28 August 2020

Got My Pilot Wings Back And Quit ATPL Commercial Pilot Training…For A While Anyway!

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It’s not clickbait… I really did leave the ATPL course! Find out why that happened, renewing my PPL SEP rating and the issues getting my pilots license back from the Civil Aviation Authority & more!


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Podcast Episode Transcript

  [00:00:00] Aaron Henriques: Hello, everyone. And welcome again to the British pilot podcast. I'm Aaron Henriques and it's about time that I actually put up another podcast episode, you know, after all having a podcast, I need to remember that, you know, sometimes I do actually need to put stuff out there for you guys. So whoever the several hundred of you are that listen regularly. [00:00:24] What does regular is as can be. Thank you. I'm not quite sure who most of you are. I don't know where you're finding it from. Cause I never publish it anywhere. But yeah. Thank you very much for listening. So I recently have had contact with several of the listeners nowhere near to several hundred, but literally just several of them. [00:00:45] One of them in particular, Underscore life, 94 sort of prompted me to you know, maybe I should give an update because actually the last update was ages ago and a lot has changed for me since. But I'm very, still very much in the loop. Obviously you've seen by the title, I have quit the ATPL course at the moment for the time being anyway. [00:01:09] And I've also got my wings back, which is great. And that was something I was trying to do for a very long time. You know, prior to COVID as well, we trying to get these flights done and the weather was horrendous and we had the coronavirus locked down, which you know, You know, no one could fly and soon as the lockdown ended pretty much after that, I ended up leaving my school, my flight school. [00:01:33] So what I'm gonna do is I'm just going to talk about what I've been up to very briefly over the last few weeks, few months what I'm doing going forward. And yeah, and sort of flying I've I've been getting up to, so first of all, what I did. Towards towards the end of lockdown. You know, we'd been sat on webinars for, you know, what felt like an eternity, trying to learn the course content. [00:01:59] And one of the things that I had a particular problem with was, you know, keeping that concentration going for that sort of extended period of time without the sort of classroom. So, you know, I I'd had enough and basically I, I spoke to the chief flying instructor. And what we agreed is that I was going to move on to module three. [00:02:22] And why was Ben going to do it? Just go away. I needed a break. So I picked the, either white as my place to go for a break. Some of you may know why some of you may not. If you don't, then you won't, but I ended up going to the, either white for a bit of reflection, a bit of time you know, in the, in the countryside there, if you call it countryside that it's just, you know, for those who haven't been, it's just really nice, you know, it's hardly anyone there when I was down there. [00:02:47] You know, the, the, the seas looked like it could be part of the Mediterranean and it's, yeah, it's really cool. Chilled out place. So I went down there on my. Studying Airbnb and, you know, had a really great week. And that during that week I spent a lot of time thinking about about my future. I was like looking at. [00:03:07] You know, the pros and cons of, you know, through my own little SWAT analysis, for those of you in business, you'll know what a SWOT analysis is. You know, I was looking at the strengths, weaknesses opportunities and threats to me you know, whether or not I stay or leave the course, because that was something that was weighing on my mind. [00:03:23] You know, I spent a lot of money on it. I spent lots of time on it and that form of leaving the ACL course completely and second in. The whole ETPL stuff was, yeah, it was quite it, it was, it was, it was quite, I dunno, quite scary because I, I, you know, I sold my house in the city. And, you know, I was looking at going on this big adventure, obviously, no one knew COVID was going to happen. [00:03:48] You know, I was going to do my ATPL hours and I was going to right now I should be in the United States. I should have been doing some, our building over there. I was going to go traveling for a, you know, six months or up to 12 months, depending on what I wanted to do, and then come back and finish the rest of the actual flying training. [00:04:03] And obviously everything has changed. So I've had to rework my plans and whilst I was at the either way. That's where, you know, I really set my sort of direction. Certain decisions had already been made about, about me, which I will go over in a future episode. And I, and I'll talk to you guys a bit more about that. [00:04:24] In, in another episode of that, that will be one on its own, just so you can sort of have a good idea of what to be looking out for. We flight schools and you know, how things work you know, whatever. So yeah. What the good news is, is after come back from the, either white. I moved into a new place, temporary place. [00:04:43] That actually is the, the it's a flat that belongs to my friend. Who's one of my friends. I was meant to go and visit. I plan to go and visit after the after the training in America, after the, our building. So because I'm now stuck here and she stuck over there. I was like, well, do you know what I'll, I'll rent your flat off you for a few months. [00:05:02] That, that was something that we agreed to