Common questions asked by Pilots affected by the COVID crisis.

We know you'll have lots of questions - we are here to help answer them.

When times get tough, we know that you’ll need answers that are going to help. It can be hard to find out these answers for yourself, especially when life has just got a whole heap more stressful. That’s why we have created this unemployment FAQ page where we hope you’ll find answers to some of the most common questions that pilots out of work might have.

If you want somebody to talk to, would like to discuss your personal situation, or have a question relating to pilot recruitment, then head on down to the bottom of the page where you can book a free career support call with the Wingman team.

Train to Prepare. Prepare to Succeed. Get Yourself a Wingman! 

Unemployment FAQs

Pilot colleagues, here at Flight Deck Wingman, we consider you all part of the Wingman “formation” and are here to help. That’s why we have created an FAQ section designed to act as a resource to try and answer the many questions we know you will have, but may not have the capacity to research yourselves at this time. Please be aware that this information is only provided to the best of our knowledge and should be treated as such.*

We have created a place for you to get answers to common questions you might have if you are currently not employed as a pilot. If you can’t find an answer to your question, then follow the process detailed below and we will endeavour to find a solution and post it to the unemployment FAQ page ASAP.

We understand that you will have many unanswered questions. If you have a question that is not featured in the FAQ section, then you can email your question to us. 

Please note the following:

  • You must enter “QUESTION” in the subject line of your email.
  • Please ensure that you have carefully viewed all of the current FAQ answers before contacting us, as your answer may already be present.
  • We will be unable to respond to emails personally.
  • We make no guarantee that we will be able to post an answer.
  • We will be reading all emails and doing our best to provide an answer in the FAQ section on this page.

There is a huge amount of expertise within the pilot community and we would like to draw on that expertise in order to assist as many Pilots as possible. If you have some information which you think might benefit the pilot community, we would be super grateful if you could help us by emailing us. 

Please note the following:

  • You must enter “SOLUTION” in the subject line of your email.
  • We may be unable to respond to emails personally.
  • We may contact you to ask further information in order to check the validity of an answer.
  • We will be reading all emails and doing our best to include your solution in the FAQ section on this page.

Thank you for your support!

Job Centre Support

Some companies have stated that you can get “free training” with them, but this is not strictly the case. You may be able to claim training via your Job Centre Plus (JCP) through the “Rapid Response Service”. This service is for Pilots that have been placed under notice of redundancy or those that have received confirmation of redundancy. Note that this scheme is only available within 13 weeks of being made redundant. The Rapid Response funding ethos is to help with removing a barrier to employment. Please see the top of this page for more details on the process.

Some companies have stated that you can get “free training” with them, but this is not strictly the case. You may be able to claim training via your Job Centre Plus (JCP) through the “Rapid Response Service”. This service is for Pilots that have been placed under notice of redundancy or those that have received confirmation of redundancy. Note that this scheme is only available within 13 weeks of being made redundant. The Rapid Response funding ethos is to help with removing a barrier to employment. Please see the top of this page for more details on the process.

Some companies have stated that you can get “free training” with them, but this is not strictly the case. You may be able to claim training via your Job Centre Plus (JCP). Please see the top of this page for more details on the process.

You may be able to access support towards other types of training via your JCP, but each application for funding is done on an individual basis and you will have to follow the same process as detailed earlier on this page under “Claiming our Training through a Job Centre Plus”.

The DWP website states that you can get free training if you’re unemployed and:


Your Jobcentre work coach will tell you what training you can do.

Jobseeker’s Allowance has been replaced by Universal Credit which is for people of working age who are in or out of work. Universal Credit replaced Jobseeker’s Allowance. However if you have been credited with enough National Insurance contributions, you may be entitled to ‘New Style’ Jobseeker’s Allowance. ‘New style’ Jobseeker’s Allowance works in the same way as contribution-based JSA. Your partner’s income and savings won’t affect how much you’re paid.You can get ‘New Style’ Jobseeker’s Allowance for up to 182 days. Depending on your circumstances, it can be claimed on its own or at the same time as Universal Credit. If you get both at the same time, your ‘New Style’ Jobseeker’s Allowance payment will be deducted from your Universal Credit payment – you aren’t guaranteed to get any extra money. If you get ‘New Style’ Jobseeker’s Allowance, you will get class 1 National Insurance credits. In some circumstances you may only get these credits and no money.For more information on Jobseekers Allowance click here. For more information about claiming Universal Credit click here.

