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Licence in Hand – Now What?

You’ve finally done it; you are now a commercial pilot. Feels good, doesn’t it?


October 2, 2007
By Kevin Cormier

So, you’ve finally done it; you are now a commercial pilot. Feels good,
doesn’t it? You are now one of the thousands of pilots who are legally
able to fly for financial benefit. And now for the big question: What
are you going to do?

Many students find themselves at the end of their training career
wondering where to start looking for a job. It’s as if the notion of
someday making money to fly rather than paying to fly doesn’t sink in
until someone signs that licence off. This article hopes to shed a
little light on landing that first job, or at least to offer some tips
on how to start positioning yourself for future employment.

To
begin with, if you have just gotten your commercial ticket and are
wondering what to do with it, you should slap yourself for waiting
until the very end of your training to start looking for a job. If you
are in the middle of your training or (even better) thinking of
becoming a professional pilot, please read on. If you find yourself
reading this with a stinging sensation on your cheek, the following
will hopefully get you back on track.

This industry is one of
chance – what I like to call “being at the right place at the right
time.” Having said that, your quest for employment should start from
day one.When you make the decision to become a professional pilot you
should ask yourself three questions: What kind of pilot do I want to
be? Where do I ultimately see myself working? What school/college/club
offers the best training for what I’m after? The answers will help you
lay down a career path that’s right for you. Begin by investigating the
industry.

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IN THE BEGINNING
It’s amazing how little the
general public knows about pilots. Your job is to clarify any
perceptions you may have regarding this career. Go right to the source:
head for your local airport and chat with some of the pilots. Check out
the various companies on the field as well as any Fixed Based Operators
(FBOs). Ask what kind of flying they do, how they got to where they
are, where they did their training and, most important, how they enjoy
what they do.

You will quickly find that there are thousands of
paths a pilot’s career can take. It’s important to keep an open mind.
You should also check with human resources departments and/or chief
pilots of flying companies that interest you. Knowing what kind of
flying time and experience companies are looking for will allow you to
make decisions early in your career that will enable you to reach your
goal.