HOW TO BECOME A PILOT
Being a pilot is a popular career choice in the field of aviation. This article provides a guide on how to become a pilot in Malaysia.
The main task of pilots is to fly and navigate different types of aircrafts. There are many types of pilots – the most common being commercial airline pilots. A career as a pilot requires an individual to fulfil many hours of flight training and pass multiple examinations including theory, practical and medical.
The first step to becoming a pilot is to obtain a Student Pilot Licence (SPL). This licence can be obtained in any Aviation Flying Training Organisations (AFTOs). An SPL is a ticket to obtaining a Private Pilot Licence (PPL). Anyone who is 17 years old and above can obtain a PPL. No prior academic qualifications are required.
In Malaysia, the PPL examination requires student pilots to sit for papers on Air Navigation and Flight Planning, and Meteorology, among others. However, student pilots will only be granted a PPL if they pass a mandatory medical examination. After that, PPL holders can advance to obtaining a Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL). To qualify for a CPL, individuals need to be at least 18 years old and have a minimum of five SPM credits including credits in English, Mathematics and Science.
Individuals have to complete an additional 200 hours of flight training and pass another medical examination to be granted a CPL. A CPL allows individuals to apply for jobs as commercial pilots. In addition, professional pilots need to maintain their pilot licence by carrying out a flight test every six months to make sure their flying skills are adequate in current operating environments.
Life of a Pilot
Firstly, pilots need to compile all flight information to create a flight plan and ensure safety systems and fuel levels are accurate and functional. Prior to a flight, pilots need to brief the cabin crew and carry out pre-flight checks and test the plane’s technical performance. In flight, pilots have to communicate with air traffic controllers and passengers. Pilots hold the highest authority in a plane and need to handle environmental changes and emergencies appropriately.
Being a pilot is challenging as it requires individuals to work odd hours and for long periods of time. Pilots who navigate long haul flights can be in planes for up to 15 hours. They need to adjust to different time zones and may suffer from tiredness and jetlag. They also spend a lot of time away from home and their schedules are unpredictable as pilots need to be on standby often.
A good grasp of maths, physics and geography is necessary for a pilot. Pilots need to be able to understand and interpret technical information and be familiar with different parts of a plane. Also, pilots need to have good spatial awareness and coordination as they are handling a large aircraft. Communication skills are important too as pilots need to communicate with cabin crew, passengers and air traffic controllers. In addition, pilots need to stay calm under pressure and be able to think on their feet during times of emergency or distress.
Those who are serious about becoming pilots need to have a high level of dedication, discipline and personal commitment. Although a career as a pilot can be challenging at times, it is no doubt an exciting profession that will take you to many places around the world.