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Enough is enough

Old 12th Apr 2011, 11:20
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Excellent posting Desk Pilot, totally agree and I would add, that things aren't that rosy in the 'Quality Career' airlines you mention - attitudes from those in higher office/those promoted to places where ambition outweighs ability are all the same, just different coloured aircraft!

I'm not going to say 'keep your chin up' because I think it's all boll*cks really!
I'd go with the holiday/beer/time out option...

Cheers
JB
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Old 13th Apr 2011, 16:15
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10 years there was a BA cadet programme...

Excellent advice on taking time out, and seeing flying in the context of what it is. A job.

I can not get over that 10 years ago BA were still doing a cadet programme to where we are today.
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Old 18th Apr 2011, 07:44
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Never say never

Sorry to hear about your situation. You have my sympathy and understanding. Well as a lot of other posters have already suggested, I would suggest you to take some time off to allow yourself to see all this from a different point of view. A long time ago I found myself in the same situation. Money was over and I had no interview. I have given up flying for more than 15 years. Got an aerospace engineering degree and a desk job. I felt happy and satisfied for many years but...well that was not the end of the story. Three years ago I got my airline pilot job. Less money and unsocial hours, but big fun, with the extra benefit of a very solid and safe backup job if for whichever reason in the future I will be grounded (medical problem or an airline bankruptcy, etc). No debts, the lady is happy and myself too. I am much more relaxed than most of my colleagues in the cockpit who surely have more hours and flight experience than me, but with their licence as the sole and unique earning source. To cut the long story short, this is my suggestion. If you temporarily give up flying and revert to a "normal" job qualification, in the future this will turn to be your strongest point in the unreliable airline job market. Nobody knows what might happen in the while, never say never!
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Old 11th May 2011, 08:36
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I left my career back in 2003 join the airlines and was one of the few that were lucky enough to finish just at the right time. On the whole I enjoy it but it's definately right that there are lots of other good and interesting careers out there that offer a better lifestyle, more money and much, much higher levels of security.

I guess aviation is like climbing a mountain. You know it's there, you see it all the time and you're desperate to climb it. Once you do it's now a case of "it was nice up there and I'm glad I've done it but I've no longer got the urge to do it again." And therein lies the problem...you can't really be objective about the career until you've been there.

Personally I like the comradeship, I like working on my own with a small crew and not battling over meaningless issues with an army of mediocre back-stabbing corporate colleagues. I like being left alone to do my job and I LOVE the fact that once I'm off duty after my week, I can pack away my uniform and flight bag and not think about work for a few days. To be honest I also kind of like the status (sad I know but it is always a job that people respond positively to) and I'll never grow tired of looking out the window on a nice day.

However, the long days, pressurisation cycles, lack of breaks, dry air, noisy flightdeck, insidious pressure, delays, lack of support from service providers etc. etc. does take its toll. Not always, but it can make the job frustrating. Still, grass greener etc.

If you're waiting for a job...be patient. If it's meant for you it'll come to you. Try and keep current above all. My company has hired new people and I'm pretty sure all of them were in current flying practice when they were interviewed. Tough I know, but try. Good luck.
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Old 11th May 2011, 10:48
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Interesting post!

Always nice to hear the views of Pilots from all levels and experience.
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Old 11th May 2011, 12:56
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Wilton Shagpile Well said
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Old 12th May 2011, 09:40
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WS,

ok, and where are the jobs? with you experience, can you not help them instead?.
who cares about your nice stories?if you don't like dry air, really that's not their problem.

so cut the crap, and tell them where to get a job!
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Old 13th May 2011, 15:15
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I can relate to your position as I had a similar experience a few years back having started my course in October 01 (3 weeks after 9/11). The market went belly up and by the time I got my FATPL there were hundreds of laid off, experienced pilots in the UK.

I had to earn cash to put a roof over my head and was fortunate enough to get an office job. But I knew I had to keep flying one way or another.
I completed an FI course doing just one day per week and due to the UK weather etc it took about 12 months to complete. This kept my flying current however whilst adding to my flying qualifications.
Having made alot of contacts over that 12 months led to a part-time instructor's job (weekends only) and I continued with my office job Mon-Fri and instructing at the weekend, basically having a double life! Several months later (and with around 1000 hrs) I got lucky with an airline, as did most of the instructors over time.

