26 November 2019

Why I’ve Decided to Become a Professional Pilot

Listen & subscribe on your favourite platform on a link below!

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…


» As it says on the tin, why I’ve gone from Police Officer, to business to starting my professional pilot flying training.

» How I removed my mental barriers built as a child to let me take the steps to starting commercial pilot training.

» What could be holding you back from achieving a dream of becoming a qualified pilot. 

» The questions of self-doubt that you probably don’t realise is stopping you from achieving your goals!


Want to know more?

You can find me Instagram, Twitter & LinkedIn @AaronHenray.

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Podcast Episode Transcript

Aaron Henriques: At everyone. It's Aaron here and welcome to the British pilot podcast today I'm just going to talk to you about really why I've decided that I want to become a professional pilot, and that doesn't necessarily mean an airline pilot. I'm a bit undecided in that area yet, but I want to go ahead and do my ATPL. [00:00:21] And get that qualification so that I then have additional options and that's, you know, there's not necessarily a right or wrong reason for something like this. You know, everyone may have slightly different reasons for doing it. Some people might push towards it. Some people, it may well be. Something they've aspired to from, you know, from, since they were like three years old. [00:00:44] But I'm going to just talk to you over. I've had a good think about it and I'm going to go over sort of my reasons of why I've decided that that's what I'd like to do. And like many people, like so many people, you know, I grew up becoming thinking that, you know, becoming a professional pilot, it wasn't going to be for people like. [00:01:06] You know, in the wrong, I don't know, we don't have necessarily a class system as such like that in the UK, but definitely the wrong sort of economic class. It would, it could only ever sort of be a dream for me. And like I said, it was mostly due to the economics. It's not something that I ever had in my mind that I could even go to my parents and say, Hey parents, can you give me a hundred thousand pounds so that we can, so I can do this course and maybe get a job. [00:01:34] Now I remember when I was in the air cadets and a friend of mine at the time he went away to Oxford aviation it's now I believe it's now CAE. And he went on an integrated course and that was 70,000 pounds back then. And I believe he went on to fly for British airways, lost, lost contact with him. [00:01:52] And that, you know, I knew that wasn't ever, ever going to be. An option for me or that that's how I fought anywhere. I thought that's never going to be an option for me. There's so few scholarships. I mean, there's a few more about now, but back then, there was so few scholarships and, you know, I was living in a council flat with my mum, you know, so I did very well in the Scouts and air cadets and stuff like that, which kept me off the streets and sort of sent me down the right path. [00:02:19] But with aviation. It was like it back then. And it still is. It still is something where you need a lot of money or your parents, or, you know, someone who's willing to lend you a significant sum of money for you to go through your pilot training. And there's no guarantee by any means of a job at the end. [00:02:43] Now I gained a variety of scholarships, you know, when I was in the air cadets and became staff at an RAF gliding squadron. And after my granddad died on my father's side, he left me some money along with all of his other grandchildren and in his world. Well, I was told anyway that his will said that it must be used to gain a skill. [00:03:04] And that was what paid for my PPO. And I've always strived to sort of make my own way in life. And I've worked pretty hard. Everything I have today is because I've had to work for it and, you know, bought my own house and I've taken risks, starting businesses. And you know that that's one of my businesses now, profit. [00:03:25] But not everything has always gone to plan. And it did take a long time to get to that position where I could still fund myself and not have to work in a, you know, a nine to five job. You know, like, like I am now. I'm looking at potentially going on the professional pilot training course, and I know there's going to be money coming in in the background. [00:03:49] So I haven't got that extra pressure extra pressure there. And since leaving the police, you know, so I worked in the police for many years, for 10 years. And since I left, I realized, you know, there's no pre-written rules for my life and there wasn't, there never has been you know, that mindset that I was in many years ago, you know, growing up thinking, well, this is your economic bubble that you're in and that's all you're ever really going to be in and jobs like becoming a professional pilot, not so much a military. [00:04:26] You know, that that's accessible to people, but becoming a, an airline pilot, for example, that requires money and a certain class of person that I wasn't in. So I have what hard in, in, in that sense and since leaving the police, you know, I've, I've been talking to. Lots of people. In business people, entrepreneurs who've started their own businesses and people who've done some amazing things where they literally started from nothing and created this empire around them. [00:05:03] And it, you know, it's, it's not going to be the case for everyone that starts a business. I think it's like 80% of people still fail when they start businesses. But, and it's a big, but the thing I've learned the most is. You will definitely not get where you dream to be if you don't even start in the first place. [00:05:26] And that seems like, well, obviously, but you, if you, if you look