Debunking Common Myths About Pilots and Aviation

Debunking Common Myths About Pilots and Aviation

Have you ever dreamt of becoming a pilot but were deterred by some of the myths and misconceptions about the profession? If so, you’re not alone. Many people hold false beliefs about pilots and the job of flying. This can be discouraging for aspiring pilots. In this post, we’ll be debunking common myths about pilots and aviation. From the cost of flight training to the lifestyle of a pilot. We’ll address some of the most pervasive misconceptions and provide accurate information to help you make an informed decision about pursuing a career in aviation.

1. Only the extremely wealthy can afford to become a pilot

Flight training is often thought of as an expensive endeavor that only the wealthy can afford. However, the truth is that flight training can cost as low as £60,000. It can also be spread out over several years, making it more affordable for aspiring pilots.

Additionally, some flight students choose to work alongside their training. This means that they can continue to earn an income, and train on their days off. Therefore helping to cover their training costs. So, while flight training is a significant investment, it doesn’t have to break the bank. It’s more accessible than most people believe.

how to afford flight training

2. Pilots must have perfect eyesight

The next myth is that pilot’s must have perfect eyesight. Whilst having good vision is essential for the role, the need for it to be perfect is simply untrue. Pilots are allowed to wear glasses or contact lenses. When corrected, each eye must have a visual acuity of 6/9 or better independantly, and 6/6 or better together.

With regards to specific conditions, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has specific conditions that must be met*:

Pilots can have hyperopia up to +5.0 dioptres, myopia up to -6.0 dioptres, astigmatism up to 2.0 dioptres, and anisometropia up to 2.0 dioptres. All with optimal correction. If an applicant exceeds those limits, they should wear glasses or contact lenses or have an evaluation by an eye specialist.

Heterophoria exceeding certain limits may render an applicant unfit. However an orthoptic evaluation may provide an alternative.

A visual field defect is acceptable if the binocular visual field is normal.

After certain eye surgeries, such as refractive and intraocular lens surgeries, an applicant may be considered fit. But only after a certain period of stability and absence of post-operative complications.

Glaucoma and retinal surgeries entail unfitness, but a fit assessment may be considered after recovery and regular follow-up.

For revalidation or renewal, an applicant with reduced central vision or monocularity may be assessed as fit under certain conditions.

*Correct at the time of writing

More information can be found here

eye test

3. The Autopilot does all of the work

The myth that the autopilot does all the work is a common one, but it’s simply not true. While the autopilot can take over some tasks, it is not a replacement for the pilot’s skills and experience. In fact, a pilot’s primary job is to manage the flight and ensure that the aircraft is operating safely and efficiently.

The autopilot is simply a tool that the pilot uses to assist them in this task. The autopilot system is a computer-based system that can control various aspects of the aircraft’s flight, such as altitude, airspeed, and heading. However, it is only as good as the information it receives. If the pilot feeds incorrect or incomplete information to the autopilot, the system will not be able to perform its tasks correctly.

Moreover, the autopilot is designed to operate under normal conditions, but it cannot always account for unexpected events. In the event of an emergency or an abnormal situation, the pilot must take over control of the aircraft and make decisions based on their training and experience.


4. Pilots make lots of money

The myth that pilots are paid lots of money is not necessarily true, especially for new pilots starting their careers. While experienced pilots may make a comfortable salary, starting salaries for new pilots can be quite low. This is particularly true in Europe where some airlines offer starting salaries of less than £20,000 per year.

However, as pilots gain more experience, their salaries do tend to increase. According to payscale, the average salary for a first officer in the UK is £43,254 per year, while the average salary for a captain is £100,727 per year. It’s worth noting that these figures can vary depending on factors such as the airline, the type of aircraft flown, and the pilot’s level of experience.

It’s also important to consider that becoming a pilot requires a significant investment of time and money, including the cost of flight training and obtaining the necessary licenses and certifications. Additionally, pilots often have to deal with long and irregular work hours, time away from home, and high levels of responsibility and stress, which may not be reflected in their salaries.



In conclusion, being a pilot is a challenging and rewarding career, but it is not without its misconceptions. The job requires extensive training, ongoing education, and a high level of responsibility.

While pilots may enjoy certain perks such as travel benefits, they also face long hours and significant time away from their families.

Additionally, the idea that pilots have it easy because of autopilot or that they are all highly paid is simply not accurate. It’s important to have a more realistic understanding of what the job entails and to appreciate the hard work and dedication that pilots bring to their work every day.

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