Christine details her worldwide journey
to becoming a pilot, from Australia
to the UK to Dublin

Not even the barrier of travelling to a different country
should come between you and your dream.

Former FTA Flight Academy Student Christine

Former FTA Student Christine

I was a teacher working at a language school in Perth, Australia when my boss approached me with an unusual request: would I spend a few weeks at a flying school? The school was expecting a group of young cadet pilots from Switzerland who were coming to Perth to learn English for Aviation. Everyone at the school knew I was a massive aviation enthusiast and were not surprised when I jumped at the opportunity to familiarise myself with the terminology used in aviation so I could pass this knowledge onto my students.

I spent two weeks at a small airfield just outside of Perth. I listened intently to the pilots and their stories, I watched in awe at their takeoffs, manoeuvres and landings. I was hooked – I wanted more than anything to learn how to fly.

I returned to the UK and applied for a job as cabin crew. I spoke to plenty of pilots about training and was advised against making such a financial investment in the midst of a recession. Despite all this I knew that I wanted to fly so went ahead and booked a trial lesson; taking the controls for the first time was an exhilarating experience.

I went in to enquire about courses and instantly knew that I wanted to do my training there

FTA was thriving where other schools on the airfield were quiet. The fleet of DA40s and DA42s made for an impressive sight on the apron. I went in to enquire about courses and instantly knew that I wanted to do my training there. The staff were approachable, honest and informative. They were professional and extremely knowledgeable, the aircraft modern and well-maintained. I signed up for an hour building package, CPL and IR. It turned out to be the best decision of my whole journey.

Training was a time of extreme highs and lows, but at every low point, there was always someone there to pick you back up. I was well prepared for my IR test and my success was down to the commitment of my instructors as much as my own hard work.

I applied for a job with Aer Arann back in my hometown of Dublin. After a year of waiting, I eventually got the call to come for an interview. The interview consisted of a technical interview followed by a 45-minute simulator assessment. The following day they called and offered me a job as First Officer to be based at Shannon Airport in the beautiful West of Ireland. The ATR-type rating was tough and line training presented its own challenges, but the sense of achievement you feel after every take off and landing never leaves you.

working for a Regional airline is a great starting point for any pilot. There is a lot of hand flying and the skills I learned at FTA really gave me a solid start to my career.

My day starts early and we fly at least 4 sectors every day, occasionally 5. The work is hard and the weather is challenging in Ireland. With a service ceiling of 25,000ft, you find yourself in the middle of cloud rather than above it most of the time. However, working for a Regional airline is a great starting point for any pilot. There is a lot of hand flying and the skills I learned at FTA really gave me a solid start to my career.

My journey has recently taken another turn; after being encouraged by the dedication and knowledge of my own instructors over the years, I wanted to be able to pass on what I have learnt to inspire the next generation of airline pilots. I am currently studying for an A320 rating and in the coming weeks I begin work as a Theoretical Knowledge Instructor for one of the largest type rating providers in Europe. It’s an exciting change and means that I will be alternating flying with time in the sim and classroom. My future is in training, however, and I am looking forward to progressing through the ranks on that journey.

To anyone thinking of a career in aviation; be prepared to work hard and never give up on your dream. There may be dark days but remember: the sun always shines at 35,000 feet.

Thank you to everyone at FTA for making my dream become reality.