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What to Expect in a Cadet Pilot Interview

Securing a cadet pilot position can be difficult, even for skilled pilots with flight experience. The cadet pilot interview a very competitive process, designed to test every aspect of your suitability. Much like any job interview, you need to prove to your potential employer that you’re the best person for the role.

Don’t let this put you off pursuing your dreams of becoming a commercial pilot. There are plenty of strategies you can employ to help you stand out from the crowd.

Here at Learn to Fly, we believe that preparation is key when working towards a cadet pilot interview. Understanding what to expect from the interview process will give you the best chance possible of demonstrating your suitability and passion. Our Future Cadet Pilot Program (FCPP) is perfect for anyone aiming to secure a competitive role in a cadet pilot scheme. The program covers absolutely everything you need to know and provides you with the tools for a successful interview.

What is a Cadet Pilot Program?

A cadet pilot program is one of the routes available to future pilots to kickstart their commercial aviation career.

These programs are often designed to take those with little to no flying experience from being absolute beginners to experienced professionals. Cadet pilot programs are usually run by airlines and successful applicants will usually be offered a position upon completion of their training. In this sense, cadet pilot programs differ from training courses offered by flight schools. However, they tend to cover similar Commercial Pilot Licence course materials, including practical and theoretical lessons.

In Australia, many of the top airlines offer cadet pilot programs, including Qantas and Jetstar. It’s important to be aware that there are some prerequisites that must be met before applying to a cadet pilot program. You must be at least 18 years old. You must also be capable of holding a CASA Class 1 Medical Certificate and demonstrate minimum levels of English proficiency. Some cadet programs may require that you are a citizen or permanent resident of Australia.

It’s worth checking all of these stipulations before going to the effort of preparing for a cadet pilot interview. 

The Interview Process

It can help to think of the cadet pilot interview process as much like any other type of job interview, if not slightly longer and more intense. Exactly what the process entails will depend on which airline you are applying to. All airlines, however, will be looking for some of the same important traits: passion, commitment, and good instincts.

To start with, you can expect the airline to ask you basic questions about your flight experience and why you want to be a pilot. Don’t be too concerned if you don’t have a lot of experience. After all, these programs are designed to cater to beginners. However, it will certainly help if you have spent at least a few hours exploring the clouds. Learn to Fly’s Future Cadet Pilot Program (FCPP) can help give you that extra competitive edge. It includes flight training and simulation training as well as specific cadet application and interview training.

You’ll also likely be asked to participate in a skills assessment. This may include basic questions designed to demonstrate your maths, physics, and aviation knowledge. In addition to skills-based assessments, airlines are also keen to test your problem solving skills. This may also include group-based activities that test your ability to work in a team environment.

Sitting a cadet pilot interview can seem overwhelming. However, it can help to keep in mind that it’s really no different from any other type of job interview.

Tips and Tricks to Prepare

As the adage goes, preparation is the key to success. Many applicants arrive at their cadet pilot interview with the exact same goals, skills, and set of experiences. Being adequately prepared to answer whatever question is thrown at you can be the difference between you and the rest of the pack.

Learn To Fly’s Future Cadet Pilot Program (FCPP) is unique in that it is designed to provide you with practical experience, theoretical knowledge, and interview training, covering every possible base in preparation for your interview. In addition to the flight and simulation training, you will receive extensive airline interview coaching from a highly experienced airline pilot.

We know what each airline looks for in their cadets. We will work with you to ensure you present as a motivated, diligent individual that aligns with the specific qualities they like to see.

We’re confident that our Future Cadet Pilot Program (FCPP) covers every aspect of a cadet pilot interview. This means that you’ll go into the interview room knowing exactly what to expect. To learn more, contact one of our flight training specialists today.

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US Airline Jobs for Australian Pilots – What Are the Pilot Prerequisites?

Becoming an airline pilot is the ultimate dream for many people thinking about a career in aviation. Being a pilot in Australia, many have found that the Australian airline market is competitive. But what about airline jobs overseas? And what are the pilot prerequisites?

It’s no secret that Australia is seen by the rest of the world as a fantastic place for pilot training. This means that commercial pilots that have trained and qualified here in Australia already have an advantage when looking at roles in other countries. So, what makes US airline pilot jobs such a great opportunity?

The US airline pilot shortage

As the world starts to reopen post-Covid, US airline pilot jobs provide a very real and achievable career opportunity for Australian pilots. Recently we have seen articles from major US carriers like United and American Airlines talking about having to cancel services and routes simply because they don’t have enough available pilots to fly them.

As air travel was so severely disrupted during the pandemic, many airline pilots were stood down, while other more senior pilots opted to accept packages and retire. Consequently, many of these pilots are not returning to the industry. This, coupled with the speed at which air travel has bounced back, has quickly created a significant shortage of pilots.

US airlines have always been quite proactive in looking at Australian pilots. Now especially though, being a pilot in Australia means that you may well be in demand as a pilot in the USA! For Australian Citizens, getting an E-3 visa to work in the USA is also quite a straightforward process.

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As a result of the US airline pilot shortage, many planes have been left grounded.

What are the pilot prerequisites for US airline pilot jobs?

Different airlines in the USA have different pilot prerequisites depending on the role. As an example, Commutair are currently actively recruiting Australian pilots for direct entry First Officer roles with the following requirements:

1. Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) certificate or Commercial Multi-Engine Land Pilot’s License with current Instrument Rating

2. Current First Class Medical

3. FCC Radio Operator’s Permit

4. Valid Australian Passport

5. Meet FAA ATP minimums (1,500 total flying hours),and at least:
– 100 hours night flying
– 75 hours instrument flying
– 200 hours cross country flying
– 50 hours multi-engine flying

There are other requirements you will need to meet such as the ATP theory exam, which is typically done before line check. There is also aircraft type training for successful applicants. But these things are usually organised by the airline.

With those additional requirements aside, you could potentially meet the pilot prerequisites with as little as 1,500 flying hours.

