Course Timeline

The steps I took to become a commercial pilot.

Course Timeline 2016-06-23 18:39:48 2018-12-06 01:35:00 See where I currently am within my training and easily access related blogs, vlogs and content for each stage of the process.
Pilot George
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Leg 1

Application & Selection Phase

Leg Completed on 25 February 2016

Duration:
1 Day

Location:
Dibden Manor (near Southampton)

Description:
In this leg I completed a one day selection event comprising interviews, maths tests, aptitude testing, group tasks and of course: a nice lunch.

Leg 2

ATPL Theory (Ground School)

Leg Completed on 15 February 2017

Duration:
Approx 26 Weeks (6½ Months)

Location:
Nursling (near Southampton)

Description:
I was dreading this part of the training the most and it was nothing short of an incredibly intense six months. The hard work paid off though and I completed ground school with first time passes across all 14 topics with an overall average of 86%.

Leg 3

Foundation Flight Training

Leg Completed on 5 August 2017

Duration:
Approx 20 Weeks (5 Months)

Location:
Hamilton, New Zealand

Description:
Originally planned to be in Arizona, CTC switched our training to New Zealand towards the end of ground school. In this leg I learnt the fundamentals of flying an aircraft as well as how to navigate VFR (visual flight rules).

I also learned the basics of instrument flight in advance of the later advanced phase as well as the basics of night time flight. This phase concluded with the first internal progress test, PT1. In total I gained 94 hours of flying experience spanning a total of 61 flights (inclusive of additional time vs. syllabus).

Leg 4

Advanced Flight Training

Leg Completed on 14 November 2017

Duration:
Approx 13 Weeks (3½ Months)

Location:
Hamilton, New Zealand

Description:
Building on the basics of instrument flight, this leg taught us how to make use of the various navigation aids (VOR, NDB, RNAV, GPS, etc) in order to conduct safe instrument flight. We then transitioned from the Cessna to the multi-engine Diamond DA42 Twinstar to fly a mixture of both visual and instrument flight in addition to learning how to manage asymmetric conditions (one engine only). This leg came to a close on the completion of the CPL skills test.

Leg 5

Instrument Rating

Leg Completed on 11 March 2018

Duration:
Approx 10 Weeks

Location:
Bournemouth

Description:
Adding to the instrument building blocks laid by the Advanced Training phase in New Zealand, the Bournemouth Instrument Rating phase ultimately hones our skills to that of stringent requirements set out by EASA and the UK CAA.

Over a period of 11 weeks I went on to complete of a series of simulator events, aircraft routes flights, a UK Radiotelephony Exam and a Limited Panel test before bringing it all to a close with the all important Instrument Rating test.

Leg 6

Upset Prevention & Recovery Training

Leg Completed on 27 March 2018

Duration:
Approx 1 Week

Location:
Bournemouth

Description:
Following the completion of the Instrument Rating we move on to complete a series of flights as part of Upset Prevention & Recovery Training or UPRT for short. These flights introduce us to situations aircraft are not otherwise designed to be in and teach us how to recover from them.

Furthermore, we are also re-taught how to recover from stalls from the perspective of an airliner versus a light aircraft. At least one of these flights is completed in an aerobatic aircraft so i'm very much looking forward to that.

Leg 7

Airline Qualification Course (AQC)

Leg Completed on 3 May 2018

Duration:
Approx 3 Weeks

Location:
Nursling, Southampton

Description:
In this leg I worked towards my Multi-Crew Cooperation Certificate (MCC), completed a course in Airline Crew Resource Management (CRM) and took a look at Threat and Error Management (TEM). I was also introduced to the jet aircraft for the first time as part of the Jet Orientation Course (JOC). All in all the AQC moulds your mindset to that of a multi-crew capable commercial airline pilot.

Leg 8

Job Hunt / Hold Pool

Leg Completed on 5 July 2018

Duration:
2 Months in my case. Varies for everyone

Location:
N/A

Description:
This leg of the process holds the most uncertainty for any cadet starting at L3 Airline Academy. The hold pool sees cadets apply to job opportunities from both L3 airline partners and, if they wish, airlines outside of said partnership - such as Ryanair, Jet2 etc.

The waiting time from completion of training to employment depends on the job market at that given time, the amount of cadets in front of you in the pool, your overall training record and how well you interview. Simply attending L3 will not guarantee you that job if you can't interview well or show yourself to be captain material. Thus, it's not an assurance you'll get a job straight out just because you passed everything first time.

I was fortunate to secure employment at easyJet exactly 2 months of finishing my training, with the type-rating to be within six months of the job offer.

Leg 9

Type Rating

Leg starts 27 December 2018

Duration:
1 - 2 Months

Location:
Nursling, Southampton

Description:
A Type Rating (TR) is a course of training for the aircraft type a pilot is to fly, in my case the Airbus A320 family. They last between one to two months and consist of technical exams along with a series of simulator flights. The type rating is designed to provide us with the knowledge required to safely transition into a commercial operation.

The majority of simulator sessions cover non-normal procedures, i.e. electrical issues, hydraulic failures, engine malfunction or fire, bird strikes etc and assesses our ability to handle those scenarios inline with both Airbus and easyJet procedures to a safe outcome.

Leg 10

Induction & Base Training

Leg starts 25 February 2019

Duration:
1 - 2 Weeks

Location:
easyJet's London Gatwick Academy

Description:
On completing my Type Rating I will join easyJet for their new pilot induction. This will include all your usual "new job" stuff, such as getting I.T. login information, health and safety presentations etc, but it also incorporates things such as wet drills to prove a pilots swimming strength and ability to climb into a raft etc.

Once inductions are complete there will be a few more simulator sessions to practice flying the A320 in circuits around an airfield in preparation for the real deal. Induction concludes with base training where I and a group of new recruits will take an aircraft out of normal scheduled service for a day or two in order to safely demonstration six complete take-offs, circuits and landings.

Leg 11

Line Training

Leg yet to start

Duration:
To Be Confirmed

Location:
Location To Be Confirmed

Description:
Taking the knowledge learnt from the type rating, I will commence flying 'the line' for the airline. During line training I would conduct flights as normal but will remain under the supervision of the airline's training team. Lasting a required number of hours/sectors/months, line training exists to assess that I can fly my assigned type of aircraft safely, but above all else, doing such on a consistent basis. This leg would end with a final line check.

Leg 12

Line Flying

Leg yet to start

Duration:
Remainder of Employment (Hopefully!)

Location:
Location To Be Confirmed

Description:
If I get to this stage employment has officially begun and "my office" moves to the sky. Training doesn't end here though as airline pilots are among the most tested individuals in the world and therefore must return to the simulator every six months to demonstrate continued compentency with their aircraft.