We recently spoke to Gianluca Ciaraldi, a former FTA cadet who recently completed his training and has secured a role with Ryanair, starting
in July. Read his story here:


Why did you want to learn to fly and what inspired you – was there a role model or key event
in your life?

People say this a lot but flying was always a boyhood dream for me. From a young age, I just knew it’s what I wanted to do. My role model is definitely my Dad; he was a pilot flying the King Air and finished his career on the DC9. I grew up in Kenya; I used to hang around at the aero club a lot with my Dad and I’d meet all the pilots and they’d let me sit in the cockpit. Also my Mum was based in Italy and she worked for Alitalia for 35 years, so from a young age I was always involved in aviation. She always managed to get me onto the flight deck whenever possible and I was just in awe of the pilots and the planes. I couldn’t see myself doing anything else.

What course did you take at FTA?

I recently completed the Integrated Flight Deck Programme at FTA, which is their integrated course.

What was important to you in your choice of flight school?

To me personally, a flight school should have a good fleet of training aircraft, a good reputation in terms of prospective employers and most importantly a friendly environment with lots of support.

Why did you choose FTA?

I chose FTA as it ticked all the boxes for me that I mentioned above. The training aeroplanes were great, the school has a great reputation and the quality of the training they deliver is excellent. Also, the atmosphere within FTA is great and the instructors are always looking out for you.

What aspect of your training do you most enjoy?

I’ve enjoyed all of my training but by far the most enjoyable part was the Instrument Rating. I really enjoyed planning my flights, then putting it into practice and hearing all the big jets on the radio made it very exciting.

What’s your most memorable or rewarding moment so far?

The most rewarding moments were when I passed all the theory exams after 6 months of studying and passing my CPL test. My most memorable moment was when my instructor and I managed to fly over the Gatwick runway and we saw all the big jets departing and arriving up close.

Do you have any advice for others, thinking about commercial pilot training?

The best advice I can give to anyone who’s thinking of taking up flying as a career is make sure you can commit yourself to it, as it can get quite intense and put the hard work in on the ground and it’ll make the flying a lot simpler.

It seems like only yesterday we interviewed you for your Cadet Story and now you have secured a role with Ryanair! Can you tell us more about the process?

I completed my Instrument Rating and then my Multi Crew Cooperation (MCC) course with FTA on the 16thJanuary 2015. I applied to Ryanair on the 20th January. A week later I heard back about the initial telephone interview, which I completed on 6th of February. Their recruiter told me that I had been offered an assessment in Dublin on 17th of February. I went to Dublin to do a practice session in the 737 simulator and then had my simulator assessment, technical interview and HR interview on the 17th of February. So, from finishing the MCC element of my course to my interview, it took exactly one month.

Then just a week later on the 24th of February, I received the good news that I was being offered a position as a cadet with Ryanair, so on the 27th of July I am due to start my type rating at East Midlands, which I’m delighted about. I was lucky that my application proceeded so quickly and I’m not sure what made me stand out! I know that some people wait longer to secure a role but Ryanair is recruiting, so it’s definitely an option worth trying. I hope that in sharing my story, it gives others a bit of motivation, knowing that there are jobs out there.

What are your ultimate career goals?

My ultimate career goal was to work for one of the big airlines and I’m really pleased that I have secured a role with Ryanair. One day, I might follow my roots back to Kenya at some point later on in life and end my career with the thrills of bush flying.