I’ve wanted to be a pilot since I was 12. On my first day of secondary school, my form teacher got us to write down our hopes for after school. One of the questions we had to answer was what career we would like. After 6 years of secondary school and having completely forgotten about this small insignificant piece of paper, we were handed these back on our last day – “I want to be a Pilot”.
During those 6 years at secondary school I knew exactly what I wanted to be. I did work experience with Aer Lingus, the Irish Air Corps, AFTA, the RAF and the Irish Coast Guard. I also went for my first flying lesson that only confirmed that this is what I wanted to do. It’s safe to say that I made my guidance counsellor’s life very easy!
Then came the infamous time of picking a college course. At first I wasn’t sure which course to take – I just wanted to fly! Unfortunately it’s quite difficult to get straight into flight training after leaving school unless you get a cadetship or have the funds for a flight school – I certainly didn’t have the money lying around.
During an event at the Helix in DCU I heard about the Aviation Management degree with optional Pilot Studies. I was convinced there and then that this course was the one for me. A balance between Aviation and Business modules meant that I’d be a well-rounded graduate at the end with the option of doing my flight training in my final year.
In college I’ve been able to get stuck into as much as I can. I was Class Rep for my course this year and was Chairperson of the Aviation Society in DCU. I also got a chance to start flying and I’m currently building towards by PPL (Private Pilot Licence). I’ve been able to fly from Weston and Navan which has been really enjoyable. While it’s not cheap, it means I’m constantly putting the theory I learn in college into practice which helps with learning (and it’s also really fun!). DCU offer the PPL Theoretical Knowledge Syllabus to students which usually costs €900-€1000 to do privately but is included in our fees which is a big plus. It takes a few extra hours of work to do outside of normal class time but is definitely worth doing.
I’m hoping to get a cadetship in the next couple of years and if not, I’ve been saving up money and the Bank of Mum and Dad might need to be called on for a loan to get through my Flight Training.
I’ve loved my time in DCU so far and can’t wait to get back on campus where all the real fun is. Quite often there are people heading over to Dublin Airport to do some plane spotting after lectures which is a nice place to relax. I’m still flying when the weather allows but the Irish weather really does try to test your patience sometimes. It has really helped me to stay motivated and focused for a career in the cockpit after college.
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