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Decision Time for Career Pilots

To be a career pilot, you need at least a commercial pilot’s license. Shortly before, or soon after you leave 43 Air School you will have to make some critical decisions regarding your future career.The available options are often as confusing as they are potentially expensive, especially if you really plan to pursue a flying career as your first choice! One can assume you must have had this in mind given all the hard work you have put into obtaining your license.

You will earn your license by passing the commercial pilot ground school and logging approximately 200 flight hours. The flight hours comprise the mastering of skills and application of knowledge in specified manoeuvres to prepare you for the final flight with a Designated Flight Examiner who, if all goes well, will find you competent to be issued with a commercial pilot's license. In addition , a commercial pilot must be medically fit, have an instrument rating and preferably, a multi-engine rating. The latter is needed to fly aircraft with multiple engines (as are most of the aircraft in commercial use) and you will need to have some lessons on a twin-engined aircraft and pass the check-ride. 

At some point, most prospective airline pilots also obtain an Airline Transport Pilot License. This is the ultimate pilot license in that it allows you to be the pilot in command (the captain) of a large commercial aircraft and with that, earn the respect that makes this job one of the best in the world! After all, this job affords you with a good income, the opportunity to travel the world and a view from an office that simply can’t be beaten!

The requirements for an ATPL are that you successfully complete a written test, have a first-class medical certificate, you are a high school graduate and you have logged 1,500 flight hours including 250 hours as the pilot in command. So now what?

One big issue for most Pilots is that in order to be eligible for employment you need flight experience. Your level of experience is based on the types and complexity of aircraft you have flown, the quantity and complexity of the flying you did (jet or propeller, day or night, local or cross-country, flying with visibility or flying using only instruments, etc.) and which crew positions you've held. Briefly, in the late 1960s, some airlines hired people without licenses or flight time and trained them up from ground-zero. This was an unusual practice, and it is unlikely to be implemented again. However, there is something known as the MPL program and it is being seriously debated. Airlines are having to hire more and better trained pilots as the realities of supply and demand impacts future growth. 

Today, it is virtually unheard of that a major airline would hire a pilot with a freshly minted commercial pilot's license (only 250 flight hours). However this is likely to change soon. Why ? Simply because of economic realities of the transport industry.

Most successful pilot applicants at major airlines have thousands of flight hours. Secondary airlines (regional or commuter) may have lower requirements. Pilot unions don’t want younger pilots in the cockpit as they are likely to be prepared to fly for less. Surely then, they need to be more experienced is what they argue. So branding them as not sufficiently experienced has worked for a while, but technology and better training will change all this. 

Believe me, I am not saying experience doesn't count, but in training we trust… “Appropriate Training” and “Experience” will always beat Slap-Dash “Experience”, as any experienced flight safety officer can attest.

As in most things in life “Timing” is everything. You could be the world's most qualified pilot, but if there are no openings for pilots when you enter the job market, a good job will be very hard to find. It's that simple.Unfortunately, timing is something over which we have almost no control. There are no guarantees in the aviation industry. You won't know how your career went until you retire and can look back. Boom-to-bust cycles in the economy are magnified in the aviation industry. 

Bankruptcy, furloughs, airline shutdowns and consolidation have been a big part of the business for years. It can be, and has been for many professional pilots, a rough career ride with many different employers and lots of changes in jobs, towns and seniority. A wise airline instructor once told the class, "The future in aviation is the next 30 seconds -- long-term planning is an hour and a half." These are the truest words about the business ever spoken. 

But soon all that might change……- why you ask?

Technology and Economics. These two factors will change the face of the airline career path , purely because of economic issues and advances in technology and very significantly, the reduced cost and time of gaining appropriate experience.Nothing changes paradigms and cracks the established resistance to change as effectively as technology - ask countless others how they experienced it many moons ago.

I can already hear old airline guys say…”Bull!!!! Experience is everything and that takes years”. True, but what if technology saves you time in getting the required experience - just as it does in many other practices that technology changed before? And when you define experience, be very careful to not define it as purely time spent in a cockpit……Appropriate training in a cockpit(the simulator type) can count for a lot.
Today a mouse does in a few minutes what a horse could do in a week! Why ? again technology and training.Introduce the game changing technology available today into evidenced based flight training and observe the impact on the options and economies of scale. The traditional pilot will spend anything from 4-9 years in the charter flying wilderness earning this experience that supposedly prepares him for an airline and most of them will still come out at the end of this with minimal readiness for an airline career. 

ICAO specifies 32 Hr for an airliner type rating, most airlines do around 60-70 and then have a minimum entry requirement above 1000hr and they fly many sectors with the pilots before they are operationally qualified, why?

The bad habits embedded by marginal operations (most young professional pilots find that “get the job done, we will worry about training later ) is what a vast number of operators do.So let’s say you do go this route – you will be very lucky to end up with a top notch operator! Many challenges will come across your flight path that are unlikely to build the specific experience which features currently as a major factor in airline selection considerations.

But now a first at 43, the “Airline Pilot Preparation APP” course is about to effect a change for any serious Airline Career pilot. We have invested in the latest technology ,state of the art facilities and we will give you the best chance at successful airline selection which is guaranteed to make an impact in your all-important airline interview,your employability,your confidence as a young inexperienced Pilot and your pilot life realities.

Here is why it makes sense on an airline career checklist for success…….!!!

Examine the economic benefit to you……..if an Airline Type Ready qualification gets you into an airline one year earlier than the traditional route we believe the investment will already have paid for itself. What if it gets you in a few years earlier?By becoming a Captain a year earlier in your career it will repay your investment twice over in brute take home salary. In my book that makes sense, does it not?

Does it makes sense for the airline? - we believe it does!

You will be better prepared than current “experienced crew members“ that arrive at the airline, you will be younger (thus the airline can employ you for a longer period and, most importantly, the airline can retain you longer.Why is this? Because, if you are a Captain at a younger age you are less likely to leave the airline. Airlines sustain the highest losses of crew amongst frustrated First Officers leaving for Captain’s positions in competing airlines.

Now that the economic argument has been made what else needs to be considered?

It will prepare you, at the required level for the airline position in around 3.5 months. This is more cost effective than any other experience you can gain out there in the real world. The type of experience you will gain is evidenced based and delivered by experts in this field.You don’t need 100% for flight planning to realize that this could be the best investment in your career!

At 43, we believe this concept of training is the future of airline training; not because we say so, but because economic realities will dictate this. Many South African pilots complain that there are not many jobs out there. We agree, especially not for experience building in this country. If you are prepared to go into the world, qualify yourself as best you can and make yourself marketable, there is a place in some airline cockpit for you somewhere in the world. The many South African pilots that fly globally for many airlines are proof of this.
If you want to give your career the best (legal) steroid on the market contact info@43airschool.com or visit our website.

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