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Thomas Splendori

This 2 years at AFTA have been really enjoyable, looking back I consider it a great life experience.

The course started off a bit too slowly during the Private Pilot Licence (PPL) phase mainly due to only few bookings per week, only after the ATPLs I noticed an improvement and everything went smooth, nonetheless this past year was full of achievements and personal satisfactions. 

I am really thankful to AFTA for all this. I am also happy with all the support received in preparation for the Ryanair assessment as I felt genuine interest towards me during the process!

Micheál Masterson

I really enjoyed my time in AFTA. It is a very friendly environment where everyone is approachable and helpful. It certainly lives up to its reputation as a family environment and I’ve made some great friends from my time here. With the varying weather in Cork it can be challenging for Ops and the instructors to plan a day’s flying but I found them very accommodating liaising with you if they thought there would be a break in conditions to fit you in. The APS was very enjoyable, giving you a taste of what the type rating will involve and giving you an understanding of Company SOPs from day one. I thought this was hugely beneficial to lay the groundwork for some good habits. I found the RYR assessment preparation great. AFTA were very thorough in all aspects, covering HR, technical questions and the sim assessment process. I would recommend AFTA to anyone considering a career in aviation.

Peter Kirk

My name is Peter Kirk. I am 20 years old and I completed my Ryanair Mentored training at AFTA in May 2021.

The idea of becoming a pilot was first floated to me around the age of 12 or 13. At the time, it seemed more of a dream than a realistic profession however as I progressed through secondary school I started to realise that it was not as unrealistic as I originally expected. Although I explored many other career options, once I visited AFTA’s open day at the age of 16 I was sold. I booked a private show through in which a senior instructor gave us a tour and answered all of our questions. A few weeks later I took my first introductory flight and from this moment, I could not see myself anywhere else.

The Ryanair Mentored Programme particularly appealed to me as it was a direct gateway into one of the world’s biggest airlines straight out of flight school. I was fortunate enough to be accepted onto the programme and be offered a place beginning September 2019. The opportunity to learn Ryanair SOPs from the beginning is a huge advantage as it will give us a head start as soon as we begin our Type Rating. AFTA and Ryanair also organise frequent meetings with Ryanair crew where we discuss various aspects of the job and ask any questions we may have. These meetings are invaluable as they give us exclusive insight into the job and help to keep us motivated.


Having had only 3 hours of flight experience prior to joining, I very much was starting from the bottom. AFTA’s training however, is designed to bring you through the very basics all the way through to an airline standard. It is structured in a logical and progressive order and nothing is left out.

In January 2020 I began my ATPL theory. This was the hardest stage of my training, however AFTA’s instructors are extremely helpful and comprehensive. Once COVID hit in March 2020 there was a lot of uncertainty, however AFTA worked tirelessly to allow us to continue our theory via remote learning and in total I only lost about a month which I consider incredible. After 7 months of study, I completed my ATPL exams with all first time passes.

One thing that particularly stands out to me about AFTA is the friendly atmosphere around the academy. Both instructors and students are always there to help and support one another if ever you are uncertain about anything.
AFTA really go above and beyond to make your training as thorough and as enjoyable as possible and I cannot recommend them enough. Although many might consider this a difficult time to be joining the industry, the recovery can already be seen and I can’t wait to make myself part of it.

Harry Pinder

My name is Harry Pinder. I am 24 years old and from the UK. I recently completed the Ryanair Mentored Gateway 1 modular course with AFTA in November 2020.

Prior to joining the AFTA team I did my research and saw they had a terrific modern fleet of aircraft, experienced instructors and a very high graduate success rate with airlines, in particular Ryanair. I was truly excited at the prospect of joining AFTA and I was not disappointed. I commenced my training with AFTA in July 2020 and, during my time at AFTA, I had frequent lesson bookings and was able to complete the CPL, MEIR and MCC in less than 5 months. The instructors were very professional and they put lots of time aside to put you in to the best shape possible for the flight tests. They gave informative briefings, a good input to what could be improved on the lessons and taught us Ryanair briefings. My final part of training was the APS MCC. AFTA’s Ryanair mentored APS MCC uses a high quality B737 simulator and teaches many Ryanair SOPs and ultimately gives you the best possible preparation to be ready for the airlines.

