Life of a Cadet
By Lachlan Boyd
I was really pleased when I had finally completed my CPL flight test, gained a Commercial Licence, and wondered where to from there.
The initial hurdle was (which a lot of people ask):
- Do I complete my Multi Engine Instrument Rating? OR
- Do I complete an Instructor Rating?
If you can do both, then awesome! I guess, both give you significant knowledge which is important for your future career. But, MECIR you will basically need for the majority of careers, and instructing lets you start teaching what you know and building your hours sooner rather than later, again, hours being of importance for your experience in aviation and your future career path.
For me, based on my timing when entering the industry, the Instructor Rating was the best option for me. So, I registered my interest for the TVSA Cadet Pilot Program midway through my studies of the Diploma of Aviation.
Upon completion of my commercial licence, I was invited for an interview with the schools directors. Whilst I was intimidated at first, I really didn’t need to be. The directors were relaxed, enthusiastic and excited to learn about me, what I liked to do and what my goals in my career/life were.
Luckily for me, I was successful. Even if I wasn’t, it would’ve just made my decision easier to go on and continue studying for the Multi Engine Instrument Rating. I guess for me, if I had the opportunity to get into the work force, I would’ve taken it ASAP.
The Instructor Rating was intense. I’m not going to sit here and write that it was a breeze. You think you have an idea of aerodynamics until you have to teach it to your teacher! Probably didn’t help that Charlie (instructor) was ex Singapore Air Force, and James (previous cadet) knew what questions to ask which really got you thinking, sending you down one rabbit hole at a time. Then, making briefs by night, presenting them by day, being critiqued, then the flying component. So, you absolutely must be prepared to put in some hard work, as well as be prepared for both positive and negative feedback, all of which is constructive!
In saying the above, it was also so much fun! Flying every day for 3 months basically. Your knowledge for aviation will increase exponentially during this period, but you may also learn a thing or two about yourself that you didn’t know.
Then it came to the flight test – I had John Chew. He stands about 6ft 4in tall (so it’s hard not to be intimidated), but a true gentleman in nature. John has an incredible background in aviation and carries with him an absolute wealth of knowledge. Even if you were to blow your presentation out of the park, he will throw a curveball at you because he wants to share his knowledge and educate as much as he can along his journey. But he’s the type of guy you could listen to talk all day long.
Anywho, I passed!
I’m 20 months into my cadetship, and I love it. But let’s start with the challenges. I started working in aviation in 2020, the year of the virus. A worldwide pandemic which has unfortunately crippled the industry. However, I remain optimistic that it will be relatively short term.
Whilst we couldn’t fly, we could still teach. If we weren’t teaching, we were updating our materials that we use to teach. This was really beneficial, not only for TVSA but for personal growth and understanding of what is it that we are actually teaching. We spent an enormous amount of time updating the new Flight Training Manuals for RPL and PPL/CPL. These training manuals really are the best I have seen of the schools around us. They provide a seamless transition throughout your flight training from one lesson to the next. The quality of students’ preflight knowledge has improved which is promising to see. There is also a huge amount of other content outside of flying directly – like refuelling procedures and how carbe heat works – which supplements students on the way to obtaining their relevant licences. So personally, I think they’re great! I wish I had them for my training.
This lockdown time also gave us time to go through and update a lot of our PowerPoint briefings, and the content of these now really aligns to the new training manuals, along with some visual improvements.
Maybe this was work that needed doing for sometime, which lockdown gave us the opportunity to do!
Back flying, it’s awesome. I love taking people for a flight. Whether it’s someone’s first flight, telling someone they can go on their first solo navigation, or throwing the kitchen sink at a commercial student, it’s great fun.
I’ve had a couple of students who were impacted by the lockdowns. They were just about to go solo then couldn’t fly for months. Upon return, got back in the aircraft for a general handling session then straight back into the circuit. After a few attempts, bang, there was the first solos for them. That was really pleasing to see!! Huge confidence booster and they haven’t looked back since. Probably one of the most rewarding things I’ve seen. Just their commitment to stay focused on their training and achieve the goals that they originally set out to do. I’ve got a couple of students who started with me and now obtaining CPLs. That’s really cool to see.
The team of instructors and administrative personnel at TVSA are rad!! It’s really fun walking into work and everyone knows everyone. Whether it be how they take their coffee (Ash – white with no sugar because he’s sweet enough) or the Bahn Mi order (James takes pork belly, with chilli but no coriander), giving Dan Hadler a heads up when the English cricket team has a batting collapse or just simply replying to anything that Albert Molina says with “you are.” It’s all great fun and I enjoy being a part of the comradery every day. The social gatherings in person had taken a hit throughout lockdowns. But that just left us all with an opportunity to play online games. You think you know someone until you play some of those games! Good fun!
Anyways, Grade 2 instructor is next. Then I best tick off the MECIR!
Enough from me.
Want to know more about our current Cadet Program? Click here.