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airline pilot

Aviation

The life of a 747 cargo pilot – April 2019

Behind the scenes of @Flywitheva

Via the posts and stories on my Instagram account I share bits of my life, my travels and my work. But: how much do I really work? How many trips a month? How long do I get to stay at destinations and what do I do on layovers? How about all those roster changes and how do I cope with sleeping at weird times? What do I do when I’m off? You followers are a curious bunch! But I am all for showing ‘reality’, the unfiltered truth, both the good and the bad! Let me take you on a detailed journey, but heads up: it’s not an article about the operational procedures. It’s rather an overview of the trips and an insight on work versus time off. As I do not have a stable roster and every month is completely different, I will start with last month: April 2019. If you guys like it, I will make it a monthly article on my blog.

Every 15th of the month I get my schedule for the following month. So on the 15th of March, I receive my schedule for the month of April. I am really pleased when it comes out: so far I was not so lucky with our ‘flight request system’, but now I got the two trips I requested. I will have my first trip to Amsterdam and Frankfurt, and my first trip to Dubai! I also have 6 days of standby* rostered, a ground course day, and I finish the month with ‘joker days’ *(see terminology list at the end of this article). Let’s start now with the journey of April 🙂

Week 1

I am off on the first and second of April. My first trip is a PX trip* from Hong Kong to Amsterdam, in the night of 3 to 4 April. I try to reschedule my PX flight to an earlier day, as to have more time in my home country. But as my roster might still change due to some disruptions on the 747 fleet, I don’t get approval. I have not been back in The Netherlands since November last year, so I am excited to fly ‘home’. On the third of April I meet with the crew at dispatch* for the start of my first trip: with the A350 to Amsterdam. It’s a 14 hour trip through the night: perfect to be a passenger now! I manage to sleep a few hours and we land in Amsterdam at 7 in the morning, where my mum is eagerly waiting for me at arrivals. I have a 28 hour layover in Amsterdam, my trip continues tomorrow late morning. Normally I would now go to the crew hotel, but since this is ‘home’ I go to my parents place in Haarlem first. I spend the day catching up with my mum, and in the evening I go for dinner with a close friend, whom I did not see for ages. So fun to have this as part of my work trip! I should request Amsterdam as often as possible! After dinner my parents bring me to the crew hotel at the airport, I pick up my allowance* and stay the night in the hotel, as tomorrow I fly to Frankfurt.

My report is at 11:00 in the morning. I sleep in, skip breakfast, and prepare* the flight via our company iPad. The captain emailed me that I need to meet him at the gate, as he just flew in himself and is not in the hotel at the moment. While I find my way to the gate I bump into a good friend of mine, he is a captain at KLM. He is amazed to meet me here, as normally I am at the other side of the world, and suddenly the world feels so small again. I love operating for the very first time out of Amsterdam airport, I feel so happy! It turns out a lot of the Schiphol ground crew follow me on Instagram, and it’s great to meet them. After chatting a bit and taking pictures with them, it’s time to close the doors and get on with the show 😉 The flight from Amsterdam to Frankfurt is a super short one (one hour flight). On arrival the captain has a different schedule, and I am the only one going to the crew hotel in Mainz. I get picked up with our crew transport. My layover is 28 hours, and after this short flight I am not tired at all. I meet up with a ramp controller of Frankfurt Airport. We have been in touch via Instagram for quite some time now, and he is the most amazing person showing me all around Mainz. We walk all afternoon through the city, go for dinner in a typical German restaurant (schnitzel!) and only by the end of the night my jetlag starts to creep up on me. However I still let my new friend convince me to join him to a party right next to our crew hotel. It’s an 80s/90s party, good fun, but I stick to lemonade as tomorrow I am working again. Finally I call it a night and collapse into bed. It’s early morning now for my body clock, but as I pulled through all ‘night’ I have no issues to fall asleep.

Normally I never take hotel breakfast buffet (never very hungry in the morning) but my colleagues told me the Frankfurt breakfast is absolutely worth it. So I drag myself out of bed, and still half asleep proceed to the breakfast, which is indeed a feast. I bump into some colleagues and share breakfast with a colleague who is on my crew later today. Then I still have some hours to kill and it is glorious sunny weather, so I go for a run next to the Rhine river. Oh how I love being back in Europe! I feel full of energy again. Soon it’s time to prepare the flight on my iPad. Report with the Captain and Second Officer is at 17:45 (night for the body clock though) , and now we have a long duty of almost 16 hours: we fly from Frankfurt to Amsterdam, then from Amsterdam to Hong Kong. The captain lets me choose the sector I want to fly. So I pick the first sector, as I want to land in Amsterdam.

