In this day, the pilot is in high demand. There is a growing pilot shortage. Why? You ask? Who wouldn’t want to get paid for this office view? Well, that’s one of the biggest reasons…PAY. So many great companies to work for in this industry but no matter which one you choose, your first year of pay will be barely enough to survive off of. In this line of work we fly multi-million dollar airplanes in an overly regulated environment(s) jam packed with passengers that are expecting nothing less than safe, professional, and hassle free transport from point A to point B.
All of the studying, memorizing, practicing, studying, and practicing eventually pays off for this. This one little thing that we have strived so much to achieve! I can now, officially, say that I am an airline pilot.
The job is thrilling sometimes, most of the time, however, it is just flat out busy! There is a lot of stuff to get done in a short amount of time prior to push back and take off. The walk around (to ensure the aircraft is airworthy) needs to be completed. Cockpit preparation and pre-flight checklists must be done.
Once the flight is ready, it’s time to board passengers, do your final flight plan and takeoff prep checks and then it’s “Breaks released, you are cleared to push”. The push back commences as the engines get spooled up. We monitor the engine parameters to make sure we have good engines for the flight. Taxi clearance is received and we are moving towards the runway. Next up: take off clearance. “Exterior light….ON”. “Set Thrust”. “Thrust Set 89.6%” and we are airborne.
Now, if we make this next flight on time, I can probably catch my flight back home for my day off. As usual, there is weather up ahead so the stress starts to build as you start plotting your way through the weather and coordinating course deviations with ATC. “Center, we’re going to need 20 degrees left for weather”.
Before you know it, you flight gets diverted due to the weather you were trying to get around.
You are still done flying for your 4-day trip, however, instead of a quick flight home, now you have to make a two seat jump seat commute home. Haha.
The visually stimulating scenery that we encounter on a daily basis and the challenge(s) we face from day to day are what keeps our breed coming back for more. Strong-willed, type A, alpha personalities. Yet, we still do this for peanuts. Hopefully, things are in the process of changing for the better. Hopefully, there are still good companies out there that not only pay their pilots what they should be paid, but that they treat their pilots the way we should be treated, as well.
So, is this career worth it? I am still trying to figure this out on my own. I’m not sure what else I could or would want to do without flying for a living but it’s not much of a living anymore with the wages being so low that looking forward to a “comfortable” lifestyle is many years away. Is corporate flying the answer? I do not know at this point. What I do know is the quest continues in this diverse and fast paced lifestyle. The quest for good quality of life balanced with comfortable pay all while working for a great company that looks after their employees.