By Faizah Idris 25 Nov 2021 5 min read

Mason Powell: My journey to the flight deck


From bus to airbus

Like a lot of young lads sat in the classroom at school, dreaming of a career as a racetrack driver, astronaut or multi-million-pound entrepreneur, I was sat looking up at the skies thinking one day, that will be me. I couldn’t wait for the next trip away somewhere, whether that involved heading off to the airport to go on holiday or making the long car journey up to Scotland to visit the family. Fast forward to the end of my GCSEs and I found out that adventure was fun, but I needed a way to fund it! So I began working shifts in retail around college, where I studied Geography and Travel and Tourism at A Level.

I was always looking for something a little more exciting and a way of progressing into a career which would ultimately allow me to travel.

From age 17 when I passed my driving test, I had enjoyed driving around to different places, so searched for jobs involving just that on the internet and discovered a role for trainee bus drivers needed in the city of Bath. I curiously applied and didn’t think there was a chance that I would be accepted, given my age. But to my surprise I was!

I attended the required training and after a 2nd test attempt pass, began driving buses in Bath before eventually moving to Swindon and working there, more local to home.

After a year or so, I went travelling to Australia for what was originally supposed to be a gap year, with a view to moving my driving career out there with me at the time, but unfortunately due to different legislations I couldn’t do this as planned, so after a few months returned home

I soon applied for jobs on longer distance coach networks, and with a keen interest in Aviation, even found myself applying to drive coaches on the Airport express routes to Heathrow and Gatwick! Looking back now I’m pleased in some ways that I didn’t – another setback meant I couldn’t fulfil this either; so, I kept on looking for other opportunities and ways to progress in my career. 

I eventually found work in Swindon with a famous local firm, this led me on a new type of path in my career; where I met some fantastic people from all walks of life, and even ended up driving to Europe for regular group excursions and staying with host families in France! My journey to this stage of my career wasn’t an easy one, and I am humbled to have been able to experience all this at such a young age of just 23 at the time!


For the last few years has my moto has been ‘from Bus to Airbus’! My lifelong childhood dream has been to become a commercial pilot, since the age of four in fact, when I went on my first holiday to Jersey with my parents and younger brother. I was fascinated with adventure!

The only reason I didn’t pursue this dream earlier, was because of the large sum of money which thought I needed to even begin training towards such a career. I soon found a lot of this to be a myth, as I worked out following some deeper research, that on my weekly salary as a coach driver, I could afford flying lessons – albeit one lesson per week! Using careful planning I could now work my way on a ‘pay as you fly’ method towards the first step of my journey, gaining my Private Pilot’s Licence. 

14 months later and after lots of blood, sweat and tears and a few more setbacks along the way, I achieved this major personal goal – on Valentine’s Day 2019, one might say this was love at first flight! 

Fast forward another 18 months after passing the fourteen theory exams required to be able to start the commercial pilots licence course, I have since achieved a further 100 hours flying on my own and with friends all around the UK and am now living in Scotland whilst I complete the more advanced stages of my training. All being well, in December this year I am aiming to earn myself arguably the best Christmas present of all, a Commercial Pilots licence! – which is what I need to be able to begin applying for jobs with the airlines.


Work Hard. Never give up! 

Always remember where you started – there were people who doubted me in the early days and there were also lots of people who taught me huge life lessons, two of which I cannot forget to mention – my parents – so a huge thank you to them for helping me to become the person who I am today. I would also like to extend my thanks to my amazing Fiancé, Chloe, who has stood by me for the last six years and sacrificed a lot in her own life to allow me to achieve these goals.  

Most importantly – BELIEVE! If you do this, you truly can have anything. Those who believe they will fail, probably will. But if you believe you can achieve something, and you want it badly enough, you won’t allow anything to get in the way, no matter how big a problem it may seem. 

The past couple of years have been an extremely challenging time for everybody in one way or another – and we all know how that has affected more particularly the aviation industry! But we have all grown stronger and learnt many lessons, one of which is that we always find a way to come back, more resilient, wiser, and ready for whatever comes next!


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