26 January 2019

Why I Wanted To Quit ATPL Training & Why My Class 1 Pilot Medical Was NOT Issued!

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I’m Aaron Henriques a British pilot & business person here to share my journey as I strive to become a professional pilot starting at the age of 33 years old!


I’ll be sharing an honest account that I hope will be useful to the many people who can only dream of becoming a professional pilot and inviting on some guest speakers. There will be very little editing so be prepared for the odd slip-up or swear! If you’re easily offended… find another podcast.


In This Episode…

» Why I wasn’t issued with a Class 1 Pilot Medical certificate

» What stopped me from quitting ATPL’s after 2 weeks

» What my commercial pilot instructor really thought of my flying ability after 4 years of no flying.

» My thoughts on distance learning vs a full-time ATPL course.

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Podcast Episode Transcript

  [00:00:00] Aaron Henriques: Hello everyone. It's Aaron here. And today I'm going to talk about what happened when I wasn't issued my class one medical certificate. Why I nearly left the course very recently and what it was that really changed my mind and what my commercial instructor, although I shouldn't have one what my commercial instructor for, of my flying after four years, four years of having not flown at all also. [00:00:28] About distance learning versus full-time ATPL study. So all of that's coming up today. So what I'll do is I'll start off with my medical really, because that was one of the things that was the biggest thing on my mind, I was really concerned about certain sort of medical issues, that history that. [00:00:51] Fail me from getting my class one and I'd already paid for my ATPL course because I couldn't get my class one medical booked in time. And so I was taking a bit of a gamble there because this whole course could have been absolutely for nothing. So one thing I'd say to people is, you know, prepare ahead of time. [00:01:09] If you know, you're going to go on. If you're going to start commercial course, whether it's distance learning or full-time get your cars for medical. Booked in first to make sure that you can actually pass your class one. Now I did mine AMS, London area medical center. That's very close to Holly street. [00:01:28] It's just one street down from Holly street in central London. And they're one of the few centers in the UK where you can do the initial class one medical. And I went there and they put me for a barrage of tests. You sit in some room and every now and then they'll call you out and you'll go. And. A new test. [00:01:49] So I had drug and blood tests I had, oh, see the audio test. See if I can actually hear a parent. I've got really good hearing. The biggest problem I was facing with my eye tests, that was what I was most concerned about because I had an astigmatism years ago. That's what stopped me from getting into the RAF. [00:02:09] And I had laser surgery now having read the CAA documents about laser surgery. It's quite a big issue for. For some pilots and they put you through a whole host of extra tests, there's lots of weird and wonderful things I've never seen done in an eye test before that were being done on me during this during that medical test and I was told at the very start, they sort of prepared. [00:02:36] When you, when you're going in going through your paperwork and checking your ID, et cetera they prepare you to let you know that about half of the people that come to their initial class one, won't be issued with the medical certificate on the actual day. They try to make you relaxed about that. [00:02:54] Obviously you've got to take blood pressure tests and stuff like that. You don't want to be failing those because you nervous about not getting your medical and. You know, when I spoke to the doctor basically what happened was it ended up being that they were not going to be able to give me my medical after having completed the barrage of tests. [00:03:14] And it wasn't because I failed the medical. All it was was for me, was a paperwork exercise. They had to send the optometrist report over to an ophthalmologist for them to see. And then send all my medical, which they then did a couple of weeks later. So I've now got my class one, and I'm really happy about that because that could've completely put a stop immediately to me becoming a commercial pilot. [00:03:41] And I finally got my initial class one, it's safe and sound in my, in my bag. And it will, it's something that I'm really feeling. To say that I actually now have, now I know there are still people in my course who haven't yet got their class one, and that is something that they are going to need to sort out sooner rather than later, because the worst thing would be getting to the end of the seven months on our course and then failing that. [00:04:11] So move onto the ATPL was because this has been a bit of a, a bit of a whirlwind it's It's a lot of work. I'm not gonna bullshit anyone. It's a lot of work. And you know, I've heard people saying before about, you know, the class one is completely different to the PPL and I just fought, you know, not in a rude way, but I just thought, you know, it's people blowing their own trumpet, you know, cause obviously they want to feel proud that they've done something and achieve something. [00:04:39] And I thought, well, yeah, there is adoration. There may be how different can it really be? And. I don't know, it's like comparing a, I don't know, beat up Ford Fiesta to a space shuttle. I dunno, like in performance, it's, it's crazy. It's, it's so much work. There's way more maths and physics than I thought they'd ever be. [00:05:05] And that's, you