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A levels and airline pilots?

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A levels and airline pilots?

Old 17th Aug 2018, 17:31
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A levels and airline pilots?

Hi,
I知 new to this forum so I知 hoping I知 posting in the right place. Yesterday I collected my A level results and unfortunately they were not as good as i壇 hoped (BDD), however i have being accepted into my first choice uni studying an aviation related degree (which I hope will outweigh my A level grades in the future). The reason I知 posting this is to ask whether A level grades really matter at all when airlines are recruiting pilots. It痴 being my life long dream to fly commercially and I致e already started my PPL, but i feel as if my results will affect my chances of making a career out of it.
Also, is there anything I can do to make a future application stand out?

Thanks 😊
11JHorne is offline  
Old 18th Aug 2018, 07:06
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The acid test is how well you do in the EASA exams. Ideally all first time passes. To stand out, average not less than 90% & excel at NAV GEN. Achieve that and your A level results will be irrelevant.
A passion and determination are two of the essential qualities you must demonstrate.
Considered joining the UAS ?
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Old 18th Aug 2018, 08:22
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Aviation degree won't change your employment prospects as a pilot. In fact most of them aren't worth the paper they are written on never mind the years of your life you have wasted doing them and the cost of them.

Become a plumber or a sparkie it will give you steady income to pay for training and also give you a backstop for lean times when you do get flying. I also know one pilot who was a roofer who cold called an airline in Humberside. And was told if you fix the hanger roof you can start a type rating next week. Now he is a 777 Capt with Emirates.
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Old 18th Aug 2018, 08:37
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Yep, that works - I got one job because i could write ops manuals....

To answer the OP - what Parkfell said! And tescoapp!
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Old 18th Aug 2018, 12:17
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First of all, unless you were offered an unconditional for an Aero-Eng degree (or similar) at a top ten uni, or you can get such an offer through Clearing (which is apparently a buyers' market at the moment), I'd consider other options.

I know someone who many years ago wanted to get into LSE, back then it was the top university for anything economics-related. However, their A-Level grades simply weren't good enough, so they re-sat them and got in on the second go. A rather successful career in the City followed. If your results include Mathematics or Physics at a D grade, I'd re-sit. This is especially true if you have the cash or loan options available to go on one of the self-funded airline schemes. I think, historically, the BA FPP was BBC at A-Level minimum, Virgin Atlantic was GCSEs, Aer Lingus was Irish Leaving Cert (can't remember the minimum grade requirements) for their airline-funded programme.

If you don't have the financial options for an airline programme, I'd get a trade and do modular. Plenty of vocational apprenticeships out there which pay good money. Your goal for modular has to be maximum cash (I'd say 」60-70k, though it can be done for less) in the shortest period of time.

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Old 18th Aug 2018, 13:58
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Hmmm. I passed OASC, got my RAF Wings and ended up as a B737 Captain with only 5 O Levels . . .
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Old 18th Aug 2018, 19:08
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This is an interesting question which comes up often. I know it may seem the end of the world now but it really isn't. I think it is worth asking yourself why these results happened as you will have to totally apply yourself to assimilate all the ATPL information. If I were you I would continue and do your degree as planned, you won't only get a degree from uni but a whole lot of experience too, which you can take with you into flying training. I'd certainly try and get some form of employment on the side as this will give you a broader range of things to discuss at airline interviews. Once you have your first job no one gives a flying f*&^ about your school results.

All the best
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Old 19th Aug 2018, 11:48
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I was once told that when the RAF made a degree a requirement for pilots (in the '70s?) the chop rate went up dramarically and they had to go back to A levels. When I joined the RN 5 "O" levels was the minimum for pilots.
Go figure!
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Old 19th Aug 2018, 21:32
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Originally Posted by Spartacan View Post
Hmmm. I passed OASC, got my RAF Wings and ended up as a B737 Captain with only 5 O Levels . . .
Unfortunately not all of us just rock up to OASC and pass... I blame the early start and bad sleep 😁😁
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Old 20th Aug 2018, 01:18
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I'm not sure how airline recuitment depts work, however....

Personally I got E for maths GSCE & E for English GCSE. Got told by my school that I was banned from doing A-levels because I wasn't smart enough. Left school and went to college to spend 3 years studying vocational science qualifications. Got into Uni, 5 years later walked out with a BSc(Hons) & and MSc plus an offer for a PhD.
Turned down the PhD and went to learn to fly. Ended up teaching degrees in aviation part time. Now RHS 737, free TR and no debts.
I've lost count how many people I know with multiple fails and low 80's averages that got jobs just fine. However the market won't be this good forever, then you'll need to stand out.

There are many ways to skin a cat, there are MANY pilots with no A-levels at all, don't worry about it. Do your best and enjoy yourself.
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Old 20th Aug 2018, 05:13
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Originally Posted by meleagertoo View Post
I was once told that when the RAF made a degree a requirement for pilots (in the '70s?) the chop rate went up dramarically and they had to go back to A levels.!
I joined the RAF during the mid seventies, for a time was in the instructing world as a QFI on basic jets (JP) in the early 80’s and don’t remember that happening in my time or it being talked about....if it did happened as you heard then maybe it was a more recent event but TBH I have my doubts.








