either need sponsorship or a decent job.

Unless the job market has changed since I left full time education, I don't see how you will be able to land a job that will fund your aspirations without further qualifications or a good deal of time working your way up from the bottom.

Working at McDonalds would be as good for your flying aspirations as it would be for your skin - I know, I worked there whilst studying for my A Levels.

Sometimes when you ask for advice, you don't always hear what you wanted. Knowing very little about you, I'd say you've made a mistake.

Don't be in such a rush. Play the percentage game - stay in full time education as long as you can, and enjoy it. You will be at work for 35 years plus anyway. That's enough for anybody.

22nd Jul 2001, 19:07
Liquid Hockey,

You say the decision has been made, as though that means it's set in stone and can't be changed.

When flying, one frequently has to change decisions that have been made, sometimes when you really really don't want to. One also has to listen to others, again, even when they're saying what you don't want to hear.

Are you sure you have that flexibity and maturity? I'm only asking, that's all.

22nd Jul 2001, 23:26
Alright LH,

I was on the same boat as you 1 month ago,(I am 18 in three weeks)

I was wanting to start learning to fly as soon as i could gaining my CPL as quick as possible and getting a job (instructing)
(only getting a lesson around once a month)

but i was thinking if i left college i would work for a year(already been offered a job with BT customer services which was good money for my age(clearing 260 a week)
I thought great I will go to florida in a year for the CPL req course.
But with some mates urging me to stay on at college for my Higher National Diploma in Aeronautical Engineering i decided the saving up for flying can wait 1 year and I am now staying on (even though facing not flying of to florida till Im almost 20)

The only bad bit is my mates are all driving about in corsa SRI's and done up motors whilst Im trying to save up for flying but I know that when they are working as the ground engineer for BA(if they can even get that far) at manchester and I fly in as the first officer in a BA 757 they will see me getting in my TVR with my pilots uniform on
You still driving that corsa mate

you could wait to
send me an email mate

See ya later people

23rd Jul 2001, 02:59
well i do have an idea so its not such an absurd idea like some of you have said.
here is roughly what i am thinking of doing.
A)go straight to work and start earning the pennys and eventually do my ppl.
B)Go back to work and earn around 10k. goto the banks and get 1/2loans to boost it up to 30k.
C)Use the money and do my CPL/ATPL/IR/MCC and possibly an instructers course.
D) Go back to work/intructing and apply to every airline and cargo airline on the earth!

Ok does that sound like a good action plan? and dont say no because i havent got my a-levels.


23rd Jul 2001, 04:24
dont say no because i havent got my a-levels

Ok, let's assume that your life goes exactly according to plan, up to step D. Now it comes time for you to "apply to every airline and cargo airline on the earth". Don't you realize that you will be competing against applicants who DO have their a-levels (and higher). Don't fool yourself...the airline industry is extremely competitive.

Why would an airline hire you when they can hire another pilot with equal potential who has also demonstrated the ability to pass a higher level of academic studies?

Better question: Why are you so strongly against higher education, especially when you've learned through these pages that it will actually HELP you get an airline job?

I'm not telling you to go back to college. BUT, you will be doing yourself a huge disservice if you think that you will be on equal footing with other applicants.

[ 22 July 2001: Message edited by: AA76757 ]

Seth Gecko
23rd Jul 2001, 04:26
I wish you the very best of luck LH. Before you embark on the course of action you have stated, it is probably wise to get a class one medical. Also it might be prudent to complete a GAPAN test. I am not personally familiar with these tests but from what others say, they give you a good indication as to whether or not you have the potential to become a pilot. A little financial outlay now will be much better than spending alot of money down the track only to find you will not be able to make the grade either medically or in a flying sense (some people just can't).

It will get hard, and people will tell you you are mad to spend all that money just to become a pilot. But ignore the detractors and give it all you have got, it will be worth it in the end. Good luck once again

[ 23 July 2001: Message edited by: Seth Gecko ]

23rd Jul 2001, 04:48
ok thanks for the advice in the LAST post.
Where can i go to have a GAPAN? and what s involved in this? and how much will it cost?

clear prop!!!
23rd Jul 2001, 12:34

Sadly, what has become evident during this thread, is the complete and utter lack of homework done on your part before dumping college to become a pilot.

