christish From Australia, joined Jun 2013, 18 posts, RR: 0 Posted (6 months 23 hours ago) and read 3479 times:
I am a new member and have looked around in the forums but didn't find a similar post, please bear with me if someone has already made such a post.
I will be 32 in December and I am wondering whether I should consider a career change and aim for Air Transport Certification. I have a strong interest in Aviation and have had some prior experience with light planes and gliders, as well as undertaking a 5 year Aviation Schlorarship through high school. I never got the licences because of medical conditions which are now resolved.
I am looking at undertaking a Polytechnic course for about 1 - 2 years, which includes theory for ATP Exam and Flight Instruction.
So I am really just looking for advice as to whether it would be worth while or am I just going to waste a whole lot of time and money?. All responses would be appreciated, but I would appreciate some local responses too from those in Australia who know the local market.
Eightball From Saudi Arabia, joined Oct 2007, 276 posts, RR: 1 Reply 1, posted (6 months 22 hours ago) and read 3418 times:
Chris, if it's your life-long desire to become an airline pilot, then I say go for it. I'm currently 28 years old and I finished college last year. I'm currently enrolled at a flight school with a goal of obtaining my commercial pilot license by the end of this summer. If all goes well with my career path, I'll hopefully be an airline pilot within two years.
If you would like to become an airline pilot, then check the age requirements in terms of recruitment at the airlines that you are considering to apply at. Good luck!
bluewhale18210 From United States of America, joined Aug 2006, 237 posts, RR: 0 Reply 4, posted (6 months 10 hours ago) and read 2968 times:
I would seriously check the career prospect of airline pilots in Australia if I were you. In the US, if you are not hired by a major airline by a certain age, you may never get there and end your career flying for a regional on RJs. Considering that US airline pilots have a strict seniority system for selecting aircraft type and seats, it is not up to the airlines to upgrade a pilot to captain, it's based on how senior a pilot is compared to other pilots in the system. This make companies unwilling to hire older pilots because by the time it's their turn to upgrade to chain (thus requires a type rating), they will have less useful life than a younger one.
Also if you start late or right after a hiring binge, you may never see that 4th stripe on your shoulder. I heard some pilots talking about JetBlue and how a new pilot entering the system in the next few years can expect to stay a first officer for the entire career because they just hired a bunch.
That being said there is nothing to stop you from start small, gain enough time, and go fly as an ex-pat in the Middle East, China or Africa, places where general aviation is not as popular as the US or Australia and not as many pilots looking for airline jobs. And again, if flying is more important to you than have a home close by,, go for it.
JPS on A300-600RF A319/320 B737-400/800 B757-200F B767-300F CRJ-200/900. Looking to add more.
christish From Australia, joined Jun 2013, 18 posts, RR: 0 Reply 5, posted (5 months 4 weeks 1 day 12 hours ago) and read 2621 times:
Thanks for your replies so far. From what I can see you can keep flying after 60 with annual medicals.
Also good to get that point of view from bluewhale, that's kind of what I was concerned about, I hold a senior position at the moment in my IT job, but would be prepared to sacrifice that to do what I love - however I would want some career progression so that I'm still not a First Office at 60!, haha.
longhauler From Canada, joined Mar 2004, 4542 posts, RR: 36 Reply 6, posted (5 months 4 weeks 1 day 11 hours ago) and read 2602 times:
It depends what you want. If you want to retire as a wide-body Captain, then age is against you. But if you want a great career accepting what your age gives you, then go for it.
My only advice would be to "fast-track" it is much as you can. Mortgage the house and enrol in an aviation school that gives you all you need in a year! There are world class schools in the United States that do just that. Air Canada recently started a cadet program, that puts you in a B1900 in a year, then at AC in 4 years. It costs around $60,000! Are there any similar programs in Australia?
Then armed with your qualifications and a great attitude, go job hunting!
Never gonna grow up, never gonna slow down .... Barefoot Blue Jean Night
iMissPiedmont From United States of America, joined May 2001, 6243 posts, RR: 36 Reply 8, posted (5 months 4 weeks 1 day 10 hours ago) and read 2515 times:
I laugh when I hear, or read, people state they are too old at such a young age. True, you may be a bit far along chronologically to end your career as an A380 captain but who would want that anyway. That would be like taking a road trip on an interstate. Do want your heart desires or soon you will be too old.
Is grammar no longer taught is schools? Saying "me and her" or some such implies illiteracy.
RyanairGuru From Australia, joined Oct 2006, 4043 posts, RR: 2 Reply 10, posted (5 months 4 weeks 23 hours ago) and read 2210 times:
Quoting longhauler (Reply 6): Air Canada recently started a cadet program, that puts you in a B1900 in a year, then at AC in 4 years. It costs around $60,000! Are there any similar programs in Australia?
