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Trains to planes

Old 16th Jul 2017, 19:50
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Trains to planes

Hi Everyone,

I'm after some career advice from people who know the industry or have sifted through wannabe CV's. My situation is I'm 26, have a wife and 2 kids and an itch that I can't shake. I've always been interested in flying but grew up in a working class family with very little disposable so NEVER even considered I could do it as a career, might as well wish to be an astronaut (no violins necessary). None the less I've worked hard and got myself a career in agricultural/ environmental advice (pays in the low 30's) which I'm not thrilled to be in but have to be grateful. The reason I got into agricultural is because I like big boys toys, unfortunately I also have a brain and a professional streak which in that sector means you become more and more desk bound.

After a couple of trial lessons I find myself spending a lot of time wishing I was up there (which I'm told is better than wishing you were down here). As a result I've spent the last few years immersing myself in aviation knowledge (I'm very inquisitive, love the systems, mechanics, techniques procedures etc.) And I think I would even enjoy studying all 14 ATPLs. My wife is even on board as she can see how passionate I am. I don't doubt my aptitude but that's where it ends. Getting the dream off the ground is another matter for a whole realm of practical reasons not least money. Providing for my family comes first and I'm not about to get myself in debt and resentful to them.

Train driving is something that has come up more recently, there's a potential opportunity and although it doesn't inspire the same urge, I feel I could quite enjoy it. In addition it pays well which means I could start flying. As a long term plan (over 10 years max) I'm thinking I could get a job on the rails and tick off my PPL, hr building, CPL, ME/IR etc. Do some flying holidays with the family ferry people about and have them chip in for the cost etc. Basically enjoy the whole process and make myself a half decent pilot In the hope that the right opportunity comes up.

My question is how would all that look on a CV? Would a train driver be looked at favourably given the principles of the two industries are similar (get customers from A to B
safely, following procedures, customer service, working through faults)?

I don't even necessarily want to go straight to the RHS of a boe-bus, for example survey flying appeals, the problem is the outlay means the airline salary would be more attractive at the end. The bottom line is, I have to work. Work takes me away from my family and this will get worse as I progress. I feel I might as well go for something I'm going to enjoy.

All advice will be gratefully received
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Old 17th Jul 2017, 06:40
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The truth is, with an aeroplane on the ground for lack of crew, it won't matter a jot about your background - I believe there was even an exotic dancer a year or two ago with the more or less the same question, but at least you will be in the transport industry. With reference to the exams, be aware that they take their ground exams a lot more seriously - I know that because two of my brothers are train drivers.
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Old 17th Jul 2017, 09:53
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I'd agree with Council Van on that one - you'll make a lot more money driving a train with far more protection and security than you would as an airline pilot. Two former colleagues of mine, left-hand seat Boeing, left to drive trains in their early 40's and said they'd wished they done it years ago. Certainly would have provided them both with a smoother family life. If you want to fly, do it on your days off and enjoy it!
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Old 17th Jul 2017, 11:37
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In response to your question, train driving looks fine on CVs for flying. As does truck, ship, taxi, tank driving etc. Colleagues have done all of these and the list of pilots previous carears is endless. But you have to question yourself after shelling out the fat end of 130,000 or so, why when you start working for an airline should you be halving or quartering your pay or even reducing it to zero? Furthermore try telling Mick Whelan, John Leach or Bob Crow that their members will have to pay for their training or pay to get a job. Quite correctly they'd laugh before they punched your teeth down your throat. Most airlines are run by greedy, scummy individuals who care nothing for their passengers, suppliers or employees. I wouldn't p!ss on them if they were on fire. I'd say stay with trains and fly for pleasure.
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Old 17th Jul 2017, 12:31
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Originally Posted by Piltdown Man View Post
130,000 or so
130K?If you are training on an Eurofighter...
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Old 17th Jul 2017, 13:47
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I was in a similar position to yourself last year and a few months back started as a Trainee Train Driver, I'm mid-twenties but with no real commitments. That said, I do regret not getting the fully funded cadet programme I applied for last year, it was the best scheme in Europe with one of the last airlines which offers really good T&Cs and I came quite close. They should be recruiting again later this year, they fly Airbus types with a plant motif on the tail. So, apply for that when it opens.

The trains can be quite difficult to get into and indeed there is a broad British railway equivalent to PPRuNe which exists and offers plenty of advice, you may have come across it already. You are only allowed to fail the industry-wide aptitude tests once and if you have a second fail you cannot apply again for any driving position with a UK train company. If you pass, the tests are valid for up to five years and you can carry the tests from one company to another. The one thing I will say about the railway is beware of Driver Only Operation (DOO), if you're DOO, you'll be dispatching your own train and if you kill/injure someone in the process the ramifications can go far beyond job loss (see James Street and Hayes and Harlington).

The good news on the railway is that your training will be paid for and you'll be paid 20-35k during training, with a typical basic of 50k once qualified for a 35 hour four day week. If you fail training on ability but have a good attitude, they'll likely offer you a different role in the company. Train companies often recruit much older folk too, quite a few 50+ get in as Trainee Drivers.

