Ask A Pilot
Interview Questions for School Projects
School Interview Questions
At FlightDeckFriend.com, we receive a lot of requests for interviews with our pilots for school projects. Whilst we are very happy to be contacted to complete such interviews (over email correspondence) we have provided the questions and answers for questions we regularly receive.
Tell me a bit about yourself…
I’m a pilot operating for a well known UK airline. I’ve operated as a First Officer (co-pilot), Captain and Training Captain (a Captain who instructs and supports other pilots). I’ve also flown both Short Haul and Long Haul operations.
How did you get to become a pilot?
I always wanted to be a pilot. An aeroplane was one of the first things I could draw! After going to college and Sixth Form, I went to University and studied Aviation Technology with Pilot Studies. I then completed my commercial flight training before going onto join a low cost airline. I then joined a legacy carrier. I’ve been with my current airline for around 7 years.
How much do you earn?
Pilots wages vary significantly depending on rank, seniority within the company and type of airline. First Officers at an established airline flying a commercial jet can typically expect to earn approximately £40,000 – £120,000 whilst Captains will get between £90,000 – £200,000.
How many hours do you work a day / week?
It varies every day. Some days 2 hours, others 16. Some weeks 20 hours, other weeks over 50 hours. We have strict limits on the amount of hours we can fly – we can’t exceed 900 flight hours a year. This doesn’t include “duty” time such as preflight and post flight paperwork.
Do you get holidays?
Yes, about 6 blocks of between 9 – 14 days off a year. We also get the use of staff travel offering discounted flights and hotels.
Do you have to be particularly skilled?
Yes, but they are skills you can work to acquire. When airlines recruit pilots, they are looking for future Captains. Therefore, they want people who can demonstrate good leadership, teamwork, decision making and communication skills. You’ll also need to have a good standard of Maths, Science and English.
What key skills are required for the job?
Team work, communication, prioritisation, leadership and decision making are a few of they key attributes. A good grasp of Maths and Physics helps.
What training is required?
You need to pass 14 theoretical examinations and complete roughly 150 hours of flight training, passing multiple flight tests before you can apply to become a commercial pilot. You are then training on a specific commercial aircraft before going on to fly passengers. The process usually takes approximately 1 and a half to 2 years.
What subjects should I choose at school?
I would recommend choosing Science and Maths based subjects. Specific subjects that would be useful are Maths, Physics, English, Chemistry, Biology, Geography and IT. However, there is no specific requirement; you can become a pilot with good grades in any subjects you like as long as you have the right skills and attitude.
What do you like most about your job?
The daily variety and challenges that every flight brings. Every flight is different, whether it be the passengers, colleagues, aircraft, weather or destination. No day is ever the same and I wouldn’t it to be?
It’s also a great privilege to travel to far flung destinations across the globe. I’m lucky enough to fly an aircraft that goes anywhere from Australia to South America so I really do get to see the World.
What do you least like about your job?
Getting up at 3am! But at least your day is normally finished by about midday. Flying through the night can also be difficult, but we usually get a bit more time at home compared to a lot of jobs to recover from the nights out of bed.
What is your favourite destination?
The approach into London City airport is absolutely spectacular, especially when landing on the easterly runway. You fly at 2,000ft above central London, something few people get to experience.