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AVIATION INSIDER ANNOUNCES COLLABORATIVE PARTNERSHIP WITH RESILIENT PILOT

AVIATION INSIDER ANNOUNCES COLLABORATIVE PARTNERSHIP WITH RESILIENT PILOT 7 JULY 2020, United Kingdom:

Airline simulator and training specialists, Aviation Insider have selected Resilient Pilot to provide their free pilot mentoring service. In a new collaborative partnership established between the two organisations, Aviation Insider will also offer a 10% discount on all their online training store products for Resilient Pilot subscribers.

Resilient Pilot was launched in May of this year in response to the impact of COVID-19 on pilot jobs and, in turn, pilot wellbeing. The volunteer-run service provides free mentoring and peer support for the pilot community, hosts regular free webinars; and is soon to launch a free, comprehensive on-line resource library.

Aviation Insider Aviation Insider started its life as an online directory of free information. In 2017 Aviation Insider acquired V1Aviation (Simulator and interview specialists) and merged all content and services under one roof which has grown substantially. Today, Aviation Insider has now become an online platform for information, services, and products relating to airline pilots most of which is free.

Resilient Pilot’s support is available to all pilots, regardless of their current situation; whether furloughed, employed, recently graduated or still in training, as well as aspiring pilots who are yet to start their journey to the flight deck.

In announcing the partnership, Karen Bath, Co-founder of Resilient Pilot said “The recent airline redundancy announcements are unsettling for all our community. Clearly those who have been displaced have already been directly impacted. However, our concern is not just for those pilots, but also those still in employment but unsure of their future job security: The ongoing threat of redundancy and job loss is sadly very real right now.  Our mentors are available to provide a listening ear and signpost resources that all pilots – including aspiring pilots – will find helpful at this time. In working with Aviation Insider, we are able to ensure that even more pilots become aware of Resilient Pilot’s free support services.”

Aviation Insider, Gary Saul added “Aviation Insider aims to provide a comprehensive package to help pilots throughout their career. An area that is often given insufficient attention is pilot wellbeing, but in the current situation it is vital that pilots have an independent, confidential point of contact to talk to. Resilient Pilot’s volunteer mentor team provide a fantastic service to our community and we are delighted to be collaborating with them in this way. We encourage all pilots to make time for themselves; there is no stigma to maintaining your wellbeing and approaching a mentor doesn’t mean you have a wellbeing concern. Working with a mentor is a constructive move to ensure you maintain positive engagement during a period that is challenging us all beyond our expectations.”

“Our goal is to help pilots maintain a realistic but positive perspective on the current situation” adds Stuart Beech, Co-founder of Resilient Pilot: “A number of groups have been established to keep pilots connected, but sadly most have become very negative environments. As an independent organisation, we are working with many organisations – including those who normally compete with each other – to provide and signpost tools to help pilots remain focussed. Having a positive mindset isn’t always instinctive, so we are providing an opportunity for pilots to make a proactive move to help themselves.”

Resilient Pilot hosts regular free webinars for the pilot community on a variety of topics. Aviation Insider will be guest presenters on Wednesday 12 August and will be offering tips and advice on ‘Revalidating your license for free’.
Webinar places are limited and must be pre-booked via the ‘Resilient Pilot ‘website www.resilientpilot.com  

To benefit from the 10% discount with Aviation Insider, and connect with a ‘Resilient Pilot’ mentor for free, visit www.resilientpilot.com or www.aviationinsider.co.uk

Searching for a pilot job through COVID-19

Searching for a pilot job through COVID-19. The coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc on commercial aviation with consequences that are still not fully realized yet. The spread of the virus has posed serious challenges to airlines, airports, and their ecosystems as they are forced to adapt to the ever-changing situation. 

As the country gradually eases lockdown restrictions in a bid to limit the effects on the economy, the aviation industry continues to scramble to find their new version of normal. Reports of significant job cuts have been widely documented in the media by a number of major airlines already. 

All the uncertainty might have left you wondering, is now the time to restart your job search? While the recruitment landscape does look a little different at the moment, all is not lost, and there are things you can do to continue your efforts and get ahead of the competition.   

Here we look at 7 tips you can do to continue your job search effectively despite the current circumstances.   

Continue applying for jobs

There might not be a wide variety of pilot jobs to choose from at the moment, but take some comfort in the fact that there are still pilot jobs out there that you can apply for right away. We would recommend searching the latest pilot jobs on our partner site, Aviation Job Search

It’s also worth setting up an alert so you can be notified every time new jobs matching your search criteria are added to the site. 

Upload your CV

While some recruiters have paused interviewing and hiring for the time being, savvy recruiters are still contacting candidates so they have a headstart once they return back to normal. It’s essential an updated version of your CV is available so recruiters can contact you and discuss your options. Jobseekers can upload their CV to Aviation Job Search here.   

Give your CV a makeover 

Whatever job you end up taking, your CV will still need to be updated and tailored to each position you apply for. Now more than ever, your CV will need to stand out from the crowd. Before the pandemic, airlines would often receive hundreds of applications for just the one pilot vacancy. With less jobs available now, competition will be even fiercer.

If you need a little help to get your CV up to scratch, take a look at helpful guides and tips online. 

Consider a temporary job

Just because the aviation industry is in a period of uncertainty right now doesn’t mean that you can’t find any work. A number of furloughed pilots have taken alternative employment to help their communities in times of need. 

Furloughed Ryanair pilot, Ben Andrews of Castle Donington joined the Tesco Extra store in Toton as a delivery driver throughout the pandemic. Andrews said, “We were furloughed but I still had a mortgage to pay and I did not know how I was going to survive so I started to look at what I could do to keep the money coming in.”

He added, “I knew that van drivers were key workers and an important role in delivering goods especially to vulnerable people who could not get out of the house.” 

Think of it as a stopgap for the time being – you can’t operate in your chosen industry, so find work to do in the meantime, ready to return back to the job you desire when things calm down. 

Visit a virtual job fair 

Believe it or not, job fairs are still taking place – but they’re happening virtually. 

The Future & Active Pilot Advisors (FAPA) is hosting job fairs on the last Wednesday of every month until travel recovers. The job fair aims to bring recruiters and active pilots with over 250 hours (the required minimum) together. Further details can be found here. 

The pandemic has forced the events industry to temporarily move online which opens up opportunities for visitors to attend events they could never physically get to before. Take the time to see what events are taking place around the world virtually and how you can participate in them.  

Be inspired through webinars

Similarly to virtual events, the number of online webinars have spiked in recent months. There is a lot of great information and help available out there, it’s just a case of searching for it. 

On 4th August 2020, Aviation Job Search and the CV & Interview Advisors will present ‘How to write a LinkedIn profile to secure a better and higher paying job.’

The webinar promises to give you the blueprint to create a LinkedIn profile that won’t let you down, and one which will actively promote you and attract more opportunities. Further details, and to register, can be found here.  

It’s not about what you know, it’s who you know

Over the last few months, LinkedIn has become a very popular place for professionals to reach out and make everyone aware of their current career situation, their skills and what they are looking for. 

This is a great idea to get your name in front of a large group of people who may know of jobs you can apply for. Use Facebook and Twitter too to reach out, and don’t forget to hashtag your skills or current role so that the audience can get an idea of your ability. 

What unemployment benefits can you claim as a pilot?

What unemployment benefits can you claim as a pilot? The UK benefits system is there to help until you find your way into a career and can begin to earn a wage.  In fact, it’s very important that you do claim the benefits you are entitled to.

Despite the Government’s recent attempts to simplify things, the system can be rather complex and it’s not always easy to understand just what you can claim for.

The first thing to do is to ‘sign on’ at your local Job Centre.  This is your declaration that you are currently unemployed and seeking work.

New Style Jobseekers Allowance and New Style Employment and Support Allowance.

You can begin your claim for JSA by completing a simple online form.  Your nearest Job Centre will then text you with details of a meeting (virtual) that you must attend in order to begin receiving payments.  At this meeting you will need to produce two forms of proof of identity; a passport and driving licence or utility bill are usually sufficient.

You will then have to attend fortnightly meetings with a Jobcentre advisor and will have to show them evidence that you are trying to find a job.  Usually, this means telling the advisor about any interviews you have attended or applications you have submitted.

For more information and to claim New Style JSA go online

gov.uk/how-to-claim-new-style-jsa

For more information and to claim New Style ESA go online to download a form NSESAF1

Universal Credit

Universal Credit is a benefit payment for people in or out of work and is normally paid to you as a single monthly payment, but it’s made up of several different elements.

It replaces some of the benefits and tax credits you might have heard of:-

The Initial process to claim Universal Credit is online at gov.uk/universalcredit

Dual Claims

You can get New Style JSA or ESA on its own or at the same time as Universal Credit (known as a dual claim).

If you get both, your Universal Credit will be reduced pound-for-pound by the amount they get for New Style JSA or ESA.

Some of the benefits of making a dual claim include:

1.  You will receive Class 1 NI credit on dual claim (Class 83 on UC only)

2.  You may be entitled to financial support for dependants.

3.  You may be entitled to help with housing costs through Universal Credit.

Rapid Response Training

The decision to fund training, in every case, is based on whether it will improve your prospects of finding work. Some of our previous clients have secured funding for simulator and checks.  Please remember that Training must remove a barrier to employment.

How to access Rapid Response funding:

Help guide for redundant and unemployed airline pilots

Help guide for redundant and unemployed airline pilots

The Basics and legal information:

Redundancy is a form of dismissal from your job. It happens when employers need to reduce their workforce. If you’re being made redundant, you might be eligible for certain things, including:

Source: .Gov

Are you getting the correct redundancy payment?

You are entitled to a statutory redundancy payment if you have worked for the organisation for two years or more. The statutory payment is:

A statutory redundancy payment can only be based on up to 20 years of employment even if you have been employed for longer than this.

Source: Truth legal

Help to get a new job

Contact your local Jobcentre – they specialise in helping people who have been made redundant. They will help you find a new job and may even pay for training.

You can use the service during your notice period and for up to 13 weeks after you’ve been made redundant.

You should also ask your employer for a written reference, as you can send this with your job applications.

You won’t get any redundancy pay if you accept an alternative job with your current employer before the end of your notice period.

Source: Citizens advice

Brushing off and updating your pilot CV

Your CV, cover letter, and application form are your only opportunities to make a great first impression to your prospective employer about the valuable skills you can bring to their airline. Even though many of them are not recruiting at the moment we can only hope the airlines are making knee jerk reactions with redundancies and by next year or sooner, will be hiring back the workforce it lost.

We recommend Airline Prep who are approved to claim back the cost of the service.

Making use of the government help for training and keeping your license current.

Aviation Insider is approved and on the system with the job centre and can offer the following training.

Staying Positive

For more on what financial help is available Click Here

To see what you might be entitled to Click Here

For how to deal with debt click here

Contact us if you have any questions

Keep Current with our Type Rating Question Banks:

Help guide for redundant and unemployed airline pilots

Airline Pilots made redundant can revalidate their licenses for free

Airline Pilots made redundant can revalidate their licenses for free. Aviation Insider is pleased to be able to help you recover the cost of your simulator training through a government grant (subject to conditions)

Over the last year, we have helped a number of pilots secure funding from the government. Former Flybe and Thomas Cook pilots who wanted to ensure they keep their licenses valid were able to access funding to pay for their simulator training with us.

We also recommend AirlinePrep Ltd who can advise how to seek funding to cover the cost of your interview preparation.

Aviation Insider is one of the preferred providers to help pilots who have been made redundant. The scheme is open to pilots who reside in the UK and need a revalidation or license renewal on the following aircraft: a320, a330, B737, 747, 787, E190 and claim back the costs in full.

Other forms of training such as refresher training and airline simulator assessment preparation can be considered a viable claim and some of our previous clients have had success in obtaining the funding. The available aircraft are a320, a330, B737, B747. B757/767, B777/787 and E135/145 and E170/190.

Through its partners, Aviation Insider is also able to help pilots renew their licenses (a320 and 737 at the moment) if it has passed the yearly expiration date and help with CV, Cover letter, interview, and Group Exercise practice.

We have recently launched a free online pilot logbook similar to the paid versions other major companies are offering. It would be useful for pilots who have been made redundant to have their logbooks up to date when applying to new airlines. The logbook will present it in a clear format for any future employers. Click here for More information

This is an unprecedented time for the aviation industry, and we all must stay strong and work through this together. Aviation Insider will do whatever it takes to help pilots remain current. If any pilot wants to make use of the revalidation claim, visit our contact us page here get in touch.

Click here to see our flyer

More information on License Revalidations

Keep Current with our Type Rating Question Banks:

Airline Pilots made redundant can revalidate their licenses for free

Do Full Motion Simulators Really Have an Advantage Over Fixed Training Devices?

Do Full Motion Simulators Really Have an Advantage Over Fixed Training Devices?, Aviation is a skills-based industry and towards this requirement, training goes hand in hand. Commercial airline pilots may once have been assessed wholly on their manual flying (aircraft handling) skills; nowadays pilot assessment is predominantly based on Systems and Crew Management, where management of the automated systems and maintenance of situational awareness replace many of the traditional flying skills.

Types of Simulation Devices

Flight Training Devices have no motion system at all. Flight Simulators at Levels A and B have motion systems that operate in only a limited way; that is, through 3 axes only … pitch, roll, and yaw. These devices provide motion ‘on-set’ cues only in those 3 axes. Simulators at Levels C and D provide motion ‘on-set’ cues in those same 3 axes, but also in the axes of heave (up and down), sway (left and right), and surge (forward and aft). Of course, ALL of the motion systems provide only ‘on-set’ cueing, because each of them have physical limits of movement … and the rate that the initiated motion on-set cue is removed must be taken into consideration with respect to the total distance that the motion actuator may be moved; that is, its physical dimensions. The rate that the provided motion cueing is ultimately removed – or stopped – has to be taken into consideration in the overall physical dimensioning of the actuators. But virtually countless amounts of experimentation and examination, trial and error, attempts made, repeated, modified, and re-attempted … all go into the final determination as to the size and the power that will be required to operate such systems.

Use of Flight Simulation in Training

The availability of advanced simulator technology permits replicating the cockpit’s environment at any stage of flight. Such technologies are being used extensively for training and checking of flight crew. The complexity, cost and operating environment of modern aircraft has made the use of advanced simulation necessary.

Traditionally, simulation devices come in two sub variants – Full Flight Devices (FFS) and Fixed Training Devices (FTD).

Modern Fixed Training Device Without Motion

Flight training device (FTD) means a full size replica of a specific aircraft type’s instruments, equipment, panels and controls in an open flight deck/cockpit area or an enclosed aircraft flight deck/cockpit, including the assemblage of equipment and computer software programmes necessary to represent the aircraft in ground and flight conditions to the extent of the systems installed in the device. It does not require a force cueing motion. It is in compliance with the minimum standards for a specific FTD level of qualification.

The above are broad definitions and both the FFS and FTD have several subclassifications.

Current Scenario

Type rating and recurrent airline pilot training has changed little in past 30 years. Regulators mandate a large part of such training to be conducted on very expensive full motion simulators or an actual aircraft. Training is compliance based and some of it based on outdated legal and regulatory instruments while not covering the latest technologies and techniques.

The expense of training and the fact that it based on compliance and not scenarios can result in ineffective quality and quantity of pilot training. Type rating and recurrent training suffer most as the huge expense brings an enormous pressure on airlines to keep costs down.

FFS are extremely costly – ballpark 10 million USD per FFS – with other costs like land, buildings (at least a 3 storey structure) and infrastructure to support the device. Maintenance and operation is expensive and most airlines therefore either do not have their own simulators or use third party devices – located in different cities of even countries.

FFSs create realism by fooling sensory systems which is at variance how an actual aircraft provides sensation. A case in point – deceleration is simulated by tilting the simulator forward which creates a sense of falling out of the seat. However at this time flight instruments indicate a pitch attitude which is at variance from the expected. This causes a conflict in the pilots’ inner-ear balance and the eyes. at odds with what their eyes tell them.

Yaw or sideslip can be simulated by sustained tilting, but vertical acceleration can not be sustained. Ask any pilot (me included) – it is common to over control in a simulator than an aircraft. Because of the physical limits of an FSTD’s motion base, the ratio of inertial cues (cues from sensory organs in the inner ear that sense acceleration) to visual cues is not the same as in flight. When motion and visual cues are not congruent, pilots can become disoriented — this can even cause motion sickness in simulator training.

Over the past few years, FTD technology has advanced to a level that apart from motion, the device can replicate everything else which can be expected in a cockpit. Products are available today which provides high-fidelity reproduction of the aircraft’s cockpit and controls, have collimated (infinity-focused) visual systems that provides complete realism. Vibration and ambient noise is simulated. Seat actuation systems provide “seat-of-the-pants” sensations of turbulence, runway surface roughness or airframe vibration.

Modern FTDs use the same simulation software as the full-flight simulators, based on manufacturer-supplied data packages, and with high-fidelity aerodynamic, ground and engine performance and control forces.

Coming to the subject line of this blog. It may not be completely true that a full-motion FFS is better than a state of the art fixed base device. I argue that scenario based training in a modern FTD with induced failures such as wind shear, ground proximity and systems failure as compared to legacy training in an old school FFS will actually result in a higher level of effective training.

The Tests

There have been numerous scientific studies performed over the last sixty years or so to test this theory, and the result have been surprising.  Using all sorts of simulators from light aircraft to turbo-props to jet fighters, scientists have tested how motion simulation affects the control strategies that pilots learn (i.e. how they move the controls) and how well the training translates into the real aircraft.  

The studies followed a similar pattern; train half of the test group in a fixed-base simulator (i.e. with no motion) and half in a motion simulator.  Then test both groups’ performance in a full-motion simulator or a real aircraft (there is of course a limit to what we can test in an aircraft; stalling airliners for the sake of academic research is not wise!)

Here is a summary of some of the more interesting results:

Reaction times

One of the biggest advantages of motion is that it reduces the pilot’s reaction time to a disturbance.  Even with full instrumentation and visual scenery, the pilot will respond first to the initial motion of, say an engine failure.  This will then draw their attention to the instruments for analysis and corrective action.  But does training with motion translate to quicker reaction times in the aircraft? If we train with motion off, do we produce pilots who take longer to react when motion is present?  The answer, quite simply, is No.  Training without motion does not make any appreciable difference to a pilot’s response times after motion is introduced.

Control on the ground

If an engine fails at high speed during the take-off roll, the pilot must react quickly to control the aircraft laterally whilst either continuing the take-off or stopping.  In this instance, the motion cueing is the primary means of control, and a full-motion simulator cannot be replaced with seat-based or fixed motion for fully effective training.

Other motion cues

What about a maneuver like stalling, where the pre-stall buffet is a vital clue to inform the pilot of the state of the aircraft?  Surely in this case we need a motion simulator?  Here the answer must be yes; the buffet cannot be replicated and learned as a cue without motion.  But there is no need to have an expensive and complex six-legged platform to simulate this vibration.  Seat-based motion cueing, where the pilot’s seat vibrates or moves over a very limited range, is just as effective.

Spatial Disorientation

One of the first lessons a pilot must learn in order to gain an instrument rating is to ignore many of the physiological sensations felt during flight in cloud. The inner ear is sensitive to acceleration but not to steady state motion. As we saw with the fake elevator there is a minimum threshold below which your vestibular system will not register acceleration.  In cloud therefore it is very easy to become disorientated; your inner ear says that you are rolling to the left while your instruments read straight and level flight.

Studies have shown that even full-motion simulators cannot effectively produce this spatial disorientation, so this training must be done on a real aircraft.

Vection

Vection is the illusion of self-motion in the absence of physical motion.  High-quality visuals, a realistic cockpit and good audio can be enough to fool the brain into thinking there is actual motion. Often pilots in a full-motion simulator won’t even notice when the motion platform is switched off.  In one study with low-hours pilots the simulator was programmed to randomly reverse the direction of roll motion.  None of the pilots in the study noticed anything out of the ordinary when they rolled the aircraft to the right and the motion platform rolled left!

Learning speed

Most studies conclude that there is no significant difference in the rate of learning or the overall performance outcome between motion and no motion simulators.  Some studies actually showed slightly faster learning without motion, perhaps as the trainee is more able to concentrate on seeing and doing a new task without the added distraction of moving around.

Post COVID19

It will not be practical for airlines to sustain frequent positioning of aircrew all over the world for flight simulator training any longer. Such travel will incur a huge financial burden and would also not be a wise considering the pandemic and social distancing requirements.

To be fair most regulators are aware of advances in simulation capability and are prepared to take advantage of the latest training tools. A FFS now does not have an edge over a modern FTD. Interest is being generated in using modern FTDs as alternatives to more expensive Level D “zero flight time” FFS for recurrent training. Shifting to motion less simulators with scenario and competency based training rather than just limiting to what is the minimum accepted compliance based training requirements is the need of the hour.

The world has evolved rapidly in the COVID19 environment. A paradigm shift in aviation training is needed and we have to start thinking and planning now to be better prepared for the uncertain future.

Keep Current with our Type Rating Question Banks:

READ ECAM, The free A320 ECAM Handling app

READ ECAM, The free A320 ECAM Handling app every a320 pilot should know about.

Our friends at ipadecam.co.uk developed software for a320 pilots to practice all their failure management and technical knowledge. The software is so good you would think you would have to pay for a subscription to access it. But no, the app is completely free to use.

There is one other competitor to read ECAM or iPad ECAM as they are also called and there are many in the aviation world that will be well aware of who that company is. That company does charge a subscription to access their app.

The website is well presented and the app has fantastic explanations on each part of the a320, a330, and Boeing 737, however, in our view the perfect solution to aid your studying or type rating is read ECAM.

Read ECAM does almost everything its competitor does, you can visualize and interact with immersive scenarios. Find content quickly and easily through an intuitive multi-functional menu system and practice over 200 interactive abnormal and emergency scenarios.

What most users tend to oversea is “Page 2” Probably one of the best parts of the software. It comes filled with a need to know facts and how-to guides. Differentiate between a319, a320, and a321 aircraft, NEO, and CEO. Learn how to deal with EFATOs in a fantastic presentation.

We highly recommend this software and would urge you to visit their website: http://www.ipadecam.co.uk/#

On their website, you can follow a simple step by step guide on how to use this software offline on your iPad. We spoke to their director and they are developing a new iPad app with updated graphics and visuals!

If you would like a different way to study and practice then why not have a look at our new online training overview page where you can see some of the main training aids Aviation Insider has to offer: https://aviationinsider.co.uk/training-content-overview/

read ecam a320

READ ECAM, The free A320 ECAM Handling app

Pilots using simulators post COVID-19

Pilots using simulators post COVID-19, Many training centers remained open during the last few months but many airlines using the facilities stopped booking the slots as they put their pilots on furlough.

Most staff from the centers worked from home or were also put on furlough whilst maintenance staff kept the simulator operational for the select few slots that were being used.

“The safety of our people, our customers, and any visitors to our facilities is paramount,” one simulator based in Burgess Hill, England said.

“We are closely monitoring both government and industry advice to ensure that we are doing absolutely everything possible to guarantee the best conditions for everyone involved in activities on our premises”

In addition to standard health and safety procedures simulator centers have introduced the following measures in response to the current public health challenge, Covid-19:

Aviation Insider utilize all the major simulator centres in the UK and follow these guidelines set out by the centres. If you would like to enquire about a simulator booking please contact us here: https://aviationinsider.co.uk/simulator-contact-form/

Pilots using simulators post COVID-19

Pilot Training: EASA’s new ATPL Syllabus

Pilot Training: EASA’s new ATPL Syllabus: EASA has published a detailed explanatory note to the new ATPL syllabus here. In summary, the key changes are as follows:

What are the new differences?

When does the new syllabus come into effect?

The new syllabus is already in effect. Some pilot training academies in Sweden are already teaching it, and many more Approved Training Organisations (ATOs) will be starting soon. There is going to be an overlap period where both syllabi will be examined, but – at the moment – the first exams for the new syllabus are scheduled to start this summer.

Individual ATOs can decide when they switch to teaching their cadets the new ATPL syllabus. Many are changing over soon, and some will delay until the autumn. If you’re about to embark on pilot training, particularly if you’re a modular student, it may be worth checking with ATOs when they plan to move to the new syllabus as you don’t want to risk running out of time under the old syllabus.

How does the changeover affect trainee pilots studying the current syllabus?

Students currently studying ATPL theory with an ATO using the old syllabus don’t need to do anything differently and can continue on their current program. The CAA recently extended the date for the final exam sitting under the old syllabus to June 2022.

Will trainee pilots studying the current syllabus have to update their knowledge?

Keeping your knowledge up to date is an essential part of being a professional pilot; the job involves a constant process of learning, testing and updating.

But for student pilots studying the old syllabus and sitting the old syllabus exams, you don’t need to update your ATPL theory knowledge in order to gain your licence.

If you’ve studied the old syllabus but plan to sit the new exams then, yes, you’ll need to fill in the gaps in your knowledge and be aware that some topics have moved from one subject area to another, meaning that there’ll be changes to what you see in the exams.

Which syllabus should students study now?

If you have the choice, we would advise studying the new syllabus. It is far more up to date and will better prepare you for a career in aviation. There is also nothing to fear by taking the new exams.

Although the online question banks won’t have captured all the new exam questions yet, by and large, the trivia has been removed.

Any good set of ATPL books addressing the new syllabus will prepare you for the updated exams questions. And, if you’re using time at home to begin studying ATPL theory yourself, then reading the new syllabus books means you don’t risk running out of time.

Covid-19 and Air Travel, Myths about the air inside an airliner

Covid 19 and Air Travel Myths about the air inside an airliner: On all modern aircraft, passengers and crew breathe a mixture of fresh and recirculated air. Using this combination rather than fresh air only makes it easier to regulate temperature and helps maintain a bit of humidity. Studies have shown that a crowded airplane is no more germ-laden than other enclosed spaces—and usually less. Those underfloor filters are described by manufacturers as being of hospital quality.

On the 737 – 300 to 900 models the recirculation fan re-circulates filtered cabin air back to the cabin to reduce bleed air requirements. (Bleed air is compressed air taken from the compressor stage of a gas turbine upstream of its fuel-burning sections)

An airconditioning pack in HIGH flow, selected in the flight deck, will produce more cold air than normal, but has a 25% higher bleed air demand. Approximately 25% on the 737 of the cabin air is recirculated for passenger comfort compared to 50% on the 757/767 and none on the MD80.

The ventilation rate of the 737-300 is 1900 cubic feet per minute (CFM) or about 13 CFM per passenger. When the larger 737-400 was designed, an extra recirculation fan (also on the –4/8/900 models) was installed to increase the ventilation rate, and hence comfort levels, for the increased passenger capacity of the larger aircraft.

A good fact for everyone is on an airbus a320 series aircraft, it should be noted that it takes 4-5 mins for air in the cabin to be completely refreshed.

Here is why the risk of spreading Corona through cabin air is so low: 

So the questions we ask in this uncertain time is:

Do you think having a middle seat unoccupied will help reduce the spread of the virus?

Will you be put off from flying until there is a vaccine?

This week, Stewart Wingate, chief executive of Gatwick Airport, said passengers should be required to carry ‘health passports’ to prove they are clear of the virus and wear face covers on flights. Travelers should have compulsory virus tests 48 hours before departure after lockdown is lifted, the head of Britain’s second busiest airport has said.