know, maths is definitely not my strong point at all. And I've really been struggling in some areas of the maps. And I sometimes I'm sat there in class and the teacher saying stuff and it's completely going over my head. I'm looking at a teacher, everyone seems to be nodding, like, yeah, yeah, yeah. [00:05:25] They get it. And when they put up an example question and you hear all these calculators going, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap, tap. And I'm like, what are they tapping? Because I don't even know where to start. And. Yeah. So things like that have happened and particularly mass imbalance the first part was okay, but the, the stuff we going on to now is become a bit more tricky for me. [00:05:49] And I really wanted to leave because I felt like I don't want to hold up my class. I don't want to keep having to. Go back five steps with the teacher to, you know, for them to re-explain things to me and, you know, to hold other people back. I don't want that. So I was convinced that I was not ready to be here, that the maths and physics is something I really should have worked a lot more on prior to coming. [00:06:16] And to be honest with you, I should have done anyway, because I had the time I had plenty of time to do it and I, I didn't spend that much time. So, so I was moving house and and I'm trying to sort out the businesses that I have, but yes, I still could have done a lot more than I actually did. So anyone thinking of doing the ATPL's, particularly a full-time course brush up on your math and physics massively before you get here? [00:06:43] Now, the reason why I didn't leave was because it seems like. Perhaps I may have got, I may have been thinking I wasn't understanding things that I wasn't understanding. And we have progress tests at the end of week two. Yeah. At the end of week two, we had progress tests and it was just before those that I wanted to leave, I wanted to run over. [00:07:12] As far as I could to avoid having to do these tests, we had progress tests in communications, that's VFR and IFR coms in metrology and mass imbalance. Now, meteorology particularly, I don't understand a lot of it. Okay. Well, I felt like I didn't. But when it came to the progress tests, I was actually quite shocked because I know we're getting 80%, 80% and 86 present in the, in the massive balance one, the mass imbalance was the one that had the most maps and the one that I fought, I was going to fail and have to have a compulsory chat with our instructor. [00:07:49] But basically what it was is the. You have to get over 65% in the progress tests and for the last two exams for the meteorology and the I was looking as a track to go and buy for the meteorology and the mass and balance tests. We, you know, more than half the class had failed one or two. All of those exams. [00:08:12] So they achieved under 65%. And these are people who I was looking around now thinking they got it all. And clearly I was wrong in that sense that perhaps there are other people struggling. And they hadn't, they hadn't just been, they hadn't been saying that they were struggling or, or I'm not sure really, because we are an all male class, which is, has some benefits and some sort of disadvantages for sure. [00:08:38] But maybe that's sort of, you know, trying to be macho man and whatever a bit creeps in under the skin. And it's something that just people were not projecting. They weren't showing that they didn't understand stuff. And I think, I think this is something that has woken up up a lot of people, whereas to one, the amount of work that has to be done, because I I'll be honest, I'd say in the first couple of weeks, a lot of people were quite chilled out with stuff and they weren't maybe doing as much work as they really should have been. [00:09:09] But I think after the progress tests, people have really sort of knuckled down and I'm starting to get there. Awesome gear really? And yeah, so it was the progress, the progress test results that really sort of helped me. And we had one of the old students come in from who's a year ahead of us. Pilot carry on Instagram, I believe. [00:09:30] She, she came in and had a good chat with us and, you know, she's one of those people that had been out of education for a long time. You know, she's, she's a bit older like me and she's not as old as me, I believe, but. She has been out of education for a long time and has been there, done it and just explained everything so well to us on how much she struggled and yet she still got through everything. [00:09:58] And he's now well on our way to becoming a fully fledged commercial pilot. So that's something that I really wanted to sort of share was about. Progress tests, particularly. And just for people to understand that it's not a walk through the park, even the brightest people in our class have been struggling with stuff and it, you need to be able to devote a lot of time, which really brings me on to the distance learning thing. [00:10:27] And there are people here who did distance learning, but I honestly, personally, I don't know how they did because. There's so much stuff in our material that had, I not had someone to sit there and explain it to me. I would, I'd still be stuck. I'd still be in week one. So I don't know. Maybe it's just me. [00:10:52] Maybe I'm thick. Or my, or maybe, you know, they've sourced help from somewhere else. But for me personally, there's no way now that I would have. Chosen to do distance learning, particularly we've been looking at stuff that's coming up in the future. We're getting instructor led training and the distance learning stuff. [00:11:14] I had just have no idea how you'd ever understand it. So I've actually done a bit of flying as well. When I've been here, I started my