A lot of european pilots still go to the US to get their licenses. Basically because there are a lot of good flightschools over there.
I have always wanted to be a pilot, but I couldn’t just take up a loan and go to the US, for economical reasons.
So I tried to get into the govt. funded flighschool in Sweden. Unfortunately they closed down for reorganization when I finished my military service, so I put that on hold. The school was actually organized by the airforce, but trained civilian pilots. They reorganized it to belong to a University instead.
I got a job as a hospital engineer and moved to Norway instead.
After I moved there, an interesting chain of events unfolded.
First, a Piper Seneca II made a nosegear up emergency landing on national TV. It was a training flight from a flight school just 2hrs by car from where I live. “Cool! They have a flightschool this close to where I am” I thought.
It was a damn nice landing too!
A couple of weeks later, I read in the local newspaper that this flightschool now was approved for a student loan. “Interesting”, I thought.
And a few weeks after that, again, there was an article about Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) would start sponsoring students at the flightschool in question.
Now, this was getting too good to pass up, so I called SAS, and applied.
I got to go through the entire recruitment process, minus the flightsimulator, and got a training contract.
Two years later I was hired as a FO on the SAS Fokker 50.
Five years later I transitioned to a SAS owned airline called Widerøe, in Norway, and have been there for nearly twelve years now.
The airlines have been through hard times, since the start of the millennium. I was recently part of a study that concluded that working hours have increased by 30% since 2007. In the same period, salary has decreased by 10%, compared to the average workforce salary.
Working for airlines is not what it used to be, that’s for sure!
Still, I love it! I really do! For many of the same reasons already listed above.