The proposals to get Britain’s skies moving again come as the Department for Transport considers proposals that would allow people to take their summer holidays.

Only the next few weeks and months will show what damage has been done to the Aviation Industry.

Do I need a license revalidation or a license renewal to keep current?

Do I need a license revalidation or a license renewal to keep current? In a time where most airlines have furloughed or made pilots take unpaid leave, what happens to our licenses? When do you renew a CPL or IR license and when do you revalidate it? Where can you do it?

In order to apply for a first officer position for an airline, you are required to hold a commercial pilot’s license with a current multi-engine instrument rating (IR).

If you don’t find a job within a year of completing your initial instrument rating, you will need to revalidate it in order to maintain your license currency and be eligible to apply for a job.​

Some airlines will allow you to apply if your licenses has lapsed and upon a successful application process will renew your license at the end of the LST, or LPC OPC.

So what’s the difference?

Revalidation 

Renewal 

If you do not have PBN privileges on your license then you will need to add them during your IR test. All of our examiners will be able to do this for you on the day of the test, it just requires an additional approach to be completed. The cheapest option is always to keep your IR current unless you have no plans to use your IR for >3years.

For more information visit our revalidations page here

The crisis deepens for Airlines fighting COVID-19

The crisis deepens for Airlines fighting COVID-19: South African Airways Nears Collapse With Plan to Fire All Staff. The state-owned airline has offered severance deals to all 4,700 staff from the end of this month after administrators concluded that a successful turnaround is now unlikely, according to a proposal to eight labor groups seen by Bloomberg News.

SAA has relied on bailouts and state-guaranteed debt agreements for years, having last made a profit in 2011, and was put into a form of bankruptcy protection in December.

The airline has had at least nine chief executive officers in the past decade, hampering attempts at a turnaround.

In Australia, Virgin Australia is expected to go into administration, it would be the biggest airline collapse in Australia since Ansett. However, Administration doesn’t necessarily mean the end for Virgin Australia. Potential buyers could use the process to get rid of bits of the airline they don’t like and shed some of its $4.8bn debt mountain.

Closer to home, Ministers call in PwC for Loganair funding talks. The government has drafted in advisers to help decide the terms of a state bailout for Loganair, the regional airline, as the aviation industry reels from the coronavirus pandemic.

Loganair, which typically operates more than 200 daily flights, has slashed its schedule by more than half as a result of the pandemic. It was expected to be one of the major beneficiaries of the collapse of Flybe, Europe’s largest regional carrier, which ceased trading last month.

Virgin Atlantic is told to re-submit their £500m state aid bid. The government was left unimpressed with an initial funding bid, the Financial Times reported.

The airline had not done enough to show it had explored other options to bolster cash before asking for state aid, according to the newspaper which cited one person familiar with the matter.

Virgin Atlantic, which is is 51% owned by Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group and 49% by Delta Air Lines, last month requested emergency financial help in addition to the coronavirus package made available to all British companies. Virgin Atlantic has not commented on the report.

All British Airways flights from Gatwick and London City Airport have been suspended while Heathrow Airport closed one of its two runways earlier this month. BA continues to operate cargo and some repatriation flights.

And Finally, Hawaiian Airlines is using the downtime of its aircraft to upgrade its fleet of Airbus A321neo aircraft with additional ventilation tubes to better optimize the temperature and air circulation inside the plane. The airline started these modifications to some aircraft earlier this month.

AVIATION: BOOM OR BUST?

AVIATION: BOOM OR BUST? It would be hard to write a post right now without referencing the current global situation regarding Covid-19. First of all, to anyone who has been affected by this virus, my prayers go out to you. I remain positive and hopeful that we will overcome this and be stronger as a result.

The burning question I’m getting asked recently is “how is this affecting your training?”. The truthful answer is: massively.

As the Coronavirus started taking hold, I could see things changing within the aviation world. I work part-time at my local airport where most of the flights were Flybe. Of course there had been rumours and whispers circling regarding Flybe but a part of me sincerely thought they would be fine.

How wrong was I. Sadly, the evening Flybe announced that everything was coming to a grinding halt, I literally lost all the shifts I had been given. I was on my way into the at 330am the following morning and had a call to say I’m no longer needed as there were zero flights outbound or inbound. I guess it hadn’t quite sunk in really. But it sure did when I got home.

Not only was it sad for the South West to lose our regional airline, but it was also gutting to see the crew who I had come to know lose their jobs so suddenly. It was quite a strange experience to go through firsthand to be honest. We have unfortunately seen other airlines go under in recent times but its only when you actually go through it in person that you realise the full impact.The current situation is that, with so many airlines now making a lot of their pilots and cabin crew redundant, the future for newly examined pilots becomes more and more unclear. In a way I am quite lucky as I haven’t finished my training yet but it doesn’t stop me wondering how it will be when I do come out the other end. On top of that, I really feel for my colleagues at Aviation South West as many have completed their training in recent months and were applying for jobs when this all kicked off. At the moment all I can do is keep my head down and keep going. Afterall, what will be will be.

So do I think the aviation world is doomed? Absolutely not! We have overcome the atrocities of 9/11, the 2008 recession and past global pandemics. In fact I would like to think that once this has all past, the aviation industry will thrive once again. Afterall, aviation is what has made our world so much smaller and accessible to all.

I believe its a matter of when not if. In the meantime, everyone stay safe please. Drop me a message if you have any questions, I’d love to hear from you!

AVIATION: BOOM OR BUST?

Is public ownership the solution to regional connectivity in the UK?

Is public ownership the solution to regional connectivity in the UK? Public ownership seems to be a topic that was hot on the agenda around the time of the 2019 General Election, with Labour promising to bring the railways back under government control. Since the election ‘regional connectivity’ has become a new buzz word. With a Conservative government in power having won a large majority, partly due to capturing swathes of historic Labour seats. Regional connectivity has to be a hot topic, as Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said many times, the country needs ‘leveling up’ across all regions. This is a commitment the new government have made to the British people. But how can this be achieved?

In a sign of the Prime Minister’s commitment to levelling up all regions of the UK, the government has announced additional measures to support regional connectivity across the UK, to ensure all corners of the country drive the economy, and fully benefit from prosperity in years to come.

By now we are all well aware of HS2, a rail network connecting the ‘Northern Powerhouse’ with London. The first stage of which will connect the West Midlands to the Capital is scheduled to be open in 2028 with phase 2 to be complete by 2035. This certainly doesn’t feel like an immediate solution to regional connectivity and connecting Leeds, Manchester and the West Midlands to London doesn’t sound like leveling up all nations of the United Kingdom. 

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If only there was a solution to this problem that is already established and ‘ready to go’? There is, or at least there was until 5th March this year – regional aviation, specifically the network and infrastructure of Flybe. Flybe offered vital transport links, many of which were not served by any other mode of transport let alone another airline. Links between places like the Isle of Man and Liverpool, which was a lifeline for the NHS, between Belfast City and many UK cities, used by business across the UK and finally Newquay to London, a route which would otherwise take over 5 hours making a day trip impossible. It is obvious that beyond the aviation sector these transport links do not exist and are not likely to exist in the near future. Of Flybe’s 12 million+ passengers per annum, 50% were business passengers, 80% of passengers flew within the UK and approximately 75% were regular travelers. Many million meetings, appointments, contract signings or approvals that will now, without Flybe, be much more difficult to achieve, all at a time when they are needed most. In a country experiencing social isolation the desire for face to face meetings with colleagues, friends and family will create more demand for the regional aviation market. Some airlines have stepped in, but the number of connections is small, frequency is very low and at grossly inflated prices. Furthermore, many of these carriers have announced these routes have been placed ‘on hold’ indefinitely raising the question, will these routes ever be restarted?

Cornish holiday resort Newquay, for one, has no direct rail services from London for much of the year and the journey takes about five hours. But Flybe could get you from London Heathrow to Newquay airport in little more than an hour. Flybe was due to re-route its Newquay flights to Gatwick at the end of this month, but that plan has now fallen victim to the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on demand for air travel. If you live in the Isle of Man, Flybe’s service has literally been a lifeline. The airline had a contract with the government to transfer NHS patients from the island to medical facilities in Liverpool when they required treatment that could not be provided closer to home. At the moment, it is unclear what will happen to that service.

What about the financial viability of a regional carrier like Flybe? It is no secret that regional aviation isn’t the most profitable area of the aviation sector, which is why Public Service Obligation (PSO) routes exist. Across Europe, many PSO routes exist to provide a crucial lifeline to communities that rely on connectivity that wouldn’t necessarily be financially appealing to the larger carriers. In the UK these routes are few and far between leaving regional airlines such as Flybe, Loganair and Eastern Airways footing the bill. Surely this has to change in order to ‘level up the country’? Beyond the use of PSO routes, a regional carrier must have a strong business plan, supported by identity to keep up with the larger carriers such as easyJet or Ryanair. Flybe had this and was certainly on the road to delivering a turnaround strategy with a strong business plan which had gained support from the company shareholders and many senior civil servants working directly with the government. This business is viable, it will succeed, and it is crucial to the UK’s success over the coming months and years. With all of the factors discussed above, it would appear that this is the perfect business to be brought under government control and into public ownership. A national airline that supports the vision of government whilst providing vital support to all communities of the UK, not run by billionaires looking to make a quick profit but to provide a truly viable source of regional connectivity, without an agenda that would level up the country.

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It wouldn’t be fair to have this conversation without mentioning the environmental impact of the aviation industry, which is such a hot topic at the moment. This is where the Dash 8 Q400 aircraft sits in a league of its own. The aircraft has 50% less CO2 emissions than the latest jet aircraft, 30% lower fuel burn than a regional jet and is between 30% and 50% quieter than a jet aircraft on take-off. This really is an aircraft that is perfect for the regional aviation market whilst providing fuel efficiency to drive prices down and lower emissions than its rival jet aircraft to help reduce the environmental impact of the industry.

With the COVID-19 pandemic wreaking havoc around the UK the true impact of Flybe’s collapse has not really been felt, however, it is likely to felt across the country with widespread job losses, not only for the 2000 plus staff employed by Flybe but also at airports nationwide. Let us now, however, look to the future and brighter times once we have as a nation, triumphed over Covid-19. There will be much rebuilding work that has to be done, both socially and economically. The government finances will need all the help they can to recover. This is where business must play its part, however, UK business will be trying to achieve this with one hand tied behind it’s back. There will be a need and demand for connectivity across the UK to provide vital transport links to communities that are currently unserved. 

Written by Paul Green former Flybe FO

Airlines move to cut their staff

Airlines move to cut their staff: In a memo to staff titled “The Survival of British Airways”, boss Alex Cruz warned that job cuts could be “short term, perhaps long term”. The airline industry was facing a “crisis of global proportions” that was worse than that caused by the SARS virus or 9/11.

Meanwhile, Ryanair told staff they may be forced to take leave from Monday.

Norwegian Air, which operates long-haul, low-cost transatlantic flights, on Thursday announced it would be laying off up to half of its staff during the crisis. It has also cut about 4,000 flights.

The pilot’s union Balpa on Friday called for greater government support for the aviation industry and complained that this week’s Budget had not included a cut to Air Passenger Duty (APD) as the industry had lobbied for.

easyJet has cancelled many flights and is no longer flying to Italy, excluding repatriation flights. It has also asked its staff to submit unpaid leave requests, however, is not making any of its staff redundant.

Lufthansa, which is the European airline with the most flights directly affected by the US ban, is to ask the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, to intervene, according to reports in the Handelsblatt newspaper. Lufthansa is said to be considering a range of options to deal with the crisis, including the temporary suspension of most flights across its network.

Air France-KLM are continuing to operate some flights to the US and have yet to confirm what further measures they are taking.

Delta is cutting capacity by 40 percent in the next few months, which is more than it did in 2001 after the September 11 terrorist attacks, and will park 300 aircraft. It will eliminate services to continental Europe while keeping routes to London. It will defer the delivery of new aircraft, reduce capital expenditures by at least $2bn for the year and cut back its use of contractors and consultants.



Oil tanks most since 1991 after producers start a price war

Oil tanks most since 1991 after producers start a price war: Oil crashed the most in 29 years as Saudi Arabia and Russia vowed to pump more in a battle for market share just as the coronavirus spurs the first decline in demand since 2009. This Sparked fears on the Street that an all-out price war is imminent.

Saudi Arabia slashed its official crude pricing and is threatening record output. Russia’s largest producer, meanwhile, said it will ramp up production next month. What’s more, all of the annual growth the International Energy Agency had anticipated last month has been erased, and oil demand is now expected to contract by 90,000 barrels a day this year.

Airline stocks in Europe were down between 2 and 3% performing better than the rest of the overall market however last week they shed over 30% in value.

The outlier of the day was Norwegian airlines whos shares were the worst-performing airline stock down 9.8% to an all-time low.

CORONA VIRUS TAKES ITS TOLL AS FLYBE COLLAPSES

CORONA VIRUS TAKES ITS TOLL AS FLYBE COLLAPSES: Flybe has collapsed as the coronavirus hits demand for air travel. The company has reportedly told ministers it could collapse imminently without state help.

Exeter-based Flybe operates almost two in five of the UK’s domestic flights, employing more than 2,000 people, and is a leading carrier at airports including Belfast, Southampton, Manchester and Birmingham.

Crisis talks were held throughout the day on Wednesday to try to secure a rescue package, but it is understood no deal has been agreed.

Flybe customers are being urged to keep checking the airline’s travel advice in relation to the ongoing spread of coronavirus.

The virus, which emerged in China, has now been spread to more than 50 countries – many as a result of air travel.

The airline, which almost collapsed earlier this year before emergency Government intervention, said it was in constant dialogue with the authorities regarding the spread of coronavirus.

That has led to some carriers cutting their number of flights or implementing other measures to try and limit the virus’ spread.

In January, it was announced that Flybe had been rescued after government efforts led by the former chancellor Sajid Javid and ex-business secretary Andrea Leadsom. The measures included some deferral of tax, talks over a loan and promised reviews into regional air connectivity and air passenger duty (APD).

The North American Tour

The North American Tour: With a combination of dynamic displays, iconic flypasts and inspiring ground activities, the Red Arrows are on a major tour of North America.

It is the biggest-ever visit by the Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team to Canada and the United States and the first to the two countries in more than a decade.

The tour aims to promote the best of British and deepen partnerships with close friends and allies.

The 11 week deployment is an indication of the UK’s continuing commitment to enduring relationships, mutual prosperity and extensive security cooperation.

With stops across the continent, the tour comprises aerobatic displays, flypasts of well-known landmarks and dozens of ground engagements – from business receptions to sessions highlighting the importance of science, technology, engineering and maths subjects to young people.

Each show is a demonstration of creativity, engineering excellence and innovation – not just hallmarks of the Red Arrows and RAF but of the proven capabilities, strengths and skills of the UK.

Moreover, the tour provides chance to celebrate and enhance international trade and investment between the UK, Canada and the US, worth more than £208 billion in 2018.

10 Things to do before starting flight school

10 Things to do before starting flight school. There are actually no academic qualifications required to be a pilot, although some airlines may have entry requirements, specific flight schools do not tend to have academic requirements. Pilot selection typically involves an online application, if accepted and invited for an assessment. You will be expected to complete aptitude, math, physics, verbal and numerical reasoning among other tests depending on the flight school. You will certainly be asked to complete an interview and group exercises as well as simulator assessment in some cases. Like any job interview, preparation is the very important, it is very apparent which candidates study and prepares and who is just coming in a “winging” it, pardon the pun.

So here are the top 10 items to prepare for in no particular order.

1) Why do you want to be a pilot?

This is one question that will almost certainly be asked. Also another similar question that will follow is: Why do you want to work for us? Or why do you want to be a pilot for (airline) There is an extensive question bank of interview questions that you can download in our assessment and interview preparation area.

2) Know the job – are you aware what the job entails.

Many people dream of becoming an airline pilot, But do you actually know what the job entails? Its worth going to flyer shows or if a friend of a friend knows a pilot, speak to them. Think about how you would answer questions certain questions such as, “Can you describe a typical day as a pilot?” or “What do you know about the job that makes you want to be pilot?”

Most flight school interviews will ask, can you describe briefly the stages of training at the school? For example, 6 months ground school, 14 ATPL exams, 5 months flying either Arizona or New Zealand or else where, followed by another 4-6 months completing the more complex flying like the instrument rating. The las stage is a 2 week MCC/JOC course.

3) Industry experience.

There are lots of jobs that you may not think of that you can be apart of at airports, either part-time, full-time or as a volunteer for work experience. Airlines require thousands of staff to support their aircraft. Handling Agents such as Menzies employ staff who take responsibility for aircraft on the ground. Although busy a job as a dispatcher could be perfect for a wannabe airline pilot. Even local airfields have some sort of work available, like a receptionist at your local flying club. This could really demonstrate your motivation to be a pilot and another tick in the box in an interview.

4) As mentioned above, speak to a current pilot.

Every single pilot I know loves to talk about flying and the job. Perhaps on your next flight go and ask to visit the flight deck at the end if you can, make sure you have a couple of questions at hand to ask. Write down everything they say, and if you’re able to, ask them what they like about the job and even one thing that they find challenging or dislike. At an interview you might mention you spoke to this person, again this will demonstrate your interest in the profession and preparation.

5) Research

Complete all the points mentioned above for thorough preparation, Know every stage of selection, speak to people who have been through the process before you. Try and find at least 2-3 different people as each one will hae another bit of information the other had forgotten or failed to mention. Find out every last detail!

If you cant find anyone to talk to go on twitter or instagram and search for the hashtag #CAEOAA #CTC #flighttraining and tweet the students that are currently in training, try and ask as many questions without being annoying. Then as mentioned above, everything that those people have said break down into bullet points and go research. How long has the flight school been around, whats their history, what aircraft do they have, what locations do they operate out of, what are their partner airlines, Just everything! Its much better to be over prepared than under prepared!

6) Practise

We have a lot of practice material for you to download that you can find at the end of this article but in essence, practice your maths and physics at least 1-2 months prior to your interview. It certainly helps familiarising yourself with the testing process and fine tuning your skills.

7) Double and Tripple check your application

Find a professional or someone in the industry (a pilot would be ideal) to read your application. Dont ask your Mum or Dad or Family member because everything is great to them. You need someone to be critical (but not too critical) to vet your appilication and to pick up any spelling mistakes and grammar. Im sure theres many in this article 🙂

8) Practice

Practise your interview, you dont have to use a pen, I used my phone’s voice recorder and wrote out many answers to complex questions to memorise and listen to. You’ll be amazed how natural you’ll be in the interview and how much more confident you’ll be if you already have an answer prepared. We provide an extensive question bank you can prepare your answers for at the bottom of this article. Practise answering questions out loud. Practice pretty much everywhere in the shower, in your car and every spare minute. Thats why I recorded myself on my phone so I can listen to it on the go. Also you can give a friend or someone you know a list of questions, with your answers written out if that helps as well, ask for a mock interview and then ask for a debrief.

9) What to wear?

Guys – Shirt and tie is a must! Polish your shoes, and dont leave your top button undone, make sure your tie at least reaches your belly button.

Ladies – Trousers or Skirts are fine, nothing too short with a nice top and nothing too revealing.

10) Keep in touch with current events.

One question I got in my interview was tell me about 2 recent aviation related events that has happened this week? Just a brief description of current events is enough, the interviewers dont want you to go too much in depth as they have a lot to cover. But this should be an easy tick in the box, so get reading and good luck!

How to become an Airline Pilot

How to become an airline pilot? The concept of flight has fascinated humankind for centuries, so it is no surprise that the thought of becoming a pilot
has crossed many a mind. Global demand for air travel has rapidly increased in recent years, creating new job opportunities in the aviation industry. With airlines launching major pilot recruitment drives, it appears to be easier than ever to pursue a career in the air. However, the increased variety of training programmes might make it difficult to identify the most suitable route to the flight deck. The following guide visualises the different training options for aspiring pilots and covers some key points to consider before making your dream career a reality.

Researching your career
When starting your research into becoming a pilot, the first question you should ask yourself is: do I want to pursue a career as a pilot or do I simply enjoy flying leisurely? The thought of flying for a living may appear to be particularly attractive, but does it suit your current lifestyle? Will this lifestyle still appeal to you in 10 or20 years time? Working long, unsociable hours on a busy roster is very common in civil aviation and a military career usually has a mandatory service period of 10 years minimum. Whilst many airlines offer pilots the option to work part-time, the first few years of your flying career would commonly require full-time commitment. Also, do you have a back-up plan in case of medical or employment difficulties? Stringent regulations and ever-changing industry requirements may result in low levels of job security, particularly in an economic downturn. Securing financing for initial flight training is, however, the greatest obstacle for most aspiring airline pilots. Few airlines offer fully sponsored cadet training programmes and airline partnered courses commonly require a substantial financial contribution from the trainee. FTOs (Flight Training Organisations) may offer financing options through designated lenders. There are, however, alternative options for those unable or unwilling to secure a loan for their preferred training programme. Bursaries, grants and sponsorships are available through selected schemes, e.g. iFly, the Air League and the Amy Johnson Initiative. Alternatively, young aspiring pilots may choose to join the Air Cadets or a University Air Squadron. A professional flying career is, however, certainly not restricted to young graduates only. In fact, many airline pilots have a background in non-aviation related fields and some have even enjoyed successful careers in other roles, be it to fund their flight training. Also, airlines are increasingly looking for well-rounded, highly skilled and motivated individuals. Previous working experience and/or academic degrees may prove to be particularly advantageous when facing high levels of competition in search for that sought-after first flying job. Some airlines offer financial support or internal training schemes to employees who would like to pursue a flying career. Military pilots leaving the forces are still actively recruited into civil aviation and will usually be offered the opportunity to retrain as civilian pilots through sponsored schemes.

The options
Once you have set your sights on becoming a pilot, you will need to research the various eligibility criteria. The first step is to look into the medical requirements. While strict health and fitness requirements might rule out a career in the military, you could still be eligible to obtain a Class 1 medical certificate, allowing you to pursue a career in civil aviation. Conversely, if you do not meet the criteria for a Class 1 medical, you might be able to obtain a Class 2 medical –allowing you to hold a PPL- or pass the health assessment for the various national pilot licences. Next, you will need to start thinking about your long term goal: do I have a specific future employer in mind? The current market climate has encouraged airlines to set up their own training programmes and others recruit exclusively from specific FTOs. Should a designated airline programme appeal to you, this would be the time to look into additional requirements set out by your potential future employer. These may include educational qualifications, nationality/residency and age limits. Some programmes might require upfront payment for the training, others have the benefit of guaranteed employment upon graduation, but come with a financial bond for a number of years. Also, do you understand the privileges of each licence type? MPL courses are usually more cost effective, but might pose restrictions or require additional training later in your career.
You might decide to keep your options open and enrol on a non-airline specific fATPL course, the so-called “white-tail” route. This type of flight training is usually self-funded and requires upfront payment of the course fees. Employment after graduation is not guaranteed, but airlines tend to headhunt cadets whilst still in training. If you decide to train as a “white-tail” cadet, you will need to start your research with your chosen FTO: what are their employment statistics? How large is the graduate holding pool? Who are their airline partners? Even if you do not have a specific employer in mind, it might be useful to look into the recruitment criteria of your FTO’s airline partners. Not meeting certain requirements might significantly reduce your chances of success in the job market. Also, consider setting aside some funds for your Type Rating. Some airline pay for Type Rating training, but in most cases you will be required to cover the costs, which may be in excess of £30,000.
The final route to the airline flight deck is most suitable for aspiring pilots who either cannot attend a full-time integrated fATPL course or are unable to raise the funds for their training course outright. This so-called “Modular” route gives trainees the flexibility to fit flight training around their lifestyle and allows for more freedom in their choice of FTOs. Due to licencing requirements, graduates from modular courses tend to finish their training with more flying hours than their integrated fATPL counterparts. Whilst modular flight training used to be a common route to the right hand seat, the popularity of this option has slightly declined in recent years. Certain airlines tend to favour integrated fATPL and MPL cadets over modular training graduates. However, the modular training route is certainly not a less appropriate choice for commercial pilot training.

The application
Having carefully considered all your options, it is time to apply for the training programme of your choice. The first stage of the process usually involves completing an online form or questionnaire. If you meet all eligibility criteria, you will probably be invited to take part in the selection process for your chosen programme. Methods used for pilot assessment vary from a simple check of your qualifications and documentation to multiple stage competency-based, motivational and technical interviews, simulator checks, group exercises and extensive psychometric testing. Applicants for airline sponsored and partnered courses are usually required to attend several assessment days, especially if enrolment on the chosen course guarantees employment upon graduation. Skills assessment for “white-tail” and modular courses is usually conducted in one day, with the more advanced stages of the selection process taking place post flight training and prior to commencing Type Rating training with a specific airline.
Strict eligibility criteria, the limited amount of spaces available and fierce competition might result in an unsuccessful first attempt at the selection process for your preferred choice of flight training programme. However, this does not necessarily disqualify you for a career in aviation. Unsuccessful applicants may have the opportunity to re-apply after a certain time or be offered a place on an alternative training course.

How to pass an airline interview and simulator assessment

Personality and Psychometric Tests

Personality and Psychometrics are essentially a big umbrella for all assessment tests. So why do we have a separate page on it here? We need to look at a more specific area called Psychological testing. Using the results of this test, an assessment can be made of the candidate’s motivation, personality traits, mental stability, leadership skills, effectiveness in a team, and their general integrity. Although the assessment of mental health conditions may be deemed illegal by an equal employment opportunity commission, aviation is an industry where this is becoming more acceptable due to perceived risk.

Psychological tests

What are we testing? “A psychological test is an instrument designed to measure unobserved constructs, also known as latent variables.” I will break this down into basics so that you understand what i’m talking about.

What is an unobserved construct? An idea or theory containing various conceptual elements, typically it is considered to be subjective and not based on evidence which is verifiable by observation. It is theoretical and therefore it can only be observed by the researcher or assessor using indicators.

For example; I want to test whether a candidate trusts his colleagues. I could ask the candidate directly but there is a good chance I would get the wrong answer. I need to ask a series of questions that will indicate what that underlying construct may be.

So can we lie to pass the test. The quick answer to this is no. If the test has been well thought out there will be many different options available to the assessor to observe the desired latent variable.

If you try to skew the test by predicting what the assessor wants you may well fail the test. Quite often they will create questions that will determine whether the individual candidate is trying to alter the outcome. This may be an indicator of control issues or dishonesty.

When constructing a test, there must be enough evidence to support the specified interpretation of the results. This evidence must be displayed consistently, over time across all raters.

Psychological assessment

This is similar to psychological testing but usually involves a more comprehensive assessment of the individual by a Psychologist. A Psychologist will collect collateral information about personal, occupational history such as from records or from interviews. Using the test results they will then make an assessment of the candidate’s suitability.

Summary

Don’t try to pass the test by guessing what the assessor wants. Answer the questions honestly and quickly. This will help you later on if the test is assessed by a Psychologist.

The Sim Check

Most candidates hate this part of their assessment because they feel like all their skills are being assessed all at once and in a very short time frame.

Let me put you at ease, the assessors are probably not looking for Chuck Jaeger. If they were looking for Chuck then they wouldn’t be asking you to apply for an airline job.

It is a total misconception that you are being assessed solely on your ability to fly an aeroplane. All airlines look at Notechs and TEM when it comes to assessing their candidates in the simulator. If you employ these techniques then you will significantly increase your chance of being selected.

