According to the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, close to 80% of student pilots fail to complete their pilot training, some simply because of the inability to adapt to flight conditions. This makes veteran commercial pilot Vesa Turpeinen’s new book, Learn to Fly and Become a Pilot!, particularly useful for those who harbor dreams of flying for a living.
Turpeinen’s book offers a wide variety of topics that wannabe pilots would benefit from investigating in advance: finding the best instructors, ways to fund training, jobs that need pilots, the most desirable places to fly, and less tangible factors such as analyzing the health concerns related to exposure to “cosmic ionizing radiation,” which pilots are exposed to at high altitudes. The author also discusses lifestyle challenges, such as maintaining a good life/work balance, something that can be difficult to achieve when pilot assignments require many days away from home.
This is the first offering in Turpeinen’s planned series of pilot career books. While future books will focus on more technical subjects, Learn to Fly is all about managing expectations for those still on the fence about making a commitment to train. It’s also a solid primer for parents whose offspring have an interest in aviation. Having flown internationally and been raised in several cultures, Turpeinen’s observations about the job market are keen, and his chapter on pilot opportunities in the China market add even more value to this book.
On the down side, female readers interested in pursuing aviation careers may come away with a sunnier view of pilot opportunities than warranted. With women still representing around 5% of all certificated pilots, Turpeinen’s assertion the this is “the golden age for female pilots” sidesteps the fact that women still encounter gender bias when trying to succeed in this very competitive industry.
Despite this shortcoming, Learn to Fly, with its highly readable format, remains an excellent overview of this career niche.
Also available as an ebook.