For someone who has made such a dramatic and potentially expensive career/education decision, you appear to know very little about what’s involved…now is not the time to be finding out!!!

There seems to be a lot of ‘cart before the horse’ going on here!
Before you go any further I would suggest that you at least read Clive Hughes book on how to become an Airline Pilot ( use the search function, there is a recent and current post). Then, as has been stated, GET A CLASS ! before you spend a penny.
(please don’t come back and ask how you do that!)

If you do go on to train as a commercial pilot, one thing you will have to learn is never again to say, ‘I’ve made my decision what next?’. Decisions are made based on available information NOT the other way around!!!!

Sorry to be so blunt, but you do not appear to be listening to any of the sound advice given here…..slow down my friend!

[ 23 July 2001: Message edited by: clear prop!!! ]

23rd Jul 2001, 12:54

You are REDUCING the chances of becoming
a professional pilot by binning A levels
This is because in effect you are excluding sponsorship.

LISTEN to the advice.. These guys know
what they are talking about..

Now I know what George Bernard Shaw meant
when he said 'why is youth wasted on the young ..! '

[ 23 July 2001: Message edited by: RVR800 ]

23rd Jul 2001, 13:44
Have you considered asking somebody who knows you for advice? Perhaps a teacher, parent or a friend of the family?

They may be better placed to advise you on whether you have the necessary personality traits, intelligence, social skills etc to become a professional pilot. The competencies necessary are easy to get hold of. It is very hard for us to give you advice as we don't even know your real name, past experiences, skills etc.

Let's have a look at the basics:

How many lessons have you had so far ?
We know you've not had a Class 1 medical.
You haven't done any form of testing to ascertain your suitability before embarking on a very expensive process.

If you had fully researched the subject, before making your decision I am sure you would have received advice that was more to your liking. You didn't. By the sound of it you have read PPrune a bit, like the idea of flying a jet, and decided the best way to do that was to leave full time education. Hardly an abject lesson in decision making.

There is a huge amount of support available to people through PPrune. However, don't expect to ask for advice and only hear how brave you've been when most people think you have been a bit daft.

I am sure that many people on this forum wish that they could turn the clock back and grab with both hands the chances that you are quite happy to throw away i.e attaining great A Levels results and a degree. These would stand you in good stead for the rest of your life, boring but true.

Noone doubts your enthusiasm, just your methods of attaining your dreams. In my opinion you aren't doing it in a rational or professional manner.

Go back to college. At least until you've worked out how to best achieve your dream and given the whole subject more respect.

Don't be a fool, go back to school! :D

Best regards

[ 23 July 2001: Message edited by: Blindside ]

23rd Jul 2001, 14:24
A)go straight to work and start earning the pennys and eventually do my ppl.
B)Go back to work and earn around 10k. goto the banks and get 1/2loans to boost it up to 30k.
C)Use the money and do my CPL/ATPL/IR/MCC and possibly an instructers course.

Oh matey. I left college with 3 A' Levels last year (maths, physics, computing all at grade C). What have I saved up so far? Jack sh*t! and yes my only interest is aviation and the folks helped out :eek:

23rd Jul 2001, 18:10
Firstly i HAVE researched into this in fact iv spent the past YEAR researching into this career. The decision to leave college was made by things out of my control and therefore i have no influence into the decision.
This isnt a slap dash decision to start my training ASAP i have thought of every avenue and have spend hours thinking long and hard of the advantage and disadvantages of making this decision and believe me the advantages come out on top in my eyes.
I started this thread with one simple request and that was for no-one to try and talk me into going back to college but it seems that is all i have got.
I am asking for some serious advice so please could we start from scratch and leave out the persuading?

23rd Jul 2001, 18:52
Dave, I would agree with everything the guys have already told you, however, if you're dead set on it and you're looking for the way forward one thing you may want to do is to get yourself down to a ground/flight school and take a look around.

Talk to the instructors about your plans, get their angle on your approach, they know what they're on about. Take a good look at the ATPL theory material, be sure that you are ready and able to tackle it, believe me when you see it stacked up from the floor upwards, it will give you a perspective on it you may not have had thus far.