What is the E-3 visa process?

The E-3 Specialty Occupation visa allows Australian Citizens to work in “specialty occupations” in the USA. To be eligible for an E-3 visa you must demonstrate that you:

– Are a national of Australia
– Have a legitimate offer of employment in the United States
– Possess the necessary academic or other qualifying credentials
– Will fill a position that qualifies as a specialty occupation

An aviation Bachelor or Diploma would likely automatically qualify you for meeting the necessary academic qualifications. However, “qualifying credentials” can also include relevant work experience. So, if you meet the pilot prerequisites required for acceptance into the US airline job itself while being a pilot in Australia, you will likely meet this criteria based on “equivalent experience”.

The visa application process will be initiated by the employer once you have accepted their job offer.

What is the best way to meet USA airline job pilot prerequisites?

If you think that flying for an airline in the USA sounds like a good career move, we can help you to get there. Here’s how:

1. Complete a Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL) or AVI50219 Diploma of Aviation (Commercial Pilot Licence – Aeroplane) course. Approx 12 months

2. Complete a Multi Engine Command Instrument Rating (MECIR) or AVI50519 Diploma of Aviation (Instrument Rating) course. Approx 6 months

3. Complete a Flight Instructor Rating (FIR) course. Approx 4 months

4. Build your flying hours while working as a Flight Instructor (this way you can get paid while you build hours, and instructing experience is always viewed in high regard by airline employers)

5. Complete an Airline Interview program like the Airline Interview Coaching Session. This highly successful course will help you to prepare your application and also to prepare for the interview itself

We also have a wide range of Ratings and Endorsement courses available. Adding Ratings and Endorsements to your licences can greatly increase the number of hours during which you can fly. For Flight Instructors, you can add Training Endorsements that allow you to instruct in a wider range of flight scenarios.

Want to learn more? Get in touch by email to [email protected] or schedule a meeting and school tour at https://drift.me/learntofly/meeting today!

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Frequently Asked Questions About Flight Training

If you’ve never flown a plane before, the idea of being the person in control of the cockpit might seem like a far off dream. Pilots are cool, calm, and collected — it can seem like they were born to take to the skies. In reality, they’ve just spent a lot of time training and have the confidence, skills, and knowledge to take on any and all situations. Anybody new to flying will have a lot questions about flight training.

Before even signing up to flight training in Australia, it pays to do your research. The pathway to achieving your goal can be quite different depending on what that goal is. Here at Learn to Fly, we’ve helped countless people with a range of different goals fulfil their dream of taking to the skies.

For some, a Trial Introductory Flight (TIF) is all they need to tick an item off their bucket list. For others, their goal of flying for fun might see them looking towards a Private Pilot Licence. If you want to fly professionally one day, a Commercial Pilot Licence or Diploma of Aviation is your pathway to success.

Whatever your aviation aspirations are, Learn to Fly is here to help. Here, we answer some of the most common questions about flight training. If, after reading this article, you still have any questions, you can always get in touch with one of our flight training specialists.

How old do I have to be to fly?

This is by far one of the most common questions that people ask. Here at Learn to Fly, we’re proud to offer a full range of flight packages and experiences designed to help people of all ages achieve their dreams.

As per regulations set out by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA), you must be at least 15 to fly an aircraft solo. You can commence flight training prior to this, but until you are 15 you will always need to fly with an instructor. You need to be 16 to obtain a Recreational Pilot Licence (RPL), 17 to obtain a Private Pilot Licence (PPL), and 18 to obtain a Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL).

If you are younger than 15, our Trial Introductory Flight (TIF) is the perfect opportunity to experience what it is like to fly a plane before deciding on whether you want to commit to further training. We also offer a range of simulation packages, which provide an enjoyable, realistic experience for all ages.

What are the steps to becoming a professional pilot?

This is one of the most common questions about flight training. To fly professionally, you will need to obtain your CPL. To start on CPL training you must first have completed and obtained your RPL and PPL.

For pilots who are yet to start any training, a great option is the AVI50219 Diploma of Aviation (Commercial Pilot Licence – Aeroplane) course. This course includes RPL, PPL and CPL training as well as additional learning aimed at better preparing pilots for entering the industry once they graduate. This course is also approved for VET Student Loans (VSL) for eligible students. This means that you can train now, and only need to start paying back your course fees once you are earning money.

Once you have obtained your CPL, you are able to work professionally as a pilot. Depending on what kind of pilot role you want to work in, it may be of benefit to complete further training, like an Instrument Rating for example.

Learn To Fly has a range of additional Rating and Endorsement courses that allow you to upskill and give yourself the best chance at landing your dream pilot job.

Are there any prerequisites I must meet to fly?

As mentioned, CASA has a minimum age limit on who can undertake solo flights. There are a number of other prerequisites that must be met before completing flight training in Australia. These include a medical check, security clearance, Aviation English Language Proficiency (AELP) test, and registering for an Aviation Reference Number (ARN) with CASA.

You can contact Learn to Fly if you have any questions about how to meet the requirements to fly.

What aviation careers are available to me?

Many people become pilots with the dream of flying for an international airline, but that is not the only option. In reality, there are actually a wide range of career paths that pilots can choose from. You might choose to ferry cargo from one airport to another. Perhaps you’re interested in pursuing a career in the medical aviation industry, which is a very worthy endeavour. There are also always openings for agricultural pilots.

One of the best pilot career options is to become a Flight Instructor. Becoming a Flight Instructor is a rewarding career path on its own. In addition, it can be a fantastic stepping stone to another role, as it allows you to build flying hours and experience while you earn money.

Learn to Fly is passionate about helping all our students achieve their dreams, while also opening up doors that you may not have previously considered.

How much does flight training cost?

The answer to this question depends on a number of different factors. The cost of a course will depend largely on the number of flying hours it requires. Aircraft choice is another factor in determining how much training will cost.

If you are an international student, you will need to factor in the cost of your student visa plus living in Australia on top of your course fees.

