Flying job hunting

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!

IFR trip from Bristol to Jersey

IFR trip from Bristol to Jersey

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.

And so the adventure began!

2 Responses

  1. Paul says:

    Great blog Matt. I too am out in Indonesia and having watched all the Ch4 episodes on YouTube recently, can concur with your sentiments regarding the type of flying here! Things here are done on a very slow, then rush, basis, you hear nothing then you are told within a week, get yourself here, or you are starting this or that, crazy but just one of those things that makes this journey so exciting. Keep up the blog, and when I am not flying, I will pay you a visit (on here). By the way, you should have gone with Emirates, you get 30kgs 😉

  2. Keelan says:

    Just an amazing story of taking a risk and going for what you want in life, it looks amazing and most importantly great fun!

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