Keeping your flying licences and CPL/IR current
Why you should keep current, and how it improves your employment prospects
Keeping current is beneficial for both maintaining your flying skills, building hours and making yourself more desirable to employers. Maintaining flying currency can be expensive but will help you maintain a skill set that is perishable whilst demonstrating your commitment to finding a job. When recruiting low hour pilots, some airlines stipulate that you must have completed a certain amount of flying time within the previous year or six months so logging as much time as you can, can be of great benefit.
Choosing what type of flying you do is very important. Spending your time flying around sightseeing in VMC can be fun, but is not productive. Where possible, you should use hour building flight time to enhance your instrument rating skills on challeging routes and busy in airspace. Multi engine aircraft might cost twice as much per hour than single engine aircraft, but the flight time and experience gained is much more valuable on a multi than single engine aircraft.
You could also spend your time in a high spec flight simulator. This is a great way to ensure that you will get the most from your flying, as you’ll be operating a high performance jet aircraft to airline standard operating procedures. An airline will be much more impressed with this than spending your time flying VFR in a single engine aircraft. You’ll be coming into contact with current airline pilots who may become high useful contacts in your search for your first airline job.
If you can’t afford to fly on a regular basis, try to go to your local airfield or flying club as much as possible. Volunter to help out with any aspect of the operation. This will help you to network with people and you’ll probably find that in return that you are offered spare or back seat flights. Whilst you may not be operating the aircraft yourself, it’s still a very good way of maintaining the flying mindset and gaining experience. Many airline pilots fly or instruct on light aircraft alongside their regular airline job – you might just meet the right person who can open a few doors!
It might sound basic, but another alternative is using IFR trainers or even Microsoft Flight Simulator can help to keep your understanding of instrument procedures up to scratch. Why not practice flying a SID or approach using the autopilot. This could be the difference with being sharp enough to pass an airline simulator check should the opportunity arrive at short notice.