Burhan Cug (Future First Officer for Turkish Airlines) is currently training at FTA the F.I.T partnership programme. Here he tells us a bit about why he chose to undertake the programme and how it has been for him so far.
Why did you want to train to become a pilot – what attracts you to the job?
I was working at Ford Motor Company for two years, in a mechanical engineering role. It was a desk based job but I was looking for something more exciting. Whilst there is not a huge aviation culture in Turkey, airline pilot is seen as a prestigious role – if you say that you’re training to be a pilot in Turkey, you might as well say that you are training to be an astronaut! It’s a well-paid job.
How did you hear about this opportunity and sponsorship from Turkish Airlines?
I saw details of the Turkish Airlines sponsorship programme two years ago (the roles are posted approximately every two years) and I wanted to join. I have two friends that have been through the programme and they were very positive about it and I received good tips from them! The programme likes to take mechanical engineering graduates, so I fitted the profile. I actually applied two years ago and now I’m working through the programme, which is set to take 16-18 months to complete.
Have you completed some training at Florida Tech & how did you find it there?
I completed all of my certificates at Florida Institute of Technology (FIT) - from PPL to multi instrument rating. FIT is very big campus, the aviation section has around 50 single engine and 10 or more multi engine training aircraft in their fleet. Flying in Florida is quite challenging, due to the ever changing weather conditions. You can consult weather charts before a planned flight but then check again fifteen minutes later and conditions can be completely different, due to thunder storms.
How are you getting on in the UK, with FTA & your impressions of the flying school so far?
Training in the UK more complex, more exacting and there are different European aviation regulations and different sectional charts to deal with. It’s good to train in UK airspace to familiarise myself with European regulations, as will I be flying in Europe when I qualify; Istanbul to London routes for example.
It’s a tough schedule with this UK part of the programme, there are skills tests and mock flights. I have to handle wireless approaches and NDB, which they do not have in Florida.
What are you plans for future?
Next I will complete my type rating for Airbus 320; we will fly to Miami for a base check, type rating and systems training over three weeks. Then I fly to Turkey to pass a base check, fly some ‘touch & go’ landings without passengers on board and do line checks.
Then I will fly in a first officer position, under observation for 1-2 months, where observers will check my skills. Then, I hope to qualify for a first officer role with Turkish Airlines for 4/5 years then progress to a captain role.