A Career Change

It's not always easy to change careers, although that doesn't stop millions of people doing that each year. Often the decision is brought on by circumstances beyond one's control such as redundancy or downsizing, forced early retirement or unfair dismissal.

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Learning to Fly

In the UK, thousands of people of all ages have discovered the joys of flying. Not only can it be a challenging, rewarding and fascinating hobby, but being able to fly a plane also opens the door to more possible careers than you might think. There is something exhilarating and relaxing about flying, and for many it can be a real escape from the stress and worry of everyday life. It also requires skills in several different areas, including engineering, physics, geography, navigation and meteorology. And flying doesn't necessarily mean learning to handle a large plane; it can include gliders, helicopters and microlights, as well as light aircraft. Learning to fly can take hours of lessons, and you will need to take 9 different exams, as well as pay up to £7,000 for lessons enabling you to acquire your private pilot's licence.

Careers In Flying

Once you have your private pilot's licence, there are a surprising number of career options open to you. If you like flying and working with people, one possibility is a career as a flight instructor, while someone with a medical background might consider a job as an air ambulance pilot. Some security and transport companies employ pilots to fly over the UK; the job literally involves tracking vehicles on the ground. You may be interested in a job reporting the news or traffic from the air, or a career as an air tour guide, flying small groups of tourists over areas of scenic beauty or historical interest. And of course, you don't need to use your skills for a career; flying as a hobby can be just as rewarding.

A Career As An Airline Pilot

But for many who love flying, the ultimate career is one as a commercial pilot. The training and requirements can be rigorous and the competition for jobs fierce, although the pay and other benefits can easily make all that hard work worthwhile. Salaries for experienced pilots range from about £40,000 to £140,000 depending on the airline, the routes flown and your flying experience. You will need to pass the Civil Aviation Authority's medical exam, as well as take an airline transport pilot's licence course, which will take at least 18 months. You will need to have better than average leadership and communication skills, and be able to stay focused and calm in challenging situations. Airlines start out by training new pilots as a co-pilot before allowing them to take full control and be a pilot. Different airlines may have different requirements and training programmes.

Unfair dismissal or being made redundant can mean the chance to do something you have always wanted to do, and those who love flying will tell you just how satisfying it can be, whether as a hobby or as a career.