Lee

A380 Senior First Officer

Current location/base: Dubai
Previous airline/s: Thomas Cook / Monarch
Uni degree?  Mathematics
Airline training route:  Integrated ATPL
ATO/s attended: CTC Aviation


Why did you want to become a pilot? I grew up on fast jet fighter bases but never thought about flying myself until I had to think properly about what I wanted to do in my late teens. I learnt to fly with the RAF while at University with the East Midlands Universities Air Squadron. After leaving University I elected not to join the military and instead looked into continuing my training in the civilian sector. Before I took up a position with CTC Aviation I worked for MyTravel in their flight operations department. Initially carrying out some statistical analysis and then helping on various projects before my training commenced.

Since I finished my training and started my airline flying career I have continued to do additional work within the airlines I have been employed by. Notably I worked on the iPad development, pilot briefing systems and risk analysis at Thomas cook.

I am not one of those who always dreamed of being a pilot. Even though I grew up around flying and fast jets, it seemed like any other job to me, I considered several other careers, Architecture and statistical analysis in particular. However, when I was at university studying for my Mathematics degree I decided to join the University Air Squadron as an “extra curricular” activity. I found the social and sports side of the UAS as rewarding as anything else during my time at university. 

It was during this flying training that I decided that flying was a career I could see myself doing long term. 

How did you fund your training? Study loan from HSBC arranged with CTC

Was training a breeze? The flying itself came naturally and I had few problems. However on a long course like an integrated ATPL there is a lot else to consider. Finance, isolation (training in New Zealand), and difficult aviation markets all weigh heavily on your mind even through your training.

What was most challenging? Delays in training. The main delay being the grounding of the aircraft type I was on due to mechanical issues. Whilst a lot of the time these delays are unavoidable and understandable, the difficulty arises when you have no date set to restart your training and can feel you are in limbo.

What do yo enjoy most about your job?  I have been lucky enough to fly all over the world, on multiple types, Airbus and Boeing. That variation is what keeps thing interesting.

What is most challenging? With a young family the time away from home becomes more difficult. However for me and my family the Ultra long haul lifestyle works well for us. Whilst I can be away for several days at a time, the reverse is also true and I am home far more than I am away. 

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