So you want to be a Pilot?
By Katy Chahal
Katy is Founder and contributing story writer at The WiAA Project
So ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, this is your pilot speaking!
Everyone loves to travel! Travel has become very affordable and safe over the years., thanks to the industry through their hard work, passion and dedication. We get on board, and reach our destinations, but what is it like to fly an airplane? So many start flying as a hobby to fulfill this desire or take it to the next level of choosing to become a pilot as a career. It does however require commitment of time and money.
So how do you become one? It is definitely quite a journey. It can vary somewhat from one country to another so it is best to assess each country’s requirements. Some airlines recruit cadet pilots. A cadet program is basically a cooperation between an airline and a flight school. The purpose of a cadet program is to ensure the supply of qualified pilots for the airline. Usually the flight school that will be training the cadet pilots, undergo a rigid audit process from the airline where the cadets will start working after graduation.
Let’s have a look at the basics of becoming a pilot - either as a hobby or as a commercial pilot.
Step 1: Earn a Private Pilot’s License (PPL)
First step to becoming a commercial pilot is to obtain a PPL. This stage of training in a single engine plane focuses on the fundamentals. A PPL will allow you to do hobby flying.
Step 2: Instrument Rating (IR)
After obtaining a PPL, the next step is to obtain Instrument Rating which allows a pilot to fly under Instrument Flight Rules in all kinds of weather.
Step 3: Earn a Commercial Pilot’s Licence (CPL)
After IR, the next step is to obtain a CPL. Pilots must meet specific requirements to be allowed to fly as commercial pilots.
Commercial pilots are not necessarily airline pilots. They can also be cargo pilots and flight instructors amongst others. A commercial pilot is simply one who is allowed by the local aviation authority to fly. In order to fly for an airline, you will need to earn the additional requirements. An airline pilot needs to have a CPL along with an Airline Transport Pilot’s Licence (ATPL).
Most pilots who have gone through a CPL course will also do the full ATPL theory alongside. Once the student obtains his or her CPL license with a full instrument flying, the pilot would obtain what they call a “frozen ATPL”. The experience requirements to obtain this license are at least 1500 hours of total flight time, of which 500 must be in multi crew aircraft. Once a pilot has attained the required number of hours, he or she may choose to upgrade their CPL to an ATPL and the pilot must demonstrate their ability to act as a pilot in command of a commercial airliner in a multi-crew environment.
As we are focusing on empowering and encouraging more women to be a part of aviation, let’s have a look at some statistics. Based on the latest statistics from International society of women airline pilots (ISWAP), Indian Airlines employ the highest proportion of female pilots at 12.4% and have no gender pay difference. This certainly should be an inspiring example! According to the Airline Pilots Association International Trade Union, globally just 5.18 % of commercial pilots are women.
The hurdles for females to get into aviation are huge. There needs to be a change in the social paradigm for people to see female pilots as being just as competent as male counterparts. Although it is going to be a slow and difficult process, it will certainly take the combined effort of communities, the industry, training facilities, and individuals to get there….and one of them being “The WiAA Project”
Source: International society of women airline pilots (ISWAP)
Establishments in the region that offer flying training:
https://aag.aero (Pampanga, Philippines)
https://aviasi28.com (Jakarta, Indonesia)
http://www.aaa.co.in (Ahmedabad, India)
http://aac.lk (Colombo, Sri Lanka)