Shortly after I had finished training, I was called for an assessment at the Ryanair HQ in Dublin.To prepare me for the assessment, I made sure that I availed on AFTAs Graduate Development Program. This program provides simulator and interview preparation conducted by experienced instructors at AFTA, who know the ins and outs of how to prepare students best for this assessment. AFTA worked with me to make sure I was 100% ready before going to the assessment.

The Ryanair mentored APS MCC, along with AFTAs Graduate Development Program allowed me to be full of confidence when I attended my type rating assessment. I was able to display many of the skills and SOPs I developed through training with AFTA during the interview and simulator assessment, and subsequently, I was accepted on to the Ryanair type rating program. I am due to start my type rating with Ryanair in April 2021 and I am very thankful to AFTA for their dedication and hard work which has helped immensely in me being able to achieve this. I would highly recommend AFTA to anyone serious about becoming a commercial pilot

Cathal Smullen

My name is Cathal Smullen. I am 21 years of age and I completed my flight training in Atlantic Flight Training Academy as a Ryanair Mentored student in November 2019.

Becoming a pilot has been a dream of mine for as long as I can remember. When I was researching flight schools, the personal approach to flight training from AFTA really stood out from the others. After arranging a visit to AFTA to see the facilities, I knew enrolling at AFTA would be the right choice for me. This decision was reinforced by qualified pilots and airline recruiters who I got to know while I was working on the ramp in Dublin Airport. Now graduated, I would have no hesitation in recommending AFTA to anybody considering flight training.

Flight training is both exciting and daunting, as there are frequent exams and checks which must be passed to progress. This is where the team at AFTA come into it. The standard of training that AFTA offers is second to none. From the outset AFTA maintain airline standards. AFTA’s skilled and experienced flying and ground instructors truly enabled me to reach my full potential. Training on AFTA’s modern fleet of aircraft, amongst airline traffic out of a live international airport in challenging weather conditions is exposure that cannot be rivalled and I strongly feel this will greatly benefit me throughout my career.

I was thrilled to be accepted onto the Ryanair Mentored Programme as it gives an incredible insight and preparation for a career at Ryanair. The APS/MCC course was one of the most enjoyable parts of flight training for me. Like everything else, there is a lot of information and new skills to learn which although challenging, it is also extremely rewarding. Using Ryanair procedures and actual flight plans definitely gives an edge and provides a true level of reality.

I graduated from AFTA in November of 2019, they had been in frequent contact since graduating organising interview preparation sessions thereby proving their commitment to help place students, Q&A group calls with Mark and team and a couple of months later I was successful at my assessment at Ryanair and was due to start my type rating on the Boeing 737. Unfortunately this occurred simultaneously with the COVID-19 pandemic but I hope to get flying as soon as some level of normality returns.

 AFTA’s commitment to their students is evident, organising complimentary recurrency simulator sessions to graduates ensuring that our skills are continuously kept up to standard and in times of such uncertainty, it is comforting to know that I am best prepared for when we can all get flying again.

Cathal Byrne

My Name is Cathal Byrne. I am 31 years of age and I completed the integrated flight training course in Atlantic Flight Training Academy in October 2019.

Having spent quite a lot of time researching and visiting flight training schools worldwide, my initial impression of AFTA really stood out. I had been given many recommendations from students past and present, so I was eager to visit the school and see it for myself. AFTA were extremely welcoming and took their time to show me around all their facilities on that day and answered any questions I had for them.

Their very modern fleet of aircraft including Cessna 172, Piper Seneca PA-34 and Diamond DA42, are all maintained to the highest of standards, with their onsite maintenance department being a huge and important factor for the smooth running of the school as a whole.