Here are some key points to follow before your sim check:

Make sure you have obtained a briefing sheet before the check. This should explain what is expected of you during the simulator.

If the aircraft is unfamiliar, make sure you have all the documentation. You need to have access to the following:

Power/Thrust and Pitch settings for each phase of flight

Take off

Climb

Acceleration

Straight and level at 250 Kts

Descent

Holding

Intermediate Approach Flap setting

Final Approach Flap

What is their preferred Check List

What are their preferred SOPs

What plates should I use for the exercise, LIDO, JEPP’s, AERAD’s or NAVTECH

What is their preferred briefing technique?

What is their preferred failure management technique

The key to the sim check is preparedness. If you know what the profiles are and you have all the settings memorized then you will have far more capacity to demonstrate the notechs, which is what the assessor really wants to see.

If the aircraft type is unfamiliar you may want to get a practice assessment simulator. A couple of key points here.

Make sure the simulator is approved. If you fly a simulator that does not replicate the aircraft properly then it may do more harm than good.

Choose a company that can cater for that particular check. Ask them if they do assessment sims for {xxxxx}

Assess how much sim time you would need before talking to the company.

Arriving for your check.

Give yourself plenty of time to arrive at the sim center. This will help reduce stress and make you a little more relaxed. Be careful who you chat to when you get to the sim center, it may be your assessor.

During the briefing, the assessor should explain what is expected of you. If you have any questions this is the time to ask.

During the sim detail, if things don’t go as planned, try to stick to the basics. FLY, NAVIGATE, COMMUNICATE. Ask your sim partner for help so that you can regain your situation awareness. This will be marked up as a positive since you are displaying self-awareness and you are aware of what you need to do to improve the situation.

During the debrief you will be asked to critique yourself. Quite often a sim assessment is won or lost in the debrief. If you did something wrong admit it, the assessor will have seen it. Explain why you think it went wrong but emphasize how you improved the situation. An example of this may be that you took up a wrong track on the SID. How did you recover the situation? “I asked my sim partner to verify what the correct track was and then corrected. If I was to change something I would have got him to confirm the correct track before I flew it. I may have even asked him to do this during the briefing.” This shows self-awareness and the ability to learn.

If Aviation Insider can be of any assistance then please contact us enquiries@aviationinsider.co.uk. Good luck!

Integrated Pilot Training in the UK: Ellie’s Journey

Integrated Pilot Training in the UK: Ellie’s Journey, Part 1, Ground school. On Monday 21st May 2018 I set foot into CAE Oxford Aviation Academy to collect my 14 ATPL theory manuals and my school uniform. I was given a large brown box that contained my 14 manuals and it weighed 20 kilos! I thought to myself, I have not only got to learn 20 kilos worth of information but also I’ve got to retain it. I knew then that the next 7 months were going to be a challenge. 

At CAE the duration of ground school is around 7 months altogether. It consists of learning 14 ATPL subjects and sitting 14 official EASA examinations. I started ground school at CAE Oxford back in May 2018. I remember walking into the school on my first day worried about how much information was going to be thrown at me on my first day and oh boy was I right! I think it’s fair to say that I was well and truly thrown into the deep end and I think my fellow classmates would agree with me. On the other hand, this was just the beginning. Everything that I had been dreaming about started here and these lessons were the key foundation to building my aviation understanding and future career. 

The first seven subjects I started studying during phase 1 were:

After the first six weeks of studying we then had a progress test for each subject to sit. These exams were there purely to see how your studying was going and if you were managing the workload well. They were also there to see if your studying techniques or workload management could be improved. After the progress tests the workload then picked up even more so as we worked towards our school final exams. 

Every week consisted of the same format. I attended lessons Monday- Friday from 8:40am-4:20pm where I had six lessons a day. After school there was always computer-based training to be completed and then further studying/revision in and around school hours as well. It was a case of knuckling down and staying motivated!

As school finals arrived, we completed the syllabus for all the phase 1 subjects in the space of around 12 weeks. The school finals were made to be harder than the progress tests to help you prepare for the standard of the EASA exams. Once the exams were completed it was game on and heads down to start preparing for the real EASA examinations. We had a week of self-study before the EASA exams commenced. The seven exams were then scheduled over three days Monday through till Wednesday and then on Thursday morning you received your results. In order to successfully pass the exam, you needed a score of 75% or above. Luckily enough for me I managed to pass all the exams from phase 1 first time which meant that I could enjoy my week off and go back home to celebrate with my family and friends. 

After a quick week off it was back to school and back to the books. It was such a horrible feeling knowing that I had to go back to school to start studying again- it felt like the feeling of your 6 weeks summer holiday ending. The subjects studied during phase 2 were:

This phase was shorter than phase 1 but it was another step up. Progress tests occurred four weeks after starting (rather than six weeks) and therefore, school finals occurred eight weeks after starting (rather than twelve weeks). So the pace of phase 2 was much quicker, which meant there was less time to get the same amount of information into my brain. Again, the layout of the phase was the same and the result was sitting the final seven ATPL theory exams. I was very lucky to pass all my ATPL exams first time however, the work that I put into ground school was the reason I got the results that I did. 

Ground school for me is definitely the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. The amount of new information I had to learn, understand and retain in such a short space of time was unbelievable. It’s a real challenge and it does test your ability to stay motivated from time to time. In all honesty I doubted myself and wondered if I was capable during ground school. However, I worked hard, stayed focused and most of all dedicated, and I managed to achieve the unthinkable. Looking back, I can’t believe I managed to get over each hurdle to where I am today. And it just goes to show that the sacrifices you make, for example the long hours studying or limiting your social life really do pay off in the long run.

Ground school completed meant two things- no.1 hello flying and no.2 hello America!

Part 2

Phoenix, Arizona! 

The 3rd of January 2019 marked the first day of my adventure out to Phoenix, AZ. I set foot into Heathrow’s Terminal 3 apprehensively awaiting to board the A330 that would be taking me to America, where I would be living for the next 6 months. It was a day full of mixed emotions! 

Excitement for the journey ahead, sadness for the loved ones I would be leaving behind and also relief that all the hard work, time and effort that went into the last 7 months had been made worthwhile. After a long journey and two flights we were in Phoenix- WE HAD MADE IT! The uniform was back on, smiles all around and a few squints in the sunshine. What an exciting start to the new year and an amazing adventure ahead. 

After meeting my instructor, buddying up with my flying partner and having been shown around the school I was ready to get airside and even more importantly airborne. My first mission was in the Piper Archer on the 15th January with my instructor and flying partner sat in the back. Headsets on, radios checked, engine started and pre-flight checklists completed we were good to go. I remember so clearly lining up on the runway and shortly after, receiving our take off clearance. My instructor set full power and we started accelerating down the runway (meanwhile my smile was just getting bigger and bigger). The feeling of finally getting airborne and thinking this is what I’m going to be learning to do was indescribable. 

Before I knew it all the basics I had been learning such as straight and level flight, climbing and descending turns and stalls had morphed into circuit lessons and I was working towards going SOLO! With only a few missions under my belt I was learning to perform the take-off, fly the aeroplane and land the aeroplane all on my own. Just short of 20 hours later I had my first flying exam on the 1st March. The progress test was the first time I would be flying with someone other than my instructor and acting as pilot-in-command. 

The exam itself consisted of me going into school to plan for the flight by myself. I had to make a sensible decision and determine whether the aircraft was fit to fly and if the weather was suitable for the flight. Once I had completed all my flight planning, I met my examiner. The examiner asked me to brief him on the weather, relevant NOTAM’s, mass and balance and the aircraft’s performance. After my briefing I was then asked a series of theoretical questions about the aircraft type, aircraft documents, airspace, and FAA regulations. The briefing was completed with the examiner going over what I was to expect during the exam and what he was looking for. Shortly after I headed out to the aircraft nervously waiting for the examiner to come out and join me. 

Once both seated, I began to set up the aircraft with the appropriate checks and completed the necessary checklists. I contacted the ground frequency and received clearance to taxi. I remember my feet trembling on the rudder pedals as I released the parking brake but once we started moving, I settled into the seat and started to feel much more comfortable. The exam consisted of me demonstrating a series of circuits with various different approach and landing configurations. I had to perform a normal circuit, a flapless circuit and a glide approach to simulate an engine failure. Five to six circuits later we came in for a full stop landing, taxied back to the ramp and parked the aircraft. 

When exiting the aircraft my examiner turned around and said, ‘by the way Ellie you’ve passed’ and my response was ‘you are joking? Thank you so much, please can I hug you?’, to which he responded, ‘no I only hug my wife when I have to’. I couldn’t help but start laughing as a few tears of happiness rolled down my cheeks. He debriefed me thoroughly after the flight and highlighted areas which were good, areas which needed slight improvement and then wished me good luck for my solo! 

The following day I met my instructor in the morning, and we went flying. I did a few circuits with her before coming back into land for a full stop. Once on the ramp my instructor got out of the aircraft and secured me in (on my own) ready for my first solo circuit! I started the aircraft up for the first time on my own, whilst she sat on the sidelines with a radio monitoring me. Nine other cadets came out to sit alongside her and to support me. I completed all my pre-flight checks very thoroughly and then got my clearance to line up and wait at the runway threshold. I remember so vividly lining up and then looking across to my right-hand side and the seat being empty. It was a rather strange feeling to not see my instructor sat next to me and being in the plane on my own! I set full power and watched the speed advance before positively rotating. The tower spoke to me as I turned crosswind, downwind, base and then onto final. I got my clearance to land and I could feel my heart rate increasing. I stayed focused, monitored my instruments, my visuals outside and then came in to land. It was a rather light landing due to me being in the aircraft on my own, but I touched down, all three wheels firmly on the ground and applied a bit of back pressure on the control column…I had done it! I remember thinking to myself ‘I’ve just gone SOLO’. It was the quickest 5-6 minutes of my life and as soon as I was back on the ground, I wanted to do it all over again. As I turned back into the ramp, I could see all my friends, my instructor and a few other cadets that had joined clapping and cheering me on, what an incredible feeling. I genuinely can’t put into words how amazing it felt. I was so unbelievably proud of myself, amazed at what I had achieved and most of all extremely happy. It was such a rewarding feeling and one of the most memorable moments/biggest milestones in my aviation career. 

As tradition at CAE after going solo you have to be thrown into the swimming pool in your full uniform to celebrate the achievement. The plan for my course was to wait for everyone to complete their solos and then we could all get thrown in the pool together. Some cadets had already gone solo and others were waiting for it to be scheduled. However, a few days later we all met around the pool with fellow cadets from other courses and got thrown into the pool fully dressed to celebrate. I’ve got to say being a fairly petite female it didn’t take long before the boys started betting on how far they could throw me across the pool!

The solo flights carried on being scheduled alongside of me being scheduled with my instructor for navigation flights. The nav flights were fun because it meant we managed to get out of the vicinity of Falcon Field Airport and travel slightly further around Arizona and see different settlements, features and landscapes. We also got the opportunity to see disused/abandoned airfields, private airports and uncontrolled airports. We also practised landing at other airports to develop a further understanding to runway lengths, widths, slopes and their perception when coming into land. Both me and my flying partner were keen to tick off as many airports as we could in the area and luckily enough our instructor was up for it to. This meant that our navigation and map reading skills were developing more by constantly flying to different locations. 

These navigation flights were used as preparation for our PT2- progress test two. PT2 was another flight that was examined in order for you to be signed off on solo navigation flights. During PT2 you had to demonstrate a navigation, a diversion and all the associated calculations such as: timings on legs, fuel calculations and wind corrections. Furthermore, you had to perform a simulated forced landing, deal with a simulated engine fire or failure and join an uncontrolled airport circuit. Given that your PT2 was a success you were then scheduled for navigation flights on your own. The solo navigations started as 2 hour missions but then developed into land-aways where you would stop at another airfield, shut down, refuel and then fly back to Falcon Field.

Aside of my flying with CAE, at Falcon Field, as part of the training I had to complete a course in upset prevention and recovery training. This took place at another local airport called Gateway in Mesa and was delivered on the Extra 300L. The training was delivered by a company called APS and consisted of a short two day course. The first day was mainly ground school based with a flight in the afternoon and the second day consisted of two flights with classroom based training in between. 

The main aim of the training was to put the aircraft into unusual attitudes or undesired states and then to learn how to be able to recover from them safely. We looked into some aviation accident history and reviewed how many of the pilots could have recovered if that had known how to. The course itself was very interesting and full of really insightful information. The theory and flights demonstrated a recovery technique of ‘Pitch, Roll, Power, Stabilise’. The instructors both on the ground and in the aircraft demonstrated this technique. We used it during unusual attitude recoveries, stalls, secondary stalls and spins. After the training I felt much more comfortable and confident about flying and still have the knowledge from the training with me today. 

Back at CAE it was time for me to move onto learning how to fly at night. The syllabus for night flying was very minimal. I completed a three hour flight with my instructor and then went on to complete two solo night flights in the circuit. Before my first night flight I reviewed with my instructor some of the differences from flying during the day to flying at night- such as optical illusions. This was massively important because the visual references that kept us safe during our VFR flight training were no longer there. Therefore, we had to rely on our instruments more and less on our visual scan outside. Additionally, the technique for landing the aircraft was changed due to the visual references being lost and only the runway lights providing you with information as to where the runway is. Flying at night is a completely different ball game. I felt like Wendy out of Peter Pan flying over the lights of the city. Everything looked so magical and vibrant. I think night flying was one of my favourite memories that I brought back from Phoenix.

Shortly after completing my night flights I had an instructor change for the next phase of my flying training. The next phase was focusing on developing my instrument flying skills and understanding. IFR flying, unlike VFR, simulates your reference to outside or in some cases (such as being in clouds) means that your visual reference is lost and therefore, you need to rely on your instruments. There is a whole other skill set that is learnt during your instrument flying.

We learnt how to enter and fly holding patterns, how to navigate off various navigation aids and how to fly instrument approaches. The lessons were utilised to cover a variety of different instrument skills and to prepare us for our PT3. Progress test 3 was all instrument-based flying. It consisted of an instrument departure, VOR tracking and intercepting, taking up a holding pattern and flying an instrument approach procedurally. One of the approaches was to a go-around and the other was to land. We also had to demonstrate to the examiner recoveries from unusual attitudes and stall recoveries off our instruments. Having passed PT3 I was sent on my final mission on the Piper Archer, my cross-country qualifier. It was the last solo flight of my training at CAE and it had to cover a distance of 300nm and have two full stop landings made at two different aerodromes. After I had completed the cross-country qualifier, I was moved onto the twin engine aircraft for the last part of my flying training out in Phoenix, AZ.

The Seminole was the training aircraft used to prepare you for your Commercial Pilot’s License skills test- CPL. Every element of our flying training up to this point was then going to be transferred over to the Seminole and we were going to get examined on it. The aircraft itself was a nice conversion from the Piper Archer and it had similar systems and a similar layout. However, the Seminole had a second engine, fully feathering propellers and a retractable landing gear so there was a bit more to think about. We started from the basics and learnt the pitch and power settings for the aircraft, the landing technique and general handling of the aircraft. During our twelve missions we worked on general handling, stalls, circuits, navigation, simulated engine failures/fires and unusual attitudes. All which pieced together to make the exam profile of the CPL. On the 2nd July 2019 I passed my CPL out in Phoenix, AZ. It was one of the most nerve-racking days of my life which then turned into one of the best days! Obtaining my CPL meant that it was time to head back to the UK.

Part 3

IR, Oxford! 

On Monday 5th August 2019 I returned to Oxford for the IR phase of my training. I returned from the USA with not only a sun tan but also a CPL. The feeling of walking back into the school where I completed my ground school with a CPL was amazing! The first thing on the agenda was to go straight to the ground school training office and see all my old instructors. The delight on their faces when they saw my return was heart-warming. All the hard work I had put in before Phoenix and during my time out there had been worth it. It was so rewarding to know that my achievements were not only something I was proud of but that they were proud of to.

The return to Oxford firstly consisted of a briefing week which gave me and the other cadets chance to familiarise ourselves with the airport, the aircraft type we would be learning to fly, the standard operating procedures, UK airspace and the RT. Before I knew it my first simulator session was on my schedule and the missions continued to keep coming. I developed skills from the basic general handling of the aircraft to holding procedures, NDB approaches and ILS approaches. The simulator really helped me to nail the foundations of instrument flying and started to build my confidence. However, the pace of the IR phase was by no means slow and steady. Every day and every mission we were building on top of what we had already learnt or learning something completely new. 

We studied and practised flying radar vectored approaches, SRA approaches and DME arcs. Furthermore, we looked at the difference between both 2D and 3D approaches, also known as non-precision and precision approaches. We then developed a different skill set by flying alternative procedures such as an approach without a DME or an unserviceable glideslope. As the missions continued to pass the training continued to advance and we began to study another element called RNAV, also known as area navigation. This then became a part of our everyday training as did our NDB and ILS approaches. Towards the end of our training everything came together and during our flights we were performing the same procedures but just at different airports or in a different location. 

Alongside of the IR studies we were also required to sit a RT exam in order to obtain our own radio license. This consisted of studying the CAP 413 and sitting both a written and verbal exam. The elements covered were: general understanding of radio terminology, replying to ATC calls correctly, performing various emergency calls and request calls.

The next exam that came along was PT5 which was a progress test for your instrument flying performed in the simulator. It was a short exercise which consisted of you maintaining control of the aircraft and flying it as accurately as possible with your instruments slowly failing on you. With PT5 passed the next hurdle was working towards PT6. 

In preparation for PT6 and the IR the training focused on the elements we as cadets would be getting examined on. 

This included: 

PT6 came around quickly and even with all the practise and familiarisation of routes the nerves still kicked in. Overall the mission went well, and I successfully passed which meant it was time to polish up on any uncertainties and work on things that could get better in time for the IR. The whole idea of PT6 is for you to basically do a practise IR under test conditions and for the examiner to sign to say that you are ready to take your instrument rating. 

On the 25th October 2019 I passed my Instrument Rating and officially had a CPL/IR! My training at CAE Oxford was complete and all the hard work had been worth it. Now it’s time to hit the Boeing 737-300 simulator at Gatwick for my MCC/JOC training. 

Part 4

MCC, Gatwick! 

On Monday 11th November I started my MCC/JOC course down in Gatwick. MCC/JOC stands for multi-crew course and jet orientation course, so this combines the two courses together as one. The concept of the course is to introduce working as a crew and to enhance your understanding and development of CRM, along with introducing you to flying with jet engines. 

Overall the duration of the course is 3 weeks. This is split into a week of ground school and two weeks of flying in the simulator. During the first week we spent the first two days focusing on CRM. We looked into the importance of good CRM, positive crew communication and decision making. We also looked at the effects of bad CRM and the consequences it can have. We reviewed the swiss cheese model, analysed the chain of events and then put it into use in real life scenarios. As a team we looked at some accident and investigation case studies. We picked out the errors that were made throughout the video and then when they all lined up, they resulted in catastrophe. However, if any one of those mistakes wasn’t made or was corrected the incident may have been prevented. 

The following three days were then used to build a foundation to our understanding of the Boeing 737-300. We studied the details of the flight deck layout, it’s systems and instrumentation. We learnt how to calculate fuel planning, performance and mass and balance for the aircraft. Furthermore, we were taught how to brief during our flights and looked over some non-normal procedures. Ground school completed could only mean one thing… flying! 

Each simulator session was split up into two sections- two hours as pilot flying followed by two hours as pilot monitoring. The first simulator session was purely a familiarisation flight which allowed us to put into practise the checklists, scan flows and radio calls we had been learning in the classroom. We then went on to do some general handling once airborne to allow us to get a feel for the plane and how to fly it. As the week went on, we were in the simulator every day for a four hour session with an hours brief and debrief either side.

As the days progressed so did the workload for the course. Within the first week we had covered: 

Having covered all these aspects I couldn’t believe that the main focus of the course was multi crew and jet orientation. The workload was rather overwhelming to say the least and the speed of the jet was twice that of the aircraft I had been used to flying so everything happened twice as fast. The biggest challenge was transitioning from a single pilot role to a multi-crew environment. I found it very easy to forget that the other crew member was there to help me not examine me. The concept of sitting in a jet simulator and making announcements to the cabin crew and passengers was everything I had been working towards over the past 18 months. So being in the final two weeks of my training really started to sink in. 

The final week went on to consolidate previous lessons and also increase the flight deck workload to see how we managed our energy. We did some route flights where we got the chance to practise small electrical failures and hydraulic system failures. We also got the opportunity to practise rejected take-offs and consolidate our single engine handling. And finally we had a look at a rapid decompression and emergency descent. 

Friday 29th November was my last mission and the final day of me being in my CAE uniform. I couldn’t quite believe how quickly the past 18 months had gone nor how much I had learnt in them! Flying school has been the most intense, enjoyable and rewarding experience and I am very fortunate to say that the memories and friends I will take away from it are for a lifetime. 

How to enter a holding pattern?

How to enter a holding pattern? It’s a question which haunts anybody going through the instrument rating – ‘what hold entry are we going to make?’ But it’s not just a question for the instrument rating, in our professional flying careers we’re used to allowing the autopilot to select and fly the hold entry, but do we ever cross check it, or are we prepared to manual enter the hold if necessary?

The diagram we’re all familiar with shows the appropriate sectors for each of the 3 hold entries; direct, offset (teardrop) and parallel.

The Offset sector is a 70 degree segment from the inbound radial, the direct sector is 180 degrees from this 70 degree segment, and the parallel sector occupies the remaining 110 degrees.

Of course, prior planning is the safest way to ensure you make the correct hold entry. If you’re planning a flight to an airfield where you can expect to hold, take a look at the hold you can expect. Before departing, you can work out the various hold entry segments, or simply visit a website such as flight utilities which offers a depiction of the various segments based on data you complete.

Direct Entry

The direct entry is, of course, the most straightforward form of hold entry. Upon reaching the holding fix, simply turn onto the outbound course. Once you pass abeam the fix, start your timer for 1 minute, before turning inbound to track the inbound radial back to the fix.

Modified Direct Entry

If you’re still inside the Direct Entry sector, but the angle to turn outbound is looking quite tight, fly at 90 degrees to the fix in the direction of the hold for 15 seconds, before turning a further 90 degrees onto the outbound course. Once you pass abeam the fix, start your timer for 1 minute (wind corrected), before turning inbound to track the inbound radial back to the fix.

Offset/Teardrop Entry

The Offset Entry involves flying an outbound heading, which is offset by 30 degrees, before turning back to intercept the inbound radial. For a standard right hand turn hold, simply take 30 away from the outbound track. Once you pass over the fix, turn onto this new offset heading and fly for 1 minute before making a right turn to intercept the inbound radial back to the fix. For a left hand hold, add 30 onto the outbound track, and fly this for 1 minute before turning left to intercept the inbound radial back to the fix.

If you’re unsure on which way to turn, look at the hold depicted on the plate, and ensure that you’re always turning towards the protected side of the hold.

Parallel Entry

Upon reaching the fix for a parallel entry, simply turn onto the outbound heading of the hold, and fly this heading for 1 minute. After 1 minute, turn in the opposite direction to the hold onto a heading to intercept the inbound radial back to the fix. Once you reach the fix, remember to start turning back in the correct direction for the hold.

How to enter a holding pattern?

Budgeting your Flight Training

Budgeting your Flight Training, if you have done any research into pilot training you will probably be having similar thoughts to me when I was looking into it – this sounds expensive.

The truth is unavoidable, it is expensive. However, what you come out with at the end is the chance to do for a job what most people can only dream of, and thats why like me you will take the plunge and embrace all the risks and start realising that dream. But what are the costs involved other than the course cost? In this section I will try and comprehensively answer that question so you can look ahead and create a budget for your training.

Before you start

So in a typical aviation style, there are some things that you will need to get done and paid for before you can start your training, these include;

Medical

To start an integrated training course you’re going to need to get yourself an EASA class 1 medical. This is basically going to give you a thorough check up to ensure youre up to the job. The class 1 process is thoroughly covered in the Medical section so for more details have a look there. The class 1 medical will cost you a one off payment for the initial medical and then to keep it valid you will need to renew it every 12 months. Whilst you are training this will be your responsibility, when you get yourself a job with an airline the chances are they will shoulder this cost.

£500 for an initial class 1 medical and then £180 for a class 1 medical renewal every year.

Application Cost

So you’ve got your medical, what’s next.

Its time to choose where you want to apply and go through the screening process. All the big flight schools will require you to undergo a fairly thorough day (or two depending on the flight school) of testing including computer based testing, interview, team exercise and often a check in a simulator as well. Please see our article on passing the flight school application process or our preparation and assessment packages available to download. Not every flight school will charge you for this application, but it is more common than not.

£0 – £300

Passed Selection

So you’ve gone and secured yourself a place at one of the big flight schools in Europe – Congratulations! You know the cost of the course, but what else are you going to need to budget for?

BBVA or Flying Loan

There is a lot of information to cover regarding the loan and funding process so please see our page on flying loans and funding.

Accommodation?

Accommodation is included in the price of some integrated courses but not all, and it can be a significant amount of money even compared to the cost of an integrated flight course. CTC for example include the cost of accommodation in the price of their integrated package whilst in the UK and overseas whether it be the US or NZ.

FTE operate very similarly, the price of the integrated course includes accommodation that covers the whole length of the course. CAE OAA on the other hand include the accommodation whilst training overseas (Phoenix) but to include on/off site accommodation whilst in the UK comes at an additional fee. So if you choose CAE you are going to have to factor in some additional cost to cover around a years worth of accommodation. CAE do offer their own on and off site accommodation but there is also plenty of student accommodation available in the surrounding area which will come in cheaper – see websites like spareroom.com or gumtree.com for ideas.

£100 – £200 per week

Food?

Wherever you go, budgeting for food is probably a good idea. Many of you will be more than familiar with this if you have lived away from home or been to university before you start your training. A food budget can vary, where you shop, what you buy, if you eat out… the list goes on. Not only that but for all of these courses you are likely to be spending a significant amount of time outside the UK so your budget will change – during my time in phoenix i was surprised how cheap food was to buy especially from the supermarkets! In the grand scheme of things its not the biggest expense but you should consider it when you come to constructing a budget for yourself.

£30 – £50 per week

Insurance?

Insurance is a cost well worth budgeting for. When compared to the overall cost, its not a big outlay but all the smaller costs do add up to become significant. If you are planning on financing your training through a loan provider, the chances are that you are going to have to take out some kind of insurance to cover the loan amount should the worst happen. There are lots of different insurances out there from loss of medical to loss of life and policies which cover both together. Lots of students get this cover through BALPA, but its worth while shopping around.

£200 per year for loss of medical and life insurance

Question Banks

You may have come across question banks if you have done your research or know someone who has been through an integrated course before. I wont go into huge detail as they are covered in the pilot training section, but they are a cost that people often overlook. The chances are that you’re going to need to buy yourself access to a question bank, everyone uses them and they are a massive help when it comes to revising for the real thing, You will aat least have seen the question once or a similar variation once before your exam! Most question banks will require a one off payment which will unlock it for a period of months. It wont be a huge amount but its a cost lots of people don’t see coming. (Partnership with aviation exam) referral commission for free advertising.

