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Commercial pilots licence

Guest Pioneer200

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Guest Pioneer200

Hi all, just want few ideas on getting commercial pilots licence,Is 33 years old to old?


What are approx costs in Australia?What are pay rates like for new commercial pilots?


I know there is pilot shortage around world and I am currently looking at career change. Any thoughs and experiences would be great



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Guest bateo

G'day Pioneer,


I am currently about to undertake a commercial Helicopter licence which is a bit different but still costly. I know many people who have just undertaken a commercial licence (fixed) and has cost them in excess of over $50,000. Having said that, I know a person who started from scratch at 19 and now he is 23 earing 180,000 flying Cathay Pacific runs.


There definately is a shortage, but I don't think 33 is too old. You will be looking at around 6-12 months to do the course plus about 5 + 10 yrs to get an established job that is going to pay off. I know REX airlines or AIRLINK airlines are cutting back routes in regional NSW because of pilot shortage. I was offered a scholarship with them and know young pilots who have done the scholarships doing a regional run with only 400 hours PIC on around 40-50 K a yr.


My suggestion to you is that apply for a scholarship, so it takes 6 months, but you don't have to lash out all that cost and you have a guaranteed job at the end of it all! There is a catch that they like you to stay with them for 4 yrs after they put you through a scholarship, and I know for a fact they are accepting more mature age people then youngin's wanting to enter the industry!!



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Guest Flight Instructor

..It's Never Too Late




In deciding a career in commercial aviation as a pilot; look beyond the pilot shortages and the '$pandoolie' you might earn, or the $$$ going out of you bank a/c like gastro!;)


Identify honestly with yourself and your family, what your career goals are and how it will fit in with the rest of your life. Remember mate, as much as we all love flying; they are only aeroplanes after all.exclamation.gif.7a55ce2d2271ca43a14cd3ca0997ad91.gif


Be brutally honest and ask yourself: "Do I really love flying enough to make it a career?" Find an answer to this question above all, and it will carry you through the rough patches (and there will be) as you go about your training and into your future career:thumb_up:. I survived 2 catastrophic in-flight emergencies and my love of flying has carried me to carry on as a pilot.


After answering THE QUESTION:question:, go and find and talk to others of similar background to yourself who have already done what you are about to do. Look at the Big Picture; stay focussed; and prepare to enjoy a rewarding career regardless of the $$$.


Finally 3 Golden Rules from one of my RAAF flight instructors for budding career pilots, well, all pilots really:-


radioactive.gif.1acc918ae505c8835a1c29d9312871c0.gif DON'T crash unitentionally;


radioactive.gif.1acc918ae505c8835a1c29d9312871c0.gif DON'T run out of fuel;and


radioactive.gif.1acc918ae505c8835a1c29d9312871c0.gif ALWAYS have an out, you might have to be creative, but always have an out.






P.S. Having been a RAAF Officer, Flight Dispatcher and now mid-40's instructor-pilot supporting Mrs. + 4 kids holding down a P/T job in airline flight safety, and loving it; you can see why you have to go into commercial piloting with your eyes absolutely wide open!032_juggle.gif.8567b0317161503e804f8a74227fc1dc.gif:hittinghead:



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Me too!!!


G'day Pioneer,I was offered a scholarship with them and know young pilots who have done the scholarships doing a regional run with only 400 hours PIC on around 40-50 K a yr.......

My suggestion to you is that apply for a scholarship......

I have a burning desire to do exactly this!! I know i'll never afford it any other way and would love to know how one goes about 'applying'?


Any suggestions bateo? I am also a 'mature age' applicant at 35, but have a background in aviation and i think i would be an asset to whomever wanted to train me (hmm not in the interview yet!!006_laugh.gif.0f7b82c13a0ec29502c5fb56c616f069.gif). Please PM me if you have any specific details, as I also need a career change!!! BAD!!!


Cheers all


p.s. all thing going well I will be finally doing my first lesson monday....will post then!





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Supply & Demand


Think carefully about a sudden rush into training for airline jobs.


I offer this analogy:


World grain stocks are low, and both current and futures prices have risen astronomically. But, prices are trending down already. Why? Because farmers are already seeding the laneways and roadsides after good rains. The USDA's spy satellite has detected this activity and every US forecaster and broker knows there will be a whopper crop this year. Demand is going to be satisfied by extra supply. QED.