Last edited by wiggy; 20th Aug 2018 at 07:55.
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Old 20th Aug 2018, 19:00
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Originally Posted by TryingToAvoidCBs View Post
I'm not sure how airline recuitment depts work, however....

Personally I got E for maths GSCE & E for English GCSE. Got told by my school that I was banned from doing A-levels because I wasn't smart enough. Left school and went to college to spend 3 years studying vocational science qualifications. Got into Uni, 5 years later walked out with a BSc(Hons) & and MSc plus an offer for a PhD.
Turned down the PhD and went to learn to fly. Ended up teaching degrees in aviation part time. Now RHS 737, free TR and no debts.
I've lost count how many people I know with multiple fails and low 80's averages that got jobs just fine. However the market won't be this good forever, then you'll need to stand out.

There are many ways to skin a cat, there are MANY pilots with no A-levels at all, don't worry about it. Do your best and enjoy yourself.

​​​​Thank you for this extremely satisfying post
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Old 20th Aug 2018, 19:28
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I don't have any A Levels because I did not go to school in the UK, but I can tell you that my 72/100 mark on my high school diploma is definitely not the equivalent of 3 A Levels in Maths, Physics and any other subjects. No one but maybe Ryanair has ever asked a high school certificate and I have recently obtained my first job on a medium jet and in no stage during the selection proces did they ask about my high school grades and diploma certificates.
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Old 21st Aug 2018, 09:02
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You don't need A levels to fly aeroplanes.

But that said, I STRONGLY recommend that you do not use clearing to get onto a course unless you have solid grades in the relevant subjects (if it is a scientific / technical field. If you are going to do some bullshit degree then it doesn't matter).

Case in point, I bombed my Maths A level (Grade D) although got a pair of As in Physics and Chemistry (this was before A*), with merit on the special paper. I'd been hoping to do Aero Eng and had a couple of conditional offers but with a D in Maths they turned me down. I then went through clearing and got a place on an Electrical Engineering course at Leicester. Huge mistake. I couldn't handle the Maths at all.

As far as job applications go; (aviation or otherwise) it depends on the HR department and what they want in the way of "chopping the applicants down to manageable numbers". You should also bear in mind that sometimes doing something and screwing it up can cast doubt on your commitment and suitability for training in general. You might want to invest some time into thinking about how to cast the performance in a positive light at interview.
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Old 22nd Aug 2018, 16:10
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Originally Posted by Capt Pit Bull View Post
You should also bear in mind that sometimes doing something and screwing it up can cast doubt on your commitment and suitability for training in general. .
Some years ago I went to an RAF reunion with erstwhile BFTS colleagues. I had survived a chop ride but a few who hadn't came along. They had all done really well in civyy street. Degrees, corporate careers and loadasamoney. The shock of being chopped had given some of these guys the kick in the pants they needed.

I would never write anybody off for poor exam results. I recall re sitting a few CPL exams - 4 times for one paper. I also failed my first IR. After that nothing held me back - except for the odd company or two going bust . . .
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Old 22nd Aug 2018, 22:28
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Originally Posted by Spartacan View Post
Some years ago I went to an RAF reunion with erstwhile BFTS colleagues. I had survived a chop ride but a few who hadn't came along. They had all done really well in civyy street. Degrees, corporate careers and loadasamoney. The shock of being chopped had given some of these guys the kick in the pants they needed.

I would never write anybody off for poor exam results. I recall re sitting a few CPL exams - 4 times for one paper. I also failed my first IR. After that nothing held me back - except for the odd company or two going bust . . .
Yes, but you're not sieving candidates in an HR department....

At interview it's the sort of thing that might get picked on, so a well crafted response demonstrating the character building aspects of learning from the poor performance, pushing on anyway with great determination to succeed anyway blah blah blah... would be wise.
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Old 23rd Aug 2018, 07:56
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Originally Posted by Capt Pit Bull View Post
Yes, but you're not sieving candidates in an HR department....

At interview it's the sort of thing that might get picked on, so a well crafted response demonstrating the character building aspects of learning from the poor performance, pushing on anyway with great determination to succeed anyway blah blah blah... would be wise.
Yes, I get that but it intrigues me that NATS only require 5 GCSE - the same entry requirement for the RAF in the 1980's.

My maths, physics and air navigation O Levels proved sufficient for me to understand all required to operate Boeing series aircraft. The ATPL seemed to me to be a pretty good academic filter too.

My point is that the job of a pilots requires an awful lot more than academic skills. The graduates on my BFTS all failed and the most unlikely characters survived to enjoy lengthy flying careers including Gulf War service.

In my view the roles of air traffic controller and pilots are equally demanding and both depend on a whole range of abilities of which academic results are just a part.
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Old 23rd Aug 2018, 14:28
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Originally Posted by Spartacan View Post
My point is that the job of a pilots requires an awful lot more than academic skills.
Well, I guess this is why integrated courses at flight academies require you to pass aptitude tests before your interview for the course. Modular students have to figure out themselves if they have the ability during training. I'm not sure what the screening process is like for NATS but I'd expect it to bring out the best of your abilities for such a tough role.
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Old 23rd Aug 2018, 19:17
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I have the opposite problem to the OP - I graduated high school about 15 years ago in the US so I'm both out of practice and don't have an equivalent score.

If applying for something like CAE / L3 what can you do? I have an MSc from LSE and one would think my higher education results would be more relevant.
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