Virgin Australia, Rex, and Jetstar all offer cadetships
I'm sure that Chris is familiar with these, but I will list them anyway:
Ask what it is that you want to be at the age of 60, and how flexible you are to achieve that. I see that you're in Perth, would you like to stay there due to friends/family/lifestyle? If so then consider whether you would be happy flying Fokkers for Skywest. If the answer's yes, then that's great!
If you want to be flying A380s to every corner of the globe then you will have to be prepared to move to Dubai or Doha. You could quite conceivably get a great flying job in the Middle East that would see you retire on the heavy metal with a tidy pile of cash, but would you be prepared to make that move?
If the answer is no "I don't want to fly regionals" and no "I don't want to leave Perth/Australia, then maybe this isn't the best career choice?
Of course, your best option is a cadetship with VA or JQ (or QF if they start again) as that gives you a direct line to mainline flying, and even if you max out on the 737/32S, you should have had a good career.
christish From Australia, joined Jun 2013, 18 posts, RR: 0 Reply 11, posted (5 months 4 weeks 13 hours ago) and read 2049 times:
Thanks for the great post, I did take a quick look at the Cadetships but initially wrote them off due to not doing the maths and science in Year 12, even though I did do it in Year 11. I was looking at doing a Polytechnics course based at Jandakot Airport which basically arrives at the theory for ATP BUT the difference is at least a cadetship guarantees you a job, whereas the Polytechnics course does not.
The other thing is that the polytechnics is local whereas the Cadetship is interstate and I am away for a whole year.
Long term career goals - yes definetly jets and ultimately Heavy Metal would be awesome, however something in between such as the 737 would keep me happy. I have had a career in the navy so I am used to moving around and quite happy to move around Australia. Overseas I would consider although it becomes harder because I ahve young children, so there is schooling etc. to consider.
A few people have mentioned Middle East to advance, is this because they are not as saturated with pilots as Western Countries??
I guess the other concern is initial money as a FO, wherever it is - from what I have seen on the award wages etc, it doesn't look to be too bad. It seems there are also a lot of penalty rates.
Thanks again for these great replies, i'm definetly considering to be achievable now then what I was before.
Fair enough, looking again I can't see an explicit pre-requisite statement for the Rex one, but I understand what you mean about moving interstate for a long period of time.
I'm sure that someone else should be able to say more, but I don't believe that you would have too much trouble finding employment if you studied privately. While you might have to tread water for a few years before moving up to 737s or A320s at QF, VA or JQ, the likes of Alliance, Skywest, even Qantas Link are growing very rapidly at the moment on the back of the resources market. While the mining sector has cooled slightly in the recent months, hopefully it'll be back to full strength by the time that you're looking to enter the workforce!
Quoting christish (Reply 11): I guess the other concern is initial money as a FO, wherever it is - from what I have seen on the award wages etc, it doesn't look to be too bad. It seems there are also a lot of penalty rates.
In comparison to the USA, even entry pay is pretty good here!
Quoting christish (Reply 11): A few people have mentioned Middle East to advance, is this because they are not as saturated with pilots as Western Countries
The likes of Emirates, Etihad and Qatar are very fast growing airlines. EK have 120 A380s on order, and will need people to fly them There is only a relatively small pool of "local" workers, and the airlines hire a lot of expat crews (both flight deck and cabin). You don't need to have a visa etc when you apply, that's all sorted.
In comparison, in Australia VA don't have any more 77Ws on order and (IIRC) no more A330s after October. QF is quite possibly anyone's guess, there will be 787s coming to mainline but when and it what numbers is not clear at the moment. JQ don't look like they will grow much longhaul, they are only taking delivery of the same number of 787s as they have A330s which means that the fleet number will remain static.
You mention the navy, I have a friend whose father is a JQ A330 pilot who - I think left the navy in 2008 at the age of 48, so I guess you're young in comparison!
AirPacific747 From Denmark, joined May 2008, 2191 posts, RR: 22 Reply 13, posted (5 months 4 weeks 9 hours ago) and read 1873 times:
It's a bit of a gamble if you choose try out an aviation career. Just be prepared for being unemployed for several years because it is may happen. I am talking from personal experience. Finally after gambling even more I invested in an A320 type rating without any job. It paid off but it wasn't a very easy start. Even with a type rating you are far from being guaranteed a job. Many pilots go one step further and join a pay-2-fly scheme in Indonesia or somewhere else but I am strongly opposed to that. And before you know it, you've spent 120.000+ EUR before you have your first job. Just trying to prepare you for the realities which I wasn't. I don't regret my decision to become a pilot anymore, but a few times you really have to fight with personal and financial issues.