Learn To Fly offers a range of payment options on our courses. We offer inclusive flight packages to give you a better indication of the overall cost upfront, and many of these can be split into interest-free monthly instalments. There is also the option to “pay as you fly”. Our Diploma courses have been approved for VET Student Loans (VSL) for eligible students.

We are dedicated to making flight training in Australia accessible to as many people as possible. We strive to make flight training more affordable, making it easier to achieve your dreams. Flying is a wonderful experience, and regardless of what your flying goals are, we look forward to welcoming you to our school. If you have any questions about flight training, don’t hesitate to get in touch!

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Soar into the New Year with a Trial Introductory Flight

Oftentimes, the dreams on our bucket list never quite make it to reality. Maybe they require you to quit your job and move to a country on the other side of the world. Perhaps fulfilling a lifelong ambition requires too much time, money, or simply seems completely unrealistic. Well, as another new year approaches, one dream that CAN be fulfilled is taking the controls of an aircraft! Learn to Fly’s Trial Introductory Flight (TIF) gives you a first-hand experience of what it’s like to pilot a light aircraft.

This awesome experience can be enjoyed by people of all ages and abilities. By choosing Learn to Fly, you can also complement the experience with a range of additional features and add-ons.

What to expect

Here at Learn to Fly, we know that some people undertake a trial flight as a one-off experience, perhaps to tick another item off their bucket list. Others may be considering a career as a professional pilot but first want to really make sure that this is a calling they feel passionate about and can see themselves succeeding in.

As such, our trial introductory flights are designed to suit a wide range of audiences. The flight will start with your instructor giving an introduction to the type of plane you will be flying in. At Learn to Fly, we have the resources at our disposal to provide you with a choice of what aircraft you want to go up in — the Foxbat OR Sling, or the Diamond DA40.

Following the introduction, where the pilot will outline how the controls work, you will be taken through a pre-flight checklist. This is the standard procedure that all pilots follow every time they fly, the trial introductory flight being designed to capture as closely as possible the real thing.

Now, it’s time to take to the skies. The pilot will, of course, be the one to control take-off, but having shown you a few basic manoeuvres, they may even let you have a go at putting your hands on the controls.  

At Learn to Fly, we offer trial introductory flights of either 30 or 60 minutes — it’s completely up to you how long you want to spend exploring the clouds.

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Take the controls and fly the aircraft yourself in our Trial Introductory Flight

Eligibility

Unlike some other types of flight training, there is no age limit on a trial introductory flight. This experience is designed for everyone!

However, you may be asked if you have any pre-existing health conditions that could interfere with your ability to safely control a plane or put other flight occupants at risk.

If you really enjoy your trial introductory flight experience, ask your Learn To Fly flight instructor about further training. The flight incorporates actual flying lesson content, meaning your time in the air will count towards additional training.

How to Book

Booking your trial flight couldn’t be easier. Simply visit the Learn to Fly website and select your plane, flight length, and preferred date. If you want to give a friend or loved one the ultimate present, we also offer a gift certificate option.

Add-ons

We know many of our trial flight participants have dreamed about this moment their whole life. With that in mind, we’ve put together a range of add-ons designed to make the day even more memorable.

While your time spent soaring amongst the clouds will no doubt remain firmly implanted in your memory, our video packages provide you with the perfect opportunity to relive your trial flight. All our aircraft are fitted with GoPro mounts, which allows your friends and family to join you in the skies.

For those wanting to go a step further, we even offer a 360 degree video option. This gives you a fully interactive recap of your flight from all angles!

For a small fee, we can also provide you with a laminated certificate, commemorating your very first flight! All the important details are featured, including your name and the flight details. Imagine how special this piece of paper will become once you’re fulfilling your life’s dream of piloting commercial airliners!

Finally, if the trial flight experience leaves you hungry for more, why not try our 737 Simulation? The simulator uses real instruments and systems to accurately capture what it’s like to be an international airline captain. What an experience!

The best way to start the new year is seeing what life is really like amongst the clouds. Contact Learn to Fly today to learn more about our trial introductory flight options and book yourself in for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity today.

Preparing For Airline Pilot Interviews – Student Pilot Journal Part 4

Student Pilot Mickey Wu travelled from Taiwan to Melbourne to train with us at Learn To Fly Melbourne. Despite not being able to fly for 3 months due to Covid lockdown, he managed to complete a CPL, MECIR, Multi-Engine Class Rating, and 5 ATPL exams. Now back in Taiwan, Mickey talks about preparing himself to be the best possible candidate for airline pilot interviews.

“What kind of pilots are the airlines looking for?”

People are called by the sky for different reasons. Some people want to be an instructor to pass down the fun of flying, while some simply fall in love with flying and want to keep it for themselves. For me, I want to be an airline pilot.

In order to prepare myself as an employable airline pilot, I decided to ask myself a few questions every day. The first thing I asked myself is:

“What kind of pilots are the airlines looking for?”

Before I started my training, I consulted a few experienced airline captains. One of them told me a story about a candidate that they interviewed years ago. This candidate built 300 hours within 8 months, and got his CPL and MECIR. And he knew all the settings and speeds of the Boeing B777 and Airbus A320, which were the aircraft in the fleet at the time.

“If we don’t hire him, we are making a big mistake”

That was the comment from one of the interviewers. I want to be just like this candidate.

Looking for a pilot job is about a mindset. We are hired to help solve problems. As Steve Jobs once said in an interview:

“Good employees are self-managed. They know the system well, and they know what they can do with the system. You put them together and they just know what to do”

I believe that applies to aviation as well. They don’t actually expect us to know everything. But having said that, the least we can do is to make them believe that we have the potential. And that brings us to the second question I asked myself.

“What can I do to make myself irresistible?”

Airline-Pilot-Cockpit
A well prepared airline pilot interview could see you sitting in a cockpit like this.

“What can I do to make myself irresistible?”

