”Can you tell me how I can become a pilot?” It’s the number one question I get asked multiple times a day. You can find a lot of information on the internet, but the guidelines are not for every individual person. Why is that?
Because we are all in different parts of the world, with different backgrounds and there are very many flight schools worldwide. The best option for one person may not be the best option for another.
Even though you can’t find your perfect answer on the internet rightaway, Google will be your best friend when you start your research process. It all may sound a bit vague, but don’t worry: I will guide you through it. Press on the READ MORE button to see the first 5 steps to consider!
In this first blog post I will give you 5 steps to take into account. In the next blog posts I will go through all of these steps more deeply.
- Have you done enough research? I can’t emphasise enough how important it is to do research online. Google flight schools in your country or region. Compare the price for Integrated ATPL courses or modular courses. All flight schools have to comply with the standards of the local Aviation Authority, so the courses will be similar and the licence you get after finishing the training, will be the same for all schools in the country. What you do need to think about is future employment possibilities. Some flight schools are preferred supplier to certain airlines. This could be very useful, as it is quite difficult to find a job as a pilot straight after finishing flight school (with no airline experience). However, some flight schools ask a lot of extra money because they have relationships with airlines. It depends on your budget, but keep in mind that paying a lot extra does still not guarantee a pilot job.
- Have you visited open days of flight schools? Visit open days or get in contact with flight schools directly. Before signing any contract, visit the flight school and let them show you around. Ask all the questions you have, they will be happy to answer.
- Do you meet all requirements? Many flight schools require a certain entry level (high school equivalent, usually with physics, maths and English). Medical requirements can be quite strict with regards to length, eyes, ears and general health. I would suggest to not start any course before having your medical Class I certificate, because if for some reason you are not given the certificate, you may lose a lot of money for the courses you have already paid and/or attended.
- How is the selection procedure? Most flight schools have a strict selection procedure and only accept the most suitable candidates. The selections usually consist of maths and physics exams, English exams (verbal reasoning), psychological exams, spatial orientation exams (like the ones you do in IQ tests) and a simulator session.
- Can you pay the training cost? Always a very difficult matter, especially for people that have just finished school and want to become a pilot. I was not able to pay the 100,000 euro by myself, neither with help of my family. I therefore went to the bank to get a loan. I was only able to get the loan because there was a department that was specialised in flight training cost. After a lot of paperwork and help from my mother who is financial advisor, I managed to get the loan from the bank. Other people collected the money from family members. It is a huge amount of money, that will be a good investment for the future, BUT you do need to find a way to pay it up front. There are other options, if you can’t pay the full amount, but I will write all about that in another post.
That’s it for now, I wish you the best of luck! In the next weeks I will keep writing blog posts about how to become a pilot. In this way I hope to guide you through your final goal. If you have any questions, feel free to ask them. The path towards becoming a pilot may seem difficult, but believe me: Once you start flying, it will be SO worth all the effort!