Should I leave college to get a job and to fly?

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_selison_
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#1
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#1
I am currently in my first year of college, my dream is to become a pilot and during the summer I have been working loads and using the money from that to pay for flying lessons (they are very expensive). I knew that when I got to college I would have less time to do this, however it has now come to my attention that there is not less time, but no time at all. Becoming an airline pilot does not necesarily need a-levels but obviously makes a difference in your cv and will make you stand out more. Another thing to mention is I have never been happier and more motivated about anything in my life other than working and flying. So I am considering dropping out and getting a part time job and flying, at that rate I can get my liscense on my 17th birthday in may and progrees from there, instead of waiting two years at minimum.
Last edited by _selison_; 2 months ago
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Hoc est Bellum
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(Original post by _selison_)
I am currently in my first year of college, my dream is to become a pilot and during the summer I have been working loads and using the money from that to pay for flying lessons (they are very expensive). I knew that when I got to college I would have less time to do this, however it has now come to my attention that there is not less time, but no time at all. Becoming an airline pilot does not necesarily need a-levels but obviously makes a difference in your cv and will make you stand out more. Another thing to mention is I have never been happier and more motivated about anything in my life other than working and flying. So I am considering dropping out and getting a part time job and flying, at that rate I can get my liscense on my 17th birthday in may and progrees from there, instead of waiting two years at minimum.
There are many reasons that you may be unable to get a piloting job or lose your piloting job (medical, mental, economic etc). You should therefore try to keep your options open - what would you do if you are unable to become a pilot. Having only GCSEs would really limit you. Furthermore, with a levels you may be able to get a higher paid part-time job and reach your goal quicker.
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McGinger
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Aviation / Pilot careers info - https://www.prospects.ac.uk/job-profiles/airline-pilot
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Kogomogo
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According to the link posted in a previous comment above you are going to need a-levels to become a pilot. Ought as well get them out the way now whilst they're funded. It also says that a relevant degree may help your chances too so don't discount the value of working towards the academic side of your application too.

What about pursuing college and uni, trying to work around them to save up money (even if just in summer) and then get your flying lessons afterwards (or inbetween terms too)?
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McGinger
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For these you will need A levels - that should be enough motivation for you to knuckle down and do some work :

BSc Aviation Operations with Commercial Pilot Training :
1. https://www.kingston.ac.uk/undergrad...ilot-training/
3, https://www.uwl.ac.uk/course/undergr...=311&option=33
BSc Aerospace Technology with Pilot Studies :
https://www.herts.ac.uk/courses/unde...-pilot-studies
Air Force Pilot :
https://www.raf.mod.uk/recruitment/r.../aircrew/pilot
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Headfortheskys
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#6
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(Original post by McGinger)
For these you will need A levels - that should be enough motivation for you to knuckle down and do some work :

BSc Aviation Operations with Commercial Pilot Training :
1. https://www.kingston.ac.uk/undergrad...ilot-training/
3, https://www.uwl.ac.uk/course/undergr...=311&option=33
BSc Aerospace Technology with Pilot Studies :
https://www.herts.ac.uk/courses/unde...-pilot-studies
Air Force Pilot :
https://www.raf.mod.uk/recruitment/r.../aircrew/pilot
Going to uni to become an airline pilot is completely the wrong move. I’m a professional airline pilot. I’ve spoken to the selection teams. It’s a waste of money because once you get the degree you still will have to spend the exact same money and complete the exact same training as you would’ve without going to uni. I’ve got a friend he’s older, we both went to the air cadets we both wanted to be airline pilots. He’d always make jokes about becoming captain first and I’d be the copilot cause he was several years older. He went through the uni route studying aeronautical engineering. And I went straight for the airline academies I got selected by airlines straight out of six form at the age of 17 in 2018, started training 20 days after my 18th birthday. I’ve finished my training and about to fly for a uk airline. He graduated from uni and applied for the airline pilot training and unfortunately didn’t get selected. If he does reapply and gets selected he’ll have to pay for the training PLUS uni fees on top. And funny how he won’t be the captain first after all, even though he was several years older. It’s about taking the smart route and knowing what the airlines want.

