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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 16th May 2022, 13:40
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The training schemes at aircraft manufacturers are usually either 3+ year apprenticeships, or assume that the trainee arrives with a taught degree in aerospace engineering and start training from there.

I am somebody who has pursued parallel professional flying and engineering careers and qualifications, and it's worked for me - but it was never either an easy option, or a path (for me) to a full time job on an airline flight deck. For me it was about a deep passion for both strands of activity and a refusal to stop doing either.

G
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Old 16th May 2022, 13:41
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Originally Posted by bringbackthe80s View Post
I recommend to not do it, and advise him to get into computer science. He will work remotely and live wherever he wants, never be out of a job and get plenty of money. He can fly for fun if he wishes. The world has changed and so should we.
You sound like my Flight Engineer dad back in 1996.... I still regret going into IT - looking to the air every time an aircraft flies over.. sat behind a desk in an office... Contrary to popular belief, there isn't a huge amount of money in most of IT.
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Old 16th May 2022, 14:26
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ENAC/ Air France cadet is the way to go!
Free training, highest salary and probable the best lifestyle in any airline in Europe.
Preparing the entrance exam will require a fair amount of study though, which will be a good test for his motivation.
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Old 16th May 2022, 14:41
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'Been unemployed, had to start again more times than I can think in aviation. Now the only thing employers are interested in you bringing to the table is a current ready to go licence and rating. No-one will spend on training. And aviation is an ongoing training life. It never stops. So the quoted 100k-130k costs are still only the beginning. What about further type ratings? I have been asked to "contribute" to ops courses. I have been forced to pay my own medical renewals. A year of unemployment will require more training and testing at massive cost. Who will pay? So be prepared to fork out all your career? This situation seriously eats into the ability to put some proper money in the bank. From my experience there are at most 20 years (more likely 10) where you can earn good dosh. That is not long to get some wealth behind you.
Airline flying is deadly dull, really dull. I could not take it. Everything is highly regulated so there is next to no hand flying anymore. You are a systems operator doing as you are told, nothing more.
General aviation is much more varied and interesting but very unstable, lower pay, usually no benefits and many cowboys around.
I got out of all of it a while back and haven't looked back at all. But I have the benefit of being single. Throw in a mrs and a family and it's really messy.
Would I do it again? I started in the 80's so perhaps yes if I could go back. But to do it today? Nope. Not a good life choice at all!
Get a proper career earning good money with benefits, learn to fly and buy an aircraft. That would be my choice.
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Old 16th May 2022, 20:10
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He could of course get paid to fly by joining the military, have 20 years of fun for free then transition to airline flying for a second career. Yes there’s a bit of marching at basic training but you soon fill your logbook full of interesting aircraft and if you fly big jets you can be in the left hand seat before you’re 25………no extra dosh for that though!
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Old 16th May 2022, 21:26
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Originally Posted by redsnail View Post
Lots of great advice, especially the one about getting a Class 1 medical. No, you don't have to go to an AME, you can look up the requirements online and ask your family doctor and optician to check things out.
Don't ignore the couple of elephants in the room, namely the environmentalists and the single pilot flight deck. Given the huge surge in demand as soon as the borders opened up, maybe that one will fade and also, there are a lot of smart engineers and chemists out there. Coupled with the possibility of short haul e-props, the future may be ok. As for the single pilot flight deck? It's coming. Just not exactly sure when but there are several serious projects under way. The UK ergonomics society put out a white paper about it in 2020. Worth a read.
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Omg, they still think there can be any form of pilot shortage ?
There will be a pilot shortage when in spite of sponsored training and good working conditions there won't be enough pilots. The day that this will happen is exactly never.
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Old 16th May 2022, 21:32
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The negativity is off the charts in this thread.
I’m not going to argue it all, I stand by my previous advice earlier on.
I wouldn’t bother with a UK license, EASA only.
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Old 16th May 2022, 21:58
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SLF here. Interesting thread; hope I'm allowed a couple of observations.

Re: military flying. My late brother was ex-RAF and ended up left-hand-seat for Big Airways on long haul. Two things were clear during his training. One, that he could at any moment be thrown off the course and consigned to a desk job. Second, that it was dangerous. At the time (late 80s) it seemed like Hawks were plummeting into the North Sea on a weekly basis. He ended up reassigned to multis; after a three year tour on C-130 he got given a desk to fly and then left at the end of his 12 (or 8?) year sign-up. Point is, he might have ended up with no training at all.

Re: the future of aviation. If one asks "will there be fully autonomous pilot-less passenger airliners in a hundred years time?" then is anybody going to say "no"? The next question then is "when?".

