* Finding my name on the graduate wall *
It only seems like yesterday that I helped out at the 2017 Graduation, although back then I was in the midst of my Instrument Rating and had no clue I'd eventually end up at easyJet. Unlike in 2017 this time around the event was held in the Arora suite of the Sofitel Hotel at London Heathrow Terminal 5. What makes the Sofitel location all the more special for many of us, is it's commonly the place we begin our airline training journey - by meeting a school and/or finding a course we like the look of - at the Pilot Careers Live event held every November. If you've not attended one before and are keen to become an airline pilot then I'd highly recommend it. Anyway... I digress from the focus of this post.
* A photo that represents success. The graduating courses of 2018/19. *
The graduation ceremony is split in two with the first half of the day being the formal ceremony itself. Graduates that are placed are asked to wear their airline pilot uniforms with those still to find their first employer wearing their L3 Cadet uniform. This year 347 of us graduated and what's incredible is that 95% of us are now either flying for our airlines, or about to commence a type rating. While this employment figure is incredible as a shiny flight school statistic, in my view it's more a testament to the HUGE amount of effort that each and every one of us put into our training. Whether it was ATPL Groundschool, the CPL, the Instrument Rating or a Type Rating none of it was easy and I'm actually incredibly proud of all of my coursemates and friends for landing their first jobs.
Unlike in 2017, where the vast majority of the graduates seemed to go to easyJet, the mix of airlines is significantly different this time around. My friends / coursemates now work for these airlines among others:
* Me and my coursemates. Now at easyJet and BA. *
Hats off to everyone - not that we get hats at easyJet - and I hope you are reaping the rewards as much as I am because flying commercially is so much better than I ever imagined! Well done once again!
* Sharing the ceremony with my Mum and Dad *
I'd like to move away from my own success and take a look at that of my parents - Amanda and Steve. Both of you, as guest speaker Alex Cruz said, deserve credit too. I can only apologise for the amount of stress, anxiety, worry etc I caused you throughout the several ups and downs of my training but I loved sharing every minute of the graduation day with you. I still can't believe I'm actually an airline pilot and it wouldn't have been possible without either of you... especially you Mum when it comes to your determination. Without your many phone calls to BBVA we would have never secured any form of finance for the training. Of course, I must also pass thanks to my grandparents. First to Ellen & Graham. I still look back to the day I sat in your living room, with Mum, and shared my ambitious dreams with you both. Thanks to all of you for your belief in my success! And lastly but by no means least, Shiela & Ernest for your support at the start of the process. There are many more people I'd want to list here but you know who you are, and I thank you a huge amount!
* Black Tie Graduation Ball *
After the ceremony concluded I said goodbye to my parents as they had to drive back to Somerset. As I hadn't seen them since I moved to Liverpool it was nice to be in their company once again, even if for a small amount of time. The graduation day did not end there though as L3 put on a black tie grad ball event with a sit down meal. I couldn't have asked for a better way to celebrate with everyone. My friend Megan from university came along as my plus one and we had a right laugh!
After stuffing my face on the nice canapés, indulging on the evening meal and drinking a fair share of Prosecco and white wine we were told of some surprise entertainment. L3 had invited "The Singing Pilot" along for a live performance. For those of you unsure of who he is then he was a guest on Micheal Macintyre's BBC One program but also happened to be a former graduate of L3 - then CTC Aviation. He had a great voice and sung several classics before a live band then played until the end of the night.
I think it's safe to say a great night was had by all.
* Great views of Madrid --- from the gate. *
I'm sure many of you are wondering how i've been getting on with my flying. It's been a little while since Base Training and I have indeed completed some line training flights. The flying is everything I had expected it to be and then some! I've not really got a huge amount to write about in respect of the line flying at the moment because i've simply not done enough of it and, I don't feel it would be of the quality the audience of this blog would like. That said, if any of you have any questions about the life of an airline pilot then be sure to pop them into the comments section below and I'll try to answer them if i can.
If you're wondering, I've operated to the following airports so far:
The weather has been simply beautiful these past few weeks - for flying at least - and so we've been treated to some lovely views on our approaches to the above destinations. I'm sure as the summer kicks off I'll be heading to many more and my Airbus hour count will only ever increase. My initial line training is due to conclude in Mid-May.
I've a rather early alarm tomorrow so I best stop writing this blog post and head to bed. Would I change the early nature of the job? Of course not! The job's amazing and, controversially, I think I prefer an earlier start.
Until next time,