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Becoming a pilot After COVID-19

Old 30th Mar 2020, 06:59
  #1 (permalink)  
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Question Becoming a pilot After COVID-19

Hey, this is my first post on PPRuNe.

I am hoping to start my Integrated ATPL course by the end of this year/next year but, I have been seeing threads on PPRuNe saying that the bonanza of pilot shortage would simply not exist for the next 5-10 years/after COVID.
To quote, Flying Clog posted under Rumors and news: "The aviation sector is going to contract by 50% for at least the next 5-10 years, and will never, in our lifetimes, recover to the dizzy heights of 2019".
I am just another aspiring airline pilot but looking at the current and predicted situation should I look for something else rather than becoming a pilot?

Please correct me if I am wrong and I would love some advice, feedback, thoughts or whether I should pursue this dream forward...
DvEsp787 is offline  
Old 30th Mar 2020, 23:54
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Originally Posted by DvEsp787 View Post
Hey, this is my first post on PPRuNe.

I am hoping to start my Integrated ATPL course by the end of this year/next year but, I have been seeing threads on PPRuNe saying that the bonanza of pilot shortage would simply not exist for the next 5-10 years/after COVID.
To quote, Flying Clog posted under Rumors and news: "The aviation sector is going to contract by 50% for at least the next 5-10 years, and will never, in our lifetimes, recover to the dizzy heights of 2019".
I am just another aspiring airline pilot but looking at the current and predicted situation should I look for something else rather than becoming a pilot?

Please correct me if I am wrong and I would love some advice, feedback, thoughts or whether I should pursue this dream forward...
Personally I would go Modular. I have 1000 hours albeit as a GA Flying Instructor. My airline Sim Assessment was cancelled in November and since then the HR department for that airline has stated that it is seeking qualified Flybe crew or Type Rated crew only. And now they are seeking government aid.

In the UK, with BMI, Monarch, TC & Flybe all gone & other airlines (including easyjet) are struggling. There are a lot of experienced, redundant crews out there and it will take time to reabsorb them back into flying (if that is what they wish).

Get a job or alternative profession to fall back on. Save your cash. Train Modular. Go for a Single Pilot Licence not MPL so that you could add an FI Rating if you wished.

The flying public are going to need time to recover before discretionary spending picks up - the economy is likely badly damaged. Choice of a holiday abroad or saving for a rainy day then I suspect that a lot of people will now go for the latter - my family certainly are: might look at a holiday next year - no way are we going to fight our way through crowded airports and transport infrastructure only weeks after a pandemic!!!
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Old 31st Mar 2020, 03:49
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It is sad to see these airlines closing down one after the other. Though, I think I will take up a job and go ahead with modular training.

Thanks!
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Old 31st Mar 2020, 05:46
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There will be no jobs for ANY pilots, let alone cadets, for the next decade at least. It is beyond belief that people are still even considering training now.

Conservatively, there will shortly be 3-4000 unemployed pilots on the market in the UK alone once the inevitable redundancies kick in. The majority will never get a flying job ever again.
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Old 31st Mar 2020, 08:03
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While the hysterical reaction of the preceding post is likely nonsense, I do think now is a terrible time to consider going into flight training. There will likely be a surplus of pilots worldwide for the foreseeable future and getting a job anytime soon will be impossible.

If you have your heart set on it I would reassess the situation in 12 months and see where we are.
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Old 31st Mar 2020, 08:48
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Anyone who thinks it's a hysterical reaction has their head firmly in the sand.
easyJet are talking about shrinking by a third: that is 1000+ pilots gone straight away. BA I'd expect to do the same: that's another 1200+ gone. Virgin may well not survive: I'm not sure of their pilot numbers but 8-900 would be a reasonable guess. TUI and Jet2 will shrink by an undetermined amount: let's be optimistic and say they get rid of 500 pilots each. That's 4000+ pilots gone without even considering the smaller carriers or Ryanair which isn't a UK carrier (albeit with a huge UK presence). It's also to say nothing of those still employed after the collapses of TCX and Flybe. Now I've actually looked in more depth, my original estimate of 3-4000 unemployed pilots looks wildly optimistic. It is probably closer to 6000, the majority of whom will never fly again and will never get a job which pays even an appreciable fraction of their current salary.

