I guess this means I’m a qualified pilot!

It’s been a couple of weeks since I wrote my last update and in that time, a lot has happened!

Firstly, I finished the AQC. The 9 sim details went well (or at least I think they did, I’m still waiting for the feedback from our training manager!) and I feel like I learnt a lot from all of the details. I think it’s made me more aware of the challenges faced on a multi crew flight deck and they are quite often challenges that I didn’t think you’d have being two pilots.
1964828_10152233593712002_1572137766_nIt also gave us a chance to have a play with some of the systems on a Boeing 737 cockpit including the oxygen masks, as modelled here by Fraser!

We covered a range of problems, both system and human ones, and it has, hopefully, prepared us well for our type ratings and beyond.

IMG_3613The end of our AQC also means the end of my training with CTC. It seems like an age since I started my training and it has been my life for the past 18 months. But this morning, the fruits of my labour finally flourished with the arrival of my licence.

It means that I am now officially qualified to carry passengers for reward and I’ve got my Multi Engine Piston rating on there as well as my Single Engine Piston rating from my PPL (so I can essentially fly planes with any number of piston engines, provided they don’t need their own rating).

For now though, I am waiting to find a job in the industry. Fingers crossed the wait won’t be too long and I’ll hopefully be jetting passengers all across the continent very soon!

I would just like to finish off by thanking everyone who has supported me throughout my time on the course. It has been hard in places, but I’ve met some great people and had fantastic support from both friends and family at home and people I’ve met in New Zealand so thank you everyone!

Is this the end of your blog, I hear you ask – the answer is no! When I become employed by an airline, I hope to continue uploading my pictures and thoughts on how my training is going (providing it complies with their policies). So do keep checking back and follow me on Twitter where I post most of my stuff!

Picture Credits
Oxygen Mask: Fraser Cooper

Goodbye New Zealand!

After 8 months here, the time has now come for me to leave the country and head back home to the UK. As I write this, all of our course are frantically rushing round making sure that rooms are clean, bags are packed and boarding passes are printed off.

However, leaving isn’t the biggest news I have this week – I now have my Commercial Pilot’s Licence!
I had to split my test over two days due to weather, but I finally completed it last Thursday and it was a huge relief when I found out that I had passed.

That brings an end to this stage of the training and now all the paperwork has been completed, I just need to think about getting home.

We start our instrument rating training in Bournemouth on the 25th November, so I get a short break at home before setting off down South again.

Well this is scary!

I now just have one more flight left in New Zealand and that’s my Commercial Pilot’s Licence (CPL) skills test!

The past seven months have flown by and now it all comes down to one more flight before I move onto filling in the paperwork and catching the plane home.

In preparation, this week has seen me do 3 CPL profiles which are essentially mock tests allowing me to identify where I need to work on and to improve these areas.
After my last one this morning, I now feel happy about the test and you can see a marked improvement in my flying not just compared to when I passed PT1 a few months ago but even compared to how I was flying after my first profile.

All I have to do now is stay calm, not let the pressure get to me and fly it as though it’s any other flight.

Fingers crossed!

South Island Flyaway

As promised, an update following our 5 day trip around the South Island of New Zealand and I have to say that it didn’t disappoint! Be warned, this update is very picture heavy and may cause jealousy!

The whole idea of the flyaway is for us to chase the good weather and complete all of our IFR Routes flights in the Twinstar. Clearly, we didn’t want to just stay in the vicinity of Hamilton, so we headed off towards the South Island, spending the first night in Wellington.

Passing Ruapehu
Flying down to Wellington, passing Mt Ruapehu and Mt Tongariro – the volcanoes on the North Island

Welcome to Wellington Airport

After spending the night in Wellington, it was time to head down to Christchurch, where we would be basing ourselves for the next couple of days.
The flight down was full of amazing scenery as we went the long way round via Nelson and Westport, allowing us to see the Marlborough Sounds and to fly over the Southern Alps.

Marlborough SoundsSun setting above the clouds
Top: Marlborough Sounds
Above: Sun setting over the clouds
Left: Me enjoying the flight to Nelson
Mountains surrounding CH   Above: Looking back at the Southern Alps from Christchurch

From Christchurch, we spent the next day touring around the South Island, ending up making approaches into Timaru and Alexandra along with landing in Dunedin for lunch and a change of pilot.

The weather closed in that night, meaning I didn’t get to fly that day, but instead went up early the next morning to get my flight in. We flew over to Hokitika on the west coast and due to the inclement weather the previous night, more snow had fallen on the Southern Alps – the views were amazing! With it being so clear as well, we could also see down to Mt Cook – the highest point in New Zealand.

Central divide  Above: Looking out onto the Southern Alps with peaks covered in snow and cloud still in the valleys
Below: Looking down the range towards a snowy Mt Cook in the distanceLooking down towards Mt Cook, covered in snow

When I got back from this flight, I spent the afternoon at Christchurch Airport waiting to fly back up to Woodbourne after the other two had been up in the morning to drop one of them off. I spent the time at the International Aviation Academy of New Zealand (IAANZ) and thanks to Ryan and Adrienne for making me feel so welcome and keeping me company for a good few hours! Good luck with the rest of your training guys!

Being based at an international airport with jet traffic meant that I couldn’t go throughout the trip without taking a few photos of planes – we are pilots after all!
One of the best photos I took from Christchurch was of a Singapore Airlines 777 taking off whilst our Twinstar was waiting at the holding point (I wasn’t in the Twinstar at the time though).

You can really see the size difference between them!

The last leg of our trip saw me flying back up to Hamilton from Woodbourne, going via Wanganui on the way. It brought an end to a great 5 days worth of flying.

Flight Map

This map shows where we ended up flying on the flyaway as a group. My flights are the black lines and the grey ones are where I either backseated the route (dark grey) or the other two flew the route and I wasn’t in the aircraft (light grey).

Finally, a big thanks to our instructor, Ash, for putting up with us this week! It took a lot of work and long days to get to where we did and he was always in the aircraft, putting the long hours in every day.

With this now complete, it’s time for me to focus on CPL revision as I now have three profile flights (mock tests) before I sit my actual CPL! I should be home in just a couple of weeks now.

PS: There will be a video of the flyaway coming soon, I just need to collate all our pictures and video and then make it and CPL comes first