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How to become an Airline Pilot?

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    Hi,

    I have recently been considering my options after college (other than Medicine) for my subjects (Chemistry, Biology, Maths, Physics [Possibly dropping Biology to do Further Maths at the end of this academic year])

    I was looking into Physics, Maths and Chemistry degrees, the engineering options and now I want to look at being a pilot as they are people I have always admired, but I have never really thought about being one until now.

    There are no degrees for this though, so what is the "route" into becoming a pilot, without having money to throw at training (which I have heard costs upwards of 90k?) :/

    Thanks.
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    (Original post by ERdoctor)
    Hi,

    I have recently been considering my options after college (other than Medicine) for my subjects (Chemistry, Biology, Maths, Physics [Possibly dropping Biology to do Further Maths at the end of this academic year])

    I was looking into Physics, Maths and Chemistry degrees, the engineering options and now I want to look at being a pilot as they are people I have always admired, but I have never really thought about being one until now.

    There are no degrees for this though, so what is the "route" into becoming a pilot, without having money to throw at training (which I have heard costs upwards of 90k?) :/

    Thanks.
    http://www.pprune.org/
    Have a look at this forumn if there are any opportunities they will know about them on there. Don't wanna put you off but there are far to many jobs for the amount of trained pilots in the world. Tough to get into the aviation industry atm
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    Most pilots are ex RAF.

    Get in the RAF as a pilot, get your training, get your flying hours, do your minimum service with RAF, leave. Viola.

    I've probably over simplified the process, but you get the idea.
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    (Original post by Empire08)
    Most pilots are ex RAF.

    Get in the RAF as a pilot, get your training, get your flying hours, do your minimum service with RAF, leave. Viola.
    I doubt they are. Worst advice ever for wanting to be a commercial pilot. The RAF is not an easy route to the airlines.
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    (Original post by ProStacker)
    I doubt they are. Worst advice ever for wanting to be a commercial pilot. The RAF is not an easy route to the airlines.
    Okay. Well I don't see you offering an alternative, care to share it with us?

    Yes, you could get private flying lessons / qualifications and build up flying time that way, but who can afford to do that?
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    (Original post by Empire08)
    Okay. Well I don't see you offering an alternative, care to share it with us?

    Yes, you could get private flying lessons / qualifications and build up flying time that way, but who can afford to do that?
    The alternative is following the route of CTC/Oxford/etc, schools that take you on, train you and then guarantee you employment with an airline. Catch? You have the debt hanging over you for a long while, you have no choice of which airline [they're almost always the budgets] you get put with/where you're based and it's still an ultra competitive route.

    Becoming an airline pilot is not something you do half heartedly, it takes a lot of training, a lot of luck and considerable skill. Something I don't think the OP has quite appreciated.
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    (Original post by Empire08)
    Okay. Well I don't see you offering an alternative, care to share it with us?

    Yes, you could get private flying lessons / qualifications and build up flying time that way, but who can afford to do that?
    Other than one of the very rare sponsorships from an airline, you have described the alternative. Signing up for some 12 years in the Armed Forces to train in a system that does not qualify you for civilian flying where you will work exceedingly hard and potentially go to war is not a route to civilian flying.
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    (Original post by Drewski)
    Becoming an airline pilot is not something you do half heartedly, it takes a lot of training, a lot of luck and considerable skill. Something I don't think the OP has quite appreciated.
    Trust me, as someone whose first choice of Career is Medicine, I know how competitive things can be and how much determination you have to have (and quite often luck). I am just looking at other options, as I have a wider range of interests, I like Physics and I have always liked the idea of being a Pilot - I just never really thought I'd be able to until now.
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    Physics Schmisics Have super duper eyesight, and your set
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    (Original post by ERdoctor)
    Trust me, as someone whose first choice of Career is Medicine, I know how competitive things can be and how much determination you have to have (and quite often luck). I am just looking at other options, as I have a wider range of interests, I like Physics and I have always liked the idea of being a Pilot - I just never really thought I'd be able to until now.
    It's all well and good saying you know what determination is because of medicine, but it's a very different type. Being good at one doesn't mean being good at the other. Also remember the fact that there are more pilots than planes available.
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    (Original post by Drewski)
    It's all well and good saying you know what determination is because of medicine, but it's a very different type. Being good at one doesn't mean being good at the other. Also remember the fact that there are more pilots than planes available.
    Too true. Becoming a pilot is a far cry from a hopeful medic. I suggest a visit to your Careers tutor at school might help you to give some guidance of becoming a pilot and what you might need to do to become one.
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    (Original post by Drewski)
    It's all well and good saying you know what determination is because of medicine, but it's a very different type. Being good at one doesn't mean being good at the other. Also remember the fact that there are more pilots than planes available.
    Are you trying to say that I am not right for being an Airline Pilot? We must know eachother.....