Be in no doubt that there is absolutely no reason to have even the faintest glimmer of hope.
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Old 31st Mar 2020, 09:00
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Assuming you are fairly young, Initially get a job/ skill that will give you a good standard of living as your main employment. Join a flying club and learn to fly to PPL standard, slowly develop your skills and enjoy your flying. Then in 10 years time if the Pilot market recovers you should be financially stable and can take the risk of modular training ( or whatever the system is then) and gain a professional licence. At that point you will have some experience, and be ‘freshly’ out of training which is beneficial when job hunting. If you really want to fly you will manage it at some point in your life but it may be a ‘second career’ much later on.

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Old 31st Mar 2020, 10:38
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Originally Posted by flocci_non_faccio View Post
Anyone who thinks it's a hysterical reaction has their head firmly in the sand.
easyJet are talking about shrinking by a third: that is 1000+ pilots gone straight away. BA I'd expect to do the same: that's another 1200+ gone. Virgin may well not survive: I'm not sure of their pilot numbers but 8-900 would be a reasonable guess. TUI and Jet2 will shrink by an undetermined amount: let's be optimistic and say they get rid of 500 pilots each. That's 4000+ pilots gone without even considering the smaller carriers or Ryanair which isn't a UK carrier (albeit with a huge UK presence). It's also to say nothing of those still employed after the collapses of TCX and Flybe. Now I've actually looked in more depth, my original estimate of 3-4000 unemployed pilots looks wildly optimistic. It is probably closer to 6000, the majority of whom will never fly again and will never get a job which pays even an appreciable fraction of their current salary.

Be in no doubt that there is absolutely no reason to have even the faintest glimmer of hope.
What are you basing those projections on, other than licking your finger and sticking it up in the wind? Why do you think BA will shrink by a third and not one half, or a quarter, or an eighth?

The reality is no one knows how this is going to play out, exactly. We can't say for sure what demand will be in 5 years from now. Anyone claiming otherwise is full of hot air and nothing else. What is needed is a common sense approach. Do not start pilot training now. Build up your cash reserve as much as possible and adopt a wait and see approach. That's the most any of us can do, whether we are currently employed or not.
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Old 31st Mar 2020, 11:00
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Originally Posted by DvEsp787 View Post
Hey, this is my first post on PPRuNe.

I am hoping to start my Integrated ATPL course by the end of this year/next year but, I have been seeing threads on PPRuNe saying that the bonanza of pilot shortage would simply not exist for the next 5-10 years/after COVID.
To quote, Flying Clog posted under Rumors and news: "The aviation sector is going to contract by 50% for at least the next 5-10 years, and will never, in our lifetimes, recover to the dizzy heights of 2019".
I am just another aspiring airline pilot but looking at the current and predicted situation should I look for something else rather than becoming a pilot?

Please correct me if I am wrong and I would love some advice, feedback, thoughts or whether I should pursue this dream forward...
Firstly, if Flying Clog could actually predict the future he wouldn’t be posting on here, he’d be counting his twentieth billion as a stock trader in Manhattan. You get my point... Not saying it’s an invalid opinion, but it is just an opinion.

I think it depends on how you’re funding the training as to what you should do. 3 options really

1. Your parents are loaded and are paying for the course, then go integrated. Money isn’t an issue so don’t need to worry about being modular and working on the side. Even if it takes you a bit of time to get the job you’ll have fun training and it’ll all be reasonably consistent if it’s from one provider. And in the unlikely event you never get a job it doesn’t really matter.
2. Parents are providing you security to remortgage/get a loan. I’d be careful going down this route at the moment because, whilst the economy may well rebound and you could get hired quickly, it might not. You don’t want to turf your parents out of their house because you can’t repay your loan. To be honest in this scenario the funding is all or nothing so I’d just leave it a year and reassess. 80k vs 100k modular vs integrated isn’t the issue here.
3. You’re saving to pay for it. Therefore you’re presumably in a good job already? If not, go and get one that allows you to save. Then go modular, worst case you slowly get hours and keep working. Best case you can suddenly turn on the taps and fire out all your licence requirements sharpish.