It's HARD, there is no two ways about it, believe me. Please, do all you can to prepare yourself for what you think you are letting yourself in for, sheer bloody work, no pi$$ing about, then the ever so competitive job market to tackle.

I wish you all the very best however you go about things, but prepare yourself for it, please don't jump in without the most thorough research.

All the best.

(edited for cack grammar).

[ 23 July 2001: Message edited by: GonvilleBromhead ]

23rd Jul 2001, 19:34

In your first post, you state that you don't know where to start and ask for help. Bit further through the thread you tell us that you've spent a year researching the subject. Which is it?

You might have noticed that there is a general consensus on what you should do. If funding for college is a problem, then funding for flying is going to be equally problematic. If academics were causing you grief then the ATPL exams are going to be worse. And if you're lucky enough that money is no object, you may not have the raw ability and capacity to make it professionally as a pilot. Any way you look at the problem college will help you in the long term. Check the thread regarding motivation.

Finally, if you ask for advice, be prepared to hear answers you don't like. If you have sufficient determination to become a pilot you should have sufficient initiative to get back to college and complete your education.

23rd Jul 2001, 19:51
perhaps the fact is you wont do A levels cos your a dumbass? If you cant even pass an Alevel the only thing youll be flying is a flymo when your working as a gardener's assistant .
Get real think strait and listen to mommy

wake up, smell the coffee its time to land

23rd Jul 2001, 19:54
I can only speak from my own personal experience but.

I left School in 1997 with 3 good A levels. I decided to go on to University and complete my degree.

I have now left University and am beginning the long road by applying to sponsorships etc and well paid graduate jobs if I have to do it myself.

I now have a full back if I fail a medical. I now have a full back that if after 25 years the aviation industry is now what we know it is to be now.

I wouldn't jump into anything and in all honesty would advise you to work hard and get those A Levels. There are no guarantees in life, and an extra year might seem to be the end of the world right now but don't look back in 20 odd years and say why didn't I do those A levels.

Best of luck in whatever you choose to do


23rd Jul 2001, 20:28
NOT because i cant manage them.
and tugtisu does your mummy and daddy know you use big people message boards?? i bet they are very proud of you well done son.
PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE stick to the question for the last time!!!!

23rd Jul 2001, 20:41

You want the answer to your question?

Leave college, get a job earning lots of money (cos that will be easy). Save 40-50k and then do an ab-initio course. Alternatively, leave college, get job earning moderate amounts of cash and do modular.

Now how do you propose to get a job that pays sufficient to get you through an ATPL? It's expensive enough for those people with full-time, well paid jobs let alone for someone with virtually no qualifications. And, as has been said before, no-one will look at you for sponsorship without 2 A-levels.

So, in a nutshell, you don't need help with the flying training, you need help finding well-paid employment. Now, if you had the answer to that question you'd be well on your way to making your first million. ;)

Good luck

PS So why keep us in suspense, why can't you go to college?

23rd Jul 2001, 20:49
Guys I think we're missing the point here! The key words are 'ive made my decision'.

It may have not entirely been his decision, can't you see that! It could be change in family circumstances that his family can't afford to keep him in education any longer- it does cost money (sorry Liquid if this isn't the case).

If this is indeed the case it still doesn't rule out night school- as this would be a good idea. However, the number one priority for Liquid is to earn money and look to the future. As for the sponsorship, you would be lucky to gain sponsorship if you have all the A-levels and degrees in the world. Although someone has to gain these elusive sponsorship places. However, A-levels are worth doing not for the sponsorship places but as to fall-back in later life etc.

Apologies again Liquid if the above isn't true about family circumstances, i'm just stabbing in the dark like everyone else!

23rd Jul 2001, 20:57
All our final decisions are made in a state of mind that is not going to last.
Marcel Proust (1871 - 1922)

Capt Wannabee
23rd Jul 2001, 21:11
If the situation is beyond your control the best thing you can do, I think, is spend the next several years working and flying at the same time.
You want to work and then do your PPL and then go back to work and save 10K and get 20K off the bank to pay for CPL/IR/MCC and Instructors rating. Don't know if this is the best way.

