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Home > Becoming a Pilot > Hard to keep my flying dream alive
Hard to keep my flying dream alive
Pilot Career - Becoming a Pilot
Thursday, 19 May 2011 13:10

Captain Sullenberger – The Hero of Hudson River Crash

Dear Capt Lim,

I really need your professional advice. I don’t know, between maritime and aviation, which one is better? Lifewise, pay, future growth and many more?

I am expected to graduate with a degree in nautical science. This degree is going to prepare me to become a captain of the ship in about 8 years time. However, my ambition is to become an airline captain flying around the world, walking with pretty-looking air stewardess and enjoying scenic view from the cockpit. I fear to dream of sailing with some tough-looking and tattooed seamen up in the rough ocean for months.

My problem is - I am really lost in choosing which one is better for me. My future plan is do some sea time to achieve certificate of competency, then I will switch my career to aviation by joining the cadet program from SIA, MAS, AA, etc. However, I have no confidence whether this method will work out. In addition, with all the negative news from the aviation industry especially in the US and Europe where pilots are being exploited for low pay and need to fork out their own money for the training, it deeply weaken my spirit in keeping the flying dream alive.

By the way, I enjoy playing with flight simulator and treat that play time as my "personal training". I really love to become a pilot though I am fully aware that the glamorous pilot life has long gone and the lucrative pay and less competitive career growth from the maritime seems to distract my ambition. How?

Airline captain and maritime captain - which one has the best paycheck?

My questions seem to be a bit annoying. However, thanks for spending your time to read my message.


Hi Nick,

If you trawl through my site, you would have got most of the answers there. Anyway, 5 years ago, I have a question from a visitor almost similar to yours, “Does an airline captain outshine a ship captain?” here.

Which line to choose is a matter of personal preference – just follow your heart. If you have decided that flying is your choice, then you can try to see if you can make the cut for it as it is not a matter of just wanting to be a pilot for SIA, MAS or AirAsia and that you would be offered the job. The competition is stiff  - you have to have that aptitude to be one. At the moment, there are many private pilot graduates in the market - all waiting to get into the airlines.

Pay-wise, a new Boeing 737 or Airbus A320 airline captain can earn between RM30,000 to 35,000 (USD 9,900 - 11,500) a month depending on the airlines. I am not familiar with how much a maritime captain earns and you can find that out yourself.

Lifestyles of an airline pilot are well documented in this site and elsewhere. You can do a search for more information on that.

Personally, I found the airline job to be a very satisfying one. I wish you all the best in your choicealt.

PS. To check for any latest updates or postings, please follow my new Twitter at @CaptKHLim

A Maritime Captain


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Dear Captain Lim ,
I've been looking around your web and found out to get a job as a pilot the minimum requirement is the education . As i did my O level 5 years back and went to serve my national service after that.After finish serving i wanted to go malacca flying academy but i scared after i got my PPL/CPL i cannot get a job. As i only have 2 credit in my O.So i hope Captain Lim would give me some advice . As i dont think there a miracle for me to enter a airline using 2 credit.
Dang , 11 Jul, 2011

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