Airline Academy Pilot Stories

My Ground School Experience

  • Article by Charlie Hinton - L3Harris University Degree cadet pilot
  • Published
  • Duration 6 minute read


L3Harris has had many years to perfect its delivery of ground school and I believe the timeline and delivery of the course is great. The relatively small class sizes offer an effective combination of personalised teaching and group cohesion. This allows for both personal and interpersonal development. The breakdown of subjects into their various modules has been thoroughly thought through to allow for a gradual building of knowledge, easing the strain of the more difficult subjects.

As in many companies, the best thing about L3Harris is its people. The instructors were not only knowledgeable but did really care about everyone’s progress. If you didn’t understand something they would be able to explain it in a completely different way, an incredibly beneficial skill as it caters for everyone’s style of learning. Even once you had passed a subject you’d still find the instructor popping by to see how you were doing. These gestures really made each of my colleagues feel valued and showed how we weren’t just a number.


Before starting ground school you’ll have heard many times about the intensity of this phase of training, and this is for good reason. The six months I spent at ground school were definitely the most challenging in my life. However, what you may not hear so much about is the non-academic side of ground school. 

Yes ground school is hard, however provided you can find the correct work-social life balance there’s also a lot of fun to be had. Our CP gelled instantly, something I hadn’t imagined would happen so easily or quickly. Being around like-minded people, all working towards the same goal really helps you achieve within the classroom but also develop social skills out of it.

I found it incredibly important to schedule some down time each week, whether that would be going out for some drinks, go-carting or going to the theatre. I was under the impression that I wouldn’t be able to do any of these activities as I would always be working. Not only is this not the case but I would say it’s essential to partake in different activities outside the classroom to maintain a good mental health and ultimately improve your results in the exams.


One of the main reasons I choose L3Harris was due to the support they offer. While things such as the graduate placement pool are obviously examples of support, you find that support is available in all forms no matter how small. 

The instructors and support staff are amazing, when they say you can call them  at any time of day if you have a problem they really mean it. Gestures like this really help you to quickly resolve any issues, allowing you to focus on learning. 

Having a positive, supporting atmosphere is essential throughout ground school and I really felt like everyone in Southampton helped to create this. Whether it be an extra revision lesson with an instructor, or a chat with the catering staff to take your mind off work.

Professional Aviation Pilot Practice Degree

I decided to undertake the PAPP degree alongside my training. For a long time I’ve known that I wanted to be a pilot, therefore I never intended to go to university as I saw it as a delay to achieving my goal. However, I did want to get some sort of higher education qualification as I’m interested in airline management alongside my flying career. 

The PAPP degree is perfect for what I wanted to do. It has very little impact on the intensity of the course as the workload  isn’t extensive and most importantly doesn’t require any additional work in the busy ground school period. The nature of the degree is reflective and therefore doesn’t require applicants to have a high level of academic knowledge in any particular area.

While I may have not had the “university experience” I don’t feel like I have missed out at all, plus I’m closer to achieving my goal of becoming an airline pilot! However I would recommend taking at least a few months off if you’re applying straight out of school. On my gap year I had time to fully prepare for the application to L3Harris, it allowed me to properly relax and have some fun, it also meant I could save some money for living expenses while at ground school. I thought I would only need a few months off but ended up taking a whole year, and it’s one of the best things I’ve done!

Contact us

Integrated ATPL

What's Next?

If you are feeling inspired by this article then why not take a look at all the pilot training programmes we have to offer? Or reach out to our team to discuss in more detail.

Previous post
  • Published
  • Duration 6 minute read
  • Published
  • Duration 6 minute read
Next post