 

In Amsterdam a 4th crew member joins us, as we have the very long duty, so we divide operating and resting. Some hours after departure to Hong Kong it is my time to rest. I anticipate about 3 hours of sleep in the bunk, and fall asleep immediately. It turns out I have the best colleagues: they let me sleep 6,5 hours non stop, and we are just before descending into Hong Kong airspace when I wake up. I almost want to hug the second officer for taking all the hours in cruise flight, but he was happy to do it, and I am now super rested. I am pilot monitoring for approach and when we land it’s 16:00 on Sunday afternoon. This trip was so much fun! I catch up with my boyfriend Brian, and have 3 days off now.

Week 2

I spend the days off with Brian and friends in Hong Kong. We go to ‘our’ Monday pub quiz, and ‘our’ Tuesday Bootcamp class, and on Wednesday organise a big dinner at our place in Wan Chai. We try to have some routine in both our ever changing schedules. Brian is also a lot in and out of Hong Kong, as he works regularly abroad as a travel guide. My next duty is a flight to Dubai on Thursday 11 April. I have never been in Dubai and look forward to have a layover there, even if it’s just 23 hours. I know the captain, he loves motor bike riding. When I see his name on the flight to Dubai I jokingly text him if we should go sand biking. He loves the idea: in the end he finds a company where we can both learn to ride bikes in the sand dunes, me without a motor bike license as well! I am now even more excited for the layover! But then – insert sad music – I wake up on Thursday with a very high fever. Everything hurts. I am in no state to work, and am absolutely bummed to miss out on the trip. I call in sick, and fall asleep for about 24 hours. The next morning I feel worse, I have a bad cough and my fever is even higher, so I visit a doctor in Hong Kong. He prescribes rest and medication, and gives me a note I am unfit for 3 days. So far week 2, and no this did not make it to Instagram 😉

Week 3

On Tuesday I am still really ill, and drag myself to the doctor for the second time. He confirms I am still in no state to work, and sends me to stay home for another 3 days. Basically all I do is sleep. On Thursday, one week after waking up sick, I finally start to be back on my feet again. I am annoyed it took so long. We had guests (friends of Brian from Singapore) over in our place as well, but I have not been able to spend any time with them! My next duty is a standby on Friday, from 0600-1200. I don’t get called out! On Saturday another standby: I get a call at 06:01 to report as soon as I can for a Shanghai flight. We have 2 hours and 15 minutes to report at Dispatch after a standby callout. My commute takes about one hour, to one hour 15 minutes. I rush for a shower, coffee, change into my uniform, and am quickly out of the door, as is my boyfriend who flies to Seoul this morning, for a trip with a friend. The Shanghai return is supposed to be a quick one. I am pilot flying to Shanghai, the captain takes it back to Hong Kong. When we are fully ready to go, after a 2 hour turnaround, we get a 3 hour slot (this means we can’t depart but have to wait at the stand in Shanghai)! It’s really bad weather in Hong Kong this afternoon, so the slot makes sure we don’t arrive in the middle of the storm. Not a bad thing: many go arounds and diversions in Hong Kong today. We finally land in Hong Kong at 20:00, after holding for quite some time. After the flight I call to see my duty for tomorrow, Sunday: standby from 10:00 to 16:00.

 

Will I have to work again today? Yep! I wake up without alarm at 09:00, and get a call at 10:45. My duty is to operate to Narita late tonight, report time 23:30, and then PX back on a company A330. Uff it looks like it’s going to be a long night. I take it easy today, study a bit for my upcoming ground course. I am very bad at having an evening nap before a night duty, so I pull through. I go to a ‘hot yoga’ class (which is like yoga and a sauna in one), then get ready and prepare the flight, and make the journey to dispatch. It turns out the flight is delayed a couple of hours and I need to wait 3 hours now at dispatch! I go to the ‘quiet room’, which is a new facility in the company, with dimmed light and lounge chairs, to rest in case of delays. I curl up into one of the chairs, but am unable to sleep. Finally, it’s time for our flight to Narita. We depart at 04:20, I am pilot flying as the captain gave me the choice. I feel surprisingly awake still, and chat with the captain all the way to Japan, to avoid getting sleepy. The flight is smooth and we watch a beautiful sunrise. In Narita the captain has a layover, and I need to proceed through customs and then to the gate, as I PX on the A330 straight back to Hong Kong.

