The average member of the public has an outdated perception of what it is to be a commercial pilot. If you are an aspiring pilot, I hope these posts are motivating you and providing you with guidance on what you are embarking on before you commit huge amounts of time, energy and money. It’s worth spending some time reflecting on these posts, understanding what it takes academically and personally to achieve your goal. A surprisingly broad range of skills are needed, and it’s vitally important not to concentrate solely on the academic and financial side but to consider the personal attributes that are required as well. Many people have failed to achieve their dreams because they have overlooked this. Becoming a pilot is not just `a matter of money` as some erroneously think.
Academically, pilot training is not as demanding technically as is generally perceived. However, what poses the biggest challenge is the volume and breadth of material to be assimilated in a short time. This is often where people fall down. I have observed that the intensity and pace of the course can present difficulties to especially those who have been out of education for a while.
Certain personality types are better suited to the role of pilot. A lot rests on how you interact with others socially or deal with people in a working environment. During flying you will be working closely with one person for long periods of time, and if you find it hard to interact it will be a very uncomfortable experience. You should therefore feel at ease working with a range of people from diverse backgrounds in a rule-based environment where adherence to procedures and routines are vital.
It should go without saying that personal appearance should be carefully considered. Respect is demanded of such a position of responsibility, and the public and airline rightly demand a high standard of presentation. You need to look the part.
You must be able to make correct decisions quickly and accurately, to communicate effectively and to follow a plan logically. This is the key to efficient flying. The management of systems, tasks, and checklists is a major part of the pilot’s job. Monitoring yourself, the other pilot and the aircraft, it could be argued, is perhaps even more important than the stick and rudder skills you may have considered to be all that was required.
We will look at more, my mouth is very full.