I LOVE CHALLENGES AND FLYING IN THE UK IN THIS STUNNING DA 42 TWIN STAR BROUGHT MY TRAINING TO A TOTALLY DIFFERENT LEVEL.
WHY DID YOU WANT TO LEARN TO FLY?
Flying has always been my dream. It simply brings so much beauty, freedom, magic and satisfaction. I am so much in love with my passion for aviation that a day doesn’t go past without me thinking about it and I absolutely know that I will never have enough of it.
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO LEARN TO FLY – WAS THERE A ROLE MODEL OR KEY EVENT IN YOUR LIFE?
Shortly before my third birthday, my mother took me for a flight in a light aircraft over and through the mountains of Poland, where I grew up. Whilst the scenery provided a truly spectacular view, it’s interesting that I can’t recall the scenery very well, apart from thinking that buildings looked like my toy LEGO models!
However, what I do remember clearly (and can regenerate in a heartbeat each time I fly or simply think about flying) is a deep and overwhelming feeling of happiness, freedom and inner comfort being in the airborne environment.
So, given the personal impact of that life experience, it’s understandable that, for 23 years now, I’ve been consumed by my desire to become a pilot; with every cell in my body, I know that flying is something I was born and, moreover, meant to do.
WHAT COURSE ARE YOU TAKING AT FTA AND WHAT STAGE ARE YOU AT?
Having completed my PPL (private pilot’s license) in South Africa, flying the Sling 2 aircraft, I returned there to hour-build so that I would have enough flying hours to commence a ME CPL & IR course at FTA. Before that, I needed to complete the 14 EASA ATPL theoretical examinations whilst working full time as cabin crew for Etihad Airways and then as a VIP flight attendant for a private jet company based in Saudi Arabia. I was delighted to receive my final exam results in Dec 2015 and have since embarked upon ME IR and ME CPL flying training course with FTA. I completed ME IR training in July and I am hoping to fly my CPL test flight this month.
HOW WAS YOUR FIRST SOLO FLIGHT?
Even though it was 3 years ago, I can still recall every second of my first solo flight. It was a warm winter afternoon in Johannesburg; I did a couple of circuits with my instructor and then he said I was ready for a solo circuit.
Once he left the aircraft next to the ATC tower I started taxiing to the holding point. I was very excited and a bit nervous but the moment I got airborne, it just all seemed so natural. It was a very busy flight due to joining traffic but everything went well and I made that famous ‘kiss landing’ at the end. It was definitely one of the best days in my life!
WHAT’S IMPORTANT TO YOU IN YOUR CHOICE OF FLIGHT SCHOOL AND WHY DID YOU CHOOSE FTA?
Once I decided to continue my training in the UK, I had to find out what flying schools offer here. The first time I heard about FTA was from a good friend of mine who strongly recommended the school. Soon after hearing his advice I found out that FTA’s reputation is well known in the UK and the South coast is one of best areas of England to train. When I came to the school for the first time I could see straight away that it’s an absolutely encouraging and positive environment, with plenty of international students. It feels very much like a family run business – very friendly people and fantastic, approachable instructors – this all made this flight school look very appealing. Also the prices are very competitive and the training aircraft are very well maintained.
WHAT ASPECT OF YOUR TRAINING DO YOU MOST ENJOY?
I love challenges and flying in the UK in this stunning DA 42 Twin Star brought my training to a totally different level. Very busy airspace in this area and changing weather conditions are ideal for training, as they make you a much more knowledgeable and proficient pilot. Regarding DA 42 itself, it was definitely love at first sight and I am enjoying every second of my time at the controls of this amazing aircraft. I am really pleased that I chose to complete my professional flight training on it.
WHAT’S YOUR MOST MEMORABLE OR REWARDING MOMENT IN YOUR TRAINING SO FAR?
Achieving my pilot licence was the most rewarding thing that I’ve ever done. I love aviation because it constantly pushes me to learn new things and continue to improve my skills. As a student, flight training pushed me to venture outside my comfort zone. I encountered many challenges along the way and it was not always easy to keep going.
To get a ‘foot in the door’ so that I felt in a position to begin my journey, I secured basic employment at a local airport. Even though my earnings were less than £1 per hour, that was not a factor that concerned me in the slightest – I was now part of the aviation industry and learning. From my research I knew that the 14 ATPL exams would be tough and, on reflection, a huge challenge that I am very proud to have overcome.
I had no idea how to study and work full time as cabin crew with such reactive rosters, how to save enough money to pay for the training without taking any large financial loans or borrowing from family, or when to complete the ATPL brush-up study weeks and sit my exams. Yet if you want something as much as I do, you will overcome any challenge that you face and find a way to make your dream come true.
DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR OTHERS THINKING ABOUT PILOT TRAINING?
Aviation presents a unique set of challenges and future aviators must be alive to the fact that they will experience failure, disappointment and frustration at some point in the journey. It’s how you deal with these issues as they arise that matters. We have all been there. The key is to commit and never give up. Through self-discipline, effort and hard work, you will find a way. You must never lose sight of your dream. You will get there in the end and your aviation journey will make you a stronger and more capable person.
WHAT ARE YOUR NEXT TRAINING STEPS?
WHAT ARE YOUR ULTIMATE CAREER GOALS?
I would love to fly private jets and the ultimate would be to hold a command on a beautiful Gulfstream G650. It would be great if I had some spare time to learn the art of gliding and aerobatic flying. I would also like to achieve a helicopter license at some point. Longer term, I’d like to settle with a major national airline and progress to the position of training captain – a career in aviation is my dream.
WHAT DO YOU DO WHEN YOU’RE NOT TRAINING TO BECOME A PILOT?
The training is very demanding and it requires a lot of studying and preparation, therefore I put most of my time and energy into it. My second passion after flying is dancing but I will focus more on it once I complete my pilot training. If I have some spare time in the evening I would normally go for an hour jog, check on my family and friends or relax at Shoreham beach with a book.
Since her interview Paulina has passed her ME CPL test and preparing her CV for commercial pilot roles. Fantastic work, congratulations Paulina!