Based on the anecdote that the captain told me, airlines are looking for someone who knows what to do already. Or who knows enough to take the initiative and work the rest out. So how do we make ourselves closer to that standard to prepare for airline pilot interviews?

The systems on a big jet airliner are different from that of General Aviation training aircraft. A good thing to start with is the ATPL subject “Aerodynamics & Aircraft Systems (AASA)”. CASA uses the Boeing B727 as an example, so the candidates are able to have more tangible material to work on.

It’s similar to the Aircraft General Knowledge theory (CSYA) for CPL, except that AASA is for larger jets. So if you have finished the 7 CPL theory exams and are just building your flying hours, AASA theory is definitely worth spending your time on. AASA and the Boeing B727 syllabus can give you a good general idea about the operation on a big jet airliner.

Realistically, the manual of the actual aircraft we are hired to fly will be the most useful tool to make us more eligible. After passing the CPL flight test, there will be a long period of time during which you are getting ready to apply for airline jobs. This is the phase I am in right now. So now is the time to do some research on the fleet of the airlines I am hoping to apply to, and get familiar with the aircraft inside and out.

While I am preparing myself to be an eligible candidate for airline pilot interviews, the next question I ask myself every day is:

“Is what I am doing now taking me closer to my goal?”

“Is what I am doing now taking me closer to my goal?”

In order to fly properly, we always monitor our altitude, heading, and speed. We are constantly making corrections. Likewise, when we are shaping ourselves to be an employable pilot, it’s a great idea to monitor ourselves constantly. This allows us to keep everything on the right track.

I always try to compare myself to airline cadets. As my friend in Eva Air (Taiwanese Airline) told me, life during their training was pretty intense, and it felt quite similar to serving in the military. They get up at six or seven in the morning for self-study, and the classes are scheduled from eight to five in the afternoon. They will do some exercise after the class and end the day with more self-study. That’s five days a week.

If that is what it takes to succeed as an airline cadet, then this is what I will do to prepare myself to be an eligible airline pilot interview cadidate. So when I was in Melbourne, I kept a fixed schedule, pretending as though I was in the military or studying as an actual airline cadet. I even did this during the 3 month Covid pandemic lockdown in Melbourne.

I made my schedule six days a week, because honestly, if I were as good as those cadets then I would have been one of them. But I was not. So I figured that I would have to work at least a little bit harder than they did. I got up early and studied, cooked, and then studied more. Sometimes the daily Covid announcements kept me company in the afternoon. Sometimes it was the Taipei Tower on Live ATC.

Does it work? I don’t 100% know yet. We’ll find out. But I have faith!

We would like to thank Mickey for contributing these journals on learning how to fly, and on preparing for airline pilot interviews. To get an even greater advantage over other applicants, check out our Airline Pilot Interview Preparation courses hosted by Airline Check and Training Captain Darren McPherson.

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Captain Darren McPherson teaching his airline pilot interview students.

Contact [email protected] or visit https://drift.me/learntofly/meeting to book a meeting and school tour.

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Resilience – An Airline Pilot’s COVID Pandemic Experience

We’ve all seen a lot of news about how the COVID pandemic has affected airlines and airline pilots. Guest blogger and Second Officer Vincent Mok shares an airline pilot’s COVID pandemic experience.

“Resilience”

There were 20 round tables in a classroom the size of a basketball court. We found the specific light switch for the ceiling light at the front, leaving the rest of the room in a dark void.

“Don’t bother with name tags” the CRM instructor said.

This time last year, the same room was buzzing with activity and smelled like perfume and cologne as second officers, first officers, captains, junior flight attendants, flight pursers, senior pursers, chief customer managers and CRM instructors made introductions, all keen to find out what hypothetical in-flight emergency awaited us. Today, the 5 of us were greeted by the silent hum of the air conditioner as the smell of alcohol rub filled the void.

The CRM instructor wrote one word on the whiteboard.

“RESILIENCE”

A picture of an A350 oleo strut came into my mind. I hadn’t seen one for 2 months.

“What can you tell me about resilience?” the instructor asked.

“The ability to spring back like a landing gear, which I might not see again” I said.

“During these times with lockdowns and job losses, the uncertainty can cause our minds to ruminate into a dark corner.”

The instructor then led a discussion on Unhelpful Thinking Styles and how we could challenge them to become resilient professionals. As an airline pilot during the COVID pandemic, a resilient mindset is so important.

1. Mental Filter

Written on December 31st, 2020

As COVID took hold, flying schedules became scant and people lost jobs, I began to question my career decision to become an airline pilot.

“During times of stress, our minds have a tendency to focus on the negative and filter out the whole picture. This mental filtering is an unhelpful thinking style that can lead to stress, anxiety and depression.”

“You mean tunnel vision?”

“Yes. Instead of focusing on a small part of the situation and ignoring the rest, try to see the whole picture

Tunnel vision had made me focus on the transient financial insecurity as a pilot during COVID and filtered out my reasons for leaving a high paying secure job. I’d forgotten that I’d left a 9-5 desk job in a little cubicle with no windows to see thunderstorms from above; to feel the rattle of the nose gear as the jet took off; to take my friends, family, strangers, and essential cargo like vaccines safely across the Pacific Ocean. The job satisfaction from airline flying is unique.

2. Jumping to Conclusions

“I realize that I love being an airline pilot, but with all the upcoming job cuts due to the COVID pandemic, I’ll lose my job in the next few months”

“You see, jumping to conclusions is unhelpful thinking” the instructor said. “You become too busy assuming that you fail to see the opportunities in the present.”

He continued to impart his wisdom.

“Rather than jumping to conclusions, focus on what you can control.”

“A resilient airline pilot knows they’re like an elite sportsperson who is ready to perform during competitions and has back-up options in case of injury.”

The opportunity presented to us while flying less is the free time to improve ourselves as pilots by practicing in the procedural trainer, reading operation manuals and learning more about the aircraft we fly. It also gives us the opportunity to pursue back-up options and other interests. Like elite sportspeople, many pilots have a second vocation to fall back on during economic lows while waiting to return to an airline job. I know of pilots who pursued their fitness goals, learned hydroponic farming, and built their CV through teaching.

