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Our son wants to be an airline pilot... I have some questions :)

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Our son wants to be an airline pilot... I have some questions :)

Old 14th May 2022, 06:03
  #21 (permalink)  
JRK
 
Join Date: Feb 2017
Location: Europe
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Originally Posted by BANANASBANANAS View Post
If your son really wants to fly, my advice would be for him to get a good job in law or finance and to hire a Cessna at the weekends. He will have a much happier (and longer) life.
Good advice in my opinion.

I did something similar and am very happy that I did.

However, to each his own...

Best of luck!





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Old 14th May 2022, 06:23
  #22 (permalink)  
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: May 2022
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Really taken back by the amount of replies & advice here, you are all clearly very knowable & have that ''thing'' you cant buy ..... Experience!!

He is doing his PPL at the moment & has flown around 20 hours so far, its a local flying club down the road from us @ EGC Bergerac Dordogne Périgord Airport. Fantastic place & very fair with pricing but there is a limit to what we can offer him & to be honest putting our family home up to secure the funding or debt is NOT something we would do.

He would only have to fail a medical by the sounds of it and thats that - no job ! plus we would lose our home. In my option its also not fair to let a young adult sign up to / agree that his family home is being used as collateral.

We tell our kids to aim high, try hard & then try harder lol the world is tough & as its been pointed out its also changing very fast - Once again thank you for the feedback & advice. So helpful & lots i didn't even think of.

T
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Old 14th May 2022, 06:25
  #23 (permalink)  
 
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For what it's worth, I personally deeply regret my career choice.

If your son has any creative spirit in him, any ambition, any curiosity, I would not recommend it. I find the job boring, tiring, overrated by the public and underrated by management. Out of a 12 hr flight I enjoy maybe the last 5 minutes, and only on the rare occasion I am not completely knackered.

Forget all the romantic stereotypes, there is zero adventure in this job left. All fun aspects have gone, life as an airline pilot is a constant struggle of fatigue, base changes, bankrupt employers and cost saving. The pay is going downhill since decades, and this will only accelerate further with more automation.

Pilots are the Uber driver of tomorrow.
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Old 14th May 2022, 06:48
  #24 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: UK
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Originally Posted by Sam Ting Wong View Post
I find the job boring, tiring, overrated by the public and underrated by management. Out of a 12 hr flight I enjoy maybe the last 5 minutes, and only on the rare occasion I am not completely knackered.

Forget all the romantic stereotypes, there is zero adventure in this job left. All fun aspects have gone, life as an airline pilot is a constant struggle of fatigue, base changes, bankrupt employers and cost saving. The pay is going downhill since decades, and this will only accelerate further with more automation.

Pilots are the Uber driver of tomorrow.
And there are plenty of down sides to the job too!
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Old 14th May 2022, 07:15
  #25 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Sep 1998
Location: The Swan Downunder
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30 years an Airline Pilot retired. Glad to be out.
Rule One. Make sure it's for you first, go flying pull some G, some people just can't fly.
Rule Two, There's no such thing as walking into a Job. (this is flying school hype)
Rule Three. Expect 4 years minimum to get trained at around US$100,000
Rule Four Expect to sit in the right hand seat (First Officer) for about 5 to 10 years, prior to Command (sometimes one gets lucky with less)
Rule Five Salaries range from very little to alot depending what your in command of.
Rule Six Expect to be away from home most of the time, long sectors sitting on your arse, and even longer waiting.
Rule Seven Competition from every other pilot with no experience is fierce, don't expect to be one of the lucky ones.
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Old 14th May 2022, 07:42
  #26 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2022
Location: France
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Originally Posted by Uplinker View Post
There is no free ATPL training to my knowledge.
Agree with all the rest of your message, but for this part : yes there is ! Actually two : ENAC, very competitive, and Air France cadets.

Only catch : you have to be fluent in French, in both cases. But it may very well be the case of OP's son ?

How long have you all been living in France for ?

About the Air France cadets. They may very well open again in the coming years.
It is competitive but not so much if you're really motivated and at the right time in your life (not too early, you need at least 2 years college or better : "classes prépa")
About the salary, Air France is about the best you can hope. He will make about 45k€/year with no debt whatsoever.

So, in short, finish the PPL, start a "classes prépa" (any math and physics "prepa class" will do, preferably the best he can get in your area though), if he has time, do the ATPL theory (it can very well be after the classes prépas because they are very demanding), and at some point during this curriculum or right after, the AF cadets will hopefully open and he will be able to prepare and hopefully succeed.

