B777 First Officer
Previous airline/s: TUI and Ryanair
Airline training route: Integrated ATPL
ATO/s attended: Oxford Aviation
Why did you want to become a pilot?
I have honestly never wanted to do anything else. As a young child I’d always look up at the sky and say I want to be a pilot and with support from friends and family I achieved my goal. I used to spend my summer holidays pretty much living at Manchester Airport and when I did go on a holiday, I was always more excited to come home on the plane.
I once remember a Teacher telling me to stop looking out the window as I will never get paid doing that…
How did you fund your training?
I was incredibly lucky that my family were in a position to be able to financially support me with the majority of the course fees – For that I will always be eternally grateful
Was training a breeze or did you find it a challenge?
Okay… so I was always a bit of a self-confessed Microsoft flight sim nerd as a kid and I actually believe this helped me massively with my flight training. I did my basic flight training up to CPL/ME in Phoenix, Arizona and can say I enjoyed every second of it. The instrument rating was a little different and I had a lovely but fierce instructor called Jean (Any fellow OAA students will understand), I have to admit the lessons were more stressful than the IR check ride itself!
What was most challenging?
I found ground school the most challenging but not for the content, more for the sheer volume of what had to be studied in such a short time…
What do you enjoy most about your job?
If I was to sum it up in one word, I think it would be ‘variety’. I’m lucky enough to be employed flying the B777 all over the world. Not one day is the same – before Covid struck I had a roster with a 4-day New York, 5-day Antigua and a 4-day Tokyo on it. I remember wandering around the Natural History Museum in NY one day and then the following week being in the middle of a bustling Shinjuku in Japan (highly recommended) after seeing the Northern Lights on the way there. I can’t think of many jobs where you get the opportunities which present themselves like they do in ours.
I think also it’s about the people we all work with on a daily basis. I think as airline employees we’re all a pretty resilient and eccentric bunch and it’s nice to work with such like-minded individuals and share experiences.
What is most challenging about your job?
As a long-haul pilot, I feel the most challenging aspect of the job isn’t actually the job itself, it’s what comes associated with it. I commute from Manchester to London and with that, find I’m on the road a lot and sometimes managing home life can be a tad tricky. I have to admit, after a long night flight coming back to the UK, I can be a little grumpy on landing day and finding time to catch up with friends and family can be difficult with jetlag and working strange hours with minimum rest in-between trips
Which Pilot Competencies are of most interest to you and why?
As a pilot we all strive for perfection and to do the job to the best of our abilities so realistically all competencies are of interest and important. I think personally, situational awareness is one of the most important. If you have high levels of situational awareness your capacity is greatly increased, and I feel everything else can be developed from there.
I used to mentor younger students when I was at College with their studies, and also at an outdoor pursuit centre with various activities such as sailing and kayaking
I think one of the most important things in our industry is to strike a work life balance and do what you love, and I’m willing to do anything I can possibly to do help my peers, especially given the current climate