Why did you train to become a pilot?
When I was 19 and a student I started to work as a secretary in an aviation company. Within months of working there, I grew a passion for aviation and fell in love with the idea of being a pilot. I started in flight operations and became exposed to pilots, hearing their stories and how they explained things.
Despite my growing interest, I knew the cost and felt like it was impossible for me, something that was entirely out of my reach.
No turning back
I saved every penny I could and eventually saved up enough money to complete my Private Pilot’s Licence (PPL). For me, it made sense to start by only focusing on that aspect of the training. I told myself that the PPL was financially a lower risk than enrolling straight onto an integrated course. It gave me time to save just enough money and was an excellent place to start my training. I felt that if I succeed at this stage, it will give me the knowledge and confidence to decide whether I could progress on to the more advanced training required of airline pilots.
The problem was there would never be any turning back after experiencing what it was like to fly – I instantly became addicted. I knew that I would never be happy if I didn’t now follow my dream.
Finding the right flight school
I researched all the pilot training, and my boss who is also a mentor to me said to go to the states and train over there. It was a UK certified flight school but based in Florida, and you gained an EU licence at the end of your training. It was only possible with thanks to funds from my parents and a personal loan. After I had completed my commercial training, I had to find somewhere to complete my IR (in the US you cannot do your instrument rating).
I looked around Europe and the UK and first looked at a few, large flight schools based in the South of England and their prices were well out of reach. I was also very disappointed by their customer service. Through further research, I discovered FTA and everything felt happy. I got a response within hours and had all the answers to my questions. Stuart (the Admissions Officer at the time) was friendly and helpful.
Why not swap a class room and 3-4 year course, for flying lessons and just 18 months of study?
Is flight training the alternative to university you've not yet considered?
Earlier this year we were contacted by a company looking to place a work experience student with us for 6 months. It's important to us that we only take on work experience students that we can properly accommodate and support through their time with us. Joeri is from Amsterdam and is studying Aviation Management at the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences. We had an interview with Joeri through Skpe and were instantly impressed. We devised a project for him to work on during his time with us and placed him in the heart of the business, in the operations team. Here he proved an asset to the business and it was hard to see him go. Before he returned to Amsterdam to complete his final year of university, we asked him if we could interview him about his time here, as with everything with Joeri, he happily obliged. Read on to discover what it's like to work in operations in a flight school, and for a behind the scenes description of life working at FTA Global.
Ana, a qualified Flight Instructor turned pilot explains what life as First Officer for airBaltic is like, and how she and her partner make it possible to both work as pilots and still enjoy a happy family life.