How To Answer: Do You Have Any Questions For Us?

So your pilot interview is going well, your final question is almost always going to be “Do you have any questions for us?”. This is your opportunity to show how well you’ve researched your chosen airline and a chance to pose one, maximum two, well thought-out questions.

Please, for the love of god, don’t ask a question like “What are the next steps?” or, “How much is the year 1 salary?” or any other question that is not relevant or can be easily googled. 

This blog post will guide you through developing a tailored, insightful question that goes beyond the generic and showcases your dedication and insight into the aviation industry and your chosen airline.

Research and Preparation

Start with thorough research on the airline. Look into their press releases within the last year, financial reports, and industry news. Has the airline recently announced a surge in profits? Have they ordered new aircraft hulls? Have they invested heavily into internal infrastructure? Conversely, have they just announced layoffs? Keep your finger on the pulse and read the news! I personally read The Financial Times (no affiliation) if you’re after a recommendation.

Understand the airline’s challenges, opportunities, and strategic direction. Are they investing in new aircraft technologies? Have they announced initiatives to improve sustainability or passenger experience? Are they targeting more European, Asian, North American destinations? This research will form the foundation of your question, ensuring it’s both relevant and insightful.

Tailored Questions for the Airline Pilot Role

Below are some examples of questions you might pose to your interviewers. Please tailor them to suit your needs and don’t copy them verbatim. Thousands of people see this website daily so it’s likely the interviewers will know if you repeat the question word for word. 

1. Inquire About Technological Innovations and Investments

Given the fast-paced technological advancements in aviation, showing an interest in how the airline keeps abreast of these changes demonstrates your commitment to safety, efficiency, and innovation. For example:

  • “I’ve seen the airline’s investment in next-generation aircraft to enhance fuel efficiency and reduce carbon footprint. Can you share how these advancements are being integrated into pilot training and operations? Do you do single engine taxi operations?”
2. Discuss Safety and Training Initiatives

Safety is paramount in aviation. Asking about this topic is never a bad option and shows your priority aligns with the airline’s. You might ask:

  • “With the evolving global safety standards and increase of evidence based training, how does the airline’s pilot recurrent training program adapt to ensure pilots are equipped with the latest knowledge and skills?”
3. Explore the Airline’s Vision and Strategic Goals

Understanding where the airline aims to be in the future can provide insights into your potential career path. You could ask:

  • “Considering the airline’s current expansion plans into XX market, how do you see the role of pilots evolving in aligning with these strategic goals?”
4. Ask About the Airline’s Culture and Values

A question about the airline’s culture shows you’re looking for a good fit and not just any job. All airlines fly planes, the culture is what makes them different. For instance:

  • “Can you describe how the airline’s core values are reflected in the day-to-day operations and decision-making within the cockpit?”
5. Inquire About Challenges and Opportunities

This shows you’re thinking ahead, and as pilots, we’re always thinking ahead. A thoughtful example could be::

  • “Given the increasing emphasis on sustainable aviation, what are the biggest challenges the airline faces in this area, and how are pilots being involved in addressing these challenges? Especially business travel customers seeing more pressure from shareholders to reduce carbon footprints.”

Avoid Generic Questions

While it’s essential to prepare questions, ensure they are not too generic, easily found on the airline’s website, or irrelevant to the role. Questions about salary, benefits, or the next steps in the interview process should be avoided at this stage. Such questions can imply that your interest is more in the position’s perks than the role itself. 

Remember, your chosen airline is a business, not a charity. Not only are you figuring out what the airline can offer you, but also what you can offer in return! After all, the airline is looking to you as a future captain and representative of the company.

Crafting Your Question

When formulating your question, keep it open-ended to invite discussion rather than a simple yes or no answer. The same methodology will be used on the flight deck, avoiding leading and closed questions. This approach encourages the interviewers to share more information and engage in a meaningful conversation. Frame your question to show that you’ve done your homework and are genuinely interested in the airline’s operations, culture, and the specific role of a pilot within the organization.

Practice and Delivery

Practice your questions just as you would your answers to other interview questions. Consider how you will phrase the question and anticipate possible follow-up discussions. Your delivery should be confident and articulate, demonstrating your genuine interest in the role and the airline. 

As with the self introduction, keep the questions relatively brief. The more information you give in your questions, the more information your interviewers will have to remember! You don’t want to stress your interviewers out, you want to invite open and interesting discussion. 

Closing Thoughts

The closing interview question, “Do you have any questions for us?” is more than a formality; it’s a golden opportunity to distinguish yourself as a thoughtful, engaged, and knowledgeable future captain. For aspiring airline pilots, it’s a chance to demonstrate your understanding of the aviation industry, your interest in the airline’s future, and your alignment with its values and challenges. 

By preparing a tailored, insightful question, you show your commitment to not only securing the role but also contributing to the airline’s success. Remember, in aviation, it’s not just about the answers you provide but also the questions you ask. The same will be true throughout your careers on the flight deck. 

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Best Flight Simulators In The UK (2024)

What is a Flight Simulator?

Flight simulators are exactly what they say they are. Simulation of flight. Simulators start as basic as phone apps, going all the way to full-motion flight simulators. Simulators that move and are used for commercial airline pilot training (also known as Level D simulators). This article will talk about two types of flight simulators:

  1. Fixed-based flight simulator
  2. Full motion flight simulator (Level D simulator)

We’ll look at the differences, and more importantly where you can try them out in the UK! After all, that’s why you’re reading this article.

Fixed Base vs Full Motion Simulator

There are some significant differences between the two types of simulators. Mainly cost!

Fixed Base Simulator

A fixed base simulator is a 1:1 mockup of a real airliner cockpit. They contain all of the buttons, dials, and rotary switches you would expect and also have high fidelity visuals to make the experience feel even more real.

The key disadvantage is that a fixed base simulator, as the name suggests, has a fixed base and doesn’t move. The unit will stay in the same place, so you will feel no accelerations when pulling up or pushing down. This can make some feel a little queasy when taxiing as what you’re seeing and what your body is expecting is not the same. The per-hour cost of a fixed base simulator is significantly cheaper than a full motion simulator. Around 75% cheaper.

