Tough ATPL Training Decision & [QUESTION] Should I Get A Gliding Licence Before Commercial Pilot Training?

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In this long-awaited episode, I’ll be covering an update about why I’ve been silent for so many weeks and a tough decision I’ve been deliberating over.

I’ll share my view on why there’s no rush to finish pilot training right now and why L3 Harris and CAE are not the only places that will get you into the top airlines at the end of your flying training.

Hear my answer to a question from a listener on Instagram @jak_trela about getting a gliding pilots licence to help him get more familiar with the aviation industry.

And an update about Commercial Pilots Schools and my school Stapleford Flight Centre being able to reopen as of today!

Want to know more?

Follow me on Instagram @AaronHenray and see my latest videos and pictures or get in touch.

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Podcast Episode Transcript

  [00:00:00] Aaron Henriques: Hello everyone. And welcome to the British pilot podcast. My name is Aaron Henriques and today I'm going to be talking to you about, you know, obviously things are starting to slowly get back to normal. I'm going to, you know, explain a bit about why I've been been absent for so many weeks and what I've been doing and what, what sort of things I may have been struggling with and talking a bit about the schools. [00:00:26] 'cause a lot of the commercial schools are starting to reopen slowly and there's lots of restrictions in place. I'm going to be speaking a bit about that. And also a question from a chap called Jakob who posted a question to me on my Instagram and yeah, he put up a good question and it's something that I think actually there's lots of people that will have the very same question. [00:00:50] Yeah. So I thought, perhaps I'd share that with more people than just Jakob. So I'll get into that. But before I get started yeah, I just wanted to say I'm actually walking around in the airfield at the moment. It's. What time is it? It's 7:00 AM. And I'm walking around Stapleford airfield in Essex. [00:01:14] For those who don't know where it is, that's where Stapleford flight center is. The commercial flight school that I'm at is, and currently. I'm walking around. It's completely silent apart from the birds. Although you can hear a few, quite a few more cars on the road than there were, you know, perhaps over the last few weeks. [00:01:35] And I think that because this Monday is the first Monday when people are starting to go back you know, to work and. Lots of places reopening that we'll close just a couple of days ago and have been for months. So there's, let me start off by, you know, sort of saying, well, I've been struggling with, because there's for, for, for the last, well, since March, we've been doing distance learning for our ATPL's. [00:02:05] Free webinars and OCR, our course is not normally delivered in that way. There are distance learning providers out there that specialize in that, and it's not something that I've really adapted to very well. One of the main things for me is the reason, you know, the main reason why I came to full time ATPL's. [00:02:26] Course is because you sat in front of an instructor, you can't get distracted. And that's something that I do struggle with. And it is, I'd say it's probably one of my limitations because my mind races off into Pluto and start thinking about other things. And it happens every single day, every single session that I sit down and I'll sit down and read books and, you know, try the hardest to concentrate. [00:02:54] And then before I know it. I don't know, like I'm outside, you know, do doing something like I'd be rather be running up the runway than listening to a webinar or I dunno, you know, my phone or whatever it is, that's still distracting me. That's anything apart from what's on that screen. And that's something that I've. [00:03:19] You know, I've, I've, I've lost a lot of the material. The course material would have training sessions through, through that problem. I know there's been a number of other people that Number of other people in my class, like we've got a WhatsApp group who are not strong, who are not, you know, who are not actually keeping up in the same way as they were before in classroom. [00:03:43] They're not sort of as motivated as they were when they're doing the full-time in the classroom. There's too many other distractions, you know, a lot of us put. You know, seven months of our lives on hold and we fought for these next seven months. This is all we're going to be doing every single day in a classroom with an instructor or several instructors. [00:04:05] Going over the course. And that's what I came here for specifically. And obviously no one knew about the coronavirus and they have tried to do what they can do you know, to obviously help people and not, and, and, you know, I, I do agree with them in, in many respects, in many respects, they've sort of turned around and been like, well, do you know what if we. [00:04:26] You