By Andy Vevers 02 Nov 2023 6 min read

What it’s like to be a Ryanair mentored student pilot

Hi, I’m Emanuel Hurjui, and I am a student on the MTU BSC in Global Business & Pilot Studies and a Ryanair Mentored Student Pilot based in Ireland, training to become an airline pilot. I will take you through my demanding yet rewarding journey, towards a career in aviation.

Journey into an aviation career

It all began when I was about eleven years old. Every summer I would go abroad on holidays with Ryanair to visit my grandparents. I was always excited and restless to get there; but with time, my excitement extended beyond just the destination, but also for the journey in the air itself. I began visiting the pilots on nearly every flight, sometimes, If I was seated in the rear, I would wait for all the passengers to disembark just so I could see the flight deck! My passion continued to grow as I began plane spotting in my free time at my local airport in Cork. I am the first in my family to pursue a career in aviation, so my source of aviation content and knowledge was mostly from aviation influencers as well as from using flight simulators. 

My very first flying lesson was in a glider at twelve years old. At that point, I realised that I loved to fly and I decided to pursue it as a career. It all took off from there! I am very lucky to have the support of my parents and instructors to this day, as well as when I started learning to fly. I began flying microlights with some exposure to trainers that are found in many flight schools such as the Cessna 172 and the Diamond DA40. I trained every summer until 2022 when I joined the Ryanair Mentored Integrated Programme. 

It’s been a long-term goal to begin integrated flight training and start on my pilot training journey, once I discovered my local flight school, AFTA (Atlantic flight training academy), is partnered with Ryanair, I knew I had to apply. After an aptitude test, simulator check and interview, I was delighted to be accepted on to the Ryanair Mentored integrated programme provided by AFTA in 2022.


Average day in your role

Much like the Aviation industry, there is rarely an average day in my training, I am constantly learning, whether I’m in ground school, or on the flight line. From the very beginning of my training, I was made aware of the high standard Ryanair expects from its mentored students. 

This serves as continuous motivation for me to work hard and persevere through difficult times. AFTA helps students learn using Ryanair SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures), and we get a guaranteed final Ryanair assessment at the end of our training. This significance shows the importance of the mentorship and the reason for high expectations.

Over the past few months, the emphasis of my training leaned towards the practical side, involving flying when the weather was suitable and incorporating theory in my free time or when the weather took a turn for the worst.

Unlike other flight schools, AFTA provided us flight training before starting any ATPL theory. This is very useful because we can relate and connect what we learned practically to the theory, solidifying the knowledge in our mind for the exams.
At the time of writing this, I am in ground-school studying for my first few ATPL exams. Routine is most important at this stage because there is a lot of content, classes run Monday to Friday and studying daily is a must. From speaking to many student pilots in the past, they vividly remember two milestones in their training, their first solo, and the ATPLS!



3 tips to share with aspiring aviation professionals. 

Learn everything you can. I began researching aviation when I was eleven. Every piece of knowledge I accumulated over the years have been more than helpful to me when looking for a flight school and learning to fly.

Network. Look for like-minded people who share the passion for aviation with you. It’s important to attend pilot career events where you can meet people as well as learn what different flight schools have to offer. 

Don’t give up. In aviation there can be setbacks and barriers along the way, whether its training, or further down the line. It’s important to persevere and continue towards your dream in aviation. Don’t lose sight of the reason you started your training as a pilot, don’t lose sight of your dream. Goodluck!


Enjoy this article?

Follow us and never miss an article or update from us.