You may struggle to borrow the money as the banks are very strict on loans of that size. Unless you can get your parents to remortage their house you may struggle as the banks will consider you a bad risk as you only have GCSE's and AS Levels and should you not get a pilots job you will struggle to pay the loan back.
If your parents can re-mortage their house do you want that on your back.

Perhaps the best option is to get yourself a reasonable job where you can work your way up and stick with it (rather than temping / flying / temping etc and never getting a big pay increase) and use all your holidays and weekends to fly. Have one account for weekend flying (so never much money in)and an account like an ISA where you pay money in all year and never touch it so at the end of the year you can use that to pay for your night / distance learing etc. Most importantly develop an ability to live without a social life! It won't be easy and without a solid education behind you it will take you longer to save the money (as you won't be as well paid not because you can't count or anything) but you sound commited and thats half the battle.

Good luck.

Edited to remove some waffle!

[ 23 July 2001: Message edited by: Capt Wannabee ]

23rd Jul 2001, 21:24
ok thanks a lot for the insight from the last two posts il find that information very helpful. and thankyou to those who stuck to my question. and tarmach what you said about financial dificulties, well its not the case but dont worry about it i know you were just 'for instancing'.
Il keep you updated

23rd Jul 2001, 22:40
Tarmach - how can he have made the decision to quit college, when we keep being told that it is out of his control??

I am also intrigued as to why he has had to leave college. But if he doesn't want to tell the whole story he doesn't have to - it's his thread.

I'm bored of acting as Clare Raynor as the lad doesn't want to listen anyway.

Please keep me posted Liquid, I'll be very interested in how you get on.


But just for good measure and to wind you up -

Stay in school - you know it's cool!!!! :D

23rd Jul 2001, 22:48
well to be honest blindside its none of your business why!!
and i will keep you posted and as long as i pass my medical the news you get wont be what you want to hear because i didnt need a-levels in the end il make sure of it!!

23rd Jul 2001, 22:53
we'll see..... :rolleyes:

23rd Jul 2001, 23:20
Hope you've got a better answer than that when you apply for a job! You may not wish to air your past on this forum (which is still anonymous) but a potential employer might want to know why you jacked in your education to stack shelves. :D

24th Jul 2001, 00:08
Two things you should never do in life:

(a) Get married
(b) Leave University

:D :D :D

Seth Gecko
24th Jul 2001, 00:17
I am a little disturbed by the slightly disparaging comments directed at LH on this thread.

The wannabes forum is specifically for people in LH’s situation; know where they want to go, but not sure how to get there. I understand and appreciate other board members views and opinions with regards to education and the vehement competition for Airline jobs. I myself think LH is unwise and is putting himself at a disadvantage to finish education with what can only be described as weak qualifications (sorry to everybody with AS qualifications). But I respect LH’s position; cannot continue with education for whatever reason but desperately wants to become a commercial pilot. He needs to be made aware of the situation facing him but I feel constant berating will do him no good, especially if this board is the only contact he has with aviation at the moment.

Edited for printing a misleading statement, or so it seems.

[ 23 July 2001: Message edited by: Seth Gecko ]

PPRuNe Dispatcher
24th Jul 2001, 00:17
Actually liquidhockey, you still CAN do you A-levels. It's called evening classes or nightschool, and the level of teaching is generally as good as or sometimes better than that at school.

Two friends of mine, a mother and daughter, both successfully did an A-level in an academic subject in one year at night school. The mother had never passed an exam in her life; the daughter was only 16 at the time.

---PPRuNe Dispatcher

clear prop!!!
24th Jul 2001, 01:01

Just what DOES he want us to tell him?
It has ALL been said in one way or another!

I think the comments have become 'slightly disparaging' out of frustration with this lad. http://www.stopstart.fsnet.co.uk/smilie/smash.gif

He seems to only want to hear what he wants to hear. There have been plenty pieces of advice which did not include going back to college, but they have been rolled into the ‘none of you will listen’ category.

At least four replies have given him a route ahead, albeit with some words of caution and some questioning of his abilities to get through the ATPL course if he can’t hack A levels (for whatever reason).
From what I have read so far and his attitude towards those who offer genuine advice, based on experience, there is little chance of LH passing an aptitude test let alone an MCC course.

Enthusiasm is one thing but it has to be tempered by the reality of life and that is not what he wants to hear about.