night rating and that, that was amazing, you know, seeing London at night on a nice, clear a nice clear day. I fought the. You know, I'd get my night rating and then I'll do some, our building and you know, afforded obviously I knew I had, I have to remember how to fly because I didn't find for four years and I've got a commercial instructor. [00:11:41] Normally I, I should still really be, have a PPL instructor because I'm not at the commercial course yet. I'm only doing the theory, but I've been given a commercial instructor and they'd been really calm with me, really helpful. And. Helping me relearn some of the skills that I've lost. It was nice yesterday. [00:12:02] I went up with a chat called Roy and, you know, it was nice to come down and he, you know, he said, Aaron, you can definitely fly. So don't worry about it because I was. Nervous in the aircraft. I think not, not nervous, actually. I was a bit, you know, it was gripping the, the yoke, gripping the control column, and I could feel myself doing it. [00:12:23] Like, I dunno, there was some weird anxiety going through my, my left arm for some reason. I'm not normally like that. I'm normally very, very calm and relaxed and laid back with anything that's sort of stressful. So it a bit odd, but you know, he's sort of relaxed me a bit. And when we got back on the ground, he's like, don't even worry about it. [00:12:43] You can definitely fly. I need to brush up on a couple of bits, you know, particularly with the circuit height, here's measuring structures that are a bit more picky, but you know, sort of going 50 feet or so above where your circuit height or below where you should be. They don't like that. They're like, Completely bang on. [00:13:00] So yeah, so that's really my update for today and oh, the, our building. Yeah. I'd I'd I don't know how I get time to add build, because it's nearly impossible. With the ATPL's full-time at the minute it's, we're doing eight to four in the club. And then after that I'm doing, you know, I'm probably relaxing for half an hour cooking dinner, and then I'm back in either the classroom or in my room where I'm at, where I'm now, and I will be studying. [00:13:37] And that's, it I'll be studying until I go to bed. Netflix. I might even cancel it because I have not watched it at all being here. Nothing it's. It's just paying for something that I no longer watch. And I used to watch loads of Netflix and prime, but not anymore because I'm so, so busy. And even last night, you know, wild Saturday night here at Stapleford, we, a few of us were in the classroom, in the classroom trying to work out mass and balance calculations. [00:14:11] And that's something that I had been stuck on. Swiss guy. Who's my next. To me actually, he's he's helped me out a lot. I helping out with his English and he's helped me out with my maths. So it's it's working out well and yeah, he sat down with me for a good hour and a half, two hours yesterday in the evening. [00:14:30] And we were just going through all of the maths and balance equations and doing loads and loads of practice tests and stuff with the ATPL online. And I'll be buying BGS, next. Yeah, in a few days time we'll be buying BGS because some of our class were already on it. And there's some extra sort of complexity of questions that do come in, which are more like the real exam questions. [00:14:54] So I'll be getting onto that as well soon. Yeah, but for now that's me. And then I'm going to, hopefully I'm going to speak to a couple of. The students here and sort of people who are further along in their course, we've just had one guy, Chris, who I didn't manage to grab before he left, he just passed his entire commercial course. [00:15:11] He's finished everything. Now he's now job hunting, but hopefully I might be able to get him on the phone and he can have a good chat. Chris is one who will be really good for you to hear because he, he hasn't come from any sort of privilege at all, far from. He's, self-funded this, he got to work extremely hard to get the money for it. [00:15:32] And, you know, with the lazy weather and all sorts of other things that have happened in CAA making changes, it cost him a lot of extra money that you didn't have. And there was all this stuff that sort of came about. He had to do to enable him to actually finish his course, but he's done it. And I'm really happy for the guy, cause he's such a nice guy and you know, you'll be out there getting a job now. [00:15:56] And also I mentioned the pilot Carrie earlier, who's been really, really helpful with all of us. She seems like the go-to person, like staple for Tim to send everyone to her. If people have got questions about, you know, getting through the course. Various things, whether it's finance, we've reached, you know, just your mindset and how to, how, how to study, how to remember how to study any techniques or whatever they send. [00:16:22] I seem to send people to Carrie because she's really helpful and, you know, never met her before and she just blocked, opened up giving me loads of her time just to help me sort of understand a few bits that I was struggling with. And there's a few guys in. In this room, sorry, in this block that we live in, who are at various stages, I believe there's four of them who are just finishing their instrument rating, multi-engine instrument rating. [00:16:48] And they're really happy and they've all got different backgrounds, which so it'd be really good just to sort of grab some of them, get them on and see if we can get some information out of them. That might be helpful to you. But for now, that's. Done and you can find me on Instagram is @AaronHenray AaronHenray. [00:17:10] And I'll speak to you soon.


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