Flying is no different. Yes, there is a current acute demand - but for how long? Don't give up your day job too quickly. Sure, do the medicals incl Class 1, do the theory right up to ATPL, and carefully plan your approach to the best way to fly the hours. You should try to do it via RAAus, then GA via the PPL, then the 200hr CPL, then perhaps instructor ratings, and then M/E CIR.


There are many ways to reduce your flying costs if you're not rushing things.


Remember that with the exodus of GA charter pilots and instructors to airlines - there are good opportunities to take their places..... and from there, aim toward airlines from a position within the industry where you'll know what's really happening.


Rome wasn't built in a day !





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Guest Flight Instructor



Hi All,


Career plans aside, if you read Poteroo's and my pennies worth, I reckon you're starting to go into aviation as a career with your eyes wide open.


Here's the trap, if you get so sick of the day job and it's getting hard to get up every morning ; DON'T fall into making a snap decision without a 'safety net'. When under stress you can find any number of reason to justify that snap decision. Believe me I know.


Your decisions MUST be a calculated risk and NEVER a gamble. See the difference?


So a staged approach when you're not under hate-induced stress is best (ie RAAus, PPL, CPL, ATPL).







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Look hard at it as suggested above. Years ago I was tempted to go commercial, but then having a look at how others worked as instructors and bank flyers or worse I thought why do it. I enjoyed my job and flying was a hobby, but I could see it becoming work, so it is still a hobby 37 years later and no regrets.



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Airline employment.


There are a few things happening out there. Firstly there IS a world-wide shortage of pilots.


There are better jobs in flying than flying some milk runs for an airline that can't wait to get pilotless aircraft up and running, but they are not all like that.


The pay is good and looking better because of DEMAND. Not because the management think that you are worth it.


The job can be repetitious, and very demanding and you work at some atrocious hours with sometimes very long duty times. Airlines fly in ALL kinds of weather


Other pilots know how hard your job can be, but the rest of the public think all you do is push a few buttons, and the computer does it all.


Job satisfaction, well I think I had a lot at times, but things have changed and I think the best times were back in the 50"s to the 80's, when you actually flew the aircraft, and the cockpit had real dials, and didn't look like something out of a kelloggs cornflakes packet & the company can tell what "G" the aircraft is pulling. The most IMPORTANT THING is an ON_TIME DEPARTURE. Just delay a flight and see what happens, and a great list of permitted unserviceabilities to exercise your legal talents on occasions.


Today you fly with the cockpit door secured, I've had hundreds of people up in the cockpit, (one or two at a time, of course). Not sure that I would enjoy the current situation one bit. Times change, you may say. Sure they do, and it may cause you to think a bit differently, and decide also.


What I am suggesting, is don't regard the size of the aeroplane strapped to your butt, as the most important thing in life. Imagine that you have already achieved it. SO WHAT! Are the ACTUAL work conditions what you want without change for the next 20 years. What is the big deal? You have had a pile of money in the form of training spent on you, as have your compatriots, and you are just ONE of MANY. You are in no way indispensible and if you fall of your perch, you will be replaced with virtually no drama.


Again I get back to the need for JOB SATISFACTION. At the end of your career it would be nice to say "I wouldn't have done it any differently, if I did it ALL over again". To find THESE kinds of jobs Might be a bit more difficult in todays world, but I am sure some of them are there. My thoughts for those of you who might be interested. Nev..



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Guest brentc

Have an contact who got a traineeship with Rex. He only started flying for his PPL about 1.5 years ago and he hasn't yet finished his instrument rating. Quite impressive. It wasn't really even his intention to continue down this path, it literally fell into his lap very easily.



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Guest bateo



I was offered the apprenticeship (Basically opportunity came to me) by word of mouth from a Rex Employer.


I believe they have an internet site with applications where you can print out and apply. I know they do most of their Training down towards Melbourne way. I will try and seek website out for you guys.


Everybody makes a good point regarding career change and the industry in general, but at the end of the day.. if you recieved a scholarship and obtained your CPL, and wasn't 'satisfying, rewarding or succeeding', you can always fall back onto your previous career or 'safety net'. Thats the way I look at it anyway..


Also guys remember, when your talking bigger bucks we are talking EXPERIENCE.. that is what is demanded at the moment.. There are plenty of young bucks out there waiting to snavel a rare opportunity in a big paying job, thus the opportunities that are being given by airlines this year. In this industry, it is safe to say there is always going to be a rewarding job Demand for EXPERIENCED pilots, not just Australia but worldwide...



