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Home > Becoming a Pilot > Please help! Should I sponsor him to be a pilot?
Please help! Should I sponsor him to be a pilot?
Pilot Career - Becoming a Pilot
Thursday, 01 March 2007 07:31

Dear Captain Lim,

I stumble into your web site accidentally. I think it is very informative and I learnt a lot from it. Actually I need your help on some matters regarding the pilot profession.

I've a brother who is 28 years old and is very keen to be a commercial pilot. He is a member of Singapore Flying Club but I think his flying hours is not that much. He has no background or whatsoever with regards to the aeronautical field. He once tried to apply for the Singapore Airlines cadet-training program but was rejected. He is currently thinking of getting a commercial pilot license at the Malaysian Flying Academy but the fees would cost a bomb!

Honestly, I don't really approve of him making a change in his career. Firstly, the fee of the flying academy is too costly. Secondly, I think it*s not advisable to change to a career that he has no knowledge of except for the little private flying experience that he has. Besides, he's already 28 and by the time he graduates from the flying academy, he would turn 30.

Normally, a person's eyesight starts to degenerate by the age of 40. I believe, even if an airline employs him, they would need to spend some time training him. By the time he finishes his training he would be around 32-33. How many years of service can he provide the airline? Honestly speaking, from the airline point of view, would they employ him and spend so much money and effort to train him? I think not.

In my opinion, most airlines would rather employ military officers who have more flying experience or train their own cadets rather than employ an outsider with little knowledge and flying experience. But he keeps telling me he*s very confident of getting through the test and getting employed by the airline. I*ve difficulties in convincing him that it*s not practical and realistic to change to a totally different job at this time as I*ve no idea of what it is about being a commercial pilot.

I believe he doesn't have a clue but he thinks he knows everything! The only way to solve our dispute is to get someone like you to give us your opinion on this.

Sorry, I know you are not Aunty Agony but I've run out of ideas! To be honest with you, our family really can*t afford to send him to a flying school but he's very adamant about it. He keeps thinking that we are stopping him from realizing his dream (to be a pilot). I mean, if the job openings are readily available when he graduates, I would support him but that's not the case! He keeps insisting that he would definitely get a job after he graduates from a flying school.

Anyway, I hope you can help me to answer the following questions with your professional and honest opinion.

1. Is the license issued by the Malaysian Flying Academy recognized by the airlines?

2. Is he too old to start getting a license and be a pilot?

3. What are his chances of getting employed as a commercial pilot if he does gets his license? (He keeps telling me that SIA would employ him if he gets his license!)

4. Even if he gets employed, will he be a pilot straight away? Or does he need to go through more training?

Thank you.


Hi Evelyn,

I know your concern about spending a lot of money on your brother*s dream of becoming a pilot and uncertain about whether he would get a flying job in the end. Yes, there is no guarantee of getting into SIA even with an ATPL (Airlines Transport Pilots License), as the airlines' selection process appears to be very thorough. Not any Tom, Dick or Harry with an ATPL would be taken in! Every potential pilot employee is screened very stringently. If you don*t fit into their "mould" you're out!

Yes, it is every pilot's dream to fly with a major airline such as SIA but if one is not so particular, there are also other Low Cost Carriers or Companies with Private Business Jets in Singapore that employ pilots. With an ATPL (and Instrument Rating), I believe he would eventually get a flying job if he cannot get into SIA as a first choice.

1. The license (CPL/IR and frozen ATPL) issued by Malaysia Flying Academy is recognized by the airlines.

2. I have written a lot about age and the pilot profession. 
In SIA, and if you are a Singaporean, the age limit is around 26 to 33 (Heard that it has been extended to 34). For Malaysian, the age limit is 19 to 26. So at age 28, if you are Singaporean, it is still not too late to join SIA. Please visit the Singapore Airlines Forum in my site. It has a lot of resources for the aspiring pilots.

3. His chances of getting into SIA are mentioned in the first paragraph above.

4. If he were to be employed by SIA, he would be a pilot with the lowest ranking - a Second Officer and continues to climb up the ladder until he becomes a captain. Throughout the rest of his flying career, he would undergo training if he were to be promoted to a new plane. In fact, it would be a series of training and checks until he retires!


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