10 Things to do before starting flight school. There are actually no academic qualifications required to be a pilot, although some airlines may have entry requirements, specific flight schools do not tend to have academic requirements. Pilot selection typically involves an online application, if accepted and invited for an assessment. You will be expected to complete aptitude, math, physics, verbal and numerical reasoning among other tests depending on the flight school. You will certainly be asked to complete an interview and group exercises as well as simulator assessment in some cases. Like any job interview, preparation is the very important, it is very apparent which candidates study and prepares and who is just coming in a “winging” it, pardon the pun.
So here are the top 10 items to prepare for in no particular order.
1) Why do you want to be a pilot?
This is one question that will almost certainly be asked. Also another similar question that will follow is: Why do you want to work for us? Or why do you want to be a pilot for (airline) There is an extensive question bank of interview questions that you can download in our assessment and interview preparation area.
2) Know the job – are you aware what the job entails.
Many people dream of becoming an airline pilot, But do you actually know what the job entails? Its worth going to flyer shows or if a friend of a friend knows a pilot, speak to them. Think about how you would answer questions certain questions such as, “Can you describe a typical day as a pilot?” or “What do you know about the job that makes you want to be pilot?”
Most flight school interviews will ask, can you describe briefly the stages of training at the school? For example, 6 months ground school, 14 ATPL exams, 5 months flying either Arizona or New Zealand or else where, followed by another 4-6 months completing the more complex flying like the instrument rating. The las stage is a 2 week MCC/JOC course.
3) Industry experience.
There are lots of jobs that you may not think of that you can be apart of at airports, either part-time, full-time or as a volunteer for work experience. Airlines require thousands of staff to support their aircraft. Handling Agents such as Menzies employ staff who take responsibility for aircraft on the ground. Although busy a job as a dispatcher could be perfect for a wannabe airline pilot. Even local airfields have some sort of work available, like a receptionist at your local flying club. This could really demonstrate your motivation to be a pilot and another tick in the box in an interview.
4) As mentioned above, speak to a current pilot.
Every single pilot I know loves to talk about flying and the job. Perhaps on your next flight go and ask to visit the flight deck at the end if you can, make sure you have a couple of questions at hand to ask. Write down everything they say, and if you’re able to, ask them what they like about the job and even one thing that they find challenging or dislike. At an interview you might mention you spoke to this person, again this will demonstrate your interest in the profession and preparation.
Complete all the points mentioned above for thorough preparation, Know every stage of selection, speak to people who have been through the process before you. Try and find at least 2-3 different people as each one will hae another bit of information the other had forgotten or failed to mention. Find out every last detail!
If you cant find anyone to talk to go on twitter or instagram and search for the hashtag #CAEOAA #CTC #flighttraining and tweet the students that are currently in training, try and ask as many questions without being annoying. Then as mentioned above, everything that those people have said break down into bullet points and go research. How long has the flight school been around, whats their history, what aircraft do they have, what locations do they operate out of, what are their partner airlines, Just everything! Its much better to be over prepared than under prepared!
We have a lot of practice material for you to download that you can find at the end of this article but in essence, practice your maths and physics at least 1-2 months prior to your interview. It certainly helps familiarising yourself with the testing process and fine tuning your skills.
7) Double and Tripple check your application
Find a professional or someone in the industry (a pilot would be ideal) to read your application. Dont ask your Mum or Dad or Family member because everything is great to them. You need someone to be critical (but not too critical) to vet your appilication and to pick up any spelling mistakes and grammar. Im sure theres many in this article 🙂
Practise your interview, you dont have to use a pen, I used my phone’s voice recorder and wrote out many answers to complex questions to memorise and listen to. You’ll be amazed how natural you’ll be in the interview and how much more confident you’ll be if you already have an answer prepared. We provide an extensive question bank you can prepare your answers for at the bottom of this article. Practise answering questions out loud. Practice pretty much everywhere in the shower, in your car and every spare minute. Thats why I recorded myself on my phone so I can listen to it on the go. Also you can give a friend or someone you know a list of questions, with your answers written out if that helps as well, ask for a mock interview and then ask for a debrief.
9) What to wear?
Guys – Shirt and tie is a must! Polish your shoes, and dont leave your top button undone, make sure your tie at least reaches your belly button.
Ladies – Trousers or Skirts are fine, nothing too short with a nice top and nothing too revealing.
10) Keep in touch with current events.
One question I got in my interview was tell me about 2 recent aviation related events that has happened this week? Just a brief description of current events is enough, the interviewers dont want you to go too much in depth as they have a lot to cover. But this should be an easy tick in the box, so get reading and good luck!