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Home > Becoming a Pilot > Can you advise me if my plan to become a pilot is realistic?
Can you advise me if my plan to become a pilot is realistic?
Pilot Career - Becoming a Pilot
Wednesday, 02 January 2008 20:03

Hi Capt Lim,

I am a 32 year old (married & no kids) Singaporean who is contemplating a career switch to an airline pilot. Currently, I am working as an art / creative director in a graphic design company which I am partnering with 2 friends. The company is doing OK but I find the work getting dull and I don't feel challenged anymore.

I wish to pursue my life-long dream as a pilot and finally, be able to ENJOY & LOVE my work, and where work is no longer a chore.

My plans:

1. End my partnership
2. Get a study loan
3. Fly to RMIT University (Melbourne, AU) and take a course known as "Diploma in Air Transport (Airline Pilot)" - a 1-year course, to attain a Commercial Pilot License plus Instrument Rating (300 flying hours).
4. Get a job in Singapore / region with SIA or similar carriers.

Can you advise me if my plan is realistic?

What are my chances of finding a job?

Is this too big a risk to take on?

I am currently holding a Diploma and a Bachelor degree in Advertising. If I were to be interviewed for an airline pilot job with these credentials plus my newly acquired Diploma in Air Transport (Airline Pilot), how would the interviewer see me? Would my previous "non-technical" education work against me?

I hope you can shed some light with regards to my queries.

Sincerely,

Kevin Wong

Hi Kevin,

I think what you have planned seems realistic. As I have mentioned to many other aspiring pilots who have decided on a career change after working elsewhere, there is no guarantee of a job waiting for you after your graduation. Although you may have a CPL and an Instrument Rating, you still have to go through the interviewing and selection process. One problem faced by those who had previous working experience is their attitude. Airlines somehow takes this very seriously as they feel the newly hired may not mold themselves well into the ways of the new profession. So you got to watch out on this area when you do switch onto your life-long dream.

Getting into a major airlines like SIA may be a little problematic at 32 years if you intend to apply as a cadet pilot but since you are getting a loan on your own, your chances are good if you do well in your flying course. It is a fact that it is quite tough to get into SIA (or Silk Air) even with a license. However, low-cost carriers like ValuAir, Tiger Airways and Jetstar Asia are blossoming in Singapore lately. Your chances of securing a job with them are better. They are basically commuter airlines. Although the salary there is not as good as the major airlines, you have the advantage of usually being at home every night and don't have to worry about time zone changes. You get to fly smaller planes like the Airbus A320 (180-seaters), and if you are lucky, I believe, you could get a chance to fly the bigger wide-body Airbus A330 with Tiger Airways!

Is switching a job at 32 years too big a risk to take on? Well, it depends on how much and how strong you want to pursue your dream. As I have mentioned above, there is not guarantee of an immediate job waiting for you on your return with all the qualifications. However, I believe, it is the persistent pilot who will finally get his dream job - the man who does not give up in his search for one!

If you do well in your Diploma in Air Transport (Airline Pilot), your Bachelor Degree in Advertising would not be a disadvantage. Some carriers may insist on basic Maths and a Science (usually Physics) subject. Others may be quite happy if you have a CPL and IR. You got to check it out in their web sites or make a direct inquiry.

Yes, finding a job as a pilot as one gets older may be quite tough but the successful pilot seems to be the one with the most persistence. Demand for pilots is a very cyclical business with many good and bad times. It appears that we are starting to need more pilots in the Asia-Pacific region now and in a few years ahead.

I wish you all the luck!

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