For many people, the love of aviation starts at a very young age. This could not be more true for FTA Modular graduate Alessandro who, at the age of just 23 years old, has already achieved his dream of becoming a Commercial Pilot. Here we spoke to him about his training and early experiences flying the line for Europe's largest airline, Ryanair:
WHAT MADE YOU DECIDE TO BECOME A PILOT?
From as far as I can remember, I’ve always liked aviation and air planes in general. When I was younger, though, I thought that being a Pilot was something very difficult to achieve and I didn’t really think it would have been a possible future for me. During high school, I started getting more interested about it and I remember talking with my father and asking him what his thoughts were. He always supported me and decided to buy me a lesson in a single engine aircraft. I loved it and since that moment, being a Pilot became my aim. It can be a challenging and stressful job at times but it is extremely satisfying. It gives you remarkable career opportunities and I personally find it unbelievable that you can get paid to do something so awesome as a job.
How did you go about choosing a flying school and what aspects were important to you?
When searching for a flying school, I was mainly looking for programs that were reasonably priced, had high standards, and the language spoken in the country. It was important for me to be surrounded by native English speakers, so I could improve my English and be able to stand out amongst other candidates at job interviews. This is why I chose FTA Global in Brighton.
HOW did you find out about fta?
I found out about FTA Global on the internet. After visiting the school in person, I was impressed by the environment at the academy. It didn’t take me long to decide to enrol.
what qualifications did you take and how did you find the course?
I joined FTA as a modular student. I started with the Airport Transport Pilot Licence (ATPL) ground school followed by the Hour Building, the Night Rating, the Instrumental Rating, and then the Commercial Pilot Licence.
The courses were very intense and challenging and there are times when everything can feel overwhelming. However, thanks to the structured syllabus and experienced instructors I was able to complete everything with no issues.
I think flying at night is actually one of the best experiences ever.
After completing my training at FTA and waiting 1 month to receive my licence, I applied to the Boeing 737 type rating course with Ryanair and luckily after only 5 days I received an email asking me to present myself to Dublin for an interview
how long did it take from finishing the course to securing your first interview and job offer?
After I completed the requirements necessary, I applied for a First Officer position with Ryanair. They contacted me within 4 days to set up an interview.
Within 10 days from their first e-mail I was happily notified that I had successfully secured a position on the type rating course starting in August 2017.
HOW did you hear about the job opportunity?
It was very easy to be honest. Ryanair is the biggest airline in Europe and it is the company that I have wanted to work for since I started my training as they are famous for giving young pilots, with low hours, the possibility to obtain a wonderful job flying one of their numerous aircrafts.
can you briefly outline the application/interview process for the role?
Approximately 4 days after I sent my application to the company, I received an email saying that they were interested in my curriculum and that they wanted to have a talk about it over the phone.
On the phone interview , they briefly reviewed my qualifications and notified me of the interview date. The interview took place in Dublin, in the Ryanair Headquarters. At the interview, twelve other candidates and I were given a brief overview the day's activities.
The selection consisted of a simulator section and a technical and personal interview. I was given a simulator partner and we were given some time to prepare the exercises we were assigned in the simulator.
Later on, we were called individually for the interview. The interview consisted of technical questions to assess our overall general knowledge and human resources questions.
Once the interview was complete, it was time for the simulator, which was conducted on a Boeing 737-800 simulator and we were expected to cover both the pilot flying and pilot monitoring roles.
CAN YOU DESCRIBE A ‘TYPICAL’ DAY IN YOUR JOB?
On a typical day, I report to work one hour and an half before departure, I enter the crew room and I print the flight plans for the forthcoming flights. Then, I thoroughly go through all the paperwork to check the airplane maintenance status, weather, and any other relevant information. Just before heading to the plane, I have a briefing with the captain and the crew. During the briefing, the captain and I also decide who is going to fly the plane. Usually, if we do 2 flights in a day I fly one of them and if we do 4 flights I fly 2 of them.
WHAT ARE THE MOST ENJOYABLE AND REWARDING ASPECTS OF YOUR JOB?
It is very exciting to have control of an aircraft such as the Boeing 737. It is hard to put into words the thrill I feel when I am landing a 70 ton airplane at over 160mph on a new, unknown airport in dense fog or when I am battling with wind and adverse weather. It is also really satisfying to know that I safely carried hundreds of people to a different country thousands of miles apart.
what are your aviation career goals - what would you like to do in the future?
In the future, I would like to progress within the company to become a captain and eventually a training captain or examiner. I would also like to learn another language and start an university degree to improve myself and be more knowledgeable on the field of aviation.