The aviation industry

On 18 March 2019 Sharon Nicholson, from the Civil Aviation Authority, visited Bentley Wood High School to speak to students about how to become a professional pilot. Airline pilots fly passengers, or cargo, on flights for leisure, business or commercial purposes.

Typically an aircraft has two pilots: the Captain and a First Officer who both take turns to fly and navigate the plane. A pilot is responsible for the safety of crew and passengers and you must pass stringent training courses, a yearly Medical test plus retraining training every 6 months. As a pilot, you need to be able to interpret technical information so an understanding of maths and physics helps to start., as well as give clear commands to cabin crew and passengers, especially in difficult circumstances. 

To start you need a minimum of 5 GCSEs and two A-levels. A degree or postgraduate qualification is not required but there are related Degree courses available, eg Buckinghamshire New University offers a BSc (Hons) in Air Transport with Commercial Pilot Training. Other courses in aviation are geared towards careers in management, technology and engineering. In order to work as a Commercial Pilot you must hold an Airline Transport Pilot Licence (ATPL). Courses break down into two main types:

Integrated course - an intensive, full-time 18 month course carried out with a flight training provider which is a combination of theory and practical flying. Costs for this route are expensive - between £80,000 to £90,000!

Modular training - offered by the same training providers and covering the same subjects and examinations but the coursework is divided into modules, or chunks, allowing you to complete sections as you can afford them and work in between if needed. Students thanked Mrs Nicholson for her time and we all felt more informed about this profession.

Claudia-Andreea 9CJG and Sajeda 9AJ