My name is James Couldridge and I am 26 years old. I have just recently completed the integrated flight training course, in Atlantic Flight Training Academy in March 2019.
I always had a keen interest in aviation and took my first flight experience when I was 15 and quickly decided it was a career I wanted to pursue. Having finished school/university and gained some life experiences, in 2017 I made the decision I would now go ahead and take the necessary steps to become a pilot. I spent some months researching schools all over Europe and the USA to find one that suited me. I would regularly see reviews and reports on AFTA from previous students and professionals in the industry, so I made the decision to come down and have a look. Before I had even left Cork I had made up my mind that AFTA was going to be the place for me. Their high quality training facilities and how the course was run made it for me.
I arrived in Cork to begin my training with a little bit of previous flying experience, however; that was not a requirement to join as they take you from no experience and build you up and develop your skills into becoming a fully qualified pilot and ready to apply to airlines in 16 months.
From the outset you could see the course and academy was run to a very high standard, something that reflected what you could expect in an airline. Their modern aircraft fleet of Cessna 172s, Piper Seneca’s and Diamond DA42 were very well maintained and provided the perfect training aircraft. All of the staff and instructors were very helpful throughout the course and took their time to explain things you didn’t understand, as well ensuring you were progressing smoothly through the different stages. One of the nicest aspects was that everyone was incredibly supportive, and wanted to see you do well. This made for a great training environment.
With the academy being based at Cork Airport brought its own challenges, as you were exposed to busy airspace and unpredictable weather conditions. This not only provided challenges but also pushed you to improve your skills, which I know will stand to me in good stead in my career.
The last part and one of the most enjoyable was the MCC course on AFTA’s Boeing 737 NG simulator. I was lucky to be the first group to complete the Airline Pilot Standard (APS) MCC, the course was intensive and set over a month period but I feel more ready having further experience to apply to airlines with confidence.
My time in Cork has been an amazing and unforgettable experience; I have made some great friends and would not hesitate in recommending AFTA to anyone who is considering a career in aviation.
Thank you to Mark Casey and all the team at AFTA.