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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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Flight Training With Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020

The wait is finally over! Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 was released globally today (August 18th 2020), and it is packed with some pretty amazing features to further your flight training.

Flight simulation has advanced a LOT – in the last 10 years especially – and what was once considered a bit of a fun game is actually now very useful for actual flight training. In this blog we take a look at some of the things Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 offers. We will also look at how you can use it to further your flight training.

System Requirements

To be able to make the most out of the Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 experience, you’ll need a pretty powerful PC. Microsoft recommends an Intel i5-8400 or AMD Ryzen 5 1500X CPU, Nvidia GTX 970 or AMD Radeon RX 590 graphics, 4GB of VRAM, 16GB of RAM, and a 20Mbps download speed. For more info head to https://www.windowscentral.com/microsoft-flight-simulator

There will also be a simplified version released on Xbox, with further details on that available soon. Virtual Reality (VR) support is also on the way, which will make both the experience in general and the training possibilities even greater.

Aircraft in Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020

Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 boasts an impressive list of aircraft. We’re thrilled to see that the Diamond DA40 aircraft that we train with has been included, along with the Cessna 172. The cockpit environments are highly realistic and detailed, which makes this program even more valuable for flight training.

Microsoft-Flight-Simulator-2020-YMMB-DA40
The Diamond DA40 cockpit is highly realistic in Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020

For the more adventurous, you can take the controls of a Pitts Special aerobatics aircraft. Or how about a Boeing B787 Dreamliner? For a full list of aircraft, check out this article https://www.tomsguide.com/news/microsoft-flight-simulator

Airports & Environments

Now let’s talk about airports, because this is where it gets REALLY impressive. You can take off and land from over 37,000 airports around the world. What excited us the most was that the airport list includes our very own Moorabbin Airport (YMMB) in Melbourne.

Microsoft-Flight-Simulator-2020-DA40-Moorabbin
Moorabbin Airport (YMMB) runway layout with a Diamond DA40 in Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020

The level of detail for airports and their surrounding environments in Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 are a sight to behold. Of course, the weather effects are also exciting. You can fly in a full range of light and visibility conditions across day and night. Weather has a significant and highly realistic impact on the performance of your aircraft (including turbulence).

Check out this awesome video of a Melbourne City Orbit flight from YMMB in a Diamond DA40.

Using Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 For Flight Training

To give you the best information on exactly how Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 can be used for your actual flight training, we asked Learn To Fly Flight Instructor David Marien:

“I find flight simulators extremely useful, particularly for maintaining existing skills. I personally use them to practice my instrument approaches and approach plates, briefings and instructing methods. Students can use a simulator to revise and perfect processes and checks for manoeuvres they have already learned with their instructor in an actual aircraft. Circuits, practice forced landings and precautionary search are all excellent examples of procedures where frequent practice on an advanced simulator is highly beneficial to training. Flight simulation also allows you to keep the pilot mindset active until you can return to real flying. Until then, Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 is a highly realistic and highly valuable flight training tool”

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Flying at night in the DA40 on Microsoft Flight Sim 2020

Take Your Flight Training To The Next Level Online

With the COVID-19 pandemic still affecting life, we have no guarantees on when flight training will be back to normal. For our overseas students in particular, there are doubts over exactly when it will be possible to travel to Australia for flight training.

We have been working hard to develop our state-of-the-art Online Student Portal, which allows students to continue their training at a level not yet offered by any other flight schools in Australia. We are Australia’s first flight school to adopt the hi-tech V360E virtual cockpit procedural training platform. RPL, PPL, CPL and Airline Pilot Interview theory course can now also be completed online.

When you combine the training available on our portal with a highly realistic flight sim like Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020, there are many opportunities to both keep your skills sharp, and advance your training even further from the comfort of your own home.

To find out how our online training options can help you, please email [email protected] or visit https://drift.me/learntofly/meeting to book a meeting and school tour.

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Enter The World Of Online Flight Training

Check and Training Captain Darren McPherson from ACS – Aviation Consulting Services discusses how modern technology is changing the game for student pilots, with a range of new options for online flight training.

Many define learning as a “change in behaviour from previous experience”. This definition has existed for as long as teachers have been teaching and as long as students have been learning. This approach continues to be one of the longest and most established definitions when we take part in any form of education.

Moving With The Times

As times advance so do technologies, and the standards and methods by which we learn also continue to evolve. The traditional concept of learning in a physical classroom setting with your teacher and classmates has moved forward. The classroom of the future is very much digital, with modern flight training technology providing great opportunities for flexible learning.