know, we did, they didn't know how long this was going to go on for. It could have been initial free weeks, like a Bo Joe told us, or it could have been much longer than it's turned out. It's been much, much longer. And for our class the only good thing I guess is that we've, we've all booked exams dates. [00:04:47] We've all booked. For July eight for July is our, is our date. And we've all booked for the book tar exams for the week, starting the 8th of July for our next set of exams. Now at the moment. I'm probably more about over 70% sure that I won't be taking any of them. Because this is something that's something you need to consider, right? [00:05:17] Because we all know about is 14 exams, but you have to complete all 14 within six settings. Now six settings is a period of like a week. The, that you can do exams during that week now, why would never do? And I wouldn't recommend it to anyone unless it's like your last one leftover is I would never go and just sit one or two exams in a single sitting. [00:05:48] You've wasted that sitting. Right. Because you do have to complete all 14 within those six, or you start again, it's as simple as that. So. That's something that I'm currently trying to figure in my head and the course that we've got the course coordinators back today, the who the managers are back today. [00:06:14] So I'll be able to actually sit down and have a conversation with them and I can always see let you know what goes on afterwards. What they've sort of said, what they've recommended, what they've suggested. But. At the moment, it's not looking good in that sense of things. And I have been considering, do I just go on to a specialist, distance learning school, like Bristol brown school, which I'm told very good and try with that because otherwise I don't see how I'm going to get this done mostly because the. [00:06:46] The only other alternative that I have, which for some, it's fine. It's fine. Because a lot of people that, you know, a lot of people in my class, they don't have anything else that they do. There's no plan B. This is it. They are doing this. Hoping to get an airline job as soon as really that's their only plan. [00:07:07] Whereas as some of, you know, already, I've got you know, have got businesses. I run another podcast to get growing online podcast on also on iTunes. And they, you know, I have other things as well, and I cannot write off. Another know an additional six or seven months to complete the ATPL's and that's that doesn't include everything else. [00:07:33] And more over on that, there's, you know, what's the rush now to complete, to complete these ATPL's for me. I mean, if you think about it, No matter what you say or so I've heard some people say to the country, you know, they're diluting themselves in a way I think. But the airlines across the board have my layoffs to thousands and thousands of staff. [00:08:03] And they've pretty all been clear that the majority of those staff are made up of pilots and cabin crew. I don't want to bring doom and gloom to realize people like it's not over, it's not the end of the aviation industry. Don't think that I think it's a temporary thing, but they, at the moment, that's what they've done. [00:08:22] You've had you manufacturers like Airbus and Boeing they've then laid off tens of thousands of members of staff. Okay, because the airlines have canceled orders for aircraft that aren't going to be going ahead. They're not going to be going ahead with now. I've had people that have, I dunno, where they've got it from. [00:08:41] Maybe it's some sort of false hope that they have, but as sort of felt, you know, I've heard people, multiple people say this where they are of the opinion that when locked down ends, there's going to be a sudden spike in demand for air travel and. There's going to be a sudden demand for more pilots than there was even before the even before the virus started now. [00:09:07] I don't see it. I'm not, I'm not being funny to those people. I just don't see it. I don't know if it's naive, if you're lying to yourselves. But whatever, it's going to be a few years, you know, they're all saying 20, 22, 20 23 before. The demand gets back. That's what they're predicting before the demand gets back to where it was in 2019. [00:09:27] And I'm more inclined to believe the airlines over. The you know, over the overly hopeful ATPL El students that are currently hoping that they'll be getting a job and flying a 747 in the next sort of few months ahead. And if you think about it for the airlines, actually, that doesn't do well for them as a business by announcing things like that, them announcing they don't think it's going to be back. [00:09:54] You know, everything in line until 20 22, 20 23, most of you may not even care about this, but they do. They care about the price that, you know, the value of their businesses and by them announcing things like that, that massively reduces that massively reduces their stock prices for the publicly listed ones. [00:10:15] I think they all are most so. It's it doesn't work. It doesn't do them