Following two weeks off and a little holiday to Dublin, the time had finally come: My first day at easyJet.
Despite the many months of training to get to this point easyJet weren't going to let me and my coursemates near the big toys (jets) just yet. Under the policies of the Civil Aviation Authority and the wider EASA organisation we had to complete a variety of further training on aspects we'd not necessarily thought about up until this point. While I was itching to get going and start flying, the majority of this week was rather interesting.
We were joined on this induction course by seven other pilots each at different stages in their careers, many of whom had previously been made redundant from prior Airbus operators and had moved to easyJet as their second, third and even would you believe it... fourth airline. Meeting these guys showed me just how volatile an industry the airline business really is, but then conversely just how successful it can be if managed in the right way. The various presentations we were given during Day One highlighted to me that I'm starting my career in a good place and for that reason, among others, I couldn't be more excited to be here.
* My first set of wings *
For the most part the first day was admin. The onboarding teams wanted to see our licences to make sure we actually had them, passports etc for payroll and so on. We were then set up with IT logins and the first thing we checked were our rosters for the remainder of March. I'd describe us all (the cadets) finding out our first flights as similar to kids in a sweet shop. Spirits were certainly raised.
Before I fly my first passengers I'll be spending two days shadowing crew on flights from Liverpool to Geneva, Amsterdam and Berlin. I'm looking forward to these as I know with certainty that i'll learn a heck of a lot from observing from the jump seat. My first day as operating crew will take me into Madrid and Paris. Once our excitement for first rosters had worn off we completed some paperwork for airside passes, were issued our easyJet Crew IDs and finished off the day with our uniform fittings.
* A mock-up of an easyJet A320 cabin *
Items on the agenda for the remainder of the week included:
What I enjoyed the most about the whole of the first week is the way in which it was delivered. Those of you who have been through pilot training will know just how dry some of the topics we learn about are but while dry that doesn't make them any less important than the next. Credit where credit is due though, as easyJet's approach - in my own opinion - was bang on. I'm not saying this simply as I'm now an employee, I'm saying this having gone through the induction and thoroughly enjoyed it.
easyJet claim to always choose the right people and so far, in my limited experience, I can see that. Every single trainer we had was incredibly bubbly and outgoing. I mean.. VERY bubbly and outgoing. Picture a hyperactive child on Christmas day and morph that into a training environment. At first you're kind of like "Oh no..." - as you wait for your Triple Shot Latte to take effect at the early time of 8am - but before long you warm to it. It breaks the ice, it gets the classroom group involved and you can just have a right laugh. If I think back to school I always remember classes based on the most engaging teachers and not the old 50 year olds who'd given up on the career. That's not to say 50 year olds in aviation have given up on the career as more often than not they're trainers themselves, but you simply HAVE to be the right type of person to engage an audience and hats off to the training team. If any of the easyJet training team happen to stumble upon this post, which I doubt very much, thanks for a brilliant week!
* A fire extinguisher onboard the A320 *
The highlights of my week have to be jumping down the escape slides, jumping into an olympic depth pool while inflating an aircraft life jacket (trust me when I say they inflate damn fast) and fighting a fire while almost squirting the bottle into my face. You may laugh, but look at the photo above. The handle and nozzle go against all that makes sense. It's the complete opposite to a household cleaning product. It fires more like a gun. I was told I'm not the first and certainly won't be the last. Perhaps the largest highlight was collecting our uniform which we'll wear for base training on the 12th.
The second week of induction, which i'm already 2 1/3's of the way through as I type this, focuses more on the day-to-day operation from the pilots' perspective. We learn about what we actually do besides fly, i.e. the paperwork aspects etc. We also have two more sims to complete. The third week will see us fly the aircraft for real and hopefully receive that final stamp of approval required for the CAA to add the Airbus A320 to our licences.
I'll post another blog post covering the above items soon.
At the time of writing I have less than a week to go until I fly the real deal. Ahhhh! Can't wait.
Until next time,