Prince William wishes to learn to fly, which is nice, although I hear the RAF are a little worried that the cost of training him, will not be replaced by a budget "top-up" to train one of our very expensive front-line pilots. (pictured)
If you want to be an airline pilot, then the cost of training averages about £30,000. It was about this figure this for my last two “apprentices” in 2007, ‘S’ and ‘J’, who both went on to get ‘proper jobs’ , reduced to penury but having got through the crowd on the basis of their qualifications and commercial experience pulling banners around the country in the summer. They and this season’s pilots now have equally staggering personal loans to repay because unlike some other countries, we don’t even part-fund applicants, who still have to get through an academic hurdle which has been compared to “drinking from a fire hose”!
‘J’ for example received his First Officer job only after he paid an extra £12,000 for a type-rating (at cost to the airline) for the aircraft he now flies, even though he already held an Airbus rating he had previously paid for. At Ryan Air, I’m told you pay for your uniforms too!
Prince William wants to learn to fly helicopters with the RAF too. In civilian life, that’s another £30,000 or so (hours and training) to switch from commercial fixed-wing to a rotary and more technical and theory exams as well.
So given that the taxpayer will be funding all this work experience is it the right thing to do in the circumstances when you see £30 million of taxpayers' money spent on a government scheme to help aspiring pop stars to make it in the music industry but no support for airline pilots and the potential tax return on investment that goes to the Treasury over the lifetime of such a career. Successful pop stars frequently domicile out of the reach of the taxman and taxation and the ambitions of princes never make comfortable bedfellows!.
Meanwhile, don't tell the Prince but the recent surge in use of remotely-controlled robot aircraft by US forces for the Wars on Stuff has meant that substantial numbers of American pilots are now being pulled off normal flight status and assigned to drone-driving duty, according to reports. Read on...
What do you think Train him to fly a drone instead? Much cheaper and he could stay at home too!