    There are more Medicine applicants than there are places, it takes (very) Hard work and determination - not just academically. Once you become a Doctor, you will have the responsibility of a life(s) in your hands, quite literally. You also work very long hours. To me the two sound very similar, although obviously not the same.

    I am not saying I am the perfect pilot wannabe, but I don't think it is right for you to imply that I have no idea what its like and try to put me off before I have really considered it.

    I only asked for a bit of advice on how to become a pilot, as I still don't really know what I want to do, although Medicine is the one that I think most about.
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    (Original post by ERdoctor)
    Are you trying to say that I am not right for being an Airline Pilot? We must know eachother.....

    There are more Medicine applicants than there are places, it takes (very) Hard work and determination - not just academically. Once you become a Doctor, you will have the responsibility of a life(s) in your hands, quite literally. You also work very long hours. To me the two sound very similar, although obviously not the same.

    I am not saying I am the perfect pilot wannabe, but I don't think it is right for you to imply that I have no idea what its like and try to put me off before I have really considered it.

    I only asked for a bit of advice on how to become a pilot, as I still don't really know what I want to do, although Medicine is the one that I think most about.
    On the contrary, I'm merely trying to impress upon you the difficulties and complexities of getting into the industry. An industry which you freely admit you've never really thought about and consequently don't know much about. Which you admitted yourself:

    (Original post by ERdoctor)
    I was looking into Physics, Maths and Chemistry degrees, the engineering options and now I want to look at being a pilot as they are people I have always admired, but I have never really thought about being one until now.
    I have several friends who are airline pilots - and more who are RAF pilots - and know how hard they've worked and for how long they've been in the system. I also know many people who had the same background as the now-Pilots, same training and advantages and are nowhere near a seat in a cockpit. It is not a route for the fainted, or indeed half, hearted.
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    (Original post by Drewski)
    On the contrary, I'm merely trying to impress upon you the difficulties and complexities of getting into the industry. An industry which you freely admit you've never really thought about and consequently don't know much about. Which you admitted yourself:



    I have several friends who are airline pilots - and more who are RAF pilots - and know how hard they've worked and for how long they've been in the system. I also know many people who had the same background as the now-Pilots, same training and advantages and are nowhere near a seat in a cockpit. It is not a route for the fainted, or indeed half, hearted.
    Fair enough.

    Yes, I did admit it. Its not so much that I don't know about the industry or how hard it is, I had just never really thought that it would be an option for me. I didn't know of any viable routes, other than paying lots of money, so I wanted to know if there was another way. So thats what I am ignorant on.

    I know what you are trying to say, with me not being sure about it and what not, and obviously with something like that you have to be sure otherwise I probably won't make it. But that isn't always the case, and many people I know have made last minute decisions and gone far in their lifes, my Brother for one. And, with me, I like to think things out carefully and have plenty of "paths" before I commit myself fully to one, and that is all I am doing now.

    Half heartedness can be a good thing.
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    The others are right in saying that this isn't just a decision you can jump straight into unlike other professions as there are some pretty heafty factors to consider such as: your aptitude and consequently your success as well as the huge financial implications.

