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Can I train to be a commercial pilot in Singapore?

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Jonomo
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Can I train to be a commercial pilot in Singapore?

Postby Jonomo » Thu, 05 Aug 2010 3:59 pm

Hello,
I am considering a change in career and being a pilot has always been a childhood dream of mine and I want to see how realistic it is.

I'm 35 years old, US Citizen, I hold 2 Masters degrees in Business and Politics, and I've been a game designer for the past 8 years (another childhood dream of mine *fulfilled*), I'm in great health, have perfect vision, etc...

Is it possible for me to train in SG?
How long should I expect to take to train before my first job?
How much will it cost to becoming a pilot?
How much can I expect to make from my first gig? I've looked up some figures and it seems to range from US$30K ~ $100K... that's a pretty big swing...

I'm in between jobs now, so I figure maybe I'll take a hard look into this and maybe make a life changing decision... nothing in life worth doing comes easy, so I don't expect this to be a walk in the park, I just want to see how realistic it is...

If there are any pilots out there who can chime in, I'd be very grateful...
Cheers,
J

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Postby Plavt » Fri, 06 Aug 2010 5:25 am

One would have hoped you would have had a good look at Singapore Airline's own website under careers. From what I can see you can forget it! Sorry to be so blunt but the only opportunities for foreigners is or was at commander level, besides I suspect there are more than enough Singaporeans willing to train to become First Officers - same anywhere else.

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Postby Mad Scientist » Fri, 06 Aug 2010 6:15 am

To my knowledge, most SGer pilots are ex-serviceman from the Singapore Air Force. I cannot recall any SGer that is not a airforce man being inducted as a commercial pilot.
For foreigners usually they have flying time from another commercial airline
I would suggest OP learn his flying in OZ or NZ where it is cheaper as a start
The positive thinker sees the invisible, feels the intangible, and achieves the impossible.Yahoo !!!

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Postby carteki » Fri, 06 Aug 2010 10:40 am

There are a number of flying schools in the region (not in Sing though) - just use the search function. Although it used to be that the US was one of the cheapest places to get your commercial license (probably more so with with the weak dollar). It may be worth packing up and moving home...

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Postby Plavt » Fri, 06 Aug 2010 2:40 pm

carteki wrote: It may be worth packing up and moving home...


Should you mean to the Asian region then with respect you are talking nonsense, the OP is 35 years old and would as stated by Mad Scientist would need to acquire a certain number of hours (probably thousands), first as a First Officer and then as Captain. You can be sure SIA or any other Asian airline is not going to accept a foreign first officer. The likelihoods are the OP will be too old, remember the majority of pilots retire around 55 years old.
Last edited by Plavt on Fri, 06 Aug 2010 7:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby carteki » Fri, 06 Aug 2010 2:58 pm

Plavt wrote:
carteki wrote: It may be worth packing up and moving home...


Should you mean to the Asian region then with respect you are talking nonsense, the OP is 35 years old and would as stated by Mad Scientist would need to acquire a certain number of hours (probably thousands), first as a First Officer and then as Captain. You can be sure SIA or any other Asian airline is not going to accept a foreign first officer. The likelihoods are the OP will be either too old, remember the majority of pilots retire around 55 years old.


Reminds me of an aviation favourite - "you get old pilots, you get bold pilots, but you don't get old bold pilots"

Sorry I assumed that given the OP was a US citizen, that was home. There are a number of non-airline options available (not too sure about Asia), some of which are cargo, non-scheduled flights and corporate flying and firefighting / emergency flying. As with most professions you need to start from the bottom and work your way up. Many a commercial pilot has cut his teeth spending hours taking parachutists up 10'000ft and going down to pick up the next batch. Another popular way to get hours is to become an instructor.

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Postby sierra2469alpha » Mon, 09 Aug 2010 1:03 pm

Jonomo - ex airline pilot (command) here.

A few points:

1) 35 isn't too old, but certainly by the time you complete your training and build the usual requisite hours (start thinking 1500 TT with 1000 PIC and at least 500 turbine) and depending on your cash situation, it might be a bit of a struggle.

2) the fact you have two degrees will help. Life experience is ALWAYS considered at pre-interview.

3) start to trawl airlinepilotcentral forums and also pprune. I'd suggest you repost to those sites as you'll get additional qualified feedback. Also, spend some serious time looking through those sites.

