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Would you do it again?

Old 27th Nov 2020, 15:41
  #21 (permalink)  
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Yes, I would. Over and over again.
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Old 27th Nov 2020, 20:56
  #22 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jun 1999
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If you have the passion for it, you will always do it again, I certainly would.
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Old 27th Nov 2020, 22:58
  #23 (permalink)  
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Something I am a firm advocate of is - try and get some exposure to aviation before jumping onto that zero-to-hero fATPL/MPL course. Join a gliding club. Man the reception desk at an aeroclub or a skydiving club. Try to get a summer job on the ramp of your local airport. Maybe try and ask your local agrochemical spraying company if they need someone to help out - many of the operator jobs come with the opportunity to fly in the back of the plane. If you're doing a degree, look into all sorts of options for an internship - it doesn't necessarily have to be a full year in industry, even a couple of weeks over the summer holidays would be great. This is one of the precursors towards making an informed decision which you won't regret. If it's just not the right cup of tea for you, it's so much better to find this out and re-plan accordingly before you've spent the money for the CPL rather than after it! Conversely, if it looks right for you - bingo, here's one more thing to talk about in your job interview one day. So, any aviation experience you can get prior to starting flight training is a total win-win.
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Old 27th Nov 2020, 23:42
  #24 (permalink)  
Join Date: Feb 2009
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Definitely would do it all again...

After: scrubbing plates in kitchens, delivering pizza, chocolate factory, recruitment, car rental agency, Porsche, airline ops nothing compares to being a pilot for me.

Maybe because Iíve done lots of other (mainly monkey) jobs beforehand it makes me appreciate it more.

I canít imagine I would appreciate it as much if my parents had thrown £100k at me at 18 and shipped me off to CTC, OAA etc.
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Old 28th Nov 2020, 09:02
  #25 (permalink)  
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Yes but I would not do flight training before I established another career for myself.

Going all in in aviation with no other back up is madness. I would slap myself silly for doing it if I could go back in time and knock some sense into my younger self to first get a degree and build a career with it first.
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Old 28th Nov 2020, 10:57
  #26 (permalink)  
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Very, very wise and considered approach towards the pilot profession. Someone who really, really want to fly aeroplanes will appreciate all aspects of aviation and not just look towards the shiny jets.
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Old 28th Nov 2020, 11:06
  #27 (permalink)  
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I understand your perspective - but I don't agree on it. IF flying is what you always wanted to do - and for the right reasons - I don't see the point in "wasting" (though education is never a waste as per se) time and effort in building another career before flying. Sure, it's nice and comfy to know you have something to fall back on (maybe!), but if all you want to do, is to fly airplanes - then you will succeed - no backup plan required - perhaps not always in ideal locations, sometimes you'll have to travel across the world for the job (interim), but that will all be part of the aviation times to look back at and remember. This is aviation. If you're priority in life is family only, with the need to be home in your own bed every night, and have your daily routines in place, aviation might not be suitable.

Last edited by Klimax; 28th Nov 2020 at 18:19. Reason: spelling (still crap, but)
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Old 28th Nov 2020, 13:55
  #28 (permalink)  
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Worst case just pick up a 25k/year office job to keep you ticking over.

Spending three years not earning and going to university to get into 50k of debt just to have a ‘backup’ seems pretty silly. Chances are in a downturn you’ll need a backup for two/three years if that and unless you’re making 100k plus you’re far better off having just done the flight training in the first place and picking up a generic job if you need to.

And in any seniority airline the three years you spent getting a computing degree could well be the reason you’ve been made redundant and not kept the job in the first place.

