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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'Tis The Season... For Revision

Three weeks worth of Christmas break are currently underway, or they would be... were it not for my course's final seven EASA exams being just around the corner.

The last few weeks of ground school were as busy as expected, with the culmination of around 700 hours of lessons and the final set of internal examinations. Although admittedly the majority of the course were still able to make the most of their free time. For myself and several others, this meant a few trips to the nearby Blenheim Palace in Woodstock (which I can thoroughly recommend), and for the easyJet cadets, a visit to the CRJ200 simulator onsite at CAE Oxford Aviation Academy.

Photos above (click to enlarge) show Blenheim Palace, current residence of the Dukes of Marlborough and a short drive from the school. It was also the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill, and its grounds as well as the palace are open to the public.

Trips to both simulators were interesting experiences; firstly came the school's own CRJ200 regional airliner simulator, on which my course will spend around 90 hours flying, and secondly was an external event to visit the Concorde simulator at Brooklands Museum.

The CRJ200 is a medium range jet with capacity for around 50 passengers, and the simulator will form an essential stepping stone for the easyJet MPL course between single- and multi-engine propeller aircraft and the Airbus A320 simulator for our type-rating training. Each of us were given the opportunity to fly a take-off or landing in the simulator, under the instruction of one of our ground school instructors, who kindly gave up his morning to assist us.

The second image below shows the recreated flight deck of Concorde, the supersonic airliner which retired just over 10 years ago (a moment I and many others I'm sure remember vividly!). The simulator is based at Brooklands Museum in Weybridge, Surrey. Also onsite at the museum is G-BBDG, the first British-production Concorde, constructed at Brooklands and Toulouse in the 1970s. GAPAN Young Members and The Air League organised the visit to the museum for several members, which was to include a tour of the Concorde and a flight in the simulator. Captain Mike Bannister is a trustee of the museum, and very kindly offered his time to GYM and The Air League by allowing a few of us (myself and a friend from my course included) to put Concorde through her paces, something he clearly still loves to do!

I must admit the two simulators (and aircraft I'm sure), whilst operated very similarly, perform completely differently. I couldn't imagine the CRJ200 executing a 60-degree climbing turn with the same effortlessness or panache as Concorde!

Anyone interested in aviation can become a member of GAPAN Young Members or The Air League by visiting the links above. Both organisations are very helpful in providing information related to aviation careers and encouraging young people into the industry. They organise many trips each year similar to the Brooklands Concorde trip, and even offer flying scholarships for their members to apply for each year.

Finally, what better way to finish off six months of ground school than the course spending the entire day dressed as Santa Claus!

A fantastic end to ground school!

It's been an intense, memorable, and enjoyable six months. The next steps? Seven more exams in the first week of January, and then we take to the skies!

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and thank you to all who have kept up-to-date with my blog so far.

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