before I went the other way. And yes, and that now I'm here for a while. And, but the good thing about that is I'm pretty close to two aerodromes and pretty close to north wield. Well, three actually, I'm, I'm close to stay preferred. It's about half an hour. [00:05:16] Drive north wield is about the same. For those of you who know about the London airports and also Elstree aerodrome. So, what I did is because I had gone and got my note rating. I think I may have mentioned it in the last episode. If I didn't, I'm going to touch on it briefly basically. I think it was a much, I managed to get the night rating sorted. [00:05:39] Just before locked down here. In fact, it wasn't just full up down here. It was enough to do lock down what the problem was back then. It was to do with Knight's ending. That was what it was the clock's going forward. So whenever it was, the clocks were going forward, I just got it sorted out by them. [00:05:54] And I managed to get the night rating, but what I didn't manage to do. Is to renew my lapsed SEP. So that's the single engine piston rating for those of you who don't know and what that is, is on my private pilot's license. Like anyone else you get ratings for different types of aircraft that you can fly. [00:06:15] Now, the basic one that most, you know, most new pilots would get, if not all, would be a single engine piston rating, so you can fly single engine. Aircraft I think it's with a weight up to 5,700 kilograms. So, you know, it's pretty heavy aircraft. And you can fly any type of aircraft within that category has got single engine, like non-complex stuff. [00:06:40] I don't think that includes. You know, if people wanted to, I'm pretty sure if you wanted to sort of be able to land on water and stuff, it's a different rating you have to have. So single engine piston rating is basically what people get and that lapsed. So basically when you get your PPL and you've got your single engine piston rating to keep your rating valid, you need to be flying like 12 hours. [00:07:04] And I hadn't flown since 2016 until I went back to Stapleford in January of 2020. So there was, you know, it was quite a long time had lapsed and I think you get a two year period where you have to do like a refresher flight. If you've done your 12 hours, if not, you need to renew it, which is what I have. [00:07:24] So I ended up going back to north wield and one of the instructors over there who I'd flown with before his name is Paul over at north wield and we used to be in the same job. You know, Paul was a police officer once upon a time. And you know, obviously for most of, you know, I was as well, so we didn't actually work together. [00:07:45] So we don't know him like that, but it's just one of those small worlds. You know, lots of police end up flying is I don't know why, but it's just one of those transitions that they make. Yeah, so I ended up going back to north wield. What I'd done is I'd booked like a refresher training flight with Paul and then booked an example. [00:08:05] Immediately after the training fight with Paul is a bit of a gamble, hoping that I could remember how to fly. Cause I hadn't flown obviously for several months for COVID. And then prior to that, I'd only done my night rating, which is mostly with an instructor apart from your solo circuits. And then other than that, I hadn't flown for four years. [00:08:22] So I wasn't sure. And it was a new airfield hadn't flown there. God knows how many years, you know, they, I don't know their routines procedures or anything like that. So it was all a very quick steep learning curve and a bit of a experiment because if I had a failed, if the examiner had failed me, I would have still had to pay the examiner fee. [00:08:44] But in any case examiner passed me. It was really good flight. The. Police helicopters are also now based there, which was quite cool to see. And so is the air ambulance. So for those of you who haven't been to north world, it's worth going down, they're pretty, you know, pretty friendly place. [00:09:02] There's places that you can eat and watch the aircraft go by and you know, you can pop into the schools and they'd be more than happy to speak to you about any training that you're doing. They don't do commercial down there, but you can always get your first. Like PPL lessons in you know, early lessons in their aircraft are all in, in really good, good neck. [00:09:23] And you know, they're pretty, they're pretty cost-effective, you know, compared to you know, sort of schools that are in a London. Like if you look down at big and hill places like that, there's, they're really expensive perhaps. And you also get extortionate landing fees at places like that as well. [00:09:38] So I think big and hell last time I was flying there about 10 years ago, it was like 30 quid or something crazy like that to land the plane. So those costs really do stack up. But yeah, so basically when I got my rating when I, when I got my SEP back, what the examiner then noticed is that the CIA had issued. [00:09:59] When they issued my note rating on my license, that I had to pay 127 pounds for, for them to write one word onto my license, which just says night. Doesn't even say night rating. Just as nights when they did that, what they did is they removed the SEP rating from the front of the license and put it onto the back of the license to show that I had one now. [00:10:25] I didn't know that it'd be an issue. Neither did the examiners prior to me going until they realized that actually they couldn't sign that license to just normally what they would do is they'd just signed a license just to say, yep. It's renewed and