LH ….

Will you feel better if we tell you that you have made the right decision and welcome you aboard?, tell you that everything is easy and to get yourself down to OATS and sign yourself up, sail through the course and we’ll see you in the RHS of a 747 this time next year?? ….. NOT A BLOODY CHANCE!

Good luck with whatever you choose, but I don’t think you’re going to hear what you want to hear here…whatever it is!

[ 23 July 2001: Message edited by: clear prop!!! ]

24th Jul 2001, 01:39
you've heard all this in various ways, but let's see if I can present the argument in a way that makes sense to you.
At 17 you have one great advantage over all other wannabes, and that is time. Your challenge is to use that time to add value to yourself so that when you come to look for a job (in whatever field) you stand out above the average applicant. That is easily explained, but bloody hard to do.
You have decided to leave your A-level course? Well, that puts you at a serious dieadvantage against all those who continue. You don't need A-levels for a flying job, some will say. No, you don't. There are some even in BA, Virgin, etc who don't have them, but not many - and almost none of them are under 40 years old. You could well, after 5 or 6 years hard graft, end up with an air taxi job without those A-levels, having a lovely time in your twin piston, visiting the great airports where those better qualified (and, by now, younger) than you are just getting into their Airbusses and Boeings and jetting off to parts of the world you'll never see - unless you pay for it yourself.
Of course, you might say the world is full of those who have succeeded without academic exams. Well, acyually it isn't. There are a very few, highly visible, entrepeneurs that have made it (and, even without the exams, they worked their arses off to get where they are). For every one of those there are thousands of more ordinary folk who took the conventional route. Airlines do not employ unconventional people, believe me.
So, how can you use your time to get an advantage over the other Joe Bloggses out there? Go to watever educational establishment you can and get those A-levels as quickly and as well as you can. Then get your Class 1 medical and do the GAPAN aptitude tests. If you're still considered worthy of flight training, get on a PPL course and start applying for sponsorships.
To reinforce the point, the rarest pilot in the airlines now is the under-30 chap with no A-levels and no financial cushion to get him through unspomsored training. Why make it difficult for yourself?
To put it another way, why should anyone help a guy who refuses to help himself?

24th Jul 2001, 02:11
Nicely put Scroggs ;)

Flying Canuck
24th Jul 2001, 03:20

As you seem determined to get an answer to your question of what to do, I'll do my best to give a simple answer. But as most on this forum will agree, there are many different paths to go, so there really isn't a simple answer.

First thing you should do is get a Class 1 medical, budget about 400pnds & half a day at the CAA Aviation House in Gatwick. Without a Class 1, the rest doesn't matter!!

Next, decide what your aviation goals are. From there, you can start to figure out what path might help you reach them. The path to the LHS seat of a shiny new 777, or as you're still a few years away a 380 or even the Sonic Cruiser might be different than the path to being an instructor or a turbo-prop pilot. Or is your goal to be a line check-pilot or the fleet manager at a larger carrier? You need to decide what you want out of a flying career??

As you already know, you basically have 2 routes. You can either do a modular route, training as you earn, or you can do a self-funded ab-initio course (OATS, JEREZ, etc...). Each has it's advantages, & it's disadvantages, but as you've been researching this for the past year, I won't rehash all of them here.

You've already gone on your first flight, which is great. But, have you looked into flight clubs or schools in your area?? Or have you started looking into how to fund a 60,000pnd ab-initio course.If you've figured that one out, let me know!!!

A great book to get would be "the Guide to Getting your Commercial Licence" by Clive Hughes (already mentioned on this thread & many times in the Wannabes forum). You can get a copy through Transair pilot shops. & keep PPRUNEing, there's a huge wealth of information available here, even the opinions that you may not like.

Specifically for you, I'd recommend starting your PPL, at least start the ground school as you figure the rest out. I say that because, 1) you can see what you're getting yourself into & 2) you'll see what flying aptitude you possess. I would recommend the GAPAN testing, as it also would be a great indicator of your potential flying skills & on your ability to do aptitude tests, but as you've already eliminated yourself from most sponsorships, you don't have to worry about aptitude tests. So you might as well spend the money on lessons & get feedback from an instructor!! Working & flying is probably the best way at this stage, but try to fly as many times each week as you can, this will save on re-learning techniques & allow you to progress quickly & with some order.

