Going from never flying before, to having to find the best route to become a commercial pilot can be extremely daunting. We asked one of our past students how they did it:
I currently operate the 737 from the UK to destinations all over Europe for one of Europe's biggest airlines. I conducted all of my training at Advanced Flight Training from Private Pilot's Licence (PPL) to Multi Engine Commercial Pilot's Licence (CPL)/Instrument Rating (IR) and Flight Instructor Rating.
Flying has interested me since I was a small child and I always dreamed of being a pilot. The first time I took to the air in a light aircraft I was hooked and I knew that I wanted to make it my career. I attended university to study Aviation Technology and whilst there I was introduced to the Advanced Flight Training team.
AFT is based at Sherburn Aerodrome which has a very friendly atmosphere and brilliant facilities. It is situated next to miles of class G airspace which is brilliant for initial training but also next to the controlled environment of Leeds and Doncaster airspace needed for commercial training.
Whilst conducting my PPL with AFT I decided that this was the school for me and I wanted to complete all of my training with them. Kev and all of the instructors have so much time for you, helping you to learn, discussing any doubts you may have or any decisions you have to make. Alongside a lot of personal hard work, I am indebted to them all for being where I am today.
The first hurdle to overcome is the Class 1 medical. The first thing any person who wants to fly must do is to get a medical as you may have unknown complications in getting one. I had to wait around 9 months to be issued with one as it was discovered I had a small problem with my heart something I had no idea about until this point.
After completing the PPL and hour building required I completed the Multi Engine IR. The first part of this is conducted on an FNPT II simulator. The simulator AFT use is excellent and extremely reliable. I cannot remember a single minute of downtime whilst I was training. After this is was into the aeroplane, a Grumman Cougar which is lovely to fly. The instrument training was conducted from Leeds Bradford Airport to airports like Doncaster, Durham Tees and Blackpool. I thoroughly enjoyed what I would say is the most challenging part of commercial training.
Next came the Commercial Pilots Licence (CPL) which was conducted from Sherburn in Elmet with a few circuit details at Doncaster. This was a great course with a mixture of single engine and multi engine flying refreshing some of the instrument flying alongside visual navigation and aircraft general handling.
After this I decided I would like to complete a Flight Instructor Rating (FI). This enables you to instruct students the PPL syllabus and I can whole heartedly say this is the best flying course I have ever done. It is great fun and so much can be learned not only about flying but also about different learning styles. On completion I was given the opportunity of my first flying job as an instructor. I worked as an instructor for around 8 months before being lucky enough to be offered a position flying the 737-800.
The only part of my training I could not complete with AFT was the Muli Crew Co-Operation course which is required to be able to fly large multi pilot jets. I conducted this at CRM Aviation based at White Waltham an outfit I can also highly recommend.
Overall commercial pilot training is a lot of hard work but also great fun. The most important thing is to choose the place to complete it which is right for you. AFT was certainly that for me and I wholeheartedly recommend them.