If you’re unemployed, or under written notice of redundancy, the Travel to Interview Scheme can help you with the cost of travelling to job interviews in the UK, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

Full details on eligibility and how to make a claim can be found at this link.

Licencing & Medical

You only need to keep your medical valid if you are intending to “exercise the privileges of your licence”. That means that if you aren’t intending to use your licence, you don’t need to have a valid Class 1 medical. However, do be aware that some airlines will ask for a “Valid EASA Class 1 medical” at the point of application and may even ask for you to upload your medical certificate as part of the initial application process.

Most airlines will require you to hold a valid IR when you apply to them. We would encourage you to keep your IR valid.

No, you can complete an IR re-validation on a different type e.g. an MEP. That said, you may deem it easier to re-validate your IR on a type you are familiar with.

A valid LPC might improve your chances of being able to take advantage of any future job opportunities that come your way – many Airlines and operators would look for type-rated pilots with a current LPC. Do bear in mind your costs though and be wary of training providers charging over the top prices for this training.

Yes. From 1 Jan 2021. This will have several implications for future employment, particularly if you wish to operate under an EASA state operator.

You can find more information here.

Normally you can revalidate up to the expiry date plus three months. Beyond this point it is classed as a renewal and retraining will be required.
We are unaware of any alleviation’s there. Isolation periods where required must be complied with.

No. This is usually driven by an airline a pilot would be operating for. The important part of the LPC is the type-rating and instrument rating.

Yes, depending on how long it has been since it first lapsed. You can renew a rating up to 3 years after it has expired. 

MPL holders e.g. former flyBe MPL holders, are not restricted to that airline and are free to exercise the privilege of their licence at any other airline, subject to holding the appropriate type rating or having completed the type rating requirements and having completed that AOC’s Operator Conversion Course (OCC) for their new employer Airline. Historically the MPL was restricted to a specific operator until the MPL holder had completed that operator’s OCC training, however this restriction was removed from the regulations sometime after 2015 and is no longer applicable. Therefore, the MPL holder is not tied to the airline and is free to move to another airline in the same manner as any frozen ATPL holder.

However… we are not aware of any airline recruiting MPL licence holders in the same way as they do fATPL and ATPL holders, so the practicalities of gaining employment as an MPL holder may be problematical at best.

The MPL is a qualification set out in EU Regulations and to change the name would require a change in the law…. This is more an education piece for the UK Airline to understand the difference between an MPL and frozen ATPL.

Future opportunities

This is largely dependent upon your personal financial circumstances. If you decide to complete your training, then do bear in mind that you will need to consider keeping your IR and medical valid as well as trying to stay in recent flying practice – all of which costs money. If you are completing your training via the modular route, then you could investigate pausing your training, but we would recommend that you complete the module you are undertaking as a minimum and do bear in mind that continuity during flying training is important – picking up where you left off may not be as easy as you would like it to be. 

In the current recruitment environment, we would recommend keeping all flying opportunity options open, including that of a Flight Instructor. Do bear in mind the financial investment though and we would be mindful of the health of any flying schools that you might seek employment with.

Absolutely. When the job market for pilots does improve, demonstrating motivation and a willingness to learn new skills and stay in employment will only be viewed positively.

Some opportunities have been available for those with previous military flying experience to re-join the Armed Forces. We are not aware of any opportunities for those with no previous military flying experience being able to “skip” any portion of the normal joining and flying training process. Joining the military could be an option for those right at the beginning of their flying career, but do bear in mind that joining the Armed Forces brings a “Return of Service” requirement. You can find out more by getting in touch with your nearest Armed Forces Careers Information Office.

Many operators have historically looked for a minimum of 500 hours on type when recruiting new pilots into their airline. What is unclear however, is how airlines will treat pilots that have been affected by this pandemic with low experience. We would like to think that many airlines will take a practical view on peoples experience and, through a robust recruitment process, still give those pilots that have been affected the chance to continue their careers uninhibited through no fault of their own.