done because yes, because the CIA had put the information onto the back that had to go off to the CIA and the CIA then promptly sent me any. [00:10:49] You know, a week or so later saying you need to pay us now another 93 pounds for us to put your SMP back onto the front of the license, rather than it being on the back. If it's on the back, I can't use my life. I don't have one technically if that's the case. Well, sorry, I don't have the license. [00:11:07] I don't cause that doesn't expire anymore. I do have the PPL, but I don't have the SEP rating, which means I can't fly. So I've got a night rating, but not able to fly in any aircraft with it apparently. So that was something that annoyed me about, and I'm actually still waiting back to hear from them because I just thought, well, it's quite ridiculous, really, you know, for you to issue me for you to take my SEP off my rates. [00:11:29] Even though they called me, they called me to take the payment over the phone and stuff. They didn't mention anything about it. I didn't know. The instructors didn't know, examiners didn't know it was nothing on their paperwork. So I just assumed everything would be as normal. But Hey, this is the world that you're going to enter when you start flying because unfortunately, or fortunately, depending on where you work, if you work for, to say AI, I guess you'd say fortunately, if you're anyone else to do a flying, you'll probably say, unfortunately you have to be. [00:11:59] You know, you are under the control of the CAA. They have all authority over you and they'll have even more, once we've left the. Permanently. So anyway, let me not bang on about the CAA. This isn't hate the CIA time. This is just letting you know that these are things that you need to look out for. [00:12:22] It's not something I knew, but if you ever find yourself in a position where you've got a lapsed SEP don't get your rating, like any new ratings put onto your license until you've renewed your lapsed rating, because you're going to end up having to pay for it. For them to update your licenses unless you've got massive gaps between it for some reason. [00:12:43] But if you haven't then just get, get your renewal done first, then put your new ratings onto your license. Okay. So it would save you a bit of money from doing that. And you know, the amount of money that charging me at basically another hour flying, which I'd rather than the hour of flying, then pay them another 93 pounds just to put a word on today. [00:13:04] You licensed from one side to the other anyway. So let me move on to obviously why I quit the ATPL's you know, why the plans changed and why I left state preferred Stepford flight center. So, yeah basically just before the trip to the either way, I forgot what I was saying there just for, I went on my trip to either white I had a meeting with some of the senior management at state preferred and it was decided that I'll be leaving the course. [00:13:35] But what the original plan was is that because I wasn't happy with taking the module two exams on the basis that. I just hadn't learned it. I wasn't going to risk it because unfortunately, as you guys know, some of, you know, and some of you will come to know, and this is where you being sensible and thinking about your long-term future is more important than trying to rush things. [00:14:04] Okay. Is that. If you fail your ATPL exams, any of them, this isn't like failing a GCSE. Okay. It, even though you can retake them up to a certain limit. Okay. Basically every failure that you have is recorded on your permanent record and is handed over to the airlines when you apply or whoever it is that you apply for. [00:14:32] Okay. You need to remember that. So, if you are not ready for exams, for any reason, do not even attempt it, that would be my whole hearted, you know, sort of gift, I guess, to you. I couldn't think of a word really to say, but that's what I would really say is, do not take them. Okay. There is no rush. You've got six sittings, so you need to manage that properly. [00:14:57] Make sure you're taking them. Right. Number of sittings. So don't be sitting like one exam, and this is your last one. But what I would say is, do not even attempt to take them, if you, if you are not sure or confident that you are going to get even a scraped pass. Okay. So I just need to clear my throat. [00:15:23] Yeah. So the reason for this. The, there are certain airlines that do certain things and it can change. So don't quote me, you know, if it's different by the time that you get there it does change. So for example, give you British airways is as an example, straight from their recruiters mouths. In fact, it's written in their online documentation as well, is that British airways will not consider any brand new pilot. [00:15:48] If they've got any failures, okay. But any failures full-stop. So if you've had to do any retakes, you're immediately barred from British airways as a brand new pilot. So you can go off to another airline. Do you know, get your hours up to, I think it's like 300 hours or whatever it is they need, or a hundred or a hundred flights to and from, or if you have passed all of them first time, then it's an 85% average as the middle. [00:16:18] Entry just to be able to submit your application to them. Okay. There's obviously there's lots of other criteria that they will look at, but that is the way that they're filtering people out. Other airlines will allow one or two, some may allow a few more depending on what it was. And depending on the overall package, you know, how good you're flying training versus, you know, maybe you've got superbs superior flying