at the amount of things you, yourself, who's listening now has probably thought about, oh, I'd like to do this. Or I'd like to do that throughout the years. When have you ever started it? That's the thing. And it's no different for. The, to become a professional pilot, because since I started looking at, I found people or, you know, I found people who their way was to work, you know, free jobs and somehow still managed to study and parcel their exams and then go on to complete their training. [00:06:02] And they've worked an endless amount of hours to do it because they were prepared to put in the extra bit of time. My way has been very different in, you know, I didn't, I've not set off for the last 10 years thinking that I want to be. Professional pilot, because it was categorized as one of those things that isn't for me, because people like me can't do that sort of thing. [00:06:25] And it's something that you're trained a very young age depending on sort of family you're bought into, you're trained to put yourselves in these boxes and I've learned that you don't need to stay in that book. There are no pre-written rules. It might be a bit harder for people if they haven't gotten. [00:06:44] But there's money out there. I've managed to do it. There's no reason why none of you listening. Can't do it. If you're that concerned, you really want to do it. It's possible. One of the things that I've really used a lot that's helped is audiobooks and podcasts. Even like poker. Free four years ago. I didn't know, podcast existed. [00:07:09] I always saw this app on my iPhone called podcost never used it. Didn't know what it did. You know, it's, it's been a game changer for me cause there's so many people, so many experts in all sorts of areas that are really inspiring. And one thing I do avoid, you know, this whole talk to the universe nonsense that people do and stick, you know, so. [00:07:32] Positive affirmation sticker on their thing with a five pound note attached to it saying that there'll be rich because the universe is going to provide it all. That is a load of nonsense. That's not taking proactive measures to go out and get what it is that you want. So if you're one of those people, my advice to you would be that you're probably just wasting your time and you're letting time go by that you could be using for more positive things, you know, actually going out, doing things, trying things, and they may not always work, but to get, get up and try again. [00:08:04] So that's one of the things I think is really sort of influenced me is, you know, knowing that there are no barriers. You know, if there's a physical barrier, for example, I still hate talking about it. Now, the RAF, I went through the RF selection tests. I, I, you know, when I went there on the first, on the first day after, you know, 13 month process, I'm going to our Cranwell for the aptitude tests. [00:08:32] It's a four day selection. And again, you know, I sat there thinking I don't belong here. You know, there's these, these, these young guys and girls from, you know, Oxford uni and Cambridge union there, I was just sat there with my two eight levels you know, two mediocre levels. And I just sat there thinking I'm, I'm going to be gone very quickly. [00:08:55] And that wasn't the case, you know, I'd, I'd lasted all four days. They get rid of people every single day. And the thing that ended up. Becoming my problem was an astigmatism. I had an astigmatism that I developed over a period of time. I don't know when, because I had pilot medicals prior to that and never been picked up. [00:09:15] My stigmatism was 1.75. They allowed 1.25. That was it. I was chopped that wasn't on a day. I was then offered a a commission in various ground branches, which I refused and then went off to join. But what I'm saying here is, you know, there are physical things that will stop people from being able to achieve certain things. [00:09:36] You know, there are things in the pilots, medical now, the ETPL for the class one that will stop people from being able to do it. But if it is just your mind and money, that isn't one of those. Now I've, I've learned to, like I say, just do things and don't hesitate or allow yourself to be overcome by like your own self debt. [00:09:58] You're in self doubts and worse. Is that the people around you who love you the most actually try to protect you by saying things like it's too risky and they try and put you off doing these things because it's not because they're trying to stop. I don't think so. I don't think people are malicious generally, but it's not like you're trying to stop you from progressing, but it is, I'm trying to stop you from losing potentially everything you've got. [00:10:25] And if you've got little and you lose it all, that's more impactive than someone who has a lot and loses maybe the same amount, but they can brush it off because they'll make that back in no time. So I would definitely say. If you are going down a path and you're thinking, look, this is the route. This is the route that I'm going to take to become a professional pilot. [00:10:52] Then take it, you know, don't necessarily listen to the people around you so much because they may well put you off of doing something that you may regret years down. Now, I'll give you a couple of examples for myself. You know, I, I found an old business plan a few weeks ago because I was packing boxes. [00:11:12] And it, it was, it was made in late 2006. And I was actually offered funding to create an app. Now that was before, well, before this app ever existed. And it's something that you all know of. So Uber, you've all heard of. I had created a business plan. It wasn't cool to buy, obviously, but it's exactly the same concept free is before I was offered the funding and I didn't go ahead. [00:11:39] And that was because of family particularly saying how risky it was and I never