Pilots wanted in the US…
When I arrived in the US on October 1983, I had high hopes of continuing my flying career here. I was only 28 years old, had about 7,000 hours of flying time, 75% of it on turbo-prop and 90% as pilot in command and my previous employer was a large international air carrier. I was sure I could get a job, no, I was sure that I was one of those pilots wanted by the airlines. Boy, was I wrong.
I sent out applications and my resume to the major airlines, expecting a call for interview with each application I sent. I would send the applications one at a time and wait for the reply before sending out the next one because I didn’t want the “problem” of having to choose my employer if all of them took me in. My level of confidence was that high. By mid 1984 that level of confidence was at the gutters. Letters of rejection came after the other. I wanted to cry. There were no “pilots wanted” jobs around.
The last straw was when i got an offer of employment from Flying Tiger for a cabin crew position on their military charter passenger flights. As an airline captain that just “stepped off” his last flight not too long before that, my ego simply refused to take a cabin crew job in spite of being out of work for over six months. Dwindling resources forced me to do something drastic. I took a job doing deliveries, got trained as a technician, and by fall of 1985 I started my own business. Eleven months after that, it took off like a rocket and that was the end of my flying career.
Three of my friends who also migrated to the US at the same time as I did had the same experience. Only one of them got a flying job. He had a short stint as a charter pilot for a small northeast operator and because of the very low pay and terrible working conditions he quit after a few months. He ended up training for a medical field job which earned as much as a senior airline pilot at that time. The other two ended up starting their own businesses, and didn’t go back to professional flying back then.
The whole point of this story is not about us but the pilot job situation in the US. Every year the story is the same – the scarcity of pilot jobs in the USA. This was what it was most of the time. No pilot jobs, pilots getting furloughed or worse getting laid off, pilot salaries cut, etc. For us who were financially stable in a totally different environment far away from aviation, there was no incentive to go back.
Overseas Aviation Jobs
But this was not the experience of our friends who stayed behind and didn’t immigrate to the US. Throughout the years they were gainfully employed in overseas aviation jobs in many countries around the globe. They were in the Middle East, Europe, Hongkong, Taiwan, Africa, even Vietnam and Russia. Most of them were receiving high 5 figure monthly pay with long vacations. Some of them work for three months at a time then get a month off. That’s three months of vacation for working nine months a year. When they get tired of working in a company after a few years, they would find another job almost instantly. In fact it’s more of offers coming in than looking for jobs. All of them are retired now, living very comfortably and financially secured.
These overseas “pilots wanted” jobs were an open secret that very few knew existed. There was never a shortage of these international pilot jobs, all the guys I knew were never out of work. Talking with my two friends who were here in the US with me, we would have gone over there if our businesses did not do well. In fact one of them went back to flying 3 years ago and even at his age he had no trouble looking for an overseas pilot job.
How did these guys do it? First of all, as I’ve always mentioned, be prepared to get out of your comfort zone. To most, going out after these “pilots wanted” international pilot jobs create a sense of fear of the unknown. Something I can’t understand from guys who have don’t get scared penetrating thunderstorms and landing in gusty zero visibility conditions. Going to a foreign place to work somehow strikes a fear in their hearts. Second, and as important, you have to know what you’re doing. Before you send out your resume everything must be done right and there are some strategies that you must implement until you do that interview. By doing this, you set yourself up above the competition.
What do you want to do?
For those looking for pilot flying jobs, here’s some good news. Click and read the news item below and then check out the other links here for a guide on how to bag those “pilots wanted” jobs out there waiting for you.
Nov 19, 2013 … “We need to find 460,000 pilots over the next 20 years, but the biggest number of people ever recruited into the industry … If we have the cpl licence i am i going to get a job with emirates … Don’t miss out on the latest news