We can now communicate faster than ever with each other globally from telephones, personal tablets, laptops and other devices from almost anywhere. These devices give us instant and worldwide access via applications such as Skype, Facetime, Whatsapp, as well as more dedicated software that has become widely available.

Zoom Meeting and other similar online software has become increasingly popular during the COVID-19 pandemic and is widely used for video, audio, and file sharing. This software has allowed for crossing of borders and time zones globally with uses ranging from personal chit-chat through to various forms of sophisticated classroom learning.

A Changing Flight Training Landscape

At Learn To Fly, we actively look at ways to further our capabilities, by embracing modern flight training technology and combining it with software such as Zoom Meeting. Whilst the pandemic has presented us with enormous challenges in the education landscape, it has also forced us to find new ways to reach more people.

We now offer online distance learning via Zoom for a wide range of courses. These include theory sessions in a “live online classroom” environment all the way through to the varied and advanced levels of airline interview preparation, technical subject reviews and more recently flight instructor training.

In addition to live online classes, we have entire theory courses for RPL, PPL, CPL and IREX available via online subscription. These courses contain comprehensive video theory lessons presented by an experienced flight instructor. Online flight training subscriptions allow students to access videos for 12 months. Practice exams are also available as part of the subscription package.

These options allow us to provide students with the opportunity to complete online flight training from wherever they are in the world. They also provide a choice for students that may be in a different time zone, or have other time constraints.

The Learn To Fly Student Portal

Our online student portal has evolved to be one of the most comprehensive training experiences offered by any flight school in Australia. The modern flight training technology we offer extends beyond just Zoom Meeting classes and online video subscription.

We have recently become the first flight school in Australia to adopt the Aviation eLearning V360E platform, which provides students with a 360 degree cockpit environment. Within the V360E cockpit, students can run through all of their procedures in the aircraft of their choice. Each step is outlined in detail with imagery/video and text, enhancing both the experience and the quality of the training.

V360E Online Flight Training

Students that are flying with us can track their progress through both the practical and theory syllabus for each of our courses, and complete mock practice exams before attempting the actual exams themselves. This area of the portal also allows instructors to provide feedback to their students as they learn.

Our reach has extended from Australia outwards to multiple countries within Asia, Africa, Europe, and the United States. We’ve even gone as far as the South Pole!

Online Flight Training South Pole

We will continue to push the boundaries by exploring online flight training technology and distance learning platforms. Whilst the current pandemic has hindered our ability to do many things, don’t let it hinder your future goals and flight training objectives.

Captain Darren McPherson from ACS – Aviation Consulting Services 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 our online flight training options and our state-of-the-art student portal, email [email protected] or visit https://drift.me/learntofly/meeting to book a meeting and school tour.

Online Flight Training Right On Our YouTube Channel!

Learn To Fly’s YouTube channel is another great source of information for online flight training. Here you can find pre-flight check videos for our aircraft, as well as a range of flying lessons. This is a resource that we will continue to build, so make sure you click below to subscribe!

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

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V360E Virtual Cockpit Training Lands In Australia With Learn To Fly Melbourne

Media Release: Aviation eLearning, the Copenhagen-based company behind the Virtual 360E Editor (V360E), gladly announces that V360E has reached Australia. Premier flight school Learn to Fly Melbourne is the first in the region to use V360E virtual cockpit training technology.

Embracing Technology With the V360E Virtual Cockpit Experience

V360E is a platform for creating and distributing virtual flight training modules as well as non-aircraft virtual training. Learn to Fly CEO Kai Li shares that V360E matches the school’s aim to provide cost-effective training that allows aspirants to reach flying goals faster.

“V360E lets us customise our own aircraft procedures. Our instructors love it, and the best part, our students can also access unlimited cockpit experience in the smartest way imaginable, from anywhere in the world”, Kai explains.

Learn to Fly instructors collaborate in the V360E virtual cockpit platform to build their aircraft procedures. Each procedure is set within a 360 degree photo of the exact same aircraft Learn to Fly students use for training. This setup boosts mastery and cognitive abilities which then translate to actual performance.

Click here to see a sample/demo V360E virtual cockpit flight training module for the Diamond DA42 aircraft with Aviation eLearning

The V360E virtual cockpit platform is set to become the backbone of Learn To Fly Melbourne’s flight procedure training. They plan for the system to be fully live by September 2020.

V360e-Virtual-Aircraft-Cockpit-Online-Flight-Training
V360E offers full virtual cockpit procedural training in the palm of your hand.

