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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

A "pilot want to be" queries.

This picture was taken over 27 years ago trying to build that valuable time. Getting one hour by taking people up sight seeing was huge. Funny, when I flew internationally I would amass 16 hours in one flight.

Received this email last night from a young man bitten by the aviation bug.


I'm a first year Biomed Mech Eng Student. There is nothing in my mind except being a pilot, I'm really confused if it's a good decision. So I want to ask you the following questions.

How long does it take on average to get promoted form a first officer to a captain?

That question is not as easy as it sounds to answer. At Air Canada we had Embraer first officers go captain in less than a year (pre-recession). At Westjet I’m hearing it will now take several years. When I flew for Air Atlantic I was first officer for six years on the Dash-8 and only came close to getting promoted. When I went to Air Nova, I was promoted in six months on the Dash. In North America promotions are based on seniority. If you are number 2000, you won’t get promoted until number 1999 decides what they want.

How is being a pilot?

Being a pilot is the best job there is. I know it’s where I want to be.

When do get to fly internationally?

Again, the answer comes with stipulations. My first job with Air Canada was flying as a cruise (relief) pilot meaning I started flying internationally immediately. For some airlines you would never fly internationally because of their route structure.

How long doest it take to switch from propeller planes to jets?

First time I saw jet engines was on the Airbus 340 starting as a cruise pilot. About ten years after flying props. When things are moving fast in the industry the time will be much less. I already experienced two other recessions.

Is there any way you can directly start on a jet?

Yes. See above starting as a cruise pilot.

Are you an ALPA member, if so how did you become one?

At Air Canada we have our own unique union, ACPA (Air Canada Pilot Association).

Do you think I'm making a good decision by becoming a pilot?

Sounds like you have been bitten by the aviation bug. You won’t know until you try.

Doest it start to become boring after a while?

Every day I still love going to work.

What flight schools do you recommend?

Let me know where you live, U.S or Canada and I can narrow it down.

I know I'm asking you lots of questions but I'm really confused and this is effecting my studies and I think that by you answering my question you would be of a great help to me and it will effect me taking my decision.

Sir, I still believe if there ever was a time to be a pilot, the time is now. Start training now so you will be ready when the hiring boom hits again.