Introducing Chris Coles, Chris is a commercial pilot cadet at L3Harris Commercial Aviation, he kindly shared his path to an aviation career, what it was like to train as a pilot and advice for aspiring aviation professionals.
Pursuing a career in Aviation
I fail to imagine how even just taking a small passenger flight can’t grip hold of your imagination. Flying literally amazed me when I was a boy and it still amazes me now.
That’s why in 2017, whilst living and teaching in Muscat - Oman, I came home from work and told my wife That I was really going to go for it and train to become a Commercial Pilot.
Was she surprised? Yes and no - apparently I’d mentioned it on our first date! Was she in for a rough ride? Yes she was - welcome to aviation!
Having now recently completed my CPL exam and UPRT training, I have a small and very welcome break before beginning my MEIR training in Cranfield and then the MCC course in Gatwick.
The course of my training has been a tale of two halves: the structure of Ground School and a world just before the pandemic; and the unpredictability of VFR flying and post-pandemic.
If you’re about to start your own training journey, expect ground school to consume you and then weather to control you during the flying phases. Weather can really slow you down at times, which feels a bit strange after Ground School but there’s always plenty of theory to keep on top of when the weather’s not playing ball.
Training to be a pilot
Training to be a pilot is not easy however, the more difficult; the more rewarding. Obviously passing various critical points of training have been massive highlights so far and it’s just as nice to see fellow course mates reach the same milestones as well.
Personally I’ve found smaller points just as gratifying too such as, executing a really smooth landing or getting more fluent on the radio.
Advice for aspiring aviation professionals
If you’re reading this and thinking about taking the plunge, I’d say go for it.
If you’re looking for advice I’d say
- don’t expect to be good at everything straight away, even if that’s what you’re used to - it’s hard and skills take time to develop.
- immerse yourself in aviation as much as you can but plan for small chunks of time well away from it too - a break works wonders in any line of work.
- have a good support network - aviation is notoriously cyclical and unpredictable so you’ll need more than your own resilience to fall back on.
Therefore, I’d finally like to say this for all the people who are the support network of people in aviation, like my wife and many others.
Without them the industry would grind to a halt as it’s much more than the nut behind the wheel which keeps those aircraft flying!