South West Region

Former RAF Air Cadet about to take off on pilot apprenticeship

Andrew Green, a former 2328 (Bishop’s Cleeve) Squadron cadet, explains how he achieved his dream job with and thanks RAF Air Cadet staff for their help, instruction and guidance.

“I knew from an early age I wanted to be a commercial airline pilot, and I realised the Air Cadets were the best organisation to help me achieve this. I joined my local Air Cadet Squadron, 2328 (Bishop’s Cleeve), in February 2010, about a week after my thirteenth birthday. I was immediately immersed in all of the things that sparked my interest with the cadets; expeditions, shooting, aviation themed lessons, and of course, flying and gliding. The Air Cadets allowed me to have my first experience at the controls of a light aircraft and I was lucky enough to be able to fly all three throughout my time as a cadet; The Grob Tutor, Vigilant, and Viking.

My first flight in the Grob Tutor

“In 2013, I was eligible for a Gliding Scholarship. I had wanted to achieve my silver wings and go solo since joining the cadets and after applying for the course, I was able to complete the gliding scholarship in November 2013 at RAF Little Rissington, in the Grob Vigilant, achieving my eagerly anticipated silver wings after completing one solo circuit of the airfield. It’s certainly a day I will remember and cherish for the rest of my life. From that point on, I was certain that flying was a career path I wanted to embark on.

“During 2015, my final year of A-Levels, I applied to CTC Aviation (Now L3 CTS); a well-regarded flight school that could take people “From Zero to Hero”. It’s a highly competitive and highly intensive course, allowing people with very few flying hours to reach the required amount of hours to achieve a commercial pilot’s license, and a “Frozen” ATPL license. The School also has contacts to a number of airlines, allowing its students to make an easy transition from training, into a job flying passengers or cargo.

“I started in Southampton in November 2015 for six months of Theory. It covered 14 varying subjects; from navigation to principles of flight, human performance to aircraft performance, and everything in between. With four exams every two months, it took a considerable amount of study, but I was able to achieve a stellar average mark and was therefore able to proceed onto the next stage of the course; practical flying!

For this, my class and I were sent to Hamilton, New Zealand, for the primary flying phase, as well as the first half of the advanced flying phase. The primary covers basic flying; initially the very basics such as “primary effects of controls”, before leading onto circuits, where I was able to complete my first solo flight in the Southern Hemisphere, and eventually covering visual navigation, in the Diamond DA20 Katana aircraft.

After eight and a half months, it was time to complete my commercial pilot’s license exam, which I’m glad to say I passed first time. For this, I flew a multi-engine aircraft, the Diamond DA42 Twinstar. When all of our class had passed this, we then returned to the UK and sent to Bournemouth to complete the advanced flying phase; instrument flying, which entailed learning to fly purely from navigation aids, with no external references. I completed my instrument rating exam in May 2017 and after a final three weeks of training, learning the basics of operating a jet aircraft, I had completed the course, and started my job hunt.

After a five month, intensive selection program, I am delighted to say I have been offered a job as a “Pilot Apprentice” with Jet2 Airlines. I will start in January 2018 and work in a variety of departments including HR, Cabin Crew, and Flight Operations, before starting my training to fly the Boeing 737 in late 2018, eventually flying the jets in early 2019.

I would like to thank all of the Royal Air Force Air Cadet staff involved in my journey as an air cadet for all the help, instruction and guidance throughout my time, to help me get this far, at such a relatively young age. Special thanks goes to my old squadron, 2328 (Bishop’s Cleeve) Squadron, No 3 Air Experience Flight at MoD Colerne, and especially to 637 Volunteer Gliding School at RAF Little Rissington for allowing me to do my first solo flight.”

Written by Andrew Green, former cadet of 2328 (Bishop’s Cleeve) Squadron.

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