Having a double culture, if he speaks perfect French, will only be a total advantage.
Originally Posted by T Father View Post
Really taken back by the amount of replies & advice here, you are all clearly very knowable & have that ''thing'' you cant buy ..... Experience!!

He is doing his PPL at the moment & has flown around 20 hours so far, its a local flying club down the road from us @ EGC Bergerac Dordogne Périgord Airport. Fantastic place & very fair with pricing but there is a limit to what we can offer him & to be honest putting our family home up to secure the funding or debt is NOT something we would do.

He would only have to fail a medical by the sounds of it and thats that - no job ! plus we would lose our home. In my option its also not fair to let a young adult sign up to / agree that his family home is being used as collateral.

We tell our kids to aim high, try hard & then try harder lol the world is tough & as its been pointed out its also changing very fast - Once again thank you for the feedback & advice. So helpful & lots i didn't even think of.

T
I'll have more advice tonight.. In short, also think about a very good plan B.
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Old 14th May 2022, 08:29
  #27 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Wherever I lay my hat
Posts: 3,326
The next step should be to get a CLASS ONE EASA medical (and a CAA one at the same time)
This is super important because the initial class one is extremely in-depth (read: plenty of opportunity to fail it) No medical = no career. That's not something you want to find out after you've spent a fortune on flight training. Subsequent renewals are relatively straight forward.

Yes there are plenty of 18 year old FOs, and a fair few 21 year old Captains. Thanks to rich parents.

No - you cannot just buy a small plane and fly people around in it for money! That's a commercial operation requiring both a commercial licence AND an Air operators certificate which requires a company management structure and $$$

No one will pay for your flight training but you. *With a very few exceptions!

Here's what I tell anyone who wants to be a pilot:

Most people think the most important thing you need to become a pilot is money. Its not, it's perseverance.
If you have perseverance then money is just time.

First you need to know how much money you need. To do that you need to know how flight training works otherwise you're just listening to numbers. Integrated courses are for the rich and/or the misguided. Modular courses are the cheapest option and a fATPL will cost £40,000. That's it. Anyone quoting £60k or £70k simply hasn't bothered researching things.

Once you've planned your flight training and you have a figure in mind you simply need to do a few things:

1. Get a job, the better paying the better
2. Get a credit card and a small loan
3. Don't drink
4. Don't smoke
5. For God's sake don't have any kids
6. Move in with your parents
7. Get a weekend job
8. Get an evening job, pizza delivery works well.

With no life it should take somewhere between 12-24 months to save half the money. The credit card, loan and income level will allow you to borrow the other half.

Then go a be a pilot. Becoming a pilot is remarkably easy - getting that first job can be very hard as it depends on prevailing economic conditions. The easiest way to get a pilot job (other than direct entry) is to get a non-flying job first then apply from within. PR teams love those "Forklift driver to Airline Pilot" success stories... All you need is perseverance.

Last edited by rudestuff; 14th May 2022 at 09:04.
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Old 14th May 2022, 08:56
  #28 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: moraira,spain-Norfolk, UK
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When I lived in New Zealand, a friend of our son came to NZ. Took lessons at
Bridge Pa flying school. As far as I know he funded the lessons from his meagre
earnings. Then built hours flying people around NZ, mostly from Bridge Pa.
Last I heard he was employed by Air NZ regional, and hoping for a Jet job
with Air NZ mainline. Then Covid came along.
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Old 14th May 2022, 09:21
  #29 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2018
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Originally Posted by Sam Ting Wong View Post
For what it's worth, I personally deeply regret my career choice.

If your son has any creative spirit in him, any ambition, any curiosity, I would not recommend it. I find the job boring, tiring, overrated by the public and underrated by management. Out of a 12 hr flight I enjoy maybe the last 5 minutes, and only on the rare occasion I am not completely knackered.

Forget all the romantic stereotypes, there is zero adventure in this job left. All fun aspects have gone, life as an airline pilot is a constant struggle of fatigue, base changes, bankrupt employers and cost saving. The pay is going downhill since decades, and this will only accelerate further with more automation.

Pilots are the Uber driver of tomorrow.
Sorry to hear that.

I agree the job can be tiring, and there are periods of boredom in longhaul flying - however I still love the job and my passion for aviation hasn’t dwindled in the almost 3 decades I’ve been at it.

I don’t work for a low cost carrier and think we’re pretty well compensated and have a good work life balance with our rosters.