“You don’t want to jump to conclusions then give up”.

3. Catastrophising

“OK, you’ve widened my perspective to see the positives and the opportunities. But with all the parked aircraft and no end in sight, I feel that the aviation industry is dying and it’ll never recover!”

“Don’t you think this is catastrophising? It is unhelpful thinking to blow things out of proportion. Instead try to look at the facts rationally.”

Aviation has suffered many setbacks throughout its history, from the Wright Flyer crash in 1908, to September 11 2001, and also the Global Financial Crisis in 2008. Although flying would never be the same after each crisis, it consequently led to advancements in efficiency and safety. Aviation will continue to evolve through each challenge, and pilots will always be there as safeguards.

Furthermore, history has shown that all pandemics end. There are already promising advancements with vaccines and scientists are also building their knowledge on COVID at a rapid pace. When it is safe to do so, people will return to the skies and the industry will bounce back.

“Aviation is dynamic. Resilient pilots stay rational through crisis and therefore prepare themselves for disruption through devotion to learning and self improvement”.

Looking To The Future

During these unprecedented times, resilience has never been so important. Part of it is in recognizing and also mitigating unhelpful thinking styles. When encountering a crisis, it helps to step back and look at all the evidence instead of mental filtering, jumping to conclusions and catastrophising. Adopting a positive attitude and eliminating unhelpful thinking styles helps us build resilience. This keeps us moving forward, not just as an airline pilot during the COVID pandemic, but in life as well.

For flying students, try to see the opportunities in the increased availability of aircraft. Think about the uncongested airspace, or unique experiences like being able to fly into Melbourne International Airport while a jet’s at the holding point. On one of my recent flights out of Sydney, ATC cleared us to overfly the Sydney Harbour Bridge. This is something that would usually only be reserved for special events (such as the recent Qantas Boeing B747 farewell flight).

As for the commercial future of airlines and airline pilots, there’s no doubt the world still needs aviation, and it will bounce back. There will be changes, which will most likely include more stringent health requirements for passengers. Initially, it’s likely that the first sectors to bounce back will be the domestic and cargo markets. Australia is similar to China in that COVID outbreaks have been well controlled. Post-COVID, China has actually seen an increase in domestic passengers already compared to last year. It’s looking very likely that Australian domestic flights will bounce back strongly very soon.

There is light at the end of the tunnel. In my opinion, there has never been a better time to pursue recreational flying or flight training.

Flying into Melbourne International Airport in a Diamond DA40 during the Covid pandemic.

We’d like to thank Vincent very much for providing this valuable insight into an airline pilot’s COVID pandemic experience. If you are interested in finding out more about our flight training courses and online learning options, email [email protected] or visit https://drift.me/learntofly/meeting to book a meeting and school tour.

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An Airline Cadet Pilot’s Road To The Line

Now flying an Airbus A350 for a major international airline, Second Officer Vincent Mok looks back on his airline cadet pilot journey and shares some of his experiences. In his first guest blog, he talked about his airline cadet pilot training. If you missed that you can read it here. In this edition, he discusses the next step – the road to the line!

Week 1: “The Honeymoon”

Within the space of a week, barely enough time to recover from the graduation party, we went from being the most respected gold-bar-on-the-shoulders seniors at airline cadet pilot school, to the most junior fresh pilots at the airline headquarters. It took 20 weeks to transform into a line pilot.

Day one at the airline started with a buffet breakfast with the chief pilots. With the same hands that commanded many heavy jets around the world, they opened a small envelope and brought out a piece of paper with the company logo at the top.

“Who’s Vincent?”

I put my hand up and gulped down the partially chewed fried egg in my mouth.

“Airbus.”

It was no longer flying the Slings, Foxbats, Diamond DA40s, Cessna 172s or the Diamond DA42 Twinstar. The link between my fingers and the ailerons will no longer be a few mechanical rods. Instead, a twitch of my finger will send digital signals through a myriad of wires connecting stacks of computers conferring at the speed of light whether they will grant the wish of that finger twitch. I’d be flying the Airbus A350.

There were two days of Safety School during the Honeymoon week. We trained for evacuation through various tasks:

1 Retrieve Snoopy the dummy from a smoke-filled cabin mock-up after donning a smoke-hood
2 Operate aircraft doors
3 Jump down an inflated 2-storey-high slide (which isn’t as easy as the “safety cards in the seat pockets in front of you” suggest)
4 Drag a classmate across a 25m swimming pool
5 Drag the same classmate from the pool into an inflatable life-raft
6 Set up shelter in the life-raft

The last day of the Honeymoon week was “new joiners’ day”. We broke ice with new joiners from other departments. We played games, toured the simulator building and maintenance hangars.

“Your accent sounds funny,” said the maintenance hangar tour-guide.

“I grew up in Australia”.

“People will start thinking you’re a pilot with that accent”.

Instead of saying “you’ve just met a pilot”, I grinned nervously. The upcoming schedule was ruminating in my mind.

Weeks 2 – 3: Ground School

At airline cadet pilot school, we had 20 weeks to digest ATPL theory. The Airbus ground school was 2 weeks. We had to put everything we’ve learned, from airline interview preparation to cadet school theory classes, to full use.

Tip: Take the time to completely understand the aviation theory taught at interview training and airline cadet pilot school. Your future self will appreciate it.

The course consisted of:

  • Computer based training on a dedicated laptop where a monotonous voice explained the operation of all the A350 systems.
  • Study guide of questions, all of which we need to answer before the end of the course.
  • Technical briefings by our instructor, an experienced Airbus engineer.
  • Use of a fixed base procedural trainer where we learned Standard Operating Procedures and dissected the function of all the buttons and switches.