    Unfortunately there is no easy carved out route (the easiest way would possibly be through the RAF [your training paid for but you've got to commit to a period of service and competition still remains extremely high!]). It's difficult to advise of routes ahead as people don't necessarily take the same paths given the indivitual's circumstances but here are a few general points you may wish to consider...
    A university degree in something Aviation orientated for potential pilots do exist (look on UCAS, you'll be amazed at what you find - this will help you decide what to study at college) but do read between the lines at the extra costs too. You may wish to consider an alternative degree as an Aviation degree isn't essential - you don't actually need a degree but it helps for a career to save money before flying or as a net to fall back on incase things get messy and don't work out. Alternatively, people may work in the industry within an airline then work their way upwards, flying as often as finances allow.

    You also may need to consider the routes of flying you wish to aim for (provided it's not RAF you're after). There are two types: Modular (part-time, cheaper, takes longer, little or no airline connections - have to make your own) or Integrated (full-time, very expensive, intensive [usually 18 months] but get your name put into a holding pool of the Flight Training Organisations (FTO's) such as CTC/OAA/FTE to name a few). NB.At first glance it may appear that the Integrated route is the best as you're "guarenteed" a job (that's not true - remember that they're a company and they have to make their money - that is by keeping a constant supply of cadets coming through their doors regardless of whether airlines actually need pilots or not).

    A lot of it requires you to be in the right place at the right time and knowing the right people too. Networking is key! That's where your initial route may deviate and take shortcuts. This is why others have managed to change career and almost walk straight onto the flightdeck of an airliner but at this age it's best to "play it safe" and stick to a plan rather than just "winging it" (if you pardon the pun).
    Whatever you route decide, you really do need to have the motivation to achieve otherwise just give up and follow another dream instead because nobody is joking about the huge competition there is out there for the same dream!

    Best of luck anyway! I'm chasing the same goal but a bit further along the line.
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    Unless you actually want to be an RAF pilot, then don't go in the RAF just for the sake of it. They'll notice straight away you're not committed to them and won't even give you another look. Even then, you're not properly qualified to fly commercial jets even after being in the RAF. The planes are 2 completely different things. And if you do get into the RAF, they'd want at least 8 years out of you before you decided to leave.

    If you're really, really serious on working in the aviation industry, you might as well see if you can get your PPL (Private Pilot License) now whilst doing your A-Levels, it'll cost you around £7000 but it's good to get your first foot on the ladder and you can see if it's really for you. If not, keep it as a life-long hobby. Nothing has been wasted. If you can't afford it, don't stress. Not many teenagers can.

    After your A-Levels you have the options of going to a dedicated flight school such as Oxford Aviation Academy or CTC Wings, but their integrated courses claim to cost around £70,000 without accommodation and living costs. But I'd always add 10-20% of the 'cost' because in realistic terms, flying always costs more as there are many factors which you can't control, weather being a main one. With that in mind, I wouldn't be surprised if you're looking at around £100k once all costs have been taken into consideration. Also, loans for such courses usually only cover up to half with a property being used as security - scary thought! Doing an integrated course will gain you your CPL and a Frozen-ATPL which means your basically set up to finding a job with the airlines. This route will probably take around 18 months, maybe a little less.

    You can also look at doing the above, in a modular way. At your own time and pace and is usually cheaper. London Met University offer a course to get your APTL licenses and there is also a work from home company called ProPilot which do the same but be warned learning ATPL from home, on your own is incredibly difficult and is really not advisable unless you have a passion and knowledge for what you're doing. To get your ATPL this way (providing no re-sits are needed) will probably cost £3000ish but it is a lot harder.
    Then you can go to somewhere like Stapleford which offer great courses to get your CPL, this will probably cost you £21,000 - £25,000. Then you'll need your IFR etc which will cost more. Modular, if done right, can probably done for around £50k but it's a lot more difficult. You could always look at doing it abroad which would be slightly cheaper but with a weak pound, it's not as cheap as it was so that should be considered carefully too. And you'll have to convert your licenses once you're home.

