My Type Rating, the specialisation course for the Boeing 717, started in January 2015, a month after I got the good news. The timing was perfect, on my last day at work we finished the project we had been working on for a year. All my colleagues were so happy for me as they knew I was going to achieve my dreams.
In September 2014, less than a year after graduation, I got an e-mail from my flight school to ask if I could send my CV. An Airline was visiting the school to go through the CVs of graduates. I sent my CV immediately and a few weeks later I was invited for the pilot selection. I asked for days off at work and went with my roommate Ruben, who was also invited for the selections, to Barcelona. We went a few days earlier to study together and be fully prepared for the interviews.
After Ruben and I passed our MCC exam, we officially finished the integrated ATPL course. I moved back to Holland and received my licence. It felt very strange to be back in Holland, I missed Spain a lot. A month later, on 10 December 2013, I was very happy to go back to Madrid for a few days: I was going to receive my pilot wings!
After my CPL exam, a whole new challenge came up: I was going to fly the Piper Seneca, a slightly bigger airplane with two engines! We did 25 hours on this new type of plane in order to get the Multi Engine Rating.
It was a different type of airplane, so the cockpit was significantly different with regards to the location of the flap handle, the engine start buttons and other avionics (electronic items in the aircraft).
After my first solo, I continued flying with instructors to learn how to navigate visually (VFR – Visual Flight Rules), to practice engine failures and advanced manoeuvres such as stalls and steep turns. When my knowledge and skills were good enough, I had my Private Pilot Licence (PPL) exam. I flew with an examiner and he let me do a visual navigation, do some simulated engine failures and show him some manoeuvres. I passed the exam and received my very first pilot licence. A very valuable step in my career as a pilot!
After about 10 months of studying a lot, I was ready to go for the theory exams. First, I had to do internal exams at the flight school to show that I was properly prepared and as I passed them all, I was allowed to go for the official exams.
After three months of theory classes, we got the Cessna course. One week of learning all about the Cessna 172, the airplane we were soon going to fly! After the Cessna theory exam, it was time for the simulator sessions. The simulator had all the features of the Cessna cockpit, so we could practice well and simulate flights on ground.
In October 2011 I finally started flight school, as you could read here. All was new for me. I moved to a different country, lived on my own for the first time and started a course that I honestly did not know much about yet. All the courses were given in English and although my English was fairly good, I did not know many technical words and expressions that were used a lot during the course. Slowly but surely I managed to find my way and I was lucky to have roommates that were in the same situation.