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When you speak to someone on the street, you can usually ask them any question and expect a huge range of answers, almost nothing is off limits. For example, take the sporting world; Stand in the middle of Lisbon and ask who the world’s best footballer is. The most common answer will probably be ‘Cristiano Ronaldo’. Alternatively stand in Kansas City and they could say ‘Patrick Mahomes’. In two completely random locations, you have two separate answers, but not only that, they don’t even play the same sport.

The point is, answers can be random!

Now, maintaining the same random selection process, ask them, “name any three jobs that you will find in an airline”. If we are totally honest, most people will name ‘Pilot’, ‘Cabin Crew’ and then struggle for a third answer.

As people who are passionate about aviation, we know that there are so many roles, critical to daily airline operations, that go unnoticed by the general public. For example, how far would your aircraft go if there was no fuelling specialist worker to fuel your plane?

At Resilient Pilot, we are absolutely conscious there are a huge number of airline-based workers that are rarely celebrated for the work that they do. With that in mind, we launched our ‘Reaching Beyond the Flight Deck’ week. Across this past week, we have highlighted the fantastic work of multiple airline workers, each in a different role.

Reaching Beyond the Flight Deck...

On Monday, we met Elliot, a Flight Dispatcher based at London Gatwick airport. Elliot has been in the industry for the past 9 years through various different roles. In his current position he helps to monitor the efficient turnaround of an aircraft, overseeing: fuelling, loading, flight plans, and a whole host of other critical items to be covered to ensure the aircraft is legal and most importantly safe to fly. Without Elliot completing his tasks, aircraft would be grounded, passengers unable to reach their destination, and airports would grind to a halt pretty quickly.

On Tuesday, coinciding with our ‘Resilient Crew’ launch (now available to watch on demand here), we met Jordan, one of our Cabin Crew Mentors. Jordan has shown huge levels of Resilience throughout the past year. Jordan progressed from her first airline role into her dream job with one of the world’s most recognisable carriers. An Airline that prides itself on exceptional customer service and uncompromising standards of safety; two of the many qualities that she possesses in abundance. Despite the challenges she has faced through airline redundancy after only a short number of months in her dream role, she has picked herself up and will be an integral part of the ‘Resilient Crew’ team. We are hugely proud she has chosen to join our team, supporting the Cabin Crew community.

On Wednesday, linking to our NATS ‘Wednesday Webinar’ we met Gareth, an ATCO. At the age of 18 Gareth decided to train as a controller after having grown up with a great interest in aviation. Qualifying in 2010, he has had an impressive career ever since. His ‘claim to fame’ was controlling the ‘Red Arrows’ flypast at the London Olympics opening ceremony in 2012! Day-to-day Gareth works the Luton and Thames approach sector in Terminal Control at NATS Swanwick centre. Without Gareth and the NATS team, the busy UK skies would be chaos, or more likely empty. Their role is crucial to managing traffic, maintaining separation, and thus safety.

On Thursday, we met Josh, a trainee ‘Aircraft Certifying Engineer’. Like so many Josh was unfortunately made redundant as a result of the pandemic. He has however shown great resilience and progressed with his career through a different organisation. The role of an engineer is vital. They help to maintain airworthiness standards, provide necessary certification and ensure the aircraft is in a ‘fit’ and most importantly in a safe position to fly.

On Friday, we met Kate, a Customer Experience Representative based at London Heathrow Airport. Kate has continued to work throughout the COVID-19 pandemic; however, has found herself with unpredictable rosters that change within 24 hours of her shift at times. She has been in her role for nearly three years, experiencing peak customer traffic throughout 2018 and 2019, plus the lows of 2020. However, despite the challenges of working during a global pandemic, every day she is rostered to work, she puts her uniform on and continues to show the exceptional levels of customer service her customers expect.

Finally on Saturday, we returned to our roots and met Oliver, a First Officer on the A320 and one of our Resilient Pilot mentors. Working in the industry for 8 years through both ground and flying based positions, Oliver has witnessed the interconnectivity and importance of all roles within the industry. As one of our Resilient Pilot mentors, Oliver can help you remain resilient, as this latest aviation cycle passes. Learn more about Oliver and our other Pilot mentors here.

Across six days, we met six different individuals who each play a critical role in the daily airline operation. In each of their cases, if their role did not exist, aircraft simply would not be able to get off the ground. Visit our Instagram page, @resilientpilot to read more about each individual.

So, why did Resilient Pilot choose to highlight this to our knowledgeable audience?

Well, it has now been over a year since the COVID-19 pandemic totally changed the landscape of aviation. Whilst we started as a not-for-profit organisation to benefit the Pilot community, we feel it’s also so important to celebrate the sometimes ‘forgotten’ colleagues in our aviation jigsaw.

Now this week has drawn to a close, I’m sure it has reminded you of a number of colleagues you may not have ever said ‘Hello’ to. Unfortunately, it is easy for some to forget those we rely on to get us into the air. During the remainder of this pandemic, we hope you now agree on the importance of recognising and supporting all aviation individuals, therefore we’re all together ready to bounce back ‘resiliently’ when the skies reopen.

No matter what uniform you wear or company you represent, we are all a single aviation family and, ‘Reaching Beyond the Flight Deck’ might just mean the whole daily operation becomes that much more enjoyable and efficient.

Tom is an A320-rated first officer and one of our Resilient Pilot mentors. He is also at the forefront of our new Resilient Crew initiative. With a passion in Wellbeing, Pilot Competencies and Transferable skills, he can provide a great mentoring service. Visit our ‘Supported’ page to read about Tom and all our other fantastic Mentors to discover just how much support is on offer for our aviation family.

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