On the airline side, as you'll have seen on here, there's the mentored programmes (most are integrated as opposed to modular, some involve parting with more cash than others, a few airlines will guarantee a loan, most won't) and non-mentored. For non-mentored, see the Integrated vs Modular thread.
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Old 17th Jul 2017, 14:17
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Originally Posted by Council Van View Post
With the growth in population the number of passengers on the railway are only going to continue to increase, it must be one of the most secure jobs going.
With the 99% probability of being replaced by a quite simple automatics within the next 10 to 20 years.. It's definitely one of the most unsecure jobs.
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Old 17th Jul 2017, 14:20
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Originally Posted by superflanker View Post
130K?If you are training on an Eurofighter...
Going to CTC will cost 95,000+ and if you get easyJet that's another 35,000. That is just one example, I know people who have spent that amount through various methods.
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Old 17th Jul 2017, 14:34
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Ok sure, but there are cheaper methods.

PPL: 7K (45hs)
ATPL-Theory: 5K (including exam price)
Hours: let's say 120hs at 200€/hour: 24K
ME-IR: 15K (35hs)
CPL: 6K?

This is like 60.000€.... Ok the type rating is another 30.000, but if you have to pay it it means that you have entered an airline...
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Old 17th Jul 2017, 20:23
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I don't see the UK mainline rail network becoming automated any time soon unless there is an unforeseeable change in affcordable technology. Firstly, a lot of rural routes use Absolute Block signalling, the operating principles related to this were developed in the 19th Century. Secondly, Automatic Train Operation (ATO) on the mainline network is based around ERTMS, which is a European thing. ATO is only just being introduced to the central cores of Crossrail and the Thameslink programme. They're trying to introduce it on the Circle/Met/Disict/H&C lines on the Tube and it's been delayed by over four years, that's a pretty simple network of track too. It wouldn't be economically viable to introduce ATO to a lot of routes as it stands.

Lastly, even if it's "driverless" you still need someone to dispatch it. The DLR doesn't have a "driver" per se though though a Passenger Service Agent must be present on each train to dispatch it. One politician last year came a cropper when he said he "loved" the DLR because it didn't strike, a few weeks later they walked out and the network was closed.

So I doubt train drivers will be replaced by robots any time soon. The aviation bug still bites I must admit, I don't want to get to retirement without having gotten behind the controls of a commercial jet.
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Old 17th Jul 2017, 21:14
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Big thank you to all who took the time to read and reply (I have a short history of long posts)

A perhaps ambiguous although completely sincere question particularly for CV, reverserbucket and PM.

If you want to fly, do it on your days off and enjoy it!
... I often look around my office and envy people that seem to enjoy their jobs full of enthusiasm for something I struggle to get that excited about, does this happen on the flight deck? I can't imagine it but there seems to be an underlying theme on here of people who don't enjoy their flying jobs. In my mind I'm amazed that there's anyone out there who would do anything else given the time and money to invest. But I have yet to visit these 'greener pastures'. I'm all for 'flying for pleasure' but it'd be lot more convenient to be paid to do it. Plus Cessna's don't have any overhead switches which I'm guessing is your one hangup on trains CTR...
The aviation bug still bites I must admit, I don't want to get to retirement without having gotten behind the controls of a commercial jet.
Thanks for the heads up I think I know the sister forum you speak of CTR I'm a lurker there. Got an open application with a TOC at the moment told to expect an invite to an assessment day in the near future (was about 6 months ago!)Was thinking of paying to do the tests (very aviation I know). I have to say I hadn't realised the full implications of DOO, sheds a whole new light on a few recent headlines. Would be interesting to get some more insight from you....

Also would that happen to be the same plant motif you may get on a pint of caringly dispensed Guiness?
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Old 17th Jul 2017, 22:17
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Originally Posted by dreaadnoult View Post
With the 99% probability of being replaced by a quite simple automatics within the next 10 to 20 years.. It's definitely one of the most unsecure jobs.

In yours and the Daily Mail's dreams. It's one thing to have automatic train operation on the Victoria line and the underground sections of the Central and Pickledicky line and the bit of Thamelink between Blackfriars and St. Panhandle. It's quite a different operation on a wet rail in the leaf fall season in the outer suburbs.
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Old 18th Jul 2017, 10:37
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Originally Posted by dreaadnoult With the 99% probability of being replaced bya quite simple automatics within the next 10 to 20 years.. It's definitely oneof the most unsecure jobs.
Worth noting that there's already a lot of work being done in the field of automating commercial air traffic and lets face it, the current state of play with drone technology demonstrates that having two or even only one 'pilot' sat up the front is unnecessary save regulation and the public appetite for human crew sitting in the same machine as the passengers. A better indicator of job security and longevity might be which industry has the stronger unions and in the UK that is most definitely the railways.
Originally Posted by holding4release I often look around my office and envy people that seem to enjoy their jobs full of enthusiasm for something I struggle to get that excited about, does this happen on the flight deck?
Have a look through the Terms and Conditions thread if youwant to know the answer to that one. At the end of the day, it's a job and although from the outside flying appears exciting and attractive, once the sheen rubs off, it's all about pay, days off, rosters etc. so I suppose in that sense, it is different from office work but not necessarily in a good way. All depends on what you want out of life really.
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Old 18th Jul 2017, 10:58
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Disagree, this is a very vocational profession. All the pilots i know love their job. Perhaps they want to win more money and have more free time (who doesn't). But is not the same that being in an office 40h/week with a job you barely like.
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Old 18th Jul 2017, 11:40
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superflanker

