Being a pilot is a fun and rewarding job, but it’s not all a bit cakewalk; not by half! Being a pilot means that the lives of hundreds of people are in your hands at all times, and you and your co need to run systems that look as complex as your average spacecraft. On the other hand, you get to fly above the clouds for a living, see places all around the world, and sit down and look at the view for most of your job! There are both pros and cons, but it is worth it to me. Here are the steps you need to follow if you want to become an airline pilot!
First, you need a 4-year college degree. If you plan to fly for a small regional airline you won’t need the full college degree, but it’s unlikely you’ll get the job without a degree at all. However to fly for someone like Delta or Southwest, and 4-year degree with a B.S. (Bachelor of Science) preferably in aviation is the way to go. The exception to this general rules is if you served in the military, and preferably the air force. This shows that airline you are willing to do what it takes to learn.
Next, work on your reflexes! You will have to become ADD; you need to look at so many instruments at once, absorb that information, and react to it. It takes a special kind of person to do this; it’s like watching a drummer play a massive drum set and never miss a beat.
Next is the actual aviation school. To get your private pilot’s licence you will need to complete 40 hours of supervised flight. Next, to get a commercial licence you will need to get over 250 hours of direct, cross-country, and simulated flight.
Most airlines prefer that you have no less than 1500 hours of flight experience before you fly for them. Once again, the military is an option. You can enter the Air Force or Navy reserves and get trained for a year, then go back to civilian life. In case of emergency they would call when they needed you.
One more option is to try and get a job at a small regional airport. They almost always need pilots, so it shouldn’t be hard to find a job somewhere. After that you should be able to parlay your regional airline position into an even better job somewhere else for a major airline!
The key is that you need to practice. Just like a drummer mastering an instrument from Barking Drum, you need to keep on learning the skills involved in flight. That way you will be hireable and companies will snatch you up!