There's a surprising gap between myth and fact...
When I was growing up, almost every kid at school wanted to become one of three things: a fireman, a doctor or a pilot.
So when I decided to write this article, that is one of the first thoughts that entered my head: being five years old and 'flying' around my parent's living-room in a plane constructed from cardboard and parcel tape.
For anyone who has ever dreamed about taking to the skies as a captain and not achieved that goal, there is always that dull sensation inside when seeing actual pilots walking through an airport on their way to doing something that you have always wanted to do.
Over the years, I have encountered many individuals who tell me that they wanted to fly, but that their eyesight was not good enough, or they were not clever or fit enough. The raw sadness that comes from that can sometimes be difficult to bear, but it was only after I had started my own flight training that I came to realize that the myth of the stone-cold, hard-wearing icon of the skies was just that: a myth.
The fact of the matter is that while it takes a lot of hard work to become an airline pilot, there is opportunity for many more people to live this dream than originally thought possible.
In their latest book about the subject, Pogigwapo Publications, discuss the common reasons why people think that they can't become pilots, and then go about quashing the myths around them.
One section of "Becoming An Airline Pilot: The Ultimate Guide To Achieving Your Goal" explodes the thought that you need to have perfect eyesight to be a pilot. This is completely untrue and while a reasonable level of eyesight is required, you do not need to have James Bond-type vision to take control of a Jumbo Jet. A fact from the book that has already sent many wannabe pilots running for the phone with their credit cards to book flight training.
So what's it really like?
From speaking with many airline pilots, the general opinion of the job is that it is the best in the world. There are luxury hotels, gorgeous cabin-crew, envious looks from others and the most amazing views out of your office window.
But there is a part to the job that does tend to grate on the nerves of most pilots out there, and that is the subject of the immense tedium that goes with sitting in a ten foot square space for 10 hours with another pilot. This is where personality profiles come into play, and you will find that many HR departments in airlines are actually more interested in the type of person someone is, as opposed to what their college exam results or SAT scores are.
The road to flight training is long and arduous, but the rewards are many. Most pilots spend around eighteen months increasing their flight experience by building flying-hours and gaining insight into weather and other factors within the industry.
From a financial perspective, a "zero to hero" training program to bring you from nothing up into the co-pilot seat of a jet airliner is going to cost somewhere in the region of $50,000.
That's a lot of tables bussed!