Airplane Pilot Portrait
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Gary

Captain- A320

Airline Experience:

FO/SFO, Captain

Most Recent Aircraft Type:

Airbus

Training Route:

Integrated ATPL

Aviation Specific Degree:

Yes

Languages:

English, Catonese, Mandarin, French

Location:

Hong Kong

Additional Experience/Qualifications:

Mentoring

Passions, Interests and Experience:

Wellbeing, Pilot Competencies, Mentoring

Why did you want to become a pilot?

Being born and raised in the UK but with my family being in Hong Kong, I started flying as a passenger from a very young age between the two countries. The approach into Kai Tak airport in Hong Kong got me hooked on aviation straight away. It was awe inspiring to watch widebody jet after widebody jet make that famous low turn over the streets of Kowloon. I always imagined the skill and respect those pilots had must have been very special and that is something that I knew I wanted to be a part of.

How did you fund your training?

I started my training in 2008, just after the global financial crisis. Years of unsecured flying training loans finally came to an end which meant my application got rejected. Thankfully I had a very supportive family who managed to secure me a loan elsewhere enabling me to fulfil my goals.

Was training a breeze or did you find it a challenge?

I have yet to find anyone in the industry who views the training as easy. There are many challenges and hurdles to overcome and it is a test of endurance as well as strength. What is for sure though is that I enjoyed every minute of my training and that enjoyment is what motivated me throughout the hardships during my training.

What was most challenging?

The learning curve is extremely steep. Not just in flying but during the ground school exams too. You are challenged to remember important information very quickly and learn new techniques within a very short amount of time. Before you know it you are being tested on what you’ve learned and then move on to the next phase of training.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

The thing I enjoy most about flying is the view. It can be hard to wake up for work at 4am or to try to stay awake through the night operating a red eye flight but one thing that always makes it worthwhile are the views. Sunrise to sunset, city lights to shooting stars; there are many things that we see on a regular basis but I never take it for granted.

What is most challenging about your job?

Dealing with fatigue is a battle that every pilot will have to deal with. Trying to maintain peak performance during times of mental and/or physical fatigue is tough. Over the years I have learned a lot about my own limitations and the importance of one’s own wellbeing.

Which Pilot Competencies are of most interest to you and why?

I think that problem solving and decision making interests me the most as with most problems there is never a straightforward answer. As is there never one single solution to solving a problem. Decision making can be so dependent on personality and many different paths can lead to the same decision or different decisions.

Additional Info

I was a mentor pilot in the Cathay Dragon Aviation Certificate Programme (later rebranded the Cathay Aviation Certificate Programme) which invites young aspiring pilots in Hong Kong to visit and learn about all aspects of aviation as well as being assigned a pilot mentor for advice and guidance. The programme ultimately concludes with a jump seat flight with the mentor following a normal operation on the line. It was an extremely rewarding experience, especially seeing as all of my mentees were accepted onto the Cathay Pacific Cadet programme.