If you are a qualified pilot, you can hire these simulators without an instructor and don’t need to be supervised. If you are looking for a flight experience or are not yet a qualified pilot, expect to pay a little extra as you will need someone to operate the simulator and manage the event.

Full Motion Simulator

Much the same as a fixed base simulator but as the name suggests, the unit moves. A full motion simulator is mounted on stilts that are either hydraulically or electrically powered. When you turn left or right, you will feel it as the simulator moves around, quite an impressive thing to watch. These simulators are used during commercial airline pilot training, especially for pilots 6 monthly simulator checks. They are known as Level D simulators and the CAA (Civil Aviation Authority) requires that checks are carried out in a Level D full motion simulator.

The per-hour cost of a full motion simulator is significantly more expensive than a fixed base simulator. You are not only paying for the costs of the simulator itself but also you must be monitored. Therefore someone qualified to operate the simulator will be with you, which adds cost.

Why go to a fixed-based or a full-motion simulator?

Pilot Training

Full and fixed-based flight simulators play a crucial role in pilot training programs. Towards the end of commercial training and before flying a jet airliners for real, a pilot will spend between 48-120 hours in a flight simulator practicing various emergency scenarios to prepare them for real line flying. Airlines, flight schools, and aircraft manufacturers utilize these simulators to train and assess pilots in various scenarios, from routine flights to emergencies. The ability to replicate real-world conditions ensures that pilots are well-prepared for any challenges they face during their day-to-day jobs.

I visit the simulator roughly every 6 months for 2 days at a time, as a legal requirement to maintain my license. During these sessions (4 each year) we practice emergency scenarios, operating procedures, and unique situations that we may not come across in our day-to-day lives. Think de-icing, strong winds, unique airports, challenging scenarios like an engine failure during a go-around at an airfield with high terrain, etc.

Aircraft Development:

Beyond training, full-flight simulators are integral to the development of new aircraft. Engineers and designers use simulators to test and refine the performance of aircraft in a variety of conditions. This iterative process contributes to the creation of safer and more efficient aircraft.

Recreational Use:

For aviation enthusiasts and individuals curious about flying, many flight simulation centers in the UK offer recreational experiences. These facilities provide a taste of what it’s like to be at the controls of a commercial airliner or a fighter jet, making aviation accessible to a broader audience. If you don’t have a large amount of spare cash, a fixed base simulator is fantastic value and offers a real insight into the world of airline flying.

Assessment Preparation

When you move airlines, or sometimes even for your first airline job, you will be required to attend a simulator session. These are usually in full motion simulators and you will be partnered with someone you’ve never met. Your goal is to fly the aircraft safely, and equally importantly, demonstrate your CRM (crew resource management) skills. Most pilots pay to practice in a fixed-based simulator before attending the real assessment. I certainly did! I paid for 4 hours with a friend of mine to prepare for my airline assessments. Expensive? Yes. But I saw it as an investment in my future career and therefore a drop in the ocean.

How much does a fixed-based simulator cost vs a full motion simulator?

Companies differ in their costs and prices and how experienced an instructor you have with you. That said, you can expect to pay around £100-£150 per hour for a fixed-based simulator. You can expect between £400-£600 per hour for a full motion simulator per hour. Now you can see why I suggest fixed-based simulators!

Should I hire a fixed-based or a full-motion simulator?

Unless you are a pilot paying for your own LPC check (license proficiency check), then in almost all cases, a fixed-based simulator is enough. Even if you are preparing for an airline assessment, a fixed base is enough. Unless you specifically want to practice engine failures after take-off (EFATOs) or emergency scenarios that require extensive use of trim, then the visuals and setup are so immersing that you will not notice the lack of motion.

The cost saving is so significant that I truly do not think a full motion simulator is worth it. If you have the funds, then by all means go for full motion but for every 1 hour you get in a full motion simulator, you could have 4 in a fixed-based simulator.

Fixed-based simulators in London and the UK

Below is a list of fixed-based simulators in the UK. I have personally used three of them and recommend them wholeheartedly. As a disclaimer, the two I recommend do have affiliate links, the very small amount I receive helps pay for this website’s costs and keep the content free so I don’t have to lock it behind a paywall. If I haven’t used a simulator, the links are not affiliate. I appreciate it if you choose to attend the simulators I recommend, please could you use the affiliate links.

There are lots of fixed and full-motion simulators in the UK. All simulators listed below have been used by friends and colleagues of mine and are therefore recommended. If a simulator isn’t on this list, it’s because either myself or my friends and colleagues have never been and therefore cannot recommend them without experience.

Simulators I’ve used and recommend

Flightpad (Boeing) – Ealing, London

Flight Simulator Midlands (Boeing and Airbus) – Coventry

VA Airline Training (Boeing and Airbus) – Cambridge

Simulators my friends and colleagues have used and recommend

Motion Flight Training (Boeing and Airbus) – Gatwick

Simulator Adventures (Airbus) – Manchester

pmFlight (Boeing and Airbus) – Redhill, South England

Best Flight Simulators In The UK (2024) Read More »

How to Become An Airline Pilot (2024)

There are 11 steps to become an airline pilot. Each section is broken down below in the main body of this page. Grab a cup of tea and get reading!

  1. Choosing the Right Path: Modular, Integrated, MPL or Cadetship
  2. Application and Entry Requirements
  3. Class 1 Medical Examination
  4. Ground School
  5. VFR Flying
  6. IFR Flying
  7. APS, MCC, Multi-crew Training
  8. License Acquisition
  9. Simulator Training or Type Rating
  10. Base Training
  11. Line Training

1. Choosing the Right Path: Modular, Integrated, MPL, or Cadetship

The first crucial decision you face is choosing the right training path. Modular training provides flexibility, allowing candidates to complete training modules at their own pace. You pay as you go, allowing people to work for a while, save then pay for portions at a time. Modular is considerably cheaper than integrated.

