Becoming a pilot is a dream for many young people. Piloting is one of the fascinating careers to pursue in the entire planet. Its lucrativeness is founded on its incomes, benefits, and privileges that accompany it. In the society, being a pilot earns a person a significant level of respect and several accolades. It’s a society’s high-class job irrespective of the country in which someone lives. The experience of flying is a thrilling thing that captivates the youth, both males and females. However, it is imperative to appreciate that, just like every other real thing in life; there is a price to pay for becoming a pilot. A piloting career demands high levels of academic qualifications. Investment in hard work and patience are necessary if one has to earn that lucrative salary. Furthermore, it is one of those careers that a person’s medical health plays the important role. With superior academic credentials coupled with sound health, flying plans can just be a dream away.
It is common knowledge that operating an aircraft demands that an individual undergoes some unique but rigorous training. One important aspect is that the training has to be done by an institution that is registered and recognized by relevant flight bodies and governments. Schools that are not recognized end up wasting the times and finances of students because when they finally graduate, there cannot be accredited by way of a piloting license. Once a person leaves the flying school, he or she must acquire proper certification from concerned authorities. The obligation of doing these two necessities lies on the interested students. In fact, for students who possess the burning passion for flying private or commercial flights, they deliberately search for valid courses and aviation schools. It is important to examine the Saudi Airlines because that will be where the piloting career will be based. Afterward, with their needs in mind, we can look at the academic and professional qualifications (Flavell, 2006).
Saudi Airlines is a commercial flight company. It was established in 1945, and is the flag carrier for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The airline’s call name is Saudia and is a revered member of the Sky Team. It is based in Jeddah at King Abdul-Aziz International Airport. Other home airports include King Khalid International Airport in Riyadh, King Fahd International Airport in Dammam, and Prince Mohammed Airport in Medina. The corporation controls a fleet size of over 160 planes that fly to over 125 destinations worldwide under their business banner ‘Welcome to your world.’ It is a company with a high international reputation. The fleet types include over 40 Boeing Airliners, over 60 Airbus Airliners, and 15 Embraer jets. The airline is known to conduct domestic flights within Saudi Arabia. They also do regional flights to the Middle East and North Africa. In addition, international flights together with Hajj flights are parts of the services the airline offers. What it means is that to be able to fly their planes, one has to attain high standards of qualifications. Attaining a commercial license is essential in getting a job with Saudi Airlines.
The academic qualifications that one must have to become a pilot are quite high. The aviation career requires individuals of high intellectual capacity and healthy minds. It is because; a lot of concentration is a necessity in the career. It is only with this level of concentration that a pilot can fly a plane for tens of hours without committing mistakes. It is worth noting that accidents are rare in the aviation industry yet when they happen they cause massive deaths. It is for this purpose that aviators must be individuals who know that they are carrying the lives of hundreds of passengers by their piloting prowess. To avoid such accidents, airlines like Saudi Arabia set extremely high standards so that they can protect their reputation.
Another important aspect is in the communications area. In high school, one has to demonstrate a good command of the English language. One of the factors why this is critical is because most of the courses in aviation schools are offered in the English language. English language is the language used mostly by the Saudi Arabian airlines. The pilot will have to be capable of communicating to the passengers in the plane during flights. It is important to note that Saudi Arabia Airlines carries passengers of various nationalities and therefore communication in Arabic would be a commercial blunder. English is thus universally accepted to be used. It is significant for communication that in turn is part of the job requirements of a good pilot.
The most crucial academic qualification is in the area of natural sciences. A candidate for a piloting course must have exemplary passes in science subjects. These include chemistry and physics because piloting is a field in the science domain. Without science, piloting as a career would be non-existent. Mathematics is also extremely crucial and has to be passed. Piloting involves math areas such as matrices, navigation, trigonometry and lots of calculations. To fly a plane, a person has to possess good knowledge of math. At this juncture, it is worth noting that most students do not like math and sciences. For those aspiring pilots, they have no choice but to develop interest and passion for the sciences. Without these mentioned passes, a person should forget getting into an aviation school, leaving alone flying a plane (Porter, 2009).
