Airplane Pilot Portrait
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Ken

First Officer - A320

Airline Pilot Experience:

FO

Most Recent Aircraft Type:

A320

Training Route:

Modular ATPL

Aviation Specific Degree:

No

Languages:

English; Dutch; French

Location:

Belgium

Additional Experience/Qualifications:

Psychologist, teacher

Passions, Interests and Experience:

Wellbeing

Why did you want to become a pilot?

Becoming a pilot was, as for many, a life long dream. One that couldn’t be fulfilled straight away because of the high training cost. After having pursued another career path, the idea of becoming a pilot never went away and after some years I decided to take the plunge. Haven’t looked back once and still enjoying every day!

How did you fund your training?

First self-funded. Later with a bank loan. All while working, renovating and parenting

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

Training had its very challenging moments no doubt. The theoretical part can be quite daunting, and also during the practical training there are some possible pitfalls. With perseverance, hard work and the help of good instructors however, almost everything becomes possible.

What was most challenging?

Some of the written exams were tough, and during the practical training there came a point where it took a while before everything clicked into place and I felt confident enough to handle the workload.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

Specific to my current company: the freedom to hand fly approaches whenever possible. In general: working well as a team with everyone involved, the feeling of achievement after a challenging day.

What is most challenging about your job?

Long duty days, early mornings/late nights, commuting

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

Communication. Aviation is a team sport and without communication there can never be any cooperation.

Why do you want to become a mentor for Resilient Pilot?

Now more than ever I feel that the environment in which we have to perform is very challenging. Not only when it comes to our day to day duties, but – maybe even more so – on a broader personal level, trying to make all aspects of life fit together, overcoming setbacks, dealing with the uncertainties inherent to our line of work, …

Nowadays peer support is much needed. New initiatives like the peer support projects within airline companies are a step in the right direction, but much more work needs to be done. I feel that Resilient Pilot is the right kind of initiative and want to help further develop this underexposed side of our profession.

What do you believe you can offer your mentees?

I believe thanks to my background as a clinical psychologist, I have the required skills and underlying framework to offer comprehensive coaching. Succeeding in the airline world requires hard work, but also a good network of people who understand the challenges and can help one to optimally develop their strategies to cope when things get difficult.