Dreaming about becoming a pilot? In this article, we will discuss 5 steps to become a successful airline pilot. But before we start let´s talk about one of the biggest barriers of becoming a pilot. For most the biggest initial challenge is financing your training. Becoming a pilot is mostly self-sponsored and a big investment. The cost of training varies between flight schools and can be anything from 60.000 – 130.000 Euro. The reason for the difference in cost is many. However, what you should focus on is choosing the flight school offering best value for money. Ultimately your goal is to secure a job as soon as possible after graduation and with the least amount of debt. This means you shouldn’t necessarily choose the cheapest nor the most expensive flight school. What you should be looking for is a good quality flight school that has a high number of its graduates working for an airline within 6 months. Lastly regarding financing, you should know that unless you can offer the bank any kind of security they will not be able to assist with financing until you have saved about 50% of the cost yourself. When calculating this remember to include all cost and make a budget based on varies scenarios.
Step 1 – Motivation and background
The first thing you need to become a successful pilot is motivation. From initial flight training to retirement you will need to be motivated in order to succeed. Becoming a pilot is demanding and even when you secure a job you will still continue to be checked and tested several times a year. To decide if you have enough motivation you should ask yourself why you want to be a pilot. If this is something you always dreamed about you are probably well motivated. If you can´t answer that question you should maybe consider a different career.
Although becoming a pilot doesn´t officially require any specific education most flight schools and airlines will have some entry requirements. It is generally agreed that you will need a good understanding of mathematics, English, science and preferably a second language.
Step 2 – Pilot aptitude assessment
Being a pilot is demanding and comes with a big responsibility. Before being accepted into a training program you will have to pass a selection test. This will give you some idea of your aptitude and suitability for this career and will highlight any areas of weakness – vital information before you spend money. The test attempts to emulate the process of airline selection.
Keilir Aviation Academy are conducting the assessment in four phases as outlined below:
Phase 1: Online Application
Keilir assessors will review all candidate applications to assess whether you have successfully met the requirements to start the training. All the shortlisted candidates will be announced and proceed to the assessment day.
Phase 2: Assessment Day
Computer-based Psychometric Testing:This test will scrutinize the individual’s mental capabilities and behavioural styles. Psychometric test identifies the extent to which candidate’s personality and cognitive abilities match those required to perform the role of a pilot.
Computer-based Pilot Aptitude Testing: Students have to answer questions within relevant categories to ascertain their basic knowledge.
With the successful completion of two computer-based examinations, students are required to go through a personal interview before the final selection phase.
Phase 3: Personal Interview
A personal interview will be held by a panel of interviewers from Keilir Aviation Academy.
Phase 4: Personality test
As personality of a person can reveal hidden flaws, most of the FTOs will require all the selected candidates to undergo a personality test prior to the enrolment. Keilir Aviation Academy seeks the assistance from psychologists to conduct this test in the most effective manner.
Step 3 – Integrated Training Program
There is several training routes to become a professional pilot. We have described all the routes here.If you want to be a successful pilot the integrated course is the best and quickest way to achieve your goal. The integrated route is an intense and structured training program that is completed within a relatively short period of time. This program is designed to take you from no experience to obtaining a commercial pilot’s license with guidance from experienced instructors from beginning to end.
The integrated training program is generally regarded by airlines as the preferred option and will, in some cases, allow you to apply for a job with a reduced amount of flying hours. In contrast to the modular training route you are required to pass a selection test. This will give both you and the flight school some idea of your suitability before starting the course.
During the integrated course your progress will be closely monitored from the beginning. At the end you will receive a flight school report that can be used as a testimonial of your performance during training. The integrated course will require you to wear a uniform throughout the training program. This plays an important part in helping acquire the attitude and professionalism required by the airlines.
We offer integrated training for students without previous flying experience. You can find more information about our Integrated Professional Pilot Program here.
Step 4 – Job interview preparation
Many often believe that getting a commercial licence is all that is needed to attend a job interview. However, most airlines today have a complex recruitment process consisting of much more than just a simulator test. The interview will also consist of HR questions and possibly group exercises as well as a psychological evaluation. Make sure your flight school offers an interview preparation course that will help you prepare for your first interview. The course will help you prepare a CV and how to answer to the most typical and difficult questions during the interview. Keilir Aviation Academy has tailored this course based on our vast experience with students being employed all over Europe.
Now is a good time to start your pilot training. According to the statistics for the next 10 years, Europe will need 50,000 new pilots to cope with the increasing demand for air travel.
Step 5 – Employment
The hardest part of the process is usually securing your first job. Aviation is a global industry and there is a high likelihood that you will have to accept a job abroad. You should be prepared to relocate, with the possibility of spending many years in a foreign country. One way of preparing is to do your initial flight training abroad showing your potential employer that you are able and willing to relocate. Aviation is a dynamic industry and you should adapt a flexible approach. If you do this your chances of success will significantly increase.