Last few things, I took a look at previous threads to try to get some background. In March 2001, you stated that you didn't think you'd finish your A-levels with the B's required for City University, fair enough. If finishing them will only hurt you, then why finish?? Not finishing can't hurt you anymore than finishing with bad grades. The sponsorships that require A-levels you'd be excluded from either way. You also wanted to know if you needed to be a rocket scientist to complete your ATPL's, you were told that you'd didn't need to be a rocket scientist, but you did need to know how to study & prepare for the exams. School gives you this advantage, but it isn't the only way to learn how to study. I hope you know how, because the subject matter is very in depth and is not easy. Starting your PPL groundschool will show you this.

To give you a little background to the industry on this side of the pond, Air Canada requires both a degree and an ATPL. Actually all carriers in North America require a degree in addition to your ATPL, so without a degree you're excluded right from the start. It's a little different in the UK. They don't require a degree or your A-levels, but there will be many pilots applying who will have them. What do you offer to make up for it, is it a second language, is it fast-jet experience, is it glass cockpit experience, is it a type rating?? So you may not be excluded but you'll have to make up for it somewhere to swing the scale back in your favour. Interviews are generally awarded using points, points for hours, points for education etc... What will be the equalizer for you??

Hope this helps!! & Good-Luck!!

[ 23 July 2001: Message edited by: Flying Canuck ]

24th Jul 2001, 03:23

I can sympathize with you on this.

However, when I was asked to leave the establishment that I was at, I did not have anybody to fall back on for advice and guidance to the degree that has been presented to you so far and trust me what's above will help you in the long run

The only things I feel that are to be said are these.

i) Give yourself one full day to make the final, final decision.

ii) Seriously consider distance learning, it's not easy, but WILL work out in your advantage.

iii) Whatever you do, good luck and I'm sure that everyone here will help where they can.

All the best


24th Jul 2001, 03:44
i appreciate the advice scroggs and im going to look into nightschool and just get an idea of cost, how long it takes etc.
if anyone with experience with this can help me i would be grateful.
Afterall it cant hurt to have a look and thats what i said about finding out how to become a pilot and look at me now all motivated and ready to go.

24th Jul 2001, 14:28
Just an aside to what you've already been told Dave, if you haven't done so already, look at Pilot Pete's story and it will show you what you can come up against in trying to make it. But also it shows that it is certainly possible (cracking read by the way Pete).

Good luck.

24th Jul 2001, 16:26
Liquid Hockey,

Just one more thing to add. The previous post suggests to me that you found A levels tough. Well, I passed three A levels many years ago, in science subjects, with two grade As and one B. I went to Uni, got a Class 2(i) degree, with merits in most subjects on the way up. Many years later, when out of practice at studying, I moved to Wales, and did O and A level Welsh for the heck of it, while working full time. I'm telling you this to show that I'm not stupid, and I can do academic stuff, OK?

Earlier this year I did the CPL(H) exams, the old CAA ones. They're slightly easier than ATPLs, and I believe the JAR exams are all harder than the old ones anyway. I've passed them all now, but THEY WERE THE HARDEST THING I'VE EVER DONE!

The above is purely for your information along with everything else.

Jimmy Mack
24th Jul 2001, 19:01
Hi Liquid Hockey,

If you are still reading this far and not too disillusioned, here's a different view.

Time and money is likely to get you there...eventually...just a question of how long and how much. Early days of flying are usually pretty good indicators of how you are going to progress through the levels from PPL to CPL etc. If you find the early stages hard (perhaps judged by how many hours it takes to get your PPL, go First Solo, pass written exams etc), it's likely you will also find the later stages difficult...etc.

One thing that is cast iron is that you MUST have a Class I Medical to become an Airline Pilot. This is dependent on your body & its physical well-being - a lot of which you can't influence.

My advice to you if you have definitely decided would be to go to the CAA and get a Class I Medical FIRST before shelling out any money on flying training - cos if you are unfortunate enough to fail on something, you won't be able to continue.

Hopefully you will pass this, but you do need to know.

Go to: www.caa.co.uk (http://www.caa.co.uk) Medical Section for info.

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