Ten years being a pilot: Pros and cons of a dream job

Ten years being a pilot: Pros and cons of a dream job
25/03/2018 pilotpatrick
pilot pros and cons of a dream job

Hello my Aviator,

I am now working ten years in the aviation industry. Exactly one decade ago, I signed the contract with the flight school to become a commercial pilot. I take this anniversary as an occasion to recap my time as a first officer. Being a pilot is still a dream job for me. On my social media everything might look perfect, but this job also downsides, which I will reveal in this blog post.

best business class

office above the clouds

But let’s start with the aspect which annoys me the most of being a pilot. Security checks. As a private jet pilot, I had the privilege to skip security controls at many destinations. But now I have to pass security every time without any exception.

At the airport the Paris security they treat pilots like a potential terrorist.

This is so ridiculous when you take in to account that all crew members have a valid background check. Recently they wanted to see my turmeric powder in my food bag. They checked it for liquids?! In front of the security staff, I had to taste the spice to proof this it is not an explosive. You can take it only with humor!

 

pilot pros and cons of a dream job

Flight school

After I graduated high school I started right away preparing for the assessment to become a flight student for Lufthansa. I failed the first step of the selection process. One reason for that was my nervosity at that time.

Back then I was really sad about this but now I see it from a whole new perspective and I am actually happy that I failed the test.

I took the more difficult way to become a pilot. The flight training was self-funded, which made me put even more effort into it. I had to find a job after graduating. It was also tough to start my aviation career as a first officer on a Private Jet. The “Lufthansa way” would have been the easy way but would definitely not made the person and pilot I am today.

Pros: You have the time of your life with lots of studying and flying.

Cons: No job guarantee with a self-funded training. It is high risk to take of not getting a job.

 

A working day of a private jet versus an airline pilot

Airbus A300 prior departure

Pilot Licence

It is not an easy and inexpensive path to obtain the license to fly commercial airplanes. But in the end, it is “only” a license and not an occupational education nor a degree. Health restrictions could cause that you are not able to fly, thus you can not pursue your profession. As a back up I got a loss of license. This insurance costs me 150€ a month and pays in case I am not able to fly anymore.

Cons: If you lose your medical you lose your license and you cannot fly anymore. In case you did not study you are left without any education.

Pros: You are in control of a powerful machine

Job security

Aviation is a volatile business with great ups and downs. As an employee, you are dependent on the profitability of your airline. If an airline cannot cope with a crisis or suffers from bad management (airberlin) pilots are not needed anymore.

Cons: You are only needed as long there are flights and aircraft. This profession is highly specialized you can only fly aircraft and you are type rated on one special aircraft.

Pros: No office day is the same. You can enjoy the good reputation of being a pilot and you get paid to fly.

Hamburg airport photo by Pando Hall

Salary

The days of making a fortune as a pilot are over. A good availability of pilots on the market causes that working conditions and salary to drop. Especially as copilot, the current time is not easy. My net salary was around 2800€ when I started in 2010. Luckily, I did not have to pay for my flight training, because my parents took care of it. Imagine if have to pay back the costs of the license (70.000€) plus the type rating costs (20.000€) it would take ages and would not leave any money left to save.

Salary is not the same and highly depends on the company you work for. In the meantime, I earn as much as a captain does at my last employer. I paid back my costs for my type rating and I don’t have any debts.

Pros: The captain salary enables you to have a good life. Some of the perks your salary are tax-free, which increases your net salary significantly.

Cons: Pilot salaries differ greatly. Even “Pay to fly models” exist where pilots have to pay the airline to fly. You have to invest a lot and work hard to boost your income.

pilot pros and cons of a dream job

Mid air selfie

Social life and free time

Do you have a social life? I have been getting asked this question many times. Of course, I do like everyone else.

But it requires good organization and planning to see friends and family.

I often have free time during the week when the majority has to work and has no time. But one part what I like most about my job, I do not take work home with me.

Pros: I have more than ten off days in a month. (German law requires a minimum of eight) Sometimes it is even half of the month that I am not flying. Between duty days I can at least enjoy four off days in a row without taking leave. In which kind of job do you have this?

Cons: You are not home. About half of the month I am not at home, so I can not attend all family and friends events. It is not possible to attend weekly courses (like a language course)

Watch my YouTube video about my off days at home in Berlin. Please subscribe.

