Professional Pilot Training (includes ground studies) A forum for those on the steep path to that coveted professional licence. Whether studying for the written exams, training for the flight tests or building experience here's where you can hang out.

Doctor to Airline Pilot

Old 26th Mar 2010, 04:27
  #1 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Australia
Age: 42
Posts: 4
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Doctor to Airline Pilot

Hi All,

I am a 28 year old doctor and have always dreamed of being an airline pilot. Recently I have begun to think more and more about this and I would really appreciate some advice from others who have considered this or have done it themselves.

My idea is to get a job in the ED so that I have lots of time off from work, and it is fairly well paid. It is shift work, so antisocial hours, but I would frequently get whole weeks off in exchange for working at the weekends.

I then plan to use the money I bring in from this work to fund a PPL, and then CPL and then ultimately a frozen ATPL by sitting those exams. I understand no checkride is required in Australia. I anticipate this would take 2 years or so.

I then plan to get an instructor job at my local airport (Jandakot) and accumulate some hours in exchange for more money that I can put into various endorsements.

After I have accumulated enough hours I would then really like to get an airline job. I understand that I would probably never make the majors, but would be satisfied with a smaller airline such as Jetstar.

Has anyone else considered doing anything like this? I do not want to leave my current job as it is well paid and I have worked hard to get there and I really don't want to borrow a lot of money that would be a struggle to pay back. I worry that my increasing age would be a huge barrier.

Any advice would be appreciated

thanks so much in advance

Joe
Joelogan is offline  
Old 26th Mar 2010, 05:16
  #2 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Enzed
Posts: 2,289
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Joe,

Stay doing the Doctor thing and use the good money you earn there to fund a PPL and get your flying fix that way.

Otherwise go and see a Psychiatrist, especially if you think flying for LCC is a good career choice.
27/09 is offline  
Old 26th Mar 2010, 08:25
  #3 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: ireland
Age: 38
Posts: 102
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Stay doing the Doctor thing and use the good money you earn there to fund a PPL and get your flying fix that way.
Just curious - the OP said his dream is to be an airline pilot, as opposed to a private pilot. On that basis, how does stopping at the PPL help to achieve this?

There is no flying fix.

There are many flying fixes.
ei-flyer is offline  
Old 26th Mar 2010, 09:29
  #4 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Australia
Age: 42
Posts: 4
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hi,

thanks for your replies.

Yes, I don't think a PPL would be enough for me. I am considering a change of career. I just wanted some advice from people.

Joe
Joelogan is offline  
Old 26th Mar 2010, 09:59
  #5 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: N/A
Posts: 1,190
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
If it's something that you want to do, truly from your heart then do it. You only have one life, what's the point in living it with regrets. At least you have a fantastic career to fall back on. I work with 2 pilots, one is a Doctor and one a Dentist. They still work outside of flying. Go for it.
student88 is offline  
Old 26th Mar 2010, 10:48
  #6 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: Warwickshire
Posts: 17
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Well Im in a similar position as i have always worked in the finance world since university which paid very well, was secure and relatively enjoyable. However, I left this world last summer and began flying from late last year as I have always wanted to be a pilot and I got to the stage of that despite the risks, it would be worse getting to my forties and looking back thinking what if. Id rather go for it and should it go t*ts up, I have a decent career to fall back on.

Im following the modular route and am taking my time over it as right now its pretty bleak within the Industry, but this way Im progressing slowly whilst not burning cash at an explosive rate so that I can keep an eye on how the recruitment market evolves over the next few years.

There can be a lot of negativity on this forum, so what I would say is if you can fund the course with the minimum of debt and you are prepared for a long few years then absolutely do it and if it doesnt work out you can go back to being a Doctor and you will never have the opportunity to look back at think what if.

All the very best of luck to you!

Regards

Concorde 14
Concorde14 is offline  
Old 26th Mar 2010, 10:50
  #7 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Berkshire, UK
Age: 79
Posts: 8,268
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I'm sure there was (still is?) an AME at Gatwick who also flew for BA..
HEATHROW DIRECTOR is offline  
Old 26th Mar 2010, 11:03
  #8 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: UK
Age: 76
Posts: 618
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Has been done many times, and, as has been said before, you have something to fall back on if the flying doesn't work out.
BA have a pilot who is a qualified anaesthetist. A female F/O with Virgin was a surgeon before learning to fly and is now an AME as well as being a pilot.
Go for it.

Dave
Airclues is offline  
Old 26th Mar 2010, 11:41
  #9 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Enroute to sand.
Posts: 202
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
the doctor who did my aeromedical this year also flies for a national carrier!!!guess the doctor thing is a nice side earnerat 240 for 25min check up...15 of which was done by assistant nurse.
irishpilot1990 is offline  
Old 26th Mar 2010, 11:58
  #10 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Australia
Age: 42
Posts: 4
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Hi all,

thanks to all of you so much for your constructive comments. It's a huge relief to know that other people have undertaken a similar career choice and have successfully come out the other end as airline pilots. It's also very reassuring to know that some of these people also manage to be doctors as well. I don't want to give up medical practice if I can avoid it, it would be ideal if I could do both.

