Previous airline/s: Thomas Cook (2017-2019), Volotea (2016-2017)
Previous/Additional role/s: Ex Air League Panel Member
Uni degree? Yes
Which degree subject? BSc Airline Operations
Do you speak any other languages? Hindi/Gujarati
Airline training route: Modular
ATO/s attended: PPL/Night Rating – Stapleford Flight Centre ATPL Theory – Oxford Aviation Academy CPL/ME/IR – CTC Aviation Training MCC/JOC – SimTech Aviation Training.
Why did you want to become a pilot?
Having to spend my summers at my Aunt’s house in Mumbai, India, which was right under the flight path, I use to run from one balcony to another to get a second glimpse (one with the gear still being raised another when it accelerated into the sunset). It left me curious where it was going and on top, what would it take to fly one. Coming to London I was out of words to see the impressive Heathrow Airport…Later on once settling in my new home I did took upon a trail lesson at Blackpool with my parents in the back… It confirmed my earlier thoughts that this is the only thing I ever wish to do and I will work hard to achieve the dream. I later on took part in Air Cadets and kept myself as “in” as I could to stick to Aviation whilst I worked towards my dream and I have totally loved every bit of the journey and the end result has been totally worth all the hard work!
How did you fund your training?** I used every penny I collected towards my Flight Training, during my time at University, I did multiple roles – clerk, mentoring, maths tuition as well as student ambassador role to get some income. I also used every penny of my grant towards flying dream than anything else. I also applied for Scholarship from the Air League towards my PPL and Night Rating to fund my training and finally I had strong support from family towards the dream.
Was training a breeze or did you find it a challenge?
It was a mixture of both as each rating has its own challenges. But with planning ahead and constantly working on debriefs I was able enjoy the breezy moments too. Being Modular the biggest challenge was to keep continuity as well as stick to deadlines maintain commitments to get onto next courses to not loose on space as most of my training was done in the UK. I kept winter for theory, CPL/ME for summer and IR during winter followed by MCC/JOC.
What was most challenging?
Like for many Pilots, ATPL theory was very challenging but extremely rewarding in the end to be able to discover so much that a Pilot needs to know! From calculating to find time and distances from LAT/LONG, How our world weather works, details of flight instrumentations, systems, operational procedures to even learning about human factors! There was a lot to be done but like with everything planning, strict timetable and the drive to see the end picture in the flight deck kept me going. 9-5pm was school; 6:30 to midnight was revision, that was for 6 months including weekends.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I can’t begin to pick one specific thing out of 100 things I enjoy about the job, but the top is the exposure to level of personal development you get and using these skills in real life in a dynamic environment. It involves solving multiple problems to reach safe conclusions does it for me. In addition, the visionary side to see some of most beautiful sunsets and sunrises is mind blowing, the adrenalin of waking up at 3 am is totally justified once up there or making approaches into challenging Greek islands as well as over city of London into Heathrow at dusk!
What is most challenging about your job?
As a Pilot, I believe striking the balance between social and work life. As a Pilot, you have no specific pattern you have to be where you need to be based upon your roster. So skipping some family events can be tough however, as Pilots we often get gaps of few days off after duties which is when you have the time to rest as well as enjoy the social plans without traffic (weekdays)!
Which Pilot Competencies are of most interest to you?
All competencies are very important in this role, for me one, which shines out, is Situational Awareness. It involves you having to know what is happening around you and once you have a mental picture you can base your decision making to solve a problem and use effective communication and as well as use all resources to achieve a safe outcome.