Well, the money sure would be swell. Even a basic pilot earns at least £36,000 a year. A first officer, £48,000. And a captain can earn as much as £140,000. I suppose my decision on whether or not to become a pilot depends on the kind of pilot I am. A regular airplane pilot? Or a pilot of a vast starship I shall randomly name Enterprise? I wonder how much they were paid. They didn’t really have money in Star Trek so it’s impossible to tell. Earthican astronauts earn 40 to 86 thousand pounds per year. I imagine Kirk would earn the highest amount, a red shirt would probably earn about 40, so I imagine Sulu would be around 50, maybe? But they don’t do it for the money. They do it for the spirit of adventure. And for the ability to buy a ton of tequila because of the shit load of cash they earn…
I don’t actually like tequila, but if I were a pilot, I feel like there are elements of my life that I would have no choice but to change to suit the new career. I imagine pilots as tequila drinking, cigar loving, boat shoe wearing lacrosse enthusiasts. I would certainly have to don a moustache. A nice big thick one. Is my impression of a pilot from the ‘70s? Seems that way…
Whilst I may never pilot the Enterprise, I could very well pilot an earthbound wessel (nerd alert). I wouldn’t because I get terribly airsick, but for the sake of this question, let’s throw that heap of logic out of the window. Also included in my anxiety of being an airplane pilot is my terrible fear of snakes (second nerd alert). But then again, if that happened, I’m pretty sure Roger Murdock could save me (third nerd alert – I’m on fire, baby).
Being a pilot means you get to see the world. And you don’t even pay for the hotels you stay in – the airline does. You get excellent benefits – health, life, retirement, discounts on flights and expense allowance. And you will be really well respected.
But on the other hand, pilots spend most of their time away from home. 15 days a month, on average. The job security is awful. One medical problem, one run in with the law, or fail any test, and your career is over. Remember – there are frequent random medical checks. And then there’s the stress of all those souls being in your hands. One mistake, just one, and you will kill so many people. And you have to remember readers, I’m the man who once accidentally set water on fire. Would you trust me with a plane? I sure wouldn’t…
Even if we ignore my colossal fear of flying, I’m still not a ‘traveller’. I don’t have ambitions to see the world. I have ambitions to – erm, well, I don’t have any, actually. To keep breathing. That’s an ambition. It’s a pretty lame ambition, but it’ll do. And I’m not interested in being well respected. Where’s respect gonna get you in life? Highflying fancy dos with sherry and cocaine in country mansions. They’re not my people. It opens doors into a world of luxury privilege, and that’s not the world I’m from. The world I’m from is the one I want to never leave. It’s much more honest and honourable. And what of all those cons? All those people. Men. Women. Children. No wonder the captain often goes down with the ship. The guilt would be enormous to live with and I’d lose sleep over anything possibly going wrong. It is by far the most dangerous way to travel in terms of the potential risks.
I think pilots should be greatly admired. They do a job that, when you think about it, is brave, noble and incredibly cool. And not many people can do that job. I could not be one of them, I’m too frightened and useless, but those who do it are really awesome.
But what about you, readers? Would you be a pilot?
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