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Hi everyone! Welcome to my blog series. My name is Heeral Poria and I am a Ryanair mentored cadet with The Atlantic Flight Training Academy. I started with AFTA in June 2022. I hope you will have the opportunity to follow my training journey over the coming months, as I work through the highs and lows of airline flight training.

I come from a background with a substantial amount of previous gliding experience and I have worked within the aviation industry in some form for the past 7 years; it will come as no surprise that I am one of the older cadets, but that gives me the privilege of approaching training with a different perspective to my fellow cadets. For anyone who is concerned about age, I would say that it is certainly no barrier, the wisdom of age will only help you! I had spent many years considering if I should or should not make the jump and start training, I recently found myself in a position where I had the opportunity to do so and with the memories of lockdowns still fresh, the time was right to make the leap of faith! Now, for the first time in my life, I find myself in Ireland.   

Being on an integrated course means that everyone will follow the same pathway, however everyone will have their own training journey, with highlights and challenges being unique to each individual, however the diversity only aids in creating a varied and positive learning environment.

The course itself started with 10 days of PPL theoretical knowledge, AKA, “Ground School”, covering the syllabus in a relatively short space of time is intensive, however you have the time over the following weeks to consolidate your knowledge at your own pace and gain that deeper understanding of the subjects through a learning style that works for you. This approach sets you up well for ATPLs, where you have an even greater volume of information to cover at a much deeper level and with all things in aviation. This is very much a lifelong learning journey from the foundations you build at a PPL level through to Type Ratings and beyond! 

After that came the phase that everyone was looking most forward to, the flying! The flying elements follow a progressive structure with each flight building on not only the practical skills but also non-technical aspects such as decision making and team skills. The first few flights were completed from Cork, it was an eye-opening experience and surreal experience to be operating from a relatively busy commercial airport sharing the airspace with everything from private jets to 737s. After this, we complete the circuit training from Waterford, which has the advantage of being a slightly quieter airport, allowing you to focus on getting solo.

It is no secret that you will be at the mercy of the weather and you have to be flexible as a result of this, but this provides you with the opportunity to keep on top of the PPL revision, ready for your in-house consolidation exams which must be passed before you can move into ATPLs, you are very much in control of your own training journey at this point.

Progression from this point is quick to get you ready for your qualifying cross country, with the added bonus of getting to see some of the incredible views across the country which culminates in flying solo from Waterford to Shannon to Cork and back to Waterford. It’s incredible to think that you can go from having never flown to flying in such a short period, which shows the high quality of instruction available at AFTA.

Having just passed my PPL exams, I find myself looking forward to making a start on the ATPL ground school, which almost everyone will tell you is a necessary evil but the quicker I can get them done, the quicker I can get back into the cockpit!