Why write this blog?
I have wanted to become a pilot for many years now and throughout those years I have looked all over the place for information on how to do it. I have found some great resources; anything from flight school websites to forums and to blogs. I also spoke to or emailed any pilot who’s details I could get my hands on. I have never seen a blog that details everything from the beginning and so I thought I would make it possible for people to find what I was looking for. I want people to know that anyone with enough determination and effort can achieve their dream of flying for the airlines.
Another reason is the simple fact that I enjoy writing!
Why become an airline pilot?
I know people at both ends of the scale – some would love to pilot a modern passenger jet with two hundred plus people on board and would enjoy the satisfaction of making a successful landing in low visibility. Others squirm at the though of flying never mind being squashed up at the front of a high speed metal tube. They can’t understand why anyone would want to be responsible for a multi-million pound jet not to mention the hundreds of lives in their hands. I’m at the ‘good’ end of the scale. For as long as I can remember I have watched planes come and go from the local airport. On the odd occasion Concorde would visit which was a must see. Every time I hear a plane pass over I can’t help but look and see what it is. I imagine what it’s like to be in that front seat.
I first flew when I was around three but I couldn’t remember that so I had to wait until 2002 when I was fourteen. We went on a family holiday to the USA and of course, had to fly. Standing in the departure lounge I had my nose pressed against the window looking at the planes only a few feet away. I remember thinking how cool it was to be so close. The long wait finally ended and we boarded. My brother and I were in on the right hand side and were right over the wing. The time for takeoff came and I couldn’t believe it! The force was incredible, I watched in amazement as the ground got further and further away. I was fascinated as I watched the flaps on the wing retract and the ailerons move to bank the aircraft. A total of five flights later, we’re back in Manchester after a fantastic holiday. I was hooked. Flight simulator became much more important to me, so did my choices in schooling.
I have always had an interest in technology and more specifically computers. When I realised that flying a commercial jet was a combination of some of the most incredible technology in the world and in fact a very fancy computer, I knew that flying was for me. To make sure of that I did work experience at a couple of local airfields where I was able to fly a few different aircraft to get a real feel for flying – a taste of what it’s like to be in control rather than just enjoying the flight. For more information, see my introduction posts.
How are you funding your training?
This is the one aspect of flight training that won’t be contained in this blog. While it is a very important subject, it isn’t one I wish to cover. There is plenty of information available on flight school websites and on other places on the net.
How long does it take to become a pilot?
The time it takes varies between the different routes you take. There are two main types of course that you can take – integrated and modular. Integrated is a full time, intensive course lasting anywhere from 14-18 months. A modular course is spread out over a longer period and is taken at the students pace. The advantage of a modular course is the reduced cost. I don’t know a whole lot about the modular route because I’ve always been interested in an integrated course. The course I will be taking at Oxford Aviation Academy is about sixteen months. The integrated course at the Pilot Training College in Ireland is about fourteen months. Another route that I haven’t looked into is the RAF.
How many hours have you flown?
I have flown for a total of around five hours (not logged). This has been in variety of different aircraft – some in a Cessna, some in a power glider and some in a regular glider.
I have a question that isn’t listed here.
Please contact me here and I’ll answer your question. If appropriate I’ll add it to this list.