£80 – £100 for 6 months access

Living expenses in AZ, NZ or elsewhere

Depending on how much fun you’d like to have visiting and living in a foreign country is entirely up to you. But from our experience and from speaking to others a good amount to budget for is around £50-150 per week. This enables you to enjoy days out from Bowling, Top Golf, a day out on the lake to shopping bills

Type Rating

And finally, the biggie. So, what is a Type Rating, Who needs one and How much is it going to cost?

The type rating qualifies you to fly a certain type of aircraft and if you want to be an airline pilot you’re going to most certainly going to require one.

Not everyone pays for their own type rating. There are some very kind airlines out there that pay for their new cadet pilots to go through the type rating, but these kind airlines are few and far between and a lot of them although you may not have to pay for it up front itll actually come out your salary or you will get a reduced salary for a period of time.

Names like FlyBe, BA Cityflyer, Titan and a few others will fund their new pilots type ratings. The majority of other players in the market; Ryanair, easyJet, Norwegian, Monarch… and the list goes on, wont fund this qualification and that means, unfortunately, its down to you.

So how much is a type rating going to cost? They do vary but the majority of type ratings come in at between £20,000 – £39,000. Yes, its a lot of money and a lot of people are very surprised by this, but its the last hurdle!

For a more accurate figure its worth having a look around the individual airlines recruitment and training pages also have a look at our articles for type rating advice as that will cover a lot of specific information!

As someone who has been down the integrated route, it is definitely worth factoring in the cost of a type rating. Rather have that planned for so its not quite a shock and be pleasantly surprised when you do get a job and not have to pay for it. The market is changing and lots of people within the industry believe that this current then for self funded type ratings has a finite life and that airlines may in the future be forced to pay for them to meet their huge demand for pilots.

£20,000 – £39,000

What are best and worst things about being a Pilot?

What are best and worst things about being a Pilot? The Office View. Some of the finest views you’ll ever see are up at altitude. Whether it be lunar eclipse, the northern lights or a sunrise over the alps, the views are unbelievably spectacular.

 The Responsibility. Being given the responsibility to look after a £60-100+ million aircraft with hundreds of people on board is huge and one of the reasons that pilots tend to be well paid. 

The Variation. No two flights are ever the same. Each day presents a new challenge and provides another opportunity to learn something new. 

The Career Opportunities. A career as an airline pilot doesn’t just stop when you reach the level of Captain. There are pilot managers, pilot ground trainers, pilot simulator trainers, fleet managers, chief pilots, duty pilots.  

Interacting with passengers and helping them get to vacations, weddings, funerals, births, and other important life events is rewarding.

Nothing’s better than getting paid to do what you love.

A constantly changing schedule keeps you from getting into a rut.

And, most pilots get travel passes or heavily reduced rates for their friends and family.

You get the chance to explore cool cities on layovers.

Popping out of the clouds during an ILS approach is a great feeling, and your passengers wonder how you pull it off.

Kids look at you in awe.

But better than anything else, the office view is killer from 38,000ft

Pay – As much as I have stated that for many pilots pay is very low, especially during the early several years of one’s career, for some lucky pilots, the career can be very lucrative.  It is possible, after many years of service, to earn high salaries sometimes well north of £100,000 per year.  

People – Just as pilots usually love their jobs, you’ll find that the other professionals you work with enjoy theirs, too.  You’ll meet many different people, cultures, and their associated ideas.  There are few things more enjoyable than flying with a group of people who love their jobs and the airline biz.

You Don’t Take Your Job Home with You – Many professionals, even when at home, are still chained to their company.  Even on days off, they still may be required to answer e-mails, texts, or phone calls.  For the most part, when you set the parking brake on the last leg of your last day, that’s it.  

The top 10 negative.

Being offset from the rest of the world. I will never have a 9 to 5 schedule but sometimes working odd hours makes it hard on the family. 

Poor salary and conditions when starting in the industry

High cost of Training

VERY Irregular sleep, it affects the body and the mind.

Missing all those life events: Holidays, Weddings, personal stuff.

Having to be away from home for long periods of time.

Sitting without much distraction for long hours can be sometimes boring as hell.

Sitting long hours with someone you dont know, doesnt always want to know you or talk/interact.

Having to pass security at airports all the time. 

The free parking is always so far away.

Completing an EASA FCL Logbook

Completing an EASA FCL Logbook: Pilot licensing regulations are being standardised across all member states of the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), including the UK. The EASA regulations have introduced a number of new pilot licences which are replacing licences issued by national authorities across Europe.

These licences are known as EASA licences or Part-FCL licences. Part-FCL is the main piece of European legislation introducing the changes.

The new EASA licence is governed by the EASA Part-FCL, and this document details a few differences to the old CAA Part-FCL we’re all used to – and have probably been basing our logbooks on.

When completing an EASA FCL Logbook, To ensure you’re not caught out when you make the transition, we’ve compiled the complete guide to completing your EASA FCL Logbook. You can read the full EASA PART-FCL document here.

General

  1. The record of the flights flown should contain at least the following information:
    1. (1)  personal details: name(s) and address of the pilot;
    2. (2)  for each flight:
      1. (i)  name(s) of PIC;
      2. (ii)  date of flight;
      3. (iii)  place and time of departure and arrival;
      4. (iv)  type, including make, model and variant, and registration of the aircraft;
      5. (v)  indication if the aircraft is SE or ME, if applicable;
      6. (vi)  total time of flight;
      7. (vii)  accumulated total time of flight.
    3. (3)  for each FSTD session, if applicable:
      1. (i)  type and qualification number of the training device;
      2. (ii)  FSTD instruction;
      (iii) date;
      1. (iv)  total time of session;
      2. (v)  accumulated total time.
    4. (4)  details on pilot function, namely PIC, including solo, SPIC and PICUS time, co-pilot, dual, FI or FE;
    5. (5)  Operational conditions, namely if the operation takes place at night, or is conducted under instrument flight rules.

Recording of Flight Time

  1. PIC flight time:

The holder of a licence may log as PIC time all of the flight time during which he or she is the PIC;

The applicant for or the holder of a pilot licence may log as PIC time all solo flight time, flight time as SPIC and flight time under supervision provided that such SPIC time and flight time under supervision are countersigned by the instructor;

The holder of an instructor certificate may log as PIC all flight time during which he or she acts as an instructor in an aircraft;

The holder of an examiner’s certificate may log as PIC all flight time during which he or she occupies a pilot’s seat and acts as an examiner in an aircraft;

A Co-pilot acting as PICUS on an aircraft on which more than one pilot is required under the type certification of the aircraft or as required by operational requirements provided that such PICUS time is countersigned by the PIC.

Co-pilot flight time: the holder of a pilot licence occupying a pilot seat as co-pilot may log all flight time as co-pilot flight time on an aircraft on which more than one pilot is required under the type certification of the aircraft, or the regulations under which the flight is conducted.

  1. Cruise relief co-pilot flight time: a cruise relief co-pilot may log all flight time as co-pilot when occupying a pilot’s seat;
  2. Instruction time: a summary of all time logged by an applicant for a licence or rating as flight instruction, instrument flight instruction, instrument ground time, etc., may be logged if certified by the appropriately rated or authorised instructor from whom it was received;
  3. PICUS flight time: provided that the method of supervision is acceptable to the competent authority, a co-pilot may log as PIC flight time flown as PICUS when all the duties and functions of PIC on that flight were carried out in such a way that the intervention of the PIC in the interest of safety was not required.

If the holder of a licence carries out a number of flights upon the same day returning on each occasion to the same place of departure and the interval between successive flights does not exceed 30 minutes, such series of flights may be recorded as a single entry.

Recording of PICUS Time

When an aircraft carries two or more pilots as members of the operating crew, one of them shall, before the flight commences, be designated by the operator as the aircraft PIC, according to operational requirements, who may delegate the conduct of the flight to another suitably qualified pilot. All flying carried out as PIC is entered in the logbook as ‘PIC’. A pilot flying as ‘PICUS’ or ‘SPIC’ enters flying time as ‘PIC’ but all such entries are to be certified by the PIC or FI in the ‘Remarks’ column of the logbook. All time recorded as SPIC or PICUS is to be countersigned by the aircraft PIC/FI in the ‘remarks.’

Instructions for Completion

Flight crew logbook entries should be made as soon as practicable after any flight undertaken. All entries in the logbook should be made in ink or indelible pencil.

Flight time is recorded:

For helicopters, from the moment a helicopter’s rotor blades start turning until the moment the helicopter finally comes to rest at the end of the flight, and the rotor blades are stopped.

For airships, from the moment an airship is released from the mast to taking off until the moment the airship finally comes to rest at the end of the flight, and is secured on the mast.

Enter the place of departure and destination either in full or the internationally recognised three or four letter designator. All times should be in UTC.

Total time of flight may be entered in hours and minutes or decimal notation as desired.

Recording FSTD Time

The EASA PART-FCL Logbook includes entries for Simulator flying alongside actual aircraft time.

For any FSTD enter the type of aircraft and qualification number of the device. For other flight training devices enter either FNPT I or FNPT II as appropriate.

Total time of session includes all exercises carried out in the device, including pre- and after-flight checks.

Enter the type of exercise performed in the ‘remarks’, for example operator proficiency check, revalidation.

Looking for an easy solution?

LogTen Pro X is the world’s most advanced pilot logbook software for iPhone, iPad, and Mac. Designed to take full advantage of the latest operating systems and Apple hardware, LogTen Pro X is so much more than your logbook.

From super fast flight logging with our Fly Now feature, to detailed analysis of your flight time with the Analyze view, to the fantastic Time Loupe that lets you view your currency and limits at any moment in time, past, present, or future.

And, most importantly, Logten Pro X is able to produce an EASA PART-FCL logbook based on the data you enter.

Sources: CAA, EASA PART-FCL

A Day in the Life of Cabin Crew

A Day in the Life of Cabin Crew

A Day in the Life of Cabin Crew: When working as cabin crew, no day is ever the same – this is one of the many things that makes the job so attractive. What follows is an outline of what a day working as cabin crew could entail to give you an insight into the job.

When will my day begin?

This varies from airline to airline however you can expect to report anytime between 5am and 10pm at night for a short or long haul flight. This can be a tough element of the job but it is easy to get used to. For short haul flights you can expect to report around 1 hour and 15 minutes before the departure time and for a long haul it will be around 1 and a half hours before.

How will my day begin?

As crew, your day will begin with a pre-flight briefing. Before you attend this briefing you are expected to have checked in and certified yourself fit to fly for that duty. In the briefing you will meet the rest of the crew and your manager for the flight. Occasionally you may recognise some familiar faces that you have flown with before but usually they will all be new faces. Again, this is something that makes the job as crew so attractive, you get to meet so many new people on almost a daily basis.

During the briefing your manager will go through details of the flight such as the passenger loads and crew position allocation which will determine everyone’s role during the flight. They will also initiate a discussion about both a SEP scenario and a medical scenario. All crew members are expected to actively participate in this discussion to show they are up to date and competent with current procedures. In the majority of briefings the flight crew will also come in and introduce themselves and give details about the flight such as the flight time and any expected turbulence.

Once the briefing is completed, the crew will make their way through security and to the aircraft together.

What happens once we arrive at the aircraft and during boarding?

When you arrive at the aircraft you will be expected to complete your safety and security checks specific to your working position. These are required to be completed accurately but also in a timely manner. Once everyone is happy and the checks have been passed on then the manager can begin boarding. Again your role in boarding will vary in accordance with your working position, you may be responsible for delivering the pre-take off service in the premium cabins or you may be in charge of covering the doors on the ground- either way you will be welcoming the customers onto the aircraft and beginning to build that rapport with them.

During the flight

After take-off is when you will begin the drink and meal service. This service will vary depending on the length of the flight, the destination and the cabin you are working in. You may complete multiple services during a flight. In between the service, on long-haul flights you will take breaks in shifts, normally one half of the crew at a time. Whilst one half of the crew are relaxing in the crew bunks the others will be looking after the passengers and ensuring the cabin, galley and toilets remain clean and tidy.

After landing

Once the flight is over and the passengers have disembarked the aircraft you will complete the post-flight security checks and cabin sweeps to ensure nothing has been left behind. On a long-haul flight, once this is completed its time for the crew to disembark the aircraft and get the crew transport to the hotel. If you are operating a short-haul flight you may also do this if you are lucky enough to be night stopping. If not, you’ll be preparing to do all of this again.

We need to talk about women in aviation

Writer: beyondtheflightdeck

We need to talk about women in aviation: I was stood at the airport Lost & Found, explaining for the third time to the lady behind the desk that I wasn’t sure when I lost my sunglasses, although I knew they disappeared after an evening flight some point last week, and that I had definitely left them in the flight deck of the aircraft. I had flown almost 400 passengers that day, and I had visited the Lost and Found office as soon as I had finished my duty, so I was standing in full pilot uniform, with my wings and First Officer stripes on my blazer. The lady apologised that she didn’t have anything that matched my description, and then proceeded to ask if I enjoyed being Cabin Crew.

I’m often perceived to be cabin crew by various members of the general public, and it still continues to bewilder me, especially when I’m stood there in uniform. Although I understand that being a female pilot is uncommon, it frustrates and frankly saddens me that your average Joe Bloggs’ preconception is that a woman in uniform at an airport can only be cabin crew. Although I have been lucky enough to never receive any negativity from any passengers onboard any of my flights, (excluding a few drunken jokes from a stag party regarding being able to fly, but could I park the aircraft!) it’s clear that there’s still a long way to go until women are equal in aviation.

I started my journey to becoming a commercial pilot when I was 11, when I joined my local gliding club in the North East of England. I have always been aware of the tiny percentage of women pilots out there; at the time the club had about 100 active members, and I remember 4 being women. This trend continued on into my initial commercial flight training, where the course prior to mine had no women training at all.
Although various airlines have begun to made an effort to publicise that fact that girls can fly too, a recent study by British Airways suggests that only 3% of pilots are women. I strongly remember reading this figure 10 years ago when I first had my heart set on becoming a pilot, why hasn’t it increased at all? Why are so few women becoming pilots?

British Airways’ study continued to show that women said they didn’t think of flying as a career due to a lack of visible role models, and because they were told it “was a man’s job”. In the same poll, 20% said that whilst growing up they only saw men featuring as pilots on TV and film, and another 20% also said they thought women could only be cabin crew. Another publication, Absent Aviators: Gender Issues in Aviationmentions a study conducted by Deanna Gibbons, a sociologist and member of the Royal Australian Air Force, which concludes that young girls view flying as difficult, dangerous, and “more of a man’s job.”
Gibbons’ study also showed that girls which became either commercial or military pilots experienced an early association with flying, something Gibbons labels “an epiphany moment.” These were triggered by direct exposure to flying: either a cockpit visit during a commercial flight, watching aircraft take off from an airfield, or taking a joyride on holiday. Most women interviewed experienced their epiphany moment between the ages of 5 and 10, with their childhood experiences inspiring actual hands-on flying experience during the girls’ teenage years. The women participating also described themselves as having “aviation-obsessed” fathers who encouraged their interest, although the fathers were only rarely pilots themselves.

I found this study particularly interesting, as my first memory of wanting to become a pilot was after a conversation with my own father, during a late night conversation where I asked “Daddy, what did you want to be when you were little?”, rather than requesting the usual bedtime story. From then I became determined that I would fly for a living, with a visit to the gliding club when I was 10 to request to become a member. I was told that I was still slightly too young, and if I was still interested to come back in a years time. I was 11 when I had my first flight in a glider, and it sealed the deal. I had the ‘aviation bug’, and I was hooked. I continued to fly at the club, went solo shortly after my 16th birthday, and started my PPL just before turning 17.

There’s a famous Da Vinci quote that is often mentioned by pilots when asked about their love for flying:

“FOR ONCE YOU HAVE TASTED FLIGHT YOU WILL WALK THE EARTH WITH YOUR EYES TURNED SKYWARDS, FOR THERE YOU HAVE BEEN AND THERE YOU WILL LONG TO RETURN.”

For me, that’s exactly how I felt after my first flight. If more young girls could have the opportunities I was lucky enough to have, would I now be flying with more female pilots?

If women in aviation were more widely talked about, approachable, or if girls were encouraged to like planes just as much as boys are, would the general public be more accommodating towards female pilots? Would parents then be more encouraging of their little girls with an interest in flying, aeroplanes or travel, rather than letting them grow up with the impression that they only can become cabin crew?
Normally when children visit the flight deck they stand quietly in awe of all the lights and buttons, whereas a little girl visiting recently was unable to do anything stare at me in the First Officer’s seat and repeatedly say, “but, you’re a girl!”.

For a long time, maybe naively so, I often thought that women just simply didn’t have an interest in aviation. Any hurdles I’ve personally had in becoming a pilot are similar to the ones that my male colleagues that have also experienced; and I’ve been lucky enough to fly with some fantastic pilots during my relatively short time in the air, with the general consensus from my colleagues being that they don’t care about the gender of their co-pilot as long as they can do the job properly! The aviation industry is clearly hoping to encourage women to follow in the steps of women such as Amy Johnson (the first British woman to fly solo from Britain to Australia), with initiatives from British Airways and easyJet looking to encourage more women to consider becoming a pilot.

However, I feel that it’s obvious that there’s still a long way to go until it’s not unusual to hear a female voice on the PA on a flight. I’m hoping with the increase of female pilots in the media, and efforts from airlines in the UK, dreaming of becoming a pilot won’t seem like such an obscure and unattainable career choice for young girls. During my short time flying commercially, I’ve been lucky enough to fly with another female colleague, and I hope to fly with many more throughout my career. I feel like the luckiest girl in the World to be living my childhood dream, and what other job are you able to be paid to travel, meet interesting people everyday, and spend hours looking out the window?Learn more about beyondtheflightdeck, or read more of her articles at  beyondtheflightdeck.com.    

Why is my flight delayed in foggy weather?

Why is my flight delayed in foggy weather? It sometimes surprises visitors to an airport tower just how visual the job is. Controllers in the Visual Control Room are physically looking at the aircraft they’re guiding, with minimal use of radar. The clue is in the name, I suppose!

But during periods of bad weather such as fog, like parts of the UK are experiencing today, the rest of the airport can become completely invisible from the tower.

In these circumstances control has to switch to radar and ‘low visibility procedures’ to ensure airport operations can continue safely. These special procedures cover aircraft on approach and departure, as well as movements on the ground.

A foggy Gatwick Airport by zzathras777 via Flickr

In foggy conditions, aircraft use the Instrument Landing System (ILS) at the airport to be automatically guided to the runway – they are effectively following the ILS beam all the way to touch-down. It is therefore important that we protect the beam from any interference, such as from other aircraft on the runway.

This means spacing between aircraft has to be increased, with an aircraft having to touch-down and taxi far enough away from the runway such that it no longer interferes with the ILS beam before the next one can be given landing clearance. Typically this means the spacing between aircraft has to increase by up to 50%.

Aircraft are also more widely spaced when manoeuvring or taxiing, whether they’re arriving or departing.

All this takes extra time, effectively taking capacity out of the airport with the end result often being delays to passengers sitting in the terminals.

Whenever there’s bad weather we work very closely with airlines and airport operators to handle safely as many flights as possible and minimise the disruption.

As ever, if you’re concerned about the effect bad weather might have on your flight, you should contact your airline which will be able to provide you with the latest information.

My route to 37000ft

Writer: beyondtheflightdeck

My route to 37,000ft: I can almost guarantee that if you talk to anyone who flies for a living , they will have had an epiphany moment in their lives where they fell in love with aviation. My first ‘lightbulb’ moment was when I was young enough to still have a bedtime story in the evenings, where my Dad mentioned that when he was my age he had always wanted to become a pilot. From that moment, I became obsessed with fulfilling my dream, and spent my childhood dreaming of flights to tropical destinations.

I feel lucky that I discovered aviation at such a young age, and I spent my childhood trying to do everything I could to ensure I would eventually be able to achieve my dream. Before my GCSE exams, I spent hours sending letters to every airline I could find an address for asking for advice regarding options and the best subjects to study, as well as talking to a female easyJet pilot who gave me wonderful advice regarding what aviation recruitment look for. I was very aware that leadership and teamwork skills are important, and I participated in every opportunity I could, from being part of my local football team, teaching dance to younger students, and signing up for any other extracurricular activity possible at school.

I eventually had my first flight in May 2005, at my local glider club, shortly after turning 11. At the time I was the club’s youngest member, with 5 years to wait before my first solo flight, but I just couldn’t wait to get up in the air! After that first flight at the controls of an aircraft, the ‘aviation bug’ had definitely settled in to stay.

 Gliding was a fantastic way of beginning to learn how to fly, with the same principles of flight that I use today in a Boeing 737. Gliding is cheaper than learning to fly a powered aircraft, but I learned the same basic stick and rudder techniques that I would go on to finesse in a powered aircraft during my commercial pilot training. Although I didn’t quite realise it whilst I was 11 and engrossed with learning how to fly, I developed other skills which I’ve gone on to use as a commercial pilot too. Gliders fly in a similar manner to birds, using warm rising air, with no engine to depend on to give you the height you need to get back to your airfield. Therefore good decision making skills are vital, otherwise you’re definitely landing in a farmer’s field somewhere!

Whilst I was progressing towards my first solo at the gliding club, I joined my local Air Cadet squadron shortly after turning 14. I was intrigued by the opportunity of free flying, and I was eventually lucky enough to receive a gliding scholarship at RAF Topcliffe, where I went solo in a Vigilant motor glider (also known as a Grob 109B). As well as the flying, the structure of cadets provides fantastic leadership and teamwork skills, as well as a way to push yourself out of your comfort zone and try something that most 14 year olds couldn’t dream of. I spent weekends meeting new people, learning how to navigate and map read, hiking in the Lake District, learning and then going on to teach interview technique, practicing firing a semi automatic rifle, and studying subjects I would need for my ATPL such as propulsion and principles of flight. The highlight of my time in the Air Cadets was a trip to Hong Kong, where I took part in an International Air Cadet Exchange and had the chance to explore China with the local Air Cadets, as well as a trip up the Air Traffic Control tower at Chek Lap Kok Airport. I was aware that airlines require more than just good handling skills, and I even talked about my achievements in cadets during my interview for my current job.

Around this time, I graduated high school, and knew that University wasn’t the right choice for me. I felt ready to start my flight training, so I started working in retail full time, whilst looking into the financial side of things and the courses available out there.
I eventually decided on a pilot training college in Ireland, and attended an assessment day in Edinburgh. The day consisted of an interview, logical reasoning and a COMPASS test, which is computerised and assesses hand/eye coordination, mulit-tasking ability, mathematics and verbal reasoning. I passed the interview, and planned to start in August 2012. However, things weren’t meant to work out that way. Shortly before I was supposed to start my course, the college stopped operating and went bankrupt. I was devastated, and initially I had no idea what was going to happen with the money that I had paid as a deposit. Luckily, the Irish Aviation Authority contacted various other flight schools, and CAE Oxford Aviation Academy agreed to take on the students that had been affected, without having to pay Oxford’s initial deposit. Unfortunately there were students who started Oxford with me who ended up losing money, so if you’re looking into beginning your flight training, I would strongly advise to never pay all the money for your course upfront!

After almost 8 years after my first ever flight, I moved to Oxford in November 2012 to start the long journey towards earning my Air Transport Licence. Although I was unbelievably nervous, it felt that I was a little closer to fulfilling my childhood dream, and I couldn’t wait to start studying something that I have always been passionate about!

Part 2: beyondtheflightdeck

My adventure towards achieving my Frozen ATPL started in Oxford, where I would spend two years studying everything you could possibly think of related to aviation. I had decided on taking an integrated course, which although is more expensive, I felt was more suited towards what I wanted to achieve. I liked the idea of studying full time, with my flying and exams at the same training centre. If you’re interested in flight training, you also have the option of a modular course, which involves self-study and flight hours achieved at your own pace. The choice is certainly a personal one, with no right or wrong answer. Although it’s a controversial topic, I believe that irrespective of any rumours that you may hear, employers don’t favour one or the other. I personally don’t know a great deal about the details of a modular option, so if you’re interested give @pilotmaria’s blog post about her training a read here! Before I could be let loose in an aircraft, I first had to pass my theoretical exams. I found the subjects I was studying interesting, but the Ground School phase was the most difficult and intense part of my whole training.The course was split into 2 phases, with school exams and then the all important EASA exams at the end. I thought the amount of information we were given to start off with was a lot, but the workload increases as you progress, with 39 exams in a period of six months. Although I found the course content challenging, the instructors at Oxford were fantastic, with some great stories from their previous careers (often with the RAF), and an obvious interest in how you were progressing. Every single one of my instructors were more than happy to give up their breaks and explain something that you didn’t quite understand yet. Honestly, I struggled at first to find a way to learn that worked best for me, whilst keeping up with the fast pace and sheer amount of information involved. I have always found Maths challenging, and it sometimes takes me a long time to wrap my head around a subject, which can be difficult when you’re learning multiple subjects that require various equations and mathematical thinking! However, I always believe that anything worth doing isn’t always going to be easy, and every single minute of those late night study sessions were worthwhile as I can now get paid to do what I love. There were times when I felt overwhelmed with the amount of information I still didn’t quite understand, or I was frustrated after still being unable understand a subject after studying it all day, but I knew that this was the most difficult part of my journey to achieving what I’ve always wanted to do, and I simply had to get on with it and keep working as hard as I could. Everyone has an aspect of their training that they find challenging, but you simply have to push through and keep thinking of your goal and final result! 

 The hard work was definitely worth it, as passing my exams meant a trip to Phoenix, Arizona to learn how to fly single and multi-engined aircraft. CAE Oxford Aviation is now based at Falcon Field airport, where I initially flew brand new Piper Archer TXs with a glass cockpit, and then progressed to fly Senecas before achieving my Commercial Pilot’s Licence. After 6 months of being stuck behind a desk intensively studying, it was great getting behind the controls of an aeroplane again!I loved learning how to fly in America, and although the training definitely wasn’t easy, I found the learning curve wasn’t as steep as the Ground School. Getting up at 3 am to check the weather forecast and complete the necessary paperwork was something I looked forward to, and I was often rewarded with an incredible sunrise whilst spending an hour or two doing what I love. It was incredible to finally be up in the air, and although at times the heat was unbearable, flying over the desert was beautiful and so much fun! The days I wasn’t flying, I spent hours studying checklists, memory items, and standard operating procedures (SOPs), as well as technical information about the aircraft, local Air Law, and Air Traffic Control airspace. As these topics weren’t as intense as earlier in the course, most of this could be read around the pool in the sunshine, with my course mates and I enjoying some well deserved trips to San Diego, Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon. Eventually, after 14 hours practicing general handling and lots of ‘Touch and Goes’ in small airports, I achieved my first solo in a powered aircraft. It’s an incredible feeling flying alone for the first time, and as I taxiied back after landing, it’s impossible not to feel a sense of pride and achievement! After my first solo, I continued to progress with more circuits, navigation training, cross country and night flights, both solo and with an instructor. Every new area learned was then evaluated with a progress test, with the fourth and final progress test assessing the fundamentals of flying using only the instruments and holding procedures. After the final progress test, I then transferred the skills I learned in the single-engine Archer to the multi-engined Seneca, the aircraft that I would fly during my Commercial Pilot Licence assessment. The basics were obviously the same, however everything happens so much quicker when you’re using two turbocharged engines! I also spent time learning how to deal with simulated engine failures and fires, as well becoming confident at flying circuits and navigating whilst flying at a faster airspeed. My time in Arizona came to an end with my CPL exam, which was a practical evaluation in the Seneca which tested everything that I had learned on both the single engine and multi-engine aircraft.  

