Airline Academy Pilot Stories

Onwards and upwards

  • Article by Miryam Ley - L3Harris Integrated ATPL cadet pilot
  • Published
  • Duration 4 minute read

Hi, my name’s Miryam, I’m 20 years old and an L3Harris Integrated ATPL cadet with Female Scholarship. I started my journey in September of 2019 after a change in career choice from veterinary to flying!

2020 has been a rollercoaster of emotions and learning, making it far from straight forward. Starting the year I felt so positive about finishing ground school and excited to find out where we had been sent for foundation flying.

Then Covid hit. Three weeks away from finishing ground school, we were sent home and completed our last few lessons over Zoom. Luckily, we were supported every step of the way by amazing instructors.

Looking back, there were so many things I took for granted when we were learning in person. Despite the early morning get up, I'm so grateful to have been in the position to go into classrooms, and have the instructors and course mates to get you through those days when you're just really struggling. Having someone helping in person with those extra tough subjects was also invaluable - hats off to people doing Principles of Flight remotely!

Exams were cancelled week after week, which as you can imagine was really frustrating but we all tried our best to keep our knowledge ticking over- just our luck to have the joys of doing Air Law and Ops for 5 months! Exam season was quite a bit different this time around and threw a few challenges our way. Due to social distancing, exams were spread out to allow for cleaning which meant we drove into the Centre early morning to go home in the evening, leaving us with just a few spare hours to revise for the next day.

Once exams were finished we had a long wait for things to settle and to find out the new location of training. Our CP stayed in touch the whole way through, checking in with each other; some even met to go plane spotting! I can’t stress enough how important it is to stay in touch with each other over these unsettling times.

After things settled slightly with Covid, we found out our CP was to be sent out in 2 groups to the training centre in Ponte de Sor Portugal. Although in any other ‘normal’ circumstance I would have been over the moon to find this out, I was 2 days away from completing training for the NHS 111 as a health advisor. So I made the tough decision to leave my CP and remain in the UK until the New Year. Aviation is an ever changing industry where you are constantly learning and gaining experience, so gaining additional skills in the meantime is never a bad idea.

Once the new year came, I knew I was ready to restart my flight training. I’ve been at the Cranfield base for 1 month so far and absolutely loving it! Initially I was apprehensive to start, as due to Covid I would be living in a hotel. However, the accommodation is great and we are supported financially by L3Harris to help with the cost of meals. Everyone at Cranfield is friendly and immediately make you feel welcome. All the instructors are professional, friendly and know exactly how to explain things if you don’t get it first time. Despite the winter weather, we’ve still been able to get up flying fairly often. Time has absolutely flown by, and I have my first solo in the upcoming week! I cannot express, how good it feels to finally be back in the uniform and putting to use all that knowledge from ground school!

2020 had been a tough year for everyone and training was definitely affected but things can only go up from here. 2021 has already been a hundred times better and I’m excited to see what the future holds!

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