I know the industry is in a bad place right now, in-fact the company I work for laid off around 100 experienced F/O's last year

The good news is that most went on to find alternative flying jobs, even if they had to move several thousand miles away to do so. So, there are jobs out there, and as long as there is movement, there will be opportunities.

I guess what I'm saying is get on with your life, but if you are determined to fly for a living, you must keep a foot in the aviation door. It's usually the people you meet along the way which lead to the opportunities, and the only way you will meet these people is by surrounding yourself with them.

Flying of some form has to be the best way, and if you’re going to pay for general PPL flying, you may as well pay the extra few quid and do an FI rating whilst you’re at it. Aviation is a small world and you will meet many useful people if you can stay involved.

Alternatively, a job as cabin crew, airline staff, airport staff etc. would give you an inside hand and an ear to the ground and introduce you to lots of handy people.

On the other hand, I know guys who tried to find a flying job for a few years and then moved on. They are now happy in other careers and would probably not wish to go back and change their decision.

Good luck with whatever you decide to do.
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Old 16th May 2011, 18:59
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I've seen a few cycles and when the jobs aren't there, no one ever thinks they are ever going to find work.

Then BA (and the likes) recruit, then everyone gets to move up the ladder, creating a vacuum at the bottom.

Yes, its expensive, draining and generally everyone will tell you I told you so- I told you couldn't do it.

But you can, just stick with the plan and don't give up...
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Old 19th May 2011, 18:27
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First of all as many above have said before I sympathise with your situation, however surely you must have known that this was a possibility when you started your training?

I am not having a go, but with any research done prior to starting your training, the possibility of not getting employed becomes glaringly obvious. I know that everyone thinks "I am different" and "I will go that extra mile and get employed" but really? I just wish that wannabes would heed the warning signs.

Don't get me wrong I did exactly the same thing, kept telling myself that I would be different. I spent a year working up to 90 hours a week in 3 different non aviation jobs, after getting my little blue book, in order to afford to head to financially free myself to head to Africa, found a job and spent over 2 years bush flying. I have since moved on and 4 years after completing my licence I am still in GA, but I'm working on my 3rd continent, have over 2000 hours, earning more than most of those newbies flying in the right hand seat of a shiny jet.

Am I happy? Yes.
Do I want to get into something bigger? Yes but at the moment I am just happy to have a job.
I never understood the rush to get into the right hand seat of a jet. I have learnt a lot in the last 3 years, I have experienced things most people never do, and I am a much better pilot for it.

With your financial situation I would suggest thinking outside the box. Spend some time in GA, maybe even see the world...
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Old 23rd May 2011, 12:10
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This is my first post on this forum. I have read this thread with great interest as I have recently started my PPL with the idea of obtaining the fATPL at some point in the future. I am lucky in one respect, that I have a full time job with ok ish pay, which is helping fund my training.
The working conditions and employers of some airlines sound very familiar with my current employers, i.e. poor! (I have just came to the end of a 2 year pay freeze and as a reward they have us another 2 year pay freeze).
I'm not looking at a possible career as a pilot with the grass is greener on the other side idea, I would be happy where the grass is a little less brown.
I am aware that there are no guarentees of any flying job, but if you don't try it will never happen.
For the origonal poster, take some time out and have a good long think of what you want in life.
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Old 25th May 2011, 04:43
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Thumbs down

6 months looking since my last job, now they say my license is not valid (expired over 3 months).

what do I do now renew my valid license just to get a freak the opportunity to look at my CV and in another 3 months, will tell me the same again?

this is not a serious business, be careful wit this profession.

most of my friends, now married with kids, do you think they fly a nice Boeing for a big airline for a living, no! they all had to give up.

seriously, do something else.Buy a condo instead.

Last edited by captainsuperstorm; 27th May 2011 at 03:17.
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Old 26th May 2011, 09:12
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The truth hurts

Hi all.

I've been watching these forums for a couple of years now but I have to say that this is one of the most down to earth threads I have come across. I haven't posted before but I feel the need to add my own story to the mix.