Throughout training I believe AFTA have given me a strong insight into what life will be like in an airline. The excellent standard of training from extremely experienced instructors throughout the academy set them apart from any other. The location at Cork Airport was another huge factor, flying amongst major
airlines in challenging weather conditions enhanced my skills rapidly and I believe this will stand to me for the rest of my career.

I completed my APS MCC course in October 2019 in the B737-800 simulator, 6 weeks later I secured a position as First Officer with Stobart Air and started my Type Rating in February 2020. Due to Covid-19 I was made redundant within just a few months. Despite this setback, I have bounced back and with the guidance of AFTA and their excellent Interview preparation program I am pleased to say I have now received a position with Lauda, commencing my Type Rating in November 2022.

I would highly recommend AFTA to any aspiring pilot. With the correct attitude, work ethic and commitment Mark and his team will assure to provide you with the very best training from day one right up to interview preparation for your very first job.

Frances Quinn

My name is Frances Quinn, I’m an AFTA graduate and First Officer with Ryanair flying out of Dublin.

I visited a number of flight schools before starting my training to try and find the best school for me and after visiting AFTA I knew that it was the school that would suit me best. I completed the assessment back in August 2017. I was a little apprehensive about passing the assessments but having put in some preparation I found that they were very manageable. I commented my training in October 2017 and started into my PPL training. This involved 2 weeks of groundschool with PPL exams and then on to flying the Cessna 172. I then began 6 months of ATPL groundschool in January 2018 and this was followed by CPL and MEIR training in the Piper Seneca aircraft and simulator, with the last part of my training done in the Diamond DA42. This was the most exciting part of my training.

I found the standard of training excellent throughout my time at AFTA, both the theoretical and flying instructors were very helpful in every aspect of the training. I found it very good preparation for the airline industry as a lot of the instructors had airline experience.

I finished in December 2018 with an MCC course in the B737 simulator, and after one month I was very happy to secure and assessment with Ryanair in Dublin. AFTAs connection with Ryanair and the airline industry is very evident with regards to the extremely high standard of training I received and I felt this gave me a huge advantage as an inexperienced cadet starting off my airline career.

Mark and all his staff really went above and beyond to help me get through my training and get me to where I am today. Above all, it was a really enjoyable experience and I would highly recommend AFTA for anyone who is thinking of a career as an airline pilot.

Evan Tully

My name is Evan Tully. I am currently 20 years of age & completed my integrated flight training course at AFTA in April 2018.

It had been a dream of mine to become a commercial pilot from a very young age. I started researching flight schools whilst still in secondary school and came across Atlantic Flight Training Academy. I decided to visit the school during one of their open evenings, as I had heard very good things about the school from previous students.

All the instructors & staff at the open evening were very helpful & informative, and a few weeks later my family and I paid another visit to the academy, to check out the simulators, aircraft etc. We left very impressed with the facilities and I knew AFTA was the school for me.

I came to AFTA with very little flying experience, however it was never an issue due to the level of training I received at the flight school. I noticed myself improving after every flight and it continued like this throughout my entire training thanks to the friendly and knowledgeable instructors I met at all stages of my training. The challenging weather conditions, and operating from a busy international airport also had an integral part to play in how my skills as a pilot developed over time. The course is very well structured and the attention to detail paid to both the technical & non technical aspects of flying is one of the many reasons I feel AFTA students go on to have such amazing careers in the aviation industry.

Once I had finished my training I felt confident about taking the next big step and applying for a job as a first officer in an airline. Through hard work, determination & the amazing help and support from AFTA I am delighted to say that I am about to embark on my first job as a first officer with Ryanair. I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for AFTA and I would highly recommend the academy to anyone who is interested in a career in aviation. It was an unforgettable experience and I have made friends for life

Tomás Curran

My name is Tomás Curran and I completed the integrated course in Atlantic Flight Training Academy in April 2018.

