In the very first Guest Blog, Nick writes about his love of flying and tells us how he started. If you would like to write a Guest Blog, you can contact me by commenting on the site or by tweeting me at @CJBstudentpilot
All photos in this post belong to Nick Lee.
‘‘When I grow up I want to be a pilot”!
…A sentence that I didn’t say when I was a child. Flying and becoming a pilot surprisingly wasn’t something I dreamt of doing from a young age, like most people. So, how did it all start out?
I had always been fascinated about aircraft as a young child, but I never really wanted to fly them. I liked the idea of how aircraft could defy gravity and how they could soar high above the earth effortlessly, while taking passengers around the world. I think my main aim was to design aircraft and and become an aircraft engineer.
At school I never worked to the best of my ability, because as teenagers you have so many distractions around you, therefore it is easy to get distracted by the simplest of things such as computer games and social networking sites. Having passed all my GCSEs, it was the next decision to make in life. So September 2010 came around, I went onto studying Aviation at College for two years, having decided I wanted to do something within Aviation. A good month had past and I was really enjoying the course! All the lecturers had previously worked in the aviation industry, therefore they had a lot of raw knowledge of the whole industry It wasn’t until a friend in my class mentioned the words PPL and Flying in class, would I have known anything about learning to fly or becoming a pilot. Later that night after class, I went home and searched about learning to fly and where to start, as the thought of learning to fly really intrigued me. Every night I looked up more and more information about flying and it just dawned on me that I really wanted to become a pilot!
January 2011 came around. My parents kindly enough bought me a trial flight at a my local aerodrome and I was instantly hooked after the one hour flight in the Piper PA28 Warrior III. Exactly a month after my trial flight I startedmy Private Pilots License in the PA28 Warrior III at 16 Years Old. Training was thoroughly enjoyable and I completed my first solo on 12th July 2011. From August 2011-August 2012, I kept on having lessons every now and then. This obviously wasn’t the best for currency and training, but college and other work was really slowing me down. From August 2012, I said to myself that you have to complete your PPL before March 2013. Therefore I studied hard in order to complete the rest of my PPL exams and I finished off with a 94% average between all the 7 exams, which was very surprising! I had also started having lessons again on a weekly basis, which also benefited me a lot. I was also very lucky to have got so many lessons in during the winter period, but it was all down to my instructor pushing me in order to reach my goal. Before you knew it, I was ready for my PPL Skills Test. My skills test was on the 8th December 2012 and yes I was nervous! I won’t talk about the Skills Test too much, but all I will say is that I was tested on everything I learnt during my training. Therefore if you make any mistakes during your test, don’t feel like its an immediate fail, just listen to what the examiner has to say and take everything on-board. At the end of the day, they’re not there to fail you, but to ensure you can operate the aircraft safely and efficiently. At 1415 we landed, just as the horrible weather was approaching and I really didn’t having a clue if I passed or failed! About 5 minutes later, while taxxing back to the apron, the examiner said ‘Ill put you out of your misery…….you PASSED!’ I really wasn’t expecting to hear that! From not knowing I wanted to be a pilot until two years ago, to becoming a pilot. I just felt overwhelmed! This was really the start of the next step in life! (Word of Advice- Just treat the examiner like your instructor/friend and have fun! Good Luck to anyone that’s working towards their skills test!)
Nick taxiing at Perranporth
A month on (January 2013), my EASA PPL License had come through the door and my word was I happy! I had also bought a share in an aircraft in order to start hour building towards my commercial pilots license. As I write this, I am still hour building and enjoying it very much so! It’s truly amazing how I can travel around the UK and Europe in order to visit different airfields and cities and build up my flying experience. Fortunately I have been able to fly a lot recently therefore have had the chance to visit a lot of airfields in the UK. I am also nearing the 100 hour mark! I am due to start my ATPLs in September 2013, this will be 6 months of hard work but it’ll mean I am one step closer towards my dream!
Once again Thank You to ‘thestudentpilotblog’ for letting me write about my experience up till now! And I hope anyone wanting to become a pilot can follow their dream! You can follow my Youtube Channel at http://www.youtube.com/user/Nickilaa or Facebook Page at https://www.facebook.com/hdflyingvideos for the latest updates and flying videos during my hour building and training!
I’m writing this post after yet another brilliant day spent at the Flyer Exhibition at London Heathrow. For those who do not know, Flyer Exhibitions are bi-annual events that take place at Terminal 5 (Others take place abroad in places such as Brussels and Milan) and are essential for anyone thinking about embarking on a career as a pilot. I first visited Flyer at the age of 14, and I cannot express how helpful the events have been for me.
Essentially, the event gathers together FTO’s (Flight Training Organisations), Airlines, Universities and various aviation groups, allowing you to find information on everything from training with a particular FTO or University, to bursaries and scholarships that are available, right up to information on recruitment and industry outlooks. It was here that I first had a face to face discussion with staff and cadets from CTC, Oxford Aviation Academy, BCFT, ProPilot, and many more FTO’s, and the format adopted by most allows you to speak face to face with Instructors, Students and Managers – all of which gives you an honest and well informed insight into the various training courses on offer.
Seminars from airlines, cadets, as-well as various aviation organisations are dotted throughout the day and serve as a great way to learn about such things as recruitment. This year for example, Ian Baston, Director of Flight Operations at Flybe, delivered a detailed presentation on the airline and how they recruit, as well as giving an outlook on the airlines’ future growth and on the Industry as a whole. Other seminars included a cadet talking about his experience training for West Atlantic under a scheme run in conjunction with ProPilot, a Coventry based ATPL ground-school provider. British Airways also gave a seminar on their Future Pilot Programme, and there was also an earlier seminar discussing Higher Apprenticeships.
In short, if you are trying to decide where to undergo your training and haven’t already visited a Flyer event, I can hand on heart say that you must attend one before deciding where to train. It’s from Flyer where you can get a true feel for the various organisations and the courses they offer, and most importantly, it’s a place to get all of your questions answered. From here, it is easy to arrange visits and to attend open days offered by many FTO’s (a vital step to allow you to get a feel for the facilities and the course/s on offer). I should emphasize that all methods of training are represented at Flyer; be it Integrated, Modular, Degree courses, Hour building courses or Groundschool training. It really is a great opportunity to contrast and compare the different ways that training can be done, all in one place.
Even now, when I am very close to starting my commercial training, Flyer provided an informative, reliable and enjoyable day out that allowed me to get the latest updates on training and recruitment straight from the horses mouth: the guys providing the training and the airlines recruiting.