We've all had a crazy childhood dream and mine was becoming an airline pilot. Many young people who aspire a flying career are unaware of the content of flight training and the preparations which are needed. On November 23rd, 2015 I started my ATPL(A) training. Time to realize my childhood dream. I'd like to take you along on an adventure and I'll happily answer all your questions on the way. Let's do this!
Dec 5, 2015 - Two weeks ago, I started the theoretical phase of my flight training. A regular day starts at 08:20 and ends at 17:10. However, once I get back to the apartment my day isn't over yet. Studying three to four hours after a long day at school is easier said than done! The theoretical phase was going to be exhausting, but motivation wasn't lacking.
At 07:00 my alarm goes off. Time to start the day! Eat breakfast, take a shower, get dressed... At 8:00 my housemates and I depart to school. With only two kilometers between our front door and the classroom, we decided to go by bicycle. We could definitely use some fresh air before the start of our classes.
Somewhere around 8:10 we gather in the student lounge. Time for a drink and our first class of the day! We usually take a break of 10 minutes after every hour, but the instructor may change that. It seems like we get a lot of breaks, but you really need them if you want to stay focused.
Back in high school, I used to have 4 hours of class before lunch and 3 hours after. During my theory phase, they switched those around. A bit strange, but you get used to it.
Our lunch break starts at 11:45 and ends at 12:45. Since the school is located within Brussels Airport territory we usually went to the fences to watch the airplanes go by. It's also the perfect opportunity to get some fresh air before starting our afternoon classes!
Our afternoon concludes 4 hours of class split up by 10-minute breaks. Nothing too special so let's speed things up a bit. 17:10, the end of our last class.
Somewhere around 17:25 we're back at the apartment. No time to waste because unfortunately, food doesn't magically appear on the table anymore. Cooking was a fun challenge at the start and I was lucky enough to eat whatever I wanted. Every. Single. Day.
In high school, I could get almost everything done in an hour. That's something we could only dream of during the theory phase, but we knew that from the start. Studying 3 to 4 hours daily... it's actually quite ok. The subjects are very interesting and that bring me to an important point.
Back in high school I used to study, but since I started chasing my dream, I learn. An important difference which made those 15 kilograms of pure joy a lot easier to handle.
I was usually done studying around 22:00, but that varies every day. The theory phase isn't really about difficulty, but rather about quantity. There's a huge amount of information which has to be dealt with in a short period of time.
Every student is different in terms of studying method and planning so it's critical to search and find what's best for you. Anyhow, you'll have to study practically every day.
And that's what an average day looks like! Now it's time to get some sleep.
Next week I'll talk more about my training overview, progress tests and the social life. If you have any questions, please feel free to let me know in the comments or via firstname.lastname@example.org!
Story series: Road to the Right Seat
Follow student pilot Bob's journey to the right seat of an airliner!