The CAA can be contacted on 01293 573700, or www.caa.co.uk and search medical standards.
You also must recognise that this industry is a 24/7 and 365 day affair. You will miss Christmas, birthdays, social events, and many more. You will be waking up in parts of the world when your family are asleep, and delays will let people close to you down. You must be a flexible individual if you are to cope with this.
From a management perspective, you must be able to effectively and confidently talk to people around you. A pilot has to interact with cabin crew, engineers, ground teams, passengers and air traffic control to name a few. They must do that effectively and efficiently. There will be occasions when team players are in disagreement with one another, and as a pilot, as the leader on board the aircraft, they must manage this.
You must also be willing to focus on the customer. Airlines are starting to expect pilots to interact with passengers more and more, and focus on them when it comes to delays, passenger announcements and premium passengers etc. You must consider how you as the pilot, will make each journey special for them.
There are of course many skills you must demonstrate to be a quality airline pilot, attempt to research the position as much as you can and try to subject yourself to as much of the aviation world that you can - this demonstrates to an airline your continued dedication to the profession. Have you considered the Air Cadets, or work experience? Even spending time at your local flight school will help you out, and you will likely make contacts that will prove invaluable later on. Try to consider anything that will put you one step ahead of your competition and don’t wait until just a couple weeks before your interview to achieve this. Start now!
You must never underestimate the experience you get from part time jobs and work experience. These help shape you as a person and help you develop the skills required to be a pilot. How will you demonstrate that you can work effectively within a team, if you haven't any experience of doing so? Make sure you participate in activities outside of school and college, and make yourself the interesting person people want to sit next to in the flight deck. Join organisations like the Air Cadets if you can - not only will this subject you to many fantastic experiences, but will demonstrate to any prospective airline that you are serious about a career in aviation.
From an academic point of view, the more impressive your qualifications, the better. You need to be at the top of the pile and airlines can afford to be quite picky when it comes to recruitment. Putting the work in when you’re young will ensure you are in the best possible position. For GCSE’s you need to be focusing on achieving grade C or above in Mathematics, a science subject, preferably Physics and also English. You will also need to consider your A Level choices carefully, focusing on the same subjects mentioned above. BBC grades are likely to be minimum entry level qualifications if you are expecting to join a sponsorship programme, with lower grades being acceptable if you are funding the process yourself.
As far as a University degree is concerned, whilst this is not an essential requirement for a career as a pilot, and most airlines will not insist on it, the qualification gives you a back up option. Having a back up is a great pilot skill, and airlines will want you to prove to them that you consider “what if” scenarios. Having a back up plan goes some way to prove this, and also genuinely provides you with a different option should your dream of becoming a pilot not materialise for whatever reason. In addition to all of that, the experience you will gain at university will prepare you extremely well for the social interactions and experiences that you will encounter as a Pilot.
Try to have a range of diverse and interesting hobbies - think being part of a team. Whilst individual hobbies are useful, and help round you as an individual, team sports enforce your skills in this regard, and provide evidence to airlines that you are an active and current team player. There are many organisations you can become involved with, that will improve your leadership, communication, management, and team skills. Have you considered the Duke of Edinburgh award scheme?
- Airline Sponsorship
- The Integrated Solution
- The Modular Solution
- The Multi Pilot Licence (MPL) Solution
- The Military
This scheme is certainly the most efficient way to obtain your Commercial Pilots Licence and allows you to start you career straight away. You are unlikely to need to move positions later, as only very few operators operate in this way. You effectively will have a career for life with this solution and therefore competition for places are extremely high. You must work hard to put yourself in the best possible place for success.
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A factor that you MUST consider, is how strong are the links between your chosen Flight School and the Airlines. For example, CTC have placed many of their cadets with easyJet and CAE Oxford with Ryanair.
The integrated solution takes you with zero flight hours, and trains you until you are ready to be placed with an airline to commence their type specific training. All aspects of the licence issue are managed and trained for by the flight school in question. This route is generally the most popular because airlines are now forging relationships with the major flight schools, and in many cases will only recruit from their chosen school. Some Integrated schools will even place you with a partner airline at the end of the training if your results have been good enough.
Each of the schools are likely to train part of their course abroad, potentially in New Zealand or Arizona for example. Give some thought to this significant period of time abroad, and how you will fund your lifestyle while you are there.
Because the flight schools want to keep their relationships with the airlines, they obviously want to provide only the best pilots, so you must consider what happens if you don’t get placed with an airline at the end of the training. Do significant amounts of research and generate some what if scenarios.
Entry into the flight schools are assessed and you will have to undergo a recruitment day event where you are assessed for suitability. Passing this day is hard work and should be taken seriously. The flight schools reputation is on the line so they want to only train pilots they feel will succeed.
