The glamorous life of a 24-year-old pilot
Photos at 30,000ft and taking friends out in private jets for fun
Partying with air hostesses and travelling the world for a living, being a pilot is considered one of the most glamorous jobs in the world.
Ryan Louise, 24, ironically flies for RyanAir and helped us lift the lid of what it’s like to be a commercial pilot, flying to exotic locations all year long.
Currently based at Stansted, Ryan has recently got back from a posting in Barcelona for a few months. We spoke to him about flying relatives without them realising and what’s actually going on when you have a bumpy landing.
He told The Tab: “It’s very rare I fly to the same place twice in any week. This month I’m going to Tenerife, Malaga, Parma, Warsaw, Kaunas and Rzeszow along with a few others and some standby days.”
Being a young pilot sometimes has its downsides though, as Ryan has discovered. He confessed: “I flew one of my aunts recently and kept it a secret. I was stood at the top of the aircraft stairs as passengers were queueing at the bottom.
“When she noticed me she screamed really loudly, causing all of the other passengers to look quite concerned and move away.
“I’ve had many passengers double take as I entered the flight deck because I look so young, with quite a few thinking I was the pilot’s kid – but I learned to fly an aeroplane before I could drive a car.”
“Once you have flown an aircraft it’s almost like you become addicted, its an amazing feeling. I actually got properly into it by doing my flight training in Bournemouth and in Florida.”
“I’m in a long term relationship but I definitely would say some girls are more interested because of what I do – I’ve had one or two say it was hot.
“Others are a bit shocked and think I’m too young and assume I’m cabin crew. The average starting age for a pilot is actually in the mid twenties but some are 60.”
He added: “I spent a lot of my childhood wanting to be lots of different things, like a fireman, policeman and a chef.
“When I was on holiday when we broke through the clouds on the flight I looked around and told my mum this is what I wanted to do.”
Ryan didn’t need a degree to become a pilot, but did a foundation in Aviation Studies at Bournemouth.
He said: “I did some flying with the Air Training Corps and did a gliding scholarship which allowed me to “go solo” – which meant flying by myself at just 16.
“Being a pilot isn’t all like the glory days of the 20th century. A lot of people think about PanAM, beautiful air stewardesses, long layovers in nice hotels and huge pay packets.
“Most pilots finish training with around £100,000 of debt, a difficult job market and long hours.
“But there are still parts of the job which are glamorous. The things you get to see and the life experiences are the main things . My office window is better than any of my non-pilot friends.”
“I’ve flown to 25 countries including the UK, I have also flown in the USA during flight training but not commercially as Ryanair routes are within Europe and North Africa.
“My favourite route changes all the time. Sometimes I like long trips but I get bored flying for over 3 hours.
“I love flying into Bergamo, Italy, because on approach there are some great views – Salzburg too. I also really like going to Germany because it genuinely is so efficient.”
Ryan admits people are always asking him about his bumpiest landings, and wanted to make it clear that a rough landing is actually better if there’s water on the runway.
He added: “Having said that, everyone has off days and I have made a harder landing than I would have liked when I started out.”
Thankfully Ryan doesn’t suffer from jet lag in his job as he doesn’t do transatlantic flights. He said: “I usually do ok because I work five days with four days off, alternating a week of earlies and a week of lates where we land at about midnight.
“Away from flying, life is good. I don’t have to take much work home, I just have to stay up to date with procedures and emergencies as we are tested every six months.
“At the moment I’m back at home in England every night which is really nice and a real up side to flying with Ryanair- the roster and the fact that I get a homelife. But every now and again they send me for a week out of base, which can be anywhere in the world on the network.”