Matthews Giles a former Simtech Aviation cadet, has just completed his first year at Flybe. In our interview, he goes through what you learn during a type rating, why he enjoys flying the Dash 800 and what advice he would give to future pilots. Flybe have hired a large number of cadets from Simtech Aviation and is known as a great airline to fly for.
Q: Having passed your airline assessment with Flybe, what was your type rating training like and what did it involve?
A: Completing an assessment in any line of work is a nervous experience, but the recruitment team at Flybe really puts you at ease. From the interview to the sim check, you really feel at home – Everyone was so friendly.
I completed my assessment in April, with a start date in July. The first element of the Dash 8 Q400 type rating started with the theory, this was about 6 weeks. This is an intensive part of the training with a lot of information being delivered and does require dedication, but it’s structured, with brilliant instructors, so don’t worry.
Once the final theory exams were all completed, you are onto the simulator training. I ended up starting the sim 5 days after finishing ground school, some have longer, it all depends.
Before you start the full motion sims, you do two sessions on the flat panel trainer, this is a great way to complete touch drills and familiarise yourself with the layout.
After that you would start in the full motion sim. Every lesson is structured with a full brief and de brief, so aren’t thrown into the deep end. Plus, you’ll have all the material needed to do your preparation before you start your type rating. The training academy has two mock ups of the Dash 8 flight deck, so yourself and your sim partner can really take advantage before entering the sim. You’ll do roughly 9 sim sessions and with your LPC/OPC scheduled normally the day after your last sim.
Q: You are type rated on the Dash 8, what’s your thoughts on it?
A: The Dash is an awesome machine to fly. Some say it’s like flying a big Cessna, but it’s definitely more quirky. In an airbus you press a button and away you go, but this is totally different, which makes it so much fun. I love flying the Dash as it’s a challenging aircraft to fly, and really keeps your skills high. We do a variety of short 20 minute flights to just over an hour. From ILS approaches to RNAV approaches, the variety is good. I was descending into BHD only the other day on a beautiful CAVOK morning, and managed to do a visual approach, it was amazing. This enables your flying skills to be on point, but also taking advantage of the good weather and doing something different.
The Dash 8 is great as a first aircraft type, and will really teach you a lot.
Q: How would you describe your first flight?
A: I remember my first flight like it was only yesterday. A combination of nerves and excitement of getting my hands onto the controls for the first time. Nothing can prepare you for the feeling of flying passengers for the first time, it’s an unforgettable experience.
Q: Do you still get that excitement? Can you also explain why London City Airport is your favourite approach?
A: Every day in aviation is a learning day. You get the chance to fly with different captains from a variety of different backgrounds, and they all have their own experience and knowledge. It’s great, you’re always learning. The more you fly your aircraft type, the more confidence and of course the more experience you gain. Every day is different, one day you could be flying in calm conditions, and next avoiding a huge build-up of thunderstorms.
LCY is by far my favourite place to visit, being a CAT C airport we have to complete sim training before being part of the crew who operate into there. With its 5.5 degree glide path, combined with a short runway, poses huge challenges. Unfortunately, I don’t get to fly the approach as it’s a captains only approach and landing, but it’s still exciting monitoring as an FO. Plus, the FO would normally fly the departure, so that’s pretty cool.
Q: One year on, how would you describe your journey from starting your PPL to your first Commercial airline job?
A: The journey for me started in 2013 with a career initially in retail. I brought myself a trial lesson with no real aspiration at the time of pursuing a career in aviation. The first time I took off, the instructor turned around to me and was like “Matt you can take control now”. I was like “Ok”, with a face that painted a thousand words. From that moment on I fell in love with everything aviation, with a mind that wasn’t going to stop until I achieved my dream in becoming an airline pilot.
I completed my training via the modular route, working and paying for my training each step of the way. Financially I struggled, but that wasn’t going to stop me achieving my dream.
I completed my training in a number of different locations. PPL (Rochester) ATPL (Bournemouth) and CPL/IR (Sweden). Chosen for a number of reasons, cost and quality mainly.
The last stage of the training being the MCC/JOC. Before choosing Simtech Aviation I did look at some alternatives, but it was a no brainer for me. Simtech Aviation has the reputation and quality, with second to none instructors, I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Two months after completing flight training, I had an interview with Flybe and started, it was brilliant.
Q: What does the future hold for you and Flybe?
A: I’m really exciting in what could happen in the future. The great thing with aviation is the opportunities, and with the current market the opportunities are endless. I’m really happy with Flybe and gaining experience on such a great aircraft. I could potentially be eligible to be a captain in a few years. I really enjoy the short flights and experience I gain doing that, so maybe the long haul won’t suit me. I’m open minded and enjoy the people and every aspect of flying, so who knows what the future holds.
In terms of Flybe as a company, it’s a vital part of the network across the UK and will only continue to grow.
Q: What advice would you give to someone just starting their type rating with Flybe?
A: No doubt you’ll have a million and one things rushing through your brain, but there’s no need to stress too much about it. The course is structured from day one so you know what’s going on. Prior to starting ground school getting your head into the technical will help massively. There’s also a number of different apps you can purchase with the lay out of the flight deck of the Dash 8, really helps in terms of familiarisation. Prior to the sims it’s vital you get those SOP’s nailed, it makes the process so much easier for yourself and the instructor. Just go in with a positive, can do attitude and just enjoy the experience.