    If you're very lucky, you may get onto a Cadet Scheme with an airline such as BA or Monarch but these require a £80,000 up front cost which will then be paid back in your first 7 years of working for them. It guarantees an airline job and type rating which is very rare in this day and age. However, BA, who is doing the biggest recruitment drive only has 400 places over 5 years on this scheme and competition is scarily tough. Thousands apply and the process is very rigorous, so you have to be passionate and know your stuff. Aviation isn't just a job for people who 'don't know what to do and being a pilot looks cool' you really, really have to want it and if you do, that's great! But these schemes are rare and very difficult and people should never assume that they'll be able to get on one. Also, degrees are becoming a favourite for airlines training and recruiting through cadetships.

    The next big thing once you've crossed this monumental and expensive hurdle is actually finding a job. There are barely any out at the minute, especially in Europe. There are so many airlines in financial turmoil, like one of the biggest in the world for example, American Airlines. It wouldn't be surprising if you had to move to the Middle East or Asia to find your first job, but they, unsurprisingly favour people from their own country before anyone else. The aviation industry, similar to the rest of the economy is not set to get any better either. But it's very cyclical and things can change in a blink of an eyelid, they can go from being bad, to great, to being awful again. I know many unemployed pilots and some who have had to move to countries such as Qatar and Azerbaijan just to find a job.

    Another thing you'll have to look at in the mean time is your Class 1 Medical, these cost around £300 initially and I cannot stress enough how essential they are to get.

    As long as you're 100% sure being a pilot is for you and you're committed as many aspiring pilots have been since their age was in single figures, you'll be fine. But you have to want it as wannabe pilots are just as competitive (if not more so) than Med students, it's a dog eat dog world. But the reward is worth it!

    I'll leave you some links below that may be of use to you too:

    http://www.oaa.com/
    http://www.ctcwings.com/
    http://www.balpa.org/Home.aspx
    http://www.airleague.co.uk/
    http://www.flysfc.com/
    http://www.londonmet.ac.uk/lmbs/subj...ntial-atpl.cfm

    Hope this helps and hope you find what you're looking for
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    (Original post by 747-400)
    Unless you actually want to be an RAF pilot, then don't go in the RAF just for the sake of it. They'll notice straight away you're not committed to them and won't even give you another look. Even then, you're not properly qualified to fly commercial jets even after being in the RAF. The planes are 2 completely different things. And if you do get into the RAF, they'd want at least 8 years out of you before you decided to leave.

    If you're really, really serious on working in the aviation industry, you might as well see if you can get your PPL (Private Pilot License) now whilst doing your A-Levels, it'll cost you around £7000 but it's good to get your first foot on the ladder and you can see if it's really for you. If not, keep it as a life-long hobby. Nothing has been wasted. If you can't afford it, don't stress. Not many teenagers can.

    After your A-Levels you have the options of going to a dedicated flight school such as Oxford Aviation Academy or CTC Wings, but their integrated courses claim to cost around £70,000 without accommodation and living costs. But I'd always add 10-20% of the 'cost' because in realistic terms, flying always costs more as there are many factors which you can't control, weather being a main one. With that in mind, I wouldn't be surprised if you're looking at around £100k once all costs have been taken into consideration. Also, loans for such courses usually only cover up to half with a property being used as security - scary thought! Doing an integrated course will gain you your CPL and a Frozen-ATPL which means your basically set up to finding a job with the airlines. This route will probably take around 18 months, maybe a little less.

    You can also look at doing the above, in a modular way. At your own time and pace and is usually cheaper. London Met University offer a course to get your APTL licenses and there is also a work from home company called ProPilot which do the same but be warned learning ATPL from home, on your own is incredibly difficult and is really not advisable unless you have a passion and knowledge for what you're doing. To get your ATPL this way (providing no re-sits are needed) will probably cost £3000ish but it is a lot harder.
    Then you can go to somewhere like Stapleford which offer great courses to get your CPL, this will probably cost you £21,000 - £25,000. Then you'll need your IFR etc which will cost more. Modular, if done right, can probably done for around £50k but it's a lot more difficult. You could always look at doing it abroad which would be slightly cheaper but with a weak pound, it's not as cheap as it was so that should be considered carefully too. And you'll have to convert your licenses once you're home.