I love my job but that doesn't stop me and by far the majority of my colleagues moaning about T's&C's, roster patterns, FTL's, bids for leave etc. Flying presents it's own problems and when you have a spouse and family to consider and keep happy, the interesting and enjoyable aspects that enticed you originally can wear thin. You meet some great individuals and the flying can be excellent but it is also largely repetitive and, as with any job, your colleagues one day are not necessarily those you would choose to socialise with, however you may spend many hours in the cockpit and perhaps the odd nightstop with them downroute. Other days can be fantastic. That said and despite my possibly negative sounding comments, if you met me or those who I've flown with, I feel confident you and they would confirm my enthusiasm is infectious and that I have a highly sociable temperament. I have also worked in office environments.
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Old 18th Jul 2017, 15:43
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I think regardless of how good a job is, once it becomes "the new normal", it becomes seemingly less enjoyable. A lot of things are like that if you ask me, hobbies, a new car etc.

Do take a look at DOO dispatch and it's implications before you join the railway. In the past, it didn't really cause drivers a huge amount of concern. However, post James Street in particular, the CPS does seem to take much more interest in train dispatch incidents where a passenger is injured or killed, even if it was primarily the result of the passenger's own actions. Prosecutions are rare though there is a case going through the courts at the moment concerning a driver (Hayes and Harlington). I haven't heard of airline pilots prosecuted in the UK since the Penta Hotel incident for situations where they tried their best, "just culture" seems to have moved things forward. Quite a few UK rail operators don't really do "just culture" and are only beginning to learn the lessons that the airlines learned in the 1980's. Nontheless, the railways can be a very enjoyable and rewarding career, just don't go in thinking it's all sunshine and be prepared to cover your back. There are quite a few people driving trains that wanted to go into a piloting role but were turned off by the cost.

As for aviation, I haven't had much exposure to the commercial side though I take the view that your ability to get in will be made much more favourable if you have loads of cash. I did hear somewhere that the CAA were putting the airlines under a bit of pressure regarding sponsorship programmes because they were worried about a shortage of quality, whether there's any truth in that at all I don't know. As for the Guinness, you guessd correctly!
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Old 19th Jul 2017, 21:15
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Perhaps a topic for another thread but all this designing humans out of everything worries me.
public appetite for human crew sitting in the same machine as the passengers
I would say 90% of people if the worse comes to the worst would rather have another human at the helm. In addition I think as a species we need to be doing. I can't see in reality that this level of automation will be common place. Perhaps in certain instances and to a certain level but not complete.

All the pilots i know love their job.
good to know

@reverserbucket I appreciate your balanced honesty on this. I'm glad you can still say
I love my job
. I get that the novelty of anything wears off and the only thing that determines happiness is your personal attitude.
moaning about T's&C's, roster patterns, FTL's, bids for leave etc.
that said on reflection, the jobs I've moaned about the most with colleagues are the ones deep down I've enjoyed the most.

So having read comments my thoughts... If I get this train gig and I'm earning enough I will be pursuing aviation as a hobby in the next couple of years - for me part of the enjoyment would be learning to fly on instruments to a commercial standard and having a decent understanding of the environment etc. With that in mind, given that most private pilots who actually keep it up probably spend enough to fund a modular fATPL just maintaining their ppl (give a few extra hours) over the course of 10 years. If I add licenses/ratings as I go I haven't really lost anything and still have a decent job. If I can get paid to continue my hobby at the end of it it's a bonus and I'll be in a better position to judge along the way where I want to take it...

You'll no doubt have more of an idea on the realities of that. One hurdle I can see is balancing the job with training particularly with the cpl.

@Chris the Robot would you mind me messaging you separately at some point?. Would be good to have your insight as a new train driver.
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Old 20th Jul 2017, 14:58
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To put the job security issue and industrial relations matter another way almost all air travel is discretionary-sort of
A huge proportion of train travel-commuting -is essential.

A lot of union power at generally train companies in most of the world , dont see the same at airlines very often.

Good luck anyway in your evaluations , I m glad I am retired and do not have to face the automation crisis which will impact many people
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Old 21st Jul 2017, 20:28
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Who knows...

Hi, thanks for the reply.

Given we'll all be monitoring our robot colleagues in the next 20 years I can't see we'll need to ever leave home let alone travel. Why go outside when you can put on your AR headset and pretend your spiderman?
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