Pilot issues for a while now have been the centre of attention in many industry conferences and specialized periodicals: the recruitment process peculiarities, recurrent training solutions, the deficit or surplus of aviation personnel depending on the region or fatigue issues caused by the erratic working schedules. It seems that the only communicated possibility to be part of aviation is to carry 180 people on the board of a Boeing or an Airbus from point A to B. The profession of an instructor seems to be in a sense forgotten, although it is no less rewarding or noble. Many young people who are passionate about aviation only dream of becoming pilots and fail to even consider the possibilities that a career of an instructor may open to them. Are they right to cross out the instructor’s profession from the list of their career choices altogether?
Merely an interchange station?
Baltic Aviation Academy has noted that students training for a Commercial Pilot License do not consider the profession of an instructor as a lifetime career possibility. Instead, they see it as a station between ab initio and type rating training. In fact, figures reveal that most of the pilots in the US start their career in aviation as flight instructors. The main advantage of instructing is that one can start working straight after obtaining a CPL license and thus increase the number of cumulative flying hours. Moreover, some of the earned money can be put aside for the expenses required to complete the type rating and other training programs which will allow operating large jet airliners.
Who wants to be an instructor?
’Nowadays it is very hard to find a good instructor who could conduct both theory and flight training classes for students-beginners by ensuring the highest quality standards. Well-experienced pilots are mostly concerned with making their careers in airlines. As a result, most of the candidates are either in the retirement age or have just graduated from a flight school themselves and see the job as a short-time transitional stage. However, a great instructor needs major dedication as he is responsible for bringing out the best in students and helping them to become great pilots. The lack of proper attitude can make the Ab Initio instructor’s job market very unfulfilling,’ commented Indre Sveistryte, Head of the Ab Initio training school at Baltic Aviation Academy.
The AOPA (Aircraft Owner and Pilot Association) has recently carried out a study and has come up with rather confusing results. 66% of the respondents thought that having an organized and a professional flight instructor was the most important flight training element. 64% also said that a flight instructor had to be an effective teacher. 35% of all student-pilots stated that they did not consider their instructors to be sufficiently professional or good teachers and said that as a result, their training process was uneven. One thing has come to light – the profession of an instructor has become the most important part of training. It determines the level of overall professional preparedness of those who will soon fly us all in the passenger seats.
In the words of an instructor
‘I think the profession of an instructor is a little underrated and slightly forgotten. As I remember from my own flight experience, the first good comment from the instructor was more memorable than my first solo flight,’ said Petros Moisydis, the instructor of the ab initio flight training from Greece. ‘For me the main motivation to become an instructor was my experience at every stage of my training. I have decided to become the person who creates a good pilot. Also, a big advantage is that you do not have to wait until the airlines call you and start working immediately.’
Requirements for the instructors
In order to become a flight or theory ab initio instructor you are required to obtain a Commercial Pilot License (CPL(A)). The CPL course is designed to train pilots to the level of proficiency necessary to operate single-pilot single-engine or multi-engine airplanes for commercial air transportation (purposes). The minimum requirements to become a certified flight instructor include attaining a pilot’s license, completing the medical examinations, maintaining a logbook and receiving recommendations from several already recognized professionals.
Of course being an instructor for a lifetime makes you devote yourself to flying on the smaller aircraft low and slow. But the truth is that sometimes airline pilots on the metal birds weighting around 40 tons catch themselves envying those flying beyond them, playing around the lake, turning around the tree and doing mind-blowing manoeuvres – because themselves they cannot do that!
The admission to the Commercial Pilot License (CPL(A)) study distance groups at Baltic Aviation Academy starts on the 2nd of April.