Integrated courses, such as those offered by large multinational flight schools like CAE and L3 Harris, provide a more immersive and condensed experience. Don’t be deceived by the glossy magazines, remember they are a business and you must treat them as such. Integrated is considerably more expensive but is much quicker. Typically you go from zero to type rated pilot within 18-24 months. 

MPL courses or multi-crew pilot license courses are similar to integrated courses. They are carried out at integrated flying schools but with slight course differences. You spend less time in an actual aircraft but more time in the simulator. If you pass the required standard, a job will be waiting for you at the end of training. 

Cadetships offer a structured path through a specific airline’s training program, often with a job guarantee upon completion. Recently, airlines like Aer Lingus, British Airways, and TUI have been paying for their cadet’s courses. Unheard of for more than 20 years! 

Each option has its advantages, and aspiring pilots should carefully consider their circumstances and career goals before making a choice.

2. Application and Entry Requirements

If applying for an integrated, MPL or Cadetship course, aspiring pilots must first meet specific entry requirements and pass stringent aptitude testing. These requirements typically include a minimum age, educational qualifications (often at least A-levels or equivalent), and a requisite level of English language proficiency (ICAO Level 4). Researching and understanding the entry criteria and cost for chosen flight schools or airline cadet programs is crucial to ensure eligibility.

Typically, the application process consists of 6 Steps:

  1. Online application and CV
  2. Online aptitude tests – hand-eye coordination, task prioritization, spatial awareness, etc
  3. Onsite aptitude tests – More aptitude tests but carried out at the flight school itself
  4. Group exercise
  5. One on one (or two on one) interview
  6. Referencing and class 1 medical

3. Class 1 Medical Examination

Either before or after being accepted into flight school, you will need to get a Class 1 medical. I recommend getting this before you apply, it would be devastating to get through all of the steps and fail at the medical stage. I personally used Heathrow Medical (not an affiliate link).

This rigorous (and also £600 expensive!) examination assesses a candidate’s physical and mental fitness to operate an aircraft. Aspiring pilots should be prepared for a thorough medical check, including vision, hearing, cardiovascular health, and overall well-being. Throughout your entire career, you will be expected to renew this every year (at your airline’s expense once employed) and every 6 months once you are over 60. 

Better get that gym membership updated!

4. Ground School

Ground school marks the academic phase of pilot training. It is brutal. 13 subjects of relentless information crammed into 6 months. It is not complex. But the volume is quite ridiculous. I have written a guide on how to study for ground school here.

Subjects include:

  1. Principles of Flight
  2. Aircraft Performance
  3. Mass and Balance
  4. Meteorology
  5. Human Performance
  6. Air Law
  7. Operational Procedures
  8. Aircraft General Knowledge: Engines, Airframes and Electrics
  9. General Navigation
  10. Radio Navigation
  11. Communications
  12. Flight Planning
  13. Instruments

Although a lot, it will give you the basic foundational knowledge required to progress to the actual flying stages. Whilst everything isn’t relevant and quite outdated, subjects like meteorology, mass and balance, performance, air law, and operational procedures are especially important for daily life at the airlines. Study up!

5. VFR (Visual Flight Rules) Flying

With the theoretical groundwork laid, aspiring pilots transition to practical flying experiences. If part of an integrated course, you will go to a fair weather base. Typically they are located in good-weather locations like Phoenix, Arizona, or Jerez in Spain. 

The VFR phase focuses on visual navigation and control of the aircraft in good weather conditions. Students learn the fundamentals of manual flight, honing their skills in take-offs, landings, and basic maneuvers. This hands-on experience is essential for building confidence and proficiency in handling an aircraft. These basic stick and rudder skills will set you up for life at the airlines and the jets. 

On an MPL, you will typically gain 80 hours of flying experience at this stage, or if on the ATPL you will need to get around 160 hours (as you will need 200 for your commercial pilot’s license).

6. IFR (Instrument Flight Rules) Flying

After VFR flying, you will continue to the IFR phase. Instrument Flight Rules Flying emphasizes the use of cockpit instruments for navigation and control, allowing pilots to operate in a wider range of weather conditions. This phase can also be completed in a fair weather base whilst wearing a “hood” to simulate bad weather, but typically you will come back to the UK. The UK has perfect IFR weather (ha!) and this also allows you to fly around UK airspace and learn the subtle differences with air traffic.

If on an MPL course, you will transition for a short period flying twin-engine aircraft and deal with engine failures, you will fly for around 10 hours before moving onto the simulators for the jet you will fly according to your airline.

If on an ATPL course, you will complete about 40 hours in the twin-engined aircraft allowing you to take the CPL or Commercial Pilot’s License. These 40 hours, plus the previous 160 hours in the VFR stage will give you the required 200 hours for your CPL. Your CPL plus a type rating makes up your frozen ATPL (fATPL).

7. APS MCC Qualification (Airline Pilot Standards and Multi-Crew Co-operation)

The Airline Pilot Standards (APS) and Multi-Crew Cooperation (MCC) qualifications are essential components of advanced pilot training programs, designed to enhance the skills and competencies of aspiring airline pilots. 

Until now, you have been flying a single pilot. The APS MCC is designed to get you trained to work as part of a multi-crew. As that’s what will you do at the airlines. It’s a short intense 2 week course in a jet simulator. Either the Boeing 737 or Airbus 320. The course focuses on effective communication, crew resource management (CRM), and your ability to work as part of a team. 

You will be expected to deal with basic failures and to come up with a safe solution with your teammate. Whilst flying is important, you are not expected to know everything about your assigned aircraft. You will need to know the bare basics to be able to fly the plane, but crew resource management is the crucial part here as to how you deal with emergencies and make decisions. Crucial skills for your type rating. 

This is not required for MPL pilots as you will spend much longer in the simulator during the type rating phase which is where you will learn these skills. 