 From there, I headed back to Oxford to learn how to fly the Seneca using only its instruments, which is how passenger airliners operate everyday. Although initially it seems a bit scary knowing that pilots don’t often look out the windows whilst flying, the systems that are used in the flight deck are more accurate than just ‘eyeballing’ where we need to be, as well as providing us a safe way to make an approach and even land in marginal visibility. Learning to fly using instruments seems daunting at first, as it feels like you have to be looking at a million things at once, and a loss of concentration can easily end up in an unwanted climb or a turn! However, after using both the simulator and flying more hours in the trusty Seneca, I completed my Instrument Rating and was one step closer my dream job. Although I was fully qualified to fly an aircraft alone, I had no skills regarding working in a multi-pilot environment like I would be doing for an airline. To combat this, my time at Oxford concluded with a Multi-Crew Coordination and Jet Orientation Course (known as MCC/JOC). I spent 40 hours in a Boeing 737 simulator, learning Crew Resource Management (CRM), and how to fly the aircraft whilst using all available resources, information, equipment and people to achieve a safe and efficient flight. The MCC was an excellent introduction to what it’s like to be an airline pilot, as interpersonal skills and teamwork are just as important as the flight training I had completed earlier on. I got on well with my flight partner, and we had so much fun learning how to work together and how to fly a jet! That was the final chapter of my training, and I was now the proud owner of a frozen ATPL. I immediately started applying for jobs as a First Officer, and I was luckily enough to receive a job interview a few months after leaving Oxford. The rest, they say, is history! I hope my posts are a tiny bit useful if you’re aspiring to fly, and I apologise that they’ve ended up becoming so long. If you have any other questions that I can help out with, feel free to comment below and I’ll answer what I can. The journey to becoming a pilot certainly isn’t an easy one, but I’ve always believed that anything can be possible for those that work hard for it!

A Day in the life of an Airline Pilot

A Day in the life of an Airline Pilot: A First Officer for a major UK airline, takes us through a standard day at ‘the office’.

Step 1: Waking up!

Depending on what report time is I set my alarm accordingly, for example on early morning flights I tend to set it about 2 hours 15 minutes before report! If on a late however approximately 3 hours 30 minutes before as I have more traffic to deal with on the temperamental M25. It’s important to eat something before you leave too, even if it’s just a banana.

I tend to hang my ID with my tie, so I put them both on simultaneously, as I have forgotten it before! Without it, you, unfortunately, cannot fly.

My flight bag (I will cover in another post) and uniform are usually prepared the night before to help me save time, just in case I snooze too long!

As I live near Heathrow, when I wake up I tend to check the traffic, as it has caught me off guard sometimes, if there is more than expect I leave as soon as possible.

Step 2: Crew Room

Coming into Gatwick is fairly straightforward M4 – M25 – M23 and then the Gatwick exit. I park in the X car park in Gatwick which is about a 10-15 minute bus journey to the crew room, and usually, in the morning it’s rammed.

A quick stop at the Costa coffee, (double espresso definitely helps wake me up) and upstairs to the crew room!

You usually encounter other pilots and cabin crew in and around. Once you’ve checked in you start printing off paperwork and downloading the relevant information on your iPad.

Your next step is to look at the information we’ve just converted to iPad as the EFB (electronic flight bag) so we have a look at all of this on there:

Which then all lead the next question of how much fuel? Once this is decided the fuelling and dispatchers are called giving them the figures required for the load sheet information and so the fuel can be put into the aircraft.

Step 3: To the Aircraft and Preflight!

Pilots, like passengers, have the tedious task of going through airport security every morning, however, safety is always of utmost priority for anyone who works in the aviation industry. Following security, we proceed to get a bus to the aircraft.

Usually, on early morning flights the flight deck is ‘cold and dark’, so the Pilot Monitoring (PM) does the cockpit preliminary checks, to get some power to the aircraft. Safety checks follow, looking for anything out of the ordinary and ensuring all emergency equipment is in its place!

The Pilot Flying (PF) and PM have duties that each must complete, as well as duties that are the Captain’s responsibility, for example, the tech log, welcome PA and checking the load sheet.

PF DutiesPM Duties
Cockpit preparationFMGC set upTalking to ground handlersBriefingLoadsheetATISClearances with ATCChecking the aircraft setupPaper checklistsFuelling monitoringPre-flight inspection

The FMGC (flight management and guidance computer) is where all the information from the flight plan is entered.

The load sheet is where all the aircraft weights are from take off to zero fuel weight, and everything on board the aircraft.

Briefing is one of the most important and vital things pre-flight as it helps cover and any threats as well as provides a mutual understanding within the flight deck.

Pre-flight inspection and fuel monitoring is also very important, as you are checking the aircraft is serviceable for flight.

All the above will be covered separately later on so stay tuned.

Step 4: Time to get airborne!

Time to call up for Pushback and Start-up, but first we establish communications with the ground crew to make sure all of their external checks are completed, and that we have a tug. That always helps!

Time for some checks next! Then we call up fully ready and request push and start on ground frequency (this varies at every airport).

Being based at Gatwick we tend to start only one engine, as it helps save fuel, and if we’re not too sure we just ask how busy it is at the holding point. Taxiing is done by the PF and the checks are done by the PM, as that way someone is always looking at where we’re going. Once both engines are running, the takeoff checks are completed, and we’ve got the cabin secure from the cabin crew… we are now ready for departure!

Take-off is definitely my favourite part, as you’re leaving everything behind on the ground, the adrenaline kicks in as you set take-off thrust and the moment you rotate to get airborne!

Climb-out and cruise!

Below Flight Level 100 the communication within the flight deck is kept to a bare minimum as it is considered as a critical phase of flight. As we continue the climb out we do our checks at appropriate times, e.g 10000ft checks and the 20000ft checks.

Once established in the cruise, it’s time for paperwork and some food! The paperwork mainly consists of some general entries into the tech log, fuel checks and time checks on the flight plan, and giving the passengers an announcement of what is going on!

Transitioning between one airspace to another we’re constantly updating ourselves with the weather of airports en-route using VOLMETs or ACARs in the event something was to occur, we know or have a rough idea of where to go. As pilots we are constantly aware of the possibility that at any given time anything could happen, so we are always vigilant and subconsciously monitoring the aircraft even whilst engaged in conversation with the other pilot or cabin crew.

For most of it, it is time to enjoy, sit back and enjoy the best view in the world!

Approach and Landing!

Fast approaching is the TOD (Top of Descent) arrow where its is time to go back down and think about what were going to do. Getting the FMGC set up and inputting the correct arrival or the one you are predicting it potentially may be from the flight plan or the weather.

Some airfields obtaining the ATIS occurs sooner so you get more of an idea whats going on, and how to prepare, but most of this is covered in the brief before you depart.

Once you’re ready and everything is set up to the way you require, it’s time to brief! I manage my time so I am able to brief about 100 or so miles before the TOD arrow (as mentioned before I will be doing a more detailed post about briefing as it’s a very important phase of flight), however, in general, this is the point the other pilot would discuss possible threats, how they would like to fly the approach and as well as the general set up.

We usually give a call up to the handing agent with our estimated arrival time, along with any passengers that may require assistance on arrival.

Similar to the climb-out, below FL100 it is a sterile cockpit. A general rule of thumb we use to help manage our descent profiles and make sure we’re not too high or low is the 3 x Altitude (8000ft = 8) as well incorporating distance to slow down.

This is important as sometimes ATC gives you restrictions, keep you high and fast so it’s so variable, it is important to keep ahead and manage your descent to the best of your ability. This may require you to take the gear down early or keep your speed up to get down faster and slow down with speed brakes, the possibilities are endless!

Landing is actually fairly straight forward, a good approach tends to lead to a good landing, so they say! Coming into a major airfield like Gatwick your speed altitudes are all controlled by ATC, which makes life easier, as well as 90% of the time you will fly and ILS, approach too. The landing is usually what all the passengers will judge you for or remember about the flight, sometimes at a short airfield like Gibraltar you just want to get the aircraft on the ground safely!

Arrival, Turnaround and Home!

Once we’ve vacated the runway and established our taxiway routing, the PF does his after landing flow which triggers the PM to do his. Most airports in Europe tend to have a follow-me vehicle which takes us to our stand. If time permits we try to shut down one of the engines to save fuel. Over time single-engine taxiing can save millions!

The Captain always taxi’s onto stand. On stand, we shut down the aircraft first and then once the doors are disarmed and seat belts signs turned off its time to disembark the passengers.

We do our shutdown checklist and begin to set up the aircraft for the return leg! Similar to before we set up the aircraft, however, the only difference is, we’ve now swapped roles.

Depending on how long we have for turnaround (usually 50 minutes) we may have time to catch some sun, or if you’re in Gibraltar get some duty-free! On the other hand, some turnarounds tend to be busier than others so you have no time for anything.

One we’ve got the passengers on it is time for the return leg. It is more or less the same as the outbound. Coming back to Gatwick, we get a crew bus back to our crew room, there is only some minor paperwork to be done as most of it has been done during the cruise or on arrival as the passengers disembark. Now you’re just waiting for your next adventure!

What happens when a plane gets struck by lightning?

What happens when a plane gets struck by lightning?: You might have read the story of Virgin Airways flight VS65 which was hit by lightning last Wednesday, just 10 minutes after departing Gatwick Airport on its way to Montego Bay…

Aircraft are hit by lightning far more frequently than you might think and, although this could cause serious damage and result in lengthy delays, most of the time it goes completely unnoticed.

Thanks to the design and structure of modern aircraft, lightning strikes tend to be ‘over in a flash’ and have no serious consequences. But, when a pilot needs to land because of significant damage, air traffic control plays a pivotal role in managing the flow of aircraft through our airspace and getting them back to ground safely.

If a pilot suspects that the aircraft has been hit by lightning and believes that damage has occurred, they will contact air traffic control and tell us that they need to return to the nearest airport. Where the pilot has declared an emergency, he will be given a priority approach.

Our controllers are used to this kind of disruption to air traffic and pilots are no stranger to a ‘go-around’ – often caused by an infringer flying in controlled airspace without permission, or heavy winds!

Dealing with bad weather is one of the most difficult things for air traffic controllers to manage. Its unpredictable nature means aircraft aren’t able to fly their usual routes, resulting in unusual flight patterns that add hugely to the complexity of the airspace and the workload for each controller.

However, the training our air traffic controllers receive ensures that even the most disruptive events are safely managed!

View more of our blog posts with interesting views and news stories on the aviation industry, pilot training and more.

FEAR OF FLYING – GUIDE TO TURBULENCE

FEAR OF FLYING – A PILOT’S GUIDE TO TURBULENCE: There are different types of turbulence, mainly from rapid changes in wind direction and strength, which make the aeroplane accelerate, decelerate, or move side to side. It’s these movements, sometimes several at once, that can be uncomfortable whilst flying as a passenger, make it harder to drink your gin and tonic, read your magazine, or from my end – do my inflight paperwork! An aircraft is designed to be stable, meaning if turbulence forces the plane from its original path, it is designed to return to its previous straight, level flight without any positive control from the pilots. For most of the duration of the flight, the autopilot is flying the aircraft, and its job to keep the aircraft flying the way the pilots have commanded it to, even after being disrupted by any turbulent air. The main sensation during turbulence is the aircraft climbing or descending, potentially resulting in a feeling in your stomach similar to that you get from driving over a hidden dip in the road.

IF YOU DISLIKE THE SENSATION OF FLYING DURING TURBULENCE, SIT OVER THE WINGS OF THE AIRCRAFT.

The feeling of climbing or descending initially is the result of the turbulence, followed by the opposing direction as the aircraft reacts to it. These changes feel more drastic when sitting at the rear of the aircraft, as whilst the aircraft begins to climb, the tail moves downward and you will have the unusual sensation of being pulled out of your seat. If you sit over the wing, the aircraft pitches around its centre axis, resulting in a smaller sensation of movement as a passenger.

The aircraft will rarely change altitude by any more than 50 feet, which honestly is insignificant in proportion to its cruising level of around 37,000ft. Although to some it may feel that way, I promise that the aircraft isn’t falling out of the air, and the change of wind direction is never great enough to result in the aeroplane to stop generating its lift that it creates to fly! Although the sensation can be unsettling, passenger aircraft are built to withstand turbulence, and every pilot completes training in how to recognise the signs of turbulence and avoid it when possible, and how to make the flight as comfortable as possible for the passengers. There are 4 main types of turbulence:- Clear Air Turbulence- Thermal (associated with clouds, especially those big fluffy cumulous clouds you see on a hot day!)- Mechanical (caused by the airflow over physical features, mountains, buildings, trees)- Wake turbulence (caused by other aircraft generating lift, the larger the aircraft, the larger the wake)  

Clear Air Turbulence

This type of turbulence is caused by changes in the wind at high level, although high winds may not indicate turbulence. An increase or decrease of wind strength, entering or flying through a jetstream, or a change in temperature, can all create CAT. Although our weather radar cannot display areas of this type of turbulence, CAT can be predicted in our preflight preparations by studying the forecast windshear, areas of jetstreams and pilot reports. We’ll do our best to avoid any turbulence if possible, and other pilots are often helpful in recommending if the area they are flying in is bumpy or smooth. Sometimes unfortunately, we’ll just have to wait until it stops, but we have the option to climb or descend if we know that the area around us will be more comfortable.  

Thermal Turbulence

I initially learned how to fly in gliders; as I flew without an engine I would look to stay in areas of hot, rising air to stay airborne for as long as possible. A good indication of an area of thermals were large, cauliflower cumulous clouds, which are formed by moist, unstable air rising faster than the area surrounding it. As the moisture condenses, the air becomes stable and eventually stops rising.  When entering a cloud, we fly through this rising air, which often causes a short period of turbulence. As the aircraft I currently fly is larger and flies faster than a glider, the result is often a couple of bumps until the plane leaves the offending cloud! Imagine driving over a speed bump on a bicycle compared to going 70mph in a car, the result is exactly the same whilst flying. In the cruise we are flying at around speeds of 500mph, resulting in that small bump appearing to be more dramatic than it is in reality!  Generally speaking, there are fewer clouds the higher you fly, although the faster you fly the turbulence may seem more pronounced. Whilst flying, we use a weather radar that detects the water particles in the air, with a colour code to indicate the density and turbulence associated with the clouds ahead. We use this radar to avoid any larger, cumulonimbus clouds which also indicate thunderstorms, and communicate with Air Traffic Control to ensure that we maintain a safe distance from the unstable, rising and descending air surrounding the storm.  

Mechanical Turbulence

This type of turbulence is caused by the airflow moving around a large object, a mountain like in Gibraltar, or a large building close to the runway. Landing at my home base in Dublin can sometimes be a little bumpy when the wind is coming over the nearby Wicklow Mountains, or London Gatwick can be affected by wind changing direction around a hangar near the runway. Unfortunately, there’s not a lot that we can do whilst flying to these destinations, although we are often familiar and comfortable with this type of turbulence, and as it’s always forecast we can prepare prior to experiencing it!  

Wake Turbulence

Wake turbulence is a created by the airflow over an aircraft’s wing that also enables it to generate lift and fly, and the chances of us experiencing wake turbulence whilst flying are very small thanks to our colleagues in Air Traffic Control. ATC ensure thatwe are at a safe distance from any aircraft that may affect us with their own turbulence. There are rules and regulations that both pilots and ATC follow regarding the distance from another aircraft, especially between larger and smaller aircraft, (an Airbus A380 is in its own category!), ensuring that there is a safe period of time between departing aeroplanes.  Although turbulence is uncomfortable and inconvenient, the pilots and the aircraft are more than capable of dealing with what nature throws our way! Ensure when you’re flying you keep your seatbelt on (like the pilots always do) in case your flight does encounter any unexpected bumps, but try to relax and appreciate that although it may not feel that way, the aircraft is still in controlled flight and is built to withstand more than 50% of the worst forces that turbulence may throw its way. Captain Sullenburger recommends that prior to a flight close your eyes as a passenger in a car and make note of the frequency and intensity of every vibration, jolt and noise. The car journey is likely to be much more turbulent than your average flight, and statistically, the drive to the airport is much more dangerous than flying in a commercial airliner! Do you have any other fears or concerns whilst flying? Comment below and I’ll aim to answer any queries as part of my new Fear of Flight series.

10 Secrets From Flight Attendants That Will Make You Rethink Getting On A Plane

10 Secrets From Flight Attendants That Will Make You Rethink Getting On A Plane: In spite of what your anxiety might be telling you (or that primal fight-or-flight instinct that overrides logic), flying is the safest, fastest and most efficient mode of transportation out there. It’s also full of quirks that you might not know about. Here are some of those secrets, as told by flight attendants.

1. First, let’s start by giving you some basic statistics about flying. From 2002-2007, over 196,000 people died in car accidents (according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration). On the other hand, 107 people died from airplane crashes. To put that into perspective, the odds of you getting involved in a plane accident are 1 in 7 million. If the numbers are just not adding up, here are some things more likely to kill you: cardiovascular diseases (1 in 2), smoking (1 in 600), and lightning strikes (1 in 1.9 million). Flight attendants are aware that some of their passengers are riddled with an aggressive fear of flying. So don’t worry about looking silly because you look nervous! If anything, they can help you relax by offering tips and aids to tune out your surroundings or ride out the worst of the anxiety (for example, wear your seatbelt at all times to avoid bumping your head if there’s any turbulence).

2. This might seem a bit extreme, but if you tire yourself out before a long trip you’ll be more likely to fall asleep on the plane. The best way to do this is to stay up late and do physical work prior to the flight. This is good for people who really need to sleep (to avoid jet lag, for example)

3. If you’re stuck in the multiple connections hell and want a refresher, here’s a tip: most major international airports have showers for passengers travelling this way.Cleaning up and changing your clothes can really change your mood (as well as the way you look, smell and feel). From now on make sure you carry a spare set of clothes when you travel.

4. Now onto the more stressful flight attendant tips. Cabin pressurization is necessary when flying at high altitudes, and there are a lot of mechanics at work to make sure you’re comfortable. When cabin depressurization occurs (which is rarely) you should put your mask right away. You only have seconds before the symptoms of oxygen loss kick in.

5. If you’ve gone through a little bit of a shaky path you’ve probably felt your levels of fear go from 0 to 100 in less than a second. Maybe it’s the anxiety of not knowing how bad it’ll get, but know this: turbulence isn’t bad until bag compartments open and and people bump their heads on the ceiling.

6. If one of the engines catches fire, it will extinguish itself. That’s the beauty of modern mechanics. On top of that, if the fire gets too out of control to extinguish, the engine has a mechanism to detach it from the rest of the plane so it doesn’t affect the wing.

7. Having said that, planes aren’t perfect. Thousands of flights take place every day, all around the world. Like any vehicle that gets used constantly, most airplanes have something broken (either on the inside or the outside). But it’s never big enough to be a safety concern, so don’t worry too much about it.

8. If you’re a germaphobe, you probably want to look away and live in ignorant bliss.Airplane floors are super filthy. Sure, they get vacuumed every now and then, but you can assume that the place you’re sitting is covered in bathroom germs and some trace of bodily fluids. So keep your shoes on, carry some disinfectant wipes and antibacterial liquid.

9. This might make you angry, so take a deep breath and go to a very happy place. If you’re ever transporting something fragile and thought, “I’ll label this with that fragile tape and that way the bag handlers will be careful!” I have bad news. Those bags don’t get any special treatment because the bag handlers aren’t required to do that.

10. Again, my apologies to all the germaphobes reading this. Sometimes when it’s a short flight, planes don’t get a lot of time for a good cleanup (more like an hour). An hour is nearly not enough time to even do a quick cleanup of the whole plane. So again, just pay an extra amount of attention to your surroundings.

Aviation Insider helps candidates for airline simulator & interview Preparation

Aviation Insider helps candidates for airline simulator & interview Preparation. We have targeted training profiles for all the major European airlines. Aviation Insider offers the highest standard of training, provided by current line pilots and trainers. You’ll have a team dedicated to your personal development and access to a varied fleet of simulators, including the 737 classic and NG, A320, a330, 747, 757, 767, E195, E135, E145.

Getting in the right-hand seat of an airline can be a bit of a daunting challenge, preparing with Aviation Insider will give you the best advantage by being familiar with procedures before your simulator assessment. All of our instructors are current line Pilots and have decades of experience to help guide you and pass on their wealth of knowledge.

We’re passionate about what we do and about making sure your experience with us is an exceptional one. We provide an outstanding service to our clients and attention to detail is our strong point!

Basic requirements on how to become an FAA Pilot in the USA.

Basic requirements on how to become an FAA Pilot in the USA. Flying across the world, controlling a huge refined aircraft may be a dream for some. While it’s a rewarding and very exciting job, many people wonder how exactly does one become a glamorous pilot. The process takes time, dedication, and a good chunk of change. As long as you are committed, the dream of driving in the sky can be yours. There are several different ways one can become a pilot as stated below.

BASIC REQUIREMENTS

Getting a four-year college degree may benefit you in the long run. A degree is not needed to fly for a regional airline in the United States, but it is necessary for a major US airline. A Bachelor of Science is preferred with emphasis in aviation, but it’s not necessary.

Obtaining your initial Class 1 Medical is required for anyone wishing to train for any commercial airline. Contrary to popular belief, you can fly for an airline while wearing glasses or contacts as long as your vision is corrected to 20/20.

Be well aware that becoming an Airline pilot is a huge financial investment. Make sure that you monetarily prepared and committed. Depending on where you chose to go to flight school, it could cost between $100,000-$150,000.

FLIGHT SCHOOL

Research and look around your local area for a good flight school and a flight instructor. You will now start working on your private pilot certificate. The current minimum flight time according to FAA is 40 hours. It may be desirable to complete 60 hours.

After earning your private pilot license, you can begin your instrument rating and your commercial certificate. For an instrument rating, you will need 50 hours as a pilot in command and 40 hours of simulated conditions. For a commercial certificate, however, you will need a total of 250 hours.

 Now you will need to complete your certified flight instructor rating and begin working at the flight school. Pilots need experience to qualify for your license so working for a flight school is useful. To qualify for a FAA license, you must also be 18 years old and earned 250 hours of flight experience.

GET WORKING

With all the proper ratings and 1,500 hours of flight time, you are now eligible to work for regional airlines. In order to work for a major airline, you will need about 3,000 hours of total flight time.

Many pilots begin their career teaching as flight instructors as well. Other take on assignments with charter planes or end up going private.

Within airlines, pilots start off as a first officer and then advance to captain. Depending on your contract and airline, many pilots move up to captain within 5-10 years. Gaining seniority will also help with your flight assignments. Usually, you will start off as a reserve and be on call for flights while getting an actual schedule will help you organize a more structured life schedule.

PILOT SHORTAGE

This might be the best time to get started on your license to become a pilot. The current projection is that there will be a shortage of pilots between 2018-2030. Many of these pilots will be needed in the Asia-Pacific area due to expansion plans with several airlines including the famous airline, Emirates. Pilots also have strict age and health requirements that force a large number of pilots to retire. Females also make up a very small percentage of pilots in general so airlines will be on the lookout.

It’s important to remember that the industry is still very competitive. Make sure to do your research and prepare as best as possible before beginning this new career. It will take time, effort, money, and commitment but it is definitely doable and will pay off in the long run.

Basic requirements on how to become an FAA Pilot in the USA.

Everything you need to know about a JOC/ MCC/ AQC

Source: CTC, CAE OAA, flightdeckfriend

Everything you need to know about a JOC/ MCC/ AQC. MCC Multi-Crew Cooperation course (MCC) Multi-Crew Cooperation course (MCC) gives students realistic training in operating a multi-pilot, multi-engine airplane under IFR conditions. The objectives of the course are to train the optimum decision making, communication, diversion of tasks and use of checklists, mutual supervision, teamwork and support through all stages of flight under any conditions.

The MCC Course has been designed to train single seat pilots in the team skills necessary for the safe operation of complex, multi crew, jet aircraft. During the course you will be introduced to the competencies necessary for this demanding transition. The training will take place throughout all phases of flight under normal, abnormal and emergency conditions. This course meets EASA requirements.

COURSE CONTENT
◦ Communication
◦ Leadership and Team Working
◦ Situation Awareness (Threat and Error Management)
◦ Workload Management
◦ Problem Solving and Decision Making
◦ Monitoring and cross-checking
◦ Task-sharing
◦ Checklist handling
◦ Briefing Techniques
◦ Flight Management
◦ Use of Flight Management Computers
◦ System Normal Operations
◦ Abnormal and Emergency Operations
◦ Environment, Weather and ATC

The theoretical areas of the course are closely integrated with the syllabus content of the simulator sessions.

JET ORIENTATION COURSE (JOC)

The JOC is a stepping stone for students with an MCC certificate but no jet handling experience. It has been designed to bring them up to the same standard of handling as an MCC/JOC student and should be viewed as a preparation course for an airline simulator assessment.  For many airlines the completion of a JOC is a mandatory prerequisite to the pilot selection process.

Combined JOC/MCC

Having successfully passed your Commercial Pilots Licence (CPL), Multi-Engine Piston (MEP) Class Rating, and Multi-Engine Instrument Rating (ME/IR), the step is to complete the Multi-Crew Cooperation (MCC) course. Designed specifically to prepare you to work as part of an effective flight crew, the MCC is a mandatory requirement on your journey to becoming a First Officer.

The Jet Orientation Course (JOC) builds on the MCC providing you with a much greater insight into how you operate airliners and the expectations that airlines have of you. A combined MCC/JOC gives you the best chance of getting your first airline role.

AQC – with CTC

The AQC is a crucial step in the development and training of an airline pilot. The course takes you beyond the JAR-FCL MCC syllabus – incorporating airline standard Initial CRM, MCC and Advanced Handling Skills – making you familiar with all the skills you will need to operate today’s advanced jet aircraft in a multi-crew IFR environment.
You already know that if you are applying for a Type Rating on a multi-pilot aircraft, you need to complete a JAA approved course of training in Multi-Crew Co-operation.

CTC Airline Qualification Course (AQC) is the most comprehensive generic bridge training course available. AQC provides full airline preparation and skills development, delivered to the highest airline standards and providing clear demonstration of your abilities and your potential. AQC gives you the edge for a career in the increasingly competitive world of commercial aviation.

CTC Aviation’s industry-renowned Airline Qualification Course is an advanced Multi-Crew Co-operation/Jet Orientation Course (MCC/JOC); An airline focused bridging course designed to fully prepare you for airline pilot operations in a commercial, multi-crew environment.

Those with existing and proven MCC training to CTC Aviation’s approved standard have the opportunity to join a shorter AQC designed to complement your previous training and/or operational experience.

Following selection, CTC Aviation will invite you to enrol upon either the full AQC or a ‘fast track’, reduced-cost course, reflecting your experience to date.
Those meeting the required standard on completion of training will be put forward for First Officer placement opportunities with one of CTC Aviation’s growing list of Airline Partners.

Key features
1 World renowned Airline Qualification Course delivered on Boeing or Airbus simulators at CTC Aviation’s Crew Training Centre – Southampton
2 Unique CTC ATP Performance Protection
3 Unrivalled airline placement opportunities *
4 Airline Preparation Day – expert guidance from CTC Aviation’s selection team on how to present your CV and prepare for airline selection
5 Accommodation included for duration of the course
6 Option to complete a simulator refresher course
7 Potential access to funding subject to eligibility**
8 Simulator refresher option avialable
Subject to meeting CTC Aviation and Airline Placement Standards **Terms and conditions apply

Flight school Interview preparation

Flight school Interview preparation, So you’ve booked yourself an assessment? Congratulations, its the first step in realizing your dream! For the most part, all the major fight schools in the UK and Europe will all be looking for the same things – Motivation and Ability.

