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Home > Becoming a Pilot > My parents think flying is dangerous and don't want me to be a pilot…
My parents think flying is dangerous and don't want me to be a pilot…
Pilot Career - Becoming a Pilot
Tuesday, 30 December 2008 13:01

Dear Captain Lim,

First of all, I'd like to congratulate you on your wonderful website with so much valuable information! I am 17 years old and have passionately dreamt of being a pilot since I was about 3 or 4 years old flying onboard Delta’s L-1011 TriStars.

Unfortunately, I face one big obstacle. My parents REALLY don't want me to be a pilot at all. My mother is especially fearful of me flying small airplanes solo during the training process. She feels that I will never make it to flying large airliners (which she feels is also dangerous).

My father says there are many other careers that I can make more money in while at the same time being "safer on the ground.” He wants me to be anything but a pilot. He is a businessman and I have a lot of knowledge on business. I want to major in business finance.

However, a few years after I graduated from the University, I want my main profession to be a pilot. I have no support or encouragement from my parents and it seems as if they will be mad at me.

Yours truly,

Charly


Hi Charly,

Yes, it is true that most well-meaning parents want their children to have a career that is free from any risks if they can help it. Well, looking around, I don’t see any jobs that are absolutely safe in terms of physical harm arising from what they do. (An office worker can still get knocked down whilst crossing the street!)

The myth that the lives of pilots were “short” was probably one that came about after the First and Second World War. This is no longer true as flying has become very safe today.

Let’s look at Forbes.com’s top 5 most dangerous jobs in the U.S below.

1. Fishers and Related Workers
2. Loggers
3. Aircraft Pilots and Flight Engineers
4. Iron and Steel Workers
5. Farmers and Ranchers

"Aircraft pilots" are listed as the 3rd top most dangerous jobs, but that is probably not the real picture as far as "airline pilots" is concerned. You see, this category is (I believe) bundled up with crop-duster pilots, helicopter pilots, test pilots, military pilots, general aviation pilots and many others. In fact, "airline" pilots fly the most modern and safest airplanes that carry millions of passengers around the world today. So you will continue to hear that flying in “commercial” airliners is still one of the safest forms of transportation. (See my article on “How Safe is Flying”)

Now, I will tell you some of the little “worries” of airline pilots. In both Europe and the United States, airline pilots have been considered as radiation workers. Pilots flying high-altitude, high-latitude routes do receive exposures that put them in the top five percent of all radiation workers. However, their exposures are well within the accepted dosage limits and are generally no greater than half of the value which is permissible under the stricter European occupational standards.

To me, I think all jobs come with some risks. I believe an airline pilot job has almost the same risk that is comparable to anyone working on the ground.

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