Airline Academy Pilot Stories

My New Beginning

  • Article by Taylor Stewart - L3Harris ATPL cadet pilot
  • Published
  • Duration 3 minute read

I joined L3Harris Airline Academy almost straight out of finishing my A Levels with my local Sixth Form, where I studied Geography, French, English Literature and Mathematics. Throughout school, I had a part time job working in my local café as a barista.

Joining L3Harris on their Integrated ATPL was a huge milestone for me, something that I had dreamed of and worked towards since I can remember. The A-Levels that I had chosen were directed at pursuing a career as a pilot and everything I had worked for so far led up to the moment that I received an email stating I had been successful and passed the selection process for the programme. I was so excited to start this new chapter in my life and finally start pursuing my dream.

Everything that I had read in preparation before starting ground school made me nervous, anxious and paranoid as to whether I would achieve what many others had. I struggled throughout the modules and with getting to grips on the best way to revise the huge amounts of content that was required for the exams. With every exam I passed I got more quietly confident in myself and my ability. I was certainly challenged by the task that ground school posed, but that made it all the sweeter once I had passed all 14 ATPL exams and the hard work and dedication to long days finally seemed worth it.

Before I knew it, I had received my flight training location and ground school was soon over. I knew from the outset that I would thrive more so in the ‘flight training’ part of the course - I am a hands-on learner, and understand things so much clearer when they are shown and demonstrated to me rather than reading and studying from a text book. Another new beginning was on the horizon, and I was so excited to finally get my hands on a real aircraft!

Nearly halfway through my basic training phase of flying on the Cessna 172 in Al Ain with Etihad Aviation Training, I am loving every second. The flying is incredible and the views over the dunes are something I never expected to experience in my training. We have been exposed to a completely new culture in the United Arab Emirates and it has been so interesting to learn a new way of life as we began to get to grips with the flying phase of our training. Once completing the basic phase we move onto another new aircraft, the Diamond DA42. The 42 seems and looks a wonderful aircraft and I’m excited to learn about how the twin engine handles differently in comparison to the single engine Cessna.

Starting at L3Harris was a huge moment in my life and at a young age it seemed overwhelming. I was nervous as to what this new beginning would bring, so far it has been a rollercoaster of ups and downs, hard work, but a lot of fun. The course is extremely demanding but rewarding and I can confidently say that flying is my career for life, whatever path I take in the not so distant future.

Thanks for reading and feel free to follow me on Instagram @aviatortaylor or check out my website

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