any favors for saying things like that in the, in the press. Okay. So I I'd feel like right now there is no particular rush. And even if, even if I do finish the ATPL's and I take the suggestion that was already put to me of going onto the next course to finish this module. [00:10:41] So finish module three, here is not. Then go onto the next day TPO course that starts in September to finish module two. So I wouldn't be going back in until November. And then I was finishing February 20, 21. Now for me, that just sounds like something that it's not an option. Like it's not an option. [00:11:02] It's, I'm not prepared to write off 14 months of my life to do some exams. You know, people can say what they like, you know, everyone's got their own sort of way of living their own lives. I was, you know, seven months was a real stretch of doing that 14, that doubling that is. No go. I've got other, I've got other things outside of flying. [00:11:27] I've got businesses to take care of. You know, I've got a life outside of here, so it's not something that I'm going to be prepared to do myself. I know that there'll be a number of other people that would be happy to do that. And that's fine. That's great for that. But I'm also conscious of my age. [00:11:44] You know, my time is taking away guys and I feel like what I need to be doing is carrying on. I'm not giving up on this at all, but it's likely that if I decide that I'm not going to be taking these module two exams, that I will withdraw from staples. Flight center and it's not nothing against them at all. [00:12:06] I think they're a fantastic school, a fantastic commercial school. They've got great links. Despite the fact of, you know, you've got Alfre, you've got CIA and stuff that all these other schools that say they've got these official links with, you know, these airlines and whatever. Well, do you know what it doesn't matter? [00:12:23] Because I've met the pilots that have come from here. They've been, they've sat in our lessons from recent years as well. Who have been in British airways who have been in Brian. Ed has been loads of them. There's been there's pilots that are at jet to All over the place. There's there's flabby. [00:12:38] Well, flabby doesn't exist anymore, but there were flabby and there's all over the place. And yet that's one of the things I think the school doesn't really promote enough is that fact that they do actually, you know, that they send commercial their commercial students to some top airlines you know, straight from training here. [00:12:58] And you've got the other big schools that make a big thing, like said if it's their own, you know, secret packs they've got with these airlines that it's exclusive to them, and it's not, it's a load of crap. Right? So that's the first thing I'm gonna allow out there. So anyone that's thinking of spending an extra 30, 40,000 pounds, because these schools are claiming they've got these special tires without. [00:13:21] Then I dunno. I dunno why you're bothering because you probably know better off is that yeah. You probably know more likely unless you're on an actually an actual sponsored program. You probably know more likely to get ahead than anyone else on a modular course here at Stapleford or even at other schools. [00:13:40] So I've waffled on a bit there. So what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna move on really to the next thing. Because I've sort of gone over a bit about the commercial schools, but had a question come in from Jakob. I'm going to summit. It was quite a long question. So I'm going to summarize it, but basically what he, he said is he's gonna be starting a whiz cadet pilot program at Wiz wizard academy in 2022 and 2023. [00:14:08] And it is reading books and preparing, and that sort of way to sort of familiarize himself with the aviation industry. And he was looking at what else he could do before he actually starts his flying journey and suggested that would it be good for him to go and get his gliding pilot's license before the program? [00:14:27] And he asked me, do I think it's a good idea or a waste of money and then wished me all the best for the exam. I'm going to, you know, I reckon there's probably a lot of people in that position right now. It doesn't matter if you're, you know, you're 16 years old thinking, you know, in a couple of years time, this is what I want to be doing. [00:14:45] Or if you're, you know, mid age, mid age, like 30 ish, 40 ish, whatever. And your. And you're actually thinking, well, do you know what this is time for a career change. I've always liked the idea of becoming a pilot. Perhaps maybe now's the time to do it because I've got the funds to do it. Right. So if you're one of those people and you've never flown before, one of the things I would suggest and gliding is fantastic. [00:15:13] Okay. I used to, I used to be involved in gliding when I was an air cadet. I spin instructor at one of the gliding schools. And it's. It's a fantastic, you know, it's a fantastic way to get into aviation in a very cheap way. It's, it's fun as well. It, you