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Old 17.08.2012, 21:14
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Pursuing a career as FI or CPL ME pilot

Hi, as I don't have many aviation contact in Switzerland so I can't really get any first hand guidance on my situation I decided to turn on this forum as I found a lot of aviation related thread from people who are aviation professionals so I hope I will get some good feedback.

This might be boring and long read, my apologies in advance.

I moved to Switzerland around 2.5 years ago to join my girlfriend now wife and I have liked every bit of Switzerland. The only missing part is that I haven't been able to kick start my professional career. I did ATC tower training in the UK (ICAO standard) and have had interest in aviation since very early age. I have had introductory flights on gliders, Cessnas, RC etc...I spend most of my time reading, learning about aviation.

When I finished my training (passed with flying colors) I didn't manage to find a job and never validated my rating/license, so I got stuck in the process so Skyguide can not really accept me as I don't have real experience even though I have the training, and if I want to start all over again with them I don't have C permit and I am not fluent in French. As with this, pursuing a career in ATC seems impossible if I want to stay in Switzerland, lately I have been contemplating of starting a career as a pilot. The thing is, I know that now is probably the worst time to become a ATPL pilot, even if you have enough cash you still aren't sure that you will land a job. My interest isn't ATPL to be frank, but rather CPL ME and to do Flight Instructor on daily basis, perhaps air taxi or even crop spraying...Problem is, I don't know anybody working in the business to give me some advice...

I've done some research about getting the training in Switzerland or abroad, it seems that like everything in Switzerland the training is more expensive but probably more "appreciated" if done locally. Checked some figures, it seems that CPL ME would be in the vicinity of 45.000 CHF. Is this a real world figure? And most importantly, what are the chances of getting a job after having the CPL done in Switzerland...Apart from being able to be FI, what other options are there?

I already tried with Lufthansa Technik but I wasn't successful in their recruitment. And I don't know any other companies in Switzerland that need my profile. I currently work in a storage, which far from ideal, but would really like to be part of aviation and feel fulfilled.

I have been reading PPRUNE for a long time and I know that at the moment ATPL (frozen ATPL) is probably the worst thing to do even if you have the money because you have to fund your TR and you are not guaranteed a job, but in any case I would prefer not to be line pilot but instructor/taxi/agricultural but I would really love to gather some info before going in long term.

Any advise, comment will be appreciated.
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Old 17.08.2012, 22:00
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Re: Pursuing a career as FI or CPL ME pilot

Aviation is a pretty closed community here. Who you know is almost as important as your actual qualifications. Don't give up, get out there and market yourself. Birrfeld airshow next weekend or next month's Expo in Buochs are good networking opportunities for example.

Don't forget that we only have a limited amount of airfields here and they are sorely lacking hangar space so the opportunity to fly tends to rest with veterans and those who want to pay them to learn to fly.

If your passion is to fly, then fly you will. I'd avoid Pprune for Swiss advice, their advice is poor, much more an old boys network for the heavy metal drivers and for bitching at one another for the hell of it. Makes this place look tame. I have good contacts at Skyguide, PM me if you'd care to know more.
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Old 17.08.2012, 22:42
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Re: Pursuing a career as FI or CPL ME pilot

Thank you very much for the response.

As with most cases aviation "It doesn't matter what you know, but who you know" this has been my "curse", huge fan of the blue skies but nobody in the family or close friends that was able to introduce me to the proper circles and advance professionally.

My dream was ATC operations and one day get a PPL for fun flying, never considered flying as daily job because I was more devoted to ATC. Now that ATC is out of reach I don't see other job out there that could fulfill the aviation dream but self funding a CPL course.

I will definitely look into these air shows, I think I will be able to be there for the Buochs.

I will contact you for more info, once again, thank you very much.
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Old 17.08.2012, 23:58
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Re: Pursuing a career as FI or CPL ME pilot

you do know that LTSW sacked 275 out of 350 employees right? and things were not right there for many years so dont be surprised at the knock back.

if you are just about 30 then try swiss, they were advertising for crews and recruiting new pilots recently.
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Old 18.08.2012, 01:03
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Re: Pursuing a career as FI or CPL ME pilot

Hi rob, I read about the job cut at LTSW, I applied year and a half ago and again 2 months ago when they advertised... I just took a shot as I haven't been able to find similar company that seeks my profile.