They do this in different ways, but with the larger flight schools, this is commonly done on an “assessment day” which aims to test all your motivation and natural ability. So how do they do this? The assessment days commonly involve 3 or 4 distinct segments: The interview, the team exercise, the computer assessment and occasionally the sim check.

Flight school Interview preparation: The interview: The interview gives a chance for you to show off some of your ability, however, this is mainly time for your motivation to shine through. The interview will typically be split into two sections – the motivation section and the competency section. There are commonly two interviewers and they will ask a section each whilst the other makes notes. The motivation section is exactly what it says – why do you want to be a pilot and do you have the motivation to get you through the next 18 months of hard work and into the right-hand set of an airliner? They will also be probing you here for knowledge of the flight school, the industry and the airline if you’re going for a sponsored scheme – so do your research, there’s nothing worse than not knowing the basics!

The competency-based section is slightly different – the interviewer will be asking you for examples of when you have behaved in certain ways and shown desirable attributes – Leadership, good teamwork, good communication, the list goes on. How do you answer these questions?

What they are looking for is really to be told a story, set the scene, explain what happened, your actions and how they had a positive impact. When you’re preparing these answers for your interview to remember one thing – the interviewer will have been sitting through this same interview several times that day and possibly hundreds of times in the past weeks, so make your answers interesting and memorable – preferable for the right reasons!

Prepare yourself for this section giving yourself a handful of good examples where you have displayed desirable attributes, you will find that some stories can be tweaked to cover several different questions – perfect. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that you will wing it on the day because you’ve got some examples in your head, you won’t, the interview is all about preparation and it really shows. Write them out, edit them, read them to yourself then get someone to interview you – its unbelievable how much harder it is to get it all out right when you’re put on the spot, but if you get the preparation in, it will really show.

Flight school Interview preparation: The team exercise: As a pilot 99.9% of the time you will find yourself working alongside someone else, therefore good teamwork skills are essential. The team exercise is your chance to show off these skills and show you work well with others.

Lots of people go into this part of the assessment thinking they need to dominate the task and take the lead – this couldn’t be more wrong. Taking over the exercise will get you noticed for all the wrong reasons, the task is a team exercise, not an individual one. So what are the assessors looking for?

Including everyone – is there someone who is being quiet and not getting their opinion or view across in the task, bring them in and ask them what they think. Clarifying ideas – getting others to expand and build on their ideas. Encourage others – be positive, and encourage ideas rather than putting down ones you don’t agree with. Original ideas – the assessors will want to see you playing your part in the exercise. Delegating tasks – sometimes the exercise requires several tasks to be achieved at the same time or in a short space of time, locating these tasks effectively and sensibly is important. Lots of people also worry about failing to complete the exercise, don’t worry, its how you work as a team they are interested in.

The Computer Assessment: If you are reading this then I’m sure you have done your research – there are practice versions of almost all the latest computer aptitude tests used by the big flight schools available online, some of which may require a fee. Are they worth it? In my opinion, yes, they are. The aptitude tests are designed so you shouldn’t really be able to “practice” them – you either have the skills to do well in them or you don’t. I agree totally, however, I believe that having seen something similar and had a go on the practice software gives you a noticeable advantage over someone who hasn’t – you’ve seen it before. This is going to help you go into it feeling more relaxed and confident as you know exactly what to expect.

The Sim Check: The sim check is primarily used to confirm and verify the findings of the computer-based testing – a more practical application of capacity, hand to eye coordination, ability to learn new skills and many other things. As the computer-based testing is becoming more and more reliable and accurate, the sim check is becoming less and less common – sim time is often short and extremely valuable so why use it up if its not absolutely necessary? If you do go for a sim check, don’t panic, they’re not expecting miracles here! No previous experience required as its all very basic – its actually great fun!

If you want any guidance or more in-depth information on any of the above or any flight school-specific questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at: enquiries@aviationinsider.co.uk

Good Luck!

Passing your airline interview and simulator assessment

INTRODUCTION

The complete guide to passing your airline interview and simulator assessment, this FREE article will help enable you to get the best results possible for your airline interview or simulator preparation, covering everything from your application all the way through to your simulator check. This article has been written by the team at AviationInsider who consist of pilots, instructors and recruitment specialists working for major European national, business, leisure and low cost carriers
AviationInsider are here to assist you in any way they can.

So you’re in the job market, AviationInsider can help you with that.

Once your CV has been accepted and/or an application form has been submitted, the next most likely step is an invite to an assessment centre. Being invited to an assessment centre can be a scary prospect. There are many urban myths about the types of exercises you might face and how the assessors reach their decisions. In the following pages we will try to dispel these myths and explain what the assessors are actually looking for. This article aims to teach you the methods and core skills for tackling any exercise or question that comes your way. Practice makes perfect.

Assessments are often conducted in house at the company’s offices but may also take place online. Assessments often consist of a series of structured, timed exercises which are designed to simulate the kind of activities you would undertake in the job itself and test the core skills required to do it, these could include:

Presentations (Individual or Group)
Role Plays
Group discussions and tasks
Written case studies
Psychometric tests of aptitude and/or personality
Competency-based interviews
Social and networking events

The aim of the assessment center is to be as objective and as scientific as possible in evaluating candidates’ potential.
Several people will assess you over the course of the day, in order to reduce bias, this is perfectly normal and is nothing to worry about.
The assessors will be trained to document everything you say and do in order to evaluate you against a pre-set framework of competencies. A competency is essentially a behavioral trait or tendency enabling you do do something effectively or efficiently.
You are usually scored numerically against each of the competencies. Each competency is assessed across a number of exercises, your scores are then added up for each competency and are reviewed by the panel. Once all the data has been analyzed it is used to help assessors make a decision on your progress in the recruitment process.

Keep It Simple
When asked to deliver a presentation or participate in a group exercise, the assessors are evaluating your general approach, communication and organization skills. They are more interested in the process than the subject matter. So don’t get drawn into too much detail or agonize about the right answer to a problem. Stick to delivering a few key points well.

Listen and Co-operate
Being open to the views of others, demonstrating listening skills through your body language, seeking to build consensus and helping the group focus on the task in hand are more effective ways of showing leadership than coming up with lots of ideas or issuing instructions to others. Avoid the temptation to argue with, criticise or interrupt others at all costs Standing up for your views in a diplomatic way is your aim.

Participate enthusiastically
Employers often comment that successful candidates are those who are ready to have a go at any exercise, who show genuine interest in fellow candidates and who participate actively in discussions. Try to enjoy the assessment centre as an experience in itself, which will enhance your self-knowledge, regardless of the outcome. Your enthusiasm will shine through.

Be Yourself
Let your natural personality show. Don’t try to second-guess the sort of person you think the employer wants. It’s impossible to keep this up over an extended period and your behavior will appear unconvincing, simply being yourself is key.

Don’t presume the assessors are out to trap you
You wouldn’t have been invited to assessment if there was no intention of employing you. The assessors want you to get through so don’t let your mind cheat you out of your dream job. Assessment centres are expensive to run, just ask us and we will tell you how much time, effort and money goes into running one.

Find an opportunity to practice 
With assessment centres, like with most worthwhile activities, practice helps. If you can find the opportunity to run through exercises with a trusted friend you are likely to be more relaxed and well prepared when it comes to the day itself.

Think about the competencies you must display as a pilot, read up on those competencies and try to display them in every situation you can so that you are prepared psychologically for the assessment process. We will talk about the psychology behind mentally preparing yourself for your assessment in a later chapter.

Interview Preparation

Preparation is very important and will often define the outcome of your assessment day. You can practice any element of an assessment, the more exposure you have to any given section of the process, the more likely you are to pass. We first need to understand what we are going to face in an airline interview. By understanding the structure of the day, doing our research and preparing thoroughly we can get the results we desire.

Why do we need to prepare?

Airlines want to see motivated people on their assessment days. Aviation is an extremely costly and high-risk business; therefore Airlines want to lower their exposure to both of these factors. The more hoops they make you jump through the lower the risk they face during the training process.

Structure

What can we expect to get on an assessment day? The diagram below illustrates the structure of a typical airline assessment.

We will now go through each section in detail

CV

Your CV is the first opportunity to make the right impression on your future employer. A strong Curriculum Vitae (CV) is the key to getting an interview with a certain aviation company. A Curriculum Vitae is the summary of your experience and qualifications and should only be one page long. It is imperative that the most relevant information a recruiter is looking for is retrievable within the blink of an eye.
Although many airlines don’t require CV’s on an application it is imperative you have one when you go for an assessment.

The structure is very important and to help you with this AirlinePrep are industry leaders

NON TECHNICAL SKILLS

Why are they important?

Your whole assessment is based on the principles of Notechs. They are the industry accepted competencies you must display as a pilot. If you have a good understanding of what these competencies are then you will have a very good chance of passing your assessment.

Notech skills can be split into 4 competencies.

Situation Awareness, Decision Making, Workload Management and Co-operation.

These competencies can be further split into component skills which are listed below. Take time to look at all of these elements and make sure you cover them when preparing for your interview.

Situation Awareness

Decision Making

Workload Management

Co-operation

HOW DO NOTECHS WORK IN THE REAL WORLD?

The principle is misunderstood by so many, but when explained it appears so simple. The principle is that if one competency is degraded then all the other competencies must compensate. If one of these competencies is poor then it weakens the whole system.

In the diagrams below you can see two graphs depicting a pilot’s competencies. In the second graph one of the competencies has been reduced. This means that all of the other competencies must increase to keep the overall system safe. If there is no capacity available, then it means that we have a sub-optimal situation and the crew will need to acquire resources from external sources.

In the real world cooperation between the two pilots may break down. This means that the crew have to work significantly harder making decisions and dealing with workload. Situation Awareness will also need to increase to help the pilots regain a safe level of operation.

Notechs work hand in hand with threat and error management which we shall cover on the next page.

THREAT AND ERROR MANAGEMENT (TEM)

Threat and error management (TEM) is an overarching safety management approach that assumes that pilots will naturally make mistakes and encounter risky situations during flight operations. Rather than try to avoid these threats and errors, its primary focus is on teaching pilots to manage these issues so they do not impair safety.

Its goal is to maintain safety margins by training pilots and flight crews to detect and respond to events that are likely to cause damage (threats) as well as mistakes that are most likely to be made (errors) during flight operations. TEM allows crews to measure the complexities of a specific organization’s context, meaning that the threats and errors encountered by pilots will vary depending upon the type of flight operation, and record human performance in that context. TEM also considers technical issues (such as mechanical problems) and environmental issues and incorporates strategies from Crew Resource Management to teach pilots to manage threats and errors.

ICAO definition.

Most airlines have introduced TEM into their training programs. Safety management systems have detected a significant reduction in safety events when this approach has been implemented.

HOW DOES TEM DIFFER FROM CRM?

CRM

TEM

The following is a diagram illustrating how TEM works. The principle is based on identifying threats and errors before they happen so that they can be actively avoided.

If you want more information on threat and error management there is a free online PDF that Jet Blue wrote on the subject. It is a great explanation of TEM and will help you understand all the fundamentals. Please click below and it will open the pdf in a new tab.

Jet Blue pdf

TEM AND NOTECHS IN ASSESSMENTS

So how do we take everything that we have learnt and incorporate it into our assessment?

Prepare your answers in advance and allow the competencies to guide both your answers and your behavior. Remember in an interview, expressing issues with a competency can often help you significantly, as long as you identify what you did wrong and what you learnt from the process.

GROUP EXERCISE

Depending on the Airline and their selection procedures, the format of the group exercise may vary considerably. The three most common group exercise formats are:

1. Practical tasks: The most common form of group exercise, the group will be given a task, usually a problem-solving task and will be required to find the solution. These tasks may or may not be workplace relevant, for example, candidates may be asked to build a tower out of straw. The function of these exercises will be to test the teams’ coordination and team working ability, more so than individual knowledge or individual contribution.

2. Discussion: You may be asked to perform a leaderless group discussion, in which candidates will be presented with a workplace relevant scenario or problem. The group then must address this issue and find a logical conclusion, for example identifying a problem with an organization/department and agreeing on steps to resolve this issue.

3. Role-play exercise: Candidates may be asked to undergo a group role-play exercise. In this exercise, candidates will be provided with a particular role, background information on the situation and full briefing. An example of a group role-play exercise is a mock meeting, in which each candidate assumes a specific role, and must fulfill their respective objectives and the group objective.

They can be further split up into:

Free format
There are no roles allocated. You can create a role within the group but be careful if you decide to.
Semi Structured
There are roles available and you have to decide as a group who fits into each role.
Structured
You have a defined role to play within the exercise that has been chosen for you by the assessors.

General group exercise advice

These recommendations can help you succeed during your group exercise, and ensure that you impress recruiters and stand out from the crowd.

1. Stay as calm as possible: Composure, ability to work under pressure and confidence are highly prized competencies, which recruiters look for. Performance anxiety can be a mixed blessing as too much of it can hinder performance, but a moderate amount may sharpen focus and keep you on track. Just remember that the other candidates will be just as nervous as you are, and recruiters are fully aware of how nerve-racking assessment centers can be. So remember that no one is expecting you to be totally laid back (recruiters would not think you are taking it seriously if you were) but do your best to keep your composure and focus during the exercise.

2. Be yourself, but on a good day: You should always try to be yourself during these exercises, but at the same time try and highlight your strengths and your key competencies, while actively holding back some more negative instincts which may arise. For example if you are a natural leader, then let your ability shine, however, if your leadership style is aggressive or overly pressured, try to ignore these instincts and be more diplomatic and democratic.

3. Research the role before the assessment center: It may seem like common sense, but arming yourself with the knowledge of the role, the industry, and the organization can give you a clear vision of what they will be expecting in the group exercise.
4. Not too much, not too little: Recruiters want to notice you in the group exercise, they want to see you express your competencies and abilities as best you can, however they do not want narcissists that love the sound of their own voice. An important part of teamwork is contributing, and helping others contribute, after all, it is a GROUP exercise!

How to behave in a group exercise

Knowing how to act can be difficult in group exercises, and being observed can make things even more challenging. Here are some behavioral and interpersonal tips on how to present yourself in a group exercise:

1. Introduce yourself: It is very important to introduce yourself to the rest of the team, this can help break the ice and show recruiters you are taking steps to build rapport with your team.

2. Get the team to introduce themselves: Another important step in ensuring that everyone feels comfortable around each other, and this will show recruiters that you are taking the initiative and organizing the group.

3. Call everyone by their name: once you know your fellow candidates’ names, use them in conversation. This will help put everyone (including yourself) at ease, and show recruiters that you can build rapport, treat everyone as individuals and can make strong first impressions. Most assessors will give their candidates name badges.

4. Never give negative feedback to other candidates: If a candidate generates an idea, which you do not agree with, do not criticize them, even after the exercise has finished. Not only will this put the team on edge and make them feel less comfortable around you, but you will seem less diplomatic and less patient, putting off recruiters.

5. Collaborators not competitors: Do not think of your peers as your competitors for the position you want. Similarly do not try and show off, or out-compete your peers, it’s a group exercise and facilitating teamwork will impress recruiters. Aggressive individualism, over competitiveness and not supporting team members is a serious put off for recruiters and will be noted as poor performance.

Group Exercise examples

SURVIVAL
Discuss with your group what items you should take with you. Once you have consensus, elect a spokesman and present your decision.
Survival

ORION AIRLINES
You are a consultant working for Orion Airlines. They have problems with employee engagement. Decide in your group who should represent each department. Read your brief, look at the information and present your findings to the group. Once you have consensus, elect a spokesman and present 5 key messages/themes/actions to the Senior Management Team.
Orion Airlines

ROLES

Roles are very important in group exercises, without one we cannot assess you because you are not part of the team. The roles that people adopt when in group exercises are listed below:

ENCOURAGER
Energises groups when motivation is low through humor or through being enthusiastic. They are positive individuals who support and praise other group members. They don’t like sitting around. They like to move things along by suggesting ideas, by clarifying the ideas of others and by confronting problems. They may use humor to break tensions in the group.

They may say:
“We CAN do this!”
“That’s a great idea!”

COMPROMISER
Tries to maintain harmony among the team members. They are sociable, interested in others and will introduce people, draw them out and make them feel comfortable. They may be willing to change their own views to get a group decision. They work well with different people and can be depended on to promote a positive atmosphere, helping the team to gel. They pull people and tasks together thereby developing rapport. They are tolerant individuals and good listeners who will listen carefully to the views of other group members. They are good judges of people, diplomatic and sensitive to the feelings of others and not seen as a threat. They are able to recognize and resolve differences of opinion and the development of conflict, they enable “difficult” team-members to contribute positively.
They may say:
“We haven’t heard from Mike yet: I’d like to hear what you think about this.”
“I’m not sure I agree. What are your reasons for saying that?”

LEADER
Good leaders direct the sequence of steps the group takes and keep the group “on-track”. They are good at controlling people and events and coordinating resources. They have the energy, determination, and initiative to overcome obstacles and bring the competitive drive to the team. They give shape to the team effort. They recognize the skills of each individual and how they can be used. Leaders are outgoing individuals who have to be careful not to be domineering. They can sometimes steamroller the team but get results quickly. They may become impatient with complacency and lack of progress and may sometimes overreact. Also, see our leadership styles test.
They may say
“Let’s come back to this later if we have time.”
“We need to move on to the next step.”
“Sue, what do you think about this idea?”

SUMMARISER/CLARIFIER
Calm, reflective individuals who summarise the group’s discussion and conclusions. They clarify group objectives and elaborate on the ideas of others. They may go into detail about how the group’s plans would work and tie up loose ends. They are good mediators and seek consensus.

They may say:
“So here’s what we’ve decided so far”
“I think you’re right, but we could also add ….”

IDEAS PERSON
The ideas person suggests new ideas to solve group problems or suggests new ways for the group to organize the task. They dislike orthodoxy and are not too concerned with practicalities. They provide suggestions and proposals that are often original and radical. They are more concerned with the big picture than with details. They may get bored after the initial impetus wears off. See our lateral thinking skills page

They may say
“Why don’t we consider doing it this way?”

EVALUATOR
Evaluators help the group to avoid coming to an agreement too quickly. They tend to be slow in coming to a decision because of a need to think things over. They are the logical, analytical, objective people in the team and offer measured, dispassionate critical analysis. They contribute at times of crucial decision making because they are capable of evaluating competing proposals. They may suggest alternative ideas.

They may say:
“What other possibilities are there?”
or “Let’s try to look at this another way.”
or “I’m not sure we’re on the right track.”

RECORDER
The recorder keeps the group focused and organized. They make sure that everyone is helping with the project. They are usually the first person to offer to take notes to keep a record of ideas and decisions. They also like to act as time-keeper, to allocate times to specific tasks and remind the team to keep to them, or act as a spokesperson, to deliver the ideas and findings of the group. They may check that all members understand and agree on plans and actions and know their roles and responsibilities. They act as the memory of the group.

They may say:
“We only have five minutes left, so we need to come to an agreement now!”
“Do we all understand this chart?”
“Are we all in agreement on this?”

Destructive or selfish group roles to avoid!
Autocrat: tries to dominate or constantly interrupts other members of the team.
Show Off: talks all the time and thinks they know all the answers.
Butterfly: keeps changing the topic before others are ready.
Aggressor: doesn’t show respect to others, comments negatively about them.
Avoider: refuses to focus on the task or on group relationship problems.
Critic: always sees the negative side to any argument, but never suggests alternatives. Puts down the ideas of others.
Help seeker: looks for sympathy from others: victim
Self-confessor: uses the group as a forum for inappropriate talk about self.
Clown: shows no involvement in group and engages in distracting communication.

General group exercise advice

These recommendations can help you succeed during your group exercise, and ensure that you impress recruiters and stand out from the crowd.

1. Stay as calm as possible: Composure, ability to work under pressure and confidence are highly prized competencies, which recruiters look for. Performance anxiety can be a mixed blessing as too much of it can hinder performance, but a moderate amount may sharpen focus and keep you on track. Just remember that the other candidates will be just as nervous as you are, and recruiters are fully aware of how nerve-racking assessment centers can be. So remember that no one is expecting you to be totally laid back (recruiters would not think you are taking it seriously if you were) but do your best to keep your composure and focus during the exercise.

2. Be yourself, but on a good day: You should always try to be yourself during these exercises, but at the same time try and highlight your strengths and your key competencies, while actively holding back some more negative instincts which may arise. For example if you are a natural leader, then let your ability shine, however, if your leadership style is aggressive or overly pressured, try to ignore these instincts and be more diplomatic and democratic.

3. Research the role before the assessment center: It may seem like common sense, but arming yourself with the knowledge of the role, the industry, and the organization can give you a clear vision of what they will be expecting in the group exercise.
4. Not too much, not too little: Recruiters want to notice you in the group exercise, they want to see you express your competencies and abilities as best you can, however, they do not want narcissists that love the sound of their own voice. An important part of teamwork is contributing, and helping others contribute, after all, it is a GROUP exercise!

How to behave in a group exercise

Knowing how to act can be difficult in group exercises, and being observed can make things even more challenging. Here are some behavioral and interpersonal tips on how to present yourself in a group exercise:

1. Introduce yourself: It is very important to introduce yourself to the rest of the team, this can help break the ice and show recruiters you are taking steps to build rapport with your team.

2. Get the team to introduce themselves: Another important step in ensuring that everyone feels comfortable around each other, and this will show recruiters that you are taking the initiative and organizing the group.

3. Call everyone by their name: once you know your fellow candidates’ names, use them in conversation. This will help put everyone (including yourself) at ease and show recruiters that you can build rapport, treat everyone as individuals and can make strong first impressions. Most assessors will give their candidates name badges.

4. Never give negative feedback to other candidates: If a candidate generates an idea, which you do not agree with, do not criticize them, even after the exercise has finished. Not only will this put the team on edge and make them feel less comfortable around you, but you will seem less diplomatic and less patient, putting off recruiters.

5. Collaborators, not competitors: Do not think of your peers as your competitors for the position you want. Similarly, do not try and show off, or out-compete your peers, it’s a group exercise and facilitating teamwork will impress recruiters. Aggressive individualism, over competitiveness and not supporting team members is a serious put off for recruiters and will be noted as poor performance.

INTERVIEW

There are basically eight types of questions you may face during the course of your interview:

Credential verification questions
This type of question includes “What was your previous job?” and “How long were you at _____?” Also known as resume verification questions. Its purpose is to objectively verify the depth of knowledge of the credentials in your background.

Experience verification questions
This type of question includes “What did you learn in that operation?” and “What were your responsibilities in that position?” Its purpose is to subjectively evaluate features of your background.

Opinion questions
This type of question includes “What would you do in this situation?” and “What are your strengths and weaknesses?” Its purpose is to subjectively analyze how you would respond in a series of scenarios.

Behavioral questions
This type of question includes “Can you give me a specific example of how you did that?” and “What were the steps you followed to accomplish that task?” Its purpose is to objectively measure past behaviors as a predictor of future results.

Competency questions
This type of question includes “Can you give me a specific example of your leadership skills?” or “Explain a way in which you sought a creative solution to a problem.” Its purpose is to align your past behaviors with specific competencies which are required for the position.

Brainteaser questions
This type of question includes “What is 1000 divided by 73?” to “How many ping pong balls could fit in a Volkswagen?” to complex algorithms. Its purpose is to evaluate not only your mental math calculation skills but also your creative ability in formulating the mathematical formula for providing an answer (or estimate, as can often be the case). These are normally tested electronically.

Case questions
This type of question includes problem-solving questions ranging from: “How many gas stations are there in Europe?” to “What is your estimate of the global online retail market for books?” Its purpose is to evaluate your problem-solving abilities and how you would analyze and work through potential case situations. These are normally tested through your personality or psychometric test.

Dumb questions
Firstly, this is not a joke. This type of question includes “What kind of animal would you like to be?” and “What colour best describes you?” Their purpose is to get past your pre-programmed answers to find out if you are capable of original thought. There is not necessarily a right or wrong answer since it is used primarily to test your ability to think on your feet. (Quite rare but a few companies still ask you these types of questions)

APTITUDE TESTS

Verbal Reasoning Tests

Verbal reasoning tests assess your understanding and comprehension skills. You will be presented with a short passage of text and will need to answer a True, False or Cannot Say response to each statement.

Maths Tests
Numerical Reasoning tests demonstrate a candidates ability to deal with numbers quickly and accurately. These tests contain questions that assess your knowledge of ratios, percentages, cost and graph analysis, rates, trends and currency conversions.

Personality and Psychometric Tests

Personality and Psychometrics are essentially a big umbrella for all assessment tests. So why do we have a separate page on it here? We need to look at a more specific area called Psychological testing. Using the results of this test, an assessment can be made of the candidate’s motivation, personality traits, mental stability, leadership skills, effectiveness in a team, and their general integrity. Although the assessment of mental health conditions may be deemed illegal by an equal employment opportunity commission, aviation is an industry where this is becoming more acceptable due to perceived risk.

Psychological tests

What are we testing? “A psychological test is an instrument designed to measure unobserved constructs, also known as latent variables.” I will break this down into basics so that you understand what i’m talking about.

What is an unobserved construct? An idea or theory containing various conceptual elements, typically it is considered to be subjective and not based on evidence which is verifiable by observation. It is theoretical and therefore it can only be observed by the researcher or assessor using indicators.

For example; I want to test whether a candidate trusts his colleagues. I could ask the candidate directly but there is a good chance I would get the wrong answer. I need to ask a series of questions that will indicate what that underlying construct may be.

So can we lie to pass the test. The quick answer to this is no. If the test has been well thought out there will be many different options available to the assessor to observe the desired latent variable.

If you try to skew the test by predicting what the assessor wants you may well fail the test. Quite often they will create questions that will determine whether the individual candidate is trying to alter the outcome. This may be an indicator of control issues or dishonesty.

When constructing a test, there must be enough evidence to support the specified interpretation of the results. This evidence must be displayed consistently, over time across all raters.

Psychological assessment

This is similar to psychological testing but usually involves a more comprehensive assessment of the individual by a Psychologist. A Psychologist will collect collateral information about personal, occupational history such as from records or from interviews. Using the test results they will then make an assessment of the candidate’s suitability.

Summary

Don’t try to pass the test by guessing what the assessor wants. Answer the questions honestly and quickly, this will help you later on if the test is assessed by a Psychologist.

The Sim Check

Most candidates hate this part of their assessment because they feel like all their skills are being assessed all at once and in a very short time frame.

Let us put you at ease, the assessors are probably not looking for Chuck Jaeger. If they were looking for Chuck then they wouldn’t be asking you to apply for an airline job.

It is a total misconception that you are being assessed solely on your ability to fly an airplane. All airlines look at Notechs and TEM when it comes to assessing their candidates in the simulator. If you employ these techniques then you will significantly increase your chance of being selected.

Here are some key points to follow before your sim check:

-Make sure you have obtained a briefing sheet before the check. This should explain what is expected of you during the simulator session.