skills, but you know, weren't so great on the academics they make. [00:16:46] Okay, but this is really important because it, my class and in my class, there were people who were convinced to take their exams, who are now sitting on five or more failures that they've got on their record. Okay. Now that was something I wasn't prepared to do. Now. I wasn't prepared to do that because you know that you might as well write off. [00:17:14] The rest of your career for the next few years, the hopes of getting a job we've five plus failures is slim. Okay. Now yes. The aviation industry may bounce back and in like five years time, it may be the case that yes, you can do that. But at the moment, that's certainly not the case. And this is the worst time with so many pilots losing it. [00:17:39] So many pilots losing their jobs. By the time the airlines start recruiting again on mass, the competition is going to be so fierce, so fierce that you're going to need to stand out and going to an airline with, you know, even three or four failures, you know, three or four retake you've had to do. Okay. So you're going to them with three or four retakes. [00:18:04] Okay. They're seeing that before. They're seeing anything else that again, Okay. That that's how I'd imagine they would work. Just like any other employer when their screenings, when they're screening staff. That's one of the initial sifting processes. Yeah. How many fighters have got more? More than one. Yep. [00:18:19] Been okay. That's just how life is. Okay. And I don't see why the aviation industry would be any different. Despite what some people may tell themselves. Now, the thing is as well, it shows recklessness. Okay. It shows poor judgment and recklessness. If you are one of those people. Who, despite the fact that you know, that you've still got another 18 or 18 months or more because we were given an extension. [00:18:45] So we had to, we've now got two years to finish these exams. It shows complete recklessness. If you are one of those people who would just jump all in and take something that you're not ready for when you've got so much time in the future to prepare. Okay. It doesn't make sense. There is no rush guys. [00:19:07] Okay. And girls. So if you are listening and if you find yourself in that position, even if your exams are a week away, if you find yourself in a position that you are not ready to sit your exams, my personal opinion would be don't take them, cancel the exams. It doesn't matter if you lose the money, even if it was a few days, if you lose the money. [00:19:27] So what you might lose a a hundred, a few hundred quid. So. Okay. Cause ultimately you lose a few hundred quid now, but that could be the difference between you getting a, you know, 40, 50 grand a year job. We have an airline in a year's time or two year's time from, from where you are. Okay. So you need to think about what the priorities are and what is actually the sensible and right thing to do in your situation and do not be swayed by other people telling you, or trying to convince you just to do it anyway, because ultimately it's your right. [00:20:02] Okay. It's your, it's your job, your future job. That's going to be on the line. If you walk into that, is those exams and then fail them. Okay. So that's something that was my main reason as to why I decided against it, despite the pressures that were put on me to do them. I still refuse to do them and I stand by that. [00:20:24] Now, now I've seen the results from some of my. My fellow class members, some of them have done really well. Some of them have passed all of them, which is great, but there are a number of them who felt all or most of their exams, which isn't good for them. Okay. And yes. Did they regret it? I'm sure they do. [00:20:43] I certainly no one does. But it's now too late that that's just how black and white it is for those of you who haven't started your ATP. You're in a good position to actually be able to think about that now. Okay. I've heard of people who try and who sit all 12, sorry, all 14 of their exams in one setting, like over the course of a few days, that is the most reckless thing. [00:21:07] If I was an employer, I would be looking at that person thinking how I wouldn't be thinking, oh, how clever you are. I'd be thinking what an idiot, that person is going to be a massive danger. Okay. You know, setting him, you know, if I was the employer in charge of 200 million pound airplane and sitting there seeing this guy, who's got the opportunity or, or girl, who's got the opportunity to sit their exams across six settings, okay. [00:21:32] To spread them out, you know, it's sort of guarantee you know, to give them a better chance of being able to pass all of their exams to then try and hit that in one, because they want to look clever. Okay. I would look at them as right. And dangerous. What are they going to do with my aircraft, that they going to cut these corners? [00:21:51] You know, are they going to take risks, like serious risks with my aircraft and my passengers? That's what I'd be thinking. Okay. So I, I have, no, I have no evidence. The airlines think like that, but I would suspect that as employers. Okay. They're not just looking at what are your exam grades? They're not just looking at. [00:22:15] You know, did you, you know, how, how good were you at the actual flying? Okay. When it gets past that stage, they're looking other human res normal HR stuff. Okay. Normal HR stuff that employers look at various attitudes. How, how you think your, you know, your communication ability, your team-working ability, lots of other things that they think about. [00:22:37] Okay. So