Back in 2008 I had a stable well paid job, a mortgage, girlfriend and lots of money in the bank - in short I had a 'normal' comfortable life. I'd been a keen glider pilot for 5 years and having heard about integrated ATPL training I suddenly had the insane urge to pursue a career as an airline pilot. The thought of flying a shiny 737 for a living and earning £30k+ seemed like an ideal way to a secure future...anyway, did the research, talked to FTOs, believed the "you can expect your first job as a FO within 3 months of graduating" sales pitch and in Jan 2009 handed over my life savings and started training. And yes, this was as the ecconomy was taking a nose dive, however the FTO gave the old "you'll graduate just as things start to improve" routine "this is the best time to train" and I foolishly believed it.

So, after graduating in August '10 and obtaining my little blue book where am I now? Well, I'm 32 and I've spent a year applying to airlines not to even get an interview. I have no money and I can't get a job of any kind.I can't even claim job seekers due to lack of NI credits earned during my ATPL training! I have a truck licence and 8 years experience but I can't even get a job driving a truck let alone flying a plane. I still have a mortgage to pay and my wife now has to earn the income as my clever idea of a good career and prosperous future hasn't materialised. My moral is at an all time low. The only plus is that I don't have any debt.

It's fairly obvious that there is a huge pool of unemployed wannabies all climbing over each other for a job. It's also clear that the airline industry has taken a dive (along with most others at the moment) and is not in a position to recruit. The airlines have no problem sourcing pilots and know that they are doing US the favour by giving out the odd job here and there. They are being as fussy as they like in choosing new recruits and cashing in on their desperation for that first job "Yes we'll give you a job if you pay us £30k for a TR, buy a uniform, work 24 hours a day and accept little to no pay for the first few years...". Yes people are getting jobs but people are also winning the lottery most weekends...In my opinion it's just not worth the stress and hassle at this time to continue obbsessing about getting that first flying job during a time when the odds are against us in a big way.

Despite the ever-optimists I don't believe that a miraculous shortage of pilots is going to happen within the next few years. You only have to look at the job markets in general to see how dire everything is.

My MEP and IR ratings are expiring imminently and I can't afford to renew them. I have decided not to bother and instead I hope to join my local flying club (when I have some funds) so I can fly maybe a hour a month and mingle with people from the aviation community. I'm putting the airline dream on the shelf for the time being and contemplating plan B - maybe I'll finish my degree and retrain for a job with more reliable chances so that if plan A (flying) doesn't happen at least life can go on. If it looks like opportunities are opening up again I'll renew my ratings and start applying again. However I'll have to draw the line at some point. I don't have all the time and money in the world and there will come a point when it will no longer be viable to pursue this dream. I'll give it 5 years tops after which I shall call it a day and continue with plan B. You can't put life on hold indefinately on the off-chance that a flying job will come along.

I've listened to all the "if you don't try you'll never get a job" and the "chin up it'll happen in time" b--lox but we have to face reality. Yes there might be ways to keep your foot in the door by starting at the bottom somewhere doing pond-life jobs, but I'm 32 and trying to settle down, I can't just sod off to Africa or to some other obscure country. I can't afford to spend years shoving baggage around Stanstead for minimum wage. I don't have the time or money to do an FI rating and nor can I afford to live on FI wages (assuming I could even get a job doing that) much that I'd love to. I also can't afford to pay £30k for a type rating and be stationed in random places around Europe at a moment's notice by some cheap airline who forgets that people have lives. Maybe if was was younger and single and had no other life ambitions other then flying I might go down the above mentioned routes, but the lengths we have to go to get into this industry can have a serious effect on our home lives and sanity.

The thing is, pursuing a career in avaition is not just another career move, it's a life changing journey. Whatever life you had before you started will never be the same again. As I've also come to realise, even if I could get a job as a FO somewhere, the lower salaries and antisocial working conditions in airlines at the moment won't do much for quality of life. I've worked in road haulage for 8 years and the working condidtions are identical to those pilots face so I know exactly how it affects homelife - working nights and weekends, bank holidays, Christmas etc never being able to promise you'll be at someones birthday or event. Having to change plans last minute because you didn't get home on time due to delays. It's very easy to end up a lonly miserable person...unless you make your job and collegues your new family...because they'll be all you have..

