Nineteen year old Ryan Irwin, from Wirral, Merseyside, has been offered a job with budget carrier Ryanair after qualifying as a pilot from the Oxford Aviation Academy back in February. Apparently, he was also offered a job with Jet2, another budget airline. After completing his training in September, he will take to the skies and fulfill a life long dream of flying.
However, news of a nineteen year old airline pilot has naturally attracted some criticism. In a Decision Heights blog post entitled Acne in the Cockpit, Alan Cockrell complained that Ryan won’t be required to pay his dues via a “seasoning” period (e.g. night cargo runs and the like) as other airline pilots must do. He also asked:
What good is he other than as a captain’s “assistant”? Suppose, for example he gets paired with a weak captain. (They exist.) Will he have the means, knowledge and skills to mitigate the captain’s mistakes? Or suppose he gets paired with an egotistical captain—one who espouses the time-tested suicidal cockpit management technique called, “my way or the highway”? (There are many.) Will he have the fortitude to speak out against the boss’ ill-advised decisions? Not likely. More likely he will silently let the captain fly him all the way into the crater, assuming he even sees it coming.
Certainly, Alan has a point and he also added at the end of his post:
But young Ryan will soon realize that on Ryan pay he will be able to pay off his Oxford Aviation Academy debt in a about three decades and the glitter of his not-so-long awaited-for dream-come-true will fade.
And while its easy to dismiss Ryan’s hiring as just another Michael O’Leary publicity stunt (like threatening to install coin operated toilets or making passenger stand), he may not be the only nineteen year pilot at the airline as someone posted the following comment on the Daily Mail article about his hiring:
I’m sorry Mail, get your facts straight. I know at least 3 more pilots, who been with Ryanair for years, and joined at 19, becoming captains at 23-24. But there are definitely many many more. This boy is not an exception in any way.
– Ruta , Liverpool, United Kingdom, 17/5/2013 15:08
Granted, we should point at that there are probably many nineteen year old pilots in the various air forces of the world entrusted with flying some very expensive and very dangerous aircraft.
With that said, we want to ask you our readers: Do you think a nineteen year old should be in the cockpit of an airline flying passengers? Moreover and even if you won’t fly Ryanair, would you want to fly in an airliner with someone his age potentially at the controls?