Dashed dreams! Could there be a worse time to think about flight training?


Look back to the start of 2020 and you will find many articles written about the looming pilot shortage. A study by Boeing in 2019 found 800,000 new pilots would be needed over the next 20 years. This equaled around 900 pilots leaving flight school every week for the foreseeable future. All indications for future pilots were that this was a fantastic time to start your career. You would have been likely to find a job soon after leaving flight school. Having often taken a loan upwards of £100,000, the chance of a job at the end was critical in most aspiring pilot’s decisions. In March this year, the true impact of Covid-19 hit. With thousands of commercial pilots on the ground and airlines struggling, aspiring aviators have some tough decisions to make.

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This is undoubtedly a tough time. Predictions range from the industry making a full recovery relatively quickly to taking three to four years to fully recover. There are signs of a slow recovery in China as more domestic flights take to the skies again. Over the last 30 years, the industry has had to deal with 9/11, the 2007-8 financial meltdown and now Covid-19. Previously the industry has recovered and the demand for pilots has grown again. All aspiring aviators will have to get used to the volatility of the industry and remain resilient to its downturns.
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Stunning mountains © Aviationhumour.net


Potential pilots should be wary at this difficult time of flight schools selling a dream that may be very difficult to achieve in the next few years. Flight schools will be struggling at this time as well, and very keen to sell courses. Paying upwards of £100,000 with no guarantees may be foolish; however, there are more sensible ways of pursuing the dream. Undertaking modular training for example, where you pay as you go, would mean you could work alongside flight training. This usually takes longer than an integrated course but may mean you finish training at the start of the next industry upswing and most importantly without huge debt to worry about.


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The view is worth it. © Dominic Zoltowski
Most aspiring pilots will have dreamt of flying since being in nappies and could not imagine doing anything else. There are very few pilots who have not experienced any obstacles to getting their dream job and this time is no different. Be sensible, be realistic, be persistent and most importantly never give up on your dream.
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