I once thought the Diamond DA40 Aircraft Flight Manual was extensive until I started studying the airline manuals. To list a few of them:

  • Flight crew operating manual (7000 pages FCOM)
  • Flight crew techniques manual (500 pages FCTM)
  • Quick Reference Handbook (90 pages QRH)
  • Minimum Equipment list (2000 pages MEL)
  • Operations Manual: Policy, Procedures and Requirements (1000 pages)

Tip: You don’t have to be a “walking FCOM”. Memorise the safety critical information and know where to find the rest.

Weeks 4 – 10: Simulator Training

Simulator training commenced at 10pm the day after we passed our ground school exams.

The first session was in a full motion A350 simulator and is similar to the “Effects of Control” lesson. The most challenging aspect was handling the momentum during landing. If we flared like a DA40, the jet will float and run out of runway. If we flared too little too late, our buttocks would learn a lesson as if the instructor hit them with a paper FCOM.

The remainder of the simulator sessions consisted of normal and non-normal training, each lasting 4 hours.

Tip: Spend plenty of time rehearsing each lesson in advance on a “paper flight deck”

The goal of normal procedures training was to learn the Standard Operating Procedures and associated manual handling. There were:

  • 4 sessions in the fixed based procedural trainer
  • 4 sessions in a full motion simulator

The non-normal training included handling failures (e.g. engine failures, electrical failure, hydraulic failure, decompression) including their associated ECAM actions, decision making and manual handling. There were:

  • 3 sessions in the fixed based procedural trainer
  • 5 sessions in a full motion simulator

Our final two airline cadet pilot simulator sessions consisted of low visibility operations and performance based navigation training and general revision for the upcoming type rating and instrument rating.

For our type rating and instrument rating in the simulator, we had to demonstrate to the senior training captain our proficiency in rejected take off, takeoff, go-around, diversion, hold, and landing in manual flight as well as with automatics (autopilot and autothrust).

Weeks 11 – 20: Line Training

“Where’d you go for lunch today?”

“I went to Korea”

The observation flight you do will be one of the most memorable of your career. You’ve trained for 14 months as an airline cadet pilot and finally get to sit back and observe the masters at work over a sandwich or two. I went to Seoul. After observing the first sector, I had a Bibimbap over a 2 hour lunch and bought some Kimchi with my meal voucher. I was a school kid on my first excursion.

Line training is about learning to fly safely, legally and efficiently in a multi-crew operation. It consisted of 10 sectors and took me to multiple exciting destinations including:

  • Auckland
  • Melbourne
  • Sydney
  • Barcelona
  • Washington DC
  • Brisbane

The 17 month journey from the beginning of airline cadet pilot school to the line check was full of challenges and triumphs. I made many lifelong friends and learned a lot about resilience, persistence and comradery.

I was lucky to have the ongoing support of my mentors including Darren McPherson from ACS – Aviation Consulting Services as well as my family and friends. Realising my dream would have been impossible without them. If your dream is to be an airline pilot, certainly consider the airline cadet pilot pathway.

Airline-Cadet-Pilot-Graduates
Vincent’s airline cadet pilot class graduates with Captain Darren McPherson from ACS Aviation Consulting.

We’d like to thank Vincent very much for contributing these fantastic blogs on his airline cadet pilot journey. If you are interested in finding out more about our flight training courses and online learning options, email [email protected] or visit https://drift.me/learntofly/meeting to book a meeting and school tour.

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Airline Pilot Guest Blog – Why You Should Consider An Instrument Rating Course

Now flying an Airbus A350 for a major international airline, Second Officer Vincent Mok discusses why an Instrument Rating course is so important. He also provides some handy tips on the must-have tools to look at before your first lesson.

All pilots should consider completing an Instrument Rating course which will enable them to fly in Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) conditions. Not only is it an essential step in a professional pilot’s career, but also an invaluable skill for every private pilot because of:

1. Safety

Even though entering cloud or flying in reduced visibility should not happen with adequate planning, Visual Flight Rules (VFR) pilots can still make this fatal mistake. Completing an Instrument Rating course gives you the option of upgrading to Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) for an additional margin of safety.

2. Efficiency

Some seasons are bad for VFR flying. An Instrument Rating increases the likelihood of being able to get to your destination all year round. If you are still training or building hours, completing an Instrument Rating course will allow you build hours and experience faster, with more available days to fly.

3. The Views

There’s just something magical about flying next to clouds, and of course those amazing city views at night!

Instrument Rating Night Cockpit
Completing an Instrument Rating Course allows you to enjoy spectacular views.

I’d like to share with you the tools I used during cadet pilot school that helped me get the most out of my first Instrument Rating flying lesson. They were also essential for my ongoing progress throughout the Instrument Rating course:

1. IFR Cheat Sheet

This free resource (link: weflyplanes.com.au) will be an invaluable tool for your IFR flying. You should be familiar with the whole document before your Instrument Rating course exam and check flight. However in the meantime, you should focus on the following sections initially:

Phraseology

IFR radio calls are slightly different to VFR but are something you can nail before your first flight. You will get more out of IFR flying if you can communicate with Air Traffic Control (ATC) professionally early on.

Alternate Requirements

Knowing these is crucial for IFR flight planning. Use these to check the TAFs (Terminal Area Forecasts), NOTAMs (Notices to Airmen), and aerodrome charts to make sure it’s safe and legal to fly IFR.

Holding Patterns

A competently flown hold is the bread and butter of IFR flying. You should understand holding patterns and sector entries well enough to teach it to other students!

IFR Cheat Sheet

2. Captain Joe’s Sector Entry Tips

While the IFR cheat sheet is great for learning the theory, Captain Joe (link: https://youtu.be/szkZ9VaNfrc) tells you how to fly it. My instructor was amazed at how fast I could work out sector entries during my first IFR flight! Make sure you watch this a few times!

