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Home > Becoming a Pilot > Sailor to Pilot Wannabe
Sailor to Pilot Wannabe
Pilot Career - Becoming a Pilot
Monday, 24 January 2011 16:42

Good day Capt Lim,

I was a seafarer for a few years as a navigating officer and from my point of view; there are a few similarities between working at sea and on the air.

In your opinion, are there any advantages if I were to switch over to be a pilot or an air traffic controller?

Does applying to any airlines as a cadet pilot would give me a head start?

Thanks and Regards


The Boeing 787

Hi Ng,

Yes, there are a few similarities between sailing and flying, especially on navigation. However, the similarities stop as far as speed is concerned because a plane flies about 25 times faster than a ship. Hence a pilot’s reflexes have to be that much faster.

You may have some slight advantages if you have been at sea for a while in terms of maturity and leadership qualities that is necessary during the selection process.

The race to become a cadet pilot is so competitive today that academic achievement would filter out most candidates before anything else. So you have to be very strong in your English, Mathematics and Physics first, then you have to show, amongst others, your aptitude and finally your attitude in the final interview.

So the selection is very rigorous in any airlines cadet pilot program unless you wish to pursue the pilot training on your own. Privately sponsored pilots require only the minimum requirements to proceed to a flying school but they will have a difficult time getting into the airlines.

You can thank your luck star if you are selected as a cadet pilot. In addition, if you are hard working, your path to an airline career is normally assured, provided you have the aptitude and the right attitude regardless of whether you have some past experiences.

Perhaps your switch to an air traffic controller job may be easier but a pilot career switch would require a lot more from you. I wish you all the best.

Sailing at Sea


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Comments (3)

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You do not get jet-lag as a sailor
John , 24 Jan, 2011
i dont get jet-lag but i may face the soaring seas...
ccc , 01 Feb, 2011
im also one of the sailor to pilot wannabe

Ng by now i think you already went for pilot cadet interview.
Please share your experience.

Thank you
Leong , 06 Oct, 2011

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