Becoming an airline pilot can take anything from 18 months to 4 years, depending on the training route taken. The International Air Transport Association (IATA) predict that airlines will not recover to peak pre-2019 levels until 2023. What is the impact of COVID for pilots and the airline industry? Assuming COVID is brought under control, anyone considering a career as a pilot, now, will be ready to enter the market in about 2 years-time, when the airline industry will be in a much healthier position.
Advice for Student Pilots
It is very important to research the types of courses available and fully understand the economic and structural composition of each. Broadly speaking there are three distinct types of professional flight training:
Starting with zero experience, this is an intense course covering all aspects of theory and flight training that prepares each cadet for their first job within 18 months. Intensive courses are usually the most expensive but prices vary and so it is worth shopping around. Choosing a training establishment with major airline accreditation will increase employment opportunities.
Before being able to enrol on a Modular course, the applicant must hold a Private Pilot's License with 150 hours experience. This type of course is flexible and allows the cadet to work alongside their training and studies in order to pay the course fees. Generally Modular courses are less expensive but take longer to complete.
There are a small number of Universities that offer Aviation degrees that include professional flight training. Students need to pay for their flight training in addition to their course tuition fees, but they are able to apply for student loans just the same as other students undertaking different courses. The cost will end up being similar to other training courses. How long does it take to become a pilot? A course will take three years unless it is extended to 4 years to incorporate a sandwich year; this is a year of work experience within the airline industry prior to your final year.
What Do Student Pilots Need?
The following attributes and qualifications are necessary to anyone considering a career as an airline pilot: Good grades in Mathematics and English at secondary level are essential. Passes in both subjects at pre-university level will be looked at most favourably. A second language is also beneficial. Before embarking on any flight training, it is advisable to obtain a Class 1 Medical to avoid disappointment and wasted resources later on if subsequent adverse medical conditions are then discovered. Apart from having a passion for aviation, all pilots will have to demonstrate a number of specific skill sets which include self-confidence, the ability to communicate and work in a team while remaining calm under pressure, as well as being a good problem solver with attention to detail. It is important to have a technical aptitude in order to be able to analyse systems and data quickly. Finally, flying requires operating in three dimensions and so a good special awareness is crucial.
What can I do now to be ready to fly post-COVID?
Use this time to complete your education, training, and gain experience. It will give you an advantage when restrictions are lifted. Prior to COVID, the industry was predicting a global shortage of pilots. The opportunity to meet that demand can be yours. Honestly, there’s never been a better time to start planning for a future career as a pilot. You can also log hours on an accredited flight simulator, never underestimate the benefit of getting ahead and familiarising yourself with the controls and gaining valuable experience to stand out amongst your peers.
Is it worth becoming a pilot now in 2020?
Yes! The market will recover, with virtually an unlimited number of passengers that will, no doubt, be eager to travel again.
Deciding to become a pilot is a life-changing step toward an exhilarating and rewarding career. Flying passengers around the world, from an office in the clouds, with breathtaking views, is an occupation that is tough to beat!
Did you know?
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