Airline Academy Pilot Stories

Matteo: My Pilot Journey So Far

  • Article by Matteo, L3Harris Cadet
  • Published
  • Duration 3 minute read

Hi, I’m Matteo and I started my journey as an Integrated ATPL cadet at L3Harris in 2021.

I’ve been obsessed with aeroplanes, airports and aviation for as long as I can remember. I’m the first person in my family to enter the aviation industry, but we are all keen travellers and enjoy visiting family around the world. Flying frequently from a young age sparked my love for aviation and gave me the ‘flying bug’.

The Integrated course is a challenging but rewarding journey. Ground school, which I finished a year ago, was the biggest challenge so far but then it was onto the best part of the course… flying!

My class was the first group to fly out to Orlando, Florida for basic flight training. Florida is one of the best locations to learn to fly with ideal weather, accommodating airspace and the freedom to land at over 25 airports, meaning every flying day is different. The Academy in Orlando is situated at Sanford International Airport, which handles a significant amount of commercial air traffic. Flying parallel approaches and taxiing alongside A320s was a sight that never became boring. The experience of flying in and around a busy airport taught us valuable skills that we will use throughout flight training and into our pilot careers.

The course can at times be intense and stressful at times, as it was in ground school, but the staff, Instructors and facilities in Orlando and Gatwick are superb and support is always there when you need it.

"Ground school, which I finished a year ago, was the biggest challenge so far but then it was onto the best part of the course… flying!"

To maintain my motivation, I like to participate in aviation-related activities and in my spare time I meet up with fellow plane-spotters at my local airport, Heathrow, to photograph aircraft arriving and departing. We also occasionally embark on a night away at an airport abroad to meet pilots, cabin crew and like-minded aviation enthusiasts in different countries. 

Now I have completed basic and foundation flight training I will be studying for my Instrument Rating and Commercial Licence skills test at the L3Harris’ advanced flight training centre at Cranfield Aeronautical University. I’m very much looking forward to it and it’s another step closer to my dream career as a commercial airline pilot.

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