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Airline Pilot CV Writing Tip's

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Airline Pilot CV Writing Service

As an airline pilot you would fly passengers and cargo to destinations around the world. This can be an exciting and challenging job, but it involves a lot of responsibility. If you are keen on aircraft and travel this could be ideal for you.

To become an airline pilot, you will need to have good teamwork skills. You’ll need good concentration and hand-to-eye coordination. And you’ll also need to be able to remain calm, and take charge in an emergency.

There are many ways to start training to be a pilot from doing a private course through to learning at a university.

The work

Your duties would typically include:

  • carrying out pre-flight checks of instruments, engines and fuel
  • making sure that all safety systems are working properly
  • working out the best route based on weather reports and other information from air traffic control
  • following airport approach and landing instructions from air traffic control
  • checking flight data and making adjustments to suit weather changes
  • keeping passengers and crew informed about journey progress
  • writing flight reports after landing, including about any aircraft or flight path problems
  • on small planes helping to load and unload luggage or cargo.

On flights taking a short amount of time (short haul flights), you would normally work in a two-person team, as pilot (captain) or co-pilot (first officer). On long haul flights, you would often have a flight engineer on board, who would check the instruments.

You might also work in other areas of aviation, such as crop spraying, flight testing and flight training.


Hours

Your working hours would be linked to flight destinations and could include nights, weekends and public holidays. Working hours are strictly regulated for safety reasons.

The amount of time you spend away from home would vary. On UK and European routes, you may be able to return home every evening. Flights further away would often involve overnight stays or longer. If so, your employer would provide you with accommodation.


Income

Co-pilots (first officers) can earn between £21,000 and £43,000 a year, depending on experience. Captains can earn between £55,000 and £80,000 a year.

Captains with around 20 years’ experience can earn up to £100,000 a year.

Figures are intended as a guideline only.


Entry requirements

You would usually start your career as a first officer after gaining at least an Airline Transport Pilot’s Licence (ATPL). This is first awarded as a ‘frozen ATPL’, which allows you to fly as a first officer. When you have completed enough flying hours you can apply for a full ATPL and qualify as an airline captain. You must be at least 21 years old to have a full ATPL.

You will need to pass a thorough medical check. You should be physically fit, and have good hearing, eyesight and normal colour vision. Some airlines set height and weight restrictions.

The Guild of Air Pilots and Air Navigators (GAPAN) offers an aptitude test for people with little or no flying experience. Although not essential, the test could help you decide whether you are suited to this career before you spend money on training. See the careers section of the GAPAN website for more details.

Private Training

You can train at a Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) approved training school, but you would have to pay the full cost of the course yourself, which is around £50,000 to £60,000 in total. You can get a list of training providers from the CAA personnel licensing department and the British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA). See the More Information section below for contact details.

Armed Forces Experience

If you qualified as a pilot in the armed forces, you can take a conversion course to gain a commercial pilot’s licence. There is strong competition for pilot training in the armed forces and you must serve a minimum term before moving on to employment with an airline.

Please see the RAF job profiles on this website for more information.

University Route

Several universities offer courses in air transport and operations with pilot training options. Some of these allow you to study up to frozen ATPL level. In most cases, you will have to pay for the flight training modules yourself. To search for courses, see the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) website.

The British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA) and the Air League have details about routes into this career, airline sponsorships, bursaries and scholarships. You can also find careers information on the Royal Aeronautical Society and GoSkills websites. See the More Information section below for contact details.

To find out more about working as an airline pilot, see the case studies on the Careers in Passenger Transport website.


Training and development

Your training to reach the frozen ATPL level could take between nine and 36 months, depending on which entry route you follow (read about frozen ATPL in the Entry Requirements section above). It may take less time if you already have a Private Pilot’s Licence, Commercial Pilot’s Licence or experience in the armed forces.

Training will include:

  • flight principles
  • navigation and communications
  • meteorology
  • operational procedures
  • aviation law
  • use of flight simulators and flying real aircraft.