Advice about 10 years in another career first? Bit extreme for a backup job. Remember, most people have a back up job only as a backup, most don’t actually use it and if they do only for a short time. Unless you lose your medical or are just terrible at flying, there’s no reason why you wouldn’t be able to be a pilot for most of your working life. Don’t find many accountants who first got a two year plumbing qualification as a ‘backup’. 9/11 passed, as did the global crash. COVID is worse, no doubt about it, but the worlds population will keep increasing, as will people’s desire to fly. Long term this will be a (long and somewhat painful) blip.

You wouldn’t suddenly sell your pension fund just because the markets have crashed and never buy shares again? Why? Because you know it will recover if you ride it out, just the same for flying.
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Old 31st Mar 2020, 11:21
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What are you basing those projections on, other than licking your finger and sticking it up in the wind? Why do you think BA will shrink by a third and not one half, or a quarter, or an eighth.
I'm basing them on observation and common sense. I actually think that my numbers are still massively optimistic. I'd be very surprised if more than half of currently employed pilots in the UK keep their jobs.
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Old 31st Mar 2020, 11:40
  #11 (permalink)  
 
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I think maybe you need to go and sit in a quiet room and listen to some headspace for a while. Turn off the news. Unplug.

Doom mongers are two a penny at the moment and your "observation and common sense" are worth precisely diddly squat right now. You can't see the future any more than I, or anyone else for that matter.
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Old 31st Mar 2020, 14:14
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Join Date: Oct 2018
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Well said NM. Totally agreed. Keyboard terrorism is not helping anyone at the moment. Especially people that are dead worried about their training and investments.

Some people need to seriously take a break.
bluewhy is online now  
Old 31st Mar 2020, 21:52
  #13 (permalink)  
 
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A lot of scare-mongering here frankly. I understand people trying to advise, but there's a lot of personal opinion in how they think the industry will fair, and ultimately, no one knows what's going to happen so making rash predictions isn't helping.

Undoubtedly, the aviation industry has been severely disrupted by COVID-19; not a surprise. However, before people start plucking these numbers off the top of their head "oh yeah it'll be a decade before the industry gets back to normal" or "don't even think about training", people need to realise that the industry simply cannot be predicted accurately in this current moment.

The coming weeks and months will be the decider in how the industry will fair in the foreseeable future. I acknowledge that it will be a rough regeneration of the industry, but it will get back to some form of normality. When and how? No one knows and that's a fact.

If you're sitting here and thinking about starting training, I wouldn't do anything soon. Just wait. As I said, these coming months will give a better insight into how the industry will cope, because frankly, we haven't seen the worst yet, therefore we don't know what to expect and thus base our predictions on.

You have got to remember that most training courses last 18+ months, so you'll be entering the industry in 2022 or there abouts. By 2022 and beyond, the industry we're looking at today will be very different. That's something you should consider.
Whether the industry in 2022 is actually healthy, once again, no one knows. It could be that there is a large pilot surplus, and thus little room for new cadet vacancies; or it could be a recovering industry with signs of hope and growth.

Bottom line, no one knows. Best advice I can give is to just monitor the industry in these coming months, it will give a good indication in how the industry will recover in the future, and when you've got that, then you'll be able to make more solid decisions on training. At the moment, it's too early to make predictions because a lot can happen in a very short space of time in this current climate.
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Old 31st Mar 2020, 23:04
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Originally Posted by DvEsp787 View Post
Hey, this is my first post on PPRuNe.