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All posts are full of great stuff.....cheers all!


I actually could care less about flying heavies! I would dig a little charter service out of somewhere beautiful...i dunno...over the reef or something, in the mountains...maybe even the westpac chopper or a crop duster...you know...just to be up there and be paid for it! Its not about the money for me at all but the job satifaction.


By the way, and please excuse my ignorance, but what is rex?


Cheers again all...





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Guest bateo

Satisfaction is why we all here on this forum fly! and to me, when money is the only issue while flying, is when it damn costs too much to do it!


No worries BrotHach, REX is an airliner company which also owns Airlink (More known in the Eastern states) it is a company like VIRGIN or QANTAS but only does more the smaller regional runs. Something like you might want to get into?



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The wisest of old gliding instructors said of this same question, "the worst thing you can do to your hobby is make it your career".


I ignored him, in the most respectful manner of course, and 20 years in I still feel sorry for those who have to work for a living.


From a small Mustering business to Aerial Ag, Float planes, Charter, and now international Survey flying, I wouldn't change a thing.


Resolve to never be broken no matter how hard they try, and they will!! Develop a passion for learning, be polite, and if your starting at 35 then work like you've never worked before, and then it will happen.


As to how much it will cost, that's easy.


All of it!


It helps if you have already been to the school of hard knocks. As it will make it easier to smile in the face of adversity.


The boom will see you right if you don't dither about.


Good luck





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When I last looked, Rex was Regional Express. I'm off to the UK with Emirates today. Back in 7 weeks, so safe flying to all while I am away.





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Guest pelorus32

A number of points worth making, but first I agree with much of the advice that's been given by the likes of Nev and FI. Further:


  1. The REX cadetship requires a return of service of 6 years if you are to avoid paying back money. The REX pay is not that big and there are discussions on the web about unhappy pilots at the company. Turnover of pilots is very high at the moment by REX's own admission. Six years is a long time in a place you don't want to be. Caveat Emptor;
  2. There have also been questions raised , given the structure of the cadetship, about how you would manage to move from the RH seat to the LH seat without CASA providing REX with a dispensation to some of the rules. CASA as I understand it shows no signs of doing that at the moment;
  3. REX anecdotally seem to be showing a predilection for employing youngsters into their cadet scheme. Maybe these guys and gals are seen as more maleable?
  4. The "Pilot Shortage" has many elements - economic growth, leading to an almost addiction with air travel being a major one. In addition demographics have an effect. Imagine you were 22 in 1942, captaining a heavy bomber over Europe. You were demobed in 1945 and found a job with the airlines which were expanding in the post-war environment. Jets came on-line in the late 60s early 70s and prices for tickets went down and the airlines expanded. Expecting the retirements of the wartime pilots - around 1980 if they lasted the distance to 60 - the airlines started training more pilots. QANTAS had a "QANTAS pays" cadetship scheme in the late 60s early 70s. Many of those guys were Second Officers for a long time - their path blocked by the guys from WWII, then all of a sudden in the late 70s early 80s they got FO and Captain jobs very quickly as a rash of retirements happened. Those cadets in turn were baby boomers and they are in the process of retiring right now. So airline expansion meets pilot demographics and creates a shortage. But soon enough that shortage will slow - at least a little - as the world economy tightens and the short term demographic problem is fixed with a bunch of new pilots.
  5. Further GA went into decline in the 80s and 90s. Pilot training fell away and there was little demand from the airlines. Costs increased and becoming a pilot was the last thing on everyones' mind. In 2006 in Australia only about 190 CPLs were issued. The number is on the increase now but that lull has added to the "shortage".
  6. Pilot numbers are definitely increasing. Airservices hasn't caught up with this yet. But try buying a current chart or ERSA - you can't within a week or two of release - demand has skyrocketed. It suggests to me that the tide has turned.
  7. Finally, don't just focus on the airlines as many have said. A friend of mine - late 20s went to Cathay about 18 months ago with 6500 very good hours and a very sound pilot. She is a 2/O on the B744 and finds it very frustrating. Yes it pays well but it is not all glamour and the wait for even a RH seat can be long. Other parts of aviation can be just as rewarding.








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Guest Flight Instructor

Size of the aeroplane


Two anecdotes from me around P32's and Nev's wisdom:-


1. Many years ago I spoke to management of a flight training school, where a few of their ex-students had come for a visit after getting that prized airline pilot job. Managemement asked: " At what stage does the $$$ become more important, than the flying?" Answer: "About 2 years into the job", was the consensus from the visiting group.