It's all very well if you're 20yrs old, have no life or responsibilites, have access to lots of money and have all the time in the world. Go for it, you have nothing to loose. But if you're late 20s or early 30s and you want a 'normal' life then this is definately not the time for thinking about becomming an airline pilot. Ultimatley it all depends on how flexible your livestyle is as to how you can go about getting into this malarky. If, like me, you don't have infinate flexiblity to take any small opportunity that comes up that MAY increase your odds of a future airline job then serious consideration is required as to whether it is worth it in the first place. Personally I wish I'd used my £60k for better uses such as investment or property etc

Anyway, I applogise for rambling on but I hope it has given people some points to think about. I think more people should share their real-life stories whether they're woe or success so that we can all learn from each other.

All the best to you all.
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Old 26th May 2011, 21:31
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RFD,

Nice first post. I'm in a very similar boat, mid 30's mortgage etc. Started my PPL in 2005 when things were looking good, finished training in 2008, modular part time. Finished just after the downturn started, but was too far into it to give up.

2.5 years, and 2 renewals down the line and not even a sniff. A few PFO emails but that's it. I also come with over 10 years aviation experience working on the ground in Ops/Dispatch and a few contacts, but even this hasn't helped push my CV up and over the 20+y/o wannabe's with no experience who still do seem to be getting the odd job here and there. Part of me is now starting to think that the airlines are actually ageist in some way.

I just don't understand the rush for the 20y/o's to want to jump into a jet and push buttons and gaze out of the window for the rest of their careers, when they are young and free enough to go do some interesting and exciting flying first. I'd love to go off to Susi Air in Indonesia or to Maun in Botswana to so some bush flying but for US$200 per month I simply cannot afford to do it with bills to pay back here.

As I changed my career direction to be focused on flying rather than on the ground, I've stepped aside in my current role and allowed those who's career is based solely on the ground to move up and get promoted over me as I was hoping to have left my current job by now. However I'm now starting to think this might have been a bad move and maybe I should have just gone for the promotions anyway just in case I never get a flying job. Maybe I should stop thinking of others first and stuff them as nobody is moving aside for me to get a flying job and actually go for a promotion next time it comes up but that isn't me. I've never been that selfish, and I've actually used my own experience to help others get ahead, just wish Karma would come my way some time soon and help me out for a change !!.
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Old 26th May 2011, 22:28
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Readyfordeparture,

I find it hard to sympathize with your situation when you first of all say that you that you have been on this website for a number of years. Surly you must of been aware of the current situation in the industry and yet you decided to go ahead with your training anyway. Plus you complain about the lifestyle of a pilot even though you had first hand experience of that life working as a lorry driver.

anyway best of luck in the future.
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Old 27th May 2011, 08:55
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NukeHunt

Part of me is now starting to think that the airlines are actually ageist in some way
I quite agree. Shortly after obtaining my licence I applied to a certain cheap airline. Another guy from my course also did. We both had the same flying experience, graduated at the same time and applied for the job at the same time etc the only difference being that he was 22 and I was 31. Well..he got an interview..I didn't. I do get the feeling that the airlines favour the young, 'shapeable' recruits that have no life ties. During my airline preparation course I was actually told that I should not disclose my age or marital status etc at an interview as it instantly implies a 'lack of flexibility'. We need to appear young and free, able to jump at a moment's notice.

I'm now starting to think this might have been a bad move
I think a lot of us in hindsight feel this sentiment. But we made our decisions at the time based on the information available to us. I had many reasons for wanting to train even in the knowledge that it may not work out. I do still hold hope that things will pick up, but we all just need something else to do whilst we're waiting.

MightyDucks

Surly you must of been aware of the current situation in the industry and yet you decided to go ahead with your training anyway.
That's an odd comment to make really as you're saying I should have been aware of the current situation. At the time things were not as bad as they are now. Yes the situation was on the way down but we'd just come out of a period when airline recruitment was going well. As I mentioned in my first post, we were led to believe that we would train during the downturn and then graduate in time for the upturn. Even the consensus on these forums agreed with this theory. I knew it was a gamble but I rolled my dice anyway. I think the fact that there are so many of us that have landed in this situation and that people are still training regardless implies that there was, and still is, a lack of reliable guidance available for people considering a flying career.

