I finally qualified as a pilot from training school, logged the required hours and landed this job with Ryanair, a discount airline that flies around Europe. I’m so excited I forgot to introduce myself. Hi, I’m Louise Jackson. I’m 29 years old and just a few hundred hours away from being a fully fledged commercial pilot. For a Liverpool girl, that’s quite an achievement, don’t you think?
A Woman Flying a Plane
Being a pilot always sounded like a glamorous job…and in a way, it is! Flying all over the world as an international pilot certainly looks like an excellent job but the business of flying planes is a 24/7 and sometimes my flight roster sucks! Regardless of the time of day, I still get excited every time I get behind the controls. The Captains I fly with are super cool guys and don’t give me any different treatment because I’m a woman. With every flight, I get a greater time at the controls.
Becoming a Pilot
If you want to be a pilot you really need to get a degree in an aviation or aeronautics field of study and have a bit of liking for tech stuff. The workings of a plane are mechanically complex and it is part of your responsibilities to know how everything works. You need to be very fit and healthy and your eyesight has to be 20/20. I had to do a heap of psychological testing as well as the usual simulator training on the ground. I thought it was like playing a video game, a lot of fun, but you can’t say that.
Types of Pilots
- Short-haul. This has a better work roster.
- Long-Haul. That’s me. Flying from one country to another and that means different time zones as well. The body clock gets a bit of a pounding doing this.
- Executive Jets. Your boss is rich but you can get a call at any time to fly anywhere and sometimes land anywhere.
- Cargo Flights. Not too many passengers to worry about and you tend to be landing at airports during the quiet hours.
- Helicopters. Lots of private flights but many of these pilots fly out to oil rigs to make crew change-overs and deliver supplies.
How many of you reading this think that we pilots get the aircraft off the ground, switch to auto pilot then get the attendant to bring us a coffee? It’s not true. There is a lot of checking and adjusting being done during a flight and sometimes we even have to attend to passengers if there is a serious problem. But we do get a chance to have a good natter and gossip about personal stuff and you develop a close relationship with your flying crew.
There is no more affordable airline flying the European Routes than Ryanair. I’m not saying that because I work for them either. But we do have luggage requirements and ticketing policy that doesn’t suit everyone. The best sites to do your flight bookings, in my opinion, are Skyscanner and FareCompare. My suggestion to my friends is find the cheapest airfare then go to the site of the airline they recommend. The fare will cost the same but the ticketing conditions are a little better with regard to refunds and contact if there’s a problem. And don’t forget your local travel agent. They are provided with really special hot deals that get you cheaper fares AND accommodation.
If you love to travel, like me, then you can become a pilot or take lots of holidays. I started this blog because there are not many female pilots and some of you will want to ask me questions about my flying and the places I go. I am looking forward to hearing from readers about their trips, holiday planning and my any help with info for those who might want to become pilots.