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Home > Becoming a Pilot > What are the factors to be considered before deciding to be an airline pilot?
What are the factors to be considered before deciding to be an airline pilot?
Pilot Career - Becoming a Pilot
Tuesday, 08 January 2008 19:17

Dear Capt Lim,

I stumbled upon the Website that you have created and found it to be most informative and interesting. I am really grateful that you have shared so many things that gave me so much insight to being a pilot.

I am actually considering of becoming a commercial pilot. May I know whether you have any specific advice on the factors that I should consider before deciding whether to be a pilot or not? Please share your views. Thanks a lot. Regards, CP Au.

Hi CP Au,

So you are considering whether to become a Commercial Airline Pilot? I do get a lot of questions on this topic. Here are some of my views and ultimately, you will have to decide whether you want to make flying as a career.

Firstly, having flown for quite a number of years as an Airline Pilot, I still find flying very interesting. Basically, to decide on a career, you must be happy with what you do. As for me, I wouldn't be happy doing anything else. It is a career that I find personally satisfying and financially rewarding.

Flying an expensive machine (for example, a new Boeing 777-200 cost around US$160 millions) from one point and landing safely at an oversea destination is a fascination to many people. Your cockpit is your office and you are on the move most of the times. You get to travel a lot and meet many different people from all over the world. You are like a CEO of a large Corporation but you have to shoulder a heavier responsibility for hundred of lives are at stake if you ever make a serious mistake.

Having painted a picture of the slight glamour that comes with the job, I will now give you the other side of the profession. As an International Airline pilot, you would be away from home more than any other career. It can affect your family life and it takes a lot of understanding from your loved ones. You are expected to work during public holidays, at odd hours and fly through many different time zones but you have generous off days,
leave and good fringe benefits. You may also miss attending your closest friend's wedding unless you are given sufficient warning. The job is fairly stressful at times for you are constantly being checked on your flying proficiency and medical fitness every 6 or 12 months.

So this career is not for everyone if you are the homely types or dislike travel. Two of my personal friends who have great passion for flying, decided not to pursue with their medical courses in favor of flying quite a number of years back. Believe me, both of them are flying as Captains today, one on the Boeing 777 with me and the other one on the Airbus 330.

I hope you have some insight on the pros and cons about wanting to be a Commercial Airline pilot now. The decision to be one is all yours!

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