Layovers

The past 10 years I have been to hundreds of different locations in Europe, North Africa and Russia. As a private jet and as an airline pilot I am having layovers outside of my home base. The time I get to spend at one destination ranges from minimum rest (10 hours) up to two days. As a private jet pilot, the destinations were varying all the time and I really liked that I got to choose the crew hotel myself. You can imagine that I did not stay in the worst place. 😉

Pros: I have a fixed flight schedule and I know how much time I have at one destination. I can really use my rest time to do activities.

Cons: The network is limited so I get to stay in the same destination more often. A good example for this is Sevilla. It is almost my second home. After a while, this can become less exciting.

pilot pros and cons of a dream job

Layover in Sevilla photo by Rocío

Working hours

The pilot profession has probably the most irregular working hours. Aviation does not know weekends or public holidays. Some days you only have one flight the other day maybe three flights and instead of four hours duty 11 hours. Fortunately, I do not have to cope with jet lag, since I am flying within Europe. As a private jet pilot, I mostly flew during the day since VIPs do not like to get up early. But now I am flying also at night, which is a lot of stress for your body and you have to fight against fatigue.

Pros: I like the irregular working hours. I do not have to get up at the same time every day. Some flying days are long some are short. The work remains on board and when I have off I have off.

Cons: Due to the irregular working hours I have to take good care of my body. That is why I have a healthy diet and do regular body exercises to stay fit.

cockpit view Airbus A300

Flying from sunrise to sunset

Crew life

Becoming a pilot means you become part of a big family. Crews all share the same passion and a safe flight requires the crew to work in a team in a small environment. I think that is why you won’t find this energy and enthusiasm in other jobs. Crews take care of each other and support each other. The well being of each crew member ensures the safety of each flight.

Pros: Colleagues can become friends. To share the flight experience and to spend the layover together is double the fun.

Cons: During work, I am not staying at a nice location with my beloved once. It still remains work. Every crew member has their own daily routine so it happens that you only spend time together in the cockpit and the rest of the time everyone does their own thing.

Upgrade

I recently completed a total of 3000 flight hours. One aspect I really love about my job is that you are constantly learning and improving your skills. Aviation requires you to be up to date about new procedures and regulations. Even after flying an aircraft for thousands of hours you will find out something new about it.

With the first day of your first officer career, you start your training to become a captain one day.

Before I left the business aviation one and a half years ago, my former employer told me that I will become a captain in one year. Switching companies implied that I have to build up my seniority again. I fulfilled the requirement of 1500 flight hours to become a captain, but I still require flight hours within the new company. It also depends on their demand. Earliest time for me to become a captain is in about 1,5 years.

fear of flyinig

!

What would I have done differently?

I would have done everything exactly the same, except one point. Before starting with the flight training I would have studied to get a degree or at least study in parallel to the flight school. I am trying to study business administration alongside with the job and my social media, but currently, there is no time left for that.

As a pilot, I am experiencing so many of awe-inspiring moments that I am left with no choice but to fly! This dream jobs also has downsides. But which job doesn’t? The pros are vastly superior otherwise I would not continue to fly.

Which downside would you like the least?

Please subscribe to my newsletter with your email below and become an Aviator on my YouTube channel as well.

Happy landings!

Your Pilot Patrick

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Preksha khanal

You always go for the impossible thing to make it possible and you take each target as your aim. You love taking challenges and you deserve this achievement
Your dedication, enthusiasm and insight are really inspiring. I wish you many years of great achievements.Congratulations my favorite Pilot Patrick … Time for cut the cakelets celebrate your Anniversary where is my cake

Pp Fans

There is no shortcut to success. You proved it

Cherryl Chew

Hi Patrick, thank you so much for this awesome and interesting post. Congratulations on your 10 years anniversary in aviation and also completing 3000 hours of flight. After reading this article, l am getting more knowledge on the aviation industry. So challenging and not so easy at all even though we thought that it is a glamour job. It was so surprising that as a pilot, you don’t have any exception going through the security check. Sometimes l am quite worry also in case they ask me to open my luggage. There was once when l brought some cut fruits… Read more »

Nils Kunz

sehr gut geschrieben, sehr interessanter und schöner Blog-Post. Ist echt gut geworden, Patrick!

