Who is behind PilotsTogether?

The charity was set up and is being run by a group of people who want to make sure pilots who have lost their income because of the Covid-19 crisis have somewhere to turn. This group includes current pilots and other individuals from across all walks of life. For more information on our Trustees, please visit: https://pilotstogether.org/our-team/

Why only pilots?

We recognise that many other airline colleagues and people from many other industries are facing considerable hardship because of this crisis, but to create the greatest impact for our peer group, PilotsTogether will focus on the pilot community. The specific challenges faced by this group will need a specific type of support, which we aim to provide.

What specific challenges do these pilots face?

In addition to the shock and anxiety triggered by losing your income, many pilots are left with high levels of debt. In the UK it can cost in excess of £130,000 to train to become a commercial pilot. Many years ago, airlines used to cover these costs, but today pilots self-fund with loans. The majority of redundant pilots are going to be unable to pay off flight training loans as well as other financial commitments.

Pilots also dedicate many years to qualifying – and maintaining these qualifications. The tremendous investment pilots put into building the technical skills needed to fly often leaves them feeling pigeon-holed into a very niche profession. In addition to this, regulations require that pilots specialise in flying certain aircraft types, meaning that they can’t simply fly a different type of aircraft – not without investing even more time and money in training.

Many pilots feel as if their experience leaves them with no career options as pilots and with no transferable skills relevant outside the profession. We disagree with this and believe that pilots are highly employable across a range of jobs. We work with pilots to build their confidence, bolster their CVs, and help them find bridging work until they can one day return.

Also, unless pilots maintain a certain number of training/flying hours each year, licenses can lapse and stop them from flying – thereby preventing them from easily returning to the cockpit as airlines recover. Training sims are an important way pilots can keep their hours up, but they are prohibitively expensive for individuals to access on their own (often costing almost £1000 an hour).  We work with pilots to help provide access to training facilities at heavily discounted or subsidised rates.

What are the long-term risks to the profession?

We worry that even as the industry recovers and people get back in the air, the long-term impact will be detrimental to diversity and inclusion in the profession. With high barriers to entry, such as the cost of qualifying, what pilots are experiencing today could deter future generations and put them off considering the profession. Young people from underrepresented groups or underprivileged backgrounds who don’t have access to the necessary financial resources may be put off even dreaming about becoming a pilot if the risks appear too high. It is critical that we come together today to support our peers and ensure that it attracts the best possible talent from the next generation.

I want to help. How do I get involved?

In addition to financial contributions, we will need volunteers to help us help others. This is a peer-to-peer charity, so we need support from current members of the pilot community in particular – and their supporters. Get in touch if you can help with any of the following:

  • Job opportunities – you can add these directly on to the site here
  • Funds – complete the Donation Form now
  • Discount or special offer on a service or item – add your offer here
  • Help and advice on training / licencing- you can add your services here
  • Wellbeing and mental health guidance – complete the form here
  • Career advice and guidance – add an offer here
  • CV development support – add an offer here

If you’d like to discuss any offer before submitting it on the site please complete the form here and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

How do I make a financial donation?

We can accept financial donations straight to our bank account which can go directly to supporting our colleagues. You’ll find the donation form here.

Who can join PilotsTogether?

PilotsTogether’s aims are to support pilots no longer earning a living from flying both with financial and wellbeing support, and by building a community they can be part of. To that end we have two levels of membership: Full Members and Associate Members. Membership is free, and is as simple as completing the registration form and sending us proof of your status.

What is the criteria for Full Membership?

Full membership of PilotsTogether is reserved for professional pilots who fulfil the following criteria:

  • They must no longer be in receipt of material funds from a flying role
  • They must have obtained line pilot status (ie finished training) with an airline with a normal reporting base in the UK
  • They must have lost their income from a flying role on or after 21st September 2019
  • They must not have subsequently achieved line pilot status with another airline with a normal reporting base outside the UK.

A pilot not meeting the full qualifying criteria above may be admitted, subject to unanimous acceptance by the Membership Sub Committee, if it is determined by that MSC that the applicant generally meets the spirit
of the above intention. All decisions taken by the MSC are final, and correspondence will not be entered in to.

What is the criteria for Associate Membership?

Associate Membership of PilotsTogether is reserved for professional pilots who hold line pilot status with a normal reporting base in the UK. Membership will be granted by the Membership Sub Committee on completion of the application form along with the necessary qualifying documentation (proof of licence and base). All decisions made by the MSC are final and no correspondence will be entered into.

What are the benefits of membership?

PilotsTogether offers main pillars of support for our members:

  1. Community – Being away from aviation can be tough when you’re used to the comraderie of the crewroom. We aim to build a group that allows our members to feel part of the aviation community even if they do not currently have an flying job. We do this by organising get togethers, events and with our online “crewroom” forum. We have also launched our “Buddy Flying” initiative where members can offer up a seat in their own aircraft to get our non-flying members up in the air.
  2. Wellbeing – Mental health and wellbeing can suffer when not only are you unable to do your dream job, but when you also have unpaid debts and everyday living costs hanging over you. We have launched our #WePilots initiative where any pilot can text the service and receive specialist wellbeing advice, and we also offer regular crewroom sessions online with prominent wellbeing practitioners to help you to cope with your situation.
  3. Employment – Finding another job after losing a flying role is not easy. There are new rules on licencing (EASA / UK), LPCs to be maintained and medicals to renew. We are trialling an LPC scheme on the A320 to provide you with a free LPC renewal (and practice session) and we have guidance online on how to convert your licence. Our volunteers include many trainers and experts who can help answer your employment questions. We also have contacts in other industries and regularly receive notifications of other roles before the general public – we now have a few train drivers amongst our members! Our jobs board is updated every Monday* with jobs relevant to your skills and you can even upload your CV* which we will try and put forward to as many people as possible.
  4. Finance – The first problem for many of our members is the sudden loss of income. With mortgages to finance and training debts to pay money can quickly become a problem. Through our grant scheme we are able to offer grants to our members* who are in financial difficulty, or to pay for large unexpected bills. We have financed visa costs for one member whose wife was going to be deported, paid mortgages for members who were threatened with default and paid for many licence renewals and medical bills.

* full members only