6 steps to becoming an Airline First Officer

Becoming an airline first officer is a long-haul flight

The path to reaching your goal of becoming an airline first officer will be full of turns and challenges.

1) THERE ARE EXCITING JOB PROSPECTS IN AVIATION HAPPENING RIGHT NOW!

  • Boeing estimates demand for 34,900 new aircraft by 2036: 34,170 passenger aircraft and 730 freighters, with 40% of passenger aircraft demand needed for replacement, and 60% for growth.
  • The 2017 Boeing Pilot & Technician Outlook, a respected industry forecast of personnel demand, projects that 637,000 new commercial airline pilots, 648,000 new maintenance technicians, and 839,000 new cabin crew will be needed to fly and maintain the world fleet over the next 20 years.
  • There is increased demand for pilots in Asian countries.
  • Key Asian airlines are expanding their fleets.

2) THEY DON’T HAND OUT PILOT LICENSES IN CEREAL BOXES! 

  • Time – You will need to set aside at least a year as there are multiple components. (A multi engine instrument rating and instructors rating).
  • Money – Pilot courses are generally quite expensive. Consider it an investment in your future.
  • Brain power – Planes operation is precise (for good reason!) The coursework requires a high level of concentration and attention to detail. You need to keep your mind focussed as you think outside the black box.
  • Patience – There could be delays on the path to becoming an airline first officer.  In addition to your knowledge and experience, passing your practical exams is also subject to weather conditions and teaching depends on the availability of your instructor.

3) GETTING YOUR LICENCE DOESN’T MEAN GETTING A JOB.

  • After all that sweat, stress and sleepless nights, you’re ready to jump in the cockpit and fly away. So now what?
  • You may find yourself stuck in a (job) queue. First-year airline positions are in high demand. Be patient and prepared to keep looking. You may have to circle around your dream job a few times before you have somewhere to land.

“The most effective way to do it, is to do it” ~ Amelia Earhart

4) THE LONG-HAUL FLIGHT OF SUCCESS.

  • Becoming an airline first officer is just one career dream that can take flight.
  • There are ways you can work in the aviation industry outside of commercial airlines. You could gain experience while earning a living as an instructor.
  • You could advertise your services as a charter pilot. One example is a fish spotting pilot or flying a plane that drops water on bushfires. Side jobs will always contribute to building up your flying hours.

5) ARE WE THERE YET? CIRCLING AROUND YOUR DREAM.

  • An active pilot is an alert one. Keep honing your skills by gaining experience.
  • Embark on a differing range of flights. Flying at night is a whole other world, for example.
  • It’s not necessarily the amount of time you’re in the air but the quality of those hours.

6) THE LAST LEG. ARRIVING AT YOUR DREAM DESTINATION!

  • Starting out in any new career can be daunting, but especially one with so much responsibility! Remember, all experienced pilots had to start out as beginners. A new career isn’t always about the destination, but the journey as well. Take a breath, stay in the moment and aim to find pleasure in your work. The hard work of becoming a pilot can lead to the best view on earth – and you’ll have the best seat in the house! (Better than those deadheads).
Becoming an airline first officer
Becoming an airline first officer