The Aviator | Student Pilot Blog

Follow my journey as an airline pilot cadet

Hello, I'm James, and I'm a First Officer flying for a UK airline. The aim of this website is to share my journey through integrated pilot training, and to hopefully inspire other future airline pilots to follow their dream.

A little more about me: I started training when I was 19, I'm originally from Cheshire, UK, and I was a member of the seventh airline-mentored MPL course at CAE Oxford Aviation Academy. Our team of eight met together for the first time on 28th June 2013. During ground school we were joined by fifteen other trainee pilots, making us part of the AP351 course. Whilst we completed all of our flight training in the UK, the AP351 members of our course completed their flight training in Phoenix, Arizona.

My aim was to keep my friends and family up-to-date with my training through periodic updates to the The Aviator Blog page of my website. I always welcome questions, suggestions or contributions at any time through the Contact page. You can now also Subscribe to my blog, to receive an email when an update is posted.

Disclaimer: Personal thoughts and views expressed on this website are entirely my own, and not those of any company I may be affiliated with. Any sponsored links or advertisements on this site are managed by a third-party and are computer generated, they are not endorsements by myself or any company I may be affiliated with.

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The First Hurdle

Six weeks into the course, and there we have it. My first set of examinations. 

Training and development is a key component in the aviation industry, and even after this 16-month course is completed, our training will continue. Every airline pilot flying today will have spent time maintaining their skill set through simulator checks, as often as every six months for their entire career.

This week proved the intensity of our training, when we sat five trial examinations to prepare us for the real thing in just over eight weeks time. When I first began the ground school phase, I hadn't realised quite how quickly this point would come around. We were already being tested on material we'd learned as little as three days before the exam, and there was a lot of it!

A selection of my revision notes for the Human Performance exam...

To me, these exams showed the depth of knowledge we'd require, and that even with many hours of revision, I'd still need to do more! However, I was thrilled to receive solid percentage passes in all of my exams. The majority of the course are very happy with their results, and enjoyed spending an evening off from studying to celebrate making it over the first hurdle.

Following our debriefs, we made immediate progress into the rest of the phase one syllabus, which so far we've learned holds some complex topics including gyroscopes and aircraft stability.

Outside the world of exam study, just over two weeks ago I was given the opportunity to take a back seat in a training flight.  A student coming toward the end of his training was completing his Instrument Rating, and spent approximately two hours practising missed approaches, stalling, and upset recovery. It was great to be back in the air, and to be reminded that within 12 months, I'll be in the left-hand seat of a similar twin-engined Seneca PA34 completing my Core Phase of flight training.

Backseating PA34. A good time for cloud revision for Meteorology too!

Walking back from class yesterday I also managed to get a glimpse of the latest addition to the MPL training aircraft fleet at Oxford, G-MPLE, another Cessna C182T with full EFIS (Electronic Flight Instrument System, similar to the display used in the Airbus A320 fleet). Earlier easyJet courses, who are currently in their flying phase of training, will shortly be taking to the skies in "Echo" and "Foxtrot", the two new aircraft. I'll be flying them in the new year, along with my seven EZY07 course mates, whilst the rest of our class head out to the warmer climes of Phoenix, Arizona for their flight training.

So, a whirlwind couple of weeks, just over four months of ground school to go, and I'm still enjoying every moment. Time flies!

 "Echo" - The fifth Cessna C182T to join the MPL training fleet.

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