We are pleased to release a new interview featuring Nicolas, student pilot at CAE Oxford Aviation Academy. He will tell you about why he went to this particular flight school but also about the theoretical part of the training he is currently following.
Hi Nicolas, could you introduce yourself to the visitors of Pilotman?
Hi everybody! I’m 19 years old and started my pilot training at CAE Oxford Aviation Academy Brussels in September 2014 in the promotion 33. I’ve always wanted to become a pilot and share this passion for aviation together with my grandfather. Despite the lack of hiring in Europe and the cost of those studies, my parents have always supported me to realize my dream. It was then not a big deal to have their agreement. I’ve been flying for now four years on gliders and microlights, which comforted me on that idea of becoming pilot.
Why did you choose CAE Oxford Aviation Academy Brussels for your pilot training and not another flight school?
It is usually difficult to choose a school for the studies that will determine your future life. First, CAE Oxford Aviation Academy Brussels provides integrated courses, in which I was interested because I’m not doing any other studies at the same time, and because it is concentrated so quicker. Then, the school has a good reputation for quality training and means to provide us adequate equipment to learn in a professional sphere.
At this stage, you are studying the ATPL Theory. Can you explain what it is exactly?
It consists of theoretical subjects that we have to learn during about seven months (CAE Oxford Aviation Academy program) and on which we are examined. Those subjects cover the different aspect of flying: technically, physiologically, legally, operationally, … It is mandatory to know them to be allowed to own an ATPL. These are:
- Human performance and limitations
- Airframes and systems
- Aircraft General Knowledge
- Principles of Flight
- Electrics and Electronics
- Mass and Balance
- Flight Planning and Monitoring
- General Navigation
- Radio Navigation
- Operational Procedures
- Air law
Learning to be a pilot is often considered to be difficult, what is your opinion?
It is indeed difficult because of the quantity of new things we have to learn in a certain amount of time. And, we also have to consider the cost of those studies that is not negligible. The exams are only multiple choice questions, but it can often be tricky if you don’t read it carefully. The questions that are often met at the exams can be found on a database. Of course you cannot expect passing them successfully if you don’t understand the subjects or have not studied enough. Also, there are regularly tests on each subject made from both open questions and multiple choice questions (CAE Oxford Aviation Academy program). Motivation is essential. In my opinion somebody who is not motivated enough will have only little chance to end up in a flight deck.
What is for you the most difficult chapter and why?
The most difficult for me was Air Law. That chapter requires a lot of « by heart » study. There are a lot of values that have to be studied without any understanding. For example, the different lengths of runways that will correspond to a certain airport code, or the number of extinguishers that have to be brought on board in function of the number of passenger seats available. I usually prefer subjects we need to understand and that have a logic like meteorology or principles of flight.
Why didn’t you study something else before starting your pilot training?
After the dark period the aviation world has known, it seems to get better and some companies are hiring again. The market should be well unlocked when I will have finished my training, especially with the massive orders of planes that companies have recently made. Moreover, as it was my biggest dream and I had the opportunity to start it just after high school I took it. It would have been possible that after other studies I would not have had the chance to do it anymore. Other studies that I could not have chosen because I am only interested in the pilot ones.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
The best would be in a cockpit and with the full ATPL in my possession! By that time I hope I will have the required 1500 flying hours to « unfroze » my license. And, why not Captain if I have the opportunity! Also I will try to keep on flying light aircraft and gliders as a hobby.
If you could choose your employer, who would it be?
I would choose an airline that would permit me to fly enough to have my full ATPL in a few years. I don’t mind working unusual hours so flying cargo attracts me as much as flying with passengers. I also take in account the fact that in function of the opportunities I am ready to go abroad.