know, it's very cost effective. The only thing I'll say is if you are gliding, you know, if you are actually gliding and not using a glider with an engine on the front, which is bizarre, doesn't our glider, is it? [00:15:40] But that's what they call them. If you actually using proper gliders, you know, winch launched or you're pulled up by another aircraft, then, you know, it's a lot of fun, but it is very, very different. The controls are different. Everything's different to flying a plane. But what it is good for is if you are looking at bleeding, it is good for the fact of getting in the air full stop and seeing if you're actually comfortable with being there because it has happened before. [00:16:06] And it will happen again where students, you know, where they've, they've got overexcited, they've gone and paid for, you know, 70,000 pound cause an 80,000 pound course before. They've even been in a plane and I'm not talking about like an airliner, you know, the experience in an airliner is very different from the experience you're going to have training. [00:16:31] I would recommend to people that personally, if you've got the funds now to do it, and you're gonna have to identify these funds, because if you're looking at a commercial, a commercial program of any sort, no matter where you go in the world is going to be bloody expensive, right? So you just have to get used to the fact. [00:16:49] Now everything's expensive, no matter what you do, even if, even if you go to. No tea and toast at the clubhouse on a, on a flight school. It's expensive. Like it's it's yeah, it's crazy. Like they just pull, they just pluck numbers. It seems like from the air and just be like, yeah, you can pay that extortionate five figure number. [00:17:08] Yeah, but what I would suggest is if you can. Go and get your PPL or at least start working on it. Your private pilot's license, you know, CF when you're actually training, not just going for fun flights, if it is something that you'd be prepared to do, do you like it? Okay. Because it's fine. Yeah. You might love the first two or three flights. [00:17:32] Well, you might not, you might feel sick. You might actually throw up in the sick bag. That happens. Right. But these are things you don't know until you actually go on. You know, it's not like what you may think. Like most things, you know, people see watch, you know, for example, I was in the police for 10 years and people watch these police programs and they think, oh, it's so exciting all the time. [00:17:53] And I'm like, yes, not at all. This is like two minutes of an eight hour. That you're watching of excitement, the rest of it's all paperwork, but it's no different in the airline industry. I'm sorry. In the commercial aviation industry. It's not all glamorous. It's not all fun. And the training is hard. You're gonna have to put a lot of hard work in, so I suggest to anyone, if you've got the, if you've got the financial means to do it, and even if you haven't go and find the money to go and do it okay. [00:18:24] If you've got to take an extra. On a weekend, go and do it. If it takes you two years to get your PPL or even just to go solo, it's worth it. Just go and do it. Okay. Go and get your PPL. Go and do your exams. Obviously you've got exams for the PPL, so that's going to be your first sort of insight into, can you actually read these books and pass these exams? [00:18:48] Okay. Then you need to think about the PPL exams versus the ACPO exams. One. There's a, I was going to swear, I don't want to throw on today's episode, whereas I've got to put the explicit marker on again. I there's, there's a shitload more. Content to go through and it's it's in so much more depth. It's unreal. [00:19:08] And I used to have people say that to me before years ago. And I used to think, well, they're just blowing their own trumpet because they're on a commercial course and they want to feel like they're, they're bigger and better than they are than other, other types of pilots. But actually guys, do you know what it's been alarming to me that there's all, but. [00:19:26] In my class have got a PPL already. The one who hasn't is on an integrated course here. That's why he hasn't got one. And it's been alarming to the vast majority of us stuff that we didn't even know that we didn't know. Okay. Very alarming. There's some stuff there that we feel like everyone should know as a pilot full stop, no matter what. [00:19:49] But we didn't because we didn't even know existed. And these are things that you'll find out in your ATP. I was in pure volume of work is insane. Yeah, hold on. I need a sip. [00:20:01] Does that, does that, does that all make sense? So if you can get that done and get it done. And also there's the fact of your medical now, Jackie, that she said, and you can tell from his, you know, his photos and there's a fairly fit guy. Not fairly for easy is a fit guy. But. Here's the thing, right? I, I would recommend anyone if you're going to go in the commercial route. [00:20:21] If that's your plan, just go and get your class one medical, just