Dive into this article from Wingman Andrew – a useful story for anyone looking for that dream job on the flight deck!

Why gaining an ATPL could cost you more than £500,000…

Ok, so you can certainly complete your licence for a lot less than this! The purpose of this article is to tell you a personal story that has certainly cost me £500,000 on top of gaining my licence.

Many pilots view the expense of completing their flying training as the largest outlay of their professional career and whilst this might be true at the point of your training, the true cost (to you) of a career in the airlines can be a lot lot more!

An Airline Assessment Preparation course by Flight Deck Wingman

My story…

In 2005, I made my first application to an airline – TUI. I had just left the Royal Navy and was already an experienced pilot. I was lucky enough to enter the recruitment process fairly promptly and attended day one of my selection with TUI, which I failed…

Over the coming months, I took what I had learnt from that process and was lucky enough to be offered a position with Thomas Cook airlines some months later. Fast forward 10 years and the writing was on the wall for Thomas Cook. I had a command course just months away, but the financial health of Thomas Cook was far from good and I made the decision to jump to a bigger ship – my current airline.

That jump meant starting at the bottom again, despite almost 8000 hours of flight time and multiple type ratings. My starting salary was that of a new joiner i.e. the equivalent of being straight out of flight school and my career progression had been reset to zero.

“My starting salary was that of a new joiner i.e. the equivalent of being straight out of flight school and my career progression had been reset to zero.”

The harsh reality!

Had I passed my selection with TUI, I would (some 17 years later) be a Captain with them, I may have even moved into a training position, who knows. I now regularly fly with Captains who have been in the industry the same amount of time as me and who earn at least £100,000 a year MORE than I do, not including pension contributions! My failure at that selection process in 2005 has certainly cost me more than £500,000 in lost career earnings and this will be compounded for the remainder of my career. This makes the outlay of flight training (£70,000-100,000) pale into insignificance…

“I now regularly fly with Captains who have been in the industry the same amount of time as me and who earn at least £100,000 a year MORE than I do.”

Failure to prepare for any stage, or carrying out ineffective preparation can lead to failure.

So what can you learn from my mistake?

Preparation for selection processes should be treated at least as seriously as gaining your licence!

I am consistently amazed just how many newly qualified (as well as experienced pilots), fail to prepare adequately for a selection process. Competition for jobs is the toughest I’ve ever known right now and pilots should be preparing at least 2 stages ahead of each process:

  1. Have bespoke CV’s ready to go before a recruitment opportunity opens.
  2. Be ready for interview before hearing the outcome of your initial application.
  3. Be ready for a sim assessment before an interview.

“Preparation for selection processes should be treated at least as seriously as gaining your licence!”

Some interesting stats…

We estimate that just 10% of pilots that apply for an opportunity gain an offer of employment. Whereas over 90% of pilots that use Flight Deck Wingman are successful with the stages that we prepare them for. Whilst we can’t guarantee success, is refusing to make relatively small investment in your preparation with Flight Deck Wingman really worth losing £500,000 over?

Book your service today at www.flightdeckwingman.com 

Flight Deck Wingman provide industry leading assessment preparation for both airlines and flight schools.

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