3. G1000 Simulator

Flight simulators are a lot more useful for IFR flights compared with VFR. I practiced sector entries and flew the entire sortie on my laptop before my first IFR lesson. I’d tried X-Plane 11, Flight Simulator X but found the best trainer for IFR procedures was the G1000 Integrated Flight Deck Trainer (link: https://www.mypilotstore.com/mypilotstore/sep/5990).

Learn To Fly also operates a state-of-the-art Alsim AL42 simulator. This simulator provides a highly realistic cockpit environment based on the Diamond DA42 aircraft.

We’d like to thank Vincent very much for contributing this fantastic blog on the importance of completing an Instrument Rating course. Stay tuned for Vincent’s next guest blog on his journey to becoming an airline pilot.

Vincent was successful in his cadet pilot application after completing airline pilot interview preparation courses with Captain Darren McPherson from ACS – Aviation Consulting Services. Darren is a Check and Training Captain with a major international airline, with over 30 years of industry experience. We are proud to offer a range of highly successful airline pilot interview preparation courses taught by Darren. For more information head to https://learntofly.edu.au/airline-interview-preparation-programs/

To find out more about completing an Instrument Rating Course, email [email protected]com.au or visit https://drift.me/learntofly/meeting to book a meeting and school tour.

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Airline Pilot Guest Blog – Looking Back at Cadet Pilot Training

Now flying an Airbus A350 for a major international airline, Second Officer Vincent Mok looks back on his cadet pilot training and discusses some of the lessons he learned.

While I was backing up my photos, the past year and a half at cadet school literally flashed before my eyes. It’s an amazing journey to go from an office worker to an airline pilot in the space of 15 months. I’d like to share with a few photos with you from my cadet pilot training and the stories behind them. Hopefully they’ll help you in your journey with aviation.

First Solo, First Milestone

The journey to my first solo didn’t go as smoothly as planned. I needed two checks before the training manager was happy to send me up. The night before my first solo check, I had 15 Xiao Long Baos and a plate of noodles at a restaurant notorious for their use of flavoring enhancer (MSG).

I couldn’t sleep because of the flushing and palpitations which didn’t help with the anxiety before the first solo. My final approach profile was inconsistent because my power adjustments were more spasmodic twitches than smooth and decisive.

Lesson Number 1: Healthy eating is as important as checking the weather before a flight

Lesson Number 2: Sleep quality is essential for learning especially in an accelerated environment

That night I had better quality of sleep. My circuit geometry, final approach profile and landings were consistently safe during my second solo check. Alone in the cockpit, while I did my flows and checklists, I saw the windsock pick up a little and started worrying about it approaching my crosswind limit.

“If tower announced a 10kt crosswind, I’d have to do my solo another day”

I taxied to the holding point, did the required checks, lined up and took off after tower clearance.

“200ft AAL, brakes applied, flaps up” I said out loud.

I reached for the flap lever but it was already at its upper stop, realising that I missed a part of the before takeoff flows and checks. If I was on a 737, I would have crashed at the end of the runway and killed 300 people behind me, destroyed a runway and the reputation of my airline. Distraction is the biggest threat in aviation.

Cadet-Pilot-Solo-Flight
Vincent’s first solo flight during cadet pilot training.

Lesson Number 3: Don’t rush!

In the above photo taken after my solo, behind the smile, half tucked sweat stained shirt and tired legs were multiple lessons that I had learned. I’d been under a lot of pressure because I was the only one in my course without recent flying experience, despite having a PPL from 10 years ago.

After that solo flight, I knew that I had the potential to complete the course.

Memorable Flights

After the first solo, cadets progress through the following hurdles as part of the flying phase:

1 Recreational pilot licence/area solo standard
2 Private pilot licence (PPL) standard
3 Commercial pilot license standard
4 Single engine instrument rating standard
5 Multi-engine command instrument rating standard
6 Upset prevention and recovery training (UPRT)

The flying at each hurdle was both challenging and fun and reaffirmed my passion for aviation. I saw many sunrises, sunsets, coastlines, country airports as well as the world upside down from 6000ft high. I also recall the dread in my stomach during my UPRT but looking back was an utmost invaluable experience and was the most memorable.

“Do you actually get sick, or are you just scared?” My instructor asked while we were upside down in a roll.

“Imagine this was your Airbus and somehow the attitude is like this. Recover.”

Without much thinking, I adjusted the power, rolled wings level, fixed the pitch, and flew straight and level while the chicken I had at mess a few hours ago wanted to fly its way back out.

Cadet-Pilot-Vincent-Aerobatic-Flight
Cadet pilot training includes some memorable flights, like aerobatics!

Another time during the PPL training phase, I was admiring the sunrise and the little houses along the coast I could see from 500ft.

“Enjoy it while it lasts”. The instructor said in a mocking manner as I increased the power to climb to 2500ft.

“You’ve just suffered a partial engine failure”. He placed his hand on the throttle and retarded it to a few inches of manifold pressure.

I immediately pitched for best gliding speed and performed trouble checks, then looked for a field nearby.

“You’ve still got thrust, I don’t feel like landing on a vineyard today”

“Oh yeh….Goolwa Airport is in the vicinity and it seems someone just took off from 01”. I turned the aircraft towards downwind, idle power, made a descending turn to base then final.

“You’re way too high. Do a touch and go and we’ll do a diversion after that”

I took flaps and landed around a third of the way down the runway.

“Why’d you make a full stop?”

My bladder had taken over controls and I taxied to the terminal where we all had a toilet break.

Lesson Number 4: While enjoying the beauty of flight, always be prepared for the unexpected

Weight Gain

“Everybody gains weight at cadet school” was a well known fact that our seniors, course mentors, and instructors stated again and again. We had access to buffet style food at the mess for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

The chef nicknamed me “Mr Six Eggs” after my breakfast choice, because there wasn’t enough time in the morning to say “Mr Six Eggs, Two Tomatoes, Bowl of Oatmeal, Scoop of Mushroom, Scoops of Baked Beans, Bowl of Yoghurt”.

