So I had the magical CPL/IR/ME (or frozen ATPL as it’s often called) but what next? Well obviously I started applying for flying jobs. And not just in the UK and Europe but anywhere in the world who might be recruiting. Even if they weren’t recruiting I still sent them my CV, just in case. I kept a spreadsheet of all the jobs I applied for, the date I applied and if they’d responded. If I got no reply in two weeks, I would resend my application. My advise to anyone currently job hunting, don’t restrict yourself to jobs on your doorstep and then moan on PPRuNe that you can’t get a job. Apply for any flying job, anywhere in the world. Keep at it!
Saying that, this was probably the most demoralising part of the journey to being a professional pilot. It’s almost impossible to get a job as a pilot. It was almost impossible in 2009 and I don’t think things have changed much today. However, it’s not totally impossible!
Whilst job hunting I kept flying as best I could. I think that’s important as if you’re not current, I’m sure potential employers put your CV in a different pile (or bin as it’s known). Seeing as I was an instrument rated pilot, I made use of that and took the odd trip on the airways around UK to stay sharp. I also managed to squeeze in an MCC (Multi-crew Cooperation Course) along the way which I did as cheaply as possible. As much as I would have liked to have had a play in Oxford’s 737 simulators, I just couldn’t afford it at the time.
I was however very lucky in being able to fly a Piper Chieftain as P/UT on the odd trip from Bristol up to Scotland thanks to some connections at my old flying school in Bristol. Whilst I didn’t get paid for it, that sort of flying experience was very beneficial as it was proper multi-engine, instrument time.
It took until August 2009 before I got wind of a job out in Indonesia. I’d barely even heard of the country and certainly didn’t know exactly where it was on the map but I applied anyway. Of course these days Susi Air is pretty well known around the world thanks to a certain TV series but back in 2009 it was very unknown to anyone outside Australasia.
I was finally offered the job as a Cessna C208 co-pilot towards the end of October 2009, a few days before my 30th birthday. They gave me ten days to organise my life in the UK and move out to Indonesia, so it was a blitz to sell my car, rent out my flat and pack everything I needed into a 20kgs suitcase.