During the training period, you would learn basic flying skills and usually work towards frozen ATPL. You must complete a minimum 195 hours’ flying time to achieve this.

You would normally start work as a co-pilot (first officer) alongside a training captain on short-haul flights. This would give you maximum experience of take offs and landings. A full ATPL is normally awarded after 1500 flying hours, with at least 500 of these as a co-pilot. Eventually you could become a fully qualified captain.

As a pilot, you must renew your instrument rating (IR) and take skills tests for specific aircraft every six to twelve months. You also have to pass regular medical examinations.


Skills and knowledge

To become an airline pilot, you will need to have:

  • the ability to follow spoken instructions from air traffic control
  • the ability to give clear, confident instructions to crew members and passengers
  • good teamwork skills
  • the ability to work with technology
  • good hand-to-eye coordination
  • the ability to read maps and 3D displays
  • good written communication skills
  • the ability to remain calm, and take charge in an emergency.

Opportunities

Jobs are advertised with scheduled and charter passenger airlines, freight carriers and private business charter companies in the UK and overseas. Airlines are listed in the membership section of the International Air Transport Association website.

With around five years’ experience, you could apply to be a co-pilot on long haul flights. You would need at least 5000 flying hours before applying for promotion to captain.

Opportunities as a pilot could include doing training or management jobs alongside flying duties, or transferring to ground-based management. You could also move into flight training, ferry flying and agricultural flying in remote areas.

Related industry information

Industry summary

The aviation industry is represented by People 1st, the Sector Skills Council for hospitality, passenger transport, travel and tourism. The passenger transport sector incorporates rail, aviation, bus and coach, taxi and private hire, light rail and metro, driver training, and UK waterways. The sector accounts for 735,000 jobs, most of which are within the bus and coach, taxi and private hire, rail, and aviation industries. The passenger transport sector comprises a myriad of roles, from pilots and transport planners, to essential support roles in finance, marketing and human resources.

The aviation industry is a large employer in the UK and includes 30 commercial airports, plus numerous private airports and airfields. It includes people employed in:

  • highly skilled and technical roles, such as pilots and air traffic control
  • customer service roles, including passenger check in and support, terminal and airport management and cabin crew
  • ground services undertaking tasks, such as baggage and cargo handling, aircraft preparation and flight planning

The UK aviation industry is dominated by a small number of companies. The introduction of the low-cost airlines changed the structure of the industry, but growth in this area is expected to slow.

Key facts:

  • There are 138,000 people working in the aviation industry
  • Only 4% of companies employ more than 100 people, but this 4% employ 86% of the UK aviation workforce
  • The average age of an employee is 40
  • There are female dominated roles in the industry, the main being cabin crew. Male dominated roles include baggage handling and aircraft ramp services
  • The average working hours for an aviation industry employee are 38 per week.
  • Just 10% of the workforce is employed part-time
  • In 2009, more than 218 million passengers were handled by UK airports

Jobs in the industry fall into the following areas:

  • Ground handling services – such as baggage/ramp handling, aircraft preparation, load planning officer, ramp supervisor, aircraft dispatcher
  • Airport operations – such as airport duty staff, support officer to team supervisor, airport terminal manager, customer support staff, air traffic control
  • Airline operations – such as passenger services staff, ground handling, cabin crew, first officer pilot, flight captain, cabin crew officer, aviation operation passenger services

National and regional data

[N.B. Regional data presented are for the aviation industry and the passenger transport sector as a whole. Data derived from the Labour Force Survey, 2007.]

East Midlands – There are 4,900 people working in the aviation industry in the region. In the passenger transport sector as whole, 14% of the workforce in the region is female. 14% of the workforce is from an ethnic minority background. 6% of the workforce is under 25 years, 62% is 26-49 years and 32% is 50 years or older. Skill gaps include: foreign languages; vehicle maintenance and engineering; Welsh language; job related IT; and safety/accident management.