With these high school qualifications, one can proceed to the next level of education which is getting a degree in Aviation. A Bachelor of Science degree with a major in aviation studies is an added advantage before going to a flight school. The degree typically proceeds for four years to completion but the degree does not have to be associated with aviation. Possession of that degree is essential because it will help in proving to a flight school or an airline that one is capable of succeeding in the training they will offer. Having a degree is a significant requirement for flying commercial flights like the Saudi Airlines. Another path does not necessarily require one to study for a college degree. Straight from A levels of education, an individual can go straight to flight practice. The peril with this way is that the person may never be capable to fly the planes for major airlines.
In addition, in case one loses their jobs, getting another can become extremely difficult because most employers nowadays prefer degree holders. Therefore, a college degree puts an individual at a better position of not just becoming a pilot, but also flying major global airlines. In becoming a professional pilot in an institution such as Middle Tennessee State University, one will be required to major in aerospace but have a concentration in professional piloting. The course offers necessary guidelines for students who possess an immense interest in careers as commercial pilots. In this institution, a student will be required to complete 52 hours per semester in various courses in professional piloting.
Other courses to be taken include Instrument Rating-Airplane, the Commercial Single-Engine Certificate of Pilots. Ina addition, one will successfully undertake a course in Commercial Multi-Engine Pilot Certificate coupled with Rating of Instruments. All these courses will be done at the MTSU Flight School. They only happen to those students who enroll in the flight labs. As can be seen, these courses increase a pilot level of competence. Furthermore, the marketability of such training is essential to attaining a job at Saudi Airlines because such professional programs are internationally recognized (Landman, 2012).
Generally, after attaining a degree, a student enrolls for a good flight school with qualified instructors. In choosing a flight school, a student needs to attend a FAA evaluated school. It is more advisable especially if a student desires a vastly regimented preparation program. After this particular training, a student is capable of attaining a private pilot certificate. Also important is the acquisition of a First Class Medical certificate. It is obtained from a recognized medical professional. Without this certificate, the journey towards becoming a commercial pilot may just be a pipe dream. Also, it helps a student realize his or her prospects early enough before investing too much money unnecessarily.
Armed with the private pilot certificate and the medical certification, a student can then proceed to the next stage of becoming a Saudi Airline pilot. A person is required to start practicing to become competent in instrument rating. Also, the process of acquiring a commercial certificate can begin in earnest. To complete an instrument rating practice, an individual requires over 50 hours of pilot-in-command cross country. In addition, a requirement of over 40 hours of real or computer-generated instrument situations is a necessity. Over 250 hours is required for becoming a commercial pilot, and this training takes place in a complex aircraft.
A person is then required to finish a certified flight instructor rating. Once this is done, he or she can begin working in a flight school or any other available institution that can offer him or her reliable experience. It will be necessary for multi-engine rating that is a core component of commercial flights practice. It is adequate flight experience, in recognized conditions that guarantees one a license. Even after attaining the license, pilots are required to have continuous training and simulator checks once or twice annually. These will take place throughout their careers as pilots. With over 1600 hours credible flight times and instrument rating, an individual can then become a pilot with any regional airline. However, to qualify to work for a major airline, over 3000 hours of total flight time experience will be a chief necessity.
It is worth noting that to undertake a pilot training program is extremely expensive in terms of the finances to be invested. It is important to have enough financial capital because attaining a commercial pilot’s license takes too much training and involves going to expensive schools. In case fees become a problem, a student will delay getting the required licenses because they also time bound. The flight experiences must also be continuous and without disruptions. Another thing that is required of pilots is the ability to be patient because climbing the ladder is not merely a one-off thing. The work of piloting is labor intensive and involves injecting of extraordinary hours.
Overworking is reduced significantly by way of working in shifts. By doing this, pilots get the time to rest and rejuvenate their bodies so that they can fight fatigue. Being weary is a risk that can lead to accidents that can claim several lives (Landman, 2012). In Saudi Arabia, the Department in charge of Labor issues controls the working periods of all the industries. These strategies prevent the pilots from working too much for their employers at the expense of their health that can in turn endanger the lives of passengers. Pilots are entitled to leaves so that they can enjoy their social lives with their families and friends. Psychologically, this is an essential component of a successful pilot’s life.
