Month: February 2009

Ryanair!

Ryanair 737-800 just after take off.
Ryanair 737-800 just after take off.

I’ve not updated for a while since I’ve been so busy since I graduated, job hunting!  Unfortunately this economic down-turn has affected most of us that have been looking for jobs, in any industry.  Even the flight schools are struggling to help their students with finding jobs as opportunities dry up.  British Airways froze their recruitment to the dismay of may flight schools along with a whole bunch of other airlines.  To make matters worse, airlines such as Zoom and XL collapsed resulting in many experienced pilots being pushed out onto the job market, making it even more difficult for those only just graduated out of flight school to compete for jobs.

After sending many CVs and applications – most of them replying with a “sorry we are not recruiting” emails, I finally got a call from Ryanair!  After a brief telephone interview, I was invited in for an assessment on 10 December.  I was called just at the end of October, so I had plenty of time to prepare and try to calm my nerves.  I read up everything I could on Ryanair from various news sources on the Internet, Wikipedia, watching YouTube videos, talking to Ryanair flight crew, loaning books out of the library on Ryanair & its history, and their website had many details including financial reports, an about page and current news on the company.  On top of that, I made sure I would be prepared for the technical interview and revisited my ground school books and notes and surprisingly it did come back to me all very quickly, so the study during flight school had paid off!

Ryanair send you a brief in advance so that you can prepare for the simulator.  I didn’t book in any time on a simulator like most other candidates I spoke to did, as I couldn’t get a slot, and I had heard that most airlines prefer you not to, as they want to see your ability to learn and not how much you’ve learnt from a previous simulator session.  I’m still not sure what Ryanair would have wanted.  Instead, I prepared for the simulator by reading up as much information as I could on the 737-800 and websites such as SmartCockpit, Airliners.net, Wikipedia helped.  I also looked up google for images of the flight deck so I could familiarise myself with the layout and then I used Microsoft Flight Simulator to ensure my instrument scan was up to speed.

Assessment day approached very quickly and the day before the assessment, I drove down to East Midlands Airport and stayed overnight at the Thistle hotel to be ready for the next day.  The assessment was done all in one day and included an interview and simulator check.  It was my first time in a full-motion 737-800 simulator, and it was truly and exhilarating experience and it put me on a real high after it!  The assessment day itself lasted till around 5pm for me.  There were around 6 other candidates and we turned up at 9.30pm and were given an induction on the assessment, and then my interview was at around just after 3pm with the simulator check afterwards.  The entire assessment was really friendly and relaxed, and I think they intend it to be that way so they can get the best out of you, as they know we’d all be very nervous!  Overall, I really enjoyed the day and then after a short wait I got the phone call saying that I had passed the assessment and would be contacted in January again.

I was contacted last Friday and was given the date for the type rating, which will start on 8th June.  I was expecting a start around then, as we were told that they had frozen recruitment due to various factors and that there would be a wait.  This will give me plenty of time to spend quality time with family before I start.  I’ve always been a Boeing fan, so I’m really excited to start flying the 737-800!