Doubts about being a pilot

Continuing the discussion from Will I be able to be a pilot?:
I understand that the community is filled with many real life private and commercial pilots. At the same time, many also aspire to be pilots in the near future and often have doubts about their career choice. Hence, I have created this topic so that people can voice out their doubts and that people who have experience and answers will be able to answer them.


Just follow your heart.
And for the young kids/teens in this community, you don’t have to worry about making up your minds yet. You still have a long road ahead of you and plenty of time to decide. Don’t worry, don’t stress, just follow your heart and God’s plan for you, it will all come together sooner or later!


You can be anything if you work hard enough for it. No one in America gets to limit you, only your abilities and your work ethic can do so. It’s all about choices and determination. The rest aside, be flexible as life is not a predetermined destination.


Well whether you are commited or not, I’d advise two simple things…

  1. Get the best education you can, make the most of it and never stop learning.

  2. Have a plan b. Start a little business and let it grow. Many commercial pilots have businesses on the side, in particular in the area of real estate and property development. Always have a plan b.

And if you like reading, check out the books recommended in this video:

With regards to flying, I cannot recommend gliding enough.
About 20% of the cost of a self powered aircraft hire, a good way to sharpen up your stick and rudder skills and it’s a lot of fun too.


Although I have a question, I’m not sure if it differs in different countries, but does your O level score and subjects being taken affect your career choice?

Oh and for countries with different systems, this is the major exam that we take before entering junior colleges and polytechnics (pre-university education)

We don’t have the same standardized testing as you mentioned. The ACT or SAT score, taken late in High School (about age 16 or 17) can be used by colleges or universities with selective admission but there is no national exam that dictates or limits your career choices. Specific exams, sure, like the FAA licensing process but nothing so broad as to restrict your options.

on a general point of education, the exams that you take at 16/17 before moving on to A-Levels (in the UK) and then University are of importance to your future career…of course as a 16 year old you don’t really know that until you are much older!

However do not despair if you did not do great at the GCSEs (O Level) or A-Levels as you can have the opportunity to retake them if you go back to a college at a later date. Some careers might like the fact that you have taken the initiative to retake some exams in order to prepare yourself, even if this means you are a couple of years older than other applicants to either University of the job market. Having a bit of experience in the world outside of education helps as well when looking at candidates.

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According to mine and many other instructors, the biggest thing that will hold someone back from becoming a professional pilot is money. The lack of funds or taking on loans (debt) to finance flight time is a major killer of what once was a hot passion for aviation. Unless you were born with a silver spoon in your mouth, prepare for the financial side to really help you decide if this is really what you want.

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Fly the Boeing 757




Well then, is there a certain range that I have to save financially? And when should one start saving?

Unless you can be saving in the thousands and more preferably tens of thousands of pounds range I would say there is little point doing so. Savings of a few hundred pounds is unlikely to help when you consider the overall cost.

Cost of ATPL ~ ÂŁ85k
Living costs during your ATPL ~ ÂŁ5-10k
Cost of type rating (depends on what airline you go to) ~ free to ÂŁ30k

On academic exams, ideally good grades in subjects like maths and physics would be an advantage since they should you have an aptitude to cover the stuff you need to learn.

I’m colorblind sooo… nope, that dream died.

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What about the military? Over here in Ireland we have The Irish Air Corps which is what I plan to do first if possible or the Aer Lingus Cadetship or modular Route! In the U.K. You have the RAF with the Red Arrows display team.
If in America you can choose between the US Airforce with the Thunderbirds Display Team or the US NAVY with the renound Blue Angels! Plus you get a good salary, the opportunity to upskill in your education and of course, military discipline which is respected worldwide!
Military isn’t the easiest route but it is truly rewarding if you go all the way! Integrated and modular routes through flight schools and Airlines aren’t the only ways to achieve an ATPL!
Research every possible option before you make any doubts! Ask and you shall receive!

John Gerard Killeen

computers are replacing human skills.
It means that most work/ jobs/ careers are becoming increasingly redundant. Ironically we are becoming slaves to our intellect.
By now, a computer programme would be able to tell you this in more eloquent terms!

Color blindness is no longer a cause to not receive a first class medical. The Aviation and Aerospace director at Polk State college in Lakeland, FL is color blind. He worked as a corporate pilot, airline pilot, CFI and now he heads the college aviation program. @kevirtual A lot of people will tell you it’s not possible to save up the money, throw those people out the window. Start with $10,000 for your PPL. Join the AOPA and apply for scholarships and grants. If you want to become and airline pilot with the majors you’ll also need a college degree unless you’re family with the chief pilot. Don’t pick some fancy degree that costs more, major in something useful as a back up. The airlines don’t care whether you major in aviation or horticulture, just satisfy the benchmark and you’re good to go. Never ever stop saving money, and the best time to start is always last year.


Definitely not allowed in Europe. You need colour vision and it is tested during your class 1 medical.


Biggest regret in my life is not becoming a pilot. It’s all I ever wanted to do and illusions of fast money and entrepreneurship clouded my judgement. If flying is in your heart and always has been, then by God almighty fly.


Fluffy clouds, big dark CBS, sunrises, sunsets are amazing and so much more beautiful when you don’t see them so much.
Commercial flying today is mostly automated and doesn’t require alot of skill or brainpower. You have to pay attention- period.
It’s not like it used to be.
Fly for enjoyment!

That was a gripe of mine too as I saw technology advance so much, but you’re still in the air and you’re still traveling the globe.

So would it be cheaper if I go by the Air Force route?