Georgie Sweeney – “I just wanted to fly big metal tubes through the sky” (Guest Blog)

My name is Georgie and I’m a 19 year old cadet pilot at CTC wings. As I write this I am at the stage between finishing my Module 1 ATPL theory exams and starting the second set. I started my training in February and should hopefully be finished around summer 2014.

I haven’t had much flying experience at all; in fact, I’ve only had an hour! For my 18th birthday, my parents bought me a trial lesson at Shoreham Airport in a Diamond DA40, which I thoroughly loved. I was able to take control of this machine and finally get a feel of what it is like to soar through the air high above the ground. This merely confirmed to me that I needed to get into the skies as soon as possible!

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Georgie on his trial flight at Shoreham

Even before this lesson I had never considered any other career. It has always been a pilot – and always an airline one; military flying has never particularly appealed to me. Give me an A320 over a Eurofighter and day of the week! Remember when you wrote little stories in infant school, and your family patronisingly asked what you’re going to be? Instead of replying “I want to be a rockstar”, or “I’d love to be superman”, I just wanted to fly big metal tubes through the sky. As I grew up I researched various ways to make this dream a reality, although I never imagined that I would be able to make it a reality. I researched plenty of flying schools, the RAF and any other way possible, although decided that the way for me was an integrated course with a flight training organisation. After finishing my GCSEs and A Levels I finally applied to CTC Wings, and to my surprise I was asked along to assessment, where I was offered a place on the course. I was over the moon – I had finally opened to door to my dream career!

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One of CTC’s full motion simulators

As I mentioned, I began training at the end of February, where until now I have been studying seven of the fourteen ATPL theory subjects, and I begin the final seven in a few days’ time. This phase of ground school is by no means easy, and it has made me realise just how much I want this. Once I have finished these exams in a few months’ time, I make my way out to New Zealand for nine months to gain my CPL, flying both DA20s or Cessna 172s, before moving on to DA42s. After this I fly back to the UK to complete my instrument rating at Bournemouth in more DA42s, followed by my Airline Qualification Course. Writing it down makes it all sound so easy! After this, I end up in the big wide world of commercial aviation, finally getting to fly my Airbus, Boeing, or maybe even Embraer at 36,000ft and Mach .78.

I still have to pinch myself that this is actually happening, and I honestly don’t think it has still sunken in! If you have the flying bug, and dream of spreading your wings – do it, because if you don’t? Well, you’re bound to regret it!

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Looks fun!
You can follow Georgie’s progress over at his own blog – http://georgiegotwings.blogspot.co.uk . Good luck with the rest of your training Georgie!
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Flyer Exhibitions: Vital for aspiring Airline Pilots

I’m writing this post after yet another brilliant day spent at the Flyer Exhibition at London Heathrow. For those who do not know, Flyer Exhibitions are bi-annual events that take place at Terminal 5 (Others take place abroad in places such as Brussels and Milan) and are essential for anyone thinking about embarking on a career as a pilot. I first visited Flyer at the age of 14, and I cannot express how helpful the events have been for me.

Essentially, the event gathers together FTO’s (Flight Training Organisations), Airlines, Universities and various aviation groups, allowing you to find information on everything from training with a particular FTO or University, to bursaries and scholarships that are available, right up to information on recruitment and industry outlooks. It was here that I first had a face to face discussion with staff and cadets from CTC, Oxford Aviation Academy, BCFT, ProPilot, and many more FTO’s, and the format adopted by most allows you to speak face to face with Instructors, Students and Managers – all of which gives you an honest and well informed insight into the various training courses on offer.

Seminars from airlines, cadets, as-well as various aviation organisations are dotted throughout the day and serve as a great way to learn about such things as recruitment. This year for example, Ian Baston, Director of Flight Operations at Flybe, delivered a detailed presentation on the airline and how they recruit, as well as giving an outlook on the airlines’ future growth and on the Industry as a whole. Other seminars included a cadet talking about his experience training for West Atlantic under a scheme run in conjunction with ProPilot, a Coventry based ATPL ground-school provider. British Airways also gave a seminar on their Future Pilot Programme, and there was also an earlier seminar discussing Higher Apprenticeships.

In short, if you are trying to decide where to undergo your training and haven’t already visited a Flyer event, I can hand on heart say that you must attend one before deciding where to train. It’s from Flyer where you can get a true feel for the various organisations and the courses they offer, and most importantly, it’s a place to get all of your questions answered. From here, it is easy to arrange visits and to attend open days offered by many FTO’s (a vital step to allow you to get a feel for the facilities and the course/s on offer). I should emphasize that all methods of training are represented at Flyer; be it Integrated, Modular, Degree courses, Hour building courses or Groundschool training. It really is a great opportunity to contrast and compare the different ways that training can be done, all in one place.

Even now, when I am very close to starting my commercial training, Flyer provided an informative, reliable and enjoyable day out that allowed me to get the latest updates on training and recruitment straight from the horses mouth: the guys providing the training and the airlines recruiting.

Information on future Flyer Exhibitions can be found on the official website at http://exhibitions.flyer.co.uk/ .

Speak soon!