I am hoping to start my Integrated ATPL course by the end of this year/next year but, I have been seeing threads on PPRuNe saying that the bonanza of pilot shortage would simply not exist for the next 5-10 years/after COVID.
To quote, Flying Clog posted under Rumors and news: "The aviation sector is going to contract by 50% for at least the next 5-10 years, and will never, in our lifetimes, recover to the dizzy heights of 2019".
I am just another aspiring airline pilot but looking at the current and predicted situation should I look for something else rather than becoming a pilot?

Please correct me if I am wrong and I would love some advice, feedback, thoughts or whether I should pursue this dream forward...
If you have your heart absolutely set on becoming a pilot, then you become a pilot. Do not let anyone on here or elsewhere convince you otherwise.

In this industry there are lots of people who chose to become pilots without having their absolute heart and soul set on it, these are the naysayers of today and people who complain as much as they breathe. Non-coincidentally these are also 'the sky is falling' doomsday folk on here.

I can happily say that despite every downside to the job and uncertainty of the industry I still would not give up this career for anything. You will have found out for yourself by now that a number of our colleagues do not share the same opinion and think we're better off being in all manner of other jobs. I personally feel that opinion is absurd, yes we are going through a hard time, but name me an industry other than health services, petrol stations and supermarkets that isn't? Things will get better.

For anyone to imply no one will hire pilots post this event for 5-10 years, that's fanciful. We will need pilots before then and i would bet my house there will be an airline hiring again within the next 2/3 years, it is as sure as day. There will always be unemployed pilots, throughout one of the biggest hiring booms this industry has seen (2015-2018) there were still unemployed pilots. That's the nature of the world, that doesn't mean no one will be hiring!

If i was pre-ATPL i would consider starting sometime later this year or early next year. It's a good 20 month lead time from start to finish anyway, so between right now and then is about 3 years if you start early 2021, the entire landscape will be different again.

I wish you all the very best.
A320LGW is offline  
Old 31st Mar 2020, 23:18
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Thought I'd add a personal experience. I qualified on the exact month the UK job market for pilots collapsed a couple of decades ago. It took 2 1/2 years to get a foothold in a turboprop and a further 2 years before a jet job came along. During that time I continued to Instruct and scratched out a meagre living. Eventually, due to family circumstances I had to give up flying and loaded bags at Heathrow for a year to survive. By lucky chance in conversation with a management pilot on the ramp I got told that an airline was recruiting and I got a job. After countless CV's sent and banging on doors in person, my only interview and job offer was by chance. The point I wanted to make is that you must be able to plan a survival strategy for however long you think this Covid19 earthquake will take to pass. Potentially, there could be literally 1000's of qualified and experienced pilots on the market this time next year, all of whom will get a look in before you. Airlines are ruthless scavengers of talent. If one of my children was intent on flying I would advise them to delay for at least 3 years and use the time to gain another way of earning a crust to fall back on before following their dream.
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Old 1st Apr 2020, 00:12
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Originally Posted by flocci_non_faccio View Post
Anyone who thinks it's a hysterical reaction has their head firmly in the sand.
easyJet are talking about shrinking by a third: that is 1000+ pilots gone straight away. BA I'd expect to do the same: that's another 1200+ gone. Virgin may well not survive: I'm not sure of their pilot numbers but 8-900 would be a reasonable guess. TUI and Jet2 will shrink by an undetermined amount: let's be optimistic and say they get rid of 500 pilots each. That's 4000+ pilots gone without even considering the smaller carriers or Ryanair which isn't a UK carrier (albeit with a huge UK presence). It's also to say nothing of those still employed after the collapses of TCX and Flybe. Now I've actually looked in more depth, my original estimate of 3-4000 unemployed pilots looks wildly optimistic. It is probably closer to 6000, the majority of whom will never fly again and will never get a job which pays even an appreciable fraction of their current salary.