Those uni courses listed above, will take a lot longer to make you an airline pilot and the training isn’t on the same Caliber as the other ATOs. You cannot become an airline pilot through a university in the uk, universities do NOT conduct airline pilot training, they can’t! they are not approved to, they don’t even offer the training! On those courses they are offering they are outsourcing you to flying schools after the first year, airlines will always select from big airline academies like CTC/l3, FTE and CAE, they run their own airline training programmes through them, they’ve been training British Airways, Easyjet, Virgin Atlantic, Flybe pilots and many more since the early 2000s so they fully trust the quality of training and as soon as the airlines need pilots they will turn their heads at those academies. And now with covid and the industry struggling they will be taking pilots slowly and if your not with the airline schemes or with the big ATOs you can expect a 3 year+ wait before they even glance at you. The second link won’t get you to the right hand seat of a jet because you won’t achieve an ATPL and the third link that offers pilot studies will not make you a pilot for an airline, because it Doesn’t provide airline pilot training you won’t come out of it with an ATPL, If you want to go to uni for the experience and added knowledge of a/c engineering then that’s good, with the other courses that outsource you will take a lot longer and the Pilot training itself won’t be as good as the schools I’ve mentioned, airlines have never ran a cadet scheme through those schools the uni course outsource you to, ever, and they don’t have a graduation team dedicated to placing you with an airline once you’ve finished, so that means you’ll be on the job hunt by yourself and that will be incredibly tough considering what the industry has just gone through. The best ways are through an airline scheme which trains pilots through an airline academy like CTC/L3, FTE and they are approved ATOs. Or if you go down the modular route. To become an airline pilot you will required an ATPL (airline transports pilots license) you will need to complete the 14 ATPL theoretical subjects, you will need to get your CPL, and your IR the AQC or APS then once you get a job you will then need to complete your type rating and then you will start flying passengers with a frozen ATPL. I did this with an airline academy in the uk, the course was an integrated ATPL course. You can also go down the modular route but I highly recommend going integrated, its beneficial when your on the job hunt at the end of training, airlines tend to prioritise Integrated students over modular. Not to mention quality of training is a lot better. It’s a lot faster aswell the training is 18-24 months long, it’s been longer for us but that’s been due to covid and lockdown.

If you go uni first you will just delay your process for 3 years and have more debts to pay cause those courses have got nothing to do with becoming an airline pilot, once you graduate from uni your back on square 1 again and you will have to apply, go through the selection process and then if selected through the training route I mentioned above, just this time 3 years later and with a heftier debt, my pilot training itself has cost me +£130,000.

And also never apply for the RAF if your doing it to become an airline pilot, because it’s a completely different job and life, everything will turn into a nightmare. You will be required to serve for them for over 12 years, and you won’t have a shortcut to the airlines, you will still need to apply for the training I mentioned above, going for the RAF in order to become an airline pilot is completely off track, only go for the RAF if you truly want to serve for this country and fly combat missions. I was considering this when I was in college until I was told by RAF pilots.
Last edited by Headfortheskys; 1 month ago
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Headfortheskys
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#7
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#7
(Original post by Kogomogo)
According to the link posted in a previous comment above you are going to need a-levels to become a pilot. Ought as well get them out the way now whilst they're funded. It also says that a relevant degree may help your chances too so don't discount the value of working towards the academic side of your application too.

What about pursuing college and uni, trying to work around them to save up money (even if just in summer) and then get your flying lessons afterwards (or inbetween terms too)?
You do not require A-levels to become an airline pilot, and a degree will not help either. Airline selection is primarily based on Non technical and technical skills that they assess with aptitude tests. A lot of the times it’s the ones that are too into academics and theoretical knowledge that we lose along the way in training, we’ve seen it time and time again. If you meet the minimum academic requirements you are invited for selection from there it depends how well you perform on the selection tests, you are competing against thousands for airline schemes. Having A-levels or degree will not make you stand out more believe me I’ve been through this myself and proved all my friends and teachers who tried explaining this to me so they can get me to go uni wrong.

I applied for a major flight school here in the uk at the age of 17 and didn’t have a degree, I just met the minimum entry requirements, and was invited for a selection day and it was tough, I was always told by others that I was wasting my time because the majority of applicants will have a degree on their cv. But I was one of the 5% selected from thousands even though I was straight out of sixth form. Now I’ve completed my training and will start working for a major UK airline.

They are looking for Non technical CRM (Crew resource management) skills, and technical skills such as hand eye coordination, situation awareness, multi-tasking, reaction speeds and much more. They test these through aptitude tests they carry out on a computer, these skills are natural born skills, you either have them or you don’t but with practise you can reach your maximum potential, you can do this by purchasing softwares I used skytest. What’s good about skytest is that you can practise aptitude tests that certain airlines carry out for example British airways carry out their own aptitude screening on top. You will need to brush up on your mental maths and skytest is good for this. These skills aren’t just essential to pass selection but you’ll need them throughout your training and you’ll take them onto you’re career, we've had people we’ve lost in training even though they’ve tried their very bests it just wasn’t good enough, they just couldn’t do it, tears would be involved before their contracts were terminated. Unless you are a professional pilot (or in training) for the airlines or military you won’t truly understand the importance of these skills until your up and flying professionally and especially when you start training on IFR where they throw unexpected scenarios at you, it can be extremely challenging to remain ahead of the aircraft and prioritise tasks in a high workload environment and when things get very busy with ATC and your running checklists and also doing you’re call outs they love to make it even harder and throw scenarios on top at you like a unexpected go around with an engine failure . You definitely without a doubt require above average hand eye coordination skills, you will start to realise why they conduct aptitude tests when you start training for you’re IR (instrument rating), not everyone can do it.