went with it now. It may never have worked out. But the fact is I will never know because I didn't take that step, that next step of actually doing the thing. So that's one of my big groups. And you know, who knows, who knows what would have been? [00:12:05] It was free years before the Uber app was created that I had that. I, I had the idea and the funding available, but I didn't do it. And I've kept that as a reminder of what self doubt can potentially cost you, you know, who knows, like I say, and I got to the point where now. You know, I, I feel like I'm, I'm a single person I'm sitting on money, you know, sitting on money in my house. [00:12:37] That's completely useless to me. Just sat, you know, in a bricks and mortar and I was going to travel. And then I thought, well, why don't I just do what I've always wanted to do as a child? And that was. You know, I've always wanted to fly from, from a very young age. I think I took my first flight in 2001 in Gloucester, Gloucestershire, airport staff button. [00:13:06] And, you know, it's something that I've really loved and been passionate about throughout my entire life. And it was always one of those things where, like I've said before, I'm looking at it from a perspective of. I wish I could be like them. And now I'm a bit older. I realized that, well, I can be them. I can be that person I've wished you know, wanted to be since I was a boy. [00:13:40] And it's a shame it's taken me, you know, sort of so many years to get there in 33 now. And I went through, you know, all sorts of waves of emotion. I deeply ingrained self doubt from that childhood coming up with reasons why I can't do it. And you know, you, you'll probably be able to sort of think about some of these reasons yourself. [00:14:04] You know, you've probably fought about things I'd like to do that. And perhaps you're thinking about becoming a professional pilot yourself now, and you might be asking yourself questions like, can I afford it? And my smarter now. You know, for, for me, I'm thinking, can I still study? It's been a long, long time since I was in, you know, any sort of like formal education or anything like that, or am I too old? [00:14:29] That's another consideration, you know, will I get a job at the end of it? If I'm going to spend all this money and time more importantly, my time will I get a job at the end of it? Would I even want a job at the end of it? I don't know. You know, right now I've got. A lot of freedom, probably too much. And it's quite boring. [00:14:47] To be honest, people say, people keep sending me messages. Oh, you're living the life or not. I'm really not. I'm quite bored. And you know, will I pass my medical? You know, where will I fit it all in? You know, what, if I spend all this money, I can't get a job anywhere and will I even be what the airlines want? [00:15:03] You know, are they looking for 20, 21 year old that they can just mold into this? You know what exactly what they want, not having someone who's already learned certain ways of working and you know, is already familiar with being a manager in other industries and stuff like that. And then there's other things is should I sell my house? [00:15:27] I'm not selling my house to fund my training. You know, that that's not the reason why I sold the house. I actually, I, I decided to go on the path of selling my house long before. I decided that, do you know what, why don't I just become a professional player? Why don't I go for that extra bit of training? [00:15:43] But I decided to do that because I've thought so much about this house and the amount of money is just sat in his house. Doing absolutely nothing for me. I, I, it, it just became, you know, in my mind it was like, well, sell the house. Invest in other things. So, you know, it may be investing in other properties and renting them out in the future. [00:16:06] Who knows? Then I think about what about my cat? You know, it's a cat and I've been trying to get this cat adopted. I finally got it sorted, but you know, the sort of things that people say about cats, like, oh, just check it out. It'll be fine. And you know, I had someone tell me, I just can't. But it's crazy, you know, it's an animal I have, I do have some responsibility for it. [00:16:30] I D you know, it didn't ask to come and live with me. And you know, so I've always felt like I'm not giving it to a home, you know, cat shelter. They've got enough. I need to give that cat, you know, to someone who actually really wants it and find, you know, do that. And I've, I've actually sorted that out now. [00:16:49] Then there's that question of, am I having an early midlife crisis? And I don't think so. I've thought about that a lot. I don't think so. I think that I'm using new knowledge that I didn't have when I was growing up. I didn't have, you know, the sort of friends and family around me who were directing me down particular paths. [00:17:11] I was always being sent down the safe path. You know, this is the safe route to take, go and do that. Because it's less risky for you, but also the rewards are less rewarding. And then I thought, well, should I just go back to policing? You know, done it for 10 years, you know, is good salary. It's, you know, there's nothing particularly taxing about the, the job. [00:17:39] Should I just go back to that? So they're all the sort of questions I was asking myself. Hmm. Any one of those questions I could have said, well, can I afford it? Then I could have convinced myself. Well, now I can't even, I can, I could have convinced myself that I couldn't have thought, well, it'd be better off spent on something else. [00:17:57] Like maybe pay off a chunk of the mortgage or you know, maybe I'd need a new car or I don't know, something else that, you know, oh, I should buy a boat. I don't know. And then things like will, can I study all these questions? Designed to protect yourself