Thankfully, one of my coursemates was obsessed with Arnie and I stumbled across photos of “Gympilot”, who used to be overweight but transformed himself into a muscle machine so that he could apply the required 60kg worth of force on a rudder during asymmetric flight on a DA42.

I built lots of friendships (and muscles) at that gym. It became my sanctuary in an otherwise stressful course.

Lesson Number 5: Make exercise a commitment

Cadet pilot training school was one of the most memorable, challenging and fulfilling part of my life. I’d highly recommend any aspiring pilot to consider this path to an airline career. The habits and lessons learned from cadet school lay the foundation for a career as an airline pilot and I attribute the following to my successful completion of the course:

1 Healthy eating is as important as checking the weather before a flight
2 Sleep quality is essential for learning especially in an accelerated environment
3 Don’t rush
4 While enjoying the beauty of flight, always be prepared for the unexpected
5 Make exercise a commitment

Cadet-Pilot-Vincent-Gym
Eating well and exercising is important during the rigours of cadet pilot training.

We’d like to thank Vincent very much for contributing this fantastic blog on cadet pilot training. Stay tuned for Vincent’s next guest blog on his journey to becoming an airline pilot.

To find out more about our flight training courses, email [email protected] or visit https://drift.me/learntofly/meeting to book a meeting and school tour.

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Online Airline Interview Preparation Course

Our highly successful Airline Interview Coaching Session is now available as an online airline interview preparation course!

At Learn To Fly we are committed to innovating our aviation training model so that student pilots and airline pilot hopefuls can continue to learn. We recently introduced online distance learning for our RPL and PPL theory courses, and we are now excited to launch an online Airline Interview Preparation course together with ACS – Aviation Consulting Services.

ACS – Aviation Consulting Services has been developing and consistently providing quality pilot candidates for a range of operators and airlines globally for over 5 years. The Airline Interview Coaching Session itself has helped candidates to achieve success in their applications to more than 10 major airlines worldwide, at both cadet and direct entry levels.

Are Airlines Still Recruiting Pilots?

During recent months we have seen unprecedented impacts on the aviation and airline industry due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Global airline traffic is nearly at a standstill, but that doesn’t mean that airlines aren’t thinking about their future recruitment.

Some major airlines are still actively recruiting cadet pilots. It is highly likely that the current hibernation period will make the applicant talent pool even more competitive once recruitment resumes for any airlines that are not currently recruiting. Those who use this down time to prepare will be far better placed than those who don’t.

Preparation will always be the single most important factor in giving yourself the best chance of success in airline interview processes. Our online airline interview preparation course gives you access to this crucial preparation knowledge from wherever you are in the world.

How Does the Online Airline Interview Preparation Course Work?

Thanks to advances in technology and software, we are now able to create a truly interactive online classroom environment. Your location no longer prevents you from participating in courses that before you could only attend in person.

This Online Airline Interview Preparation Course uses the same syllabus as our standard Airline Interview Coaching Session. The content has been refined to suit delivery using Zoom online meeting software.

The course contains 5 modules, each of which will run for approximately 90 minutes. We will present each module live in an interactive online classroom across 2 days. The presenter for each session is airline interview specialist and international airline Captain Darren McPherson from ACS – Aviation Consulting Services.

Darren is also available to provide further feedback and interaction with all participants following the course.

Airline-Cadet-Pilot-Graduates
Cadet pilot graduates with Captain Darren McPherson from ACS Aviation Consulting.

Course Outline

The following modules make up the online Airline Interview Preparation course:

Module 1 – The Interview Process

The interview process varies in both format and content for different airlines and operators. This module assists in providing a practical insight into the processes for a range of airlines. Participants also develop a study pathway to assist in structured and ongoing preparation further down the track.

We tailor this module to target the interview process for the specific airlines that course participants will be applying to.

Module 2 – The HR Interview

The HR interview is an important step for most airlines and operators. This also forms a crucial part of the online Airline Interview Preparation course. In this module we examine the human factors that can impact you during this part of the interview process.

We explore the content of the HR interview, and look at interview scenarios and styles for a range of different airlines. This allows you to develop your response methods in order to create the best outcome.

In developing methods for response, we conduct practical planning activities. These teach you how to best respond to airline HR questions using your own strengths and your past work and study experiences. The aim of this module is to help each participant to unlock the ways in which they can showcase their best and most relevant qualities.

Module 3 – Typical Review Questions

Whilst airlines differ in their approach and interview process, there are a number of key themes and areas that are common to all operators. Whilst some of the knowledge areas may seem obvious, the best way to answer these common questions themselves may not be.

In this module we look at those common themes and questions with consideration to the content covered in modules 1 and 2. We will work through each activity in a practical group style format. This way, participants are able to explore their own responses and also develop them further by learning from each other.

Module 4 – Group Skills & Exercises

Airlines place a large emphasis on your ability to work in a team environment. That means that group skills and exercises are an important component of the application process for many.

In this module we discuss the human factors involved in group dynamics, and look at teamwork. We also work through a number of practical team exercises, similar to those you will experience during the interview process.

Finally, we analyse the results of the group exercises. We then conduct an open discussion on how personality factors contribute to the overall outcome.

Module 5 – Technical Knowledge

Even for cadet entry positions, airlines expect that applicants have a level of technical aviation knowledge. During this module in the online Airline Interview Preparation course, we review crucial technical knowledge subject areas.

We take into consideration the differences in what level of knowledge different airlines tend to expect. We also discuss the expected knowledge levels relevant to each individual’s own previous flying and aviation theory experience.

The discussion in this module provides each applicant with an insight into their current knowledge. It also then allows them to plan for further preparation and study if required.

Advanced Training & Further Online Airline Interview Preparation Modules

The Online Airline Interview Preparation course is a standalone 2 day program. However, Learn To Fly and ACS – Aviation Consulting Services have developed a range of individual online modules for more advanced training. For further information or to register your interest in these modules, email [email protected] or visit https://drift.me/learntofly/meeting to book a meeting and school tour.

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