get it done. Get your initial class one done. It costs a lot of money for a reason, a case like about 900 pounds for your first class. One versus about, I dunno, is it 200 pounds for class two medical? And who, if you don't know what I'm talking about, basically, if you're just doing a PPL and that's all you want to do, then you need something called a class, two medical. [00:20:46] So you go and see an aviation medical examiner, and they will put you for a number of tests. It takes a couple of hours and then they will give you a class, two medical that if you're under 40, I think should notice or just on ELA. But if you're under, I think it's, if you're under 14 that you've got five years on that medical. [00:21:09] Okay. So your medical lasts for five whole years. The class one medical cannot be done. Not initially initial cannot be done by just any aviation medical examiner. Okay. It has to be done at certain centers as their specialists. Can't remember what their exact titles are, but I don't really care. It doesn't matter, but they are specialists. [00:21:29] There are few and far between, and they cost about 900 pounds. It might cost more where you are. Depending on where you are in the world or the country, and it's a whole day, basically you have to write for a whole day of medical tests and they take your blood. And the nurse was really aggressive with taking blood from my finger. [00:21:48] I don't know why she just didn't like the amount of blood that she took from my finger. I'm like, why don't you just stick a needle in my arm and just draw it out like that. It was ridiculous. But yeah, and that day they put you for a whole host test. More stringent requirements for you becoming a commercial pilot right now on their website. [00:22:11] It says that two out of, I think it says two out of three people will not be issued the class one medical. I was one of them. I didn't get my calls a medical one a day, but it does say the vast majority will still get it further down the line, but they may need additional tests to be done. They may need for example, in my case, because I had laser surgery, laser eye surgery, they couldn't just sign the medical off there. [00:22:37] And then even though my eyesight's fine, they have to send it off to a specialist ophthalmologist to look at my whole. Laser eye surgery case, the paperwork they had for that before they could give me my medical and your class were medical only last for a year, if you're under 14. And otherwise I believe it's six months. [00:22:58] There are restrictions on it, depending on your age as well. They may put restrictions on you where, you know you where you're not able to. Operate as a, like, as commander of commercial operations of any commercial operation that can happen depending on what you've got, what what's potentially wrong with you, you may have underlying issues, but the main point here really about getting your medical, it's not about what else it is. [00:23:25] It's good to know about your hip, you know, your medical history, if you're healthy, but that's not the main point. The main point here is. For I'm talking about is about if you're going to go off and give a school, a flight school, 40, 50,000 pounds or whatever it is you're going to do, or even done spend a few thousand pounds, you know, cause to a lot of people, that's a hell of a lot of money still. [00:23:49] It's going to be a real shame for you. If you, if you go through the trouble of doing your ATPL hours, you spend those months and months, nearly a year or more particularly for doing it, distance learning and you you're doing as ATPL hours and you pass them all. And that's fantastic. And you're looking at moving on to the next step. [00:24:04] You've got your PPL and you're looking at moving on to the next step. And then you go for your class. And this happens, guys, you go for your class one and then that, so the pheasant just popped out of the Bush. Yeah. If, if you, if you don't go, if you've then got your plus one, if you don't go for your class one and you fail, that's it. [00:24:27] That is everything gone. Your whole dreams. Okay. So this why, I just say it's important to get your class one medical be done with it, you know, once you've got it, you know, you've got it after that the renewals only have to be done with an AME, like a normal AME. And you've got it. Then you can just keep renewing it every year. [00:24:48] Okay. So that's why it's worth doing now last week, because I was gonna about to go off trail into the bushes. I actually found quite a cool place. On staple effort. I've been walking around this airfield for months and it's literally only the other day that I, I noticed that there's a slight trail that leads off somewhere and I thought, oh, where does this go to? [00:25:08] So me being me, I just thought, let me just go down the trail that very dark trail. No one is. And it actually leads into like some. Which is, which is lovely. Like it's is huge. In fact, it's, it's massive. And actually not far from here, I found a massive crater, which I imagine is probably