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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Enrolment Day

It'd been just three weeks since I'd received the phone call from CAE Oxford Aviation Academy, and here I was checking in to my accommodation.

I soon met other members of EZY07 and AP351, and it wasn't long before students from earlier courses were welcoming us to Oxford Airport. The members of staff from CAE OAA were also helpful and friendly, and directed us all to a theatre where our induction would begin.

Each of the 24 cadets on our course introduced ourselves. Our team was comprised of three students from EPST, eight with easyJet, and thirteen as part of Oxford's APPFO course. There was a variety of backgrounds, experience, and previous careers, along with a range of ages, but we all shared one passion: we wanted to learn to fly. 

The day was enjoyable, albeit there were several sessions of form filling which were not so interesting! It was an excellent opportunity to meet our mentors and instructors, as well as our fellow course mates. Our uniforms were distributed, as were our name badges. For me at least, this is the moment where it all became very real!


It's happening!

Whilst the airport itself was busy with business jet traffic (our enrolment day shared the same weekend as the Silverstone Grand Prix), I found the academy to be relatively relaxed. I spoke to a few students sitting in a lounge area who, even with their final exams just around the corner, appeared very calm. They informed me that whilst ground school was intense, the training was of a very high standard. They talked me through a few topics, and it was clear they definitely knew their stuff. Best of luck with your exams guys, I'm sure you'll ace them!

One of the last items on the agenda for the day was the distribution of textbooks. Our course now has six months to master each of the 14 subjects, with our first school exam session in just six weeks time. Six weeks! I just hope that, when school finals come around, I feel as relaxed as the students I'd met earlier!

14 ATPL exams, 20kg of textbooks, and 720 hours of ground school!

Finally, we were given our flight cases and timetables for next week. My first lesson starts at 0840 on Monday morning, and the day will consist of Airframes, Meteorology, and Flight Instruments. Safe to say, I can't wait to get started.

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