Week 4

We depart Narita at 10:45. I am awake now since yesterday morning 09:00 and I am ready to collapse in my business class seat. After departure I tell the cabin crew to not wake me up for breakfast, then fall asleep till we start the descend into Hong Kong. I feel really tired still when I get home, after a duty of almost 18 hours. My boyfriend is not there, as he is still traveling in Korea. A friend invites me for wine and dinner, but I miss it, as I decide to take another ‘little nap’ but the nap lasts 9 hours as I fall asleep from 17:00 till 02:00. I then manage to fall asleep again for another 6 hours! I realise I write a lot about my sleeping patterns here, as it is one of the things that can be quite challenging to manage for pilots. After the recovery of my sleep debt, my sleep is back to normal. I study for my ground course tomorrow, and go to the Tuesday bootcamp class.

Wednesday I have a ground course all day at the head office. I am in a First Officer program, where I will write more about another time. (No it’s no Command course ;)! This step will take plenty more years in my current airline.) After the course my days off start, 7 in total! In the evening Brian comes back from his trip! We meet in central Hong Kong, where we celebrate a friends birthday. The next day we try to fly to Amsterdam on staff travel, as I now have my requested joker days off and Brians parents celebrate their combined birthdays this weekend in The Netherlands. It turns out the flight is completely overbooked! We try to figure out all options, different flights. In the end, I manage to get the jump seat to Amsterdam, and my boyfriend travels via Milan. The jump seat on the A350 is a non-reclinable seat in front of the crew bunks, in a small windowless room behind the flight deck. I’ve had more glamorous trips, but am simply happy I got on the flight! I spend the weekend celebrating the Dutch Kings Day and the celebration of Brians parents’ birthdays. After 2,5 days I fly back to Hong Kong already on Monday. Luckily there is plenty of space on this flight, and I booked myself a business class seat. I say goodbye to Brian, who flies to Bordeaux later and stays in Europe for 2,5 weeks, guiding tours in France and Spain. I land back in Hong Kong on Tuesday morning. l have the rest of the day off in Hong Kong (as margin and also to recover from all the flights again) before my next trip tomorrow, which is one for May :)!

So that was in quite some detail my month. It is difficult giving proper insight if I would leave out too much detail. Cargo flying comes with a lot of duty shifts (not so much this month actually), and lots of PX’ing as well, it’s not usually a matter of operating to a destination, layover, operating back. 

Summary:

Scheduled trips: 2; Amsterdam/Frankfurt and Dubai
Actual trips: 3; Amsterdam/Frankfurt, Dubai missed due unfit, but called out of standby for Shanghai and Narita.
Number of days off: 14 (including 5 joker days, and 3 ‘O’ days*)
Number of duty days: 10
Number of days unfit: 6

Some terminology:

Allowance – The money crew gets on layovers to cover expenses, usually in the local currency.

Dispatch – the place where the crew meets. It’s at my companies headquarters, next to Hong Kong airport. Here we prepare the flight, and clear crew security, before taking a crew bus to the airplane.

Flight preparation – My company makes use of an ‘EFB’; Electronic Flight Bag. We all have a personal company iPad, with charts, electronic manuals and several apps for flight preparation. Some time for the flight, we are able to download the operational flight plan, and prepare. We take note of the weather, the specifications for the route, notices for the different airfields, the required fuel, the airplane status, expected approach etcetera. So when we meet the rest of the crew at report, we all have a good idea of the duty ahead and we discuss shortly the things that stood out. 

Joker days – Every 4 months I can request 5 blocked ‘joker’ days off (for example for a wedding/birthday/something important). Well in advance I receive confirmation if this request is approved. Joker days are days off on top of normal days off and of leave days.

O-days – company days scheduled usually after a trip or simulator session. After your trip or simulator duty you need to call the company. Now your O-day can be changed into any duty, but if there is nothing planned for you now you get to be off.

Pilot Flying – The pilot who does the set-up, the take-off and landing on a flight and is responsible for the navigation.

Pilot Monitoring – The pilot who monitors the actions of the pilot flying, and is responsible for the walk around (external inspection of the plane), the communication and checklist reading. 