from world war two. [00:25:31] We've wanted the V2 rockets that were aimed at this airfield because they did, they, this airfield was actually hit by a couple of V2 rockets during world war two, and one of them ended up killing quite a lot of. On the site. And yesterday they were attacked in that way here there's, there's bunkers all over the place, which I found several of them that are plotted around the airfield site. [00:25:54] And yeah, it was quite cool to see this massive bunker so this, this massive sort of ditch, you know, everything's very level. And then you just see this huge ditch which I imagine is probably from one of those rockets that. Quite land on its target. But considering they didn't have things like GPS technology and stuff, they did pretty good. [00:26:16] Not that I liked what they did to Germans, but I mean like the fact that they could project their power in that way was, you know, it's insane. The sort of things that they were able to do about them. But the commercial training. So I keep going off topic, but what was wrong with me today? The, the commercial. [00:26:31] Basically what's happened is the CIA have decided that it's okay for commercial training to restart. They've sort of decided that it would be deemed as being a what's that term. They keep you. I forget what I think you're using, but essential anyway to the sort of economy I'm not really buying it, but in any case, it doesn't matter. [00:26:56] They're allowing commercial training to start up. As long as social distance and measures are in place. And also alongside that, what they're also doing is effects, you know, instructor next to an instructor, but he's, they've got these visors and mask and all this sort of stuff that they've got to wear. [00:27:14] He's respirator type things. Good luck with using those with your you know, when you're trying to talk on the radio, but. Yeah, so that's what's happening. And for anyone that's wanting to just go and head out at some of the clubs, you know, check on their websites, their individual websites, but I know our one has reopened the clubhouse as of today. [00:27:35] I think 8:00 AM today or 9:00 AM today. It's reopening and it will be open again. For takeaway only. So if you did want to just hang around and airfield and watch some of the aircraft go up and maybe talk to some of the pilots as a sort of coming back in from their flights, then, you know, it might be a good time to do that because it's probably going to be pretty quiet. [00:28:00] And yeah, you'll get an opportunity. It's nice weather as well, you know, potentially to speak to a few people. They, I'm not sure how it's going to be. If they're gonna let you have a look around the aircraft or anything like that, but you know, it's not, there's no harm in asking. It might be a no, just because of the COVID restrictions are still in place and everything's so so controlled at the minute. [00:28:19] You know, they're going to be taking people's temperatures and all sorts of things they'll be doing. And, and the way that sanitizing things. So, anyway, yeah. So that's a quick update for that. I'm going to put together something to try and you know, I'm going to try and put something back out. A bit further down the line, maybe in a week or two, about what I ended up doing. [00:28:42] Because at the moment I'm a bit like on edge wherever I'm not, I'm actually going to stay on this course here, or if I'm going to go and sign up with BGS and go and do some of the other things that I was also doing and try and finish this in a different way. So I'll let you know how that goes. [00:28:59] I'll let you know on updates with my flight school. What things are, you know, if things are progressing at the moment, there's no PPL training. There's no SEP renewals. If you're already current with your PPL license and you want to go flying, they're allowing that as long as you're on your own that's that's okay. [00:29:17] So you can do solo flights. But obviously there are issues with the currency because most of the schools they say, if you haven't flown yet, You know, 60 days or a hundred days, depending on where you're at that you need to go with an instructor. And right now that won't count as commercial operations, so they won't allow it to be done. [00:29:37] But anyway, have a great day. What I would say is, if any of you. Aren't following me now, go on to Instagram. It's AaronHenray that's @AaronHenray. Follow me. And you know, if you've got any questions, just like Jakob, you know, put them out to me. I do get other questions. I get them quite a lot to be honest with you. [00:29:56] But sometimes I see one that I feel like, yeah, that's something that probably a lot of people are asking themselves right now. And so let me put that out there. I think there's, there was actually one over. I'm going to find it. Recently and perhaps I'll include that in the next episode as well. So yeah, go and follow me now. [00:30:14] Open up your Instagram is AaronHenray AaronHenray. And I'll see you next time.


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