Have you ever asked yourself why you want to become a pilot?
The reasons are different for everyone.
I don’t want to do the usual list of reasons that will convince you to become a pilot, instead I want to be very realistic. Each one of us will have some common reasons and others that are very different and personal.
Speaking to various pilots that are already in their peak flying activity, private pilots, commercial pilots and airline pilots, I understood (with great surprise) that their motivation to fly changed after some time.
It seams almost like once they got their flight training and pilot license done, then everything ends, it almost becomes boring.
I asked myself if really pilots can lose that energy and joy to fly… the answer was surprisingly sad.
So, let’s see what are the 3 reasons to become a pilot and how to keep it alive during your years of activity in aviation.
1. Love for flying and for aviation
This has to be the main reason.
Everybody in aviation begins here and this is the only true reason why you decide to become a pilot: you want to fly no matter what!
After some time you will start understanding better how aviation works and you will specialize in something: for example, some people follow only aviation transportation, others will only look at airplanes, others helicopters and others to air traffic…
Whatever your interest is in aviation, you also started from here, from a great love for the mission that humanity has given itself since the early ‘900.
And you? What do you love te most about aviation?
2. Life of a pilot in the cockpit
The second real reason to become a pilot is linked to the idea that everyone has about the lifestyle of a pilot.
Everybody believes that pilots have a glamorous life, but it’s not really like that. Whenever people meet a pilot they always have a lot of questions about his job and his life, but pilots don’t really like answering.
Yes, he will answer, but he really doesn’t want to!
The truth is that their life is not at all glamorous. Some things are clearly different compared to the life of any other person, but many other things are not as good as we think.
If you are thinking of becoming a pilot, than these are a few things that you will have to face:
- you will work on shifts and you will not always be able to change them
- you will not always receive your shifts on notice bases, but mostly last minute, so you will not be able to organize anything with your family or attend some event
- you won’t be free on any important occasion, not even Christmas
- you don’t have fixed hours: one day your shift can start at 4am and the next day at 1pm, leaving a huge gap in the middle
- you’re not often at home and you live in hotels
- you will lose a lot of moments with your family
… Are you thinking: Is this what it takes to be a pilot?
No, it’s not just bad things and little time at home. Many pilots have found a good balance between their professional and personal life (and an amazing wife or husband). They live a normal life without really feeling that they are losing anything.
So, if it is not the pilot’s lifestyle to motivate you to become a pilot, what is it?
Getting up every day and going to the airport isn’t very pleasant, but being able to do it, instead of going everyday at the same office, becomes really motivating when, at the end of the “tunnel”, you see your Boeing 747 waiting for you (and not the usual desk).
This is the real thing: at the end of the day you have flown an airplane across the Atlantic and it feels good!
It might be a bit egoistic: your wife or husband at home taking care of the house and children, while you are living your dream.
But if you decide to marry a pilot, you must have thought and accepted all of this. I am sure that the pilot of the family is very grateful about this and he or she will help you to achieve your own goals and let you live the dream you always wanted.
But, is this enough to be really motivated to become a pilot? No, it’s not. Let’s see more.
3. Find the right motivation and persist
If the first two were real motivations, this third one is more of a warning I am giving you. It is something important for your carrier.
I remember the frustration of the pilots I met during a presentation I gave to a CRM group of a major Italian Airline. At the end they asked me, how can we really motivate ourselves??
I was very surprised, but then thinking about it I realized that even they live the same problems anyone else does in their office or with their boss.
They were very unsatisfied with the working conditions they had and the management wasn’t listening to them.
How to be ready for all of this?
One of the most important elements to become a pilot is the awareness that all of what I have just told you will come one day. The good and the bad things.
Many difficulties will arise also during your training and you must be ready for it.
You will live some very disappointing moments… be ready.
If you start with the correct awareness, things will be easier and nothing will come as a surprise.
Perseverance is the best medicine against difficult moments and lack of motivation.
At the end of all this, going daily inside a cockpit living your dream, is (and always will be) the biggest motivation you have to become a pilot.
It was the same for Captain Sully who landed his A320 on the Hudson. He described it very well in his book which you should really read.