You also need the passion and ability to work in a team and display quality CRM skills. You need true passion for this career not a degree🤣, because without true passion then you won’t go far, you’re continuously tested everyday in this career, I’ve wanted this since I was a kid lived and breathed it to the extreme no one will ever understand apart from the guys that were there with me along the way, and I’ve had days where I’ve questioned myself doing it and just lost the motivation, it gets like that, and so have many of my course mates (and it’s normal to feel like that sometimes) and with the true passion you will bounce back and get your head back into it, so I can’t imagine someone without the true passion doing it, they wouldn’t last a week.

Instead of thinking about a degree get involved in things like the air cadets it’s a good way to get experience and improve your team working and leadership skills, look into the air league, get involved in the industry early on, participate in a team sport, improve your team leading and team working skills because you are assessed in the group exercise tasks during the selection day and those experiences on a cv are priceless they stand out way more than a degree does, by miles. They also ask questions in the competency based interview for example, “Tell me about a time you lead a team to a successful outcome and how would those skills benefit you in a career as a pilot” or “tell me about a time there was conflict in your team and how did you resolve it?” Answer using the STAR technique (situation, task, action, result) and practise your answers in front of a mirror focus on everything from your eye contact, body language down to your tone of voice but be VERY careful not to sound rehearsed on the interview they want someone who’s prepared but also spontaneous and can think on the spot under pressure, make sure you actually answer the questions they ask, because a problem you usually get with rehearsing answers (and I’ve heard it happens a lot) is that they could ask a very similar but slightly different question to what you expected and you automatically answer with what you’ve practised and you won’t realise so you end up answering to the wrong questions, they do this intentionally and will not mention it to you, you’ll just automatically fail the interview even if the interview carries on as normal until it’s finished.

Get to know the industry go on Instagram and message pilots if you have any questions get a real view in what it’s like to fly for an airline because most of the time it’s different to what people expect. They really do test you’re knowledge in the interview for example, “As a pilot how could you reduce costs for you’re airline?” or “what are the current biggest challenges the industry is facing?” so learn about the industry. And the first thing they ask you is “why do you want to be an Airline pilot?” It’s the question were most people trip up on believe it or not, they couldn’t care less if it’s something you always wanted to do or if you just love flying, hundreds of thousands of people have said that before you have, everyone says that. What they are interested in is if you know the role and if it’s right for you, is it because no two days are ever the same, is it because of the satisfaction you get when things go wrong and you safely and efficiently solve the problems in a team and the responsibility you feel when flying a 50tonne jet at at high speeds with 200 passengers onboard, is it because you love meeting new people (especially those lovely stewardesses 🤣). And the career progression opportunities, you can become a captain, a TRI pilot or a training captain, you can even decide to change fleet and go long haul or even take up a role in management the opportunities are endless. They are looking for future captains during the selection they don’t want someone who can’t progress and reach higher in this industry, you’ll just be a pain in the arse to them airlines want to make money and you’ll just hold them back, and with your age it’s a bonus you will get so much experience and move up the ranks and airlines would love that.

If you want to go to university for the experience then that’s good nothing wrong with that, but if your doing it because you want to become an airline pilot then its the wrong move you will not only delay your process by years but you’ll have a heftier debt to pay, you’ll be paying back your student loan then when you apply and get selected you’ll need over £100,000 (including type rating) on top of that and it actually does more harm than good, I’ve heard it from the guys in my course that went to university before starting the training. Focus on how to improve your skills and get different experiences down in your cv, let me tell you again you don’t need a degree and it will not help you in getting selected most people nowadays go to university and get a degree depending on what course you take most of the time it’s nothing major and just cause they got a degree that definitely doesn’t make them cut out to become a professional pilot, definitely not! You’re flying a 50tonne jet with 200pax strapped in behind you close to the speed of sound at 35,000feet things happen fast and anything can go wrong, and when they do go wrong it goes wrong very quickly, you need to be able to work with the person next to you, think fast and have the technical skills required, having a degree will not help at all, it’s not a doctors job where you flick through your notes before seeing a patient.
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