If you want to spend three years boozing and chasing the opposite sex then yes uni is awesome but don’t put yourself through three years of something you don’t want to do just to have this mythical ‘backup’. How many companies are actually hiring and offering top pay in downturns? Not many...
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Old 28th Nov 2020, 16:34
  #29 (permalink)  
Join Date: May 2009
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Posts: 26

Completely disagree. First of all, how on earth are you going to raise the money for a pilot licence without having a job, in which case you're building up experience in a profession while funding flight training.
Myself and most of my colleagues have been made redundant now. Some are driving trucks, some are doing nothing. I'm personally glad that I've been able to jump straight back into my old career. It's not flying, and I'm getting paid half as much for doing double the work, but at least it's enough to keep me going until things improve and I'm building up more experience for when the next crash comes in 10 years time and won't have to resort to driving trucks then either.
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Old 28th Nov 2020, 16:46
  #30 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2010
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Fair enough.
However, most pilots that I know of (including myself) took out loans to do their flight training - not by saving up first. The time you spend doing your old career, prior to flying, others spend on getting the license and flight hours. This may well have put them ahead of you on the seniority list or "flight experience list" - this may in return mean they still have a job or they will be ahead of you when things turn brighter (rehiring/hiring). It's obviously not a disadvantage to have "other" prior experience or education other than aviation - it's just not necessary to pursue an aviation career.
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Old 28th Nov 2020, 17:35
  #31 (permalink)  
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Getting on the seniority list of a major airline can be delayed by multiple reasons. Luck with timing, willingness and ability to relocate, bonding arrangements, momentary perception of the benefits coming with a quicker upgrade in a non-seniority-based airline and many other factors can come into play. So, it's not granted that someone who rushed into flight training straight out of high school will necessarily be higher up the list than someone who has taken some time to learn something different before starting flying.
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Old 28th Nov 2020, 18:16
  #32 (permalink)  
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It's not granted, true, but chances to qualify (flight time requirements if any!) are possibly higher the sooner the pilot has gained flying experience - which in most cases means the sooner he starts flight training and building flight experience (and not office experience!). Three years spend on a college degree (BA etc.) can easily be 1500h of flight time down in Africa or where ever work is found. To fly airplanes there is no benefit in having higher levels of studies or any other academic degree. This is quite clear from most airline requirements (in Europe at least).
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Old 28th Nov 2020, 21:14
  #33 (permalink)  
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Having wanted to fly airliners since I was 9 years old, I grew up playing flight simulator, geeking out on the classic ITVV documentaries and building airfix models. Typical of many...the best part of any family holiday was always the flight! It was all I wanted to do and every decision I made from that age steered me towards that direction. From the GCSE and A-Level subjects I chose at school, joining the air cadets and getting a gliding scholarship through GAPAN. Every book, movie and magazine I owned always involved aviation. I had an absolute burning desire to fly.

I always wanted to fly airliners, But having gained my PPL from a young age I never thought it would materialise, I honestly thought I would end up becoming an FI and instructing at weekends. Something I would of been more than happy doing as I loved flying and being around airplanes. However, I was extremely lucky and echoing Ďright place, right timeí, I was able to join a major European airline at the age of 25.

I say Ďluckyí as there is always an element of luck, but also a lot of hard work and determination. I self funded my PPL and CPL/IR and studied for my ATPLís distance learning whilst working a full time job- studying in the afternoons and weekends.

But would I do it again? YES with one difference: learn a skill set outside of aviation.

I find it an absolute privilege to go to work and fly professionally for a living. Having spent the best part of a decade saving every penny towards a modular route makes you appreciate it all the more. I had worked in a different industry beforehand, doing long hours outside in the wet and cold and it makes me never take my flying job for granted.

However, this year has made me realise more than ever how fragile the industry is. The most volatile of the volatile. I knew what I was getting into having read PPRuNe as a young teenager (there was just as much depression as there is today!) I wish I had studied for something at university or something more practical like being in the tools. Iíve worked all my life towards my goal and this year it was almost taken from me, and next year is worrying too as to whether Iíll have a job still or not. None of the skills Iíve acquired as a professional pilot will ever be of any use in the real world. A fact Iíve slowly come to terms with.


All well and good saying hindsight is a wonderful thing. But what would I have studied or learnt before embarking on a flying career when it was (and still is) my one true passion in life. All well and good asking people to get some training or another career beforehand but how can you succeed when your mind and heart isnít set on it? I always remembered an old quote when I was studying for my ATPLís from Will Smith...ďthere is no need for a Plan B as it distracts from Plan Aď
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Old 28th Nov 2020, 22:38
  #34 (permalink)  
Join Date: Nov 2020
Location: uk
Posts: 2
Capt Pit Bull

Why is it then that pretty much every pilot made redundant this summer became a delivery driver? Aviation gives you zero transferable skills for use outside aviation.

