Airline Academy Pilot Stories

Women In Aviation - Madeleine

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

My name is Madeleine. I joined L3Harris with CP 257 in January 2022. Following successful completion of ground school, I am now looking forward to flying out to Florida in the middle of February for my basic flight training!

I was inspired to become a pilot by the people around me at home. My family are very aviation-oriented. My brother is a Squadron Leader in the RAF, my dad has his own Private Pilot Licence, my brother-in-law is a Captain for KLM and I have other flying friends and family. Aviation has always been a topic of conversation at the dinner table and this, alongside my studies with the Air Cadets cultivated my interest. After going to an L3Harris seminar in Edinburgh I was certain that I wanted to train to be a pilot, and L3Harris was where I wanted to do it.

My learning experience so far has taught me many things: to be patient with myself and to use the tools and support I need to maintain motivation. There have been some challenging times throughout ground school and despite hearing repeatedly that the course is hard, nothing prepares you for the reality. However, it is incredibly rewarding too. You feel a great sense of achievement when, after experiencing the feeling that you are “not getting it”, something suddenly clicks for you in class, or you do well in a progress test. These small wins have been essential for me to keep going. My experience has definitely been made enjoyable with the good friends I have made, friends who can help you if you’re stuck and friends who understand exactly what you’re going through.

Personally, my most enjoyable subject was General Navigation. I studied Geography A-level at college and enjoyed taking my knowledge further with the graph work, understanding time calculations and geographical challenges associated with this module.

"The Instructors are always so helpful and supportive when you are anxious. They will go out of their way to help you."

The most challenging thing about ground school, was the work-life balance. Every day you learn something new and the next lesson will move the topic along. You don’t really get the chance to have much of a social life, but at the same time it is important to listen to your body and have regular breaks. I’d always try and fit in an enjoyable activity at the weekend, meeting up with friends, running, exploring the local area or calling my family for encouragement. As well as these small weekly rewards, remembering the end goal kept me motivated. I’d remind myself why I was doing it... because I want to be a pilot and that ground school wasn’t going to be forever. Looking back, it went so quickly!

The L3Harris facilities are second to none and it is encouraging to see the full motion simulators everyday as it reminded me that it would be my turn one day. The Instructors are always so helpful and supportive when you are anxious. They will go out of their way to help you and if you don’t understand something, they will explain things in a different way. They are always on hand if you have a question and if they can’t help you directly, they will pass you on to someone who can or provide additional resources.

I am very excited to move out to Florida. After months of learning the theory, I am looking forward to actually flying and enjoying the sunshine.

If you are interested in pursuing a career as a pilot my advice is to hone your organisational skills and learn to prioritise. Much of your studies will be unsupervised and it is up to you to organise your learning, and for an intense period, put everything else to one side as you dedicate yourself to preparing for exam success.

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