Hi, I am 17 years old and a junior in high school in the United States. I have always had a love for airplanes and I have been considering trying to become a pilot for my career. I know that the training required to get your pilots license is really expensive, but I think I could manage it. My biggest concern is that once I did get my license, where would I go from there? Would I need to get a job at a major airline to start making decent money, and how realistic is it for someone to get a job there? Another question I have is are there any other types of piloting jobs that have a decent salary that would be easy/secure to get a job at? My biggest worry is that once I did get my pilots license, I would not be able to find a job anywhere and get stuck with a job with a really small pay. Any information/advice would be greatly appreciated, thanks.
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Re: Pilot Career Help?
Usually, once you have a private pilot certificate you would go for an instructor rating and work as a flight instructor to build flight time (while making money). Along the way you could also be working on your commercial
Usually, once you have a private pilot certificate you would go for an instructor rating and work as a flight instructor to build flight time (while making money). Along the way you could also be working on your commercial, multi engine, and air transport pilot ratings and certificates. It takes time to get into the airlines, mostly because you need to build flight time and experience. Even when you first break into the airlines the pay is kind of pathetic, but it builds quickly over time.
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The demand for pilots within the next 10 years will be extremely high globally. You are correct, not many train engineer schools out there but as far as difficulty each have their bulk share of responsibilities for safe operation.
The answer is a bit complex. To a degree, what you hear is correct - but it does not quite mean what you might otherwise think it means.
Consider your first job (maybe while in high school), working the drive-thru at McDonalds. It's a honest job, but most folks (especially youngsters) don't intend to do it for the rest of their lives. The expectations are that you will change jobs a number of times (hopefully for better jobs with better pay) before you are finally established in a career. Pilots are in a similar situation.
For many pilot jobs, especially with getting to the airlines, it is all about the hours. Those hours represent both experience (and some hours are better than other - twin engine hours are better than single, and jet is better than piston). But paying for the hours yourself is beyond the reach of most people. So pilots who want a career with the airlines usually have to start at the bottom. They scrape up enough money to get their commercial license and instructor rating, and start instructing - often in a rental plane older than they are, and for so little money that they too are working the drive-thru at McDonalds.
They accumulate enough hours (and contacts) to start helping out with late night freight delivery (called being a freight dog). Maybe get some charter work. Than a full time charter job. Move up from there to a small regional carrier or one of the charter jet companies. Then finally, if they are lucky, to the majors. And yes, this means changing jobs several times.
Now understand, some pilots love instructing and may do that for their entire time. But for most, instructing and hauling freight and the rest are just stepping stones to their "dream job."
Once with a major carrier they typically stay with that carrier if at all possible. Within the carrier, the pay and job quality and other perks are determined to a large degree by seniority. Switch to another carrier and you may lose all that hard earned seniority. [Pilots generally hate mergers and acquisitions, since that may affect their seniority, without them having any choice in the matter.]
So yes, a freshly licensed commercial pilot may indeed change jobs a number of times on the way up - but probably no worse than a lot of other career paths.
There are some speed limits for certain types of airspace. Airliners are always in contact with air traffic control and in order to keep the required separation of aircraft sometimes the controllers will ask the pilot to maintain an airspeed. More than likely you experienced a slowdown while your plane was beginning an approach, During approach controllers have to maintain specific spacing between aircraft and often must slow them down behind slower aircraft. Your plane very likely was slowing down from approx 570 knots to 250 knots or less for the approach.
Many colleges offer flight training. Two that come to mind are UND and University of Cincinnati but there are many others. You might look into that as most airlines want a degree also. Regional airlines pay is garbage but you get raises pretty quickly as your time builds.
Go to your local airport and talk with an instructor. That doesn't cost anything and they'll be happy to answer any of your questions. You can go for a sport pilot license first because it's the quickest cheapest way to get in the air. Then if you "catch the flying bug" you can progress to a private pilot certificate.
Flying becomes a passion if it's what you're meant to do. Once you take that first lesson you will never see an airplane again without yearning to be in that front seat. You should go up for an introductory flight at your local airport and see how it goes. You can get a sport pilot certificate to start if you want. It's cheaper and would meet the needs of most any recreational pilot.