It’s been almost four months since I’ve done my first flight.
I’ve just pass the 200 hours mark on the Airbus A320 family. My line check was from SXF (which is not my base) to LGW where I’ve never been before and it is the most busiest single runway airport in the world! I was confident enough as I was very well trained by one of the best instructor I’ve ever had! Basically a line check is a test during a normal flight with a normal captain and with a training captain on the jumpseat. The instructor wants to see how you operate the aircraft and how you interact with your captain during normal operations. All in all, everything went very well, he gave me some tips on things that I could have done differently but he was happy and so was I!
Experience is building up quite quickly, I feel more and more confident and comfortable, a lot of things are now clear in my mind compare to the first time I’ve experienced the situation.
For example the descent management. At the beginning, even though it was procedure that I understood, it always took me some time to say if I was high or low on the profile and my attention was on this small calculation so my situational awareness was quite low and I could missed an ATC call at the same moment; now it takes me a few seconds to react quickly and adjust my path by selecting the right ‘tools’ without any loss of situational awareness.
But I still have a tremendous amount of study to do and things to learn. Anyway in this profession, you will learn until you retire because every flight and every situation is different. You could be a Captain with 15 000 hours of experience and yet you will still learn new things about your aircraft, weather phenomena or something else.
My roster changes every months and in general I’m scheduled for 55 to 70 block hours a month which is about 100 to 140 duty hours. It is a mix of 2, 3 or 4 sectors (1 sector being 1 flight) and it can be either a week of early or late schedule. 3 sectors means an overnight, so we either completely shut down the aircraft and close it if no maintenance is scheduled and go to the hotel (which are really good in my opinion) or there is a crew change that will take the aircraft back to base. 4 sectors can be tiring but in general I find it ok; it is about 10h to 12h duty without any delay/slot. When you do 2 sectors it means longer and further flight in general such as Tel Aviv, Palma de Mallorca, Canary islands, Egypt and so on. But you could be lucky and do 2 short sectors as well. My longest day was about 13 hours.
I’ve noticed that almost every people I work with are great! Whether they are cabin crew or captain they are all happy and passionate about their work and I can really feel that about all the captain I flew with. They are often interested about my background before I’ve decided to go for aviation. But the greatest thing is that they are really supportive, trying to help and they always try to share most of their experience with me or giving me some tips. It’s like they try to push me to my limits so I can learn more and more. Now I’m at a stage where I receive a lot of technique and information from all the captains and I just pick up their advice (or not) and adjust my « style » of flying and use what works best for me.
Today I can truly say that I love my job; I’ve had jobs that I hated and I know how hard it was to wake up on a Monday morning and go to work. Whereas now, when I have to report at 5am with the alarm clock set at 3am, I wake up happy, on my way to work with a big smile on my face and that’s priceless. One of the best feeling is arriving at the airport at dawn, without any noise, seeing the aircrafts parked with a slight breeze while the sun is slowly rising in a pinky sky.
From time to time during a normal day at work, I realise that I’m just living my dream and my smile just get bigger.