One thing that is mostly outstanding with the airline industry as regards the pilots is the high levels of their remunerations. A pilot in Saudi Arabia earns about or over 44,250 AR. These high salaries, as with every other industry, is associated with the levels of risks linked to a pilot’s job. Of course, the payment scheme varies with experience. Therefore, immediately from school, a fresh graduate should not expect to earn as much as the experienced pilots. There is rising in ranks and building of trust, competence, and experience. Advancement in the job levels happens with an increase in experience and accomplishment of specified tasks in the airline industry (Flavell, 2006). High salaries are necessary motivators and driving forces in the retaining of employees because airlines fight for pilots. Other than attractive salaries, pilots in Saudi Arabia are equally entitled to medical allowances, pension, cars, and interesting housing plans. These are the driving forces that make most people want to join the airline industry as pilots.
Medical certification, as earlier noted is a crucial aspect of having piloting as a career. In fact, irrespective of the academic qualifications that a person may possess, he or she has to be medically certified by a recognized medical practitioner. Sound health helps in preventing airline accidents and protects the lives of passengers and the image of the Saudi Arabian Airline. There are areas that are of concern in the medical arena of piloting. These include the eye, ear, nose, throat, and equilibrium. Also of importance are the mental capacity, neurologic conditions, cardiovascular state, and the general medical situation of an individual.
Firstly, a person’s eyesight must be in good condition. All the two eyes must function as required by a medical practitioner. The vision of a pilot’s eye must be crystal clear to avoid seeing blurred images. Objects that have the potential of causing accidents must be seen so that accidents can be avoided. With a clear image, a pilot can see where he is going and determine the safety of that place. It is the reason old pilots are not allowed to fly planes because they no longer see clearly.
The ear must also have the capability of functioning well. Flying requires that a person is alert at all times, even in the ears. A sound can be a cause or an indication of a danger coming ahead. Also, for communication purposes, since they mainly use headphones, is significant. When a pilot is airborne, there is the communication that happens with the people on the ground. Sometimes, very intricate information is passed. Without proper hearing, he may not hear the warnings of an impending danger. Another medical factor that matters is the cardiovascular conditions of individuals.
Normal blood pressure as a result of the high-flying altitudes is important. People who have low or high blood pressure at high altitudes are therefore not qualified to become pilots. Flying aircrafts is a complex endeavor, and it is in need of normal blood sugar levels that can withstand the various altitudes and climates. One must also be of sound mind with no neurological or psychological situations. The level of concentration required in the piloting career demands one to be free of mental difficulties and stresses (Landman, 2012). These medical conditions are however handled among the pilots who have worked for the airlines. Saudi Arabian Airlines are paying medical bills for its pilots and offers other moral and emotional support to its pilots.
After the oral interview test, the aptitude test becomes the subsequent stage. The Saudi Arabian Airline evaluates the application of core subjects learned in schools. It is this stage that a person’s knowledge of Physics, chemistry, and mathematics is most tested. The knowledge should be used in solving existing problems, and the interviewee must demonstrate his or her prowess. Finally, stage four is all about flight simulation. It involves the real nature of piloting experience. If one is successful in all the above stages mentioned above, he secures a job as a commercial pilot for the Saudi Arabian Airways. A lot of insurance packages are provided to the pilots so that their families are well taken care of in terms of their high-risk careers (Porter, 2009).
The piloting career is the fascinating experience that many students would wish to have. The course requires extreme levels of discipline, hard work, and patience. Knowledge in the fields of chemistry, mathematics and physics forms the basic entry requirements. One must also ascertain their medical status before paying any money in the starting of this career. As has been noted, the financial needs to successfully finish the training are prohibitive of the poor students. A plan should be mooted to incorporate poor students into this career. The salaries are attractive and are essential driving forces for the job. It is significant for them to be remunerated well so that the can reduce the risks of their passengers by concentrating on their jobs.
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