Becoming an Airline Pilot – Part IV: Finally, a few suggestions

No matter which path you decide to take to become an Airline Pilot, you must realize that there are many other very qualified individuals who also want that job. You need to make yourself as desirable as possible to the airlines. Paying attention to the following as you pursue your goals will make a world of difference when you get to that airline interview you have been working toward.

Continue to build your flight time: As mentioned before, get as much quality flight experience as possible. Work on getting multi-engine time, cross country time, instrument and night flying time. Build up flying time in high performance aircraft, such as turbo-props and jets. Build Pilot-in-Command (PIC) time in larger and more complex aircraft. This will distinguish you from other candidates, who will be trying to make a good impression too.

Continue your education: Having any four year college degree puts you ahead of other candidates without one. In the absence of a degree, college courses successfully completed will help. Continue your flight training will also show a continued desire to get better. Advanced training such as a Jet Transition Course will also smooth your transition to the airlines.

Continue to be a good citizen: This subject was covered in Part I, but it is worth reiterating. You may want to volunteer. Airlines tend to look at your past behavior as an indication of how you will behave as an employee. Being able to show your participation in a good cause on your resume and is very helpful.

Continue to stay informed: Read absolutely everything that you can find about aviation. Immerse yourself in aviation. The more you know about aviation, airplanes, airlines and the history of all of these things, the better student and pilot you will be. Your decisions will be informed decisions, and that is important as you pursue your career goals.

Keep your logbook up to date: Part of every airline interview is an extensive review of your log book. It will also be reviewed every time you take a check ride with an FAA Designated Examiner. You will make a much better impression on both parties if it is well organized.

Take care of your health: Airplanes can be very noisy, and you will be exposed to sunlight that is not filtered by the atmosphere as much as you are used to at ground level. Use sunscreen on your skin and protect your eyes from ultraviolet light with good sun glasses. Protect your hearing with earplugs or headphones and remember that you are going to have to pass FAA physicals for the duration of your flying career.

As you can see, there is much work involved in becoming an airline pilot. Hopefully you have completed your flight training with all of the tools and experience necessary to move forward. There is no fast and easy formula for success in the airline industry, and there are no substitutes for a strong desire and a willingness to apply yourself. But ask anyone who makes a living flying one of those magnificent flying machines whether it was worth the effort it took to get there, and you will get a resounding Yes!