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Weighing up a flying career, I値l help.

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Weighing up a flying career, I値l help.

Old 17th Nov 2020, 16:35
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Weighing up a flying career, I値l help.

  • Cost 」90k + type ratings
    • Hard to leave once started (debt)
  • Early starts (4am) late finishes (2am)
    • Evenings before an early written off
    • Morning after lates written off
  • Little to no flexibility in shifts
  • Booking leave difficult
    • Be prepared to miss lots of events
    • Gets worse when you have children
  • Have to work weekends/holidays
  • Intellectually unstimulating
  • Sedentary
  • Risk of tinnitus
  • Elevated exposure to cosmic and UV radiation
  • Eat poor quality food all day
  • Industry very sensitive to recessions
    • Mass redundancies every 10 years
  • Heavily unionised, employee vs. Employer mentality
  • No pattern, which makes weekly commitments outside of work hard
  • Rarely meet other pilots in same position as you, captains gets to know FOs and FOs get to know captains.
  • Anti-social, large bases mean very impersonal feel. Rare to make work friends.
  • Job is highly repetitive, mundane and dull
  • It kills your passion for aviation if you had one to begin with
  • It makes you not want to go on holiday as it involves going to an airport when on leave.
  • Reduced life expectancy
  • High chance of long term sick compared to other careers
  • Usually spend your first day off recovering from fatigue
  • Elevated risk of kidney stones (dehydration)
  • No transferable skills, virtually unemployable once out of aviation
    • Most redundant pilots become delivery drivers
  • Pilots mainly just monitor systems all day
  • Job at high risk of becoming redundant or single pilot (technology)
  • Little to no job satisfaction
  • Algorithmic processes, checklists, rarely do you apply your brain. You just apply an SOP or checklist.
  • Very little responsibility, captains are liable, not responsible.
  • Airline industry is in a ‘race to the bottom’
    • Most perks are being stripped away
  • No job progression aside from Command.
    • could take 10 years in this climate
  • You have to hold a poo in all day at work. Reeks havoc with your bowel.
  • Pilots are treated as a commodity
  • Many pilots face long commutes or end up getting ‘crash pad accommodation
  • No personal or professional development
  • Low starting salaries in this COVID climate, will be around for years to come
  • Decent chance of having to move abroad when starting out. Can be difficult to get a home base.
  • Get to read the newspaper at work
  • Can eventually earn 」100k+ as a captain with no educational qualifications
  • More days off
  • Nice view
  • Rarely have to commute in rush hour
  • Leave work at work

It doesn’t take a genius to see how I feel about the job. Aviation attracts a wide range of people from those with higher educations to those who left school at 16 with none. Compared to factory work this is a reasonably good job, but compared to what I used to do, senior accountant in a large firm, it sucks.

If you want a job where you don’t do much, don’t need to go in much, get paid well for it but at the cost of your health and social life then this is the job for you. However if you are higher educated, driven, enjoy responsibility and autonomy then stay away.

The job has very little satisfaction or enjoyment.

Make sure you are Informed about what the job is really like. My flying loan is nearly paid off and I will be jumping ship as soon as possible.

Feel free to add anything I’ve missed off. Stay safe everyone.
Muhammad Antar is offline  
Old 17th Nov 2020, 19:18
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What did you expect 9-5 mon- fri, I take it you did no research before starting Flying training or was that too difficult?
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Old 17th Nov 2020, 20:50
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Good to see dissatisfied and disappointed people leaving this profession and leaving it for those who really love it...

Yes, this profession has positive and negative sides but if I had to choose again, I would choose same profession. If you want easy money as it was described above, don't do it... There is no easy money, and salaries are lower than mentioned. Maybe you get mentioned figures but it's gross in most of cases or net salary but in expensive places so you don't manage to save a lot. It's sort of profession where due to automation you might be bored and that's why you need to have a discipline, to do same things 100x if needed. You need good system knowledge which requires to learn in free time... It's not as easy job as it was described above, you have to be able to make fast decisions and be cold headed even if everything is falling apart, off days are used for resting and learning and revising manuals. It's shame to see that pilots before were respected and today considered as monkeys that do same procedures everyday...
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Old 17th Nov 2020, 23:22
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I understand that it wasn't the right job for you on many levels and I am sorry about the apparently bad experience you've had. However, some of your points are specific to the type of operation you work/worked for and may look differently in other ones. For example, the lack of social contact with colleagues isn't necessarily a thing. It tends to be when you're flying for a large operator from your home base, there are many crews in the base and everyone goes about their own business in the downtime. However, there are also smaller outfits (with intrinsically lower job security) and charter/ACMI ops where you spend weeks away with the same bunch of people and eventually make friends (at the cost of spending far less time at home with your family). There's always a compromise somewhere. Where about said compromise should be largely depends on one's family status. While young and single colleagues enjoy living out of a suitcase and having fun with the crew on a day off somewhere far away, those who have partners and kids would happily trade this sort of interactions for more time with their families.

