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.

Uni or not? (Merged 2013)

Old 9th Feb 2021, 13:28
  #181 (permalink)  
1DC
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: UK EAST COAST
Posts: 321
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Young man don't talk yourself down before you start, you obviously have the incentive to want to become a pilot so go and try and become one.
1DC is offline  
Old 9th Feb 2021, 13:33
  #182 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: uk
Posts: 696
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Rob if you get an aeronautical engineering degree ‘even’ a third that is still quite an achievement. The ATPL is not difficult although the volume of information is high. Don’t beat yourself up. If you can cope with an engineering degree you will not have an issue with the academic content of the ATPL. For example the maths is much more basic. The only point I would make is that if you are determined to fly, enjoy the journey. Do NOT pay up front, go modular and avoid the larger and more ‘prestigious’ (they are not) flying schools. I am involved in recruitment for an airline so I am not talking completely through my ahem, rear. Good luck!
olster is offline  
Old 9th Feb 2021, 13:45
  #183 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 2001
Location: Here 'n' there!
Posts: 564
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Wow! I'm not sure you realise just how fortunate you are! I did near on 35 years Aero Engineer (Forces then Industry). I got a "Desmond" BTW. How many times did I "use" my degree? Erm, never! Not once! It was, effectively, irrelevant - unless, you go on into specific research/design/geek-mode.

I learned all I needed for all the jobs I did through equipment and other courses post-Degree. What counts is "practical engineering ability" which has more to do with you working on your car at home than any applications of Laplace Transforms or knowing the annealing temp for some exotic alloy! My Degree turned out to be a 3 year hurdle to be survived with "beer drinking skills" being the most, sorry, only useful skill derived from the 3 years!

So, you will be fortunate to have an initial career to help fund your flying and then act as a fall-back career should the flying go TU - as it will at times. I swapped between the 2 on a couple of occasions and then went back to Engineering for good when I unexpectedly lost my Medical quite early on.

So forget your "3rd" - and realise that you have a huge advantage which, like it was for me, meant I was never out of work for long! And I enjoyed both professions too! Yes, missed flying but also enjoyed my Engineering.

As to a degree being equivalent to ATPLs? Banana Joe is correct and, certainly for UK ATPLs, you often just had to learn what the Exam required as an answer. One got the feeling that, for a lot of it, you were learning how to pass a set of Exams - not what was really needed for flying. I'd suggest a "degree" teaches you how to think, ATPLs teach you how to "memorise". Maybe a tad simplistic, but that's how I see it. Others may well disagree (this is PPRuNe after all!).

So, bottom line, count your blessings for your future life, ignore the "3rd" as really not much of an issue and crack on! And good luck with both your careers!
Hot 'n' High is offline  
Old 9th Feb 2021, 14:15
  #184 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2016
Location: Europe
Posts: 693
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
As I see it, the degree in itself is a plus, but the grades aren't that relevant for a pilot job. Even if it's a III, it's still nice to have. Myself, I got a II-1 back in the day. Nobody ever paid any special attention to it, I think. I don't think I would have been anyhow better off now with a I or worse off with a II-2. Those marks mostly matter when applying for postgraduate studies or a grad scheme, definitely not when applying for a pilot job.

I still seem to more or less remember what does one study to call themselves an engineer. Quite a lot of it is a nice brain exercise and a bonus to your general knowledge, but totally irrelevant to a pilot job. Like, how much computational fluid dynamics do pilots do in their day-to-day lives? Or are there any line integrals up there? So, a lot of the academic content you went through will never serve you in the flight deck.

I believe that your basic maths and physics are good enough if you made it into final year of engineering. So, you won't have any trouble getting an ATPL. There are plenty of stressful things out there for you now, please don't make your degree class one of them. Everything will be fine.
PilotLZ is offline  
Old 9th Feb 2021, 14:31
  #185 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Wherever I lay my hat
Posts: 3,431
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
If you make it to the end and get your degree, you've proved you have what it takes. (Determination basically).

There's nothing hard about learning to fly - certainly nothing harder than learning to drive for example - there's just more of it. Whomever told you that the ATPLs are like a degree has done you a huge disservice: the maths you need for the exams is GCSE level, while the maths you use in the cockpit is the three times table! I averaged a week per subject for the ATPL exams, it's really just a massive memory exercise.

On top of that, a degree isn't required to be a pilot (the US majors are the exception) in fact I really don't understand why people go to university of they want to be a pilot... if you'd spent the time and money you've just spent learning to fly you'd have a fATPL now.