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We can help you prepare for this challenge - have a look at our training options on our website at www.airlineprep.co.uk
The obvious two advantages to this solution are cost and choice. This option tends to be significantly cheaper, as you can choose where to train and complete the relevant sections where and when it suits you. Shopping around is the best policy, so make sure you choose training providers that you feel comfortable with. It may even be an option to complete some of the elements abroad, such as the hour building section. This solution can often be more practical if you have other things going on in your life, as you can structure the training around what you have going on already, such as your current job.
The elements you will need to budget and plan for are as follows - the Private Pilots Licence (PPL), hour building, ATPL Ground School, Commercial Pilots Licence (CPL), the Instrument Rating (IR), and Multi Crew Co-Operation (MCC) training. Once you have completed all of these elements successfully, you will be able to go to the CAA and collect your CPL/IR, otherwise known as a Frozen ATPL (Airline Transport Pilots Licence). You will then have to search for your first job, which is generally the most challenging part of becoming a pilot.
The downside to this route is that your licence and training is airline and type specific. This means that should something happen to your sponsor airline in the time that you are training, such as the airline going out of business, or making Pilots redundant you would have to convert your licence. This is because all of the training is sponsor airline specific, with your training being specific to that airline. You will have to ask many questions of the flight training organisation (FTO) as to what would happen in this case, as this could cost you additional money should something happen to your sponsor airline.
Ordinarily, your MPL licence will ‘unfreeze’ when you achieve a certain amount of flying experience (providing other restrictions are met, too). This means that at this point you would now have a licence that is transferrable to other airlines and this licence is referred to as the ATPL - the Airline Transport Pilots Licence. For comparison, the ATPL that you would achieve via the modular and integrated routes would be known as a frozen ATPL - frozen because at the time of award you would not have the required amount of hours or experience, to ‘unfreeze’ it to full ATPL level.
Essentially, each MPL scheme is bespoke and specific to the target airline and aircraft type, whereas the integrated and modular routes provide you with the same licence that mean you have to be airline trained after attaining those licences.
Of course the experiences that you will be subjected to in the military will be second to none and will be unforgettable! The training you receive will be of an extremely high standard, and some airlines even have a managed programme for ex-military pilots to assist them in the transfer of their military skills and experience to the airline environment.
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When it comes to finding that all important first position, take some time in setting out and structuring your CV. Make sure that you develop as many contacts as possible and work hard to keep your flying licence current. You cannot be picky with that first job and you should be thinking on a global scale when it comes to employment for your first flying position. Even spending time at your local airfield will help you. Think about taking up employment within an airline, in another area so that you can attempt to gain employment from within a company. Many airlines have trained Pilots working for them in Operations or as Cabin Crew, where Airline knowledge and experience can be developed. You will also potentially have the opportunity to develop contacts in areas of the business that may assist you in getting an interview, although admittedly, this is more likely in a smaller company.
Essentially, you have to do whatever you can to put yourself in the best possible position to get your first flying job.
When you get an interview, study hard and prepare well - we can help you here so feel free to get in contact with us
If you choose the integrated solution you may now find yourself at an airline, either full time or on a temporary contract. You may find that after that temporary contract has ended, you are in the same position as a modular candidate searching for another job with very little experience.
If you choose the modular solution, you may find that to increase your chances of employment you start to consider self funding a type rating on an aircraft. Each aircraft you fly for an airline, will require you to complete a type rating course on that aircraft. Some airlines train you and pay for this themselves, other airlines pay for this and then ‘bond’ you for a certain time period. This means that if you leave the airline within that set period of time, you will have to pay a proportion of the training cost back. Other airlines will only take on candidates that have taken the risk on a type rating already and paid for this training themselves. Be aware that there are unlikely to be any guarantees with this route, and you may find yourself with a type rating but no job, and worse, no experience so other airlines are unlikely to find this very appealing. Think very carefully before you invest in more costly training with no promise of a job afterwards. It is certainly best if you can find an airline where you don’t have to pay for your own training - you’ve spent enough already - but we realise that this might not always be an option.
When you join an airline you will have approximately two months of training before you get to fly passengers or cargo. It is a tough process with a steep learning curve. You will have to complete the aircraft type rating, which will involve ground school and simulator sessions. You will then have to complete airline training in security, dangerous goods, Safety and Emergency Procedures (SEP), and then you will have to do some landings for real in the actual aircraft. This will be amazing fun, and since you only do this on your first commercial aircraft type, make the most of it! You have to do 6 take off and landings to a successful standard, on an empty plane before you can take passengers. Once this has been done, you will receive the type rating on your licence and commence line training, with a training captain, on the aircraft with passengers. A daunting experience but one you will never forget.
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