PX – Duty travel. The company needs the pilot to be at a certain airport for further duties, but this is not an operating sector. The pilot travels as a passenger, either on a company airplane, or with another company. The pilot travels in uniform, but normally changes on board (right after boarding and back before landing). Normally PX trips are in business class.

Standby day – a day (usually 6 hours) where the pilot has to be contactable by phone as the company can call the pilot for any duty. Report time is 2 hours and 15 minutes from call to report. It is also possible to be called out for a flight that starts much later. 

Aviation

How to prepare for an airline pilot interview

When it comes to securing a pilot job with an airline, think of the 5 P’s: Proper Preparation Prevents Poor Performance (as pilots we love our acronyms). With this article I hope to give you some guidance in how to prepare for a pilot interview at any airline. I prepared for and passed two airline interviews myself. At my first interview I had only 220 hours flight experience, no jet time and a frozen ATPL license, and at the second interview I had 3000 hours jet experience and an unfrozen ATPL. With this background, I don’t claim to be an expert at all, but I feel I can at least provide you with some insights and advice. What to study, what to wear, do’s and don’ts. Find it all in this article, so you feel a bit more secure for the day that can make the difference between spotting airplanes on the ground, and operating them.

How to get invited for an interview?

Before you can start to prepare for a specific interview/assessment/selection process, first you have to get invited for an interview. Let’s start at the beginning of the process: you have to apply for a specific job. How do you find out if a specific airline is hiring? Research! 

  • Check the website of the airline where you want to apply. At the career page you can find the vacancies, and the details of how to apply for this specific position. Read carefully! Check the requirements (do you meet them?), check the deadline, and make sure you understand all the information they need for your application. Usually you have to upload several documents: your CV, a Cover Letter, and scans of for example your passport, license, medical. I kept a folder on my desktop with all my scanned documents. Make sure the scans are clear, and give the files a proper name (not scan001, but for example ‘medical + your last name’). 
  • Regarding your CV: less is more! No flight crew recruiter wants to see 4 pages full of information, how quick you can type, and all about your first job at the local bakery. Keep it relevant here! Try to fit your full CV on one page only. Focus on skills and experience relevant for the position you apply to. For each pilot job I applied to, I would check and adjust my CV, even if just a little.
  • Cover letter: I feel that one of the biggest mistakes you can make, is to add a general cover letter to your application. Don’t be lazy here, research the position and the airline you apply to thoroughly. Know what this airline stands for, and write a cover letter completely focused on this specific postion and this specific airline. What makes that you want to work for them, and why should they pick you…?
  • To know where could be your chance at a job, you can also browse networking websites such as LinkedIn, visit Pilot Career Days, and network with people in the aviation industry. Then after you applied: follow up if you can! Keep updating your profile in the career databank. Every time your flight hours or experience changes: time to update.

The different aspects of an airline pilot interview – and how to prepare for them

Let’s fast forward to the moment you get invited for an interview at the airline you applied to. Usually this invitation comes in via E-mail, and the time you have available to prepare can vary from very little (‘can you make it the day after tomorrow?’) to several months. So ideally you should be prepared for an assessment anytime. General advise is to keep current, both your skills and knowledge, and don’t ever let your license or medical expire! 

Every airline uses their own selection process, and usually the selections for the various positions (Second Officer, First Officer, Captain) differ as well. What you can expect at every selection, are a face to face interview where you need to answer both personal and technical questions, and a simulator assessment. Things that vary per airline, would be for example an initial Skype interview, a group exercise, an English language assessment, ATPL knowledge tests, and all kind of other tests like IQ, maths or psychometric/aptitude testing. How can you find out what your assessment will be like? Again, do your research. Try to get in touch with people in the airline you applied to. Also online you can find lots of information. On websites like the PPRuNe Forums you can find information and ask questions. And then there is Latest Pilot Jobs, where you can get interview preparation packages for several airlines for a fee. I invested in a preparation package for my last assessment, and in my opinion it was worth it. 

