Becoming a pilot is a huge investment, both mentally and financially. The best advice Flight Deck Wingman can give you, is to research very carefully what it means to be a pilot in this day and age. You will find a wealth of information and debate on the internet, and it might also be worth looking at the British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA), or other similar airline associations to get an impression of what they think the industry is like.
Check out this link: http://youtu.be/DyZxahxMD2Q
Try to speak to as many pilots as you can in different companies, and ask them for their honest and frank opinion on what they feel about the company they work for, and the industry in general. You might be surprised to hear that many pilots these days would not recommend it as a profession for their children. If after doing all that you decide that it really is for you, then it’s time to start the hard work. The topic is unfortunately too large to cover in this frequently asked questions section, but plenty of information is out there, and at Flight Deck Wingman we will always do our best to answer any general queries or questions you might have about the industry. We all started somewhere! Get in touch with us today.
Well that is certainly the public perception! It is true to say that being a pilot can pay for a good lifestyle and provide for the future. However, this very much depends on the company and the contract that you are employed on. You would be amazed how salaries and associated benefits can vary between companies-sometimes things are not quite as they seem! You must also remember that if you are starting out as a new pilot, you will probably have very large debts to repay from your training costs (often around 100,000 pounds). We must all stand together to protect our terms and conditions in the future. After all, we are responsible for people’s safety each and every time we go to work.
If you’re considering a career as a pilot, then this is certainly something that you should consider. Being an airline pilot is a hugely rewarding profession, that can bring a lifetime of challenges and exciting career progression. However, this is not your average 9 to 5 job! You will work long, disruptive hours, often losing sleep and feeling tired. You will spend time away from family and friends when there is perhaps there is an important occasion to attend. You will most likely have little control over your working routine, often only knowing what you’re doing one month in advance. Weekends can be hard to achieve, as can getting time off during school holidays. Pay and terms and conditions can also vary hugely between airlines, with some airlines only offering schemes such as pay to fly, along with no pension or loss of licence benefits You are only ever one simulator check, or one medical away from losing your licence, and with it your job. Airlines are also largely affected by the economy and job security can sometimes be a concern. It’s true that the glory days of the airline pilot might be gone, but even with all these downsides, if it is something that you genuinely want to do, then Flight Deck Wingman is sure that you will have a most rewarding, enjoyable and successful career.
Good news! The general market is definitely on the up at the moment. The recovery in the economy, plus lower oil prices and an increased global demand for air travel, mean that there has probably never been a better time to get your foot through the airline door. Cadet schemes still exist through companies such as the L3 Academy and Oxford aviation, but as always research all of these companies carefully, and how they intend to find you work at the end of your training. Keep an eye out on the Flight Deck Wingman Facebook page www.facebook.com/flightdeckwingman, where the latest job offers and recruitment taking place will be posted. Please “like” and “share” the page with your friends! Flight Deck Wingman is always available to answer general questions, please feel free to contact us any time.
It is an unfortunate scenario, but any sponsorship programmes are usually heavily oversubscribed. For those of you considering paying for your own licences, then this is not a decision to be taken lightly. You may spend tens of thousands of pounds chasing your dream, only to find that there is no job at the end of it. Also be wary of completing flying training in countries that will not give you an EASA ATPL such as the United States. This may appear like a cheaper way to pay for your flying, but you will only end up having to convert it through more flying in different airspace and weather conditions when you get back to an EASA state. This can often prove to be a false economy. Some traditional avenues such as flying instructing once you have gained your commercial pilots licence seem less popular these days, with everybody expecting to go straight into the big airline job. Don’t discount these options though, they will give you an invaluable toolset when you do you have the experience requirements for a larger airline job, and they keep you in current flying practice while you wait. Flight Deck Wingman is here to support all of you, whether it’s through a general query, or to give you the very best chance of securing sponsorship deal. Contact us today to see how your wingman can help!
Being a flying instructor used to be a well trodden path for aspiring airline pilots. These days with cadetship programmes and other sponsorship programmes, the chances of getting an airline job from the beginning are much higher, but the flying instructor route should never be discounted. If you haven’t managed to find your dream airline job yet, then what better way to keep your skills honed and earn some money at the same time. You will also be meeting plenty of other pilots with which to network and gain knowledge and experience. Flight Deck Wingman has helped such pilots. Some have been instructing or flying tow planes for gliding clubs for example, and through assistance from Flight Deck Wingman, we have successfully got them to the assessment stage of airline recruitment drives. Contact us today and let’s get started!
