How I Became A Pilot


I believe a lot fewer Mallards were built, if I remember right, which would also affect the price.


Probably also a maintenance and parts issue. The Mallard might have a deeper parts base, is easier to maintain, and probably is overall less of a headache. Just speculating…but that might be part of the cost differential too…


Get me a job, K Thanks.



I’m not a pilot, but I play one on the computer. :wink:

My story: I joined Navy ROTC in 1981 with an eye towards being a naval aviator. I had been drawn towards flying since a young child. However…

At my initial physical they discovered that I was “color blind” - technically Red-Green Color Deficient, a condition genetically passed and that effects 10% of the male population. I took the test again - the Fransworth Lantern test (or FALANT test YouTube video) and a HM3 was very helpful…“are you sure about that? Try again”…what do you know! I passed.

Unfortunately the same HM3 was not around 4 years later when I took my pre-commissioning physical and failed the FALANT miserably. But seeing as the Navy had just paid four years tuition to Villanova University…I was offered Restricted Line or Staff Corps - I picked Intelligence (restricted line)…although I had to ask, “How many L’s in ‘Intelligence’, when filing out my application.”

It was the best thing that ever happened to me. Given my stick and rudder skills in flightsimulators I’m pretty sure I’d had a ride in a ejection seat-or worse-by now.

But the world of intelligence! Not “eye watering” but definitely “eye opening”. I’ve done and seen some pretty cool things…been “in the room” when key decisions were made…and often had an input to those decisions. Unfortunately, for obvious reasons, not much of which I can talk about. :neutral_face:

Still I was able to indulge my love of aviation - I’ve focused much of my career on Naval Aviation - as an Ensign, the Intel Office for VF-32 when they flew F-14s; as at LT/LCDR, as the ship’s intelligence officer on USS GUAM, essentially a helo-carrier, as a LCDR, on the Commander Naval Air Forces Atlantic (COMNAVAIRLANT) staff, and as a CDR, the N2 for Commander Carrier Group 7 aboard USS JOHN C STENNIS CVN-74. Even as the N2 for Commander Pacific Fleet, I dealt with aviation issues…OK and ship and submarine issues too.

I’ve been a flightsim “pilot” ever since I ran subLogic’s Flight Simulator on my Commodore 64. Its been my hobby and a great hobby for a military officer who has moved 12 times in 28 years…my entire hobby fits on a single hard drive - easy to move. :sunglasses:


Great post Hangar200! What an interesting career. Thanks!

Cheap amphibs = corrosion.

Warning: Aviation Week now says commercial pilots will be replaced in the 20’s. They even went so far to offer advice to young aspirants to consider another career. The cynical me thinks they are trying to create pilot shortage and thereby an AI necessity.


I don’t know how I missed this thread. I’m still reading it and I’ll surely have some questions later but this is really inspiring, thanks to all who contributed.

I can’t see myself doing my current job for another…40 years. Hell, even the thought of doing this another 10 years is depressing. But on the other hand, becoming a pilot in Belgium seems like such a pipe dream, the country is so small :sweat:


EB, you do know that there is an extreme shortage of qualified front end crews?



takes a look down at his own cleavage
unbuttons a couple of buttons
squeezes his arm against his chest
smiles with satisfaction
hey, that could work


Where’s the dislike button?


Everything seems to be both in short supply and copious amounts of oversupply at the same time these days in aviation. I wouldn’t put too much value on those articles. Besides, how many people considering to be pilots read Aviation Week?


In America (a generation ago)? Most of them. I started reading when I was a kid. I begged my dad for a subscription. I can’t speak for the reading habits of the current generation. For me, I stopped getting it once the trend towards drones became such a dominant thread between articles. Automation is boring unless you are writing the software. And since I am not, there was no point reading.

Regarding the career of flying. [EDIT: I shouldn’t write at 0530! :slightly_smiling_face:] I am concerned for the profession. I am 48. This will not affect me in a meaningful way. But I see this as one of the greatest jobs ever given to people of average ability like myself and I want it to be there for the next generation and the one after that. [EDIT again, lot’s of editing. The forum software needs to prevent my from posting during non-daylight hours or when I have had a drink. Can we make that happen?] I see the glee with which some view the replacement of human operators of all sorts with automation. This isn’t about making a better or safer society. It is about concentrating capital. I am also frustrated because the common thread across countless discussions about pilotless-this, driverless-that and doctor-less the other thing; is how flawed, slow and single-threaded the human brain is. And never in this discussion is it acknowledged what a marvelous system the human brain continues to prove to be. Egoists like Elon Musk see only the marvel within their own minds–those of others are made of lesser stuff and cannot be replaced soon enough.


Until it is perceived by the general public that pilots are inherently dangerous, then I think we have little to worry about for the time being, UAV’s are lost to accidents too. No system is going to be 100% error free.

The strength of the human brain is that it is very adaptable. When faced with circumstances that haven’t been considered possible, we are able to adapt and overcome. I would like to see what a computer would have done in the place of Al Haynes & crew or Sullengburger & Skiles (with no prior knowledge of what went wrong with each aircraft on the programmer’s part).

I think most people will want a human or two up front for a long time to come.

(That wasn’t aimed specifically at Eightball, I just used the wrong reply button. ;))


I do too…
I shudder at the thought of Musks driverless transatlantic tunnel train! I’d never set my foot in one!
Nor in a pilotless aircraft.

When debating the whole issue about human error, one has to look at what is pure human error, and what is a system error.
There are plenty of examples of systems presenting confusing data, which is a human error on the engineering design level, that presents itself on the system technical level, thus leading other humans (pilots) to make other errors.


The difference between, “Good God! What on earth were they thinking!?” and, “I completely get how that happened.” is often fatigue.

(This is where Mr. Musk steps in and says, “my robots never tire.”)


True! :slight_smile:


It’s also a lot about human psychology. We could have (and do have) accidents with human operated machinery, but the very first drone piloted aircraft that crashes with passengers will cause a tremendous outcry of “not trusting the machines” and that there should be a person in there (whether a pilot or systems manager or emergency pilot or whatever you want to call them). Data and statistics be damned, people will want a person up there. At least, for a long period it takes to change people’s minds about the safety of automation.


Problem with most automation I saw in factory work is that EVERYONE wants to run it full tilt and then are shocked when things fail but if they were to run it at 80 or even 90 percent their failure rates fall off dramatically and in almost all instances their throughput is higher since the equipment is not down for repairs. I expect you will see the same thing happening as more automation happens in aviation as the bean counters expect higher and higher profits.



That actually sounds like something they would do…
I mean, they are trying hard to do that with humans. I bet the beancounters are salivating at the thought of having a dial they could turn clockwise, and increase profit.


Summer seasons already is exactly that. Barely any turn around time for the aircraft, everything has to happen at night, and we barely get time to put the AOG in the hangar before we get a call from dispatch where their aircraft is(well we just received if you nob).

To be honest, I am not too worried about automation being the problem, I think the design process is the problem these days. If you know how Boeings latest offering is put together and the teething problems it has… It just oozes “cheapest bid” out of every maintenance hatch :crazy_face: