A website that aims to help aspiring pilots make an informed decision about a career on the flight deck has been launched.

The European Cockpit Association has developed a site that not only gives advice on routes to a piloting job but also points out some of the hurdles a trainee has to negotiate on route to their dream job.

The new website aims to help aspiring pilots and their families make informed decisions about career options.

The British Airline Pilots’ Association says that the path to becoming an airline pilot in Europe has changed dramatically in the past 20 years and recently warned that young hopefuls now have to consider taking on substantial debt if they want to chase their dream.

While in the past the financial burden fell to the airlines, it’s now up to the trainee to find up to £100,000 to pay for their training, often with no job guaranteed at the end.

The reality

The European Cockpit Association (ECA), representing pilots in Europe, set up the website as a tool to help aspiring pilots and their families assess the training and career options, and the everyday reality of being a pilot today.

“Parents are often the ones who pay the bill”, says ECA President Dirk Polloczek. “A mortgage on the family house is a very common way to finance pilot training. This is why we think it is important for parents to know what they will get in return on their investment. At the same time, they could help the next generation of pilots with choosing a good flight school, creating a plan B and managing expectations about the career”.

Head of Membership and Career Services at BALPA said: “Nowadays people who want to train as a pilot have to make a huge investment in their future. We don’t want to put people off fulfilling their dreams, but we want to make sure they know the difficulties there can be in getting there and offer them support along the journey.”

Think differently

FINN Editor-in-Chief, Alan Peaford, recently urged the aerospace industry to think differently – both in terms of the image it presents and its strategies for making careers viable for people from all backgrounds. Read his blog post, Dream careers: Aerospace needs an image overhaul.