Plus you complain about the lifestyle of a pilot even though you had first hand experience of that life working as a lorry driver
Perhaps my first post didn't come across as I intended it to. I didn't write the post to complain about my decisions or the working conditions of flying. I wrote it as an example to others who have yet to start training and also as reasurance to others like me that we are not alone.

It's true that I don't favour the working conditions that I have had to live with previously. However, whereas I used to work 70 hours a week and get 21 days holiday a year for just under £30k a year, pilots (used to) work less hours, get more anual leave and earn more than £30k a year. Some airlines have better rotas - 5 on 4 off for example which would be an improvement. Ok so this may not be the case anymore but the point is I wasn't complaining about it myself, but trying to point out to people reading these threads that pursuing a career in aviation is not as straight forward as they're led to believe.

Had there been more personal accounts, such as the ones in this thread, when I was considering training I might have taken heed of the warnings and thought twice. This is why I think every wannabie should read this thread and the likes of us that have been there and got the licence should post our experiences - good or bad. Perhaps in a year or so I might be able to write a post that shows how I got that first flying job after a long and arduous bad period when all seemed lost...
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Old 28th May 2011, 11:42
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I'm 21 female and if I could earn the money flying aeros and being an instructor I would more than happily do so... But the fact is I'll jump at a jet job for the money. Because I'd like to fly aeros on a weekly basis and you need a damn good job to pay for it... You'll be glad to know as a wannabe. I'm not jumping into any schemes yet I've decided to bide my time and wait for better prospects where I don't have to be integrated and paying 100k which is secured on my parents house. I'd rather not get my self into situations above or worse bankruptcy and loss of house.

Right now I'm cc, and I don't particularly like the idea of being sat next to a grump sweaty old man (stereotype - most aren't but I've worked plenty of times with guys just like this) who I have nothing in common with and doesn't have the time of day to look up from his paper to chat to me in a whole 14 hour duty... I dont want to sit on my arse and read a newspaper 12 hours a day for the next 40 years of my life even if I do get paid 40k + a year...

I want to fly! But reality is if I want to fly aeros or be an instructor I have to fly a jet at some point... The RAF is sadly no longer an option.

So I'm deciding my own future... And not letting the airlines dictate it for me... If a job comes along earning me the same, screw the suffocating airline job. I'm gonna love flying aeros every weekend instead.

Hope you guys ahead are happy your helping someone like me understand where I want to be... The posts above are valuable to me... And I'm sorry you guys haven't found your way, but the job isn't what most dream it would be...
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Old 30th May 2011, 04:01
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Thumbs down

it's not possible to go in this profession, I explain you why?

let's say you fly a plane, you need 500h to get the job, how, where???
you fly for 6 months, laid off.then???

then you find a new job on a Y plane, how do you get the 500h?

everywhere I go I see people who lost their job, and tell me they have been rated on XYZ plane and can not find another job because employers want 500-1000 on their planes.

This is why this is not a profession.Even a captain with 10000hours on a A340 can not get a job on 320! and now it s not even possible to go from 320 to 319 without 500h on the 319.

this has to stop!
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Old 30th May 2011, 15:55
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It's not hard to work out, is it? People want to earn £40k+ rather than earn next to nothing as an FI, bush pilot etc.
Are people getting into flying at such a young age for the right reasons if all they want is the big money?. Plenty of other jobs around that pay the same or more without the effort required to be a pilot.

Speak to most airline pilot who've been doing the job for a few years and they are bored out of their minds flying SOP's day in day out. For a 20y/o, 45 years is a very long time to be stuck doing a job that no longer interests you. Even just a couple of seasons of bush type flying isn't going to make much of a dent on their overall lifetime income, but the experience gained will certainly last a lifetime.
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Old 31st May 2011, 14:17
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I agree 100% with John Smith. A&E surgeons save lives everyday but for their first 5 years they earn somewhere in the region of 26k a year. And that's after coming out of university with a degree which takes 7-8 years of training.
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