Cleared for Take Off: The Top 10 Myths about becoming a Commercial Pilot
Becoming a commercial pilot is a dream many aspire to, but often, misconceptions hold them back. From financial concerns to educational prerequisites, we’ve busted the 10 most common myths about pilot training. Remember, the sky is not the limit; it’s just the beginning!
Myth #1: Becoming a Pilot Requires A-Levels or a Degree
A strong educational foundation is important for pilot training, but it doesn’t require A-levels or a degree. To train as a pilot with Leading Edge Aviation you need 5 GCSEs at a Grade C/4 or above, which should include Maths and a science subject ideally Physics. Age is another factor; you need to be at least 18. You don’t need to start pilot training straight from school, college or university either. Many of our students have worked in other sectors before starting their pilot training and a diverse range of educational backgrounds can lead to successful careers in aviation.
Myth #2: Perfect Eyesight is a Prerequisite for Pilots
Having perfect vision is not an absolute requirement to become a pilot. The aviation industry has established, reasonable vision standards. Corrective measures like glasses or contact lenses often suffice. If you have concerns about your vision, consulting with a CAA-approved Aeromedical Examiner can provide clarity on where you stand and the options available.
Myth #3: Only the Wealthy Can Afford to Become Pilots
The notion that only the affluent can access aviation is a misconception, our students come from a wide variety of backgrounds. While flight training does involve a significant investment, there are multiple pathways and opportunities to make it more achievable. This year, for example, we offered a fully funded program for six lucky students and £5000 bursaries for a further 25 students. With our integrated LEAP course which includes a BSc Degree in Air Transport Management, you can get 2 years of funding (£18,000) from Student Finance plus a maintenance loan dependent upon your circumstances. Some airlines may also offer to cover your training or type rating costs in return for a commitment to work with them for a specified period. So, even if finances are a concern, don’t let them clip your wings. Get in touch with our Training Advisors today and let us help pave your way to the skies.
Myth #4: Pilots Must Be Maths Geniuses
Whilst maths forms an integral part of pilot training, it does not necessitate a genius-level understanding. The maths involved in flying is straightforward with the help of fab instructors. Basic arithmetic skills, coupled with the ability to read and interpret charts and graphs, are sufficient. If you’re anxious about your mathematical skills, let our experienced team at Leading Edge Aviation guide and support you through your learning journey.
Myth #5: Only Men can have successful careers in Aviation.
The idea that only men can have successful pilot careers is outdated and untrue. While aviation has been historically male dominated, the industry is swiftly evolving. Airlines are actively seeking and welcoming more female pilots, reshaping the narrative. There is a way to go as only 4.5% of UK pilots are female but at Leading Edge, we’re on a mission to change that. We’re proud that 17% of our students are female and so is 50% of our board. Our exceptional female students are securing roles at top airlines, defying limits and showing that the sky is open for all. The flight deck is no longer a gender-defined space, and we’re proud to champion diversity and change in the aviation world.
Myth #6: Only Natural-Born Leaders Make Successful Pilots
Leadership skills undoubtedly play a vital role in becoming a successful pilot. However, these skills can be nurtured and developed over time through dedicated training and hands-on experience. At Leading Edge our ‘Whole Pilot Approach’ has been designed to foster these skills. From day one of your training with us, you’ll be honing your leadership skills along with skills like team working, problem solving and communication in preparation for a future captain’s role.
Myth #7: You Must Be An Olympian Athlete to Be a Pilot
Maintaining good health is crucial for pilots, but you certainly don’t need to cycle like Bradley Wiggins or run like Jessica Ennis-Hill to navigate an aircraft through the skies. The aviation medical exam, which focuses on health conditions that might affect your flying, is the true hurdle to clear. So, even without the endurance of a long-distance runner or the speed of a track champion, you can still chart your course to the flight deck.
Myth #8: There are no jobs for Pilots anymore
With the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the aviation industry, some people believe that there are no jobs for pilots anymore. However, the reality is quite different. According to Boeing’s 2020 Pilot and Technician Outlook, the world will need 763,000 new pilots by 2039. Additionally, many airlines offer job placement assistance to their graduates, and the return on investment for pilot training can be significant, especially when employed by airlines like easyJet, Ryanair, Wizz Air, Jet2, and British Airways. So, if you’re concerned about securing a job after completing your pilot training, rest assured the pilot shortage is already a reality, and this is just the beginning!
In fact, now is a great time to start your pilot training, as the industry is expected to see a shortage of pilots in the near future. By training now, you’ll be well-positioned to take advantage of the opportunities that will arise as the industry rebounds. So if you’re ready to take the first step towards an exciting career as a commercial pilot, get in touch with the Training Advisors at Leading Edge Aviation to start your flight training journey today!
Myth #9: Pilots Have No Social or Family Life
The pilot profession can sometimes involve irregular hours, but it’s a misconception that pilots cannot maintain a balanced personal life. Many airlines use roster systems, offering pilots a certain predictability in their schedules. Some airlines provide the option to bid for time off, along with generous holiday allowances, excellent maternity and paternity benefits which is particularly beneficial for those who plan to start families. Every flying job is different, and many pilots find a rhythm that allows them to enjoy both their career and their personal lives.
Myth #10: Becoming a Pilot Takes Too Long
While the path to becoming a commercial pilot does require dedication and several hours, with full-time training, you can become a licensed commercial pilot in as little as 18 months. For certain professions, the qualification process might extend beyond 18 months, as is the case with training to become an architect or a doctor. For example, to become a qualified architect takes 7 years with 5 years of study and two years of professional experience.
In summary, if you’re dreaming of becoming a pilot and these debunked myths have piqued your interest even more, there’s never been a better time to fulfil those aviation dreams. Reach out to our knowledgeable Training Advisors at Leading Edge Aviation. They’re here to guide, answer questions, and help you make your dreams of becoming a pilot a reality.