I recognise that it’s been a long time since my last posting, I’m sure most of the internet didn’t notice, but I apologise to those that I left in suspense over the last few years.
A hell of a lot has happened in the intervening time, firstly it took approximately 15 months, but I have managed to get my foot on the ladder. I now fly the Avro RJ85, for a lessor know company called Cityjet, lessor known dependent on what part of the world you’re from, but a mid sized regional airline based in Dublin Ireland.
The 15 months of sending CV after CV was obviously a very nervous period of reflection bordering on a self-bemusement a long the lines of, “what the hell have I done.” However, in some ways I’m glad it happened the way it did. I was able to go back contracting as an Avionics technician and cobble together some of the money that would be later required for the type rating, I also made a trip to Africa in the hunt for work, where I met some amazing people between Zambia and Malawi. That turned out to be a great holiday that didn’t bare fruit on the job hunt, but somewhat for the best as I am pretty well placed now with Cityjet. Absolutely stunning place though, the guys down there do some amazing work in less than ideal circumstances, but awesome none the less.
Like many starting in the aviation business these days, our route into whatever airline we’re lucky enough to get into can be somewhat convoluted. This was the case with Cityjet, but thankfully it did lead to a permanent job. The process involved was an assessment outsourced to Simtech, type-rating provided by Simtech, Line-Training by Cityjet under a fixed term contract, and a full time position with Cityjet subject to passing a line check. Each step the progression of the previous
I think it’s fare to say that the type/line training provided a significant steepening to the learning curve. Getting through the assessment for a pilot job, often seems to be the holy-grail, but it’s really only the start of your pain. There is a hell of a lot of work to put in during the type and line training, and you will find suddenly the schedule shifts dramatically from being based on your pace to a dictation by commercial pressure. It can be hard to keep up, and some guys didn’t make it through. So you do really have to make sure it’s the right job for you.
The RJ is a really great airplane to fly and I feel really privileged to fly it. It’s a very hands on aircraft, stick and rudder type machine with a philosophy closer to a C172 than an Airbus. However, there was times when I wondered would I ever get to grips with it, you find yourself very overwhelmed during line training, but eventually muscle memory starts to work it’s magic, you begin to react faster and more appropriately, making corrections smoother and generally freeing up capacity by staying ahead of the aircraft, this allows a bit of brain power to be devoted to the million and one other things you need to get your head around. All this is taking into account during line training, and the instructors were very reasonable and fare. However, you’re burning 2 tonnes of their fuel/hr and you’re flying their hard won-over pax, if you’re not up to the grade and progressing appropriately you’ll be told and if you continue to be not up to step up to the mark they’ll throw you a lovely going away do in the chief pilots office, however don’t expect cake or the 20k back you put into the type course. It can be a tough world out there, regrettably it’s us plebs who find out the hard way.
Anyway, swiftly moving on from the unspoken truth. The job has been great, we fly some awesome destinations, London City Airport being are main base for the Cityjet operation and one of those places every pilot wants to go, while talking about CAT C airports we also do Florence and more recently Innsbruck. My personnel favourite though is Turin, a beautiful arrival over the Alps culminating in an amazing Pizza. Other than that our main destinations are DUB, CRK, AMS, CDG, STR, NCL, RTM, NTE, ORY, DUS, HAJ, a lot of these under the Air France ACMI and incorporating a lot of overnights which can be fun, if not a little short sometimes.
Thanks for following the blog, once again sorry for delaying so much in getting this final installment out. Now is definitely a great time to be looking for work as a pilot, there’s plenty of opportunities opening up out there so all the best in finding the dream job.
Over and out!