I understand that it is a long slog and that it expensive and not exactly prosperous economic times for pilots or airlines but hopefully this may change.

Thanks again, everyone for your help.

Joe
Joelogan is offline  
Old 26th Mar 2010, 13:09
  #11 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Basingstoke
Age: 48
Posts: 159
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Joe

Interesting post. I've had similar thoughts. As a police inspector I earn a decent wage, it's against UK law to make me redundant and I've a phenomenal final salary pension. But... increasingly frustrated with the job and have long harboured thoughts of a career change.

My 'master-plan' having held a PPL for 7 years is that I'm now doing my ATPLs DL, slow-time. When done, I'll do the ME CPL which I should be able to do almost full time with all the leave I get and shiftwork. Then decision time as I think the IR needs a full time brain, so might have to take maybe a month or two of unpaid leave.

So maybe 3 years from now I could be employable. If the market is in a better shape and a job offer is realistic, I'd probably accept the likely 50+% pay cut, take a career break of up to 5 years and follow the dream. If it didn't work out for whatever reason, I won't regret not trying, I'll go back to the security of policing and I'll be equally happy maintaining my ratings with a view to a semi-retirement instructing.

Or, it might just be possible to combine working part-time in the police with a flying job. I'd have to be lucky but I wouldn't say it was impossible.
XXPLOD is offline  
Old 26th Mar 2010, 13:13
  #12 (permalink)  
Moderator
 
Halfwayback's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: England
Posts: 2,519
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Joe

Even with your advanced years ( ) the option of training to be a pilot is certainly a viable one.

Whilst the military do have an ongoing requirement for Aeromedical specialists (not just examiners) and will provide the pilot training to allow practical experience to be gained, I regret to say you are probably a little late. It may be worth a shout to confirm that fact.

This means commercial flying. There are many threads here that will confirm that the the market is dead and there are pilots still being made redundant. Training - whichever route you take - is expensive and the overwhelming advice here is to wait until the recovery is under way.

In the airline I work for, bmi, we have two pilots who are also the company doctors and both are AMEs. It make financial sense for the company doc to do the annual medicals to save the reimbursement fees although of course each pilot is under absolutely no pressure to use the company AME - some are unnecessarily very suspicious of allowing their records to be seen by company employees!

Finally, your age is not a problem; I became a commercial pilot in my mid 40s taking all my ATPL exams in one go - including Perf A. Hard work but it can be done.

HWB
Halfwayback is offline  
Old 26th Mar 2010, 18:17
  #13 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Wor Yerm
Age: 67
Posts: 4
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Joe, what ever you do, don't give the Quacking. By all means learn to fly, but as you learn, observe the instructors at the establishment where you fly. See how they get on over time, especially the senior ones as they'll have the same goals as yourself. See where they go and how quickly. Then have a look at their cars! Then think about what you are going to do.

May I also suggest that take a look in the Royal Aero Club of Western Australia (right down at the far end of the road in Jandakot, past the control tower). When I was there, I found them to be a brilliant bunch of people. They had an excellent club, a first class fleet, friendly members, good instructors. But judging by the way they entertained themselves, the majority would be useless candidates for organ donation.

Tell us how you get on,

PM

(They nicknamed me Vasco when I was there. And I can still remember a "Formal Dress (from the waist up) Party". Brilliant place)
Piltdown Man is offline  
Old 26th Mar 2010, 18:59
  #14 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: North America
Age: 63
Posts: 364
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Few more thoughts

Our airline has two previous medical doctors who left their practice to become airline pilots. One is now retired the other still active. I hear they are exceptional to share the flight deck with. Both were happy with their decisions.

You DO NOT need to be an airline pilot to fly like a professional. There is always a need for exceptional instructors who are masters of their trade. You could instruct on the side.

You are probably in a position to purchase your own (or share) aircraft. You could satifsy your desire to fly by flying your own airplane. Being paid by somebody else to move the jet from point A to point B is really doing a similar thing with many more constraints.

Sure the economy is bad now. It was also poor back in the late 70s when I did my training. I doubt it will remain this poor for the rest of our working lives. Training now is not necessarily a bad thing. If the industry turns around you have your ratings. Plus with a depressed economy you may be able to negotiate on training costs.

With your ratings perhaps you could talk some corporate operator flying jets to take you on as a part time first officer. How about part time work for an air ambulence company? With your education and background you would be a strong addition to many different types of flight operations without giving up your medical practice.

The pay cut will be BRUTAL, you may never recover. Being gone half the time soon becomes old, in spite of the fancy jet........

