I'm thinking about a change in career and I've always wanted to fly so I was wondering if the cost of training yourself upto ATPL standard is worth the reward? I'm too old at 32 for any of the airlines to take me on and train me so I'd have to do it myself.
Any help appreciated. And any recommendations of training establishments welcome too
Unless you're blessed with a large bank balance, you'll have to put notions of that 749 out of your head for now if want to crack on with this flying lark.
Is the cost worth the reward?
This is subjective, in my view. A lot of guys are born to fly and it turns out to be everything they dream of when they eventually get into the right-hand seat. Many, many others I've come across end up hating the job within a very short time and regret their decision to invest so much money to manage automated machines on the same routes, day in, day out.
Bear in mind that during your toughest years as a junior FO, you'll be earning small money and it'll be a few years before you gain a command and earn a half-decent wage.
Assuming that you have no flight experience, you'll be looking at euro 60K+ to obtain a frozen ATPL. That's before you pay for a type rating. If you're any good, you'll get a job easily enough in the current climate with the likes of Ryanair...where you'll work your ass off flying state-of-the-art kit and get a command within a few years.
Rather than splashing out such a large chunk of dough in one go, I'd suggest getting your PPL first to see whether you'd actually like to go ahead with flying as a career. After that, you can take the ATPL exams and then get stuck into the training modules.
I did try to get into the British Army when I was at Uni (to fly Heli's) and I took all the aptitude tests, passed them all to be told that I'd got one of the highest scores of a civilian but that there were no more spaces for my year of birth
Anyway, I'm going to go ahead with a PPL soon and as you say, see how the ground lies both financially and as far as enjoyment goes.
What's the job market like for a CPL/ATPL(H) ?
Thanks for the reply Termignator
The question of age comes up over and over again. It is possible to qualify and get a job at your age; however there are many places where over 30 for your first job is a no no. I know that at my company they won't take anyone over 30, unofficially of course.
The job market is as buoyant as it will ever get right now. However you would have to visit some of the big schools in the UK and the US and see how many students they pump out every month. The numbers are frightening. As an example, Air Southwest in the UK a small turboprop operator had 8 or so positions for First Officers last year. Within the first five days they had 3,500 applications. The world of JAA licenses has opened up the job market to every person in Europe with a CPL.
To be honest by the time you get your training done, exam fees, living expense over 12-14 months, test fees and the other endless fees your not going to see much change out of 100,000 Euro.
The question you need to ask yourself is do you feel brave enough to spend/borrow that amount of money, a mortage, when there is every possibility that there will be no job for you at the other end.
I was confident enough that I would, but I was 20 when I started and I had an "in" with an operator who I was sure would get me a job. Ok I got the job less then 3 weeks out of training which is better then you could ever hope for and certainly couldn't plan for. I was willing to take the risk and the debt on because I felt I had a good chance of a job and a long career ahead of me.
However even when you get here it isn?t an aviation Nirvana. Terms and conditions are constantly sliding down hill, I think it?s on the point where it?s going to become harder and harder to make it viable to spend this much money to get here. Your also going to be on less money then you would earn working at Tescos for the first couple of years. No way will you keep a mortgage and any other loans going during that time on your salary.Unfortunately you?re also looking at paying for your rating these days, people will argue this one to death, but for no time wannabes it?s the reality unless you get a job with BA but while you?re at it you could try and win the Lotto.
Remember, another 9/11 could wipe all recruitment out for another few years.
As for Helicopters, I hear it costs even more money, there are fewer jobs, and even less pay!
— Cecil Day Lewis
Its not impossible, the owner of PPRuNe was in his thirties when he started for example.
— Cecil Day Lewis
First things first as mrbungle said get a class one medical. I?ve seen people spend a lot of time and money on their training and fail to get a medical.
Be prepared to work very hard, I?m nearing the end of my full time ATPL groundschool and I can tell you it?s hard. A lot of late nights and a lot of stress. If your in a relationship then make sure your wife and kids etc.. know what kind of work your going to need to do. I know a few guys that have gone through some rough patches with their families while trying to do the ATPL?s.
Choose your school carefully. Research the school, visit and talk to current students get a real view of what it?s like. It?s a lot of money so make sure you make the best choice for you.
Best of luck
— Cecil Day Lewis
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