2. When I recently left a good job working for a company involved in airline operational safety audits to become a lowly instructor-pilot 1 - 2 of our "experienced" auditors (i.e. retired ex-mil|airline, test pilots, 10,000+hours on average) said: "You lucky bastard, I wish I could do that!"


Go for the job not the status. Remember, the Pilot's Perfume of Success isn't just buring AVTUR/Jet A-1 wafting through your nose ; AVGAS is just as good!






"Keep The Blue Side Up And The Dirty Side Down"



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comments from dicksmithflyer.com.au


the following commentry from dick smith's website makes some depressing read for piloting as a career-but then again if one is determined to do it I dont think any body can stop them.


Flying as a career</B> Last Updated: Jul 3rd, 2007 - 12:51:04


Flying as a career?


Many young pilots contact me and ask how they should get into aviation. I give as much advice as I can. Normally it is to head to the Northern Territory, work in a hangar for nothing and eventually you will be noticed and be able to get your hours up.


However things are changing. I thought it would be responsible to include the following comment, which is from an airline pilot. He makes some very good points, and young pilots thinking of getting into the airlines should at least get as much advice as they can.


Qantas to train 3000 pilots over the next 10 years, the problem is who wants to choose aviation as a career anymore?


Apart from the early QANTAS cadet courses where they took anybody (just joking) the majority of cadets since the re-instatement of the cadet courses have been reasonably intelligent people who could of chosen a number of career paths. I assume QF will be targeting the same standard of people for its expanded cadet scheme. How to entice those people to choose a flying career will be difficult.


In thinking about a career you need to look at the long term prospects. Some of the things to consider are:


1. Fuel, there is no real alternative to oil as a fuel for aircraft, a relatively cheap fuel that has a high calorific value. As oil availability starts to decrease and costs go up flying will reduce. To me, flying will end up like it was in the beginning, only for the rich. Which means less pilots.


2. Technology, there is talk of single pilot for cruise aircraft, and even pilotless aircraft. Concerns for safety and even terrorist actions means taking the control of aircraft out of the hands of pilots. Which may mean less pilots required.


3. Aviation is very susceptible to any major international problem such as terrorism, pandemics etc. Although the trend has been for aviation to recover quicker after any setback, a major pandemic could reduce flying dramatically.


4. Pay and conditions. This is probably the area of most concern. Flying used to be a well paying job, with plenty of time of. For international flying there were long slips in exotic destinations. Today we are working much harder, we are at work more, and usually minimum time in slip ports, 36 hours generally for international layovers. For domestic flying, minimum slip overnights with early morning starts. There has been a dramatic shift in pay, with the airlines trying to drive wages down by various methods. Also the pay of a pilot has stagnated whereas other professions have increased.


5. Health. Being a pilot has to be bad for your health. We subject ourselves to higher levels of radiation, constant jet lag (if international flying), breathing toxic air from the engines. Being exposed to various diseases being re-circulated through the cabin air. De-hydration (with Qantas actually disabling the cockpit humidifiers to save money). You are also subject a much higher level of medical scrutiny, with many medical problems causing you to lose your license and your ability to earn money. Whereas in other professions once you are well its back to work. In aviation, you may get well but an underlying medical problem may prohibit you from flying.


6. Roster. Lack of control over your life. You won't have any control over being home for birthdays, Christmas etc. You won't be able to plan ahead to attend special events.


7. Challenges of the job. Flying used to be a fairly challenging job, going back aircraft such as the 747-300, you actually flew the aircraft, there was much more thinking involved. Today we have glass cockpits, fly by wire aircraft that virtually fly themselves. Just follow the magenta line. International flying has become so boring with the advent of datalink and GPS navigation, a flight across the Pacific involves 14 hours of sitting there (with half of that in the crew rest) and about 10 buttons presses to send messages. We have also seen any personality being taken out of flying, today we have to all fly exactly the same way, we must say exactly the right thing at the right time.


If you say "One to go" instead of "1000 to go" that's a black mark against you. Commonsense has been taken out of aviation and been replaced with being pedantic.


8. Limited work opportunity. There aren't many airlines to work for. Just imagine when you finish your training there are just three employers to work for in Australia, that provide reasonable conditions.


