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Flying Training and Relationships

Old 30th Nov 2010, 00:34
  #1 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: UK
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Flying Training and Relationships

Hi chaps,

I have been an avid backseat reader of these forums for the past 6 months or so, as I too am potentially yet another lamb in the queue at the slaughterhouse (or, at least, so some seem to suggest). That said, this is not why I've finally decided to break the ice.

My question relates more specifically to the life you leave at home, so in a sense I suspect it may be those who have "come out the other side" who can advise here.

I am 24, recently graduated from university, and have been employed in a job I categorically detest for just over a year. I have always loved flying and know that, regardless of the plethora of deterrents I have read across this forum, it is what I want to do with my life. Based on that alone, you might appreciate that I would not find it hard to take the leap.

Now to the inevitable "but" (and I will be as blunt as possible). I have a girlfriend of well over 2 years. We have lived together for most of that time, are extremely happy and I really do not want to put an expiry date on it should I have to move away. I am ever the optimist and know that I wouldn't find long distance stuff too hard, however I have no idea how far that sentiment is reciprocated. How have you coped with moving away from similar situations? Are there any success stories at all?

I am of course realistic - I spoke to a very nice chap down at Bournemouth this year with CTC who mentioned a fairly harrowing statistic about the "break-up rate", so whilst I am well aware of the typical outcome, I suppose that statistic is also my reason for posting.

I am also aware, of course, that this pales into insignificance for some when juxtaposed with debts, jobs (or lack of) and so on - so to those I apologise, although I am certain I am not the only one in this position. This is just a big deciding factor for me.

In any case, thanks for reading.

SkyHighSonar is offline  
Old 30th Nov 2010, 07:19
  #2 (permalink)  

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however I have no idea how far that sentiment is reciprocated.
Suggest you sit down with your girlfriend and ask. Long distance relationships are usually harder on the one "left at home" rather than the one who has gone away.


Whirlygig is offline  
Old 30th Nov 2010, 08:47
  #3 (permalink)  
Join Date: Dec 2008
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I was in the same boat, at the same age, although instead of a degree I had 2 GCSE's & 3 McDonald stars!
I was sat at my desk in work one day and phoned the missus up and just said "Dont laugh, I know what I want to do, I want to be an airline pilot"
"OK, why would I laugh" she said, and that was it, no research, no looking into it, just off the cuff decided I was going to do what I had always wanted to do.
I did the modular route, and since starting, weve got married and had two boys, moved home twice renovating both.
I've just started instructing this year. Its taken 5 years to get to this stage but its been worth it, as my wife says, some husbands waste their money going out on the piss or have affairs with other woman, at least I waste my money on something worthwhile and flying you cant make flying pregnant!
Ty-Fry-Typhoon is offline  
Old 30th Nov 2010, 21:59
  #4 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2010
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Similar boat myself when I was 24. Always wanted to be a pilot and thought RAF was the only route. Didn`t make it through due to me eyesight not being up to there standards so thought well that dream is over(17 at the time). 24 years old in a one year relationship I spoke to a pilot and told him my situation and he told me to get a class 1 medical, if you can get that you can be a pilot. Got that done then went and had a trial lesson and that was it, loved every minute of it. I could only do it part time due to funding so thats what I did but it has been painful. At first my gf was very supportive and loved the idea, however.......After a year of me going away at least one day at the weekend to fly which for me was a 45 min trip there + flying 1,2 even 3 hrs then 45 mins back whole day alomost gone. The week before I was due to do my PPL test she wanted to leave me. We were living together so it was a tough time. I didn`t tell my instructor at first but as soon as we took off on a dry run he told me to land and explain the problem he knew my head wasn`t in the aircraft and it showed. 3 months later I got back in the aircraft and I was so rusty I needed another 10 hrs to get myself upto speed.

I am in another realtionship now and she is a lot more understanding but I learnt a lot as well. Even though I still do the same flying I did before (when the weather is good) I set more time aside for her, it has worked so far this time(2yr together today). I am due to start the CPL course in FEB and have explained what it involves and she understands, she knows how much I want this.

