Aviation Career

How to start your career in aviation?

How to Become a Pilot ?


aAirline pilot's duty, responsibility.
Whether it is a small regional jet or a super jumbo jet A380, an airline pilot’s main responsibility is to maintain a safe flight bringing passengers from point A to B safely.  Even though autopilot exists in modern days, a pilot’s duty can never be replaced by computers.  During an emergency, it is always unexpected and filled with “surprises”, a computer can never think and react like a human in responding to these abnormal situations.  Ultimately the autopilot is a tool to assist the flying part of the job, easing workload for the pilot creating more mental capacity for pilots to deal with abnormal situations.  Other than the safety aspect of the flight, a pilot has to take into consideration of passenger comfort (maintaining a smooth flight), flight’s on-time performance (getting to destination on time) and the economy of the flight (flies on a route using the least fuel).  As an airline pilot, it is more about managing the flight than just flying the aircraft.

bHow to prepare to be a pilot?
If you have the passion towards aviation, you are halfway to the road of success.  As your passion is the engine that drives your motivation to gain all the skills require in becoming a pilot.  With the luxury of land resources overseas, you can start flying when you are as young as 14 years old and get your first licence at the age of 17.  However in Hong Kong, unless you spend one or two months in overseas (Australia, United States, Canada, New Zealand, Philippines etc), it is very expensive to obtain a private pilot licence in Hong Kong.  It is highly recommended to at least try a trial flight to have a taste of what flying is like before committing to it (as some people did not find out they actually have a fear of flying or fear of height until their first flight).  If money is a constraint, there are a few organizations in Hong Kong that provide scholarships to learn to fly.  Regardless of scholarships, joining these organizations allows you to be more exposed to aviation knowledge.  In additional you can meet people who are already in this field who can share their valuable experiences. 

cWhat sort of selection and grading process to expect?
When airlines are choosing a candidate, they look for certain attributes and aspects that will fit into their model they regard as the ideal pilot.  Commonly, they look for candidates with good leadership, teamwork, decision making skills, good hand-eye coordination, highly motivated, determined and more.  Most important is the passion towards flying.  Airlines try to prevent candidates who are extreme extroverts (very emotional and hyper) and introverts (very quiet and shy).  They assess the candidate through aptitude tests, panel interview, written tests, group exercises, and maybe a flight grading.  During the interview process, candidates will be put under stress to see how well they can handle them and perform in these situations.  Moreover, the rate of learning is also an important attribute airlines look at. 

dTraining details for an ab-initio course.
Different airlines have their own training system for ab-initio course.  However as the type of licences and qualifications required are standardized in most of the authorities (HKCAD, US FAA, Canadian CAA, Australia CASA, New Zealand CAA, and Europe JAA), the training modules are more or less similar:

  • Solo - Able to fly the aircraft without instructor onboard in the airport circuit area
  • Training Area Solo - Able to fly the aircraft without instructor onboard in the training area near the airport
  • Navigation Flights - Able to navigate and fly the aircraft from Point A to Point B visually
  • Private Pilot Licence (Optional by airline) -  Able to carry passengers to fly for non-commercial purposes
  • Commercial Pilot Licence - Able to carry passengers to fly for commercial purposes
  • Single Engine Instrument Rating - Able to fly and navigate a single-engine aircraft solely by aircraft instruments
  • Multi Engine Rating - Able to fly a multi-engine aircraft
  • Multi Engine Instrument Rating - Able to fly and navigate a multi-engine aircraft solely by aircraft instruments
  • Frozen Airline Transport Pilot Licence Theory (Optional by airline) - Completion of ground theories portion of the airline pilot licence which will be unfrozen automatically after attainting a certain amount of hours
  • Multi Crew Transition Training - Training intends to introduce and expose students in working in a multi-crew environment in a high performance aircraft.  This is usually done in a simulator.

eCareer path and pay scale for an airline pilot
The career path is very identical in every airline however career progression might varies depending on the size of the airline.  The time to command now ranges from 5-15years.   If you work for a regional/domestic airline the promotion time is usually shorter as you start with the company as a First Officer.  However working for a major international airline, you might find yourself starting as a Second Officer or a Relief First Officer.  To the end it depends on the economy health and the expansion rate of the company at the time of joining.  An estimate guide of the pay scale is approximately 40 thousands HKD to 200 thousands HKD depending on airlines with First Officers pay scale around 70-80 thousands HKD.

Posted: 2 years 1 month ago by jude #829
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if i join your institution will you offer me all the stages outlined? will you also assist me after completion to secure practical experience with an airline. I AM CURRENTLY IN 3RD YEAR PURSUING AVIATION MANAGEMENT DEGREE. DO I QUALIFY
Posted: 5 years 9 months ago by real_yuen #627
real_yuen's Avatar
I have heard that people who has -7.0 can still got into the cadet pilot program .
I believe eyes vision is not the main thing that they concert nowadays now. :)
Posted: 6 years 6 months ago by beoinak #238
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can anyone with shortsightedness become a pilot ? is there restriction to somebody who has serious shortsightedness?
Posted: 6 years 7 months ago by EdwardTse #62
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Very useful information, thank you very much.
Posted: 6 years 7 months ago by Anthony So #54
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tammy wrote:
What is the age requirement?

Minimum age for becoming a pilot varies with the type of licence and country. For applications to CX/KA Cadet Pilot Programs, 18 is the Min age.
Posted: 6 years 7 months ago by unique_aspirer #52
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This is very useful. Thank you :).
Posted: 6 years 7 months ago by tammy #48
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What is the age requirement?

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