Zero Hours To Fully Qualified Pilot In Less Than Two Years
READ TIME - 10 MINS
In this post, I will talk about my astonishingly fast journey from zero flight hours to being a fully qualified commercial pilot in just over 18 months and how I received my first airline job within 5 minutes of being signed off and qualified.
Let’s get into how I conducted my pilot training and the details around it.
I Have Always Wanted To Be A Commercial Pilot
I’m not sure where it came from, but I have always wanted to be an airline pilot. Since I was old enough to remember, I have always had a passion for aviation.
Unlike some, I didn’t spend my time plane spotting or joining the air cadets etc. Not because there is anything wrong with these things, but mainly because my life and free time were so busy playing sports.
However, I was fascinated with airports and aircraft whenever we went on holiday or travelling. This interest never went away and followed me into my early adulthood.
I would be lying if I said the idea of travelling for a living wasn’t part of the reason I wanted to be a pilot. However, I knew this would only be the case for some airlines.
The well-paid pilot salary also attracted me to this job.
How Old Was I When I Started My Pilot Training?
Once I was old enough to be serious about a career path, I decided that being a pilot was the only career that interested me.
This helped me pick my A-level exams (these are the exams you take in the UK when you are between the ages of 16-18 for my US readers).
I decided to study physics, maths, IT and biology. I knew physics and maths would help me with my pilot training. However, I didn’t pick these A levels to become a pilot. I did, too, have an interest in these topics.
It would be unwise to pick subjects just for pilot training. It’s better to pick subjects where you will achieve higher grades and those you enjoy studying unless your pilot training school/airline scheme requires exact qualifications.
I finished my A levels in the summer of 2013 and then enrolled in my pilot training in January 2014 at 18 years old.
Where Did I Do My Pilot Training?
I studied with CTC Aviation, now known as L3 Academy and enrolled on the Integrated pilot training route.
When I looked at how to become an airline pilot, this course offered me the route I wanted.
They had multiple partner airlines, a great history of placing pilots with employment at the end of their pilot training and ticked all of the boxes when it came to my research in becoming an airline pilot.
For a large amount of money, I was able to train to become a commercial pilot within 18 months and also had the pleasure of living in New Zealand for nine months!
How Did I Find Out How To Become A Pilot?
Research, and lots of it.
Sadly, there was no guide available to me at the time, like the extensive guide I wrote on how to become a pilot.
However, I was lucky enough to have a supportive family who assisted me in my research. The most beneficial recourse we had was open days. We attended many open days throughout the six-month period that we were searching for pilot schools.
During these open days, we gathered a considerable amount of information. The essential information was my flying school’s awe-inspiring pilot placement success rate.
They had placed hundreds of graduated pilots with airlines throughout their history. They also had a lot of commercial airline partners. Both of these facts meant that the chances of employment upon completing my pilot training were very high, which was my priority!
How Long Did It Take Me To Become A Pilot?
I started my pilot training in late January 2014 and was employed by an airline and passengers by January 2016.
This means that in under two years, I was qualified as a commercial pilot, had been offered a job, completed my Type Rating and training and successfully transported passengers as a commercial airline pilot.
Truly incredible, and I’m very lucky that I was in the right place at the right time regarding my employment. I waited just three minutes in the flight schools ‘holding pool’ (where we were put into and then recruited by airlines in a first in, first out process).
How Much Did It Cost To Become A Pilot?
A lot of money is the short answer.
Including the integrated package, the living expenses, my Type Rating and everything else associated with the cost of becoming a pilot, my total was likely to be around £130,000.
I appreciate this is a tremendous amount of money, and many pilots (myself include) will spend their first decade as commercial pilots paying off this enormous cost.
How Difficult Was The Class 1 Medical?
Not very difficult at all.
The Class 1 Medical Certificate was a considerable worry in my mind. I was fit and healthy, as you would expect an 18-year-old to be. However, I was worried that something might come up and ruin my chances of being a pilot.
This wasn’t the case; the medical was just a formality to ensure I was healthy enough to work safely as a pilot.
You won’t be required to run a six-minute mile or need to see well enough to look through walls.