Becoming a Commercial Airline Pilot in 2017
How to achieve your dream
An introduction to becoming a commercial airline pilot
For many people, flying, and particularly the job of an airline pilot has always had a certain degree of glamour and excitement attributed to it, you just need to see the recent series of British Airways and Virgin Atlantic adverts for an example of that. The opportunity to operate a state-of-art multi million pound machine seven miles up at five hundred miles per hour with a few hundred people on board to far away shores is very appealing, but for a significant number of people, it is career many aspire to but for one reason or another, few achieve.
The ‘Becoming a Pilot’ section within FlightDeckFriend.com contains all the information you need to build up a comprehensive understanding of what you need to do to become a pilot. After you’ve read through the introduction on this page, have a look a the other pages within the section about Pilot Licences, Medical Requirements, Finances and the Type of Training.
The road to becoming an airline pilot can be a long and arduous one. It requires total commitment and often involves a degree of good fortune and a lot of patience and persistence. The industry is notoriously cyclic and volatile being heavily influenced by a vast array of external factors, with recent examples being the recession and the Icelandic volcano ash crisis. In addition to this, the financial outlay required by prospective students for today’s flight training is massive, often extending into six digit figures. These dynamic variables make it a particularly difficult occupation to achieve success in and associates a significant amount risk to your training investment. There are however a number of factors which can be directly influenced by you to mitigate the risks as much as possible. Understanding and utilising these factors to your advantage will give you the best chance of achieving success. The team at flightdeckfriend.com aim to help you to achieve this by giving you a realistic appraisal of the industry and provide you with an understanding of your training options.
At first, for someone who has just started looking into how to become an airline pilot, the route to first officer can seem very complicated. Understanding which licences are required to be eligible to apply for the position of a commercial pilot, and how to obtain these is a perfect example of this. There seems like a maze of acronyms and abbreviations to get your head round and knowing where look to find such information isn’t always obvious. Then when you’ve got your head around which licences you need to get, you then have to think about whether you should undertake integrated or modular training and at which flight school. Questions such as “should I go to University or not?” are very relevant, especially now given the recent increase in tuition fees, but again there is little advise on such subjects available. Our free service at flightdeckfriend.com addresses such questions and helps to provide a clear explanation on how to obtain the appropriate licences.
The realities of day to day life as an airline pilot
With the vast costs and risks involved in flight training today, it has never been so important for any future pilot to understand what is involved in achieving their goal, the risks involved and the day to day realities of the life of a modern day airline pilot. The typical airline pilots job isn’t what it used to be like thirty years ago, in terms of what the job actually involves, lifestyle and terms and conditions. That’s not to say it’s not still a very privileged and rewarding job, but one must understand the current realities of the industry and how the role of pilot has evolved over the last few decades.
As aircraft design has evolved, and technology developed, the role of pilot has followed suit. The modern fly-by-wire aircraft are now highly automated, and as result, the role of airline pilot has become much more comparable to that of a “systems manager”. On a typical day operating in and out of busy airports, the autopilot will be engaged at around 1000 feet after take-off, and disconnected about 500 feet before landing. Whilst the pilots are still providing the inputs to navigate and fly the aircraft in-between these points, the amount of manual handling has certainly decreased as advances in aircraft design have progressed. There is of course a requirement to maintain a competent degree of manual handling, and most airlines have procedures in place to allow and even encourage this.
One thing that hasn’t changed is the significant responsibility held by the flight crew. Hundreds of people put their lives in the hands of flight crew every time they fly, rightly expecting the utmost professionalism. There are of course operating procedures in force to help ensure the safe and efficient operation of the aircraft but the flight crew are often required to make quick and critical decisions taking into account a vast range of factors. For this reason the training is both demanding and intensive.
Deciding whether or not to start commercial pilot training, which training route you should choose, and which airline you might aim to work for is very subjective to individual circumstances. We recommend reading all the areas of the site to help you make an informed decision.