On my Instagram, I always try to motivate people to become pilot, telling and showing them the benefits of this job. But lately, I was thinking to write and speak of the challenges and reasons for not becoming a pilot. As we all know, there is no such thing as a perfect job, and this refers to the pilot job too. Ok, maybe right now you guys are reading this and thinking NO WAY, being a pilot = flying a lot, traveling almost for free, having an outstanding lifestyle, etc., etc.
But let me give you 10 reasons that being a pilot is not as cool as you may think.
1. We Spend A Lot of Money On Studying
You have to spend a fortune to study aviation but may never get that dream job. Moreover, you have to pay for your training in the company. The more prestigious the airline; the higher their fees.
2. We Don’t See Our Families That Often
Majority of your time will be spent on the job and away from your family. You will be away from your family for days, if not, weeks at a time. As a result, you may miss remarkable/life changing family occasions such as weddings or other ceremonies.
Probably you may also miss some important stages of your children lives because you are spending too much time away from home.
3. Forget About Normal Sleeping Pattern
You will have different shifts at different times, and this will likely cause a disturbed sleep pattern, but even more importantly and negatively, it will affect your health. In general, the day is for working and the night is for sleeping/resting. Working during the night can harm your body.
4. Our Health Is At Risk
Continually flying at high altitudes of 39,000 – 41,000 feet will undoubtedly affect your body, sooner or later. This will expose your body to different conditions; one of them is pressurization. I can give you an example, the cabin altitude could reach up to 8,000 feet, and this means that you are breathing oxygen as if you are on top of an 8,000 feet high mountain. Therefore, the oxygen you receive will be less than if you are on the ground or at or above sea level. Also, the air inside an airplane is dry due to the bleed system. As a result of this, your skin will become drier than usual, especially on a long haul flight. The radiation also makes us think about our health. If you are flying a private jet that’s flying at 45,000 feet and crossing the Atlantic, you’ll be exposed to a small amount of radiation. However, the more often you fly, the more exposed you become. So, your radiation level must be monitored.
5. We Have To Pass Medical Check-Ups
Medical check-ups have to be renewed every year or every 6 months (depending on the company). If you are over 40; most of the Civil Aviation Authorities require a check to be performed every 6 months. You must pass these check-ups to continue your duty as a pilot, if you fail, then problems may knock on your door, and the name of this problem is losing your license 🙁
6. We Don’t Get As Much Money As You Think
Most of you think that pilots have a high salary that makes us super-rich. This is not true. Many jobs pay more than that of a pilot. Although, it is true that some companies offer a good salary, but still most companies do not.
7. We Stop Flying After 60
The age limit for pilots (varies from company to company) is in the range of 60-65, unlike some other professions where there isn’t an age limit. Even if you are in excellent shape/health, once you reach the age limit, that’s the end of your pilot career.
8. We Don’t Have That Luxury Lifestyle
Mostly we work abroad. Say, a pilot born in the US works for a Middle Eastern airline. Imagine, the lifestyle there is very different than what this pilot is used to. Lifestyle factors such as culture, people, food, environment, and language come into place. So, this is definitely something to consider too.
9. We Are Lifetime Students
For keeping our pilot license, we need to pass a simulator test every 6 months. In addition to this, we have to do courses and other tests; this can add to our already heavy workload and lead to stress-related problems. A lot of hard work, commitment and effort are required by you to be successful. And, if you fail, you risk losing your license or job. But there is another option for those who not too keen on vigorous tests/exams, once you are fully graduated, some jobs train you beforehand and do not require regular tests.
10. There Are Limited Job Vacancies
Majority of the money that a company earns is spent on fuelling aircraft. When oil prices are low; an airline can afford to expand their fleet creating more job vacancies. However, when oil prices are high, then companies start to struggle, and it costs a lot more to fuel their fleet. If an airline is struggling, people’ jobs could be at stake.
The reasons I have stated above are not limited to just these 10 because they may vary from person to person.
But why despite the above mentioned, it’s all worth it?
A pilot’s life is unique as it is an opportunity to discover something new every day. Don’t let these reasons put you off becoming a pilot because if it is your dream to be a successful pilot, then nothing should stop you achieving and fulfilling that dream.
Until Next Time and As Always We Speak Aviation.