for those of you that are now at the moment, sitting there thinking. Yeah. All I need to do is pass exams and pass the flying training. That's not correct. Okay. Cause there are a whole host of other things that you're going to have to go through at the point, when you go for your selection from the airlines. [00:22:54] Now the aviation industry is a bit backwards in that sense, because you go through all your training before you go for any selection process. I don't know of any other industry that does that. Okay. I mean, if you took military pilots, for example, I imagine they did it backwards. Imagine they did the training first and then the selection process to check. [00:23:15] If you can actually be a good leader, a good team player and all that stuff, it just doesn't work like that. Okay. So the aviation industry, the civil one is the only one I'm aware of anyway, where they would make you pay extortionate amounts of money. When actually you may not ever be a suitable candidate to be sitting in a cockpit in a team environment like. [00:23:35] But anyway, I've gone off track. That, that was why I left the ATPL's at the time. I was going to go back and do module three. It was decided that I wouldn't go and do module three. Instead that I'd leave. And what I'm aimed to do is I am to actually go off and finish this with Bristol ground school. [00:23:56] After, you know, after some time I'm giving myself. Okay. I've got so much time I've got until, you know, the end of March 20, 22. Okay. So, you know, we've got so much time the end of March, 2022. I'm sorry. Yeah. At the end of March 20, 22 is when I need to have the ATPL's has completed by, okay. I've got so much time to do this. [00:24:19] There is no rush. I'm going to spread this. I've already got the plan of how I'm going to spread out my exams. You know, I'm not going to try and rush them all in one equally. I'm not going to spread them out across all six. And the reason why I would suggest you don't do that just in case any of you took literally what I just said. [00:24:37] Okay. Is that if you do, let's just say you did spread it out across all six and in an, in a sick for exam, you actually failed one. You then can't retake the exam. You'd have to reset everything again, redo every. From scratch again. Okay. You've only got a maximum of six sitting, so definitely don't just leave. [00:24:58] Don't spread it out across all six. Maybe not even all five. You know, my aim is to spread it across four. I've already had one, I've got three more settings to spread out just over half of the exams that are left. Okay. So we did nearly half of the exams in the first module. And then I've got the rest of them to spread out. [00:25:16] I'm going to spread out across three more settings, which would lead me to more just in case I do have. Okay. So that's my plan. That's my plan of action. And at the, for the time being, I'm working on a new business, I needed something else to sort of energize me and get me engaged and you know, to, to just get me out of that zone of just pure slug of studying constantly just for these CPLs, there was no joy necessarily in that, particularly with the COVID where it took so long. [00:25:43] So. It was over such a long period of time. So yeah, I'm just, I'm energizing myself in other ways and things that I like to do which is another business I'm just launching another business. And once that's all done, I'll get my head back into books with Bristol ground school probably. And finish off the exams. [00:26:02] So yeah, that, that was really, that was all I wanted to say today. I have actually been doing some other stuff recently, which you may or may not find interesting it's do with flying. I can, if you see my Instagram you'd have seen it already. The helicopter flights that I've been doing. I'll talk to you a bit more about that. [00:26:18] Another time. When I can, maybe that will be in like a month's time or two. I don't know. Maybe it'd be next week. Who knows? You've seen how I post these things. It's just when I, when I get time, when I remember likewise, if you do want to get in contact with me as always get me on my Instagram is AaronHenray that's @AaronHenray. [00:26:38] On Instagram, you know, send me a message. I'm always happy to chat. And you know, let me know how you're doing, you know, if you've been going for ATPL hours or you've changed your mind and what you're going to do, let me know. Because at the moment industry is, you know, no one knows where this is going to go or how long it's going to take. [00:26:58] We just had easy jet just now, you know, who've been looking at closing various bases, there's multiple small airlines, like budget airlines around the, around the world that are really, really struggling. So. Who knows where this is going to go, but all I can say, I'm pretty sure is that there's no particular rush for me right now to go and get an airline job, because I know lots of other people who are well ahead, you've actually finished everything who are currently sat, idle, literally playing flight simulator. [00:27:29] And I literally mean that playing flight SIM, you know, knowing that there isn't actually any, well, not any, but there's, it's. Low likelihood, low chance of them getting a job, despite the fact they're fully qualified now anytime soon. Okay. So hit me up on Instagram, AaronHenray. And yeah, pop me a message. [00:27:51] And let me know how you're doing, where you found this podcast as well. Cause I don't put it anywhere, so it'd be interesting to see how you've come across it and yeah, I'll leave it at that.


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