What to study?
  • ATPL knowledge. At every assessment you will get questions on ATPL knowledge. Some recruiters will really go in depth, while others only ask some general questions. It is best to be prepared as good as you can. I made my own summaries of the ATPL theory, and used them in my preparation. I would say that the subjects to focus mostly on, are: Principles of Flight, Performance and Meteorology, although in my last assessment there was also some focus on Engines and General Navigation. In my last assessment I had to complete a multiple choice ATPL knowledge test. I will give you a few hints regarding those questions: questions on induced and parasite drag, take off segments, the effect of blocked instruments (pitot and static), and questions on TAS/IAS/MACH. No tricks, it’s all in your ATPL books 😉 Last but not least: invest in the book ‘Ace The Technical Pilot Interview’. Trust me, it’s the study bible of every pilot. 
  • Simulator assessment. My advise: find a way to get regular simulator practice, especially if it has been some time since graduating and your assessment. You want to be current, and have a quick instrument scan. At least invest in one session before your interview, preferably on the type you will be assessed on. The simulator assessment is normally a raw data profile, with a take-off, level off, some maneuvers, speed acceleration and deceleration, several approaches, landings and go-arounds, and usually an engine failure and/or another situation for you to deal with. The airline might send you the flight profile before your assessment, for you to study at home. Study this! Make sure you know the calls, the numbers, the thrust settings for different flight phases. Know them by heart! If you can, practice this specific profile in the simulator. You can practice things like NDB/VOR intercepts outside of the simulator, with an online trainer , or simply with a piece of paper.

  • Personal questions. Expect questions about your personality, and on how you see yourself. Example questions: ‘What would the last few Captains you flew with say about you?’, ‘Why do you want to work for us?’, ‘Why did you choose for aviation?’, ‘Tell us something you would like to improve about yourself?’, ‘What will you do if you don’t get hired?’ Practice the interview with a friend, preferably a friend who is already working as an airline pilot. He or she can play the recruiter, and you will be surprised how difficult it is initially! What you have in mind to say, might sound totally wrong when spoken out loud, or you suddenly block when you get a difficult question. I highly recommend practicing lots of interview questions face to face. Keep in mind that if you state that you are responsible (for example), that you have to back-up this statement with examples that show your responsibility. 
  • Knowledge of the airline and the aviation industry in general. Use the website of the airline you apply to as a study book: find out the airlines history, the development of the fleet, the airplanes on order, the destinations, future plans, etcetera. Recruiters will check your knowledge on the airline you try to get into. Also make sure that you know who are the competitors, and what is happening in the industry. 
What to wear?

You can not ‘overdress’ for a job interview, but you can definitely underdress. You are doing it right if you wear a nicely fitted suit, polished shoes and dark socks (white socks are a no-no). Don’t wear your student pilot uniform; wear a suit. If you have a tattoo, don’t have it visible. I feel like I am stating the obvious here, but I know of someone who showed up at an interview, with a tattoo on the forearm showing. This person could leave before the interview even started. You can have a tattoo as a professional pilot, but you need to cover them at work, so be prepared to wear long sleeved shirts if your tattoo is on your forearm. Same for eyebrow/nose/etc piercings: you would not wear them at work, so neither for your interview. Bring one bag to your interview with all your documents. I recommend a briefcase or a dark coloured handbag; definitely not a backpack. 

What to wear – female candidates?

I often get questions from ladies what they should wear to their pilot interview, and if it would be ok to wear a skirt. For both my interviews I wore a suit. At the first interview I wore a black suit, a white shirt and black high heels. For the simulator session I changed into a pair of flat shoes. At the second interview I wore a checked grey suit, and a dark blue shirt. I changed again from high heels into flats for the simulator session. If high heels give you that bit of extra confidence, go for it! I saw other female candidates, sometimes in high heels and sometimes with flat shoes. It is simply your personal preference. I would recommend to have your hair up if it’s longer than shoulder length, as you would then normally wear it up at work as well. You also can’t go wrong with neutral make-up. To answer the skirt question: I guess you can wear a skirt to the interview if you really want to, but it might be a bit awkward buckling up in the five-point harness for your simulator session…