8. License Acquisition

Once you have finished all of the flying stages, got your CPL, and completed the APS MCC, you will be presented with your frozen ATPL or f(ATPL). I won’t what frozen means here but it is at this point you can start applying for jobs and enjoy the most expensive piece of paper in your life. 

If you are an MPL pilot, you will get your license AFTER the base training. A subtle difference in licensing regulations requires you to fly the jet before receiving your license. 

9. Simulator Training or Type Rating

The fun bit! Here is where you take all of your basic fundamental skills learned in the previous phases and now learn to fly your assigned jet. Typically (but not always), pilots start on short-haul, so your first type rating will likely be on the Boeing 737 or Airbus A320.

In the sim, you will cover basic flying skills and quickly move on to a variety of emergency scenarios and adverse weather conditions. You will develop crucial decision-making abilities and practice teamwork in a simulated cockpit. 

As an airline pilot, you will be tested in the simulator every 6 months for the rest of your career! In the type rating phase, you will develop your pilot competencies which is what you will be graded against for the rest of your flying life. 

If you are on an MPL course, you can expect to complete about 120 hours in the simulator or about 30 simulator details. Broken down into basic, intermediate, and advanced (the type rating). On the MPL, this phase will take approximately 4-6 months.

If you are on the ATPL course, you will do a “minimum footprint” course which is about 12 simulator details or 48 hours in the simulator. Almost ⅓ of the MPL course. Yes, it is very much like drinking from a fire hose. This phase will take approximately 1-2 months.

10. Base Training

Transitioning from simulated environments to real-world flying, base training provides candidates with practical experience in the actual aircraft. Under the supervision of experienced instructors, pilots practice take-offs, landings, and various in-flight maneuvers. This phase is instrumental in bridging the gap between simulated and real-world flying, allowing pilots to apply their skills and knowledge in a live operational setting.

If you are an MPL pilot, you will receive your license after base training. 

11. Line Training

Once you have your license, and you’ve joined an airline, you will do a few more simulators to get you up to speed on that airline’s specific operating procedures. This is called an OCC or an operator’s conversion course. It will take you between 2 weeks to a month to complete

The OCC will consist of some ground school, between 2 and 6 simulators, followed by base training. Base training is great fun where you and your pilot friends will take an empty aircraft out to somewhere that has nice weather and complete between 6-12 circuits each with very senior training captains. Once you are signed off, (or sent back to the sim if not!) you will begin line training. 

Line training consists of normal flights, with passengers, but you are coupled with a training captain. Training captains are specifically trained to deal with new entrants to an airline, they will accompany you for between 30-50 flights (or more if needed) until you are to “line standard”. At the end, you will have a line check, to make sure you can operate competently as a line pilot and a crew member. The line check will be with you as the FO and the training captain as the operating captain (2 crew) or a normal line captain, you and a training captain on the jump seat (3 crew).

Once your line check is complete, welcome to the line! You will now fly with regular “line captains” and be released to fly to almost all of the destinations. Most airlines employ a restriction during your first few months to ensure you don’t get anywhere very complex as you get used to your new role. I.e. You won’t be sent to Gibraltar or Funchal on your first day!

Enjoy your career and six monthly sim checks. I certainly am. 

How to Become An Airline Pilot (2024) Read More »

What Does A British Airways Pilot Roster Look Like?

The Pilot Roster

I often get asked about a pilot roster. Your roster, or schedule, is your life. A roster determines your working days and days off. Including the flights, you’ll be operating, layovers, and standby duties. In today’s post, we’ll look at a typical roster at British Airways, specifically at London Heathrow (LHR).

Your roster will be subject to legal rules on flying hours and also any union agreements for your specific airline, in British Airways’ case this would be BALPA (British Airline Pilot’s Association).

Understanding the Roster

The roster is the monthly plan that schedules pilots’ duties. It outlines the number of flight hours, destinations, aircraft registrations, hotel information, days off, and standby duties. Understanding your roster is a key component of an airline pilot’s work-life balance, enabling them to plan personal activities and downtime around their work schedule. Though don’t expect any of those capabilities whilst you’re junior (new to the airline)!

At British Airways, rosters typically come out around the beginning of the previous month, giving pilots approximately one month to prepare for their duties in the upcoming month. For instance, the roster for July would be released around the first week of June.

Bidding: Bidding Matters

British Airways, like many other airlines, employs a bidding system. This means pilots can express preferences for when they’d like to work and which destinations they’d prefer to fly to. At British Airways, each pilot must complete a certain number of hours work per month. How each pilot achieves that number is down to them.

In British Airways’ case, pilots can bid for day trips (home the same night), short tours (2 days away from home) or longer tours (3 or more days away from home). Each pilot will have a preference depending on their family circumstance and where they live! The system will take into account each pilot’s request in seniority order. In essence, when you’re senior, you can write your own roster, and when you’re junior, expect to get nothing you bid for.

The system doesn’t accommodate all requests, but it does aim to be fair and take pilots’ wishes into account. Everyone was once junior at British Airways, hence the coined phrase “You’re only junior once!’.

Seniority: Moving Up the Ladder

Seniority is a crucial factor that influences a pilot’s roster, in BA, seniority dictates everything. Your roster bids, leave, when you get your command, everything, absolutely everything is dictated by seniority. The faster you join a seniority based airline, the better as with time you will slowly gain seniority. As of 2023, British Airways is hiring lots of new pilots, those who joined in only February 2023 are already at 70% seniority, on their fleet (meaning 30% of pilots are junior to them), unprecedented! You can prepare for your interview here.

New pilots, or ‘junior’ pilots, will have less control over their schedule, particularly in the early days of their careers. Everyone starts somewhere, and with time, junior pilots will accumulate seniority and have more influence over their rosters. 

A Peek Into A British Airways’ Pilot’s Roster

Below is a sample of two random junior British Airways pilots on the A320 fleet during the summer schedule, of course anonymised. This is the kind of roster that you can expect when you are new to the company and during the summer or busy months (from April to October).