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Old 17th May 2022, 03:30
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Originally Posted by paco View Post
Chris - for many, the flying is the icing on the cake for the nonsense you have to put up with. I love flying helicopters, especially on a clear day in Canada when the trees are changing colour, but I don't like eating rotten food provided by contractors to the Forestry trying to make a buck on my back. Aviation is an industry largely influenced by non-experts. Tio get the best out of it, you need a position where you have a measure of control, as with the military. But it's not restricted to aviation - my brother tells me that trucking is not much different.
Absolutely. But most professions have that initiation period before you van get the job that suits you. Want to be a nurse or a doctor? Heavy operator where you have to go North to get your first job?

If you got the profession you wanted and others wanted just as bad but couldn't it is perhaps somewhat churlish to complain that you are hard done by.
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Old 17th May 2022, 05:48
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One family's journey.

On leaving school I did an electrical apprenticeship in order to amass the wealth to learn to fly at the local club. On completion of the apprenticeship was accepted into the military for helo pilot training, tour in Vietnam, then into the civil world as a offshore oil pilot. Home every night, no touring, only night flew for currency or responding to emergencies offshore. Reasonable pay, nothing like a jet airline driver would get though, the pax we flew earnt more than us. Absolutely loved the work through to retirement.

Only child, daughter, asked for a loan, with promise to repay, to learn to fly. Had a very experienced instructor at a small country airfield who had a hand in a multitude of general aviation pies, no sausage factories. During a dual flight towards the end of training the instructor received a phone call, the lass hears him reply "I've got one sitting along side of me". Chap on the line wants a pilot for his business, lass says "but I haven't done my commercial ride yet", he doesn't need to know that was the reply. Commercial ride done and dusted, travel to the outback, spend two weeks running the office until the commercial paperwork arrived, then the flying started with an absolutely professional general aviation scenic company. That was the stepping stone to other companies and ending flying single pilot RPT on a Titan, marriage and children intervened and wanting a 9 to 5 job took up a position in the safety field for a smallish airline flying Embraer jets and Brasilias. Still waiting two decades later for the first repayment promised, things we do for our kids, was an absolute pleasure to see her progress, I look at the expense as entertainment, could have been spent on something frivolous otherwise, such as a hole in the water.

Her spouse was prompted to take up flying after seeing a EMS King Air at his local airport when a kid. Worked odd jobs such as stacking shelves during high school, learning to fly at the same time, running the aero club office and repaid in flying rather than cash. Finished school with CPL in hand, took an airline to where GA is prominent, arrived at 2300 with $20 in wallet, dragged suitcase around airport in the morning to the various operators and landed a job by 0800. now flys a King Air on single pilot EMS and does company check and training, also freelances. Absolutely no passion to move to something else.
It is not the rich child's fault to be a rich child. But I have utmost respect for the second youngster. All things being equal I know I'd hire the second one over the first
You may call me biased, but both the kids I mention above came to aviation by different routes, mine had hers paid for her, her husband worked for his, as I did, but both I would rate their work ethic and personalities equally, which one to give a job I'd have to flip a coin. Go ahead, you knew I'd say that.

Genghis, you're under qualified.
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Old 17th May 2022, 06:50
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Chris - initiation period? Yeah, try being a junior lawyer. But I was talking about regular work as someone with several thousand hours. The remedy was to get evryone into a 212 and beetle off to the nearest oil camp for sandwiches. As it happens, I do know one or two people who went through company training then quit to run pubs. Nothing churlish about it - just not what they expected. Or at least, not what they were told during recruitment
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Old 17th May 2022, 08:16
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T Father,

You've probably got a good idea of the industry by now but ill add my opinion. If earning large sums of money is the driving force then its probably not the career for him, hes best suited to joining a finance firm and working hard to move up the pyramid. If however its flying, working with great (generally) people visiting places you may otherwise not visit then flying is great. The best part for me is working together as a team to get the job done safely, on time with happy passengers and crew.

From my view point; The salary I earn from flying is low, higher than the UK average (somewhat) but around the average for the place I live. I fly a nice turboprop, I gained a command very early in my career and have had opportunities to do various things since completing my training. Training is by far the hardest part and can take some time. The cost of training may put you off, however look to modular. Many good schools in the U.K and France. The company I work for values Integrated and Modular equally, the offer of employment often comes down to whether or not the person is a nice person or not, although its a very old fashioned company. Modular can be much more affordable, means you pay as you go and allows breaks to raise more money.

For me the balance of work / home life is very good, but many of the perks of the company I work for are traded by the lower salary, its a life style that works for me, but not everyone. Life is always about compromise.

My journey to the flight deck wasn't straightforward, I worked within the training industry as well as a handful of very small companies doing everything, including cleaning. Earning very little money and having to work in shops / hotels at the same time to make ends meet. A couple of years after qualifying, earning my place at the table and getting to meet the right people I managed to get my first salaried job flying in a multi crew environment. Since then its only ever been up (with a few downs of course). In my opinion too many people expect things to be handed to them and when its not, give up. With the right attitude and the willingness to work hard, anything is possible. Just don't expect to earn a fortune and go to work once or twice a week.
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Old 17th May 2022, 13:58
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Originally Posted by megan View Post

Genghis, you're under qualified.
Without a doubt, otherwise I wouldn't constantly be chasing new tickets (and wrestling with the ever shifting sands of what various authorities want to add them!) Somebody suggested a while ago that I'm probably driven by an over-developed inferiority syndrome, and they're probably right - thanks for supporting the viewpoint!

