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You may have watched or read here and there that the aviation industry is undergoing some significant economic tensions.
[Check my last article on the subject if not]
For a regular passenger, it may sound like it could all be fixed once borders worldwide finally open, however, aviation enthusiasts around the world may be faced with deeper concerns such as, “Is this the right time to be/become a pilot ?”
Let me be straightforward and answer: No, it is not. In fact, it is not the right time to be anything that requires you to be exposed to the Coronavirus at the moment. [in times like these, I wish remote/self-flying airplanes for commercial operation was not just a utopian foreshadowing for the next century]
On the other hand, let’s look at another aspect of the matter: “Is this the worst time to become a pilot ?”
Once in a while, I get a message on my social apps from aspiring pilots. I can bet my next paid leave (though very uncertain I must say) that all my colleagues can relate.
The adorable boys and girls want to know how to become a pilot, how to join an airline [which we shall hopefully cover in another article], etc.
Now, how do I tell these inquisitive individuals, overcome with passion, that they are not welcome in an industry that so widely opened its doors to me?
Here are some basic facts:
• A numerous amount of pilots are jobless.
• A good proportion of these pilots have enough flight experience to get any job they want.
• There is another group of pilots who, fresh out of flight school, are waiting ardently for the next recruitment announcements.
• Let’s not even talk about the current number of student pilots all over the world!
The reality is, as a newbie, you will fall into a pool of unemployed experienced and over-experienced pilots, where you would, unfortunately, probably be pushed at the bottom of the pyramid in terms of priority.
That being said, through this uncertainty, there are three quotes that I live by.
“Nothing is lost, nothing is created, everything is transformed”
– Antoine Lavoisier
The job vacancies will be filled back by the same people who lost them. Perhaps in a newly shuffled manner, but they will not be idle forever.
“Necessity is the mother of invention.”
This infamous quote, I believe, is self-explanatory; when the need arises, jobs will be created. All the forecast fleet expansions will require more pilots recruitments, and everyone would gradually get a seat at the table.
“Luck is what happens when opportunity meets preparation”
– Seneca The Younger, Roman philosopher
The key is to remain prepared by staying ahead of the game: update your CV, sign up for online certifications, master your procedures, draft a cover letter in advance, and who knows, you could be part of the lucky ones*!
I reckon there is an ardent need to realize that the aviation industry might not take-off and cruise as well as it used to, for the next couple years to say the least. It is further important that we remain aware of it in order not to get discouraged, but rather to anticipate. Not to quit flying but instead, to avoid putting all our eggs in one basket.
I’d like to conclude with this affirmation that has carried me through the toughest days of this thrilling career. Despite the trial, don’t lose your passion in the process for it is your biggest asset in times of self-doubt.
Lucky ones: The pilots who get a job straight out of flight school in a period of less than a year.
[And Yes, there is worse out there]