The Journey Through Ground School

by Alexander Cray on Aug 06 2020

Naturally there is a certain amount of apprehension prior to starting ground school, which was something I especially felt being fresh out of sixth-form and embarking straight away on my dream career. However any concerns were quickly dispelled after I encountered the warm reception and professionalism of the staff, instructors and fellow trainees at the training location.

Ground school is perhaps the most feared part of training; a strenuous period requiring total focus and commitment, but the depth of knowledge and conscientious teaching standards of the instructors makes completion to a high standard very achievable. I built a strong rapport with my instructors, who always gave time to ensure understanding and were more than happy to receive questions at any time of the day. As well as their teaching skills, I found them to be extremely pleasant and affable within and outside the workplace which meant that each day was filled with smiles despite the workload. The collective push to succeed also formed a really strong bond between my course-mates and I, and our congenial passion for flying has given me fantastic friends for life. They have been excellent colleagues in class and great fun on the odd night off! Finding the right balance of work and downtime is important, and ground school does require a much more work-oriented balance than most people of my age, but it only makes the occasional social excursion all the more enjoyable when it comes. Overall I have really enjoyed my time at ground school; with such a collaborative team spirit amongst instructors and trainees, we all wished for each other to succeed. I cannot wait for the flying stages to begin!

I chose the option of completing the Professional Aviation Pilot Practice degree with Middlesex University alongside my training. Ground school itself makes up the first element, with then some written work to be completed during the later stages of training. I chose the degree course as it gives the chance for personal reflection on my experience and development through the training process. With a strong safety culture in aviation comes the responsibility of critical analysis of past performance, which is encouraged through the course. Beginning my training at 18 also meant that the Middlesex degree was the best option to gain a higher education qualification without delaying my path to the flight deck. Also, the option of a maintenance loan has been useful as it is what I have used for living expenses whilst in ground school. I look forward to continuing with the Middlesex degree as I progress onwards through my training.