Be in no doubt that there is absolutely no reason to have even the faintest glimmer of hope.
Unfounded speculation and work of fiction at best. It's estimated over 700,000 new commercial pilots will be needed worldwide over the next 20 years. In the mean time:
  • Hold your position, learn about the industry (preferably not from PPRuNe or airliners.net - there are a number of 'industry experts' on these sites who have no idea what they're talking about).
  • Focus all your attention for now on your education and/or get a well-paid job which gives you plenty of time off (you'll need it when it comes to ATPLs/modular training).
  • Save, save, save as much money as you can over from now onwards, you need to minimise your exposure to debt as much as possible from start to finish.
  • Don't start your PPL until you have enough money to finish it.
  • Go on eBay and find yourself some decent second hand PPL textbooks and start learning the theory (I recommend the Air Pilot's Manuals).
  • Apply for a PPL scholarship next time around with GAPAN or Air BP.
  • Look into joining a gliding club.
student88 is offline  
Old 1st Apr 2020, 14:00
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No economic downturn in the history has ever lasted for 8-10 years, not even Great Depression, no post war recessions, nothing. In 2011-14 if you would go for a CPL, people would call you crazy, same doomsday agenda, the only way to get a job, even in low costs was to go fly in Africa/Asia for a while, get 1500h and then MAYBE somebody would even bother to invite you for an assessment. Times changed over night and we saw some of the best years for young cadets in decades.

Nothing has really changed in the dynamics of global Economy. Sure, next few years will be tough, but as always, things will pick up. Right now most likely most decent schools in Europe have shut down already or will close shortly. Wait it out a little bit, there's nothing else you can do. Having a second career for times like these is a good advice.

Once the restrictions start to lift, one can assume an influx of high quality instructors into training industry. You want to do your pilot training when the economy is down - this typically means you get a good product for a low price. When times are good for the airlines, schools see high turnaround of instructors and you will deal with many instructors who will only have some 50-100h more than you do. Prices will be high and the attitudes from schools will go down. Nobody gives a toss about you when there are other students piling up.

Yes airlines are firing a LOT of pilots at the moment, but here's the thing..
First of all, airlines also have a LOT of metal sitting on the ground. These planes cost ridiculous money in leasing every month and there's no way out of it. Some airlines will go bankrupt but the machines will still make losses to somebody, be it a lessor, bank, an oil magnate, it doesn't matter - at some point they will need to fly again to pay themselves off and you will need people for that.
The second thing is - our human ability to listen to news, be intimidated, living in a lock down can only last for a year at best. Pretty soon the number of covid victims becomes nothing more than statistics and we will want to get back to our lives. It is in our DNA to travel. People need to get places, be it for study, business, family or pleasure. I can easily see governments starting to lift restrictions on many different things in next couple of months- ideally we could lift travel restrictions tomorrow with condition that everybody must wear a mask and people with symptoms are denied travel, we could make it a norm for most of our daily activities. Covid won't go away any time soon, but we will learn to live with it.
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Old 1st Apr 2020, 16:54
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Yes I think reassessing the situation after a period would be best.

Thank you for your response.
DvEsp787 is offline  
Old 1st Apr 2020, 17:47
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Join Date: Feb 2016
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This is an extremely controversial topic... but I agree we need to take some time to breathe and think.

I would suggest monitoring this source of information to see how deep and more importantly, how long will this have an impact on airlines.
You will see scheduled flights have taken an huge drop in the last weeks. Some countries are dropping by nearly 90%!!!
On the brighter side (if any), China dropped by 71% then to recover to 37% (and then drop again)
By looking at this data, my interpretation is that the drop will be extremely significant but will also be limited in duration.

The issue is that most airlines have razor-thin margins...so, without support from governments, a lot of them will collapse... but i believe some others will come up!
The desire of people to travel and do business is much stronger than the individual companies
Stay strong, stay safe!
Alex

https://www.oag.com/coronavirus-airline-schedules-data
flybyschool is offline  
Old 2nd Apr 2020, 10:44
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Join Date: Aug 2000
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I would like to wish you luck and say enjoy your flying see you on the flight line one day

Oh and it is not the end of aviation full stop.
Christopher Robin is offline  

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