Month: June 2007

First week over!

None of us here can believe how fast the week has gone! People keep mentioning that we’ve still got about 60 weeks to go, but I really think they’re going to speed by, and from what I’ve heard, they will.

I was meant to be in Gibraltar today.. unfortunately I was in quite a rush this morning and forgot my passport.  I only had realised when it was too late – when we had just reached La Linea, outside Gibraltar! After dropping my friends off I decided to head back to Jerez, as otherwise I’d have to just hang around La Linea for a few hours, which I didn’t quite fancy doing on my own!  I’ve been to Gibraltar before, so I wasn’t as disappointed.  Don’t think I’ll ever forget my passport again, after this!

Since I’ve got a bit of free time on my own now, I think I’ll use the day to do the laundry (fun..), play a bit of flight sim and also do half of the work I was planning to do on Sunday.

Flybe presentation

This week is going incredibly fast, and everyday has been quite busy. I’m finding the ground school very easy so far, and my Physics degree is really helpful. I’m sure it’ll get complicated before I know it, though! There’s also a huge volume of information that needs to be learnt in a short space of time, so there the challenge lies. I’m trying to get my course mates to work together on exercise sheets, to make it easier on all of us – we all have strengths and weaknesses and I think some group work will really benefit. In any case it’s much more fun working in a group!

I’ve been spending plenty of time with friends so I’ve not really had much time to myself to just reflect and relax on my own. Still, I’m really enjoying the company around me, and we’re all really getting along. We’re planning a trip to Gibraltar this weekend, which will be fun! There’s also talk of going to Morocco some time in the future.

We had a presentation from the General Manager of Flybe on recruitment in their airline, for about an hour. The room was packed out, and I found the presentation to be quite entertaining and useful and it’s always nice to see any airline representative in person. He went through the interview & selection process, which starts off with the online application. I learnt that 50% are rejected due to them not being filled out properly – be it blank spaces, bad spelling, bad grammar or someone had just not put enough thought into them. It was advised that one should spend around 3 hours on filling out the application form. The next stage was the interview, where the best thing to do is to just be yourself.. even though I’ve found from experience that it’s hard to relax and be yourself when nervous! Still, one must try. Around 25% won’t get through the interview, and then there’s the simulator check ride left. Good attitude and learning ability is important here. If someone were to get through this, they’d be offered a place on a type-rating course, where one’s trained to fly a specific type of aircraft.

Ground School Day 2

Another day of ground school, and it flew past. The day starts with me thinking how on earth am I going to manage to get through all these hours every day? Then, before I know it, the day’s over and the time has gone fast, especially so because I’ve really enjoyed myself.

Sat by the pool and relaxed in the evening. Not trying to do too much work yet, maybe a little reading, but I’m going to pace myself – work little at a time but regularly and not too much to begin with. It’s worked for me up to now and I think it’ll work with ground school!

Ground School starts

Was a little nervous in the morning, and so couldn’t eat much. The day started with a briefing and introduction and we met our course mentor. The rest of the day involved introductions and we made a start on the ground school subjects. We had to introduce ourselves for every period and it almost sounded scripted towards the end! Nonetheless, it was really nice meeting our instructors and I can see that I’m going to really enjoy being taught by them.

The next evening involved another ironing session with some of my mates here, we had a really good laugh considering ironing isn’t the most interesting activity in the world!  Yes.. we almost felt like housewives. Time flew by today, and I think it’s finally sunk in for most of us now. Tomorrow is another 9am- 5pm ground school day and for another 20 weeks… so to bed early!

The Weekend: Rota

This is the life..eh! Well.. till ground school starts anyway!

We decided on going to Rota instead of Cádiz, as someone recommended Rota to us. I was up for it as I’ve not seen Rota yet and been to Cádiz three times already! We hired two cars and used my car as well to transport ourselves, with the help of my GPS system to Rota. Within 40 minutes we were there, parked up on the street parking where it’s free and walked down to the beach.  Spent the day there relaxing, soaking up the sun and going for a dip in the sea.

We made our way back in time for dinner and to meet a member of our course that had just arrived today. Ground school starts tomorrow! I’m both nervous and excited about it and I’m sure that things will fully sink in when we start tomorrow.

The Weekend: Jerez

Made my way to the beach again! This time I went alone to see how I’d fare driving on my own. It was a bit awkward trying to get a ticket to enter the car park when you’re driving in a country where everything is designed for the left-hand drive, and the steering wheel in my car is on the right. Nonetheless, the ticket officer there was very helpful and passed the ticket over to me. No problems at all.