    If you're very lucky, you may get onto a Cadet Scheme with an airline such as BA or Monarch but these require a £80,000 up front cost which will then be paid back in your first 7 years of working for them. It guarantees an airline job and type rating which is very rare in this day and age. However, BA, who is doing the biggest recruitment drive only has 400 places over 5 years on this scheme and competition is scarily tough. Thousands apply and the process is very rigorous, so you have to be passionate and know your stuff. Aviation isn't just a job for people who 'don't know what to do and being a pilot looks cool' you really, really have to want it and if you do, that's great! But these schemes are rare and very difficult and people should never assume that they'll be able to get on one. Also, degrees are becoming a favourite for airlines training and recruiting through cadetships.

    The next big thing once you've crossed this monumental and expensive hurdle is actually finding a job. There are barely any out at the minute, especially in Europe. There are so many airlines in financial turmoil, like one of the biggest in the world for example, American Airlines. It wouldn't be surprising if you had to move to the Middle East or Asia to find your first job, but they, unsurprisingly favour people from their own country before anyone else. The aviation industry, similar to the rest of the economy is not set to get any better either. But it's very cyclical and things can change in a blink of an eyelid, they can go from being bad, to great, to being awful again. I know many unemployed pilots and some who have had to move to countries such as Qatar and Azerbaijan just to find a job.

    Another thing you'll have to look at in the mean time is your Class 1 Medical, these cost around £300 initially and I cannot stress enough how essential they are to get.

    As long as you're 100% sure being a pilot is for you and you're committed as many aspiring pilots have been since their age was in single figures, you'll be fine. But you have to want it as wannabe pilots are just as competitive (if not more so) than Med students, it's a dog eat dog world. But the reward is worth it!

    I'll leave you some links below that may be of use to you too:

    http://www.oaa.com/
    http://www.ctcwings.com/
    http://www.balpa.org/Home.aspx
    http://www.airleague.co.uk/
    http://www.flysfc.com/
    http://www.londonmet.ac.uk/lmbs/subj...ntial-atpl.cfm

    Hope this helps and hope you find what you're looking for
    ^Quality advice. You've done your research! What is your planned route? Apart from the bit in bold which isn't true. The BA FPP is engineered in a way that BA take little risk themselves.

    I like your username

    To OP, No offence mate but you attitude is a bit crap. Ever heard of CRM on a flightdeck? Look it up it's something you will need to learn
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    (Original post by stevop21)
    ^Quality advice. You've done your research! What is your planned route? Apart from the bit in bold which isn't true. The BA FPP is engineered in a way that BA take little risk themselves.

    I like your username
    Thank you! And I was hoping OAA/CTC but it's a bit pricey to say the least. Maybe modular through London Met, Stapleford etc but to be honest, I don't really know. It all seems to boil down to money.
    How about you?
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    (Original post by 747-400)
    Thank you! And I was hoping OAA/CTC but it's a bit pricey to say the least. Maybe modular through London Met, Stapleford etc but to be honest, I don't really know. It all seems to boil down to money.
    How about you?
    Pricey is a very suitable word choice haha! I'm going to the CTC open day in a few weeks time. Yeh cash is a problem. I have no idea how I'm going to fund it... I better start saving! I would like to visit some modular training places but haven't got round to doing so yet. I hear Bournemouth and a school in Exeter have good names. Of course the industry is so dependant on the economy. Any trouble in the middle east and oil goes shooting up in price... very bad news! The deal that new FOs get is pretty crap to say the least. At the moment I'm leaning towards integrated training but only just.
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    I'm a Year 12 A Level student and also want to become a pilot. I have been wondering if it would be benificial to get the degree before I apply for training. There are some courses such as Air Transport Operations at City University or Airline Studies at Lancaster that allow for in depth study into the industry. Do you think it is worth it to do a degree or go straight into an 'Inergrated' pilot training course?
    Many thanks for your reply.

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