4) Breaking into an airline has ALWAYS been difficult, and with the number of furlough's happening in the US, despite some cries of potential pilot shortages, you're in with a bunch of peeps who have the experience and also are of a lesser age. Be aware too that the whole nature of commercial flying is moving to a contract basis.

5) I assume you have given some consideration to the actual lifestyle? Many of us simply HAD/HAVE to accept postings depending on bases and our "number". If you have a family, then be prepared that, particularly early in your career, you could find yourself upping and moving simply to get a better aircraft. Also, are you OK with shift work? Flying commercially sucks if you can't fall asleep at the drop of a hat!!

6) If you decide to go ahead with it, then either Australia or the US would be my choice for training. Us Aussies are highly respected, LOL! That being said, there's plenty of good deals on for training in the US. Just PLEASE do your homework and choose a reputable training centre (I've done a few a/c endorsements at FlightSafety - they are good - don't think they do ab-initio training, though).

7) Forget about pay for the first 10 years of your career. There are regional F/O's flying Metros, CRJ's etc in the US who are LUCKY to be getting paid $25,000 per annum.

8) SERIOUSLY consider alternatives to the mainline airlines. Regional's are a great place to stay these days, even increasing your chances to get in if you say to them you ONLY want to do regional flying.

Let me know if you want to discuss at length. Cheers, P. (ex-capt)

PS. Plavt - SQ and CX do take direct entry foreign F/O's - piece of cake with CX, but more difficult with SQ. Got a number of friends who have done this. Command direct entry is a bit more difficult, but do-able. All comes down to experience. Helps if you are endorsed on their equipment types also. Also, SQ do not train F/O's per se - if you enter from A/F or DE as a Singaporen you start as a TSO - Training Second Officer.

Carteki - good points about experience building.

[Adjunctive edit: You do not need to be a US citizen or have a greenard to train in the US. I think most reputable schools offer a "J" visa (I think it's a J). Similar practices in Australia.]

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Postby Plavt » Mon, 09 Aug 2010 4:19 pm

sierra2469alpha wrote:at length. Cheers, P. (ex-capt)

PS. Plavt - SQ and CX do take direct entry foreign F/O's - piece of cake with CX, but more difficult with SQ.


News to me as the last time I was able to find any reference to the recruitment of foreign pilots on SQ's website it stated commander level only. Although that was a while back and I haven't since been able to find any reference to the recruitment of foreign pilots.

My thoughts regarding the OP is that, as you acknowledge, is it will take time to acquire experience which might well mean some airlines will not be interested.

Regarding age, things do of course vary around the world but in the UK once you are over 26 (I think you already aware of this) there is little or no chance of pilot training with either the air force or an established airline.

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Mon, 09 Aug 2010 4:34 pm

I guess it's a simple question then of "is it theoretically possible" or is it "highly unlikely of being successful" then. :wink:

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Postby sierra2469alpha » Mon, 09 Aug 2010 4:36 pm

Plavt - hi again - yeah D/E is generally by word of mouth, although plenty of airlines do advertise - you just need to be diligent in checking with the airlines. And it's actually very to go D/E command - you will always (almost) go in as an F/O - some airlines are a bit misleading that way (EY in particular). I know of 3 ex AN capt's that went to SQ and were basically made senior F/O's but without the seniority (go figure!). CX (apparently) you tend to get fast-tracked to LHS, but that's an aside from jonomo's post.

In terms of age, plenty of airlines will take older pilots, providing you have the requisite certifications, endorsements, and experience. As I alluded to in my response, Jonomo's in a difficult situation as he will be up against more experienced crew who are younger. Difficult, yes. Impossible, no. Which version of contract you go onto, however, is a different kettle of fish altogether.

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Postby sierra2469alpha » Tue, 10 Aug 2010 2:59 pm

SMS - yes fair points. However, as I pointed out, the major's aren't always the place to go.

For example, I know the chief pilot of Australia's Royal Flying Doctor Service. Now, if you like the country/city life mix, plus some truly raw flying (I never flew for them but obviously have heard some of the stories) it's a great lifestyle. hence my questions about considering lifestyle.

Good to chat with you, too...cheers, P

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Postby sierra2469alpha » Tue, 10 Aug 2010 3:04 pm

And Jonomo - here's a post worth reading about how some of the contracts are beginning to work here in Asia.

http://www.airlinepilotforums.com/foreign/52670-new-chinese-contacts-do-your-homework.html


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