My own experience #09: Airline pilot at age 21

In September 2014, less than a year after graduation, I got an e-mail from my flight school to ask if I could send my CV. Volotea was visiting the school to go through the CVs of graduates. I sent my CV immediately and a few weeks later I was invited for the selection in Volotea. I asked for days off at work and went with my roommate Ruben, who was also invited for the selections, to Barcelona. We went a few days earlier to study together and be fully prepared for the interviews.

The first day consisted of a Technical Interview, a written exam of general aviation knowledge, a management interview with the CEO and a written personality test. It was a long and intensive day and afterwards I could not really tell if it went well or not. It was my first and so far only chance to be hired as an airline pilot, it must have been one of the most important days of my life and definitely the most important day of my career. 

A few days later both me and Ruben were invited to come to the second part of the selection, which meant that we passed the first day. The second part was a simulator session on the Airbus A320 in Madrid. There was barely any time to prepare and it was quite some time ago that I flew the A320 simulator. We were briefed before the simulator session, they told us that it was not important to know the A320, they were much more interested in our CRM skills (cooperation, teamwork with the sparring pilot) and flying skills. We were put in different scenarios, having an engine failure during take off, before and after V1 (the crucial decision point whether to abort or continue the take off), manually flew the approach and conducted a missed approach (go-around) due to low visibility or runway occupation. Again I did not feel very sure about my performance, whereas Ruben felt more happy about his part. 

Weeks passed before Ruben called me to tell me happily: Lindy check your e-mail! He got the news that he was hired by Volotea but when I opened my inbox, there was unfortunately no news. The days after, I continued to refresh my inbox, but the more days that passed, the less I expected good news. In November I got an e-mail from Volotea that said they had hired the 6 best applicants and some of us would be contacted if new positions opened up. Ruben started his type rating (the specialisation course for the Boeing 717) in the beginning of December. One evening, after work I refreshed my e-mail as I usually did every day and I got an e-mail from Volotea: ‘‘Many thanks for your patience waiting on the results of your application. We are happy to inform you that you have completed our recruitment process successfully and would like to welcome you to the Volotea Second Officer Programme. On the following days, you will receive an Offer Letter of Employment.’’ My first words were: OH MY GOD. My father and sister who were both watching TV looked up and with trembling lips I told them I was hired by Volotea, my first job as an airline pilot! I will never forget this day. I was so happy to call Ruben and tell him the good news, after doing flight school together and living in the same house for 2 years, we were going to do this new adventure together!

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