It has been a crazy few days but I have now been registered and officially started as a trainee pilot at CAE Oxford Aviation Academy!
Friday morning, enrolment day, was exciting but I also felt quite nervous. I met the rest of the group at 8.20am in the schools restaurant where we had coffee and continued getting to know each other (not too difficult after Thursday night). There are 11 of us in total and a further 9 who are sponsored by Emirates.
After about half an hour we were taken up to the lecture theatre and given our official course welcome. We were briefed on how difficult the task ahead is and given advice on how to approach the study and life around the school. COAA operate an airline environment from day 1 so you are always expected to work with that mindset. We were also given a motto which really stuck in my head: “Being good is not good enough”
Following this welcome we received our health and safety briefing. Its quite a dull subject and most of it is common sense, however COAA made it much more interesting adding videos of Faulty Tower and Live at the Apollo to punctuate a point.
Next we went to collect our uniforms. This took quite a bit longer than I thought it would! The uniform consists of a COAA Shirt with epaulettes (one silver bar for ground school, 2 gold bars following Phoenix and 3 gold bars for First Officer), navy trousers, navy tie, a COAA jumper (we are give a thick jumper and a thin jumper) and a COAA pilot jacket. It is a very smart uniform and I feel very proud when I am wearing it!
While we were trying our uniforms on lots of my course mates had to exchange items for different sizes – including me! I can imagine it happens quite regularly on the first day!
Once we were all satisfied with our uniform we had a short half hour break. I took the opportunity to take my uniform back to my room at Langford Hall.
After our break it was time to have our security pictures taken and collect our books. The school had a professional photographer as the pictures would also be used for our USA Visa applications. After the pictures we went to collect our cardboard box full of books. Before we took the books we were given a warning that the books weighed 50 kilos! – thats heavy! Books in hand we went back to exam room, where we had been based all morning, to complete quite a bit of paperwork. We were handed a folder with our COAA registration documents, NHS registration documents (for the local doctor and our new AME) and a registration form for Bucks New University (where we will be awarded our foundation degree). Forms completed and passport/Class 1 medical handed over and we were finished for the day. On our way out of school of flight bags were waiting for us.
The flight bags are full of lots of interesting things that will obviously be explained to us over the coming weeks as we progress through Ground School.
That evening we all ventured into Oxford for dinner and a few drinks. It was a great night and I didn’t get back to my room until 1.30am, a time I am unlikely to see again (unless I am still studying!)
Saturday morning I was up at 7.00am to head back to London for the weekend to make the most of my free time before the mountain of work next week!