9. Work Surveillance and the law. We currently have cockpit voice recorders and soon we will have cockpit video surveillance. All yours actions are being recorded and although we are told it is only for safety use, there is a growing trend to use this information for legal action. Just look at the court case against the two Qantas pilots who allegedly took off without the airport lights on.


10. Constant checking of your ability. A couple of times each year you have to get into the simulator to prove your ability. Fail a few times and once again you're out of a job, or at least you won't be able to promote. Your ability is also open to interpretation depending on who is assessing you.


Is flying a good job? At the moment it is, I still enjoy it. But if I was just leaving school with good marks and looking for a career would I choose aviation again. NO, I wouldn't.


There are just too many risks to a flying career. The enjoyment is no longer there. The pay is no longer there. I would choose a career that isn't reliant on oil, or isn't affected by a terrorist action overseas. That doesn't affect my health, and doesn't control my life. Where my employer respects me and treats me as an asset not as a liability. Where, if I was sick of working for one employer there were plenty of other employers.


Of course this mainly relates to airline flying – I am sure there are still great careers in charter flying, RFDS, aero medical etc in Australia.



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Guest Stickman

Always gotta be at least one literalist joker in the bunch, right?


I'm just wondering if such a dramatic career change would be feasible at my age, that's all.



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Yeah OK.


I did it for the majority of my life. The present seems to offer good opportunities, due to the shortage. YOU have to decide what branch of aviation you want to target, work out what the conditions would be, because there is a serious amount of money required to train yourself, as has always been the case. I actually think, in real terms that it is cheaper now than it was in years past. Eg, One weeks wages didn't quite get you two hours dual in the 60's. and you are never guaranteed a job.


Too old at 43? maybe for airlines, but otherwise no. Nev...



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Hi Stickman,


While not your age I recently made the tough decision to not pursue an Air Force pilot career at the age of 34 despite passing all the selection tests and it being a life long dream. I applied when I was 32 and at a point in my life (like many contributing to this thread) where I wanted to decide whether to convert my current hobby and passion into a career. There were so many things to consider when making the decision to even apply - lifestyle, money, family, money, maturity, money, career opportunities...and of course money.


I'm currently working as a senior manager for one of the largest IT service providers in the world and get paid reasonably well as a result, so any thought of a career change must take into consideration our financial position...which at this point in our lives doesn't allow us to take a very considerable reduced salary to pursue the passion. Thankfully and ironically, IT is my other interest and hobby and while not a hands-on techo any more, I still enjoy working in the industry and enjoy my role...and it just happens to be a very well paying industry at the moment.


In contrast, my mate Chris who is a Jetstar captain, former Air Force pilot and former training & check captain with over 25 years experience and 12,000+ hours earns a base salary less than mine. He enjoys his flying but gets most enjoyment from the weekly "thrashing of the parrot" that we're doing at the moment while he teaches me aerobatics and often laments as to who's in the better position - he who flies for a living or me who owns their own aircraft and fly when I want, how I want, where I want...or if I don't want (rare but it happens 006_laugh.gif.0f7b82c13a0ec29502c5fb56c616f069.gif).


I had also spoken to many current Air Force pilots before and during my application process to get a good appreciation across all ages / aircraft types of their experiences, pros, cons etc. When I explained my situation to many of them, their reaction was "why the hell would you want to give up all that to join the RAAF???" ....the grass is always greener


The decision to pull out of the Air Force process ultimately came down to lifestyle - mine and that of my wife (Kaz). The thought of packing up home, moving around every couple of years, being treated like a kid (which is what most of the applicants are), a substantial reduction in salary and living standards just didn't seem to be what I wanted at this point in my life to simply fly a few more hours a year and have it be my job. 10 years earlier I would've done it without thinking.


I'm actually thinking of getting my instructor rating (GA and RAA) as I really enjoy experiencing the sensations and enjoyment that others get in the early stages of their flying, I also enjoy developing peoples skills to achieve their goals - whether it's flying or work related.


Ultimately the decision is yours. I wouldn't consider your age to be an issue - with retirement age for pilots recently changed you could have a flying career for the next 20 years - if you want it that badly, you'll achieve it.







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Matt. I think you have just about said it all.


If you have a good job which you enjoy, you can also enjoy flying whenever you wish. If you fly for a living you are at the beck and call of the boss and will probably take up sailing as a hobby, than you will know just how much it takes to pay for a hobby. Believe me, I have flown and sailed and flying is far less costly.



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