Many pilots have found themselves in this position at some point or another, whether it’s at the start of their aviation career, or perhaps things have taken a downturn and they found themselves out of a flying job. Flight Deck Wingman understands that this can be a very frustrating time for many aspiring airline pilots, but there are things that you can do to improve your chances of getting that flying job when the market conditions improve, or your experience level dictates that you can apply to an airline. We have met plenty of pilots that were once cabin crew, or aircraft dispatchers for example. These types of roles are so closely linked to that of being an airline pilot, that not only will they improve your general knowledge of the aviation industry when you come to get your first flying job, but they show real motivation and a passion for the profession when it comes to an interview, or completing an application form etc. Not only that, but you are likely to meet pilots in your day-to-day role, and that’s a great way to network.
When a recruitment window opens, the airline will usually be heavily oversubscribed with applications. If you don’t meet the experience requirements, then the chances are you won’t even be able to apply, as most applications are submitted electronically these days and they will be very specific when asking about your flying experience. Whatever you do, don’t lie! Sometimes you might be very close to meeting their experience requirements. If this is the case, then it may be worth contacting the airline recruitment department directly if you have the means to do so. Networking is also one of the most valuable tools in this industry when it comes to gaining that first job, so try to network when the opportunity arises. Do not despair though, your time will come! Stay motivated, and make sure you keep your ATPL valid.
These type of contracts tend to exist in airlines where the work is very seasonal. Such an example might be a charter airline, where they are very busy in the summer flying to typical family holiday destinations during the school holidays, but in the winter the more traditional European destinations become quieter and the work starts to tail off. In a bid to reduce costs, some companies have implemented contracts such as this where you work seven months on, and then for five months you are unemployed. Other similar schemes also exist. This is certainly something to be aware of once you complete your training, whether it be self-sponsored or through a cadet sponsorship type of scheme. Many cadet sponsorship schemes will offer you a job on completion of the course, at which point you will have to start repaying the loan. This is all very well and good until you get a job with an airline, and then after seven months you discover that you are now are not working for five months, with no pay and no means to repay your loan, or more importantly your bills! Check very carefully when applying to any sponsorship scheme, or if you are self-sponsored when applying to an airline.
The airline industry is constantly under financial pressure, with huge competition from a multitude of different carriers. Due to the unpredictable nature of the airline industry, airlines will always seek to reduce costs where possible. Historically, you would have joined an airline on a full-time contract with all the benefits that that is likely to include, such as a pension, health care, and death in service benefits. Unfortunately in more recent years, many companies do not offer full-time contracts in the early stages of your career. Some companies utilise schemes that have come to be known as “pay to fly”. This means that you effectively pay to work for that airline for a period of time, for example until you have 200 hours on type or similar. This is a practice that BALPA have been campaigning against for some time now, but unfortunately it is still very much prevalent. Other contracts include “zero hours” contracts, which mean that you are only getting paid when you go to work. Now this is great if you are working lots of hours and making some money. The problem comes when you are perhaps ill or unable to work for other reasons, and then you have no form of income. They are not necessarily a bad thing if you are looking to start out in the industry, but you should be aware of how they differ from a full-time contract.
This is the scheme that many airlines still choose to operate. In basic terms, when you join the company you start at the very bottom of the seniority list. As people retire, or as people join below you, you move up the list. There are several benefits and several downsides to this system. Such systems often form the basis of a large degree of debate within the pilot community! The main upsides to the seniority system are that as you progress, you generally gain some benefits from your seniority, whether it be getting the lines of work that you bid for so as to create a magical roster, better job security, or more pay for example. The downsides to a seniority system are that if there is no expansion, or there are a large amount of pilots above you that are not intending to retire any time soon, then you will not progress up the seniority list and gain it’s benefits. More importantly, should the company fall on hard times, those at the bottom of the seniority list will unfortunately be the first to leave the business should it need to make redundancies.