Pro Technology, Pro Student

Digital training is no longer just an option – it is undoubtedly the way forward. Learn To Fly has a clear mission, industry expertise, and a close understanding of student needs, and therefore recognises the important role of technology in producing skilled pilots whether flying for leisure or for a career in aviation.

The V360E virtual cockpit platform comes with the accessory V360E app that students can install on their tablets and smartphones. Whether they are just starting out or are already advanced in their pilot training, all students will be able to access their dedicated virtual cockpit trainers using the V360E app. This incredible capability takes the idea of “anytime, anywhere” flight training to the next level.

“The new generation of pilots demand tech in their education. As a flight school, we strive to provide them with the latest and most effective tools. This is not only to attract students, but also to make sure our offer is the best they can get”, says Kai.

About Learn To Fly

Learn to Fly offers beginner, recreational aviation, general aviation, and diploma programs to student pilots around the globe. It also has the largest fleet of Diamond DA40, Diamond DA42, and Sling 2 aircraft in Victoria. Its home base is at Moorabbin Airport in Melbourne, with satellite offices also in Hong Kong and Singapore.

Join Learn to Fly and be part of the growing V360E virtual cockpit community. Aviation eLearning offers more than three decades of experience in pilot instruction, as well as expertise in helping air training organisations succeed in implementing virtual training in their programs. Contact them for a personalised presentation and a free trial.

Want to find out more about our online flight training options including V360E and our state-of-the-art student portal? 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 – 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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Split Your Flight Training Costs into Interest-Free Instalments from Learn To Fly and SplitIt

Want to make learning to fly more affordable? Split your flight training costs with interest-free instalment payments at Learn To Fly!

Flight training can be an expensive process, especially if you are looking to obtain a Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL) and make flying your career. At Learn To Fly, we are committed to making flight training more affordable and accessible to more people. This is why we have introduced SplitIt, which allows you to split your flight training costs over multiple interest-free payments.

What Is Splitit?

SplitIt is a buy now, pay later solution that lets customers split their payments into manageable parts using a Visa or Mastercard, without paying interest.

Unlike another buy now pay later providers, SplitIt uses your existing Visa or Mastercard credit card levels to cover payments. This means you don’t need to be pre-approved for a line of credit in order to split your flight training costs.

How Do I Use SplitIt?

SplitIt allows you to split your flight training costs for courses that cost between $1,000AUD and $20,000AUD. The following instalment options are available based on the cost of the course:

Course PriceNo. of Instalments
$1,000 – $4,0002 Instalments
$4,001 – $6,000Up to 3 Instalments
$6,001 – $10,000Up to 5 Instalments
$10,001 – $16,000Up to 8 Instalments
$16,001 – $20,000Up to 10 Instalments

If you are making your purchase online via our online store, you can simply select SplitIt as the payment option and you will be prompted to enter the relevant details.

If your course is not available on the website, or you are confirming your enrolment directly through a Learn To Fly staff member, then we are able to set up SplitIt manually for you.

Since SplitIt does not use a pre-approved credit process, you will need to have the entire purchase amount available on your nominated credit cards at the time of purchase. You can choose to nominate more than one different credit card as well if you do not have the total amount available on the one card.

You will pay the first instalment, and then each instalment will be deducted on designated monthly dates.

There is no need to “sign up” to SplitIt. At the point of sale, you will be given login details to the SplitIt portal using your email address, and you can track your instalments through there.

Example – Using SplitIt To Split Your RPL Flight Training Costs

You want to complete the Recreational Pilot Licence (RPL) course in a Diamond DA40 aircraft. The total course cost is $14,250.

  1. You can choose SplitIt as the payment method, and split the total cost into 8 equal instalments.
  2. You will need to have $14,250 available on your credit card (or have that total available on multiple cards)
  3. Your first payment will be only $1,872 ($14,250 divided by 8 and rounded up)
  4. You will then pay $1,872 per month on the designated date until the total payment has been made

I think you will agree that being able to split your flight training costs into $1,872 per month is much more manageable than paying $14,250 upfront!

Flight Training Student

How Much Does SplitIt Cost To Use?

Using SplitIt to split your flight training costs is absolutely free. There are no sign-up fees, and payments are 100% interest-free. SplitIt charges a merchant fee for each instalment, but Learn To Fly will cover that cost.

Whilst SplitIt only requires that you have the entire purchase amount available on your chosen credit card at the time of purchase, you do need to ensure that you have the instalment amount available from then on. If you do not, then the instalment may overdraw your account and result in fees from your bank.

