A320 Training Captain
Previous airline/s: RAF, AIRTOURS, EASYJET, AIR TANKER, WIZZAIR (CONTRACTOR)
Airline training route: ATPL
Why did you want to become a pilot?
Good question and one which is not a simple answer. From a small age I wanted to join the military and from approximately 16 I wanted to fly in any capacity. While my flexibility may have been a blessing in some ways it did mean I lacked the drive and maturity to become a fast jet pilot, I was happy to accept any position rather than drive to succeed.
How did you fund your training? Her Majesty paid!
Was training a breeze or did you find it a challenge?
It certainly wasn’t a breeze. Straight out of school with a few Cessna 150 hours under my belt I found myself strapped to a jet with oxygen mask on feeling dreadfully sick. I certainly lacked the confidence of the other students which was a real handicap. Once I had qualified I found the freedom of normal squadron life exhilarating and if I have any talent it was only then it started to show.
What was most challenging?
Accepting we generally all fail at something but that failure can make us stronger if we apply the lessons from that failure correctly. I definitely have a tendency to get in a negative spiral.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
The people. While there will always be someone who is ying to your yang, 99% of the people within aviation I have met have been great. I believe flying is more of a vocation than a job. That is why the present situation is so dreadful, exceptional people cast out into the wilderness.
What is most challenging about your job?
Sleep and fatigue. There is no doubt that our work schedule takes its toll on our bodies. At one point I was reduced to sleeping a few hours in my car before a flight curled up in a duvet. I look back now and wonder how on earth did I Iet things get to that point?
Which Pilot Competencies are of most interest to you?
Teamwork is my big thing, creating a framework where everyone from the Captain to the chap who is taking the waste feel important and empowered. We are only as powerful as our people – sadly not all managers realise that! Also, situational awareness, that ability almost to predict the future and think laterally, what we used to call airmanship.
In 2013 I had a fall and damaged my spine. After 3 operations and 18 months of waiting and hoping I was told my flying career was over. I completely understand the shear desperation of being told you can’t do what you love. 4 years later. I had my medical back. Since then I’ve been trying to re-establish my career – thanks Covid!