East of England – There are 13,600 people working in the aviation industry in the region. In the passenger transport sector as whole, 25% of the workforce in the region is female. 9% of the workforce is from an ethnic minority background. 7% of the workforce is under 25 years, 52% is 26-49 years and 41% is 50 years or older. Skill gaps include: foreign languages; job related IT; Welsh language; and vehicle maintenance and engineering.

London – There are 25,300 people working in the aviation industry in the region. In the passenger transport sector as whole, 20% of the workforce in the region is female. 42% of the workforce is from an ethnic minority background. 4% of the workforce is under 25 years, 70% is 26-49 years and 26% is 50 years or older. Skill gaps include: job related IT; foreign languages; safety/accident management; booking operations; and logistics and scheduling of services.

North East – There are 2,100 people working in the aviation industry in the region. In the passenger transport sector as whole, 17% of the workforce in the region is female. 3% of the workforce is from an ethnic minority background. 8% of the workforce is under 25 years, 51% is 26-49 years and 41% is 50 years or older. Skill gaps include: job related IT; foreign languages; vehicle maintenance and engineering; Welsh language; and safety/accident management.

North West – There are 13,600 people working in the aviation industry in the region. In the passenger transport sector as whole, 16% of the workforce in the region is female. 14% of the workforce is from an ethnic minority background. 6% of the workforce is under 25 years, 61% is 26-49 years and 33% is 50 years or older. Skill gaps include: foreign languages; disability awareness; Welsh language; and vehicle maintenance and engineering.

South East – There are 49,100 people working in the aviation industry in the region. In the passenger transport sector as whole, 25% of the workforce in the region is female. 11% of the workforce is from an ethnic minority background. 6% of the workforce is under 25 years, 48% is 26-49 years and 36% is 50 years or older. Skill gaps include: foreign languages; vehicle maintenance and engineering; and job related IT.

South West – There are 6,100 people working in the aviation industry in the region. In the passenger transport sector as whole, 19% of the workforce in the region is female. 4% of the workforce is from an ethnic minority background. 4% of the workforce is under 25 years, 56% is 26-49 years and 40% is 50 years or older. Skill gaps include: foreign languages; job related IT; and vehicle maintenance and engineering.

West Midlands – There are 6,500 people working in the aviation industry in the region. In the passenger transport sector as whole, 19% of the workforce in the region is female. 27% of the workforce is from an ethnic minority background. 7% of the workforce is under 25 years, 65% is 26-49 years and 28% is 50 years or older. Skill gaps include: job related IT; safety/accident management; foreign languages; maths/working with numbers; and disability awareness.

Yorkshire and the Humber – There are 2,200 people working in the aviation industry in the region. In the passenger transport sector as whole, 13% of the workforce in the region is female. 18% of the workforce is from an ethnic minority background. 8% of the workforce is under 25 years, 62% is 26-49 years and 30% is 50 years or older. Skill gaps include: foreign languages; vehicle maintenance and engineering; job related IT; and Welsh language.

Northern Ireland – There are 2,200 people working in the aviation industry in the region. In the passenger transport sector as whole, 21% of the workforce in the region is female. Data are unavailable on the ethnicity of the workforce. 9% of the workforce is under 25 years, 74% is 26-49 years and 17% is 50 years or older. Skill gaps include: foreign languages; safety/accident management; job related IT; and disability awareness.

Scotland – There are 10,400 people working in the aviation industry in the region. In the passenger transport sector as whole, 16% of the workforce in the region is female. 2% of the workforce is from an ethnic minority background. 8% of the workforce is under 25 years, 56% is 26-49 years and 36% is 50 years or older. Skill gaps include: foreign languages; vehicle maintenance and engineering; and disability awareness.

Wales – There are 1,800 people working in the aviation industry in the region. In the passenger transport sector as whole, 18% of the workforce in the region is female. 4% of the workforce is from an ethnic minority background. 8% of the workforce is under 25 years, 54% is 26-49 years and 38% is 50 years or older. Skill gaps include: Welsh language; foreign languages; disability awareness; safety/accident management; job related IT; and vehicle maintenance and engineering.

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