Header Photo © L3 Airline Academy / CTC Aviation
Awesome.. me too! In the first post of the L3 Airline Academy Selection Tips series I reflect on how I completed the initial application forms for one of L3 Airline Academy / CTC Aviation's training programs in the hope some of you find it helpful in your own endeavours. If you do find this helpful, or have some questions let me know in the comments or use the contact form at the bottom of this page.
Whilst it is not a requirement of L3 Airline Academy that you have a medical at the point of application, I would recommend you seek one if you don't have one. Read more about Airline Pilot Medicals.
Before completing my initial application for the Virgin Atlantic Future Flyers Programme I visited L3 Airline Academy / CTC Aviation twice. The first time I was alone and went out of sheer curiosity whereas the second time, a year later, I went with my family. With flight training now comparable in cost to a small family home I wanted to make sure the school was right for me. Attending allowed me to quiz the current cadets, speak to the BBVA bank about financing.. oh, and have a go on the simulators :)
Aside from the open day, I also met current cadets of L3 Airline Academy / CTC Aviation, Oxford, and FTE at Pilot Careers Live. This was a great event and allowed me to draw comparisons. I'd recommend it!
L3 Airline Academy / CTC Aviation has grown significantly over the past few years and many airlines partner to offer their own bespoke programmes such as:
Each of these 'tagged' programmes offer their own unique benefits, sponsorship and career opportunities so I certainly had lots to think about. I took some time to really consider which route was for me and ultimately which company I would prefer to work for. The Virgin Atlantic scheme sounded incredible and I ended up applying to that as I've always loved the Virgin Group and everything it stands for. I'd recommend taking a look at the L3 Airline Academy website and exploring all of your options.
Due to missing out on Virgin's programme at my second selection attempt I opted to take L3 up on their offer for the Integrated ATPL course on the proviso I could somehow finance it. N.B. This course type is often referred to as Whitetail internally as you're not yet assigned to an airline.
N.B. Airline schemes open as and when their requirements dictates. The Integrated ATPL is typically open year round.
In knowing which scheme was for me I started completing the application form. L3 wanted these general details:
That was it for my application. I clicked submit and simply waited.
I applied to Virgin in 2014 and 2015 and the motivational questions I mentioned above changed for each attempt but from what I remember they were very airline focused. They indirectly hinted at wanting answers specific to the airline I applied for but I imagine the Integrated ATPL questions, if asked, would be more generic. While this may change when you apply, it's still worth bearing it in mind. Each question required a 200-300 word/character answer. The application window was a period of two weeks so I spent every spare minute researching answers that I could relate to the airline themselves. For example, if the question was 'What qualities are important in pilots?' I made sure to scour Virgin Atlantic adverts to constantly relate it back to the business and values.
If you take one bit of advice away from this section it's take your time and don't rush an application. The early bird does not catch the worm in this case, especially when there are 4,000 applications for some airline programs. Don't give L3 to clear you from the pile.
Success at Application Stage...
On submitting the application I then had quite a painful wait to hear the result. Don't be alarmed if you don't hear anything back within a week. During busy periods L3 Airline Academy / CTC Aviation deal with thousands of applications. In my case I don't think they ever expected as many applications as they received for the Virgin Atlantic programme and it took 2 to 3 weeks to hear anything back the first-time around. The second-time around they were certainly more organised and set a firm expectation for a response, which they met. On both occasions I was lucky enough to progress through to the selection day at Dibden Manor. I explain selection in the second post of the series.
If you are not accepted through to the next stage don't be disheartened. I have felt that feeling of rejection and totally get it. But don't give up. Many airline schemes have quite specific requirements so try to make sure you definitely meet them if you are applying. Perhaps try another programme or apply to the Whitetail.