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Home > Becoming a Pilot > Problems of a self-sponsored pilot?
Problems of a self-sponsored pilot?
Pilot Career - Becoming a Pilot
Saturday, 14 July 2007 21:13

Hi Capt Lim,

It*s nice to meet you here. I have read through the FAQ section and found it to be very useful indeed. Thank you very much. I have a problem concerning the ways to build up my flying hours. I hope my content doesn*t duplicate with those that have already been published. I sincerely hope that you could offer me some precious advice and opinion.

I am a 32-year-old Hong Kong Chinese. I acquired my Australian CPL and ME IFR in Jan 2006. I was lucky to have a chance to go for the Cathay*s Cadet selection but unfortunately, I failed to get in after the very last flight grade screening. As I have seen from your FAQ, I reckon that I won*t be having any more chance for their Cadet Pilot Program. Besides, Cathay*s subsidiary Company, Dragonair, doesn*t accept anyone holding CPL or higher to apply for their cadetship. Even though we have couple of new airlines that have just been set up in Hong Kong, they all would only take in experienced jet pilots.

I even tried to apply for the SIA cadet program when they were recruiting candidates from Hong Kong. However, perhaps because of my age ?etc, I didn*t even have an invitation for the first interview. Also, I haven*t been sending application to every airline around the world for their cadetship, as I am not a citizen of any of the countries.

I then started to think of applying to airlines in China - ironically, they said they classified even a Hong Kong pilot as "expatriate" and they haven*t got any information on how to transfer a Hong Kong Chinese holding Aussie CPL to work in China. So for now, they can*t hire me.

Ok let*s try to build up some hours then - unfortunately we don*t have any General Aviation here in Hong Kong, so we have to look for flying jobs (charter, aerial work...etc) overseas. Then here comes my "Catch 22" dilemma, namely, company asking me for working permit but the immigration can only offer one after I am employed! I think it would be easier to start searching for flying jobs in Australia but it seems they won*t sponsor someone from overseas to work for them. Maybe they have got lots of local Aussie CPL to choose from.

Similar scenario arises when I look for flying jobs in the USA ...etc. I only have citizenship/residency in Hong Kong and I am only holding HKSAR passport. How could I get a job to fly in order to build up my hours?

I even thought of going for my instructor rating but I am hesitating doing so due to 2 reasons. Firstly, I still have my bank loan that was borrowed for my CPL course and I need to repay it every month. Secondly, I am wondering, even if I get my instructor rating, I will have the same problem getting a job as an instructor due to my citizenship/ residency problems.

Capt Lim, I don*t mind how tough it is or it will be, I really don*t want to give up and I really love to fly and want to become an airline pilot. (I am not so young now and my vision is not perfect but correctable to 6/6). Could you please give me some advice on how to pave my way to be an airline pilot from now on?

Thank you very much indeed.

Jackson

Hi Jackson,


Yes, this is a problem for a lot of self-sponsored pilots. Many are under the impression that they could get into a major airline just by paying their own way through. Most airlines (notably SIA, Cathay Pacific Airways) would still apply a selection procedure to find their preferred type of candidate for their pilot vacancies. To them, not any Tom, Dick or Harry holding the necessary licenses would be taken in.

Having said that, not all is lost. You have invested a lot of money to achieve the flying skills and the license. There are flying jobs available but you have to work your way up the hard way.

First, you should pursue the flying jobs in China further, especially on the residency/citizen issues as Hong Kong is also part of China. Many airlines there are looking for pilots, more so, those who are generally good in English ? so you have the advantage.

If that fails, then consider an Instructor Rating to build up your flying hours in the Flying Clubs. That will be a good stepping-stone to the General Aviation and then the airlines.

Meanwhile, knock on the doors of every suitable aviation companies and offer your terms and say that you are prepared to start at the very bottom. All you want is to build up your hours and experience.

Since you are so passionate about the flying career I am sure you would soon find your dream job. Never mind if it is not in the best airlines - the important thing is that you want to fly. Don*t worry, China and Hong Kong would soon need you!

All the best to your flying career! :-)

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