I checked with Swiss but they require you to be Fluent in German which i'm not and hold EU passport (i will have it in about 3 years)

Thanks again for the suggestions.
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Old 18.08.2012, 01:07
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Re: Pursuing a career as FI or CPL ME pilot

Forgot to mention this, I am 27 at the moment, hoping this will be OK to finally start my aviation career.
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Old 18.08.2012, 08:51
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Re: Pursuing a career as FI or CPL ME pilot

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Forgot to mention this, I am 27 at the moment, hoping this will be OK to finally start my aviation career.
You mentioned doing your ATC training in the UK, but are not an EU citizen. Are you elligible to do your flight training in the UK? If so, then look at commuting between here and there whilst doing the training in the UK.

Other places to look include Australia. At least one of the Sydney universities offers complete training through to CPL. I recently met one young pilot who did his training there and his first commercial job is based in Switzerland.

NZ fulltime courses have attracted foreign flight students in the past, due to the normally favourable exchange rates - not currently the case, but again, in Switzerland I have met a young pilot who did his training there - I can't remember if he did it through Massey university, or through something in Nelson ( possibly the Nelson aeroclub has a full comprehensive course through to CPL.)

Crop dusting? Shudder!!!!! Not conducive to family life, nor to a long life.
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Old 18.08.2012, 09:28
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Re: Pursuing a career as FI or CPL ME pilot

Plus whatever little dusting is done in Switzerland is done by helicopter.
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Old 18.08.2012, 10:13
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Re: Pursuing a career as FI or CPL ME pilot

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Plus whatever little dusting is done in Switzerland is done by helicopter.
I don't know if it is still the case, but there used to be a company based in Stanz ( was it part of Aerospace?) that employed fixed wing cropdusters from other countries, to work in places such as Sudan. Good money for a season, but with some hazards - one I heard of was of food being cooked up in an old oil can. Supposedly there were a couple of rather sick pilots and loader drivers from that.
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Old 18.08.2012, 12:16
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Re: Pursuing a career as FI or CPL ME pilot

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You mentioned doing your ATC training in the UK, but are not an EU citizen. Are you elligible to do your flight training in the UK? If so, then look at commuting between here and there whilst doing the training in the UK.

Other places to look include Australia. At least one of the Sydney universities offers complete training through to CPL. I recently met one young pilot who did his training there and his first commercial job is based in Switzerland.

NZ fulltime courses have attracted foreign flight students in the past, due to the normally favourable exchange rates - not currently the case, but again, in Switzerland I have met a young pilot who did his training there - I can't remember if he did it through Massey university, or through something in Nelson ( possibly the Nelson aeroclub has a full comprehensive course through to CPL.)

Crop dusting? Shudder!!!!! Not conducive to family life, nor to a long life.
Thanks for the input, yes currently I am a non EU citizen, when I did my ATC training in the UK I was on a student visa, after my graduation I tried finding a field that could take me to validate my rating (even for free) but none was open to put me through the work visa application as I didn't have right to work in the UK. So that plan failed. After that I tried to do it back home but I was put in the endless loop of waiting for OJTI etc and that didn't work out. Now in about 3 years I will have a EU passport so that should be good news for searching a job, but I will be 30/31 so I don't think I should just wait, 30/31 is already late age for ATC even if you have the training.

My thinking is, while working in Switzerland to start modular training in CH and get a CPL with IR in the next 3 years. I don't want to spend 45k in 6 months and have a low time CPL with non EU passport, plus with my wife working I don't think it's nice to be out of the country for long time. With staying here and doing it slowly as I work and spend cash on each flying, perhaps I will be more "valuable" with CH training and probably will be able to do some free hour building flying parachutes...

Well crop dusting was just an idea, ideally I would be happy with being FI (although many pilots don't like it) or perhaps air taxi, I don't have aspiration on becoming line pilot so anything interesting daily job with CPL IR would be fun and worth having I think...I might be wrong of course.
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