G
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Old 17th May 2022, 16:46
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Originally Posted by paco View Post
Chris - initiation period? Yeah, try being a junior lawyer. But I was talking about regular work as someone with several thousand hours. The remedy was to get evryone into a 212 and beetle off to the nearest oil camp for sandwiches. As it happens, I do know one or two people who went through company training then quit to run pubs. Nothing churlish about it - just not what they expected. Or at least, not what they were told during recruitment
Yup!
I had a fourth who crashed pilot selection. Went to RMC as Naval recruit. Hated it. Quit. Finished Uni and is now a realtor. Loves it and is doing very well indeed.

If you really, really want to fly then it is not about the money, the career, or even the divorce. If you don't you will be looking at every aircraft that goes over and thinking "That could have been me." I know, I do it. 77 and I still walk out when I hear an aircraft that is not the three times daily to Vancouver!
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Old 17th May 2022, 17:42
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"If you really, really want to fly then it is not about the money, the career, or even the divorce."

That's the point, though isn't it? I have always treated it as a business (i.e. not working for sandwiches and went into IT when I had to), especially as Her Maj paid for the training!

Phil
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Old 18th May 2022, 00:41
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Genghis, just to be absolutely clear, I'm full of admiration of folk, such as yourself, who have the ability to put in the necessary study to accumulate such a wide ranging span of knowledge, me, I'm no academic.
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Old 18th May 2022, 06:33
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Originally Posted by megan View Post
Genghis, just to be absolutely clear, I'm full of admiration of folk, such as yourself, who have the ability to put in the necessary study to accumulate such a wide ranging span of knowledge, me, I'm no academic.
Thank you. I did see your comment as entertaining banter and hope my response was appropriate to that.

G
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Old 19th May 2022, 07:40
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Nice bunch of good advises can be seen here.
T Father, I would suggest to invest in a gliding course, no need to take a loan nor do risky investments, and it is a healthy weekend activity for a youngster.
The glider will teach your son the pure sensation of flying, will open the door to get curious about aviation and learning, will put him in the aviation emviroment and will make him enjoy the flying by being motivated (it's not yet a full time course)
After 2 years, he would be having a couple of 100s hours as glider pilot, fully knowledgeable about what he really wants to do and starting the PPL at 18 either as modular or integrated, will be a good age.
Also in 2 years time you will have a better vision for aiming to EASA or UKCAA, or both.
Airgus
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Old 19th May 2022, 09:31
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Originally Posted by Airgus View Post
Nice bunch of good advises can be seen here.
T Father, I would suggest to invest in a gliding course, no need to take a loan nor do risky investments, and it is a healthy weekend activity for a youngster.
The glider will teach your son the pure sensation of flying, will open the door to get curious about aviation and learning, will put him in the aviation emviroment and will make him enjoy the flying by being motivated (it's not yet a full time course)
After 2 years, he would be having a couple of 100s hours as glider pilot, fully knowledgeable about what he really wants to do and starting the PPL at 18 either as modular or integrated, will be a good age.
Also in 2 years time you will have a better vision for aiming to EASA or UKCAA, or both.
Airgus
With 150 hours PIC in gliders you can go to the US and get an FAA private, Instrument, Commercial ASEL and CFI with just 100 hours of additional flight time.

With the right visa status that would be enough for a paid instructor position, which would enable you to build 1000+ hours and maybe even an FAA ATP whilst studying for the EASA exams. That's the cheapest way I know of to become a professional pilot.
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Old 19th May 2022, 19:23
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There was a thread on PRune a year or two ago which covered this topic pretty thoroughly. The conclusions then were to get a good degree in engineering from a university that was recognised by the professional body that registers.engineers so that you have a fall back position if such a thing as Covid ever recurred. I did that and got a degree (1st class), joined a blue chip company, and the local gliding club. I got so enthused by gliding that I never moved on. Flying gliders is a different experience from any other kind of aviation. If flying is what you want to do, then forget about commercial flying. Find another career, and just enjoy flying whenever you like and whatever you like. I think there is NO relation between commercial power flying and real flying. I got all the flying I needed as an instructor with the added pleasure of sending people solo. I did 2200 sorties in about 1000 hours every one of which I enjoyed. I flew 27 different types in a 25 year career.I am too old now to fly solo except on the simulator. A good sim is Condor though you will need a very good computer to run it. Flying should always be fun. Just my tuppence worth.

Old wooden ship pilot

Last edited by Olympia463; 19th May 2022 at 19:23. Reason: typo
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