What Are Important Things (positive & negative) That Nobody Told You About Becoming A Pilot?

Greetings all,

My focus was initially regarding commercial pilots at major airlines; however, I do not want to limit the number of potential responses. Even if “times have changed”, I’m still interested in hearing about the history and your beginner to professional experiences.

Another similar question: *What key lessons along the way did you learn that would’ve been useful in the very beginning? *

  • Andrew


As for my and the other mentors journeys, take a look at our bio section where we go through our paths in detail.

As for key lessons honestly I don’t have any that come to mind. This was a major career change for me and I did alot of homework before I made the leap. I do suppose the biggest surprise was the fact while I heard the statement “seniority is EVERYTHING”, I really didn’t understand the reality of it. Unlike most professions which to some degree are merit based, flying for an airline is 100% not. Your pay, schedule, vacation, advancement etc etc etc are solely based on your seniority. You could be the most talented, most proficient, most popular, hardest working pilot (or the worst) at the company and it doesn’t matter a lick. For anything you desire if you’ve got the seniority it’s yours, if you don’t it’s not.

The other thing I hear from many of the newbies is that this is a “job”. It’s not. The guy on the ramp throwing bags has a job, even the Chief Pilot who’s in the office 9-5 has a job. Not sure what to call it but we are exceptionally fortunate to get paid what we do to do something we hopefully love (or at least enjoy). I actually believe that having had a regular job prior to becoming a pilot should be a requirement just to give people some perspective of a what a job is. Otherwise you might be foolish enough to complain to an old crusty like me and cause yourself to have a VERY long bad day listening to us rant! Some thoughts should be kept to oneself, especially if they’re misguided :wink:




Welcome to the forum.

My story of becoming a pilot is in the biographies section.

I was very familiar with the industry when I became a pilot as both of my grandfathers and my father are pilots, so there were not any surprises for me. That being said, I also did my research and knew what I would be singing up for in regards to working at the regionals, etc.

At one point I did let my weight get to be more than I liked. I wish I had realized as a young pilot how important health is to an older pilot.


1 Like

Duly noted! Thanks for the swift response, Adam. Good stuff to know.

Good looking out, Chris. I appreciate your response. I’ll be sure to read through the biography pages! That’ll provide insight I also need.


I felt pretty prepared for what the airline life looks like since I had family already in the industry. However, it still surprised me how tough the road is. You can’t really relate until you’ve actually gone through it.

Training is all consuming (if you do it right). You’re spending all your time sharpening your ground knowledge because there is no way to know absolutely everything. You keep studying and you continue to learn but there will always be holes in your knowledge. You’ll also never fly a perfect flight. As a perfectionist both of those aspects bug me. However, it also keeps you wanting to come back and fly time after time chasing that perfect flight.

Over time you’ll realize, it’s not about chasing perfection it’s more about using each flight to grow in to a better pilot. As long as you’re learning and growing, that’s what matters.


1 Like

That’s awesome Hannah, thank you for sharing useful and personal examples! I don’t have any family or connections in the aviation world but I’m someone who is not shy of going above and beyond researching.

This undoubtedly seems like an amazing career if the scheduling can be managed until seniority is reached!


This is a good smart question to ask!

For me, my advice to myself ( and you ) would be to not let blind spots build. Let me explain,

Maybe during private phase you didn’t quite understand aerodynamics but luckily the written didn’t have too many questions on it and the DPE didn’t ask anything on it in the oral.

Or instrument, maybe there was a concept that you never really understood as well as you’d like.

As you continue through everything builds on the prior and when you get to a company that’s going to pay you through training they expect you know those concepts from your FAA certs well.

I had sim partners that in my opinion wouldn’t pass an IFR checkride if they had to do it today, because their hour building didn’t have a lot of IFR time and they let themself laps on proficiency.

I’m sure you’ve heard it before but those certs are not end all be all meaning you know it all for life, they are a “ license to learn “ and you have to fill your blind spots and maintain proficiency . No one is going to do that for you ; and an employer isn’t going to be happy if you’re not doing that on your own.

There were a few items I had to scramble to be better at that I wish I’d have cleared up earlier.

Hope that helps in some way!



Your transparency is very helpful, Jeremy. Thank you for your relevant examples and explanations! Excellent information.

1 Like