And as others have said; be prepared to spend a great deal of your future life abroad.
christish From Australia, joined Jun 2013, 18 posts, RR: 0 Reply 14, posted (5 months 3 weeks 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 1691 times:
Starting to put all the pieces together now:
I think I need to do a bridging course to satisfy the pre reqs for Math and Science (Currently Looking, I believe Oxford have some sort of material..awaiting a response from them)
Then a Medical to ensure I am all good to go before applying for the Cadetship. I think I will apply for the Jetstar one to begin with:
1. The training is in Melbourne, my wife and I have lived on the Mornington Peninsula before and quite enjoyed it (Navy).
2. Under the cadetship and with Fee-Help most of the costs are covered
3. You come out with A320 type rating
4. Guaranteed Job at the end
Rex doesn't list the prerequisite for Math and Science, but it's in Wagga Wagga (midle of nowhere) and I feel jetstar probably gives me a better foot in the door. As well as living somewhere decent.
Virgin is also worthwhile looking at and I come out on the ATR-72 and I would guess I would have to do a further type rating to jets when the time came.
Is there any issue with applying to multiple cadetship programs?
Quoting AirPacific747 (Reply 13): It's a bit of a gamble if you choose try out an aviation career. Just be prepared for being unemployed for several years because it is may happen. I am talking from personal experience. Finally after gambling even more I invested in an A320 type rating without any job. It paid off but it wasn't a very easy start.
Hopefulyl it's so much of a gamble with a cadetship, which is why I am leaning more that way now instead of the polytechnics course. Also as per your message - the A320 type rating finally paid of for you. The jetstar program allows me to come out already type rated on the A320 which seems like the wya to go.
hahaha, so true. I hadn't realise where it was. I'm in Canberra, and Wagga sounds a bit slow even in comparison to here
Also, as you say, getting on with one of the majors would be better if you can get it. With Rex you are stuck on Saabs until your "bond" is expired, and even then would have to wait for one of the larger carriers to start hiring.
Quoting christish (Reply 14): I feel jetstar probably gives me a better foot in the door
Definitely, it's straight to A320s. Also (and this is just one person's opinion, and not one I necessarily agree with) my friend's dad thinks he has better job security at JQ than he would at QF. While the pay is slightly less at JQ, he reckons that QF is a much bigger gamble about what they could look like in a decade, and therefore thinks the smaller salary is worth it for a long term job. I don't subscribe to the view that QF is going to go bust or whatever, but I do understand what he means.
AirPacific747 From Denmark, joined May 2008, 2191 posts, RR: 22 Reply 18, posted (5 months 3 weeks 6 days 16 hours ago) and read 1574 times:
Quoting christish (Reply 14): Hopefulyl it's so much of a gamble with a cadetship, which is why I am leaning more that way now instead of the polytechnics course. Also as per your message - the A320 type rating finally paid of for you. The jetstar program allows me to come out already type rated on the A320 which seems like the wya to go.
It paid off for me because I had a connection. I still know a few people with a rating and no job. Connections are very important, at least as a backup.
LuftyMatt From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2009, 406 posts, RR: 0 Reply 19, posted (5 months 3 weeks 6 days 16 hours ago) and read 1525 times:
No way are you too old, your only 32! In some airlines/operators eyes, better than hiring a 19/ 20 year old kid. When I worked as dispatch at Manchester, I used to see Guys that had started their training in their early forties, one had even been early 50's! His first job had been First Officer with Excel Airways on the 737-800. Ok he probably wasn't going to make Captain but he wasn't much interested in that anyway. I have a friend that started in their mid 30's, he's now a first officer with QR on the A320/21 fleet and loves it!
Basically my philosophy is, if you never try then it will always eat away at you. If you try and fail (which in your case sounds unlikely anyway) then at least you have the satisfaction of knowing that you did your best going for it.
As has been pointed out on here already, contacts are important when applying for a job and it's up to you to make them. Airlines aren't so interested in what you know, more can they see themselves getting on with you on a 3 + hour flight.
I started my training at 30, I only finished in March and am waiting for a job, although there's not much out there in the way of work, I have had interest from some airlines. In fact most I applied to have given me a response and have been quite positive about my application, but state that they are not taking on currently. So now is an ideal time for you to train as when you finish, the industry will be picking up again
It's one of those things, if you are determined enough you will succeed.
christish From Australia, joined Jun 2013, 18 posts, RR: 0 Reply 20, posted (5 months 3 weeks 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 1269 times:
Ok, so I heard back from Oxford (The guys running the Jetstar Cadetship), and guess what as a Mature Age student application no Maths, Science results are required. All I need is a Passport and a Resume and probably a medical etc.
So that sounds pretty cool, I will also check out the Virgin Cadetship to see if the same applies for them.
I did read on the CASA website that maths, Science is not a requirement, but rather the Airlines require it, so that they know you can perform calculations, have spatial awareness etc.