Pilot study and introductions
Hey everyone, a very warm welcome to you all. My name is Jean-Paul (my friends call me JP), and I am a commercial airline pilot for one of Europe’s largest airlines. Bare with me here, because this is my very first blog post, on my very first blog — The Humble Pilot, where we talk about everything from pilot study to lifestyle.
I was born in the Seychelles, but moved to England at the tender age of 1, where I was very lucky to have amazingly supportive parents who did all they could to give me opportunities that have put me where I am today. Along my way I have learnt lots of tips and techniques, especially when it comes to pilot study and training. Anyway, basic introduction out of the way. How about we chat a little about my aviation background? Sound good? Let’s go!
I’ve been flying now for over 12 years and, as you can probably imagine, I absolutely love my job! There’s something almost magical about sitting in a seat, 38,000 feet in the air and watching the world go by at over 500mph (or 800kph for my metric friends). The views are stunning. It’s just impossible to ever get bored of seeing things like the snow capped mountain ranges of the Alps and the Pyrenees. The crystal clear lakes of Northern Italy and gorgeous fjords of Scandinavia are also breathtaking.
But the thing I love most about being an airline pilot, is the feeling of pure and utter freedom you get from getting such an indescribable birds eye view of the world.
My commercial past
I’ve worked for a few airlines over the years, and flown a variety of different passenger aircraft. I started on the DHC-6 Twin Otter in the Seychelles. I then flew the Boeing 737NG series in Belgium and Italy. Now I fly the Airbus A320 series back home in England.
All of the aircraft I’ve flown have their good bits, and not so good bits, but all in all, I have enjoyed every minute of my experiences with them. During the life of this blog (which I hope will be a long one), I will go over some of the things I have enjoyed about flying each of these aircraft, as well as some basic knowledge too. For example, did you know that the DHC-6 Twin Otter’s engines have a reverse flow system? This means that the air enters the rear of the engine and then exits as exhaust from the front. This is unlike a jet engine which takes air from the front and shoves it out the back. You learn something new every day. I know I do!
Where am I now?
As of now, I live in Surrey, England, with my beautiful family of my wife-to-be, and three bundles of joy. The kids obviously love the fact that their Daddy is a pilot.
One of the things I love to do when I have a spare moment on a turnaround is FaceTime them and show them around the aircraft. The smiles on their faces is enough to melt my heart. Working short haul on the Airbus A320 means I can be home every night with my loved ones.
Anyway, that’s the mushy stuff out of the way, let’s get on to the world of aviation!
So what is The Humble Pilot about?
I started The Humble Pilot to open an avenue to release my creativeness. I’m one of those guys who always has things running around in my head. If these ideas don’t get out, then heaven help me when I try to go to sleep!
In future blog posts, I am going to go over the training process in more detail, both in regards to me and my own personal journey, and in regards to the general member of public who wants to be a pilot. Pilot study courses are everywhere, but what does it all entail? That’s one of the reasons The Humble Pilot is here. But for now, I’m going to give you just a brief overview of my training journey, so you can get an idea of where I came from, professionally.
My pilot study journey
I started my pilot study back in 2005, which seems like a lifetime ago now! Back then, there were two main options available to you if you wanted to become a pilot. You could take what was called an Integrated Course or a Modular Course. There were two very big differences in these two methods of training, and these were:
- Training time
In essence, the integrated course was scheduled to take about 18 months from beginning to end, but was a lot more expensive than the modular course. On the other hand, the modular course usually took a bit longer to do, due to the fact that once a section of the training had been completed, most people would not jump straight into the next section, instead maybe waiting a little while to build some more funds to help finance the following area of training. The plus side of this was that you were able to pick and choose where you wanted to do your training, also meaning that you were able to save vast amounts of money compared to integrated.
I myself went down the modular route. I did some of my pilot study in Naples Florida. Other sections I did in Oxford. I completed my hour building in California and other parts were done in Stapleford in Essex. I really did enjoy this, as every new section of the course brought new adventures and experiences. As mentioned, in future blog posts I will go over the training side of things in more detail. Now I fly out of London Gatwick airport, taking passengers all over Europe, Northern Africa, and the most Western parts of Asia.
My journey over the last 12 years has taught me a lot. I wanted to start this blog to share some of this information with you. I am also starting a YouTube channel to vlog about many of the topics that will be discussed here, so watch out for that!
So there it is! I don’t want my very first post to be too long, so I’m going to leave it there. Do join me for upcoming posts and if you have any questions you’d like to ask, then please don’t hesitate to drop me an email from the Contact page.
The Humble Pilot