While I was growing up I heard a lot of my friends and myself as well saying that I want to be a pilot.
Seeing the planes flying by and that first air show, first flight on a plane, makes you think of the lifestyle and adventurous lifestyle and an opportunity to travel the world. As a free spirit I was also inclined to go to new places, I was hooked by the idea of flying and regardless to mention the uniform.
Ever wonder how the guys made it to that captain seat. So if you are having similar thoughts and pondering over the idea of being one, than take some time to go through this article as from a personal experience I will help you guide your way to your first take off.
Doesn’t matter is you just want to fly for a hobby or for a cooperate company or for an airline there are few basics which remain the same for all beginners. It gets complicated when you wanna fly a 777.
The first and the foremost thing for a someone who wants to fly commercially is that one must think of himself or herself being in that position. One needs to have a right mind set because it is not all glorious as it seems. Pilots often end up spending a lot of time away from family and friends which can be hard on few. It is hard work from day one, it’s all or nothing. Certainly not for weak hearted people. You start from right bottom and it takes time rather years before you get to a position where you can start paying of your debts which you have accumulated while being in sky. Oh yes you read it right DEBT’S.
THE 2ND most important thing is the cost involved. Aviation is a very expensive hobby. One needs to set the priorities right from day one of no fooling around and working towards the end goal. If your parents are willing to sponsor you that’s great, but after a while it gets too much for them as well if they don’t see results. Second option is to take loans from the bank for which you might have to take up part time job to pay back, till you start getting paid for your services. Or you can have regular job and fly on the weekends which will take you for ever. This is a key factor which puts a lot of people away from flying because they simply can’t afford it.
Finding the right place. You can’t just walk into a flight school and start your training. A flight school plays a very important role in the grand scheme of events. The infrastructure at the flight school should be good. Social interactions with the students in the school, organising safety meets, or students meeting, going out to air shows, what is the latest in aviation, all this helps one remain focused towards the end goal and it’s the experience which counts. Also with a lot of schools going bankrupt make sure to see some accounts to make sure that they will not run away after taking your money.
Networking is a very important thing in aviation. You will find yourself hanging out at the airport most of the time of your day making new friends, people who are already flying for big companies, listening to their stories. The saying which goes around, it’s not what you know, it’s whom you know in aviation is true. When you talk to your new pilot buddies, tell them about your progress and make sure they find you always motivated and passionate about what you are doing. Coz when the job comes in, even for a flight dispatcher or handling papers in the office, you will be the first one to get notified and trust me, you better take that job because that will open a whole lot of other opportunities. Next thing you know if you are being sent to do a rating on an aircraft.
Having the right attitude towards your job is very important. It helps being a fun loving person, and not the kind of a guy who keeps on complaining about his job every time he has to report for duty on a short notice due to some emergencies, which happens a lot especially when you are flying charters or med evacuations. Try to be the one which has a smile on his face every time you greet your boss or the passengers. It might be appropriate to mention here that one needs to understand his or her thing. When I say that I mean would you like to work for airlines flying the same route for 6 months and have a much stable income or perhaps you would like to work for co-operate companies on contract or bush flying in Africa. It’s a very hard decision to make but it pays of if you make it early as possible or else the factor of WHAT IF will haunt you for ever.
I am not an expert in marriage counselling and for that fact I am not even going to comment on what kind of gf or wife you must have. It might be nice to have someone loving and understands the reason for you not being at home most of the time, but that said only thing I can say regarding this is GOOD LUCK PAL.
One last thing I would like to say is that, there will be times of struggle and moments where you feel you can’t do it or you can’t handle it anymore. Don’t feel bad and just cross another hurdle with a smiling face till you reach your goal. A lot of people get frustrated and back out, that’s not a good approach as you will end up miserable when you see your friend from the flight school making it large.
All the very best. Happy landings.