To simply explain, each green block is a trip. When a green block is only one day, or a day trip, the green block will extend over one day. When the green block extends over 2 or more days, it’s a tour (nights away from home). On each trip you will see a three letter code and a red number. The red number means the number of flights on that day.

For example, pilot 1 on the 4th has OTP and a red 3. They will fly 3 flights ending in OTP (Bucharest). They will stay the night in OTP, have a day off in OTP (as the day is blank) and return to LHR (Heathrow) on the 6th with only 1 flight back.

Pilot 2 has a day trip on the 5th with a red 2, meaning they will fly to Lisbon then return to Heathrow. The next day, on the 6th, they have another day trip to IBZ (Ibiza) and return to Heathrow.

Days that are blank (white) are days off at home base. Days that are blank (green) are days off down route at the destination.

LB – Type of leave so pilot 2 has some leave during the month.

TS, WR, Blue numbers – Unimportant until you join the company and will not be explained here.

What Does A British Airways Pilot Roster Look Like? Read More »

Easyjet Pilot Interview Questions

Easyjet, the UK’s largest short-haul airline is a fantastic operator to either start out with or gain a quick command and make some serious cash. Their training department is phenomenal and If you want to be home almost every night and wish to fly some of the youngest aircraft (read, not many defects!) then Easyjet is a great company to work for. Like all airline interviews, preparation is crucial. Easyjet see their interview candidates as future Captains. Even though you may be applying for your first airline position, or as a First Officer, you must think like a future Captain would. 

Before the Easyjet interview

Before the interview, you will submit an application form and some essay-style questions explaining your motivation for wanting to join Easyjet as a pilot. You can find an example answer in the products section.

I highly suggest you visit Easyjet’s dedicated pilot microsite, and also their corporate website (meant for investors) and look at the company’s financial performance over the last few years. Above all else, look at the company’s core values. In summary, these are:

  1. Always with safety at our heart
  2. Always challenging cost
  3. Making a positive difference
  4. Always warm and welcoming
  5. Living the Orange Spirit

Try and incorporate one or two of these values into your interview answers, “…….and that links in with Easyjet’s value of always challenging cost”. Don’t try and force them in though, as that will be obvious to the interviewers, one or two is enough unless you are specifically asked to list all five values. 

Make sure your logbook is up to date and written up neatly or printed and filed in a transparent clear file. If this is your first airline job with the basic number of hours then first impressions are everything. 

Easyjet Pilot Interview Questions

Below is a selection of questions that were asked during recent rounds of recruitment to sources of mine. 

  1. Tell us about yourself.
  2. Why do you want to be a pilot for Easyjet?
  3. Where do see yourself in 10 years’ time?
  4. Tell us about a time when you took a calculated risk.
  5. How are you going to deal with the volume of work required during flight school?
  6. What are the company values here at Easyjet?
  7. Where do you keep up to date with aviation and please tell us about some recent news with Easyjet.
  8. Tell us about a time when you worked as part of a team, not as a leader.
  9. What kinds of things do you think you can do at Easyjet to help reduce costs?
  10. What makes you angry?
  11. Tell us about a time you failed at something. Also, how do you measure success?

This is a small selection of what to expect for your pilot interview at Easyjet, either experienced or inexperienced. Being prepared is crucial, you can find additional questions and an example essay-style question on the products page. Best of luck! Easyjet is a great company to work for. 

Easyjet Pilot Interview Questions Read More »

British Airways Speedbird Pilot Academy

British Airways needs pilots. So much so, that they have decided to finally invest in a cadet pilot programme akin to the Prestwick and Hamble days. This time, it’s called The Speedbird Pilot Academy. British Airways will sponsor up to 100 cadets, and fully fund their training right the way through to joining the airline. This includes living expenses! In this post, we’ll take a look at what the Speedbird Pilot Academy has to offer. This includes the opening date, application requirements, and some valuable tips to help you prepare for this exciting step in your career.

British Airways Speedbird Pilot Academy: Application Details

The much-anticipated Speedbird Pilot Academy is set to open its doors to aspiring pilots on September 19th, 2023. The application will be open for only one week and could close earlier or open longer depending on how many applications British Airways receives. The programme is expected to reopen on an annual basis as British Airways anticipates needing a constant flow of cadets.

You can expect to hand in a copy of your CV, motivational questions, an online interview, a capacity test, a group assessment and a two-on-one interview down at headquarters is the usual recruitment process for British Airways. As part of the cadet scheme, you can also expect a checking and maths style online test, testing your ability to be accurate and fast! You can expect to earn c.£34,000 during your first year after you qualify. Whilst it doesn’t sound like much, you can expect another £10,000 per year in allowances (time away from base etc.) and your salary to rise exponentially reaching over £100,000 within your first 10 years. Considering I paid over £120,000 for my licenses, I’d say it is a good deal! Thus, British Airways, rightly so, are extremely selective over who gets in.

BA has selected two flight schools to train their cadets, FTE Jerez and Skyborne. If successful in getting on the programme, you will attend one of these two flight schools that will train you from zero to hero. They will take you all the way up to and including type rating. After which point you will join British Airways to continue your training on the short-haul fleet. Once joining British Airways, you can expect to complete around 40 – 50 sectors with a training Captain before you are “released to fly the line”.

Application Requirements

Before you embark on this incredible journey, there are some important criteria you must meet to be eligible for the program:

Age: Applicants must be between 17 and 55 years old to apply and must be at least 18 years old to commence training.

Educational Qualifications: You should possess a minimum of 6 GCSEs graded A to C or 5 to 9, including subjects such as Maths, English, and a Science. Equivalent qualifications will also be considered and assessed by ECCTIS.

Language Skills: Proficiency in English is essential. For non-native English speakers, you will need to provide a certificate proving that you have achieved an International English Language Testing System (IELTS) score of at least 5.5 overall, with no individual score falling below 5.5. Ensure that you take the Academic test, not General Training.

Passport and Residency: A valid passport that permits unrestricted worldwide travel is required. You must also have the right to live and study in the UK without the need for sponsorship.

