Oliver Monk, Physics with Mathematics (2017)

Name – Oliver Monk‌

Degree – Physics with Mathematics (First)

Graduated – 2017

Current Employment Trainee Pilot, L3 Airline Academy

What are the main responsibilities of your job?

I’m currently training to be a commercial airline pilot with easyJet, flying their fleet of Airbus A319/A320/A321 type aircraft. The biggest responsibility is to ensure the safe operation of the flight, which is easyJet’s biggest value. Safety must not be compromised regardless of the situation. The day to day job may consist of 2 to 4 sectors (flights), depending on the length, which you will be operating together with another pilot with you on the flight deck and a team of cabin crew. Normally, easyJet operate on a shift pattern which consists of 5 early starts followed by 4 days off, then 5 late starts followed by 3 days off, as well as standby days where you have to be ready to get to the airport on short notice. Before each flight a walk around of the aircraft will be completed by the pilot flying that particular sector, where the main components of the aeroplane will be examined before the flight. This consists of checking the wheel assemblies, pitot tubes, static ports, engines etc. and making sure everything in general is how it should be.

EasyJet also expect you to be a good ambassador to the company, which means things like showing your face at the end of the flight and saying farewell to passengers, ensuring your uniform is smart and making sure you maintain a professional public image for the company at all times (not snap-chatting on the flight deck for example :D). There are also opportunities for pilot open days, where you can go and represent easyJet and chat to people who are looking into becoming a pilot.

Which skills are important for your job?

There are many important skills you need before you can consider becoming a pilot and the list is probably too long to talk about all of them. You need to be mathematically proficient (not to a maths degree level but at least A-Level standard) to be able to calculate performance figures for example; good problem solving skills and being able to analyse situations you’ve never come across before in a methodical and logical manner and communication and teamwork is one of the most important skills due to the nature of the job, where you are working together with another pilot.

Another important skill is your hand-eye co-ordination and being mechanically minded in general. Flying the aeroplane is the most important part, so being able to think ahead what you expect the aircraft to do after an input to the flight controls is obviously crucial. I think the main reason I’ve always wanted to become a pilot was the fact that the job involves both mentally and physically challenging aspects. Being able to land in a 30-knot crosswind as well as solving problems on the go while in the air has always appealed to me.

What are the highlights of the job?

At the moment I can’t give much information on the day to day job as I’m still in training, but the main highlight for me until now has been the amazing people who I’ve met in the past few months who share the same interests and passion as me. It really does make your days enjoyable and the industry as a whole is extremely professional and is such a nice and friendly environment to be in.

How did you find your job?

I signed up to the L3 airline academy newsletter, and when the generation easyJet sponsored pilot programme opened I got an email and I applied for it. I’d recommend browsing the L3 airline academy website (Link: https://www.l3airlineacademy.com/career-programs) and clicking on some of the airline tagged schemes. I’d also seriously recommend going to one of the many open days across the country if you’re serious about becoming a pilot (details of which can be found on the events page on the website).

The application is a multi-day process and includes an aptitude test which examines your hand eye co-ordination, problem solving etc, a group task which tests your teamwork and communication, and a one-on-one interview with easyJet so they can find out a bit about your personality and you as a person in general.

General advice

Go to one of the open days and speak to some of the pilots. They’re the best source of information in the industry as they will give you an unbiased view (unlike some of the airline academies). Also, if you are seriously considering becoming a pilot I’d be happy to answer any specific questions you have via email (oliver.monktp@gmail.com). I would have liked to have someone who knew the ins and outs before I applied because I didn’t realise how much there was to it.