What to expect in aviation?
It’s sure worth the effort!
When presenting their training course offer, each aviation training centre or aeroclub will talk only about the positive aspects of training and leave the negative ones out. What to expect then, apart from the fact that with your first aviation experience you undoubtedly embark on the adventure of your lifetime?
First of all, don’t expect the path to becoming an airline pilot to be easy or quick. Most often, it’s not inexpensive either.
The greatest obstacle on your way to becoming a pilot is money. Aviation is a costly endeavour. Each minute spent in the air will be painful to your (or your parents’) wallet. As a teenager or a college student, you’ll be asking your parents for the money for flights and, most often, you won’t get as much as you wanted. You’ll have no idea where to get it from at an amount that would enable you to cover all your flight training fees, and allow you to get your dream job. You’ll refuse yourself pleasure, new gadgets, vacations or buying a car in order to save some money for more flying hours or a new training course.
Prepare yourself that the stage until completion of PPL training course will be relatively easy and carefree. Then, you’ll face the challenge of finding a way to build hours for CPL. You’ll be frustrated with the lack of perspective for building flight time for free and with the lack of money that would enable you to do it on your own. When you finally overcome what seems at the time the greatest obstacle to becoming a commercial pilot and barely manage to get the required 150 hours, another hellish struggle will begin – airline transport pilot licence (ATPL) exams. At that time, you’ll come to conclusion that problems related to building hours were not that bad compared to studying for exams. Having passed ATPL exams, you’ll feel almost like a commercial pilot. You’ll imagine yourself dressed in the uniform surrounded by beautiful stewardesses in an airplane cockpit. The only thing left to do will be the practical training, that is, CPL flight training, multi-engine piston rating (MEP) and Instrument Rating (IR) training. You’ll start calculating training expenses and it will turn out they cost nearly as much as PPL training and building hours combined.
At various stages of your aviation career you’ll have to pass countless exams. ATPL exams are the hardest, yet there are also many others. You’ll be studying while your friends will have fun time together, you’ll have to reconcile studying time with school and daily chores. It will require much sacrifice on your part, as well as dedication and persistence in pursuing the set goal.
Aviation requires patience but also teaches you to be patient. Aviation is a never-ending wait for all the necessary factors to align in time. You’ll wait for the weather, the instructor, the glider or the airplane. Occasionally, you’ll get at the airport or airfield only to return home without even one flight performed that day. Naturally, it will be particularly frustrating in the beginning. Waiting will be all you can do, yet when you finally get in the sky, the reward will be just stunning.
Oftentimes, you’ll have to get up early to arrive on time for the scheduled training with your instructor while your friends will stay in beds for long hours.
Furthermore, be ready to face the reality of training centres. Even private facilities (not to mention aeroclubs) often operate in a way that is far from commercial standards. On many occasions, you’ll find yourself in a situation where, interested in joining a training course (and with many ahead of you), you get no reply to your e-mails, no one picks up the phone, and when you finally manage to contact someone, they forget to call you back, send you any offer, put you on a training list, and so forth. You’ll be told to call in a couple of days and after that time you’ll find no one has moved on with the case. You’ll get at the airfield or airport to ask for some details concerning the course, schedules, requirements – only to find that no one pays any interest. Aviation is a specific discipline in this regard and I haven’t quite figured why it is so. Nevertheless, don’t get discouraged – just stay consistent, tenacious, and pursue your goals with persistence.
While advancing your aviation career, you’ll encounter such obstacles – and many more. Aviation will require on your part persistence, dedication, stubbornness, and consistence in pursuing your goals. Many will drop out on this hard road, if not for financial or medical reasons, then due to the lack of these traits. Keep in mind that by facing these hardships you fight for your dreams!
Still, aviation is also a unique vibe of the airport life and the people you’ll meet on your way. With a common passion and similar dreams, you’ll share many unforgettable moments permeated with emotions invoked by flying. You’ll see for yourself that the people and the atmosphere that accompany flying are inseparable elements of aviation.