Height Requirements: Your height must fall within the range of 1.57m (5’2″) to 1.90m (6’3″). Height will be accurately determined during the assessment process. If you exceed the upper limit, you may still send in an application but may be required to undergo a functionality check, essentially sitting in a cockpit to check you can fit.

Medical Certification: Applicants must be able to obtain and maintain a UK CAA Class 1 medical certification with no restrictions, meeting British Airways’ medical criteria. Details can be found on the CAA’s official website.

Background Checks: Before training commences, you must successfully complete referencing and pre-employment checks, providing satisfactory UK and international Criminal Record Checks. Also be prepared to submit criminal record background checks for any country you have lived in over the past 5 years.

Beyond Technical Skills

While technical skills are undoubtedly necessary for a pilot, their behaviors and attitudes truly set a British Airways pilot apart. British Airways prides itself on its unique culture, and its pilots are known for their passion and enthusiasm in pushing the operation forward and acting as ambassadors for the company. Below are some qualities that will make you a standout candidate:

Passion and Motivation: You should demonstrate an unwavering passion for aviation and the motivation to excel during the training program.

Calm Under Pressure: The ability to remain composed and make sound decisions under pressure is a crucial attribute for a pilot.

Problem-Solving Skills: Pilots must possess a strong problem-solving ability, as quick thinking can be critical in challenging situations.

Team Player: Collaboration and teamwork are essential in creating exceptional experiences for passengers and colleagues onboard.

Top Tips to Prepare for the Speedbird Pilot Academy

Preparing for the British Airways Speedbird Pilot Academy is a significant undertaking and there will be A LOT of competition But with determination and the right mindset, you can do it. Here are some top tips to help you prepare:

Brush Up on Numerical Skills: Mathematics is a fundamental part of aviation. Take the time to review your mathematical skills to ensure you’re comfortable with the calculations required in flight. There is no indication of a mental maths test, but being comfortable with mental maths will make your job as an airline pilot easier, especially the 3x table!

Prepare for Interviews: Expect rigorous interviews during the selection process, both online and in person. Be ready to discuss your passion for aviation, your problem-solving abilities, and your ability to work in a team. I suggest using the STAR format and having a few stories you can tell. Here is a list of interview questions that have been asked in recent British Airways pilot interviews.

Physical Fitness: Maintaining good physical health is crucial for pilots. Consider incorporating regular exercise into your routine to stay in top shape. This will help your mental capacity, and also prolong your Class 1 medical. 

Stay Informed: Keep yourself updated on the latest developments in the aviation industry. Follow the British Airways corporate site, know what they are investing in, know roughly how much profit they’ve made this year, know who the senior leadership is.

Simulator Experience: If possible, seek out opportunities to gain experience in flight simulators. This can help you become more comfortable with the cockpit environment. Though not necessary as a cadet, it can help demonstrate your passion. Please email me at if you would like a recommendation. I do not get kickbacks or commission so any recommendations are genuine. 

Practice English: If English is not your native language, practice it regularly to improve your proficiency, especially in speaking, listening, and aviation-specific vocabulary. British Airways is a British Airline operating in the U.K and worldwide. It’s imperative your English is impeccable, for both your colleagues and passengers.

Prepare thoroughly!

The British Airways Speedbird Pilot Academy is a remarkable opportunity for aspiring pilots to launch their careers with one of the world’s most prestigious airlines. With an exciting future ahead and a commitment to diversity and excellence, British Airways is finally ready to welcome a new generation of pilots into its ranks. If you meet the criteria and possess the right attitude, this could be your chance to soar to new heights in the world of aviation. Mark your calendar for September 19th, and prepare to make your aviation dreams take flight with British Airways. Best of luck to all future Speedbird pilots!

Feel free to email me at should you have any questions. 

Good luck!

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British Airways: Pilot Group Assessment Preparation And How to Pass

Group Assessments

Airlines are known for their rigorous selection processes to ensure that only the most competent and skilled individuals become pilots. Other than the one-to-one interview, one of the crucial stages in this process is the group assessment. Candidates are evaluated not only on their technical knowledge but, more importantly, on their non-technical skills. British Airways emphasizes the significance of non-technical competencies and incorporates them into its pilot selection process. In this post, we will look at the British Airways group assessment stage, the importance of non-technical skills, and how they are evaluated during the assessment.

The British Airways Group Assessment 

With the announcement of the latest British Airways Cadet Scheme, preparing for the group assessment is now more important than ever. The group assessment at British Airways is designed to assess your ability to work effectively as part of a team and make critical decisions under pressure. During this stage, you will be placed into a group, with up to a maximum of 6 other people.

Each of you will have an assessor, usually a recruitment training captain watching you. It is fairly intimidating but just relax and remember to be yourself. Each of you will be given a scenario pack consisting of about 3 pages of information. The first 2 pages for all of you will be the same, however, the last page of each candidate’s pack will have a specific piece of information relevant to the scenario. Examples include weather conditions, NOTAMS (Notice to Airmen), flight time limitations, and more.

You and your group will have 3 minutes to read and absorb the scenario thoroughly in total silence. It is essential to make notes during this time to ensure you grasp all the necessary information. You then have 20 minutes to make a decision based on the scenario provided collectively. The objective of the exercise is not just to arrive at a decision but to assess how you interact with other candidates, communicate, demonstrate leadership, and tackle challenges as a team.

This post will not tell you the scenario to expect. PilotPrep has the goal of equipping you with the right skills to tackle any scenario that British Airways will give you. By publishing the exact scenario, you will be at a disadvantage in case the scenario changes and also ruins the integrity of the group assessment process. 

Importance of Non-Technical Skills

While technical skills are undoubtedly essential for pilots, non-technical skills play a pivotal role in ensuring the safety and efficiency of flight operations. Non-technical skills refer to the cognitive, social, and personal competencies that complement a pilot’s technical abilities. These skills are particularly crucial in complex and dynamic situations, where effective communication, teamwork, problem-solving, and decision-making can make a significant difference.