As plenty have said - it’s not for everyone. You can definitely earn the same money in other fields. Passion and perseverance are the only real pre-requisites to a happy career in aviation.
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Old 14th May 2022, 10:03
  #30 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Nov 1999
Location: UK
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@ Sam Ting Wong: Yes, nowadays terms and conditions are terrible, the pay and duty hours are terrible and - pilots and their union are terrible at standing up for themselves to get improvements.

But when actually airborne, I have a very positive mind set. Even when I am flying long-haul, for hours over the ocean, I think to myself "Here I am, in control of a superb, really advanced aircraft, with superb, really advanced triple spool Rolls Royce engines, flying to XYZ, how cool is that?" During quiet times I might read something technical, such as a subject in the FCTM or Airbus Safety First, or whatever - just to add to my knowledge. At night I might look at the stars, planets and the Space station going over.

On short-haul there are positives too, if you look for them.

If you are regularly seriously tired, something is wrong with your pre-flight preparation, by which I mean your sleep 'hygiene'; perhaps review that and make some changes to ensure enough sleep. Also check with your GP. I went to my GP after just scraping through a recurrent Sim once, which I normally don't have a problem with, and to my great surprise he told me I was very stressed and he signed me off work for 2 weeks there and then. I was totally shocked because I didn't feel stressed at all.


@ OP Tim; perhaps your son might also look into working for Airbus in Toulouse? Fluent French and English speaker would be an advantage there.
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Old 14th May 2022, 11:13
  #31 (permalink)  

 
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With reference to Plan B - we advise our students not to bother with degrees but do something that can be picked up and dropped with the cyclic nature of aviation. Being an electrician is a lot less dirty than being a plumber and it actually bears a small relationship to the exams.
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Old 14th May 2022, 11:19
  #32 (permalink)  
 
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Spoilt or wot?

I worked 4 years on building sites then my parents subsidised me at a sponsored flying college. I then spent 4 years on a salary way below industry normal where we dined on offal, cheese and eggs. Until I had done 7 years my parents paid for our holidays which was to join them in the South of France doing light work. 20 years to a command and at times eight days off a month..Three legacy carriers.
8 years ago I was talking to a FR captain in MRS on a hundred grand plus net with 4 on 4 off..would have jumped at that.
Its about living the dream.
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Old 14th May 2022, 11:31
  #33 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Feb 2000
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Just expanding on routes a bit.

I left school wanting to be an aeronautical engineer, and got onto a great degree course. En route through that, I spent some time as what I suppose you might call an intern in a flight test department, which really really impressed me, and left me deciding that I wanted to spend my career in the overlap areas between flying and engineering. And I have.

En route, I've done two PPL courses, two CPL courses, two IR courses, an instructors course, a multi-engine course, and most of test pilot school. All but the last I paid for myself. (basically nobody self funds through TPS, it makes an integrated fATPL course look incredibly cheap). I've also done two engineering degrees: a BEng and a PhD, along with an additional university teaching qualification, become a Chartered Aeronautical and Mechanical Engineer, as well as gaining the Eur.Ing. qualification letting me practice as a professional engineer across Europe. Pretty much all of those academic and engineering qualifications were covered my a combination of the state and my various employers.

I've been in continuous flying practice for the last 32 years, I've been unemployed in all that time for less than 4 months, and I've a few things and range of aircraft types in my logbook that the vast majority of professional pilots can only dream of - if not as many flying hours as most of them will have. The only time in all of that I was heavily in debt was after an (in retrospect) very poor decision to buy an aeroplane and lease it to a flying school - where everything went wrong, but I recovered from that.

My point here is that jumping straight into an intensive professional flying course, and then an airline cockpit, is far from the only way to do things in this industry - and from my personal perspective certainly not the best either. Many people have done variations on what I've done - gained professional qualifications that usually lead to more secure and reliable employment, at less initial exposure, and en-route used the professional income to build flying qualifications. Some have chosen simply to have flying as a hobby, some have chosen to jump into full time professional flying when they were able, some - like me - have gone for a more hybrid career. But we do all have two things in common: that we've not gone badly in debt, and we took a few more years to get the professional flying qualifications.

But, realistically, if your son dives in now, he may be employable in a professional cockpit (whilst servicing huge debts) at 21, if he pursues some other professional qualifications and gains the flying qualifications, he'd be thus employable in his mid/late 20s, without the debt, and probably with much valuable life experience as well. It is entirely reasonable also, as I have, to do all of this within the aviation industry. For all of us, we're employable as professional pilots up until at least 65, and the difference between a 38 and 43 year career really isn't that important, I'd argue.

There are more routes than the ones being proposed by those selling expensive training courses!

