The global climate makes for an unsettling environment right now, normal routines such as exercise or going to the shops for a bread or milk have been radically changed and it’s naturally unsettling when you don't know when or if things will return to a level of normality.
With the UK being told to look at up to six months of this alternative existence it is important more than ever to try and create new routines to keep the mind and body healthy.
Fortunately, the aviation press is being flooded with positive articles and predications for the industry. Indeed, whilst flying has been temporarily placed on pause at FTA Global, ground school instruction continues online via remote instruction and refurbishments to our buildings and aircraft continue.
As a business we remain positive about when can be achieved in this period and we urge you all to do the same. There are many ways you can make the most the time you have now, away from life’s normal distractions. Read on for some useful ideas and activities we encourage you to explore over the coming weeks and months.
1. Develop your theoretical knowledge – whether you are about to embark on your training or have completed your commercial pilot licence and are looking to apply for First Officer roles, ATPL theory is something you can never learn enough of.
Padpilot is the supplier of choice for ground school studies. The material is electronic so you are assured that you are using up-to-date content, and can wherever you are, on your iPad. You can buy a wide range of books and other learning material from Padpilot’s iBookstore and their first offering is absolutely free. Maths and Physics for Pilots gives you all the basic maths and physics you need for the ATPL course.
If it has been a while since you last studied maths or physics it is also worth refreshing your knowledge of GCSE maths and physics with the exam guide/revision books, as Nathan who excelled in his ATPL Theory, explains: “Brushing up on your maths helps to take the edge off the ATPLs. Padpilot have a free book to help get you started, but I just went over some old A Level books to cover trigonometry and algebra. I also used a handy mental maths app called Maths Tricks Free...That being said, don’t forget to give yourself some down-time once in a while as we’re only human!”
When preparing for interviews it is a good idea to refamiliarise yourself with theoretical knowledge as you can be expected to be test on this type of information during your pilot interviews, as Toby explains:
“What made the theory exams so difficult for me personally was the sheer amount of information and knowledge you need, and are expected, to learn in such a short space of time…However the work you put in learning the content pays off. When I revisited the subjects in preparation for my job interview you realise how much you have absorbed, so it is just about revision.”
2. Get reading - Jim Rohn explained it best: ““Reading is essential for those who seek to rise above the ordinary.” Start reading a new book or aspect of your training material. Novels and other literature can help expand the mind and inspire you to look at situations from another perspective.
3. Play and explore aviation flight sim apps. For some, flight sim apps games have inspired life changing decisions. Dan had wanted to become a virologist but a chance encounter at a car boot sale ignited a passion for something completely different: “a PC-simulator programme I discovered at a car boot sale called ‘Flight Sim’ changed everything. It was exactly what it was called – a flight simulator game which offered insight into what it was like to fly. I found myself spending increasing amounts of time using this programme and really enjoying the mathematical elements to precision flying. My parents could see flying had sparked my interest and so my mum bought me a trial flying lesson as a birthday present. I was 15 years old, we flew to the Isle of Wight, and I just fell in love with the whole experience."
Keep your love and knowledge for aviation fresh by downloading some simulator apps to practise flying, here are some favourites:
4. Stay active – The importance of continuing with exercise is demonstrated by the government. They have granted permission for a single form of exercise per day (local to home), reinforcing the importance of maintaining good health and well-being habits despite the need for isolation.
Making the most of any outside space you have at home for playing sports, exercise or taking up a low intensity activity such as yoga is ideal. Going for either a walk, run, jog or cycle at least three times a week will be a good way to get some fresh air and vital exercise.
Well-being goes beyond exercise and so it is equally important that you continue to drink 8-10 glasses of water a day (more on days you exercise) as well as maintain a healthy diet.
· 5. Use this time to get organised – Time at home presents you with the perfect opportunity to de-clutter, file your old notes and paperwork, and clean your home/room. Create a workstation or a creative way to access all your books and resources. April is the perfect time for a 'spring clean' and when isolation ends, you'll be super organised and ready for the next phase of your studies, thus strengthening self-discipline. Consider your mind as a muscle, the more you exercise it, the stronger it becomes. Habits formed in one area have a tendency to spread, for example keeping a tidy bedroom or workspace could domino into other healthy habits and routines.
6. Stay in close contact with your friends, family and peers. Checking in on family and friends is important. If you know someone either in pilot training or about to start it is useful to test each other’s knowledge or assign each other tasks for discovering more about aviation. The more time you spend absorbing yourself in the industry the better.
7. Play music – You can use apps such as SoundCloud, Spotify and Amazon who offer specific playlists and compilations to suit your activity or mood. You can also create a specific playlist that help lift your mood, or with relaxation. There are different types of music for all kinds of activities including exercising or housework, there’s something for everybody and every activity.
8. Meditate - The main purpose of meditation is to stop the endless mind chatter, and to find the quiet and space within. Meditation doesn’t require extensive time, just a few minutes a day can make all the difference. By withdrawing from your surroundings and going within, you’re able to stop the worry and anxiousness that comes with self-isolation and the unknown of what is going on right now.
There are apps you can download on your phone or fitness tracker which can help control your breathing or distract the mind with interesting and calming visuals, examples of these are: Calm, Buddify and Headspace.
9. Learn a new skill – if you are lucky enough to have some time spare after all of the above activities, perhaps you could take this time to learn something new.
Many online courses are programmes have been reduced in price and offer what could have costs £00s is available for a fraction of the original price. With online tutorials and training courses available, this could be your time to develop a new hobby, language or skill.
10. Keep a diary. The following are well documented benefits to keeping a diary:
- Stretching your IQ – writing as part of language learning has a positive correlation with intelligence. As keeping a journal is an exploration of language you’ll have a natural urge to expand your knowledge of words and increase your vocabulary.
- Evoking mindfulness – there is a connection between mindfulness and happiness. Writing in your journal allows you to bring a state of mindfulness; past frustrations and future anxieties lose their edge in the present moment. It calls for you to bring a wandering mind to attention, to actively engaging with your thoughts.
- Help with achieving your goals – writing down your goals signals to the brain “this is important” which then triggers opportunities and tools to help realise that aim.
- Improve your communication skills – the subvocalisation of tracing your written thoughts naturally translates in actual vocalisation.
- Self-confidence – Journaling a positive experience allows your brain to relive the it. These reflections can become a catalogue of positive personal achievements that you can continue to look back on.