People need to know what flying is really like, itís boring, unsociable shift work that you have to pay a huge premium for the privilege of doing.

I look back 10 years at when I was in my office job in a big company in a large city, I got up at a regular sociable time, I had routine, I could make arrangements with family/friends, I had dynamic days at work where I would be constantly learning new things, attending courses, giving presentations, bettering myself on a daily basis professionally. I worked in a large office with lots of people, there were always social events going on, work sports clubs, drinks, gatherings. I was learning to fly at the time as well because I had a real passion for aviation.

fast forward 10 years, Iím LHS LCC, I know I havenít flown much over summer, but generally speaking; the lack of routine makes fitting anything in my life much harder, the 3am starts are no doubt shaving years off my life. The times I am home Iím normally so shagged from the stupid hours I work Iím no good as a husband/father. Try looking after youngsters then set your alarm for 3am. I hardly know any captains at work, I know the FOs really well, mostly nice chaps but 15 years younger than me. Iím hardly going to go to the pub with them. The few work socials there are I tend to know so few people itís not that fun. 99% of a normal working day I get to interact with 1 person. The environment is horrible, noise, dirt, dry air, radiation etc. The work is mundane and boring, youíll soon realise it doesnít matter where you fly, youíre just flying from 1 bit of tarmac to another, Belfast or Budapest, who cares? You repeat SOPs to the point where your mouth is saying them but your brain isnít even paying attention. Yes I get paid well, less so now with COVID, but itís such a dull life. I read about my ex-colleagues who are doing amazing things in my old company, rising the ranks, learning new skills, constantly developing and evolving and compare it to being a taxi driver. Oh and if you had a passion for aviation before flying itíll be gone in a year or two. I couldnít think of anything worse now than paying to sit in an aeroplane. I wouldnít recommend this job at the best of times, now you must be mad to start it.

also in 10 years this job probably wonít exist, or certainly be single pilot. Airbus are already doing research into removing one of the flight crew.

Last edited by Muhammad Antar; 29th Nov 2020 at 08:29.
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Old 29th Nov 2020, 00:07
  #35 (permalink)  
Join Date: Dec 2008
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Quite a common thread developing here of having an alternative income source to fall back on. I can't help but agree, we've had a decade of exponential employment growth which has followed on from 2 decades of patchy growth. Most pilots in their 30's will have only known a benign job market. At the moment there is an expectation that things will right themselves by 2023-4 and the happy times will return. I'm not so sure. The world may have turned as it does from time to time and this could be a beginning of a new normal with a lot less footfall in the terminals. Plenty of economic, environmental and behavioral reasons for the possible change of habit. I know literally dozens of pilots doing min wage jobs at the moment and have had quite a few discussions about the future. Many have said, particularly the ones over 50, that they wished they had planned for this eventuality more carefully and had a better transferable skill set.
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Old 29th Nov 2020, 05:15
  #36 (permalink)  
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Many have said, particularly the ones over 50, that they wished they had planned for this eventuality more carefully and had a better transferable skill set.
Very few skilled jobs are really just part time or you are able to just waltz into after 20 years in an airline. I looked into this in my younger years once I got into an airline, and it didn't really work. I didn't have the time to become some sort of trade apprentice and just going to university and getting a degree part time wasn't going to get you a job as you then needed to go and work in an industry full time. However I was flying full time and not home a great deal. The only people who I have seen make it work are those from big family businesses or farms, or they got a trade from their father so they can come and go as they pleased, or help out for a week at harvest. If you don't have that kind of background it doesn't really work as you can never commit to anyone as you are flying full time. The only real solution was to fly part time and study then work part time. Throw in raising kids and actually doing something other than working your whole life the entire idea of a part time career just in case the airline goes broke became a bit pointless. You might have well just quit being an airline pilot and go and do your alternative career/business instead.
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Old 29th Nov 2020, 07:26
  #37 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2004
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Originally Posted by Muhammad Antar View Post
99% of a normal working day I get to interact with 1 person.
Well, having observed the behavior of many people during this pandemic, I would say this is a positive advantage.
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Old 27th Dec 2020, 20:51
  #38 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jul 2017
Location: Netherlands
Posts: 297
I find the terms and conditions for the responsibility and the difficult path to get to that shiny jet are totally out of proportion. Anything under 4k net a month for an FO is being underpaid. The amount of revision and discipline required to stay active as an airline pilot is quite a tough life to live and the pay off is not really proportianite.
  • Simulator checks every 6 months, this requires a lot of study and revision.
  • 03:00 - 04:00 starts in the morning, no need to say anymore about this.
  • Filthy unhealthy air from the cabin and being exposed to more radiation than normal.
  • Anywhere from 50-100k to obtain the qualifications just to apply to an airline.
  • High amounts of stress and uncertainty.
  • No transferrable skills in the real world for another career after such a huge invesmtment, at least in the eyes of an employer.
  • Companies which undermine their pilots and the profession and try to squeeze as much out of them as possible.
  • Many pilots being contractors and with no benefits to the job.
  • Can be let go at any moment in time with barely any notice and no payoff, in other professions there will be severence packages for being let go but not in airlines.
  • Losing the medical equals no job and no money.
  • If anything goes wrong on that airplane and an insurance company can blame the flight crew even if it was not related to the fault or incident/accident you're looking at a job loss and probably will struggle to find any new flying job with that on your record.