The British Airways pilot competencies encompass a total of nine key areas, with five being non-technical skills. These non-technical competencies are:

Leadership and Teamwork: The ability to lead and collaborate effectively within a team, fostering cooperation and cohesion to achieve shared goals.

Communication: Clear and precise communication is vital for pilots to relay information, and instructions, to your crew and other stakeholders. 

Problem-Solving and Decision-Making: Pilots must be adept at identifying and resolving issues swiftly, making informed decisions that prioritize safety and efficiency.

Situational Awareness: Being aware of the current conditions and factors that may impact the flight is essential for making real-time adjustments and decisions.

Workload Management: Effective workload management ensures that pilots can handle multiple tasks and responsibilities without compromising their performance.

Flying over the Greek island Corfu.

Evaluating Non-Technical Skills in the Group Assessment

The British Airways group assessment provides a system to assess a candidate’s non-technical skills in a realistic and challenging environment. Here’s how each of the non-technical competencies is evaluated during the assessment:

Leadership and Teamwork: The assessors observe how candidates interact with one another. Do they actively participate and contribute ideas? Are they supportive of others’ opinions? Do they take on leadership roles when necessary, guiding the group towards a consensus?

Communication: Clear and effective communication is key. The assessors assess how well candidates articulate their thoughts, actively listen to others, and seek clarification when needed. They also look for candidates’ ability to adapt their communication styles to ensure mutual understanding. If you don’t understand something, or disagree, say so! But do not be rude, be adaptive and empathetic with your communication style. 

Problem-Solving and Decision-Making: How candidates approach the given scenario and collectively arrive at a decision is closely monitored. Do they analyze the available information thoroughly? Are they open to considering different perspectives? How do they handle disagreements or conflicting viewpoints?

Situational Awareness: Assessors observe whether candidates pay attention to the new information presented during the exercise. Are they adaptable and willing to modify their decisions based on the latest updates? Can they prioritize critical information? How much time is left?

Workload Management: Managing time and resources efficiently during the 20-minute exercise is vital. The assessors gauge how candidates handle the pressure and distribute responsibilities effectively within the group.

The Importance of Reflection

Following the group exercise, candidates are required to summarize their decision and reflect on their performance. This reflection phase provides an opportunity for candidates to learn from the experience and identify areas for improvement. It also shows how open candidates are to feedback and self-improvement.

The British Airways group assessment stage comprehensively evaluates your abilities beyond technical skills. Non-technical skills, such as leadership, communication, problem-solving, situational awareness, and workload management, play a critical role in the aviation industry. Teamwork and decision-making are crucial for safe and efficient operations. Flying the plane is the easy part, the non-tech skills are the more difficult part, hence why there are more competencies related to non-tech skills!

Candidates who excel in the group assessment demonstrate not only their technical knowledge but also their ability to collaborate, communicate, and adapt in a high-pressure environment. For aspiring pilots, recognizing the significance of non-technical skills and honing them is the key to success not only in the group assessment but also in their future careers as competent and reliable pilots.

In summary, be honest, be open, be nice but be professional, and you will do well at this stage in the assessment process. 

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What Does an Easyjet Pilot Roster Look Like?

The Pilot Roster

One aspect of a pilot’s life that I often get asked about is the schedule or, as pilots know, the roster. Your roster is your life. A roster determines the working days and off days for pilots, which includes the flights they’ll be operating, layovers, and standby duties. In today’s post, we’ll delve into a typical roster at a UK airline, specifically focusing on EasyJet, at London Gatwick (LGW).

Your roster will be subject to legal rules on flying hours and also any union agreements for your specific airline, in Easyjet’s case this would be BALPA (British Airline Pilot’s Association).

Understanding the Roster

The roster is the monthly plan that schedules pilots’ duties. It outlines the number of flight hours, destinations, aircraft registrations, days off, and standby duties. Understanding your roster is a key component of an airline pilot’s work-life balance, enabling them to plan personal activities and downtime around their work schedule. Though don’t expect any of those capabilities whilst you’re junior!

At EasyJet, rosters typically come out around the middle of the previous month, giving pilots approximately two weeks to prepare for their duties in the upcoming month. For instance, the roster for July would be released around mid-June.

Preferencing: Your Preferences Matter

EasyJet, like many other airlines, employs a preferencing system. This means pilots can express preferences for when they’d like to work and which destinations they’d prefer to fly to. The system doesn’t accommodate all requests, but it does aim to be fair and take pilots’ wishes into account. E.g. you can preference lates or earlies, 2 sector days, 4 sector days, or night stops. At airlines like British Airways, you can ask for specific routes, or layovers in specific destinations.

The airline will try to accommodate as many preferences as possible. However, operational requirements may mean that not all preferences can be met all of the time.

Seniority: Moving Up the Ladder

Seniority is another crucial factor that influences a pilot’s roster. In the aviation industry, the seniority system is widely recognized and impacts many aspects of a pilot’s career – from the type of aircraft they fly, to their base location, to their roster.

At EasyJet, seniority doesn’t matter, pilots who have been with the company longer, or ‘senior’ pilots, get no priority when it comes to preferencing. However, at British Airways and other seniority-based airlines like Virgin Atlantic, seniority is everything. This means senior pilots are more likely to have their roster preferences met. New pilots, or ‘junior’ pilots, will have less control over their schedule, particularly in the early days of their careers. Everyone starts somewhere, and with time, junior pilots will accumulate seniority and have more influence over their rosters. 

A Peek Into an EasyJet Roster

In the image above, you’ll see an actual roster for an EasyJet pilot. It will give you a glimpse into the variety and complexity of a pilot’s working month. The three letters codes are airport names e.g. LGW = London Gatwick.

Other codes:

LSBY – Late standby

ESBY – Early standby

D/O – Day off

ADTY – Airport standby

Becoming familiar with the rostering system is a part of every pilot’s journey, from aspiring aviators to seasoned pilots. Although it can seem complex at first, with time, you’ll become an expert at managing your schedule, ensuring you maintain a healthy work-life balance while conquering the skies.

