We have produced a list of common Questions & Answers to help with those that are considering becoming a pilot.
Have you been asking yourself questions like these?
What academic qualifications do I need?
What are the visual requirements to become a pilot?
How much will flight training cost?
You can find all the answers you need below.
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If you want an airline to sponsor you on the course and/or become your employer you will need to convince them that you are worth recruiting, good qualifications, particularly in the maths and sciences, will improve your chances.
There is no minimum educational standard required in order to enroll for a professional pilot training course, but BALPA would recommend undertaking a pilot aptitude test before parting with substantial funds to your chosen flying training organization (FTO).
Distant visual acuity, with or without correction, shall be 6/9 or better in each eye separately and binocular visual acuity shall be 6/6 or better. For an initial examination the refractive error shall not exceed +3 dioptres .
Is not automatically disbarring providing you can pass acceptable colour perception tests (predominately Red/Green perception).
There are no height limits that will affect you qualifying for a civil professional licence. But if you are particularly short or tall, under 5’2” or over 6’3” you would be well advised to clarify how many aircraft you would fit into and be able to reach all the controls comfortably. This would identify whether your height would limit your career prospects in the future.
A typical ATPL course will cost approximately £60,000 which usually does not include the price of accommodation and living expenses. The course lasts for about 18 months and is extremely intensive, requiring a huge amount of effort and willpower to complete. However, many airlines require more than an ATPL before they will let you apply for a job. Quite often pilots find themselves having to buy a “type rating” which qualifies them to fly a particular type of airliner, and this course can cost around £25,000.
Some training schools offer sponsorship schemes where they will provide a loan if you pass their selection criteria. However these programs are highly sought after and getting a place on one of them is likely to be difficult. The alternative is to turn to your parents or raise the money through loans, re-mortgaging and personal savings. Flight training costs a substantial amount of money and unfortunately there is no easy answer as to how to raise the required funds.
It greatly depends on the airline you are working for and the type of aircraft you are flying. A pilot flying for a small regional airline might earn as little as £18,000 per annum. A first officer working for one of the larger European airlines can earn between £38,000 and £48,000. At the extreme end of the scale, experienced captains flying long-haul aircraft can earn as much as £140,000. Salaries tend to increase with each year of service with a company, so even if you are initially paid a low wage, the situation may well change markedly after several years of employment.
BALPA recommends you undertake this well before contracting to pay out for Pilot training. You will then know whether or no you meet the requirements to be able to medically hold a Commercial Pilots licence. The cost of this is around £400 for the initial Class 1 Medical, but it is a good investment if the intention is to spend £60K + on pilot training. [Also see Notes 1 and 3 below under Education/Academic Qualifications].