As Whirls said sit down have a chat, it does take up more time than you think.

AIMINGHIGH123 is offline  
Old 1st Dec 2010, 09:11
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Constant night-stopping is painful for any relationship, even if you are used to it. If you are unlucky you'll end up as two individuals who just communicate by telephone, text and email. And, as you said in your own words, you will be at the back of the queue, so what do you say to your other half about the cash you spent getting a licence etc. when you don't have a job. And when you get your first job, do you move? And your second? Do you move the kids?

Your only real choice is to have a really good talk about what you both want. And don't forget, if you want to fly, why not do it privately, but to a high level (say competition level?) or go gliding or even learn to fly an autogyro. Get rid of the flying bugs by doing some. Given the present economic conditions (and those predicted) I'd spend less money and get a copy of Buildings Regs., a Gas Registration ticket and a Part-P so I could do up houses and rent them out. As a side-line I'd do emergency call outs and small jobs. I certainly wouldn't think about flying for a living and I certainly wouldn't recommend that my kids go near it.

So given your choice between flying, in-evitable debt, unemployment and being your girlfriend, I think I'd know which I'd choose!

Piltdown Man is offline  
Old 1st Dec 2010, 10:07
  #6 (permalink)  
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Thumbs up


I dont post much on PPRuNe these days, however, I actually found your post a breath of fresh air. I like your attitude regarding your passion and motivation to become a professional pilot, despite the negativity that is projected through this website sometimes.

I dont want to duplicate what is always written here, but to put my own slant on your question, you have to talk to you partner about this. I got together with my GF 11 years ago, just as I was on a saving mission to fund my training and was quite clear about my goals with my career, to which she was fully supportive. I stayed away for 6 months doing to ATPL's, which in some ways was good for our relationship. It made seeing each other extra special. We have never been a couple to live in each others pockets, so maybe that helped us get through being apart for long periods of time. I was lucky enough to do my CPL/IR and FIC close to where we live so I didnt have to move away for that.

Now, with regard to the job, as piltdown man says, being away, working odd hours and changing rosters can be tricky if you have a demanding partner! As long as you both understand the above it shouldnt be a problem, however, you never know until you try it, but you have to have your eyes open with repsect to what you are getting yourself into.

I have been flying professionally for 5 years now, and I know the industry is constantly changing, however, I would recommend the job to anybody, especially if you have that magical passion for aviation. I have never looked back, and love the job, even when crewing change my cheeky 2 sector finish at 10:30am, to a night Moscow .

All the best with what you decide, go for it sir .
CAT3C AUTOLAND is offline  
Old 1st Dec 2010, 11:57
  #7 (permalink)  
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Surrey - UK
Age: 31
Posts: 12

Like yourself, I rarely post of this forum, and like quite a lot of people on this forum, want to be an airline pilot to.

I am in a similar situation to you, I am in a long term relationship, and want to start training and get it under way. The only difference is I never went to Uni, so be mindful of what student debts etc you may have to pay off before, during or after your training.

I don't know what sort of training you are looking into, but if you are worried about your relationship, money, future job prospects etc, I would definately recommend Modular training, as this will be more flexible for all your requirements. I'm certainly going to go throught the modular route myself.

AIMHIGH123 has given some valuable advice, if your serious about this career, get a class 1 Medical before investing any money on training. you don't want to be spending money on training and find out later that you are unfit to fly. Once you have this, the world is at your feet.

I will say exactly the same as what everyone else has sai on this subject, make sure your partner is happy with this, and discuss any issues as soon as they arise, better to prevent issues before they come up.

Good luck with whatever you decide
JCBeadle is offline  
Old 2nd Dec 2010, 00:12
  #8 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jul 2010
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Read your thread with interest, now I am not in exact same situation as I am a bit more mature of age, however does not change the possible impact both training and work can have on a relationship.

I can only comment on the training part of relationship hardships, depending on how you plan to train, modular or integrated- it will regardless have a great impact on your personal life, private life, relationships, friends and family.

