Important Milestones in a Pilot’s Life
Steven Daun: The beginning of a pilot’s life is to meet the burning desire to fly. Next is preparation and getting your Private Pilot Certificate. The international pilot population is about 6,000, Daun says. The motivations behind some of these milestones can be told best in the poem “High Flight” by John Gillespie Magee. This poem ‘High Flight’ was written by Magee and is best known for: “slip the surly bonds of earth and danced by laughter the skies with slivers of wing; Sunward I have.
It All Starts with Desire
That first inner prompting that tells you that part of your destiny is to fly an airplane might just come when you watch airplanes take off and you can only think, “It would be so cool if I could do that.” Sometimes we talk ourselves out of going for that dream thinking that only Air Force pilots or people who are on the path to fly jumbo jets can get a pilot’s license. But really anybody can do it, even you!
It might surprise you to learn that tens of thousands of people start out on the path to get a pilot’s license each year and most of them do it not to become a professional pilot but just to pursue the dream. But it really all starts with that desire and that inner urging to at least try it. Once you get a pilot’s license, there are a lot of practical ways you can put your love of flying to use. Salespeople use it to get to more customers. Being able to fly your own airplane also opens up new ways to go see friends and loved ones. But even if you just want to fly for the sheer fun of it, it’s still worth your while to look into how to get your pilot’s license.
All you have to do to start your path toward becoming a pilot is head out to the airport where there are hundreds of people who know the ropes of the airline industry. But for better results, don’t go to the biggest airport in the region. In almost any major or medium-sized city, there are small local airports that provide service to private pilots, business aircraft, helicopters, and other specialized flying needs. It is there you find the true flying enthusiasts and it is there that you will find flying instructors mixing with mechanics and other airline industry professionals in a relatively relaxed setting.
The first milestone of your search is to meet a few flying instructors who can give you specifics on how to find out if you really have that inner drive to become a pilot. These small regional airports are often the homes of a number of flight schools that are always looking for customers and you can often find an instructor with an hour to kill who will give you a tour and help you get a basic understanding of the process you should plan to go through to get your pilot’s license.
Once you make contact with a mentor who can guide you in how to go forward with your flight training, he will get to know you and your goals. Many flight schools have the flexibility to design a program around what you want to do with your pilot’s license. There are several levels of pilot certification so you don’t necessarily have to aim for the highest and most expensive license which would make you able to fly for American Airlines. If you just want to take some short flights around for fun, a sports or recreational license is a perfect fit for you and the flight school can get you there efficiently.
Even on that first interview with your instructor and the school, you may get offered a chance to go up in one of the school’s planes and even to sit in the pilot’s seat. These aircraft are designed so the instructor can control the plane from his seat too so you can hold the controls and put your feet on the pedals that control acceleration and lift and as they move in reaction to the instructor’s movements, it will feel like you are flying that plane.
If that first experience permanently hooks you and confirms in your heart that flying an airplane yourself is a must-do priority, then you are on your way to getting your pilot’s license. You can get started the next time the school has a class scheduled and step by step move through the process of getting that license and becoming a pilot. Just take it on as an adventure, even a lark because even if sometimes along the way, you change your mind, you can always come back later and pick up where you left off.
What are the Types of Pilot Certificates?
Career Pilot: It takes a pilot’s license, desire, and determination.
In the 1920s, when women got the vote, there were an estimated 80,000 pilots, 1,000 of them women. Now there are about 5,000.
“In the 1950s, when women got jobs, there were an estimated 80,000 pilots, 1,000 of them women. Now there are about 5,000,” said Peggy Henderson, executive director of Women in Aviation International, or WAI.
“In the 1960s, when women got credit cards, there were an estimated 80,000 pilots, 1,000 of them women. Now there are about 5,000.”
Women today account for 11 percent of the cockpit or less than 20,000 pilots. Yet the airlines, which hire pilots, are “still predominantly male,” said Henderson.
Career Pilot: It takes a pilot’s license, desire, and determination.
“The industry keeps saying ‘in the pipeline.’ . . . It’s just not there,” she said. “The pipeline is broken.”
A pilot’s license is a license to gamble.
In 1987, David Fialkow, a pilot, took a job at Aérospatiale, a French aerospace company. His job was to fly test pilots, but he’d already logged thousands of hours flying fighter jets. As an engineer, he didn’t think his military background would count for much in his new role. But he learned to fly the Aérospatiale’s Dauphin, a complicated two-seater single-engine plane. Then the company sent him to California, where he could fly a Cessna 172. Finally, he was assigned to fly the Aérospatiale’s Super Frelon, a two-person single-engine plane. It was long, narrow, and sleek, with a slightly tilted canopy, which the pilot could not see out of. It was difficult to fly, and it wasn’t just because of the plane’s shape. The Super Frelon’s engine was in the front, so the two-seater had to fly nose-up if both pilots were in the front seat, nose-down if they each had an individual seat, or nose-forward if both pilots were in the back.
Types Of Pilot Licenses
Working with an independent certified flight
The best way to learn to fly an airplane is to work with an independent, certified flight instructor. (In modern aviation, the term “certified flight instructor” covers a lot of ground, but the in-class definition is “someone who has passed a test showing that he or she has the knowledge and skills to be an effective instructor.”)
The FAA requires flight instructors to keep a record of every lesson they give, and students must sign a release form that allows instructors to share their data with the FAA. This data includes information about student performance, and, in some cases, information about student attitudes.
The FAA also publishes statistics on the amount of money flight instructors make, broken down by region. Because instructors are self-employed, they vary widely in how much they make. But flight instructors in the Southeast tend to make more than those on the West Coast or in other parts of the country.
One reason for this (and not just for flight instructors) is that some regions are more expensive than others to live in. The cost of living is higher in the South, where housing is more expensive and the weather is worse. Incomes tend to be higher in the South too, because of differences in the cost of living and differences in the demand for specific skill sets.
For example, if you study engineering, you may prefer to go to school in the Northeast. The East Coast has a higher density of engineering employers. And, in the Northeast, the cost of living for engineers tends to be higher than the cost of living for engineers in other regions.
How can I save money on flight training?
Major airlines have strict training programs for their pilots. A lot of these are mandated by regulation, but some of them are done voluntarily. For example, most large airlines want their pilots to have commercial licenses. That requires hundreds of hours of flight time and at least a couple of thousand hours of ground school.
This costs a lot of money. You can fly for an airline for as little as $1,000 a month or as much as $30,000. So it is not surprising that some pilots try to reduce their training costs.
The easiest way is to fly for a smaller airline. This is because it takes longer to get your license at a smaller airline. So instead of having to do 500 hours in 500 days, you have to do 600 hours in 600 days. A big advantage of flying for a big airline is that you don’t have to pass an instrument rating test — that is, the part of your license that allows you to fly in bad weather. And big airlines tend to only fly their jets in good weather.
Another way is to fly for an airline that does not train its pilots. These airlines will often buy their planes from manufacturers like Boeing or Airbus, rather than buying planes new. So they will already have 10,000 hours of flight time on them, and they will be able to use that for pilot training.
The third way is to cut your training costs by flying for an airline that isn’t as strict about training. That means flying for a regional airline, like SkyWest or Horizon Air. Regional airlines follow regulations; their pilots are trained. But they are less strict about training than the big airlines. So a regional airline might cut your training costs by allowing you to fly in bad weather, and it might let you
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