To find out more about how to split your flight training costs with SplitIt, or to find out 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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How Can Flight Simulators Advance Your Flight Training?

Thanks to advances in technology, flight simulators have become more and more realistic over time. What was once just a fun game for pilots and aviation fans to play on their computer is now an important tool. But exactly how much can flight simulators advance your flight training?

To find out, let’s learn a bit about flight simulators first, thanks to Nat Crea from NatVIS Simulator Visual Systems. Nat does a great job calibrating simulators to make them as realistic as possible, and recently calibrated our TRC 472 full cockpit Cessna 172 simulator.

The History of Flight Simulators

The Link Trainer debuted in 1929, and is widely recognised as the first flight  simulator. It resembled an overgrown toy aeroplane from the outside,  with short wooden wings and a fuselage-mounted on a universal joint.  Pumps, valves and bellows created a simulator for flight training that  responded to the pilot’s controls and gave an accurate reading on the  included instruments.

The computer age then arrived, and as a result simulators became far more advanced very quickly. Arcade action style flying games were very popular immediately among games console and computer users at home. Civilian simulators were also popular, with users able to fly advanced jet airliners from their home computers by the early 2000s.

Back in the early days of the first basic flight simulators it was already very clear how valuable they could be to advance actual flight training for real pilots. Even the very first Link Trainer replicated the basic controls and instruments of an aircraft. Today, advances in computers and visual technology make a huge difference in the quality of training that flight simulators provide.

At first, the visual scenery was made only of single white points of light on an otherwise black landscape. Nowadays, simulator landscapes and weather are highly realistic outside the cockpit. Inside the cockpit, technology allows us to replicate almost any type of aircraft, as well as both computer or analogue control systems.

Types of Flight Simulators

There are 3 main types of simulators, and each have different specifications:

Aviation Training Device (ATD):

ATDs provide an approved training platform for both procedural and operational performance tasks specific to ground and flight training requirements for certain pilot licence types.

Flight Training Device (FTD):

This is a more advanced version of a simulator. There are 4 different FTD levels, each with their own requirements for approval. Each level has a different amount of aerodynamic programming, systems modelling, and other technological specifications. Our TRC 472 (Cessna 172) and Alsim AL42 (Diamond DA42) simulators are examples of FTDs.

Full Flight Simulator (FFS):

This is the most advanced type of simulator available, and airlines commonly use them for training. All Full Flight Simulators require some type of motion system, and again there are 4 levels. The two highest levels (levels C and D) must have an outside-world field of view and cockpit sounds in addition to other motion and visual effects.

How Can You Use Flight Simulators to Advance Your Flight Training?

Technology now provides an exceptionally realistic representation of the cockpit, avionics, flight conditions, and also aircraft behaviour.

Flight simulators can advance your flight training exponentially, by allowing you to practice non-standard flight situations under realistic conditions. If adverse weather keeps you on the ground, you can still use a simulator to complete flight training.

Given how expensive flight training is, simulators also offer an extremely economical way to hone your skills. If you are able to spend more time learning your skills in a simulator, then you can use your time in a real aircraft to put those skills into practice.

Learn To Fly’s Flight Simulators

We have a range of flight simulator options, and these can assist with all levels of your flight training:

Fully Immersive XPlane Simulator

Our fully immersive XPlane simulator setup includes TQ6 PLUS throttle controls with reverse, feather and cutoff functions as well as Hall Effect Ruddo PLUS rudder pedals with pressure-sensitive differential brake controls, both from Virtual-Fly. You can also utilise glass cockpit avionics including the Garmin G5 instrument display and G430 navigational display from RealSim Gear.

TRC 372 (Cessna 172) Simulator

Our TRC flight simulator provides an almost exact reproduction of the Cessna 172 Skyhawk cockpit. Every detail is precisely reproduced to exact dimensions. This includes the doors, windshield, seats and also the Garmin G1000 glass cockpit panel.

Alsim AL42 (Diamond DA42) Simulator

The Alsim AL42 is a hi-tech super-realistic flight simulator that  directly replicates the cockpit and controls of the Diamond DA42 twin-engine aircraft. This simulator complies with MECIR requirements  and therefore enables students to become familiar with the aircraft  behaviour patterns, procedures and systems whilst still on the ground.