Lucyna Kargul

Hej Patrick.Jestem naprawdę pod wrażeniem twojej pracy …naprawdę nie jest tak kolorowo jak się wydaje..Dla mnie najgorszą wadą ,był by nieregularny dzień pracy.ja muszę mieć wszystko poukładane jak w zegarkuDzięki za Twoją obecność dajesz dużo radości ….Dopiero od niedawna Cię obserwuję ,ale traktuję Cię jak członka rodziny….Tak trzymaj i spełniaj swoje plany i marzenia.Pozdrawiam serdecznie…A jeszcze jedno musisz książkę napisać o lataniu,masz dar pisania..Brawo Patrick.

no name

objective & reality.In the global integration of economy and information today,Various media also introduced the development of foreign aviation industry and the situation of its employees,it was almost the same as you wrote. you failed the first step of the selection process. One reason for that was your nervosity at that time.Can you illustrate your nervosity at that time?

Sarah

Thanks so much for sharing this!!! Im about to start my flight training soon and yes before that i did a bachelor in business administration. I encourage you too! Keep the good work!

Dana

Congratulations on you 10th aviation anniversary. Very interesting to read and nice that you opened up about it. I am planning to start with the selection procedures(KLM) to become a pilot at the end of the year after graduation from college. On beforehand, I already knew the airline industry is a very volatile industry that is why I decided to get a degree first. I was wondering, if you get your licenses but not a job within Europe(like home) but you do speak multiple languages, would that have an advantage to get a job for example in Asia?

UMI NADHIRA

Hello, congratulation for you. Me too, it is 10 years of my job too but nothing special happened. So difficult for being a civil servant here. Every job has its own risk. Maybe people think that no risk for being a teacher but they are wrong. We have big responsibility to create pilots, doctors or even presidents. This is not simple, every pupils have their own characters. But I try to enjoy it. By enjoying our job, everything will be okey n interesting. Our life is already written by God. I have plans, you have plans but God’s plans are… Read more »

Tuyền.

Tôi là người việt nam. Mới đây trên một trang facebook tên là Richard Francis lấy hình ảnh của phi công Pilotparick để đi lừa đảo gạt tình cảm của những cô gái trong đó có tôi. Và vì vậy tôi đã cố gắng tìm trang của anh Pilotparick để nói cho a biết . Vì a là một người đàn ông tuyệt vời hình ảnh đẹp lại bị kẻ xấu lấy hình cắt đứt từng đoạn video để lừa đảo .Hành động này làm ảnh hưởng đến danh dự của a. Tôi chỉ muốn nói rõ đều đó để… Read more »

Ngọc Huyền

How could you take a selfie in the sky? Are there no problems with pressurization?

Anyway, thank you so much for the post. The most informative one about pilot career. I always hold special admiration for you courageous pilots

INGRID RAMSAHA

Hi Patrick,

Sorry to bother. Someone send me FB friend request from this profil https://www.facebook.com/roye.dontee.7

Is this you? Or is someone using you profil pictures?

Please check and let me know.

Cheers
INGRID

Alex

Hi Patrick, Thank you for this! I’m currently working in hotel industry and very interested to become a pilot someday. Your insights and honesty with your blogs are very helpful for aspirant pilot like myself. I will subscribe to your YouTube Channel and follow your website. Again, Thanks for doing this. Cheers! – Alex, from Philippines

Ivan Stant

Aloha from Honolulu, Hi. I agree with everything in your blog. I think the amount you payed for your pilot certification and type ratings is around $102,000 U.S dollars. I became a pilot in 2001, but I was unable to afford the high cost of flight training on my own after my parents stop paying for it. I incurred a debt that took me eight years to pay off, but I don’t have any regrets. I got to fly to places like over the Grand Canyon, over the Golden Gate Bridge, VFR flights in Hawaii, and flew a seminole from… Read more »

Jenny

So how do you feel mr pilot that someone named henry hernandez is using you pictures on tango app and fool girls there

Tanvi Parik

I’ll be opting for this aviation course as I too want to become a pilot, so are there any doubts like after everything I mean after my training has started and invested so much…I do not get to become a pilot?

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