If you have any questions on rosters, feel free to email me at and click here to see interview techniques for Easyjet and other airlines.

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How To Answer Pilot Interview Question With Examples

Flying a plane is no easy task. It is a job that demands a mix of technical and non-technical. Every year airline pilots are graded on their performance in accordance with 9 pilot competencies. 5 of these competencies are non-technical.

Pilot interviews are designed to assess these multifaceted capabilities, preparation is crucial to stand out in an industry that is highly competitive and stringent in terms of safety and efficiency.

Use the STAR Technique 

The STAR technique is an interview response method to help candidates provide structured and complete answers to questions requiring examples to competency-based questions. STAR stands for Situation, Task, Action, and Result, and it serves as a guide to structuring your responses in a way that effectively showcases your skills, competencies, and experiences.

First, describe the “Situation” you were in, providing context and background of the task at hand. Next, define the “Task” you were given or the challenge you faced. Then, you delve into the “Action” you took, detailing the steps you took and the skills or techniques you applied, and who you worked with. Finally, you share the “Result” of your actions. Did it lead to a positive outcome? Was it a negative outcome? If yes, why? Not all answers require positive results. 

This technique enables you to paint a picture of your problem-solving abilities and how you handle specific scenarios, providing tangible evidence of your suitability for the role. Crucial for airlines like British Airways which use evidence-based interviews. 

21 Pilot Interview Questions

Here are some example questions that you might encounter during a pilot interview, both technical and behavioral, think about applying the STAR technique. For more, please see my 400+ question database.

  1. What challenges does our airline face?
  2. If you couldn’t be an airline pilot, what would you do?
  3. What does the role of a modern-day airline pilot entail?
  4. What makes a good First Officer?
  5. How can you reduce our costs at this airline?
  6. Tell me about a time you had to persuade someone?
  7. Tell me about a time you’ve had to adapt your communication style?
  8. How do you prepare for a flight?
  9. How do you handle stress?
  10. Describe a time when you had to make a quick decision.
  11. Tell me about a time you have worked effectively as a team?
  12. How would you handle a situation where you and your captain disagree on a decision?
  13. How do you stay updated with the latest aviation news?
  14. Describe a time you had to handle a difficult situation with a crew member.
  15. Tell me about a time you gave negative feedback?
  16. What methods do you use to keep yourself fit and alert?
  17. Why did you decide to become a pilot?
  18. Can you explain the effects of altitude on the human body?
  19. How would you manage a situation with a disruptive passenger?
  20. How would you ensure effective communication with air traffic control?
  21. What steps would you take if you suspect a colleague of substance abuse?

Sit down with a pen and paper and think about HOW you would answer these questions. You won’t answer every question perfectly. It’s important to listen to the question being asked and apply your life experience to the question, whether that be flying or non-flying related.

Good luck!

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Commander’s or Captain’s Discretion: What is it?

FDP or Flight Duty Period

Before talking about Commander’s Discretion, we must quickly discuss FDP. FDP or Flight Duty Period (FDP) refers to the time from when a flight crew member is required to report for duty, which includes a flight or series of flights, and ends when the aircraft finally comes to rest and the engines are shut down at the end of the last flight on which they are a crew member. This is a basic definition and you will find your airline’s specific definition in Operation’s Manual Part A (OMA). Each airline will have slightly different definitions, e.g. how long before departure should a crew member report? Does positioning count towards FDP?

FDP has a maximum limit to prevent fatigue. In Europe, these limits are set by EASA (ORO.FTL.205), however, airlines CAN implement more restrictive conditions. Easyjet uses stricter FDPs(i.e. fewer hours on FDP due to union agreements). British Airways and Ryanair etc. operate towards full EASA limits. These considerations can sometimes form part of how much a pilot earns.

Commander’s or Captain’s Discretion

CAA regulations allow for an extension of the FDP under the commander’s discretion in unforeseen and unknown circumstances that occur at or after the reporting time. The time when people turn up for work. This rule is designed to provide flexibility in operations without compromising safety.

The commander may extend the FDP by up to 2 hours on short-haul flights. However, this is not a decision to be taken lightly. The commander must consider the current state of the crew, including any signs of fatigue, the nature of the unforeseen circumstances, and the potential impact on flight safety. The commander must also take into account the need for an adequate rest period following the extended FDP. On this note, the Commander can additionally use their discretion to extend a crew member’s rest. Conversely, they can also reduce rest.

An example of using the commander’s discretion to extend the FDP could be a situation where the flight is delayed due to unexpected weather changes at the home airport whilst downroute. Suppose the weather is forecasted to improve within a reasonable time. In that case, the commander may decide to extend the FDP to allow for the flight to proceed to the home base rather than diverting to an alternate airport or cancelling the flight and being stuck downroute.

Can any crew member decide if they want to go into discretion?

It’s important to note that the use of the commander’s discretion to extend the FDP is solely the commander’s decision. While the commander may seek input from other crew members, the final decision rests with the commander. The commander must judge if each member is “fit” to fly. Crucially, will they be fit to fly throughout the remaining duty? A common misconception by the crew is they will say phrases like “I’m not going into discretion”. This is a misunderstanding as it’s not the crew’s decision. The crew member is either fit to operate or not.

This information is then used by the commander, and the commander only to make an informed decision. This is because the commander has the ultimate responsibility for the safety of the flight. The commander’s discretion is not a committee decision, nor is it a decision that can be made by ground-based personnel. It is a decision that is made by the commander, based on their assessment of the situation, their experience, and their judgment.

I’ve gone into discretion approximately 10 times during my career and each time, it is not a decision to be taken lightly. Crewing and other ground-based staff WILL try and pressure crews to “keep the show on the road”. We must remember we are in a safety-related role and the buck stops with us. If you are not fit, tell your Captain and give them all the information they need to make an informed decision.

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