-If the aircraft is unfamiliar, make sure you have all the documentation. You need to have access to the following:
-Power/Thrust and Pitch settings for each phase of flight
-Take off
-Climb
-Acceleration
-Straight and level at 250 Kts
-Descent
-Holding
-Intermediate Approach Flap setting
-Final Approach Flap

-What is their preferred Check List?
-What are their preferred SOPs?
-What plates should I use for the exercise, LIDO, JEPP’s, AERAD’s or NAVTECH?
-What is their preferred briefing technique?
-What is their preferred failure management technique?

The key to the sim check is preparedness. If you know what the profiles are and you have all the settings memorized then you will have far more capacity to demonstrate the notechs, which is what the assessor really wants to see.
If the aircraft type is unfamiliar you may want to get a practice assessment simulator. A couple of key points here.
Make sure the simulator is approved. If you fly a simulator that does not replicate the aircraft properly then it may do more harm than good.
Choose a company that can cater to that particular check. Ask them if they do assessment sims for {xxxxx}
Assess how much sim time you would need before talking to the company.

Arriving for your check.

Give yourself plenty of time to arrive at the sim center. This will help reduce stress and make you a little more relaxed. Be careful who you chat to when you get to the sim center, it may be your assessor.

During the briefing, the assessor should explain what is expected of you. If you have any questions this is the time to ask.

During the sim detail, if things don’t go as planned, try to stick to the basics. FLY, NAVIGATE, COMMUNICATE. Ask your sim partner for help so that you can regain your situation awareness. This will be marked up as a positive since you are displaying self-awareness and you are aware of what you need to do to improve the situation.

During the debrief you will be asked to critique yourself. Quite often a sim assessment is won or lost in the debrief. If you did something wrong admit it, the assessor will have seen it. Explain why you think it went wrong but emphasize how you improved the situation. An example of this may be that you took up a wrong track on the SID. How did you recover the situation? “I asked my sim partner to verify what the correct track was and then corrected. If I was to change something I would have got him to confirm the correct track before I flew it. I may have even asked him to do this during the briefing.” This shows self-awareness and the ability to learn.

If AviationInsider can be of any assistance then please contact us info@aviationinsider.co.uk. Good luck!

Airside Elliot: My Aviation Story So far

Airside Elliot: My Aviation Story So far: I had always wanted to work in aviation from a very young age, I loved watching Airport and Airline as a child, I found the program so intriguing, I am convinced the shows planted the seed in my brain that I wanted to work in aviation and be part of such an amazing industry, I always remember how I felt as a young child when at the airport, there was just something about the hustle and bustle of the airport that I loved, the excitement of flying, the smell of kerosene, the different types of aircraft and the sounds of the planes landing and taking off, There is a buzz in the air, I still find the airport just as exciting now as I did when I was a child, I could spend all day watching the aircraft taking off and landing, its something I see day in day out at Gatwick but even after 6 years in the airport I love it.

I was determined that I would work in aviation. I would not give up on my dream,  I always wanted to cabin crew, The job always fascinated me, I remember watching the crew when I was a passenger and dreaming that one day that it would be me wearing that uniform. I had to keep dreaming until I was old enough.

Fast forward to November 2011, My local airport which had always been quiet, got the approval for a runway extension, this was amazing news for me, I had dreamed at working at an airport and now my local airport was expanding. Even better news, later on that year easyjet announced that they would open up a base at the airport.

Whilst I had always wanted to be crew, I just didn’t have the confidence in myself to actually go for an assessment day as I felt I would fail and not make it, although I applied to work for easyjet and did get an interview I never actually booked an interview. So I was checking the airports website daily for jobs to come up. Then the day finally came, “seasonal passenger services and security agent” I had to apply for this job, It meant the world to me. It was my foot in the door into a growing airport and into aviation.

After submitting my application I had a nail biting few weeks while I waited to hear back from the airport, I finally got the call that They wanted to invite me for an interview. The date was set, I spent weeks and weeks researching London Southend and the growth plans, I knew everything about the airport. The day of the interview came and I found out 2 days later that I had been successful. I was elated with myself, I felt on top of the world, I had finally made it!

March 2012, My start date had finally came, It was my first day, I felt so proud, I walked into the terminal with my head held high, I had made it. I was finally part of the London southend airport story.  Because the airport was so small, every staff member at the time did passenger services and security, The 3 week training course begun, oh my god what have I got myself into, I doubted myself that I was going to be able to pass this training. There was so much to learn in a short period of time. I was even more sacred about scanning bags on the Xray, the security of passengers and safety  of aircrafts was in my hands, I had such a big responsibility, being only 18 I was extremely nervous about this. However everyone on my course passed the training.

There was so much to Learn. I was finally someone when I got my first airside pass, I wore this proudly, I had made it. One manager said to me and it has always stuck with me because its true – “if you last the first year in aviation, you will be in it for life” It is so true and I will explain later on. I was absolutely loving my work, I loved carrying out security patrols around the airport because I was able to spot planes outside, it was a whole new world. After a few months of just doing security the time had come for me to ask to go onto check in, to me security whilst a major part of aviation, it wasn’t me, I dreamed of working on check in and working with the passengers.

I remember the day I check in my first passenger flying to Malaga. Being the face of easyjet or Aer lingus was more like what I had wanted to do all my life, I loved checking in flights especially the Thomson flight to Palma on a Saturday because it was different and there always seamed to be problems which I liked because it gave me experience in problem solving. Check in and boarding was defiantly my favourite job at London Southend, I love how the check in area looked, I would always swap with people if I knew I was going to be in security.

Whilst working at London Southend I was also featured on the TV problem – Stobart: trucks trains and planes, I was amazed that the tv crew actually wanted to follow me around for the day, they found it fascinating that I was into plane spotting and that I flew to Oslo to try out the Norwegian B787. After a day of filming, I was on TV a few months later, I could not believe it !!

Towards the end on 2014 things started to decline, I wanted to progress into a dispatch role, However the positions just never came up or when they did they company would offer them to people with experience. I went for a team leader jobs but again it was a no, I started to become disillusioned I was bored, angry as I felt the company was holding me back I was stuck in a rut, a job and airport I once loved, I started to resent and hate, I became a very negative person towards the company, whatever I tried to do I just couldn’t shake the hate and negativity I had a very supportive supervisor who tried to get me to snap out of it, she was problem one of the only people that tried to help me.

2015 was a very hard year for me, feeling at an all-time low, at the airport, things started to happen, I had strained relations with managers and HR (I won’t go into details) It lead to handing in my notice and leaving, It was a very sad day for me, however I had to leave the airport, I left on bad terms. its only in the last year that I have come to terms with events and let go and moved on.

My last shift at the airport was very emotional, 3 years of working with such a great team had come to an end. A few days after leaving London Southend airport I took a job at London city Airport, as a passenger service agent, i thought it was a step up from London Southend, However after just 1 month I wasn’t enjoying my time at the airport, the airport was great, lots going on and lots of new things to learn, I however missed London Southend and I couldn’t see a future at London city. So I left, I have no regrets about leaving London City, the time was not right for me.

I needed time out of aviation, my last few weeks at London southend were not pleasant and I needed time to get over it, While at London City I would always compare things to my old job which is not a good thing. I spent 6 months out of aviation, at first i loved it working 9-5 in an office selling new houses.  however as time went on i started to miss the airport, I was thinking about aviation all the time and I had to get back into the airport!! I set myself a target of leaving Barratt homes and being back at the airport in 1 month, So the task began.

Where to start, well after never having the confidence, I applied for the role of cabin crew with easyjet. I was actually successful in gaining a role with the airline as crew based at London Southend. I was so proud of myself, I had actually achieved my dream of being crew, however my happiness was short lived. A few weeks after getting my email saying I was successful my job offer was withdrawn. I am convinced to this day at someone from my previous job said something to easyjet to make them withdraw my offer. Feeling very disappointed at this stage, I looked for other opportunities.

A few days latter I saw a job with Menzies as a flight dispatch  based at Gatwick. There was one problem for me with a job at Gatwick being that I live 70 miles from Gatwick, however I had to get back into aviation, I needed this, I felt like a nobody when working at the office but working at the airport I felt like I had a purpose.

This job meant the world to me, I felt like I had reach rock bottom, I was so nervous when I had my Menzies interview, the job meant the world to be because if i didn’t get this job I had no idea what I was going to do with my life. I had the interview and just one hour later I found out I was successful, and i would need to start just one week later on, I couldn’t believe my eyes when i read the email, I was so happy handing in my notice. I felt like I was a somebody now, I had a purpose in life again.

A few days before my start date at Menzies, I received my training pack, there was so much to brush up on, airport codes, airport Jargon, most of this was familiar with me however I needed to make sure I knew my stuff I wanted to make a good impression. The training was very hard and intense, I had airport experience so this was not a new environment for me but I struggled, maths was never my strong point, so manual load sheets were difficult and made my head hurt! This was the only time in my life where I actually did my home work!

After a long 2 weeks of classroom training, I finally passed the basic dispatch training the next week I would finally be airside, learning the job I was so excited, but first we had to collect the uniform. This was probably the most proud moment in my career, wearing this hi vis, I had wanted to be a dispatcher for years, and I had made it, I had achieved my career ambition after so may set backs at London Southend, I proved to myself I could actually do this.

We had all passed with flying colours. After the weekend, the day had finally come, I was going airside to learn the ropes, I was so nervous, I my first day at menzies was crazy and a blur, walking into the crew room was like being a new person at a school, everyone was looking at you, it was very daunting.

The first few days were awful, I had sleepless nights at home, I would think to myself I cant do this job, its too hard for me, too stressful, Gatwick was huge, it was mad and so busy, I was used to southend airport with its 6 gates and 9 flights per day, Gatwick was just nothing like I was used to at all. But I liked it. I felt at home at the airport.

After just 2 weeks i was ready for my check flights, I felt like I was not ready at all, however I was told that I was ready, that day was a blur to me, but somehow I passed all 3 of my check flights. The dreaded day came I was now a flight dispatcher I was singed off !! I was now alone, I was so nervous, I had no idea which terminal was north or south, I had no idea where any of the stands were.

The time had come I entered the crew room and given a radio, PDA and car, My first was already on the PDA, I  managed to find the stand, after driving past it a few times, I was all over the place, I was stressing myself out so much but I did it, I had dispatched my first flight what an achievement. As the days, weeks and months went on, I became more confident and less stressed, however one morning I had a break down because the pressure was too much for me, i had flight files that I had not finished and they were all muddled up and I still had more flights and no time, I had to get over this hurdle, I learnt to deal with the work load and stress of the job.

Fast forward to now, I have now been at Gatwick for 2 years and It has been an amazing time, I love my job so much, I love the challenges that it brings, every day is different, I wouldn’t have it any other way, my motivation to get up every day is knowing that I am working at Gatwick, I have to pinch myself to make sure I am not dreaming, I never thought I would end up at Gatwick, from such a small airport to such a huge airport its a dream come true, again at my lowest point at London southend I thought I would never have achieved my ambition of becoming a flight dispatcher.

Never give up on your dreams and ambitions, you will achieve them once the time is right, always learn from the mistakes you make and move on, remain positive and always smile.

How to pass your ATPL Ground school Performance Exam. Here are the Facts and figures!

How to pass your ATPL Ground school Performance Exam. Here are the Facts and figures!, ATPL Ground school Performance Facts and figures:

Key

ROC = Rate of climb
ROD = Rate of descent
TAS = True airspeed
GS = Groundspeed
NM = Nautical miles
FPM = Feet per minute
KTS = Knots (nautical miles per hour)
M = Metres
Ft = Feet
ASDA = Accelerate stop distance available
TODA = Takeoff distance available
TORA = Takeoff run available

Conversions

1 metre = 3.28 feet
1 Nautical mile = 6080 feet

AIRCRAFT WINGSPAN LESS THAN 60 METRES
Semi width (m) = (60 + 1/2 wingspan) + 0.125D
D = Distance from reference zero
OBSTACLE ACCOUNTABILITY AREA
AIRCRAFT WINGSPAN 60 METRES OR MORE
Semi width (m) = 90 + 0.125D

TAKE OFF (CLASS B)
PERFORMANCE FACTORS

Factors applied based on the assessment of the runway condition.
Paved wet: 1.0
Grass wet: 1.3
Grass dry: 1.2
Slope: 1.05 per 1%

(5% increase per 1% slope. Only apply if take – off distance will be increased)

REGULATION FACTORS
Factors applied as required by the regulator to ensure safety margins on the take off distances.

UNBALANCE FIELD
1.3 not exceeding ASDA
1.15 not exceeding TODA
1.0 not exceeding TORA

BALANCED FIELD
1.25 not exceeding TORA
NB: Balanced field is when TODA = ASDA

TAKEOFF CLASS A
The regulation factors for class A are slightly more complicated. It depends upon whether we are looking at take off distance with or without clear way and we must also compare the take off run with all engines inoperative. We don’t expect that you will be asked to compare each possibility to find the required take – of for accelerate – stop distance. However to see what we are referencing please head to the CAA CAP 698 section 4 pages 7–8.

LANDING
Factors applied based on the assessment of the runway condition.

Wet : 1.15
Grass: 1.15
Slope: 1.05 per 1% (only apply if landing distance will be increased.)

REGULATION FACTOR
Factors applied as required by the regulator to ensure a safety margin on landing distances
All props: 1.43
All Jets: 1.67

PERFORMANCE: TAKE OFF V SPEEDS – DEFINITIONS
VMCG – SPEED FOR MINIMUM CONTROL ON THE GROUND

This is the minimum speed at which directional control would be maintained following an engine failure on the ground. The direction must be maintained using only aerodynamic controls, it is assumed the remaining engine has take off thrust applied.

VMCA – SPEED FOR MINIMUM CONTROL IN THE AIR

This is the minimum speed at which directional control would be maintained following an engine failure in the air. In this case, directional control can be maintained when the heading can be kept within 20 degrees of the planned heading using no more than 5 degrees angle of bank.

VEF – SPEED OF CRITICAL ENGINE FAILURE

The speed at which we assume the critical engine will fail. It is never less than VMCG and is equal to the speed attained 2 seconds before V1.

VMU – SPEED FOR MINIMUM ‘UNSTICK’

At and above this speed the aircraft can safely lift off the ground and safely continue it’s take off and climb to screen height. It is the lowest unstick speed for a given set of conditions.

V1 – THE TAKE-OFF DECISION SPEED

This is both the fastest speed at which the aircraft can be stopped and the slowest speed at which the aircraft can continue the take-off roll following an engine failure.

VR – THE ROTATE SPEED

The calculated speed that the pilot should rotate the aircraft to lift the nose wheel from the runway.

VLOF – LIFT OFF SPEED

The speed at which the main wheels should lift off the ground following rotation at VR. This varies depending on certain conditions e.g mass and flap configuration.

V2 – THE TAKE-OFF SAFETY SPEED

The speed at which the aircraft should accelerate to after rotating at VR with one engine inoperative. It is the slowest speed at which it is deemed safe to climb the aeroplane with one engine inoperative.

VMBE – SPEED FOR MAXIMUM BREAK ENERGY

This speed is the highest speed from which the aircraft could come to a complete stop within the energy capabilities of the breaks.

VTYRE – THE HIGHEST ROTATING TYRE SPEED

This is the highest speed along the ground that the tyre could rotate before losing its structural integrity and failing.

This table compares VR and V2 to the speeds of VMCA and VS. Questions on the comparison of these speeds are frequently asked in the EASA exams so this is knowledge that we recommend obtaining!

 VR MinimumV2 Minimum
VMCA1.05 VMCA1.1 VMCA
VS1.1 VS (Class B aircraft)1.2 VS (B)1.12 VS (A)

NB: VS = Stall speed

How important is Airline Simulator Assessment Preparation?

I’m 7 hours into an assessment day with one of the UK and Europe’s biggest airlines. I’ve completed the interview, the group exercises, and the hours of sitting around making nervous, friendly small talk. Tiredness is starting to set in as we’re taken to a simulator training centre for the final stage of the process – a 1 hour simulator assessment.

We’re briefed on the profile, an hours flying and an hours monitoring in the 737 classic – doesn’t seem too bad. Throw in some NDB tracking and holding and an approach – it’s starting to sound a little more challenging. There’ll be no automatics or flight directors – ok great. And here are the profiles you need to fly, the pitch and power settings you’ll need to set, the calls you’ll need to make. Thank God I took notes. We’re paired off with each other and given some time to prepare. My partner is looking rather nervous and suggests that we sit down and talk through the profiles and the calls we’re going to make. He begins trying to recall the power settings, ‘60 and 6 for 210kts clean, is it 65 and 5 for 250kts, or 4?’ I’m feeling considerably more comfortable – I already have a pretty good idea of the profile, and the pitch and power settings are already burnt into my mind.

Before attending the assessment day, I’d completed a Simulator Assessment Preparation session with Aviation Insider. Alongside a TRI, I’d sat in the 737-300 simulator a couple of weeks before and together we’d flown through various exercises designed to make me feel comfortable with flying the aircraft. We’d also flown a profile similar to the one I could expect in the assessment, created based on feedback from previous candidates. In a comprehensive briefing, I’d learned the takeoff and approach profiles for the 737 and been taught various tips and tricks for flying the aircraft – we’d even covered the various briefing techniques used by the airline.

Was it necessary? There’s an argument that says that spending money on Simulator Assessment Preparation isn’t needed. The assessment is designed to test for a positive learning curve, as well as handling and multi-crew skills, and flying capacity – they’re not expecting perfection. But it’s the last point which is important. When you’re placed into a new, unfamiliar aircraft flight deck, it takes a large chunk of your capacity in order to safely and accurately fly the aeroplane. Your mind is concentrating almost completely on the pitch and power settings, trimming the aircraft and following the flight profile. You’re left with very little spare capacity with which to demonstrate your airmanship, CRM and notech skills – the skills which set you apart from everyone else. If you’ve overcome this initial phase in an assessment preparation session, you’ll use less of your capacity on flying the aircraft, and really be able to shine in the real assessment.

Of course, it’s important to choose the right provider for your Simulator Assessment Preparation. There are many companies who provide various levels and standards of training on various levels of simulator. Aviation Insider only use full motion, level D simulators – the same simulators as the airlines will use. Aviation Insider’s instructors are all currently operating airline pilots, with experience of airline recruitment profiles. The standard of support and training you get from Aviation Insider is second to none. They also provide Assessment Preparation guides which is compiled from feedback from previous clients as well as handy tips on flying the aircraft.

If youre intersted in simulator preparation, find out more about Aviation Insider’s Simulator Assessment Preparation here

What is an Air Operators Certificate?

What is an Air Operators Certificate? An Air Operator Certificate (AOC) is a certificate authorizing an operator to carry out specified commercial air transport operations. (ICAO Annex 6)

Description

An air operator certificate (AOC), sometimes alternatively described as an Air Operator Permit (AOP), is the approval granted from a national aviation authority (NAA) to an aircraft operator to allow it to use aircraft for commercial purposes. This requires the operator to have personnel, assets and systems in place to ensure the safety of its employees and the general public. This document will as a minimum detail the aircraft types which may be used, for what purpose and in what geographic region.

“… prior to commencing commercial air operations, the operator shall apply for and obtain an air operator certificate (AOC) issued by the competent authority.” (IR-OPS ORO.AOC.100 Application for an air operator certificate)

An operator shall not operate an airplane for the purpose of commercial air transportation otherwise than under, and in accordance with, the terms and conditions of an Air Operator Certificate (AOC). (EU-OPS 1.175 (a))

IR-OPS ORO.AOC (EU-OPS 1.175) details the general rules for Air Operator Certification.

An AOC specifies the:(a) Name and location (principal place of business) of the operator;(b) Date of issue and period of validity;(c) Description of the type of operations authorised;(d) Type(s) of aeroplane(s) authorised for use;(e) Registration markings of the authorised aeroplane(s) except that operators may obtain approval for a system to inform the Authority about the registration markings for aeroplanes operated under its AOC;(f) Authorised areas of operation;(g) Special limitations; and(h) Special authorisations/approvals e.g.:

Categories

AOCs can be granted for one or more of the following activities:

Requirements

The requirements for obtaining an AOC vary from country to country but are generally defined as:

The certificate is held by a legal person who resides in the country or region of application (for EASA)

International variations

An AOC is referred to as an Air Carrier Operating Certificate in the USA.

Flight Crew Licensing explained

Description

Flight Crew Licensing explained. Licensing of flight crew has been in existence almost since the beginning of aviation. The first pilot licenses were issued in 1909 with the first international licensing standards following in 1919. Flight Crew Licencing (FCL) is usually the function of a State NAA, although the JAA-FCL system in Europe broke new ground by introducing an agreed international flight crew licensing system which could be implemented by participating NAAs.

Flight Crew Licenses

The ICAO licensing system detailed in Chapter 2 of Annex 1 covers the qualification for an issue of licenses and ratings for pilots of airplanes and helicopters, gliders, and free balloons. It also has a provision in Chapter 3 for licenses for flight engineers and flight navigators.

Regulatory activities which are a direct consequence of FCL include:

The particular case of medical fitness leads to the privileges of any flight crew license being conditional upon the inclusion within it of evidence of valid certification of medical fitness.

FCL in Europe

Having inherited an established a European FCL system from the former JAA which was implemented by each participating NAA, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) was given, under Regulation (EC) No 216/2008 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 February 2008 (also referred to as the EASA “Basic Regulation”), full legal responsibility for Flight Crew Licensing in European Union States. EASA is able to rely upon the support of the NAAs in the Member States acting as Qualified Entities to implement FCL. Initially, the JAR-FCL system has been continued almost entirely as inherited whilst EASA has consulted through the NPA system on change proposals prior to introducing Implementing Rules. That consultation is now complete and is helping to provide the basis for the new Rules which will provide for future FCL in Europe. It is currently anticipated that these will comprise two sets of requirements, one covering FCL and the other covering medical certification for all personnel licensing purposes. The requirements will be formulated so as to ensure compliance with Annex III of Regulation (EC) No 216/2008 and will take into account existing JAR-FCL 1, 2 and 3 requirements, existing requirements of individual Member States and ICAO Annex 1 Standards and Recommended Practices.

The EASA ‘Basic Regulation’

Article 7 of Regulation (EC) No 216/2008, the EASA ‘Basic Regulation’ states that:

“…Pilots involved in the operation of aircraft referred to in Article 4(1)(b) and (c), as well as flight simulation training devices, persons and organizations involved in the training, testing, checking or medical assessment of these pilots, shall comply with the relevant ‘essential requirements’ laid down in Annex III [of the Regulation]….”

Article 21 the same Regulation states that:

  1. With regard to the personnel and organizations referred to in Article 7(1), the Agency shall:(a) conduct, itself or through national aviation authorities or qualified entities, investigations and audits of the organisations it certifies and, where relevant, their personnel;(b) issue and renew the certificates of pilot training organisations and aero-medical centres located outside the territory of the Member States and, where relevant, their personnel;(c) amend, limit, suspend or revoke the relevant certificate when the conditions according to which it was issued by it are no longer fulfilled, or if the legal or natural person holding the certificate fails to fulfill the obligations imposed on it by this Regulation or its implementing rules.
  2. With regard to the flight simulation training devices referred to in Article 7(1), the Agency shall:(a) conduct, itself or through national aviation authorities or qualified entities, technical inspections of the devices it certifies;(b) issue and renew the certificates of:(i) flight simulation training devices used by training organisations certified by the Agency; or(ii) flight simulation training devices located within the territory of the Member States, if requested by the Member State concerned;

Further Reading

ICAO

EASA

UK CAA

What you need to know to be successful in a pilot assessment

What you need to know to be successful in a pilot assessment, Lots of pilots who have gone through simulator Assessments, have asked if there was anything they could do to increase their chances of passing the simulator assessment and what the secret is.

The secret is that there is no secret. Preparation is the key.

The simulator assessment is not a new thing that you will be asked to demonstrate. It’s a Line Oriented Exercise which you do almost every time you strap in the cockpit. It will include a departure, a cruise period, a descent and a final approach. As assessors, we like to see how you plan and organize your flight when a situation arises. Hence the short but intense simulator assessment.

Remember you will always receive instructions prior to your simulator evaluation. This package will contain or should contain, a short description of departure airports and approaches you can expect to fly from. A pre-flight briefing will be given and I recommend that you take notes.

We will be asking you to demonstrate your ability as a pilot flying and as a pilot monitoring. Nothing new there – it’s something you do on a daily basis. A precision approach is a precision approach. It’s part of the daily profile, you fly day in and day out. So study the approach profile before the actual event and think ahead on what to do if something unexpected happens – like an engine failure (hint). Again, nothing new there. You are required to fly an engine out approach every 6 months. Checklist procedures is not new either. The management of the flight under normal and non-normal is taught the day you start your line training. So once again, nothing new there.

The question is why do pilots get all wound up when asked to demonstrate something they do all the time?

I’m not sure what the answer to that question is, but what I can tell you is this: if you planned to know in advance what the profile will be (friends who have flown it will help you here) and fly it in your mind several times and look at your current management model which will help you in your decision making and problem-solving. I can almost guarantee that your chances of success will be greater than before.

What are the different types of jobs at airports?

Summary of the different Jobs within an Airport

Baggage Handler

The baggage and air cargo handler loads and unloads baggage, air mail, air express, and air cargo shipments. He or she operates baggage tugs, conveyors, fork lifts, and other baggage and air freight handling equipment. The Baggage Handler is responsible for loading and unloading baggage. They may lift heavy luggage, mail sacks, and fasten freight under pressure and time. They use trucks, forklifts, baggage carts, and conveyors to load aircraft in a safe and cautious manner. These materials are loaded in the baggage compartments (belly) of the aircraft. Almost all work is done outdoors and uniforms are required for security purposes. These employees work on arriving and departing aircraft which provides a varying work schedule in accordance to the airlines flight schedule. Training is usually done on the job.

Airport Duty Manager

The Duty Manager is the ‘go-to’ member of the management team who is accountable for operations on a day-to-day basis. Candidates who wish to become duty manages should have the following characteristics:

Refueler

The aircraft fueller works outdoors in all kinds of weather with potentially hazardous aviation gasoline and kerosene. They operate refueling trucks, and lift a heavy amount of equipment. 

In the course of a normal day, a fueler makes approximately 25 trips in and out of their truck. They climb ladders or stools as much as 30 times while connecting and disconnecting the nozzles from the aircraft. Some aircraft requires reaching fill points that are approximately 12ft off the ground. Average responses to aircraft are 15 fuelings per day. Strict safety rules must be observed on the ground, on the ramp and while using equipment.

Fuelers may also be asked to assist with the ramp services and perform lavatory services for aircraft. The job entails shift work is required, and a uniform must be worn.

Ramp Service Personnel

Ramp servicepersons who work on the ramp and service the exterior of the aircraft, wash, polish, touch up paint, and de-ice the aircraft. Chemicals are used to prevent corrosion of surfaces. Ramp service persons sponge, brush, mop, and hose the outside of planes.

They must stand on scaffolding or ride special lift equipment to reach high places. Although usually in a hangar, they sometimes work outdoors. The heaviest work schedules are at night, when most aircraft are not in service. Shift work is required, and work is done frequently under pressure of time. Uniforms must be worn.

Driver

This job category includes drivers of food trucks, mobile stairs, employees’ buses, messenger cars, conveyors, cleaning equipment, aircraft air conditioning and power carts, and other equipment.