as humans. I think we ask us these questions, ourselves, these questions, hoping that we'll come out with that negative answer that will protect us and stop us from doing something that could be very, very risky. [00:18:27] And in my case, it's financially risky more so because I could go and spend another 30, 40,000 pounds on this training now, and then at the end of the. I might not be able to get a job, but then, like I said earlier, perhaps I don't even want one. Maybe I'll get to the end of it. And I think actually I'd rather just fly for fun and not want to do this as an actual job. [00:18:54] Then it's a waste of a lot of time and money, although yes, I will have more skills be a better pilot overall, but there are other ways to achieve that same outcome. And then I remember my old business plan and I don't want to get to 40, 50 years old, wishing that I'd just gone ahead and done the things I wanted to do when I was younger, when I had the opportunity to do them. [00:19:24] But for some reason, either talked myself out of it or let other people talk me out of it. And that's why. I'm going to take that leap of faith and prepare myself for, you know, knuckling down through a lot of hard work on my journey towards becoming a professional pilot. That's my reason. And I wish, you know, I wish someone could have told me years ago to just go and do it because when I look back now, I've had so many opportunities over the last. [00:20:03] Well, 12 years. Yeah, 2007 is when I joined metropolitan police that over those 12 years, I've had so many opportunities where I could have done my training alongside my job as a modular student. You know, I went to it, I went out and bought a ridiculously expensive car, 33,000 pound BMW. When I was still young in the police. [00:20:30] You know, I could have spent that money on flying training. There's there's, there's so many opportunities that I had for out that period where instead of just wasting my money, I could have used it towards this. But again, it was one of those things of, it's not for people like me now. I know it is there, there, there, there isn't anything that should stop. [00:20:56] There isn't anything that should stop me. Yes. I've got a medical coming up that could potentially stop me in the tracks. You know, in my tracks, I went and had an eye test the other day and I found out everything's fine with my eyes. You know, that's post laser surgery and I'm going to do another episode on my medical and my revalidation, validations and license. [00:21:21] Specifically, because there's a few concerns I still have over that. But I don't know that is something that hopefully it's not going to stop me in my tracks, but assuming everything's fine, there are no real physical barriers. And the thing that holds most people back is their own mental prison cell. [00:21:45] And. Peoples are meant to prison. Cells are more secure than any real supermax prison anywhere in the world. So that, they're my reasons for why I have decided that now is the right time for me to go and do my ATPL's. If you all, one of these people that have been thinking for years, I'd love to do it. Do you know. [00:22:15] I I'd really do say to you, go out there and have a look, have a real look at what your options are. If it's finance, I'm going to do one on finance as well. And we'll be talking about how I'm financing this. And I will. Yeah, it's, it's definitely something I'm going to tell you how I'm going to finance it myself. [00:22:36] And also other ways that I've thought about for financing, if it's for finance rate, if it's for financial reason, You know, really have a good think about it if it's because you've got a family you know, I don't have a child or anything like that. That could be more problematic. I get it, but I know of people who have still done it with a family. [00:22:56] So it's not, it's not something that, you know, completely stops you from doing it. And think about the future at the moment, the job market in the aviation industry. If you're looking at becoming. Airline pilot is really, really strong. There's so many opportunities, even for low hour pilots to be able to get into, into jobs. [00:23:18] And it's definitely the time is now if you haven't done it before the time is now. Okay, so thank you for listening to me today. I've I didn't ramble on too much. So if you want, I'm going to do is the next episode is going to be about my licenses, revalidation and medical worries. I'm also going to be covering a bit about funding and also for those people who are entrepreneurs and have businesses that they need to consider. [00:23:50] If they're looking at going down this path of flying. I've got a plan that I've put in place, how to manage my business while I'm on. And hopefully that might give you a few ideas on how you can also manage your own. Yeah. So if you liked this episode today please head over to iTunes and leave me a five star review. [00:24:11] That'd be really helpful. If you do want to get in touch with me, you can do so on Instagram. We'll handle. The thing at, at, at thing is AaronHenray [00:24:21] [00:24:21] Aaron Henriques: to give me some feedback, if you'd like to get involved in a future episode, there's plenty of opportunity for that coming up. [00:24:28] And if you haven't, like I said, if you haven't subscribed, please hit subscribe now. Invite your friends, family, anyone you think would benefit to listen to future episodes and. You know, if you've got that feedback let me know, you know, I'm doing this for you guys, as well as myself. I'm trying to own a document, my journey that I'm going through. [00:24:48] And hopefully that's something that may be useful to some people, some episodes may be completely useless and boring to you, but Hey, you don't have to listen to them. So yeah, until next time take care.


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