Jack Reeves, aged 24, recently trained with FTA and is now flying a corporate jet with Air X in Malta. Here is his pilot story:

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Why did you train to be a pilot?

It started when I was around ten years old; in the school holidays my Grandad would look after me and he used to take me gliding. Once I turned 16, I was able to start training towards some of the gliding qualifications. This glider flying experience led me to start a career in aviation.

How did you go about choosing a flying school and what aspects were important to you?

After doing some research, I realised that the UK is held in high regard for pilot training, so it was important to me to complete my training in the UK. I came across FTA and saw that they had a modern fleet of aircraft, equipped with glass cockpits and FTA’s course price was very competitive compared to other schools offering training in a similar fleet.

How did you find out about FTA?

I found out about FTA through online research. Brighton City Airport (FTA’s base airport) was only a few miles away from where I was living, so I researched the flying schools based around Brighton and Shoreham.

What qualifications did you take and how did you find the course?

I enrolled on the modular course, which was the only zero hour to CPL/IR course offered at the time. At first, I attended part time due to work commitments. However, once the ATPL Theory course started, I attended full time. The ATPL Theory, CPL and IR course elements were very demanding. I completed the CPL and IR with first time passes and in the minimum time required. I found the course very rewarding and I couldn’t have accomplished what I did without the instructors and staff at FTA, who were always willing to help.

How did you hear about the job opportunity flying a corporate jet in Malta? Can you tell us a bit more about your role?

I was working at FTA as an ops assistant; one evening we met a student renewing his IR who was an apprentice at Air X, the company I now fly for. He told me about the role and later that evening I sent off my application. I was contacted a few weeks later and then started on Air X’s pilot apprenticeship program, a 24-month apprenticeship where I was working in the operations department, based in Malta. Due to fleet expansion, I was offered the opportunity to finish the apprenticeship early after 12 months and I was then given a type rating on a Challenger 850, a large corporate jet.

Can you briefly outline the application/interview process for the role?

I had a Skype interview with HR and the operations manager at Air X. I was then flown out to Malta and completed a trial period, after which I was offered a contract.

How long have you been in this job and how are you enjoying the role?

I have now been with Air X for 16 months. I spent thirteen months working in the operations department and I have just spent three months flying as a first officer.

Can you describe a ‘typical’ day in your job?

It’s a cliche to say it but no two days are the same! My rota consists of fifteen days on, followed by fifteen days off. My working days are spent with the aircraft, staying in hotels at our destinations. The job is very unpredictable; I can start a rotation with only ten hours planned and by the end of it, I might have flown fifty hours. We fly wherever and whenever we are needed by our clients. In the three months that I have been flying, I have been all across Europe, Russia, the Middle East and Africa. From speaking to some of my colleagues, it seems flying private jets is much more ‘hands on’, compared to typical commercial airline flying.

In the three months that I have been flying, I have been all across Europe, Russia, the Middle East and Africa.

We usually arrive two hours before departure, so we can print off all our documents and have a briefing about what we can expect for the day. We then head to the aircraft to prepare the cockpit and arrange fuelling. Meanwhile the flight attendant prepares the cabin and catering. Once the passengers arrive, the captain will go to the terminal to greet them and walk them out to the aircraft. Meanwhile, as first officer, I will usually load the luggage and then get all our clearances, so as soon as the passengers are seated, we are ready to taxi. We are always on call; we get can get a call at any hour to say we need to head to the airport for an urgent flight.

What are the most enjoyable and rewarding aspects of your job?

Flying the aircraft is the most enjoyable part. If we have a day off down route, it’s always good fun, as we get to do some tourist things.

What are your aviation career goals – what would you like to do in the future?  

In a few years time, I hope to be upgraded to captain and eventually I would like to be involved in crew training.