Went to the city centre again to eat out with the rest of my course mates. Went there by bus and wondered out of the station and managed to find the main square!

We found a place to eat and ordered what we wanted, thanks to a girl on the course that has a better grasp of Spanish than the rest of us!

We’re planning on going to the beach tomorrow – there’s talk of going to Cádiz. We’ve really gelled together as a group, and I’m (and I’m sure the rest of my friends) are feeling much more comfortable. The nerves have gone for now, and we’re just going to enjoy the weekend.

First Day

The day started out with a few introductions from the staff at FTE followed by collecting our uniforms. On dropping my uniform off to my room I was met by some quite scary looking manuals and a flight case. A nice reminder that we’re not on holiday here! I think for now, everyone on the course including myself have decided to just enjoy the weekend and make the most of it whilst we’ve got no ground school work to do!

The rest of the day in school involved going through some paper work – necessary but, as expected, not exciting at all. At the end of it all I was just really tired.. and still there was a party to go to! I was saying that I’d turn up for an hour.. but of course, as usual, I ended up staying for much longer. The party turned out to be a lot of fun, meeting loads of new people – a group of Lebanese guys, who are really entertaining, and many other people from the courses before us. We’ll see how everyone recovers tomorrow!

Moving in…

Up to now, being in Spain had just felt like a holiday, and I think things are only beginning to sink in properly today. Got the room keys from the administration staff and then went to check out the my room for the next 14 months. It is a little smaller than the guest accommodation that was offered when I was here for interview & assessment, but I was quite happy with the size. I prefer smaller spaces that I’ll use rather than having unnecessary extra room that I’ll never use. The accommodation is of a pretty good standard here, no complaints at all!

Once we finished dropping off my things into the room, we set off for Cádiz. Came back in the evening, and today will be my first day on campus! I’ve not bothered unpacking everything yet, just my computer and some of my clothes to get rid of the large boxes crowding the room. Still quite nervous, I was invited over to the social club to meet the rest of the people on my course by the course mentor. I was quite tired and didn’t really feel in the mood to go but went anyway, as I was looking forward to meeting people on my course.

It was really nice meeting everyone, and there were one or two people that I’ve been chatting with over the net before – but it was nice to see them in person. The students and staff are a very friendly and welcoming bunch, which put me at ease. Not long after I was back in my room I received a phone call, and to my surprise it was someone I had met during my interview here in April! It was quite nice to hear a familiar, friendly voice on the phone from someone I had already met.

Having cooked, cleaned, washed and done everything myself for the last few years, it’ll probably take a few days to get used to my new luxuries of not having to do most of it apart from washing my own clothes! We have the induction tomorrow… along with a party in the evening!

Seville

Spent a day in Seville today, no beach here, just a river flowing through it. We had a nice walk along it, saw a few people canoeing and biking along.. and I got a free straw hat! By now we’ve given in the car we hired and we’re just using my car. Whilst I was at the flight school, I was kindly given the arrival information and documents ahead of time. I am a little nervous about tomorrow, which is when I move into the flight school accommodation, where I’ll be staying for the rest of my course duration – 14 months.

Gibraltar & Marbella

Got the car last night and dropped it off at FTE, which will remain there till Wednesday when we return the car that we hired. Met up with the very helpful and friendly staff at FTE to go through some details on Spanish laws concerning cars and then we were off to Gibraltar!

Driving to Gibraltar.. on the right-hand side!

Gibraltar looks like a big clump of rock surrounded by buildings. After a little confusion with passport control we entered Gibraltar. I could instantly recognise the features that are familiar to me from back home in England – the traffic lights, police cars, shops, everything in English language…

The most interesting feature was the airport. The road runs right through the airport and intersects and goes across the runway. The system is so that when an aircraft is coming into land the traffic on the road is stopped. Was quite an odd experience driving through the runway! We then went on to the coast to see if we could catch a glimpse of Morocco on the other side. We were quite lucky this time, the visibility was high, as opposed to the last time my family visited, when it was dull and raining! (Morocco below)

We then strolled over to the Mosque nearby, the building of which was funded by King Fahad of Saudi Arabia.

More photos of the mosque here. After looking around Gibraltar we headed for Marbella in the afternoon. I wasn’t really impressed with the beach at Marbella, dark and stony sand, and a quite narrow beach. Maybe I checked out a bad stretch! I did notice quite a few boats docked, I didn’t bother to walk over though, I was so exhausted. Overall, Marbella is very pretty and probably has a good night life, which is probably why it attracts so many tourists.

Was a lovely drive…to Gibraltar and Marbella.. looking forward to checking out Seville tomorrow!