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New website helps potential pilots navigate career pitfalls

A website that aims to help aspiring pilots make an informed decision about a career on the flight deck is being launched today.

The European Cockpit Association has developed a site that not only gives advice on routes to a piloting job but also points out some of the hurdles a trainee has to negotiate on route to their dream job.

The new website will help aspiring pilots and their families make informed decisions about career options.

The British Airline Pilots’ Association says the path to becoming an airline pilot in Europe has changed dramatically in the past twenty years and young hopefuls now have to consider taking on substantial debt if they want to chase their dream.

While in the past the financial burden fell to the airlines, it’s now up to the trainee to find up to £100,000 to pay for their training, often with no job guaranteed at the end.

The European Cockpit Association (ECA), representing pilots in Europe, set up the website as a tool to help aspiring pilots and their families assess the training and career options, and the everyday reality of being a pilot today.

“Parents are often the ones who pay the bill”, says ECA President Dirk Polloczek. “Mortgage on the family house is a very common way to finance pilot training. This is why we think it is important for parents to know what they will get in return on their investment. At the same time, they could help the next generation of pilots with choosing a good flight school, creating a plan B and managing expectations about the career”.

Head of Membership and Career Services at BALPA said:

“Nowadays people who want to train as a pilot have to make a huge investment in their future. We don’t want to put people off from fulfilling their dreams, but we want to make sure they know the difficulties there can be in getting there and offer them support along the journey.

“BALPA launched the pilot nextGen Programme to do just that. It aims to protect the profession by reaching down to new entrants, giving them a voice and offering them support while they work towards qualifications and a job. We welcome this new website as another valuable resource that will help potential pilots navigate the pitfalls of entering the career.”