Like most of us here at PCC, you're probably someone who can't resist looking up when an airplane flies by overhead. When you're on a commercial flight, you're dying to get a window seat, preferably over the wing so you can watch the flaps, slats, and spoilers move in and out. Some of you can even recognize individual aircraft by sound alone. But does that mean you're headed for a career as a pilot? Hopefully!
Your First Flight:
The only way to know for sure – if aviation is for you - is to get into a plane and go for a flight! Contact a training school in your area and ask about doing an Introductory Flight. Some schools will refer to it as a Discovery Flight, or Familiarization Flight. These flights are usually about 30 minutes, and are generally offered at a reduced rate. For your first flight, you'll go up in a small plane (two or four seats) with a qualified flight instructor who will walk you through some basics. With a headset on and your hands on the controls, you will get to experience what it is like to fly a plane – the sights, the sounds, the sensations. Chances are, you'll walk away from this experience feeling absolutely certain that you NEED to become a pilot!
Getting Off The Ground:
You may be unsure of the requirements, or if you have the necessary background to be a commercial pilot. Within the PCC Flight School Search page, you can select region-specific information on the following areas which you will want to consider:
- Age: How soon can I start flight training?
- Medical: What are the requirements to hold an accepted medical certificate?
- Education: Is a high school education sufficient?
- Training: What will the training look like and how is it structured?
- Cost: How much will it cost, and how can I finance my flight training?
- Time: How long will it take me to become a commercial pilot?
- Job Prospects: What kind of jobs can I expect to find when my training is complete?
Choosing the Right School – Flight School Search on PCC:
There are lots of factors to consider when choosing a Flight Training School. Your first step is to choose your desired region. Most likely you will train close to home. Possibly you will relocate and experience a whole new part of the world while working towards your dream career as a pilot. Once you select your region, scroll to the bottom of the page and look for an article entitled, “The Right School.” This insight will help you narrow down your options and know what questions to ask.
Flight Training is a big undertaking and an exciting but huge commitment. You're going to have lots of questions along the way. Here's where you can look for answers:
- Life As A Pilot Blogs: A collection of stories from various colleagues in the industry – local pilots and international pilots.Here you'll find experiences from almost every type of pilot job imaginable.It will give you a good idea of what's out there, and will help you make some decisions about what direction you might want to go. The Aviation Industry is much bigger than just the Airlines.
- Pilot Shortage Info: Keep up with the latest articles on the Global Pilot Shortage.
- New-Pilots section: Here you'll find not only the latest job postings for new pilots, but also a collection of helpful articles which will give you the tools you need to navigate the aviation job market and get hired.
- Other Pilots! Pilots always have great stories to tell about their experiences and how they got to where they are today. Go out and find yourself a pilot or two or three to talk to and start asking questions!
The views from your first training flight until your last airliner flight are amazing. The variety is unparalleled; the pristine modern flightdeck, the remote places an airplane can take you, the professionalism and team work of an airline cockpit crew, the natural beauty seen daily by bush pilots, teaching a student from day one right up and until the successful conclusion of their Multi-Engine Instrument Rating, the beautiful designs of the modern business jets, the personal reward in flying a critically ill patient to the safety of an advanced medical facility, flying food and mail as a ‘lifeline' to remote communities, watching 5 skydivers fall out of your plane to meet up seconds later for their favorite Sky-Dive Assembly, flying between beautiful mountain sides or along the coast, are just a few of the hundreds of unique opportunities you will come across as a pilot.
Lastly – good luck!
Always remember this... every single pilot you see, was once in the exact position you are today. And they put in the work and made it happen. Why not you?