What happens if my daughter’s dream of being a pilot doesn’t take off?

Ask Brian: It may be highly competitive but there are a number of training routes

Prospective pilots require a range of aptitude and skills possessed by only a small cohort of interested applicants. Photograph: iStock

Prospective pilots require a range of aptitude and skills possessed by only a small cohort of interested applicants. Photograph: iStock

 

My daughter is sitting the Leaving Cert in June and has hear heart set on becoming a pilot. I worry about how tough it is to qualify and what will happen if she doesn’t make it. Have would you advise that she reality checks her aspiration?

You’re right: the journey she will have to make to secure airline transport pilot licence (ATPL) is an incredibly demanding one, which will require a range of aptitude and skills possessed by only a small cohort of interested applicants.

They include having excellent interpersonal skills, being a strong communicator, having a technological aptitude, displaying excellent analytical and problem-solving skills and a motivation to achieve a consistently high level of performance.

If your daughter believes that she fits this profile outlined above, she should consider the range of options open to her to achieve her dream.

There are lots of opportunities out there, though it is highly competitive. When Aer Lingus next recruits cadets, expect several thousand applicants to apply, so only a fortunate few will achieve their dream through that route.

Colour blindness test

Obviously, she will have to have at that time completed her Leaving Cert and to have secured the grades required for level eight degrees (two H4/H5, four H/O6). She will also have to obtain an EASA (European Aviation Safety Agency) / IAA (Irish Aviation Authority) issued class one medical, including successfully passing a colour blindness test.

If your daughter with your support decides to go down the training route herself, there has been a flight training school based in Cork for the past 20 years, the Atlantic Flight Training Academy. This will provide her with a full-time integrated course at a cost of €79,000.

Some trainee pilots secure their commercial pilots’ licence on a modular basis, enabling them to work in between modules to earn the income to cover the next lump of fees.

There are also many high-quality training schools in the UK who will feature at a flight training exhibition in Dublin on Saturday, March 2nd (see: www.pilotcareernews.com). Both Aer Lingus, Ryanair and DCU will have stands at the event.

DCU’s presence is because of their aviation management degree (DC117) which includes an option to train as a commercial pilot. This course would give your daughter a broad insight into all aspects of the structures, operations and management of the aviation industry.

DCU’s aviation management degree offers a route to professional qualification as a commercial pilot combined with a strong background in business education. In the fourth year, the course divides into two streams. Students who opt to pursue integrated flight training do so at Flight Training Europe (Jerez, Spain) or Oxford Aviation Academy (Oxford, UK). The cost of such training is not covered by the degree itself and is estimated to be about €100,000.

* This article has been amended to correct an error