It has been 11 years actually but if you don’t tell anyone I won’t do that as well. (I wrote this before the corona crisis)
If I look back on my aviation career I made some mistakes as well, things that I would have done differently but also things that I’m very proud of. Let us start at the beginning.
I started with my flight school in September 2007 and finished in 2009. I started with the “NLS”, at that time it was the right flight school for me but if I look back on it I wouldn’t have gone to Portugal to do the flying part. Some of the instructors had more fun trying to break students then they had fun in teaching. The expected that if you have seen something in a book that you could automatically do it on the plane. Like I said some instructors did a better job than others but nevertheless at the beginning, I didn’t think it was the right way.
After I finished flight school I didn’t fly for a while and because of the economic depression, it was very hard to get a job. It got me in financial trouble and I was way too late to ask the bank I lent money from to ask for help. That meant I couldn’t make a normal living at that time and did anything I could to keep flying. I got into contact with a guy that started up a new company in Lelystad (close to my home). I worked my ass off in the office and after some time I was able to do Check-out flights on a Cessna 172.
Looking for hours so with the help of some friends I got introduced to a parachute company from the northern island Texel. Flying about 8 hours a day that I could log on a Cessna 182. Now imagine a 20-year-old guy, flying but no money to even buy food if it wasn’t for the help of my parents. I did that for about 4 years.
I tried to get a job but the longer you are out of school and without jet hours the more difficult it gets to find a job in an airline. This was my problem as well. I couldn’t pay any money as well for a type-rating because the bank just denied every request anyone ever did. There I was, no money to do a type-rating and no company that hired if you weren’t able to pay your own type-rating.
CAE, a company I worked for as an operator already to make at least some money, called me if I could start a type-rating to help out on the Challenger 300 in the simulator. I took the opportunity because that was the only option to do a type-rating. After 1 year of working as a seat support pilot, I was offered a job on a jet. I’m still working for this company.
If I look back on it all I think that I made a good decision to keep flying and pushing. I only regret the bank part. I should have told them faster that I had financial problems.
If you ever come in a similar position I would advise you to ask for help. Ask friends, and ever start a conversation with the bank. It is a very hard life if you don’t do that.