These employees drive equipment to the aircraft and operate machinery used to load and off-load food containers, galley units, and other kinds of equipment. They attach and detach ground air conditioning and power carts, move stairs, or drive employee buses between airline facilities at the airport. They are usually on a regular work schedule.

Airline Flight Operations

A job as a flight dispatcher or aviation scheduler involves a lot of pressure, Airlines could not function efficiently without highly skilled people on the ground, ensuring aircraft are where they need to be. A vital part of airport life is the task of keeping the airplanes operating on schedule.

Flight operations must take into account the weather – both during the journey and at the final destination. That means studying winds aloft, thinking about alternative destinations, fuel requirements, altitudes, and general traffic flow.

Schedule Coordinator

A schedule coordinators job is to maintain the integrity of the flight schedule by ensuring flights are fully staffed. They assign and cover open flying in accordance with the pilot and flight attendant contracts and applicable Federal Air Regulations. They are responsible for handling the day to day assignment of crews to cover all flight schedules.

Even though the airlines are in business to transport people from one place to another, they could not function without the help of many people on the ground, including those who take reservations and sell tickets, as well as those who help keep the airplanes operating on schedule.

Aircraft mechanics

Aircraft mechanics employed by the airlines perform either line maintenance work including routine maintenance, servicing, or emergency repairs at airline terminals, or major repairs and periodic inspections at an airline’s overhaul base.

Aircraft mechanics in general aviation perform maintenance and repair jobs similar to those performed by airline mechanics, but they may work on small piston-engine or larger turbine- powered aircraft, depending on the type of business the facility specializes in.

Reservation Sales Agent

Each year millions of Americans travel by air and their trips are made easier by professionally trained reservation sales agents. They handle telephone inquiries about flight schedules, fares, and connecting flights; reserve seats and cargo space for customers; operate computerised reservations equipment; and keep records of reservations.

Ticket Agent

The ticket agent is most often the first employee the passenger meets after entering the airport. Ticket agents provide frontline customer service and are responsible for assisting passengers with their travel needs.

Ground Attendant

High public visibility characterizes this job. The ground attendant assists passengers in the terminal in many different ways. For example, the ground attendant answers questions about fares, helps locate lost baggage, explains missed connections, and provides assistance to persons who are ill or in need of a wheelchair.

Airport Cleaners

You will need to have good customer service skills: Be reliable, Keen and hard working

Main Duties: Mopping, Sweeping, cleaning the toilets, wiping down surfaces and other duties as required.

Pay Range: £7-10 per hour depending on contractor

Flight Dispatcher

This is someone who works on the ramp and is a planner, they keeps track of arriving aircraft and dispatches service units, cleaners, fuellers, baggage handlers, and food service trucks. He or she must know flight schedules. They move the jet bridge, communicate with the pilots and is in charge of all the goings on around the aircraft on the turn around.

Passenger Service Agent

The passenger service agent (PSA), While specific job responsibilities can differ, PSA’s typically handle baggage claims, load cargo, check rider reservations, answer customer inquiries on the phone and in person, sell and collect tickets, assist with passengers with special needs, and perform a number of other customer service related duties.

Food Service Personnel

The food service employees follow set recipes to prepare and cook food. They arrange silverware and dishes on serving trays and food items in serving dishes. They place food in either hot or refrigerated containers for pickup and delivery to the aircraft. They receive and clean soiled dishes.

Air Cargo Handler

Responsible for the safe and timely movement of all cargo. Proper cargo loading is essential for safe flight operations. The air carrier must have procedures in place to ensure that employees and vendors are properly trained in the process. The loading personnel, flightcrew, and flight engineer must all take responsibility to ensure that the process is completed correctly.

Number 1 aircrew Accommodation website

Hi all,

I’m Sam, the creator and manager of AirCrewAccommodation.com and I’m here to tell you a little about the website and how it can help you if you’re aircrew or airport staff looking for accommodation or have a room/property to rent out.

The purpose of our website is to help aircrew find suitable short or long-term accommodation near their base airport whilst also giving landlords/sub letters a platform to advertise their suitable rooms on. The site gives you the option of either advertising a room for rent or you can just browse available rooms. If you’re short on time you can “create a profile” and tag yourself to the base you’re looking for. By doing that it allows people with rooms to rent around that base to find you and get in touch to see if you’re interested.

I came up with the idea of the website last year when moving base and wanting to find either a house share with other crew or a room to move into near the airport where my odd working hours would be respected and understood, but also have housemates there to hang out with on days off when most people are at work. Lots of these rooms existed but the avenues to find them were scattered all over the place; forums, facebook pages, spareroom.com, crew room notice boards etc but no single ‘go to’ place for this, so I got to work creating one.

Since then the website has seen rapid growth! With 500+ tenants/landlords signed up to the site, 140+ rooms and more being uploaded every single day, there is a huge variety to choose from.

The site is completely free for all to use and the aim will be to keep it this way. We rely mainly on word of mouth as the main form of expansion and the more people that know about the site the better it will become! So please go check it out – www.aircrewaccommdation.com – If you like what you see then please spread the word!

Thank you!

Sam

What is an aeronautical engineer?

Entry Requirements

What is an aeronautical engineer? – 96 A-level points from three A-levels to include Mathematics and Science (General Studies and native language A-levels are not accepted)
– 96 points from a BTEC Extended Diploma (180-credit award) in an engineering subject to include Unit 28 – Further Mathematics for Engineering Technicians
– Plus: five GCSEs A*–C (or comparable numeric score under the newly reformed GCSE gradings which must include English Language, Mathematics and a science or technology subject).
– Access to HE in Engineering with 60 Credits at Level 3 plus GCSE requirements
– Foundation Course in Engineering with 120 credits at level 3 plus GCSE requirements

BTEC subjects accepted:
– Aerospace Engineering
– Mechanical Engineering
– Electrical Engineering
– Electronic Engineering
– BTEC in Technology & Computing is not considered due to lack of Mathematics & Science.
– Key Skills Level 2 Communication and/or Application of number, IGCSE English as a second language; Adult Literacy/Numeracy are not accepted.

About Aircraft Engineering

For more detailed information on how to obtain a Part 66 Licence please visit the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) (see Implementing Rules – Part 66) and Civil Aviation Authority (CAA)websites.

How much does an aeronautical engineer earn in the UK?

The average pay for an Aeronautical Engineer is £31,849 per year. A skill in Aerospace is associated with high pay for this job. Most people move on to other jobs if they have more than 20 years’ experience in this field. There are many different fields within Aeronautical Engineering so the above is an average pay. Please see PayScale.com for more information

How to get an EASA Part-66 Licence?

There are two basic routes to an EASA license: the self-starter route and the EASA Part-147 approved course route

To complete the self-starter route you need to study for the EASA examinations associated with the category of license you are seeking and then sit the exams at an approved EASA examination center. To gain the knowledge needed to take the examinations, you can self-study or complete short courses or distance learning courses; a lot of providers are available and these can be found on the internet. If you follow this route, you will need to gain five years of maintenance experience in the appropriate category of aircraft in addition to passing all of the examinations before you can apply for a license.

The EASA Part-147 approved course route. Part-147 approved courses are typical of two to three years duration. However, once you have completed the course, you only need to obtain two years’ maintenance experience before applying to the CAA for your B Licence. Another benefit of this route is that the EASA assessment will normally be part of the course and based on the material you are taught. Also, when you are trying to get a job to obtain the required work experience, you are applying from a position of strength, having completed a worldwide, industry-recognized course.

  1. In order to get an EASA Part-66 AML (Aircraft Maintenance License), an applicant needs:
    1. Basic knowledge (66.A.25);
    2. Basic experience (66.A.30).
  2. In order to get TR endorsed in the AML, an applicant needs:
    1. Type Training (Theoretical and Practical) (66.A.45)
    2. OJT for the first TR (66.A.45).

Aircraft Engineering: How do I become a licensed aircraft engineer?

Categories of license and the routes to gaining them:

Category B is the mainstay license qualification for aircraft maintenance staff under EASA. Category B Licences are available in two main categories:

NOTE: Aircraft groups are described in 66.A.5.

These schemes do not override Part-66 requirements nor capture all the possibilities (various licences, educations and experiences). The start and end of each phase can vary depending on individual cases.
For further and detailed information:

NOTE:
An aircraft maintenance license issued by a country other than EASA Member States cannot be rendered valid as EASA Part-66 AML.

NOTE:
Part-66 licenses issued by the countries other than EASA Member States are not mutually recognized in the European system.

The following two schemes depict the most common paths and are for information only.

The first scheme applies to Group 1 aircraft (B1 and B2 license categories).

The second scheme applies to other than Group 1 aircraft (B1 and B2 license categories).

A beginners guide to Drones in the UK

The Drone Code

A beginners guide to Drones in the UK, The Civil Aviation Authority have created a simple 6 step Drone Code, to help drone users stay safe and legal.

  1. Always keep your drone in sight – This means you can see and avoid things whilst flying.
  2. Stay below 400ft (120m) – This reduces the likelihood of conflict with manned aircraft.
  3. Every time you fly your drone, you must follow the manufacturer’s instructions – Keep your drone, and the people around you, safe.
  4. Keep the right distance from people and property – 150ft (50m) from people and property, 500ft (150m) from crowds and built up areas.
  5. You are responsible for each flight – Legal responsibility lies with you. Failure to fly responsibly will lead to criminal prosecution.
  6. Stay well away from airports, airfields and aircraft – failure to do so could lead to criminal prosecution and a prison sentence of 5 years.

Source: Drone Safe

4 resources every drone pilot needs.

Source: nats.aero

Anyone using a small drone needs to be aware of the regulations contained in the Air Navigation Order, specifically:

Article 241 – endangering safety of any person or property

Article 94 – small unmanned aircraft

Article 95 – small unmanned surveillance aircraft

Article 2 and Schedule 1 – Definition of terms

What is a congested area?

Guidance for keeping your drone flight safe and legal.

Flying drones for fun (non-commercial flights)

Do you need a permission?

Using drones for commercial work

Find a commercial drone operator

When you fly a drone, it’s your legal responsibility to operate it in a safe and responsible manner. The flying of unmanned aircraft, as with manned aircraft, is legislated by the Air Navigation Order, and penalties for breaking the law can carry heavy fines and sentences.

FAQ’s

How big are drones?

Civilian drones vary in size, but most of the drones you will find on this site are about the size of a basketball.

What are the types of drones? 

RTF (ready-to-fly)

Drones come ready-to-fly right out of the box. New models require minimal setup time and have small learning curves.

RTL (return-to-launch)

Return-to-launch is a safety function that can be seen on most GPS equipped drones. If your drone is properly setup with RTL functionality, then this usually means that any time the connection breaks between the transmitter and the drone that the aircraft will fly itself home and land. RTL can also be automatically enabled when a drone is running low on battery.

Why are drones becoming so popular?

Today’s computer software and corresponding data-processing hardware have changed everything. Equipped with this new technology, quadcopters can now stabilize using GPS, fly autonomous routes,  and stream first-person video back to the user.

Are Drones Hard to Fly?

Good news! Most drones are pretty simple to get the hang of. Usually the more expensive a drone, the more capabilities it comes with, and thus the more complicated it can be to fly.

Aren’t Drones Really Expensive?

Drones are getting cheaper by the day. You can find a recreational drone for nearly any budget. Certain models start at as little as £50 and can range up to £2000.  It just depends on what your needs are and what you want to use them for.

Source: dronelifestyle.com

Drone Assist

Drone Assist is the new drone safety app from NATS, the UK’s main air traffic control provider, powered by Altitude Angel. It presents users with an interactive map of airspace used by commercial air traffic so that you can see areas to avoid or in which extreme caution should be exercised, as well as ground hazards that may pose safety, security or privacy risks when you’re out flying your drone.

It also contains a ‘Fly Now’ feature that enables you to share your drone flight location with other app users and the wider drone community, helping to reduce the risk of a drone-related incident in the UK’s airspace.

Being an Air Traffic Controller in the UK

The Role of an Air Traffic Control Officer (ATCO)

Being an Air Traffic Controller in the UK, When we think of Air Traffic Control, it’s quite common only to consider the person stood in the Control Tower, who we see every time we go to the Airport – actually, it extends much further than this.

Pilots require support from ATC in order to operate safely. The industry also requires ATC to ensure the efficiency of airports and the skies all over the world. With the ever-increasing volume of traffic, managing flights is a complex and sometimes pressurized job.

Air Traffic Controllers are broadly split into two separate specialisms – some ATCOs use radar, amongst other technology, to track and communicate with whilst aircraft en-route, whilst others guide aircraft onto approaches and manage them once they’re on the ground.

ATCOs responsible for the en-route phase of flights are known as Area or Terminal Controllers, whilst controllers involved in the landing and ground phase of flight are known as Approach or Aerodrome Controllers.

How do I apply to be an Air Traffic Controller?

Applications can be made either through the NATS website or by applying for individual roles, should you already have the required training and experience, as they become available at non NATS aerodromes.

Before applying to NATS, it’s worth checking that you meet their strict eligibility criteria. Becoming an ATCO means you’ll be required to pass a European Class 3 medical, details of which can be found on the NATS eligibility criteria page. You must also be aged 18 or over, and have a minimum of 5 GCSEs at C or above, including maths and English.

Click here to access the NATS application form

NATS ATC Trainee Process Explained

Want to join the NATS ATC training college to become an ATCO?

The National Air Traffic Services (NATS) are the biggest UK employer for ATCOs, providing ATC services and consultancy solutions in and out of the UK. NATS train their own ATCOs at Fareham College and the various ATC units they operate. Trainees are paid for training and guaranteed employment after successfully completing the course, although they do not get to choose their specialty or the ATC unit they will work at.

The selection process to become a NATS trainee consists of the following stages:

You must pass each stage in order to continue to the next one. Failure in any of the stages means you will have to wait two years before you can reapply, and you cannot have more than three attempts in total. Note that there might be a waiting period of several months between each stage.

Stages 0 and 1: Online Aptitude Tests

After your NATS application form has been submitted you will receive an email invitation to sit online tests. You have three months to complete these tests.

Stage 0: numerical and verbal reasoning and error checking

The numerical test measures your ability to analyze numerical data. It provides tables and charts followed by questions requiring basic arithmetic operations. The verbal test consists of short text passages and different types of questions assessing your language and understanding of the main points in the text. In the error checking test you need to decide whether two columns or rows of numbers and letters contain errors or not.

Stage 1: diagrammatic and spatial reasoning

The diagrammatic reasoning test presents input-output diagrams. One component in the diagram, either input, operator or output, will be missing, and your task will be to figure out what it is. In the spatial reasoning test you will need to find the odd shape out of several rotated shapes in each question. These tests have time constraints as well.

Stage 2: Assessment Centre

Passing the NATS aptitude tests will be followed by an invitation to attend an assessment centre at Fareham. This will be a long day consisting of three different tests. Passing each test is essential to move on to the next one. If you don’t get a good enough score, you will be asked to leave and try again in two years’ time.

ATC knowledge

You will be sent papers to study in advance with all the relevant materials, which will include technical details of different aeroplanes, airports and other ATC related subjects. The test will consist of about 30 multiple-choice questions referring to these papers.

FEAST

The First European Air Traffic Control Selection Test (FEAST) by Eurocontrol is a computerised test used by over 40 European civil and military organisations. It assesses the knowledge, skills and abilities of applicants for training that are relevant and necessary for the ATCO job.

There are three different sections in the FEAST: A cognitive abilities and English test, an ATC work sample test, and the FEAST Personality Questionnaire (FPQ), assessing personality characteristics relevant in the training of ATC students.

DART

The Dynamic ATC Radar Test (DART) simulates actual ATC work. You are presented with a radar screen where you can see several aircrafts. Your task is to guide some of those aircrafts both safely and efficiently to specific checkpoints. You will have to make sure you avoid bringing aircrafts too close to one another and take into account different traffic and navigation constraints. The difficulty level will increase as the test progresses, so you will have to control more aircrafts simultaneously and more check points to get them through. Eventually you will even have to perform some mental arithmetic calculations as you are controlling the aircrafts.

Stage 3: Interview

In this last stage you will attend the assessment centre for an interview carried out by HR as well as ATC trained assessors. You will be required to provide evidence of your achievements in different areas in life and present a genuine interest to become an air traffic control officer. You may also be given realistic scenarios and asked to provide your insight and suggest possible responses.

Facing a panel of people about to judge your behaviour is never a pleasant experience. See how our assessors can help with our interview preparation services. If your performance in this interview is satisfactory, you will be asked to stay for a scenario-based group exercise.

The very last step of this process will be the medical and security check-ups. Non-native English speakers will also need to sit an additional English test.

Who Provides Air Traffic Control in the UK?

NATS are the leading provider of Air Traffic Control Services in the UK.  They are responsible for the UK’s area and terminal control and also for aerodrome control at a number of major UK Airports. Some UK Airports provide their own Air Traffic Control Services, and so in some instances you may have to apply to a specific airport for an aerodrome controller role.

Air Traffic Control Training

NATS is approved by the CAA to provide the following air traffic control training courses:

Initial Training

Endorsement and Continuation Training

English Language Proficiency

The CAA list two approved providers of air traffic control training:

Global ATS (Gloucestershire Airport) is approved by the CAA to provide the following air traffic control training courses:

Endorsement and Support Training

English Language Proficiency

English Language Raters Course

What skills do I require?

There’s no one particular type of person who makes the perfect ATCO. NATS take on a mixture of different people, from various different backgrounds. The minimum academic requirement to become a NATS ATCO is 5 GCSEs at C or above, to include maths and English.

Perhaps more important than academic ability is the need to be able to work under pressure, think in three dimensions and process information quickly and accurately. To try and decide whether you have the aptitude to become a controller, NATS have developed a series of online games to try.

Pay and Benefits

NATS offer an attractive salary and benefits package from the moment you begin training with them.

Training

Once you join as a Trainee Air Traffic Controller, you’ll earn a basic salary of £13154.40, alongside a benefits package – including a contributory pension scheme, generous annual leave (28 days plus national holidays), as well as a variety of voluntary benefits. NATS also provide a weekly payment of £60* to cover expenses during your training, and some applicants may be eligible to a further £1000* on completion of the college based training.

At the completion of the college based training, trainees are posted to NATS units for further training, where the salary rises to £17,066* and £20,479*, dependant on where you are based.

Qualified

On completion of all training, the salary rises to £32522-£36247, dependant on the ATC unit. On the third anniversary of passing training, subject to validation, the salary rises to £46461-£51781, plus shift pay of £5543.

It’s worth noting that with increments, you can potentially earn over £100000 at the NATS Swanwick Centre and Heathrow Tower.

Source: NATS *Based on 2012 rates

Available Jobs

NATS post available careers on their Vacancies Page

Applying

To apply for this position applicants have to meet our minimum entry criteria including having 5 GCSE’S at Grade C or above including English and Mathematics and be 18+ at the time of submitting their application.

We recommend candidates try and gain exposure to the Aviation industry and either gain work experience or participate in hobbies and activities that have transferable skills to being an Air Traffic Controller.

If candidates successfully reach Assessment day-Stage 3, they will be required to draw upon these skills and experience during the competency-based interview.

For further information on the role of an Air Traffic Controller please visit http://www.nats.aero/careers/atc/

ATC Interview Questions

How to Answer Interview Questions

The questions will usually start along the lines of “tell me about a time when you”. This will be followed by those competencies, so it is important to be familiar with these so that you can prepare.  Asking about soft skills such as teamwork, negotiation and communication is especially popular for graduate job interviews.

A lot of the questions will require you to think about past work experiences you’ve had. For those who are applying for internships, apprenticeships or have no previous work experience, you can still talk about extra-curricular activities, what you achieved while being a member of a university society, or school projects you have been involved in, as an example.

S – tell them what the SITUATION was

T – Explain what the TASK was that you had to do

A – Tell the interview panel what ACTION you had to take and why it was effective

R – Finally, tell the interview panel what the RESULT was following your actions. Always try to ensure that the outcome or result was positive. By following the S.T.A.R structure for responding to interview questions you will be ensuring that your responses are both concise and relevant.Air-Ground Communications

“The passage of voice and/or data between an aircraft and a ground station such as air traffic control or aircraft operating agency.”

The most common transponder failure types classified by feature are:

The transponder failure types classified by severity are:

Some feature/severity pairs are not applicable (e.g. duplicated mode C). The most common combinations of transponder failures are:

Airspace infringement

Airspace infringement occurs when an aircraft penetrates an area into which special clearance is required without having such clearance.CFIT Controlled Flight into Terrain (CFIT) occurs when an airworthy aircraft under the complete control of the pilot is inadvertently flown into terrain, water, or an obstacle. The pilots are generally unaware of the danger until it is too late.

Most CFIT accidents occur in the approach and landing phase of flight and are often associated with non-precision approaches.Level bust

Description: A level bust occurs when an aircraft fails to fly at the level to which it has been cleared, regardless of whether actual loss of separation from other aircraft or the ground results. Level busts are also known as Altitude Deviations.

Definition: A level bust is defined by EUROCONTROL as: Any unauthorised vertical deviation of more than 300 feet from an ATC flight clearance.

Loss of control

Description: On this page you can see all the articles related to the subject of Loss of Control. While many of the subjects covered within the Category are not in themselves loss of control issues, the mishandling of those events could very rapidly result in a loss of control situation.Loss of separation

Description: Loss of separation between aircraft occurs whenever specified separation minima are breached. Minimum separation standards for airspace are specified by ATS authorities, based on ICAO standards.

Types of Loss of Separation

Loss of separation may be either in a vertical or a horizontal plane, or both. Loss of separation may ultimately result in a mid air collision. A Level Bust is one scenario where a loss of separation occurs, leading potentially to a mid air collision. Loss of separation from notified airspace is dealt with under Airspace Infringement. Loss of separation from the ground is dealt with under CFIT. Loss of separation between aircraft on the ground is dealt with under Ground Operations and Runway Incursion.

Runway excursion

Definition: When the wheels of an aircraft on the runway surface depart the end or the side of the runway surface.

“A veer off or overrun off the runway surface.” (ICAO)

Description: Runway excursions can occur on takeoff or on landing. They consist of two types of events:

Runway incursion

ICAO defines a Runway Incursion as: “Any occurrence at an aerodrome involving the incorrect presence of an aircraft vehicle or person on the protected area of a surface designated for the landing and take off of aircraft”.

Wake turbulance

All aircraft generate vortices at the wing tips as a consequence of producing lift. The heavier the aircraft and the slower it is flying, the stronger the vortex. Among other factors, the size of the vortex is proportional to the span of the aircraft which generates it.

At low altitudes, vortices generally persist for as long as 80 seconds, but in very light or calm wind conditions, they can last for up to two and a half minutes. Once formed, vortices continue to descend until they decay (or reach the ground). Decay is usually rapid and occurs more quickly in windy conditions. Cross-winds can carry a vortex away from the flight path of the aircraft.

Games to help you prepare

NATS have developed a series of mini-games to help you decide whether it’s the kind of career that might be right for you. They test a range of basic cognitive skills which are required by Controllers:Reactive avoidanceShape TrackingSequential memoryGateway GameATC Landing

Air Traffic Control Useful Links

NATS BlogNATS Video and ImageryVFR ChartsATC training providersNOTAMSAir Traffic Control ArticlesLatest JobsFacts, Stats & Reports

What you need to know about applying to be Cabin Crew

Becoming a cabin crew, What you need to know about applying to be Cabin Crew? Becoming a cabin crew or flight attendant can be an absolute dream job. However, this isn’t a job for everyone.

Application process

Airlines will want to find out more about you, your skills and your potential. Most airlines have a few requirements you need to meet. Below is an example.

Application information

There are two ways you are likely to be asked for information.

1.   Motivational Questions

2.   Competency Based questions

Cabin Crew Application Tips

Cabin Crew Training

Safety and security

This is the most important part of the course, as this is the main reason why there are cabin crew on board the aircraft. Subjects being discussed during this part of the training are:

Customer Service 

A key element of success will be the competence of cabin crew who are supposed to be motivated and self-conditioned for team success exercising intuition and dedication to ensure customer’s loyalty. Delivering customer service to a high standard is an important and challenging task. But it is also very satisfying and rewarding. In order to satisfy passengers with high-quality customer service, cabin crew members need to provide excellent customer service to passengers while ensuring their comfort and safety throughout the flight. They are trained to deal with security and emergency situations which may arise and can administer first aid to customers.

Costs

The costs for internal training course are different for each airline as well.

Other

Cabin Crew Uniform Standards: This is another important part of the training, Since you are the face of the airline you will told what you can and cant to with your hair to your watches and how to cover up tattoos. 

What you need to know about applying to be Cabin Crew?

How to Dress for your interview

Research your airline, Follow this guide:

One on One interview, During the interview, you are likely to be asked questions relating to the following areas:

Sample Questions:

How to Answer Interview Questions:

A lot of the questions will require you to think about past work experiences you’ve had. For those who are applying for internships, apprenticeships or have no previous work experience, you can still talk about extra-curricular activities, what you achieved while being a member of a university society, or school projects you have been involved in, as an example.

The answer to these questions will usually be between a minute and three minutes long.

S – tell them what the SITUATION was
T – Explain what the TASK was that you had to do
A – Tell the interview panel what ACTION you had to take and why it was effective
R – Finally, tell the interview panel what the RESULT was following your actions. Always try to ensure that the outcome or result was positive. By following the S.T.A.R structure for responding to interview questions you will be ensuring that your responses are both concise and relevant.

Cabin Crew Jobs and Pay

All airlines vary, below are some examples:
Easy jet Salary/ wage:

Starting salary around £10.000 basic salary and around £60 per day sector day (Flight pay) (All before tax. Besides that, you will get 2.5% commission (10% for the whole crew, mostly divided by 4) from everything that is sold on board your flights.

In total you, will make around £1100-£1200 during winter months (due to flying less in the winter) and £1400-£1600 in the summer (all after tax)

British Airways Salary/Wage

Starting salary around £12.000 basic salary, Max £150 per month incentive pay (based on number of sick-days, inflight performance, etc).

Average wage is around £1200 – £1600 per month

Virgin Atlantic salary/wage

The starting salary is approx. £13.000 basic salary per year. You will receive commission on the duty free sales

On average, you will make £1050-£1200 month after tax

Ryanair Salary/ wage:

Starting Cabin Crew after tax: around €1200-€1500. This salary highly depends on your actual flying hours. When you are on standby (without flying) a lot or are sick for some time, you might earn less than €1000. Ryanair contract Cabin Crew Supervisor after tax: €1500-€2000.

When you are working on a Ryanair contract, your basic salary will be higher. Therefore, being on standby or being sick, will not result into a substantially lower salary.

Cabin Crew Union

Unite Union

In the UK Unite is the only union for cabin crew encompassing not only crew employed for UK airlines but also those who are based in the UK for non UK airlines. 

The largest collection of cabin crew members within the sector are those in the British Airlines Stewards and Stewardesses Association (BASSA) branch closley followed by crew employed at Virgin Atlantic, easyJet Thomson etc.

BASSA

The British Airlines Stewards and Stewardesses Association (BASSA) is a branch of Unite exclusively for British Airways cabin crew. Our membership is approximately 10,000, which makes us the largest branch of Unite.

BASSA is an active and progressive union, which is entirely staffed by elected representatives, all of whom work as BA cabin crew. We are therefore fully involved in every aspect of cabin crew working life, including rosters and scheduling, pay, hotels, allowances and all working agreements and conditions