Tips for the day(s) of your interview
  • Be on time! Most likely you stay overnight in a hotel close to the interview location. So besides setting your iPhone alarm, schedule a wake-up call to your room as a back-up. 
  • Try to be as rested as possible. Enough sleep for such a demanding day is highly essential. When you are tired, your ability to perform goes down. So don’t book that flight to your interview location that lands late at night; build in some time to be optimally rested.
  • You will need to bring a bunch of documents: double check if you have indeed everything printed out, copied etcetera. Bring a pen and notepad, and your original logbook, passport, license and medical.
  • At the face to face interview, the recruiters try to get a full picture of the person in front of them. Is this someone they can train? Is this someone they would like to work with? They form their opinion from the moment you meet, until the last handshake and you closing the door. Try to be yourself, but also make sure that you make an impression: show your passion for the job, get across what makes that they should hire you. It’s better to talk a bit too much, than to be an oyster they have a hard time getting information out of. It’s also totally fine to not know the answer to a question: it’s better to admit that you don’t know something, than to start making something up or pretending that you know. Be honest. 
  • Remember that the recruiters look for trainability in the simulator session. It does not have to be perfect, you probably never flew this type before, and you are nervous. They do want to see progress, and ability to not dwell on a mistake. As one of my sim instructors said ‘your assessment is in front of you, never behind you.’ 

I hope these tips are helpful to guide you in the right direction, and I wish you the best of luck in your preparations! 

 

Aviation

How did I become an airline pilot?

Besides why I chose for this profession of soaring the skies at 37.000 feet, the next question is how did I manage to get where I am today? I get lots of questions of which school I attended, how I afforded this, and how I got a job. There are many different routes, but this is my story in short.

Regarding flight schools and taking the modular route or an integrated course, I researched mostly online. Internet will give you a ton of information. I visited several information days of flight schools in Holland. I chose to follow an integrated course: this is 2 years of full time studying. Everything is done in this period to get a frozen ATPL: all theory exams, flight hours flying single engine and multi engine, an instrument rating, all practical flight exams and an MCC course. I applied to the Dutch flight academy ‘Nationale Luchtvaart School’ (now CAE Oxford Aviation Academy), and passed the assessments to start flight training.

Pilot loan

How did I afford it? Flight training is very expensive, so I understand this question. When I started my training in 2008, there was a Dutch bank that offered ‘pilot loans’. If you got accepted in a flight academy, you could apply for a loan at this bank to fund your studies. I afforded my flight training by getting a loan, and as we speak I am still paying off this debt. The bank now stopped with this construction, so these ‘pilot loans’ are something from the past.

I started flight training in october 2008; this was exactly the start of the ‘global financial crisis’. All I could do now, was study hard: get the highest grades possible, and pass all my exams at once. I knew getting a job at the end of the course would be extremely difficult. In 2010, when I graduated, the market was full of cadet pilots, and hardly any jobs, not even for experienced pilots. Welcome in the pool of unemployed cadets.

Pool of unemployment

Two long years I did everything I could to get a job, and kept improving my skills and CV. I tried to find work in an airline: if it was not as a pilot for now, then in another position. I managed to get a full time job at Martinair operations, where I worked as a dispatcher and crew scheduler. In the mean time I applied everywhere. I considered every airline, big or small, business jets, turboprops, open applications. I networked, I called airlines, I uploaded my CV into countless online databases. I spent hours of checking aviation websites and forums online, looking for chances. I made summaries of all the theory subjects, and invested in some more reading material to keep my knowledge sharp.

Living for the future

And there was more. I completed a bush pilot course in South Africa. I joined the editorial staff of the Dutch Airline Pilots Association and wrote voluntarily for their magazine. To obtain a certificate that would increase my chances on the German pilot market, I completed a German language course. I trained regularly on an expensive Boeing 737 simulator, to be ready anytime for an assessment. I kept my license and medical valid. For two years my whole life revolved around getting a pilot job at an airline. All my time, money and energy went there. I was only living for the future.

Airline interview

Then one day, in september 2012, I got the invitation for an assessment at a big European passenger airline. I knew that my time was now, otherwise maybe never. I felt a lot of pressure. But the night before the assessment I slept ten hours nonstop! I was so tired of preparing, and at the same time relaxed; I knew I had done everything I possibly could to prepare. I was ready. With this attitude I started my simulator assessment. My nerves did not ruin things for me, and I flew the best assessment I could think of. This was followed by an hour of technical an personal questions.

Job

To conclude the interview I got a firm handshake from the captain that had assessed me. He told me to start preparing for my type-rating on the Boeing 737: I had the job! This in now 4 years ago, and to recall this day still brings the biggest smile on my face. For those of you out there working hard to get a job, maybe for several years already: don’t give up! Keep working hard, keep improving. Many of us have been in this situation. Keep faith that you will get to that flight deck seat: you will, but it takes constant work, and the right attitude.