My Type Rating, the specialisation course for the Boeing 717, started in January 2015, a month after I got the good news. The timing was perfect, on my last day at work we finished the project we had been working on for a year. All my colleagues were so happy for me as they knew I was going to achieve my dreams.
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.
After Ruben and I passed our MCC exam, we officially finished the integrated ATPL course. I moved back to Holland and received my licence. It felt very strange to be back in Holland, I missed Spain a lot. A month later, on 10 December 2013, I was very happy to go back to Madrid for a few days: I was going to receive my pilot wings!
After my CPL exam, a whole new challenge came up: I was going to fly the Piper Seneca, a slightly bigger airplane with two engines! We did 25 hours on this new type of plane in order to get the Multi Engine Rating.
It was a different type of airplane, so the cockpit was significantly different with regards to the location of the flap handle, the engine start buttons and other avionics (electronic items in the aircraft).
After my first solo, I continued flying with instructors to learn how to navigate visually (VFR – Visual Flight Rules), to practice engine failures and advanced manoeuvres such as stalls and steep turns. When my knowledge and skills were good enough, I had my Private Pilot Licence (PPL) exam. I flew with an examiner and he let me do a visual navigation, do some simulated engine failures and show him some manoeuvres. I passed the exam and received my very first pilot licence. A very valuable step in my career as a pilot!
After three months of theory classes, we got the Cessna course. One week of learning all about the Cessna 172, the airplane we were soon going to fly! After the Cessna theory exam, it was time for the simulator sessions. The simulator had all the features of the Cessna cockpit, so we could practice well and simulate flights on ground.
In October 2011 I finally started flight school, as you could read here. All was new for me. I moved to a different country, lived on my own for the first time and started a course that I honestly did not know much about yet. All the courses were given in English and although my English was fairly good, I did not know many technical words and expressions that were used a lot during the course. Slowly but surely I managed to find my way and I was lucky to have roommates that were in the same situation.
So there I was, about to start my last year of high school, at age 17, knowing that I was accepted to the flight school and going to become a pilot. It felt like a dream! All I had to do, was graduating high school and prepare for the pilot course!
The first day of school I immediately made some changes. I used to do Science at Gymnasium level, which had classic languages included. I decided to drop Latin (I had already dropped Ancient Greek) as it was taking a lot of my time and I preferred to focus more on the science subjects (Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry and Biology) that were quite difficult. I did need to choose another subject, so I chose Spanish. My classmates had chosen Spanish 2 years before, so the course I was going to join was already quite advanced. I therefore had to study everything that I had missed in the previous two years to keep up with my classmates. Knowing that I was going to study in Madrid, I had the perfect motivation and I loved studying the language.
Many pilots knew from a very young age that they wanted to become a pilot when they grew up. For me, it was a little bit different. I always admired pilots, I looked up at the sky when a plane passed and one of my earliest memories is waving my grandparents goodbye at Schiphol’s panorama terrace as they were leaving in a plane to Jordan. I loved seeing the big airplanes preparing for departure and watching them take off. I must have been 3 or 4 years at that time. From that moment onwards, I was always excited to go to the airport or just pass by and see the planes taxiing, being curious how it was possible that such big and heavy airplanes could fly. Once or twice I asked my parents if it was possible to become a pilot. Even though my parents always supported me in all possible ways, they also raised me with a positive but rational mindset. They told me that it was very difficult and expensive to become a pilot. They told me about the pilots aptitude tests to be accepted to flight school, medical checks and education. Based on this, I assumed it was very difficult and for that moment I did not continue to do any research. Press on the READ MORE button to read how I went from high school to flight school!