Many will NOT understand, specially friends, specially during the ATPL's and also probably during the IR training.
Myself I took full time study at London Met + Modular, I am married, and all was well thought out in advance. Still there was plenty of periods during the ATPL's that it really took a heavy toll on the relationship, and I saw several of my other class mates with similar problems.

One of our teachers told us in advance that during the 4 -5 month period, there was a very big break up percentage in relationships, during the 6 month ATPL course. I think it was good to be aware of this, as it was important to have often talks with your better half.

Distance learning is probably not going to be much easier, as you are probably stretching your exams periods with at least 6 months I would think. There was little time for friends or other family then the ones closest to me, many friends had very little understanding for this. The ATPL's are not difficult, but there is such a large volume of stuff you must get trough in relative short time.

After the ATPL's things got much better, during CPL and ME there was little problems, however again during the IR which I am completing now, there is possible more tensions to come, because again many people have very little understanding for the mindset required to get trough it, and still having your sanity left when you finished.

To my wife's defence, she has been amazing to understand me when I needed it most, even though I have probably been a pain, add to the fact I also had a baby now 22 months + full time business to run, maybe it explains some of the stress.

But yes, be aware already during start of training there will be some very hard times.
6 hours at school + travel + 2 to 4 hours revision time for just over 6 months, 6 days a week, that = ATPL's finish in 6 months.
BoeingDreamer is offline  
Old 2nd Dec 2010, 06:22
  #9 (permalink)  
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Zambia
Posts: 8
My old Instructor, now sadly departed this planet, alway said that you dont make a good pilot until you have had your first crash, been divorced and become an alcoholic.

Not sure how true, and i am sure that there will be plenty of you out there who will argue with this, but it was alway one of his quips when the situation warranted it.
Zamfari is offline  
Old 3rd Dec 2010, 11:08
  #10 (permalink)  
Join Date: May 2002
Location: In a nice house
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I think it really depends on your attitude. It sounds like you would want to make it work with your girlfriend though, so that is a good start. The main thing is communication. It is really difficult for OHs to understand the time, level of study and pressure involved in getting licences, and later, with working as an airline pilot. You need to sit down with her, talk it through and be brutally honest. She will need to be sure she can support you 100% and she needs to understand that you will have a one track mind during much of your training!!
Airbus Girl is offline  
Old 3rd Dec 2010, 12:48
  #11 (permalink)  
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: UK
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There are benefits too, the first week of my 3 week CPL course I was a mess, my flying just went shockingly bad, after one flight I just felt like quitting, when I spoke to her she was great, reminding me of all the work Id done what a waste it would be to throw it away, she then helped me work out where I was going wrong which was the cockpit management and the remembering of sequences & drills, I wrote the drills out on paper and each evening she would get me to dry drill things like PFL's, Stall recoveryís etc, telling me went to "Recover on her command" or "go around" It was great and got her involved in what I was doing more as she had never been particularly interested. We even set up the flight sim yoke & throttle controls, what a pair we must have looked!

It was amusing afterwards when I was watching a programme called flight deck whilst she was doing the ironing and she heard them call 3 greens "Hay you do that!"

Even better was to follow with her free PPL ground school tuition by me as I did my Instructor course when I would submit her to briefings on all the air exercises, It was great practice as she didnít have a clue what was going on so the questions she asked where genuine.

Sure its been hard on her, but then there are lots of Jobs that are no different causing you to be away from home except they are not nearly so fun!
Ty-Fry-Typhoon is offline  
Old 3rd Dec 2010, 14:26
  #12 (permalink)  
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: UK, Paris, Peckham, New York
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It is a very valid question you ask, and very mature of you to do so.

I am not yet a CPL holder, but have completed the ATPL knowledge and it was tough going. I also had to do this whilst working 7 days a week, 2 different jobs to pay for the flying. In fact i think in 18 month all my holiday time was taken with exams and study, and every other day was working and studing everynight.

She has been fantastic, forced me to study when i was struggling, and really helped motivate me. I honestly dont think i could have done it without her.

To think of what I have put the poor girl through it is amazing that she is still with me. But they say what doesnt kill you only makes you stronger.

UAV689 is offline  

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