Flight Experience Boeing B737 Simulator

Students can train on state-of-the-art Boeing 737-800 Full Flight Simulators, thanks to Flight Experience. These simulators are used world-wide for pilot training, and provide a fully immersive FFS experience. They are both certified and endorsed by Boeing.

B737-Flight-Simulator Training

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

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How Do Airlines Select Cadet Pilots?

What are airlines looking for when they select their cadet pilots?

There are more airline cadet pilot opportunities than ever before, but competition is still very strong. So how do airlines select cadet pilots? What are they looking for, and what makes you a stronger applicant than others?

Historically, airline pilot candidates were selected based on academic background and relevant industry experience. Over time, airline operators have recognised that there is far more to what makes a good pilot than this alone.

Captain Darren McPherson from ACS – Aviation Consulting Services is our specialist airline interview consultant. He runs our highly successful airline interview courses, which includes the Future Cadet Pilot Program (FCPP) and the Airline Interview Coaching Session. In this blog Darren shares some of the information that has helped guide over 100 airline cadet pilot applicants to success in the last 2 years.

Initial Applicant Screening

Initial screening and selection is a key element in identifying applicants who might be a good fit for a specific airline. It also provides an indication of who is likely to be able to cope with the intensity of a full-time flying training program.

Airlines have their own selection criteria that they adhere to when conducting initial cadet pilot application screening. This can include but is not limited to:

– Age
– Schooling and previous education
– University qualifications, both attempted and/or completed
– Previous flying or aviation-related experience
– Other relevant or additional qualifications

Cadet pilot applicants should check the key selection criteria for the airlines they are applying to. It’s important to know what will be looked at during initial screening.

Aviation English Proficiency (AELP)

Aviation English is the standard global language under ICAO AELP Standards. It is essential that airline cadet pilots can communicate effectively during both their training and their operational careers. This applies in normal day to day operations and more importantly, in emergency scenarios.

Airlines require that applicants pass an AELP test at a minimum of Level 4 proficiency. Even prior to the test, airlines assess an applicant’s English proficiency during initial screening and during the interview process, paying particular attention to:

– Vocabulary
– Overall fluency
– Spoken English and pronunciation
– Comprehension
– Sentence structure

For tips on improving your English skills, check out our previous blog on how to pass your ICAO Aviation English exam.

Group Skills & Exercises

Group skills and exercises form an increasingly important part of cadet pilot recruitment processes for nearly every airline. Airline flight crews feature multiple nationalities, personalities and cultural backgrounds both inside the cockpit and around the flight deck.

One of the most important things you can do in your interview is demonstrate your qualities as a team player that can work effectively with a range of people.

Some of the key things that airlines will look for during group activities include:

– Communication
– Leadership
– Teamwork
– Problem solving
– Decision making
– Situational awareness
– Workload management

Human Resources (HR) Questions

Another key component of how airlines select cadet pilots is the HR Interview. This interview explores your motivation to become an airline pilot, and also your background.

Airline interviewers will ask questions exploring your past experiences with a focus on how you overcame and learnt from past challenges.

Example questions to explore your motivation to become a pilot:

– What interests you the most about becoming an airline pilot?
– Which of your qualities are best suited to becoming a pilot?
– Why do you want to work for our airline?

Example questions exploring your past experiences:

– How did you overcome the challenges that you have experienced throughout your career or life?
– What is the most satisfying part of your career to date?
– What preparation have you done for today’s interview?

HR interviews can also be conducted in a panel format, and may be combined with technical aviation questioning.

Technical Evaluation

Even though it’s not a requirement to have any previous flying experience to apply for airline cadet pilot roles, technical knowledge is one of the best ways to demonstrate your motivation towards an airline pilot career.

The technical evaluation can include practical aspects of flying an aircraft, the role of an airline pilot, and knowledge about the aviation industry in general.

Airline interviewers understand that the level of technical knowledge varies between candidates, but it’s a great opportunity for you to communicate your motivation. Your technical knowledge demonstrates time spent preparing for not just the interview, but towards actually working in an airline pilot role in the future.

A great resource for technical knowledge is the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) “Pilots Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge” (2016), which is available through the US Government FAA website as a free download.

What Is The Best Way You Can Prepare?

There are many online tools available to help you prepare for each aspect of the airline cadet pilot interview process, but the best preparation knowledge comes from those who have past experience and success.

Learn To Fly’s Airline Interview Coaching Session has been created specifically to give airline pilot applicants the best possible preparation. The Future Cadet Pilot Program (FCPP) also offers practical flying training, which makes a valuable addition to your technical knowledge.

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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