Student Pilot FAQs
To begin, what’s most important is never give up. Determination and motivation are so important if you are going to pursue a career as a commercial pilot.
Do I need a degree?
No. If you know you want a career in commercial aviation, there is no requirement for a university degree. The sooner you are on the line as a commercial pilot, the sooner you are getting those hours built up, the more experience you have, and the faster your career will progress.
University these days costs almost the same as an ATPL. So if you know this is your dream job, why put it off. There is a lot to be said for having some work/life experience under your belt but its not something that should hold you back. If you are a younger aspiring pilot, I would recommend joining the air cadets, or getting a part time job. It will teach you discipline, gain experience working with others and dealing with customers, which is a big part of being a commercial pilot.
When you are not training, there is always someone out there that is, trying to be better than you.
However, if you do choose university then you should definitely look into joining your University Air Squadron. Who wouldn’t want to be taught by some of the best pilots in the world…. this was a day where I got to go with some old boys formation flying, when would that ever happen!
How much does it cost to become a pilot?
It depends on what route you take.
Then you have a type rating on top which is £30-40K
There are a few sponsorship schemes out there, most of which need security and pay you back over a number of years.
Do you have to be REALLY smart?
No, you do not need to be a genius to be a pilot. GCSEs with A-C in Maths, Physics and English. You need good mental maths skills, the aptitude to be able to fly and be prepared to work hard.
How do you become a pilot?
There are a few options out there at the moment as far as training goes. Integrated, modular, MPL, military and part sponsorship schemes.
The integrated ATPL. This takes you from zero flying hours to frozen ATPL. There are lots of schools out there in different countries but the ones most recognised and affiliated with the airlines are CAE, L3 and FTE.
Postiives - you need no flying experience, all training done by one provider in a cpomlete course, graduate services to line up interviews with ailines on completion. affiliation with major airlines, most streamline way to get your ATPL.
Negative - Most expensive option
I’ll be covering the others in a more detail post soon.
Do I need previous flying experience?
No not required, though I would definitely suggest a flying lesson or two to see if you like it or if you are a uni student joining your university air squadron. It is a great way to get some flying experience from some of the worlds best pilots and make awesome friends for life.
How long does it take to become a pilot?
I went from 0 flying hours to flying passengers for a commercial airline in 2 years flat. Thats about the quickest you can do it, integrated
How do I choose which flight school to go to?
It is important that you pick the right school for you. It is going to be a very stressful intense training period and you want the school with the right resources and facilities to get you to that end goal, working for an airline. See what past students say, ask friends, research online and visit the school. Here are some questions to ask.
What will it cost, what is included and how are the fees paid?
How will my ability to perform be assessed, does this offer any assurances or guarantees of a job?
What is the school’s employment statistics?
How long has the school operated as an ato?
How are flights scheduled and operations managed?
Where will you fly and for what percentage of the course?
What do their students say about their flight school?
What facilities and fleet do they have?
What is the accommodation situation?