I've been offered a Whitetail place, should I take it? 2016-12-19 19:30:00 2018-06-17 15:23:16
Pilot George
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I've been offered a Whitetail place, should I take it?

19 December 2016

You're not alone...

The first thing I will say to you is you're not alone! I too asked myself this very question over and over again. It's also quite a common question for many blog readers who send me emails. Worrying about the risk of pilot training is perfectly normal and even L3 Airline Academy / CTC Aviation Careers Advisors will tell you that -- or at least they did to me. The fact is, pilot training is an incredible amount of investment in to your dream and one in which you've held for quite some time no doubt. 

The thing is, there is no easy answer to this question and I am in no way qualified to give you an answer to this. The decision to embark on an unsponsored pilot training program is incredibly risky and for most people nowadays involves more people than the trainee themselves. It's something you and any supporting family members must truly buy in to.

The holdpool
I'm not going to sit here and lie to you, the market for pilot recruitment at the moment is booming and i've personally spoken to cadets who have finished their training at CTC one week and been placed less than 14 days later. The holdpool is very small at the moment, if not non-existent. As an example of pilot demand, easyJet want 800+ pilots by the end of 2018 alone and that's a single airline! New airlines have recently taken from the pool, including Norwegian and AirTanker so things are looking great, currently. What's fuelling the demand you ask? Well, it's the retirement bubble and fleet expansion among other things. But, take the blinders off for a second and appreciate other things too, as below. 

The industry
This market is incredibly volatile, employment can not be 100% guaranteed although L3/CTC certainly strive to place you if you complete their entire program and all it would take is fuel prices to rise, politics or a disaster to change outlooks. For example, Brexit is fast approaching us Brits whether we like it or not and who knows what effect this may have on CTC's largest partner airline, easyJet's ability to operate. No one knows really, and it's this uncertainty that you should think very carefully about.

The cost
Repaying finance for the training is another aspect. When repayments start I'll owe £540 a month (Years 2-4) and £740 a month (Years 4-12) before even considering a Type Rating on top. Everything is resting on this journey being a success, even the home of family members. The decision was certainly not taken lightly I can assure you of that. L3 Airline Academy / CTC Aviation had to convince my family as much as they did me.  

My reasons
Now, enough of the doom and gloom and more to the reasons I, and my family, decided that L3 Airline Academy / CTC Aviation's Whitetail program was the best for me alongside reasons I can provide to you for why you should consider it, based on my experiences here so far.

  1. Unrivaled placement record.
    I never believed them before I started, but placement rates at the moment are rapid. At the recent graduation event, for which graduates who had finished their training between December 2015 and December 2016, 91% were placed. Slightly below the 98% they advertise, but the 98% figure is within a certain time frame. To have 91% within 12 months just goes to show what the industry is like at the moment.

  2. Very knowledgeable instructors!
    Every ATPL instructor i've come across has extensive industry knowledge. From ex-airline and military pilots to engineers on the original BAe 146, they really do care and are there to ensure you pass to the best of your abilities. At the time of writing I couldn't comment on the flying instruction, but I have no doubt it's to the same standard given recent hiring of cadets.

  3. Past cadets spoke so highly of the Whitetail program
    They say the best recommendation is word-of-mouth and flight training should not be exempt from that. I spoke to a fair number of ex-CTC cadets who now fly on the line for airlines including Thomas Cook, easyJet and British Airways. I did this in order to get their unbiased view on the whole thing. I was pleased to see their views matched those given out at open days in many cases. They all claimed it was hard work, but totally worth it.

  4. Great facilities
    Don't believe me? Visit L3 Airline Academy / CTC Aviation at an open day.

  5. Finance partnerships
    Sure, training is expensive, but L3 Airline Academy / CTC Aviation is partnered with many financial institutions which have provided me the support I need to train. I wouldn't have been able to do this without such organisations.

  6. My passion truly is real
    I've not only dreamt of being a part of the industry, I've been there and done it. In between university and starting at L3 Airline Academy / CTC Aviation I worked as a dispatcher at a regional airport working alongside large airlines such as KLM, easyJet, Ryanair, Thomson etc. You can read my post about it here if you like. The responsibility in that job, and the constant interaction with the pilots on a daily basis really did add fuel to the fire. The passion was real.

  7. A Fall Back
    I'm going in to this process as a 1st Class Bachelor Science degree holder in I.T. Prior to enrolling at L3 Airline Academy / CTC Aviation I had completed a 12 month work placement at Microsoft and had a graduation interview lined up for a role within Gatwick Airports' I.T. procurement team. I may have disliked my grandfather's opinion of university four years ago, but I can't thank him enough for that now. It puts my mind at ease to know that the hard-work at university will undoubtedly support me in times of need down the line should, for whatever reason, things not go to plan.

So there you have it. I hope you found my view on the Whitetail program a fair, and valid one. Ultimately, don't go into this journey just because it's what you've always wanted to do. Step back, review it in it's entirety with a level head and with family to help guide you, and when you think you're ready, jump in at the deep end a start the ball rolling. I'm loving my time here so far and long for the day I can finally push that throttle lever forwards and jet off in to the clouds. 

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