Last edited by rudestuff; 9th Feb 2021 at 19:46.
rudestuff is offline  
Old 9th Feb 2021, 14:56
  #186 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 2019
Location: South Wales, UK
Posts: 20
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
rudestuff

re: the whole “why go to uni” thing, I think some people, myself included, go to uni because they can’t afford pilot training (although it’s backfired for me because my degree is useless). I know many talented young people on my course who are on track for 1st class degrees and masters in aeronautics, and they too want to be pilots but haven’t come from backgrounds where their parents are able to or willing to pay for a fATPL.
rob_ste97 is offline  
Old 9th Feb 2021, 15:04
  #187 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2013
Location: London
Posts: 108
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I'm probably repeating a lot of whats been said already - but to reiterate:

1) ATPL theory is not complicated and probably around GCSE level. Its challenging, but due to the volume of information, not the complexity. If you were accepted onto a degree course in Aero.Eng I have no doubt about your ability to pass it all with no issues.

2) You don't need a degree to be a pilot in the UK. Many of my colleagues don't, and they are 3+ years ahead of me in their careers and not paying off very expensive student loans.

Go do some private flying. I'm sure this will boost your confidence and tell you whether you really do love it or not. From then on, your next move should be fairly easy.
clvf88 is offline  
Old 9th Feb 2021, 15:08
  #188 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: England
Posts: 1,046
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Well, I’m going to go against the flow. I studied electrical and electronic engineering and I found it invaluable in my career, giving my an early start as a technical trainer and then onwards and upwards.

But I was rubbish on the degree course, especially the maths, but I got a great overview of engineering and especially control systems. Stumbled out of the far end of the course with a 3rd.

Comparing the ATPLs to a degree level of knowledge is a bit pointless because degrees have wildly different complexity. Overall, I’d say more than A levels but quite a bit below a Degree. Unless that degree is in some totally discipline (e.g. any of the Marxist indoctrination fields).
Capt Pit Bull is offline  
Old 9th Feb 2021, 15:40
  #189 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 2019
Location: South Wales, UK
Posts: 20
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
My bad marks have come primarily from computer analysis (eg parts testing). I really cocked up one of my assignments and got 44% as well as a 3rd in the Diss so it’s pulled my whole grade down massively.
Being completely honest, and without the wish to over-share on a public forum, it’s destroyed what little confidence I had in my own ability. I’ve found the degree useful but don’t have anything to show on paper for it.
rob_ste97 is offline  
Old 9th Feb 2021, 15:42
  #190 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 2019
Location: South Wales, UK
Posts: 20
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
clvf88

thanks for the advice. I think that what worries is me is that yes, plenty of pilots don’t have a degree but that’s through choice rather than Because they would have flopped out of it like I did.
I do love flying, I’ve done a bit (but less than most people at my age), and I do enjoy it a lot.
rob_ste97 is offline  
Old 9th Feb 2021, 15:44
  #191 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: It's a secret
Posts: 315
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
As has already been said, you don't need a degree to be a pilot and neither do you need an ATPL! Some of us flew for the military and had lots of fun all our adult lives with just 8 'O' levels! If you're clever enough to get into Uni then you'll find that the 'technical' side of flying isn't that hard, you'll not know if you have the 'stick and throttle' aptitude until you get airborne though.
Specaircrew is offline  
Old 9th Feb 2021, 15:59
  #192 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Cluedo
Posts: 213
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Rob,

As has been said earlier in this thread-you dont need a degree to become a pilot. If i may add some perspective to your situation-I wasnít clever enough to get a place at uni to study aero eng. Instead I went and studied something easier. By getting a 3rd in your degree Iíd suggest youíre more intelligent than me!

Iíve been in the RAF as a Pilot (and now instructor) circa 15 years now. Never needed my degree, although it may come in useful as a back up / If I lost my medical. Beyond initial application stage, I donít think anyone cared about my degree.

Iíve also now got my CPL/IR, and the atpls are certainly not anything harder than Aílevel (if that). Just a huge volume to get through.

Concentrate on your degree-youíve nearly finished it! And i would be amazed if getting a 3rd would in any way negatively impact upon a career as a pilot.

Good luck!
Professor Plum is offline  
Old 9th Feb 2021, 16:09
  #193 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Surrey
Age: 65
Posts: 185
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Ever thought about becoming an ATCO ? NATS require only 5 GCESEs,and I think you can now do the aptitude tests on-line.I always wanted to fly for a living,but ended up with a career in ATC & loved it.
If you really want to be a pilot though - persevere.My best mates son joined the RN as a trainee pilot,was chopped,then chopped as an observer and left.He's now an operational pilot in the RAF ! (Oh,and no degree )
ex82watcher is offline  
Old 9th Feb 2021, 16:39
  #194 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 2019
Location: South Wales, UK
Posts: 20
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Specaircrew

Hi there. I have some limited flying experience in the form of a glider pilot licence and was fortunate enough to receive a PPL scholarship this year and have done 6 hours prior to lockdown. I don’t think that my instructor has any serious concerns about my aptitude (or at least he hasn’t said anything yet!)
rob_ste97 is offline  
Old 9th Feb 2021, 16:47
  #195 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Nov 1999
Posts: 2,314
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Rob,

Do something that you feel you would be good at, and that makes you happy. Life isnít all about professional flying and certainly it isnít a career for everybody for any number of reasons. Often people will embark on a life plan and then change it based on experience and circumstance. Successes and failures are just a part of normal life and they very rarely set anything in stone.

Airline pilot as an aspirational career has never been easy and the attrition rate has always been very high. That said, the current metamorphosis is very likely to make things even more difficult and less desirable in the future. Your future is yours alone and only you can make the decisions at each crossroads you come to.
Bealzebub is offline  
Old 9th Feb 2021, 16:51
  #196 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 2019
Location: South Wales, UK
Posts: 20
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Thank you very much for your thoughts. I have never been academically “good” (think, below average), and I think that I want to work in aviation, but need to choose a job that’s within reach for me and as has been rightly said flying is an extremely difficult career and employers can afford to be very picky about who they employ.

I am thinking maybe check-in or ground handling.
rob_ste97 is offline  
Old 9th Feb 2021, 17:15
  #197 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Wherever I go, there I am
Age: 42
Posts: 740
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I would second nearly everything that has been said above, and add that part of being a professional pilot beyond the technical aspect is knowing how to deal with one's limitations.

So you got a bad mark on an assignment and a course. Lots of pilots have a subject that is beyond them. I teach in the sim all the time and come across professional pilots who have a very limited understanding of say, electrics or hydraulics. It's all pure magic to them. But they don't need to know how current flows through a wire, or that when current reverses that's a bad thing. They just need to know that when this indicator reads 0 and this one reads 32, that's a bad thing and if that bad thing happens, do this checklist.

You are going to fail at something in aviation. In fact, you're going to fail at a lot in aviation. Everyone does. Everyone has failed an exam, failed a flight test, or did something inside the airplane they're not particularly proud of. Some have done all three, and yet they're some of the best pilots I know. They're not the best because of their mistake, but because of how they handled themselves during and after. They learned, adapted, moved on, and shared their experience so someone else wouldn't go through the same thing.

This is going to come off very harsh, but if you cannot do the same and you would prefer to wallow in self-pity, then this is not the industry for you. If, on the other hand, you can get over your mistakes and turn them into a positive, then come on in. This industry has a very high barrier to entry and there is no sense in making yourself one of those barriers if this is truly what you want to do.

You have a bunch of professional pilots telling you this is not an extremely difficult career and that you're overthinking this. So now, the ball is in your court and you have no one to blame but yourself if in 50 years you're playing the regret game because you let two bad marks define your life.
+TSRA is offline  
Old 9th Feb 2021, 17:19
  #198 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Cluedo
Posts: 213
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Very wise words +TSRA
Professor Plum is offline  
Old 9th Feb 2021, 18:09
  #199 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: uk
Posts: 696
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
I agree TSRA, very good post. Would give it a thumbs up if I could. Getting knocks and displaying resilience to overcome problems is a key attribute of the professional pilot. Attitude is more key than academic attainment (within reason!).
olster is offline  
Old 9th Feb 2021, 18:23
  #200 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Pastures new
Posts: 337
Likes: 0
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Rob,

if you’re going to talk yourself out of becoming a pilot, it sounds as though you don’t want it enough. I spent years getting through pilot training by the skin of my teeth....one thing was for sure, if they wanted to get rid of me then they were going have to do the deed. I would never have just rolled over and given up. The problem with not being a pilot is that you then have to work for a living! Keep the faith and give it your best shot. If it doesn’t work out then at least you’ll know it wasn’t your fault.
PS. I got 8% in my maths mock A level....and you think you’ve got problems!
kintyred is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

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

Copyright © 2022 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.