My plan

rici

New Member
Hiya all,
like most of the board I am forming a plan to become an airline pilot. Would you mind commenting?
At the moment I am a UK citizen, (always have been) and I am just about to start a university in London on a four year aerospace engineering degree course. The plan is after I graduate to get an engineering job over in the USA, and then start my flying. The problem that I can see is that in all my school references I have stated that I want to be an airline pilot, now, what do you think that engineering companies out there are going to think of that? Will it affect my chances of securing a job offer?
Also, what companies employ foriegn nationals? Do you know of any companies that would employ a British engineer?
Thanks for the help.
Richard
 

Mike Lewis

Shadow Administrator
Staff member
[ QUOTE ]
The plan is after I graduate to get an engineering job over in the USA, and then start my flying. The problem that I can see is that in all my school references I have stated that I want to be an airline pilot, now, what do you think that engineering companies out there are going to think of that? Will it affect my chances of securing a job offer?

[/ QUOTE ]

Well, I think it might. After all, why would I want to hire someone, train them, etc. and then have them leave for another job in 4 or 5 years. Mention flying as a hobby, but don't tell the engineering companies themselves about your ambitions to be an airline pilot. Companies want to hire someone for the long term; otherwise, they'd just outsource the job to temp agency.

[ QUOTE ]
Also, what companies employ foriegn nationals? Do you know of any companies that would employ a British engineer?

[/ QUOTE ]

Well, it's easier said then done. There are a lot of companies out there who might hire you, but you need to have a visa before they'll even look at you. I am told that because of the lack of many American engineering graduates these days it is one of the few jobs that they'll outsource under L-1 visa. The traditional H-1B visa has the number of workers being scaled back from 195,000 to 65,000. But if you want to come under the L-1 visa, you already have to be employed by the company, likely take a pay cut, and it is only temporary (since it is for training and familiarization only).

I'd look at getting on with someone like BAe who is a partner on a US program, such as the Joint Strike Fighter, and try to work it that way. There are a lot of joint programs out there, and the visa requirements are different for those.

Good luck!
 

Minuteman

“Dongola”
Copaman's right.

I got my sheepskin (uh, the diploma kind) in Aerospeace Eng. and decided one of the first things I was going to do was get my pilot's license. There really wasn't a path planned out, but things just kind of snowballed: first the PPL, then the IR, and currently I've found that commercial training is an effective way to dispose of my income. I'm even warming to the idea of instructing someday.

You probably won't have a problem finding jobs available, "Locally," BAe steadily hires at a trickle, Lockheed is still looking for enough warm bodies for the JSF, and a surprising number of my classmates went to non-aero jobs to work as "analysts" at places like Halliburton (a percentage of that group proceeded to quit shortly afterwards, too).

The tough part is going to be the flight training. You'll be making money hand-over-fist, but at a job that will probably preclude getting out to the airfield anytime other than weekends. For some reason, most bosses don't think flying is a legitimate excuse to duck out for half the day. So, its going to take a little less than forever to train (same thing for saving up to become a 90-day wonder).

After that, there's time building. Allow me to approximate the interview for your first flying job, "You think I want a full-time job that pays one third of what I'm getting now? Bwhahah--OW! Stop hitting me! Stop hitting me!" (jeez, I sound like a snob) That's the part I'm currently struggling with and I think I've resolved it by deciding to wait until I get my student loans and car payments squared away ... which is just more time between now and getting paid to fly.

I guess I should also comment on the school-before-flying part. You don't need this particular degree to be qualified to fly and any good Aero program is going to be a poopstorm of hard work. If you're 100% certain you want to be a professional pilot, times will arise where you find your motivation waning and those greasy-faced mornings of going straight from the study lounge to your first class might not seem very reasonable to endure.

And until that time, shut your piehole about wanting to become a pilot (not around here, of course). Most people aren't overly productive in the first couple years at BigAerospace. That's why we're given titles like "Junior Assistant Engineer III" and are, in some ways, considered an investment by the company. If you're going to up and bail in a couple of years, why bother?

Well, you asked and I rambled. Good luck.
 

MissedApproach

Well-Known Member
My father is an aerospace engineer for Honeywell so I have some second hand knowledge on the subject. He has the german equivalent to a Ph.D. and everyone in his group has a Ph.D. (or equivalent). They do hire people on a steady basis and those that do get hired work very hard and are given quite a few responsibilities. There really isn't much of an internship period. This means that knowledge isn't transferred well and often they have to contract to a retired employee (for much more $)because no one in the company knows what he/she knows. It is important to keep employees as long as possible.

More and more work is outsourced to other countries and they're constantly working with other countries (India comes to mind). It seems that physically being here isn't really that important for doing the actual work.

My dad has 18 years seniority and works 5am-6pm mon-fri and most saturday mornings. Most evenings he works on his home computer until he goes to bed. This doesn't allow for a lot of time to work on something like flying. There are a lot of perks to his job as well. He makes slightly under 100k and has ample vacation time.

I often can't see how he could enjoy his work but he does. It is just something he enjoys and says he has no regrets about getting into it.

I know there are a few private/recreational pilots that my dad works with. A few others have glider ratings (one crashed into lake Pleasant a few months ago if anyone remembers).

Anyway, hope that helps a little.

If your just looking for a solid backup plan you might consider civil engineering. I'm going to try and double major in that.
 

rici

New Member
Thanks for the replies.
Over here, the cost of the integrated progams is around £70000 (more like £80000 by the time your through) and thats in GBP guys, not dollars!!! So, the $35000 is a little more viable to me. I want to move to the USA almost as much as I want to be a pilot, my family have our annual holiday out there without fail. But thats besides the point, with a degree I hope to be able to secure a high paid job out there to get the above fees.

I am a little sceptical about these ''90 day wonder'' programs though. We have NOTHING like that in the UK, and to me it seems a bit of a short time to train a pilot, is it a bonified program that produces good pilots? Is the ATP scheme JAA or FAA?
Thanks for listening.
 
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