From a very young age the only aspiration I had was to become a pilot. During secondary school there were no subjects that appealed to me in any way as much as pilot training did. In transition year I had a few introductory flights in AFTA and this confirmed for me that pilot training was 100% what I wanted to do.

During 5th and 6th year, I investigated around to find the best integrated course for me and in the end it was a simple decision that AFTA was the place for me. The fleet of Cessna 172s and Piper Seneca along with the challenge of operating out of an International Airport really helped sell the school to me.

The instructor standard in AFTA is sky high and it really sets you up to be more than ready for the CPL, MEIR tests and any future interviews. With the ever changing weather in Cork, you also get the opportunity to fly in real life IFR conditions which you probably would never get a chance to in flight schools abroad. This really does prepare you for your future as an airline pilot.

The MCC/JOC at AFTA is of a very high standard. It’s a great step from single pilot operations to Multi Crew and I was amazed at how fast I started to pick up all the procedures and techniques on how to fly the Boeing 737. By the end of the course I felt confident in my abilities to fly the jet and also my interpersonal skills to work in a Multi Crew environment.

After completing my course, AFTA didn’t stop helping me. I was given some interview preparations with the AFTA HR team, and they also helped me make my CV look more professional. They put me through an interview as it would be, with many questions covered to really have me prepared for my Ryanair assessment and interview. I also did sim preparation in the days running up to my interview with Mark Casey and Pat Harris. Their experience and help really went a long way to having me prepared to a very high standard and confident walking into the Ryanair headquarters on the day of my assessment.

I couldn’t recommend AFTA enough to any aspiring pilots as they give you all the help you need. I was an 18 year old with little flying experience and no theory knowledge when I started my course. I only had dreams.

I am about to start a career with one of Europe’s largest Airlines, Ryanair and I believe I wouldn’t be in this position without Mark Casey and the team from AFTA.

Tomás Curran

AFTA Training Programme - 2018

Kathryn Kennelly

My name is Kathryn Kennelly. I’m 22 years old and completed the integrated flight training course in Atlantic Flight Training Academy in May 2018.

I always had a keen interest in aviation but when I finished school I pursued an accounting degree. I could never get the idea of becoming a pilot out of my head so I decided to go for it. I thought choosing a flight school was going to be a very difficult decision but once I visited AFTA and met Captain Mark Casey and his team of highly trained professionals I knew this was the place for me. AFTA’s motto is ‘Training ordinary people to become extraordinary pilots’ and that’s exactly what this flight school does. What you see is what you get. I was told by the team that the integrated programme was extremely intense, which is 100% true. AFTA was completely honest with me from day one. As a student pilot you have to be very dedicated and work really hard, but it is so worthwhile!

I chose AFTA because of its modern, well maintained fleet, the chance to train at Cork International airport (lots of commercial traffic and sometimes tough weather conditions), it’s highly trained instructors and job prospects for students, just to name a few.

I can honestly say that choosing to become a pilot and attend AFTA was the best decision I have ever made. I cannot express my gratitude enough to every person in the team at AFTA. There is no doubt in my mind that I wouldn’t be where I am today without them. If you are contemplating on becoming a pilot, you will have difficult days during training, there is no doubt about that, but the team in AFTA will give you every resource possible to help you succeed. I was extremely well prepared for my PPL, CPL and MEIR skills tests as a result of the high standard of instruction in AFTA. I had limited flight training experience before starting the integrated course, but they help you in every way possible, from initial training all the way to your MCC course.

When I completed the integrated course the after service I received was excellent. I did lots of interview and sim prep here. The school went out of its way to ensure I was well prepared for my airline assessment. I think this is a major asset to AFTA students.

I completed a Ryanair assessment just over a month from finishing my training. I am trilled to say, with the support of Mark Casey and his fantastic team that I am about to embark on a career with Ryanair, my first choice of airline and goal from the beginning of training.

I would without any hesitation recommend AFTA to anyone deciding on aviation as a their future career.

Thank you Mark Casey and all the team at Atlantic Flight Training Academy for making my dream come true

AFTA Training Programme - 2018