I'm Andy from Singapore. I'm an A level graduate and I've just finished my national service. I'm currently accepted into NTU to study Mechanical Engineering. However, I've always wanted to be a pilot and fly for Singapore Airlines and I'm not sure which path to choose. Should I go ahead and go for a self-sponsored program local/overseas or should I continue my studies and wait till I'm 26 to apply to Singapore Airlines?
Firstly I'd like some advice on self-sponsored options.
There are a few aviation academies in Singapore that offers professional pilot courses mainly ST Aerospace Academy and CAEOAA. These academies offer airline partnership programs but the cost is self-sponsored and the cadets will go through multi crew pilot license (MPL) program. I would like to know how MPL holders will progress to captains as most airlines only recognize ATPL holder to be captains. Also, would a MPL holder be able to apply to other airlines that haven't recognize MPL? What are your advices on this program?
Another option that I'm looking at is to enrol into Embry Riddle Aeronautical University in the United States to get a degree in aeronautical science and my pilot license. However after enquiring with the school, they only equip students with private pilot license (PPL), instrument rating(IR), commercial pilot license(CPL) and certified flight instructor(CFI) ratings. They do not have ATP certification. However, Embry riddle grads are able to qualify for ATP certification after accumulating 1000 flying hours as compared to 1500 flying hours outside. Is that considered a restricted ATPL? Would the certifications that the school provide allow me to work as a commercial pilot for airlines or must I have at least an ATPL to be a first officer for commercial airlines?
The cost to enrol into Embry Riddle Aeronautical University to complete the program is significantly higher compared to enrolling into local/overseas aviation school which only offers the pilot certifications. In a pragmatic society that we live in these days, including Singapore, would an A level graduate who has pilot certifications be standing on equal grounds to those who have a degree and pilot certifications when applying for a job?
Lastly, the other option for me is to continue my 4 year degree course in NTU and make a mid-career switch to be a pilot for Singapore Airlines. What advice would you give if I were to follow this path? Do those with some flying experience eg. PPL holder stands a higher chance than those without any flying experience at all?
It is always good to have a degree when applying for a flying job in view of the great competition to become a pilot today.
If you decide to go on the self-sponsored route with the multi crew pilot licence (MPL) program, there are still some issues yet to be settled. MPL is good for the airlines as pilots are produced at a faster rate – good for some airlines in India or China when they need pilots fast. MPL training equips pilots to operate as crew in airlines faster than the normal ATPL trainees.
MPL-trained pilots do not get to log first pilot hours. Hence their flying hours are not recognised by other airlines, if for instance they are terminated for whatever reasons. As long as they remain in the airlines, I believe they would be slotted in to become captains in the future based on their progression and training as this is something new.
An ATP from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University is not equivalent to an ATPL. You are required to sit for more papers to convert the licence.
Generally, it does not matter much whether you have an ‘A’ Level or a Degree to become a pilot although a degree holder does have an edge when both candidates are equally good. The most important criteria are your performance in the selection process. There are instances where an ‘A’ Level candidate can outperform a degree holder!
A PPL holder do have an edge if both candidates perform equally well in the interview. Again, a candidate without PPL can outshine a PPL holder in a selection process. In that sense, the PPL would not help much.
As such, the final decision to follow which career path is up to you. I wish you all the best.
PS. If you like what you read, more stories are found in my book LIFE IN THE SKIES (Preview here) and you can purchase a copy here. To check for any latest updates or postings, you can follow my Twitter at @CaptKHLim or Facebook here
If you like what you read, more stories are found in my book LIFE IN THE SKIES (Preview here) and you can purchase a copy here. To check for any latest updates or postings, you can follow my Twitter at @CaptKHLim or Facebook here