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Working as an airline pilot has its perks. Not only are you paid well, but you also get to travel the world, see breathtaking views from the skies, and get a lot of time off per month. These are benefits that are certainly worthy of someone tasked to fly a plane from one point to another. However, not many people are aware that these benefits are simply commensurate to the challenges airline pilots have to face every day.

The duties and responsibilities of an airline pilot are tough. Apart from piloting the plane, airline pilots also have to plot out a safe flight route, analyze flight plans, check the condition of the aircraft, and monitor the instruments in the cockpit. They’re also entrusted to make the right decisions during an emergency to ensure the safety of everyone on the plane. On top of these, airline pilots also have to deal with the following challenges that come with the job:

Cost of Pilot School

The road to becoming a fully licensed pilot is an expensive one since taking a 72-week Ab-Initio course at an accredited pilot school can cost up to hundreds of thousands of pesos. And though the price of this program is shocking, it’s well-justified. Student pilots are taught by highly skilled professionals in the aviation industry and learn the required skills to properly fly a plane. They’ll also use modern and expensive training equipment designed to give them a real piloting experience while on the ground. Now you might be wondering why airline pilots have to worry about covering the costs of pilot school after they’ve graduated from the course. As mentioned earlier, the Ab-Initio course is expensive, so some pilots have to enroll in a study now, pay later (SNPL) program to finance their training.

SNPL programs are a great way for people who aspire to be airline pilots but don’t have the finances to shoulder the cost of the course. In this program, pilot schools will first cover the cost of the entire course, so student pilots can focus on their training. Once student pilots have finished the course and are making money, it’s only then that they have to pay back for what they owe the flight school. Depending on the terms and conditions of the pilot school’s SNPL program, it may take the airline pilots many years to finish their repayment.

Work Schedule

It’s true that airline pilots are allowed several days off per month, but conversely, pilots may be asked to fly a plane for many long hours during their shift. Their unfixed work schedules can make their life hectic since their tasks can vary daily. An airline pilot can be tasked to take several short flights on one day, then suddenly handle a long-haul flight on the next. Pilots are at the airline’s beck and call when they’re not off duty, so they have to be ready for anything the moment they clock in for work.

Working with Different Crew Compositions

Airline pilots don’t always work with the same crew members on each of their flights. It’s possible that pilot captains can be paired up with a newbie co-pilot, but with a very experienced team of flight attendants. No matter who they’re working with, however, airline pilots have to cooperate with their team to ensure that their SOPs are followed. Having good team synergy also allows for better communication and builds trust so that the airline crew can work efficiently throughout the flight.

Flying in Bad Weather Conditions

Modern planes are built to endure all kinds of inclement weather conditions, but it’s the job of airline pilots to fly them safely through thunderstorms, strong winds, and all kinds of turbulence. Even if they’ve properly planned their route to avoid bad atmospheric conditions, airline pilots can’t control the sudden changes in the weather. That’s why airline pilots spend countless hours training to fly a plane in bad weather so that they know how to safely navigate through such conditions.

Lifestyle Changes

Since airline pilots have to tend to so many things, they can forget to take care of themselves. They’re so pre-occupied with managing their erratic work schedules, planning their flights, and conducting pre-flight checkups that they can neglect their own health. Due to their job description, a lot of pilots suffer from stress, fatigue, sleep deprivation, and unhealthy eating habits. And if they don’t make the necessary lifestyle changes, their health can worsen, which can affect their performance at work.

It can be difficult for airline pilots to readjust to their job environment. However, if they make the effort to stay fit and healthy, they can easily adapt to their work lifestyle and manage their duties with a peace of mind.

Pursuing a career as a commercial airline pilot has its perks, but flying commercial planes for a living is tough. Each day, airline pilots face various challenges, from plotting their flight plans to landing the plane safely on the ground. That’s why airline pilots go through hours of training to ensure that they can handle these challenges without worry and achieve a good work-life balance.