G
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Old 14th May 2022, 12:19
  #34 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 1999
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2 things to check first,
a. Confirm he has the aptitude to complete commercial flying training. Aptitude testing is available from a number of sources in the UK.
b. Pass a Class 1 medical examination
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Old 14th May 2022, 12:36
  #35 (permalink)  
 
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There is plenty of good and objective facts in this thread.

Of course I would love our son to stay with as and the rest of his family here in France but this is not about me this is about him and I'm not a pilot as I'm certainly not clever enough to pass any of the exams let alone fly a plane! I'm just a dad with a passionate about flying son and within the next 2 years he will make some decisions which will change the rest of his life and with all of our children I want to give him the best advice possible.
To answer this. Regardless where he gets his license he has to be prepared to move. I am from northern Europe but have worked in the US and all over Europe. After almost 8 years on the run I finally landed a good flying job where I wanted to settle down (well, alomst...). Having to move about isn't necessairly a bad thing, it's also an opportunity! That said - and every pilot has their own preferences and experiences - the geogrpahical scarcity of flying jobs can be a major hurdle to happy family life. If your employer goes bust or lay you off, you can't just walk across the street and get a new job. Often you'll be looking at a different continent. I know he's 18 and doesn't think about it that way, but could be good to know.

I am a former flight instructor and now airline pilot, though I have been on the ground for 2+ years thanks to Covid. Just getting back in the air as I have been re-employed by my former company. In the mean time I have been studying software development. My advice is not to rush flight training. Keep the cost down and do modular training. You can set your own pace, even work on the side to pay for it in part. The gamble to set yourself up with a big debt early is risky, most people with some life experience knows that... Many start their flying careers around 30 anyway. Of my old students I had engineers, jurists etc.
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Old 14th May 2022, 12:44
  #36 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Aug 2010
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Unfortunately there is no way around the extortionate costs of flight training these days as there seems to be a steady stream of wannabe pilots signing up to pay for anything they can, that tells you all you need to know about this industry. There are few to zero jobs available for the majority of those who graduate with fresh licences and no experience. Ryanair is the most common route but they ask you to pay 30,000 euros for the privilege and then offer you a 16k salary in return, this is after spending 90k on your licence before your application lands on their desk.

The military is his only way of getting some cost free flying these days however he’ll still have to complete civil flight training once he’s out so the cost is unavoidable, it’s daft!

I’d sadly not recommend this career anymore… covid, brexit and the bizarre diversity hiring quotas being the final nail.
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Old 14th May 2022, 13:46
  #37 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Mar 1999
Posts: 264
Want to be a pilot.

I have not read the whole thread so at the risk of restating the obvious there a few pointers I may be able to offer.
First thing (or tout d'abord if you prefer!) make sure he will be able to get a class one medical, anything less is usless for a commercial pilot.
Apply to Jet2, they have there pilot apprentice scheme, which was quite successful when I was there.
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Old 14th May 2022, 14:32
  #38 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Oct 2021
Location: EGCB
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Hi,

You will also need to consider CAA vs EASA licenses. I'm not sure if someone mentioned this but if you want to charter your own plane for private flying and or cargo ops you will need CPL, you cannot do this from just the PPL
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Old 14th May 2022, 16:11
  #39 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: Danger - Deep Excavation
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Step by step

We're sending our boy to South Africa for his PPL in 2 years time when he's 18.
But only after a medical and aptitude tests.

We live in the Gulf and have some money stashed away.

We're not thinking beyond the PPL right now.
More important for us is to give him independence where he escapes from the Middle East bubble of having a nice Ethiopian maid wash and iron his clothes etc.
And personal responsibility: cooking, cleaning etc.

Good luck to your boy
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Old 14th May 2022, 16:36
  #40 (permalink)  
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
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I was exceedingly lucky, being on the first intake to the College of Air Training, Hamble in 1960. Not only was the training excellent, being done by first class instructors mostly with wartime experience, but also with an extensive ground school course well beyond ATLP and FNL requirements, and largely paid for by BOAC and BEA. Looking back, it must have been one of the best civil flying training establishments - ever. I doubt whether you could get training of the same standard today except in the military.

Looking at the industry today, I agree with most of what the previous posters have said about the cost and difficulty of landing a good job in a reasonable timeframe. Life today is very precarious in an industry run by accountants and 'head office' managers with little interest in the finer points of aviation rather than by real aviators. I have to say, although I enjoyed my airline career enormously and as much as I relished the joy of flying, sadly, I doubt I would follow a similar career today.

Nevertheless I wish the young lad the very best of luck.

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