It’s anyones guess really, as so many factors could come into play. We don’t think there is likely to be significant recruitment for 18-24 months, but things can (and often do) turn for the better as quickly as they turned for the worse…

Not necessarily! Whilst it is true that airlines often look to type-rated pilots when they open recruitment, they don’t always get the candidates that they require. Some of the terms that an airline might recruit on, may not be tempting for more experienced pilots and many airlines and operators also like to create a broader pilot demographic for their operation. A good performance at a selection process is still required of course – a type-rating is unlikely to be all that is required to get over the finish line and into the flight deck!

100%! In fact, getting your CV and/or Cover Letter re-vamped and being prepared for any opportunities that arise, should be considered essential. Competition for jobs will be extremely fierce when recruitment does return, so having an application which ensures that you will be giving yourself the best chance of getting to an assessment stage is one of the things that you can be proactively working on right now! Visit our CV and Cover Letter pages to learn more about how Flight Deck Wingman can help.

Beware companies that write your CV and/or Cover Letter for you – this is unlikely to maximise the impact of your application and is also likely to have been constructed using some form of “template” which means that airline recruiters are likely to recognise it!

Through our work supporting pilots at Thomas Cook and flyBe, it was apparent that many of those pilots had not been through a modern day interview process in some time, or indeed ever before. We would strongly recommend that you seek some support in interview techniques ahead of any new interview process, as interview processes have evolved significantly in the last 10 years. Being prepared is something you can and should be doing now – don’t leave it until the last minute, as it is possible that you won’t be able to get training at short notice, or have sufficient time to work on any problem areas!

We can help with interview preparation of course, or if you would just like to check your readiness for an interview, then you might like to consider our Pilot Skills Test.  You can find out more about our Interview Training here and Pilot Skills Test here.

Ideally both as this may increase your chances of employability. If this isn’t possible then pick the one that is most likely to make you employable when things pick up.

If you are considering paying for a type-rating with no offer of employment attached to it, then we would generally not recommend this. You risk paying for a type-rating which a future employer may not require (if they don’t operate that type of aircraft) and maintenance of skills within that type-rating might be very difficult and very costly.

One effective way is to use a sim practice scheme, like the one on offer at Motion flight using their fixed base sim.

As professional pilots, maintaining our skills is vitally important. We would encourage pilots to try and stay current, even if it’s in an SEP aircraft. If you can’t afford to rent an aircraft, then try and “back-seat” when you can, in order to keep your brain in the operational environment. You might also like to check out the “Providers” section at the bottom of this page, where you can find information on other forms of skill-set maintenance. Do be aware that some airlines have historically asked for “XX amount of hours in the preceding XX months” – this has only tended to be the case for low hours pilots looking for their first airline job.

Yes! Pilot aptitude testing is a feature of airline entry processes all around the world. It is fundamentally important that you practise these tests well in advance of any potential assessment, particularly if you’ve never had to encounter these tests before. Your performance can be significantly improved through practise, even if you’re not completing exactly the same tests that a specific selection process involves.

We recommend that you contact our friends over at Pilot Aptitude Test for help with preparing for any selection process.

Need someone to talk to? We are here to help

We know that pilots that are currently grounded will have a lot of questions that they would like answered. We also understand that some will just want someone to chat to. That’s why we are giving any pilot that has been affected by job loss and the subdued pilot job market, the opportunity to chat to a Wingman – for free.

It’s super easy to book your free 15 minute call. Just head on down to the bottom of this page and follow the booking link!

What kind of thing can we talk about?:

  • I’d just like someone to talk to – is that ok? (100% YES!)
  • What can I do to be proactive in the current climate?
  • Is it worth getting my CV up-to-date?
  • Should I consider working overseas?
  • When is the market likely to recover?
  • Should I pay for my own type rating?
  • …and anything in-between!

*Please note that this service does not replace any of the paid Flight Deck Wingman services.

Schedule Your Free Career Support Call Below!

*Legal. Whilst we hope that you will find the information contained on this page useful, we would like to draw your attention to the following:

Disclaimer Flight Deck Wingman makes no warranty or representation that the information contained and provided on this page will be accurate. No part of this page nor its contents is intended to constitute advice and should not be relied upon when making any decisions or taking any action of any kind.

Limitation of Liability To the maximum extent permitted by law, Flight Deck Wingman accepts no liability for any direct or indirect loss or damage, foreseeable or otherwise, including any indirect, consequential, special or exemplary damages arising from the use of this page, third party websites and services or any information contained therein. Users should be aware that they use any third party websites and the Flight Deck Wingman website and its Content at their own risk.