Nothing has muddied discussions about anything important in aviation as the misinformation placed on websites which allow people to anonymously post their so-called “expert” opinions on issues they have no expertise in. Unfortunately, these demagogues are free to shout their opinions at the top of their lungs without the usual consequences facing someone who is wrong about those opinions, as those of us based in reality are.
During my career as an airline pilot I had never even heard of these forums and sites because I was too busy flying and living the good life to spend hours on my computer trying to convince visitors to some anonymous website that I actually had a valid opinion that was worth reading.
The real harm done by these anonymous know-alls is when well-meaning people interested in a career in aviation go to the internet to find information and stumble across one of these sites where supposedly equally well-meaning and experienced pilots volunteer their time to help the new comers enter the profession. What they find there in reality though are people who are more interested in advancing their own personal agenda that obviously doesn't include being helpful to anyone.
The majority of the posts I have read on these sites are inaccurate to say the least, and venomous and nasty at worse. The pilots I have contacted privately to speak about the misinformation they are putting out have turned out to be very inexperienced pilots who are still trying to find a good job in aviation themselves and are just repeating what they have heard whether it is true or not. Others I traded messages with were pilots who had tried to enter the profession and failed, and feel compelled to tell the world how bitter they are about it.
In any case, the one thing that they share in common is that they are not willing to stand behind their opinions and misinformation. They hide behind their anonymity and say things they would never say otherwise. That is not someone I would take seriously. That is not a good site to gather information that you will use to make a life altering career decision.
If you are genuinely interested in a career in aviation, make sure you get up-to-date information from people who are actually working in the industry and are proud enough of the information they are giving you to place their name on it and be responsible for it.
The Aviation Industry in the US still offers incredible opportunities for those willing to apply themselves and pursue these opportunities. In other words, no airline is going to come knocking at your door to try and convince you to enter the industry and you certainly won’t learn anything on some anonymous forum that will make you more appealing to them. But if you get good solid flight training from pilots focused on training you to employ skills used in the airline industry, and then follow it up in a good system built to provide you with quality flight experience that will qualify you to fly for the airlines, then recruiters will be looking for you and will want very much to speak with you. I know because I truly have been there, and I see it happening every day.
Paul Templeton, ATP