Many other downsides you mentioned can be mitigated one way or another. For example, why eat the poor quality airline food if you can bring a lunchbox instead? Dehydration to the point of ruining your kidneys or holding in for hours can also be mitigated in rather obvious ways. Not to mention that caffeine intake depends entirely on you. I've seen many pilots making themselves bottles of herbal tea with lemon instead of coffee for example. Nutrition routines depend more on you than on the job you're in. An obese pilot could have just as well been an obese accountant, especially bearing in mind that the pilot spends less hours per month sitting in a seat than a 40-hour-week office worker does in his office chair.
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Old 18th Nov 2020, 08:27
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I hope all prospective pilots read this thread as it will deter those who only consider flying comparatively late in the day. Those with an absolute passion from say the age of ten will not be deterred by the list of adverse comments. They are already hard wired for aviation.
This probably applies to medicine as well, where parents ‘encourage’ little Johnny down the medical path.
“Status lad, status”. Academically very bright, but not exactly good at dealing with people. They don’t enjoy it. Job for life. Well paid. Good pension.

Having been an Articled Clerk (Accountancy) before escaping into aviation, I have absolutely no doubt which occupation I would choose (from the outset) if I had my time again.
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Old 18th Nov 2020, 10:09
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You make some valid points, but hear some comments out:

Have to work weekends/holidays
Most jobs where you earn north of 」100k aren't going to be 9-5, leave your work at the office.

Eat poor quality food all day
I agree that airline food is crap, but what is stopping you from bringing your own (healthy) food to work?

No pattern, which makes weekly commitments outside of work hard
Airline specific, plenty of airlines these days operated fixed roster patterns.

It kills your passion for aviation if you had one to begin with
Change of employer/scenery can do wonders sometimes, trust me.

Elevated risk of kidney stones (dehydration)
Drink more when at work?

Little to no job satisfaction
Depends on the person. You could go into training, management, recruitment, etc. You could also keep it simple goals and make it a bit more fun - say, this week I want all my landings to be on the markers - and if you managed to achieve it, you will feel good. Plus, your skills will have probably improved, another satisfying thing.

Very little responsibility, captains are liable, not responsible.
Not really.

No job progression aside from Command.
Training, other management roles. Plenty of things, if you're interested - and capable.

Many pilots face long commutes or end up getting ‘crash pad accommodation
That's a personal choice. It's like saying I want to be Prime Minister of the UK, but would like to live in Northern Ireland, then bitching how you have a long commute.

No personal or professional development
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Old 18th Nov 2020, 12:30
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I've been flying for the last 14 years and there is nothing else I'd rather be doing. I'm saying that as a guy who has another 30 years of flying ahead of me (I hope).

Here is my honest advice: If you don't like the job, re-train and find something else to do. Don't bring everyone else down with you.
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Old 18th Nov 2020, 13:43
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I absolutely agree with you. Sick of reading rubbish on here from pilots making out it is all sunshine and unicorns that are farting ice cream cones out all day. I have multiple type ratings, airline captain (short haul), had the opportunity to do long haul on multiple occasions but just could not bring myself to do it.

The job is tedious, monotonous and the terms and conditions have been run into the ground. Airline management are some of the worst people you will ever find. I have done charter, executive, airline and ACMI flying so have a wide range of experience. I am also qualified with a BSc degree in Computer Science and have 12 years in that industry before I became a pilot. Luckily I was never in debt as I made good money in IT and had enough cash to pay upfront for my flight training.

The career has been destroyed. The pleasure of taking a plane into the air as a pilot is one thing, working in this industry is another. Any youngster today considering this as a job is INSANE!! Dont waste your money, go into something like LAW and Business and you can literally do anything then. Aviation is far too unstable and not worth the heartache. Im also still employed by the way as a pilot so this is not a rant from a pilot who lost his/her job.

I have 15 years in this industry. I have met a lot of very decent hard working pilots and had some good times but the bad definitely outweigh the good. As the OP says if you enjoy responsibility and things that make you think like research and project management then this career is not for you. If you are thinking of getting into a 150K worth of debt to become a pilot and then start looking for a job...DONT!!

If I had to do my time again, would I become a professional pilot? Answer...HELL NO!! Flying a plane as a pilot is fun, being part of the aviation industry absolutely sucks!!
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