What makes it worse is people are payng to fly and driving our terms and conditions down even further in an already saturated market and an industry which severely is lacking in terms and conditions. I'm sure there is more things to list but just reading this list makes for grim reading and frankly if I knew everything I knew now I would definitely have reconsidered a different career when I was younger. I love to fly and love the job but the politics and terms and conditions really are not representative of the professional job us flight crew do and the huge responsibility that comes with this job.

I don't think I would do it all over again without establishing another career for myself first and even then I might have been so comfortable I never would have taken the plunge in aviation. I think a lot of student pilots or future student pilots need to get a reality check and realise the industry they are getting themselves into is cut-throat and especially now during covid and post covid will be in a saturated market with high amounts of competition for jobs never ever seen before and all for poor terms and conditions just to sit in that right hand seat and take nice insta photos.
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Old 31st Dec 2020, 18:17
  #39 (permalink)  
Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: UK
Posts: 7
The answer to the question depends on the experience you had, if you spent your life savings learning to fly, then ended up never getting a job - you're gonna say no.
Back in 1999, I sold my house, quit my job and went off to learn to fly, I was truly passionate about it, I'd loved everything aviation since I was a nipper - then right in the middle of my training 9/11 happened, totally screwed my (and many of my mates) plans. I stuck with it for 5 years, instructed, did air taxi, anything I could get - then one day I thought what the hell am I doing, I'm working my nuts off for less money than I was getting when I was 17 years old! and I quit there and then. That was the best decision I ever made, fortunately I had an I.T career I could sort of fall back on, I was well out of date but paid for some courses, got a job within a year. I love what I do now, I get paid well, get shares in the company, as much training as I need, 32 days holiday, flexible hours, bonus, paid overtime, home by 17:00 every day. And Im treated with respect, something that NEVER happened to me when I was flying.
Would I do the flying again given a chance - no ******* way.
But everyone has a different story, if its your dream you have to try, and who knows - it may work out.

Good luck to everyone & Happy New Year!

Last edited by sbetts; 31st Dec 2020 at 18:34.
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Old 1st Jan 2021, 12:54
  #40 (permalink)  
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: Germany
Posts: 388

You absolutely NAILED it.

Especially the last paragraph. Many of these pilots are there just to show off to the world. Look at me,,, I am a pilot. Look at me staying in awesome hotels and living a Jetset lifestyle.

Honestly, Aviation is further away from jet set life than a trip to the moon.

I love flying. It always gives me a great feeling sitting up front. Working with this beautiful piece of technology. Carrying a big responsibility. Be on top of things, but all you said in your comment is absolutely true.

Anyway, I wish all of you happy new year and lets hope that we can go back to flying soon again. My last flight was 2.2.2020. I miss it.
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