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Should I become a pilot (COVID-19 edition)?

I receive this question reasonably often, but now it seems to be even more important than ever. Why? Because the current pandemic has been a disaster for aviation (sorry no nice way to put it). Many pilots are at home being furloughed, or worse, made redundant.

The pilots that are still flying are most probably in one of the following groups:

  • They’re super senior.
  • Their airline is super rich.
  • Their type of flying was not (or hardly) affected by the pandemic.
  • The government is supporting their airline.

I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I’m sayig that now is a far from ideal time to be in aviation, let alone start in aviation. But, as I’m in the group of furloughed pilots, I realised that I might not be the most optimistic person to ask for advice. Therefore I asked some of my follow pilots the following 2 questions:

“If you knew what you know now, would you still have become a pilot?”

“What is your advice for aspiring pilots?”

Here are the results, first to the question if THEY would still have become a pilot:

Of the “Yes, buts” these were the most common answers:

  • I would have done training very differently.
  • I would have studied something else first.
  • How I did it; yes. How it is now, no.
  • I wouldn’t want to have missed it, but I know now that I don’t want to do it for the rest of my life (at least not full time).

So up to the next question, “What would be your advice for aspiring pilots?”

So here you have the advice of my followers, but what is my advice? I basically agree with all of the advices apart from the just do it advice 😉.

I would advice to study something else first, so that can be your back up plan. With studying something else first you’re already quite far with waiting out the crisis (hopefully). When you’ve then done your research and you’re 100% sure you still want to do it (very important!!), look into cheaper ways of doing it. I would not recommend to go to one of those fancy integrated schools where you start your flying career with a 150000 euro debt (something I’ve done and I now regret).

If you’re not 100% sure about flying as your career, just do it recreational. It’s a lot cheaper, and honestly, I think it’s more fun as well. There’s a lot more freedom in flying a small aircraft by yourself, then when you have to fly certain routes because that’s where the passengers want to go.

To end with a more positive note. Although I’m not a specialist, I’m just another pilot who shares what I believe is true, I am quite convinced that aviation will recover. People want to fly, they want to travel and they want to travel far and fast. So aviation will recover, there will be flying jobs again. However, I think it will take a while.  

So my final answer? Make sure you’re sure. And if you’re sure, go follow that dream, just maybe not yet.

– Yours truly

2 thoughts on “Should I become a pilot (COVID-19 edition)?

  1. Great post!
    From which survey did you take the results?
    Just a note from someone who has studied for two different jobs: once you earned a regular salary it is even harder to make your decision to reset everything to zero and make something completely different without getting paid for


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