“Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return.” – Leonardo da Vinci
It has been just over 3 months since I was offered a place at CAE Oxford Aviation Academy to begin training as a Commercial Airline Pilot. A lot has happened it that time, including Christmas, and I now have two days of freedom left before I start the 18 month course.
The first step on the road to COAA was getting my Class 1 Medical Certificate. The initial medical takes place at the Civil Aviation Authority’s (CAA) medical centre at Gatwick Airport. This wasn’t too much hassle for me as I live in London!
My exam was booked in for 8.30am, which wasn’t the best idea as I had been working in Birmingham the previous day and didn’t get home until 2am. The CAA headquarters is an impressive building housing the offices that regulate the UK’s aviation. The medical unit is a relatively small area on the ground floor. The exam covers everything you could images from in-depth hearing and sight tests, Blood test, ECG, Breathing test, etc. The exam started pretty quickly being taken from room to room, conducting each part of the test in a different room. I was sat in the waiting room after 30 minutes and having completed the whole medical and was waiting to see the doctor. After 2 hours the doctor was ready to see me. After a quick chat and check up I was told they wanted to look into my history of headaches before issuing my certificate.
Back in London I went to see my GP and collecting all information he had on file relating to headaches. After a few weeks waiting the CAA issued my Class 1 Medical Certificate!
After receiving my medical certificate the only thing left for my to have in place before confirming my place at COAA was my loan. The loan for trainee pilots is offered by the Spanish bank Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria (BBVA). The application form was pretty straight forward and COAA provide a business plan detailing the training and work possibilities, which really help with securing the loan. The difficult part of the application is collecting all of the extra information they require, like old bank statements, business accounts, etc… After about two months I had a message from BBVA to say my application had been successful and I could confirm my place with COAA. At the beginning of December I received confirmation from Oxford, I am booked on course AP358 starting on 24th January – this Friday!
The past few weeks I have been wrapping up my theatre career, saying goodbye to the many work colleagues I have become friends with over the past 8 years. It is a great feeling to have the support of so many people as I start a very exciting new chapter in my life.