Passenger flying around the network

It has been almost two months since I provided you with an update to how things are going with my flying, so be prepared for quite a long update and a few photos which have made some of my friends quite jealous of my job!

When I last wrote on my blog, I was part way through the sim sessions at Flybe’s Training Academy. I’m pleased to report that everything went to plan during the sims and I passed my Licence Skills Test and a big thanks to the Captain who I was with for the test for helping me through.

After finishing that part of the training, all that was left to do before being allowed to fly passengers was base training. In this session we take an aircraft and a few trainees to a quiet airport and each of us do six takeoffs and landings. Unfortunately, my first session was cancelled as we ran out of time but on the rearranged session we flew over to East Midlands Airport (Nottingham, EGNX) and had a good day doing the circuits.

With all of the type rating now complete, I was in a position to start flying passengers around the network. However, there was a delay in the CAA (Civil Aviation Authority, the UK’s flying governing body essentially) processing my application paperwork and my licence didn’t turn up on time for me to do my first days of flying.
IMAG0211However, all was not lost as I got to do a few more jump seat flights observing all the procedures I’d learnt during the sim sessions and I think it was definitely a benefit to see it all be used in real life flying.
Overall, it was a good couple of days and a very nice day during the turnaround in Amsterdam.

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Once my licence did arrive, I headed over to Belfast to carry out my first day of proper operational flying. I must admit, I was slightly nervous about it, but the excitement was there as well. My first revenue flight with passengers was BEE415 from Belfast to Birmingham. (Pictured above from FlightRadar24)

It went quite well and left me with a huge smile on my face! Since that first flight, I’ve now done 24 flights and I am getting to feel slightly more confident with the aircraft but, as always, there’s a lot of work still to come.

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One of my favourite moments from the last couple of weeks flying was flying to Leeds Bradford from Belfast. The routing takes you overhead Blackpool and then down past Preston, Blackburn, Burnley, Nelson, Colne and onto Leeds. As this is where I grew up, I was able to spot all the places that I visited when I was younger and, more importantly, got to fly over the family home in Barrowford.

So, what does the future hold? I still have a minimum of 20 more sectors to do with a training captain and I’m off to Manchester and Birmingham in the coming days to do more flights and the end of the month sees me doing my first flights out of Aberdeen.

Until next time, I’ll leave you with this image taken coming back into Belfast of the sunset at 25,000ft.

Getting hands on with the Dash

My type rating continues and has now progressed onto getting into Flybe’s Dash 8 simulator and starting to learn exactly how to fly the aircraft. So far we’ve had five sessions and have been taught various normal stages on flight with an emphasis on honing our existing flying skills and getting used to the specific Flybe operating procedures and what to do when things start to fail.

It’s been a really good experience so far and it feels good to finally be putting all of the training over the last two years to use and even more so with the thought of my first flight being less than a month away, but more on that later.

However, there is still more work to be done and we still have six more sim sessions before our licence test at the end of the month. Between now and then it will be back to having my head in the books to get all of the manoeuvres learnt and the SOP calls committed to memory.

ScreenHunter_0096As I spoke about just before, I have now been told where and when my first flight with passengers is going to be. I’m going to be taking passengers from Manchester to Southampton and back again for my first flight.

After that, I have an action packed month where I spend nights in Manchester, Southampton and Belfast and a map of all my flights can be found on the left. More detailed stats about my roster can be found by visiting my Roster Buster page.

Rostering and Renewals

With my type rating just 2 weeks away now, it was quite exciting when I received my first airline roster this week. With my type rating being for just over 6 weeks, it was all classroom based, but it has made me feel more like a pilot and reaffirmed that my first flight with passengers is now only months away with it having felt a long way off just a couple of months ago!

But, before I start with Flybe, I am having to go and get my Instrument Rating revalidated and my medical redone for another year. So all in all, it’s going to be a busy couple of weeks until I start – but I can’t wait!

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