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.

All Content Copyright © 2017 The Aviator Blog Unless Stated. All Rights Reserved.

Ground School Phase One: Complete

Just over eight weeks have passed since my last post, and another intense eight weeks it has proved to be. I'd hoped to update the blog more often than this, so please accept my apologies on this occasion!

During my radio silence our team of cadet pilots have completed the first phase of ground school, which culminated with seven School Final exams and seven EASA exams (taking the exam tally up to 19 in the last three months!). EASA (or European Aviation Safety Agency) is the regulatory body for European aviation safety, and is tasked with, amongst other roles, setting and processing our formal examinations.

As busy as we were, a small group of us were able to visit the local RAF base, Brize Norton, to witness the flypast and landing of the two remaining operational Vickers VC10 aircraft before they retired. On 20th September 2013, ZA147 and ZA150 completed their final sortie, an air-to-air refuelling task, before returning to Brize. There's a video at the end of my post of one of the VC10s coming in to land, feel free to watch and to listen to the Rolls Royce Conway engines that have powered the type for around 50 years.


Vickers VC10 at RAF Brize Norton, following a flypast on 20th September 2013

The class received great news following our School Final exams, with many high percentage passes being recorded. I feel this placed us in good stead for the key EASA exams which we sat last week. We've each put a huge amount of effort into our study, with 10-hour days of revision becoming common! We're now left with a two-week wait before our results are published by EASA, a tough wait considering we'll be starting our second and final phase of ground school tomorrow!

The second phase consists of a similar number of examinations, but just eight weeks worth of teaching rather than twelve. This means we'll be completing our second stage of School Final exams just before Christmas, and our second stage of EASA exams in early 2014. The subjects for the second phase (which I've heard can be tougher again than the first set!) are: 

  • General Navigation
  • Radio Navigation
  • Flight Planning
  • Aircraft Performance
  • Mass and Balance
  • Operational Procedures
  • Air Law

I've realised there's a lot going on with my posts these days, so if you'd like a quick progress check of whereabouts our course is up to, please visit the Progress page in the +More section of this website (at the top of each page). 

I think it's going to be a challenging but exciting couple of weeks, before which the flying phase commences for both EZY07 and AP351. I'll try to be back in touch a little sooner next time. 

Enjoy the video!

Progress Check | Twitter:  @TheAviatorBlog | Facebook:  The Aviator Blog 


"On the day of their final sortie, the two remaining operational Vickers VC10 return to RAF Brize Norton, at around 1430L. Here's the second of the two, ZA147, making it's final approach and landing into Brize."

Powered by Squarespace.