I like what I do. I get great satisfaction from my job. I would not want to be stuck on the ground doing similar things everyday. But if I could match the money I would give serious thought to waking away. It gets old - doesn't everything??

Like the title said, few more thoughts ..... not trying to lobby for a perticular decision.

Wish you the best whatever you decide.
Northbeach is offline  
Old 26th Mar 2010, 19:11
  #15 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: UK, US, now more ɐıןɐɹʇsn∀
Age: 41
Posts: 889
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I am a 28 year old doctor and have always dreamed of being an airline pilot
Hmm. That took you a while to think of actually going for it. And that's in country that's God's gift to humankind for various GA flying.
People who're not sure what to do if dreams are not viable, go for business studies

Sure, go do your PPL, see how you like it. As some said, there's more to flying professionally than jet job.

At least you don't need an advice to get at least something of a trade qualification if not undergraduate degree to have a job/career to fall back on.
One good thing - your current income greatly helps in funding training.
Some of us have to scrape savings over years sacrificing personal life and best years. No hard feelings, just a fact.

If you give up on your medical work, I'd say it's hell of a waste of government money. Even the HECs don't really cover all the expense I presume.

If you love flying, take intro flight in helicopter. Compare that to airplane.
It ain't easy getting there, but the roster for heli flying tends to be nicer unless you fancy 6wk on/6off etc for tour jobs in far away places in Asia or Africa.

I love them all, glider, helicopters, planes, will do gyros later on, too.

OTOH, you'd be hell of a catch for impressionable/gold-digger ladies. "Hi, I'm a doctor. Ehrm, I left practice to work as airline pilot these days".. Hmm. Even my cooking and baking skills coupled with heli and airplane flying can't compare.

Have fun. Training can be stressful if you can't get past certain exercise for a while, checkrides/skills test, but it's great mastering the machine and feel connected to it (at least in heli).
MartinCh is offline  
Old 26th Mar 2010, 22:10
  #16 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: UK
Age: 44
Posts: 19
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
XXPLOD,

Sir, Can you earn a wage whilst on a career break? Something that I would consider myself, I'm considering a (possible) career change but will look to do my PPL first then CPL after. How I see it the police is too secure a job to resign as like you say it is not like you will be made redundant. I've also just done my Constable to Sgt Ospre exam but fed up with the internal politics of this job, however I'm sure the Airline industry would be no different. I'm 30 yrs old so still want to keep my options open.
Geege is offline  
Old 26th Mar 2010, 22:44
  #17 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: UK
Posts: 1,164
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Geege,

Depends on the individual Force as to whether they allow Officers to take up alternative paid employment whilst on a career break. Generally, if it is purely to 'sustain' yourself whilst on time off then it doesnt appear to be too much of an issue.

I took a 12 month career break 3 or 4 years ago to pursue my ATPL's etc. Now happily flying with UK airline....no regrets whatsoever on leaving my previous career.
MIKECR is offline  
Old 26th Mar 2010, 23:11
  #18 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: UK
Age: 44
Posts: 19
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Something to look into I guess
Geege is offline  
Old 27th Mar 2010, 00:06
  #19 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: uk
Posts: 139
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Think you really need to think about this. I am a pharmacist and did the same thing. Passed PPL, Night, ATPL, hour building and MUlti, IR. Stalled when it came to CPL as it was about two years ago and the industry had crashed so decided to hedge my bets. Stupid really but my ATPL's have now lapsed. TBH doing it slowly didn't work for me as it always took an hour or so to get up to speed after a couple of months lay off between modules. If I were to do it again I would have gone integrated and got it out the way. I sold my house and traded down to a flat and had the cash but just wasn't confident enough to jump in head first, I think if I had it would have worked better.

Gave it my best go and it all ended up going Pete Tong, at least I can sit in my rocking chair and NOT say if only.

Its hard work holding down a responsible job and doing the training.
JohnnyPharm is offline  
Old 27th Mar 2010, 01:33
  #20 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Boulder, CO, USA
Age: 45
Posts: 3
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Joe,

I second the response of flying doctor. I knew of a dentist in Alaska who would fly himself and his nurses to remote villages in Alaska where they desperately needed his quality care. In his plane he somehow had most of what he needed and brought much needed care to these people. I'm not sure exactly how he was getting paid but he lived in a nice house and got to fly all the time. It could be a way to still be a professional pilot but earn a more stable long-term living.

That being said, the only advise I give anyone is not to take advise from me You can do anything you like, and you can always change your mind. Its great that you have a specialty to fall back on no matter what happens. I'm an engineer pursuing a CFII (well, okay, I'm just about a PPL right now but I have big plans!!!) so I understand where the drive comes from.

Best of luck!

James
Suppergenus is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell or Share My Personal Information

Copyright © 2023 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.