P1020365.jpg

Andrew Heap

When did you know you wanted to be an airline pilot?

It was always my number one job, from being very young. After leaving full time education I accepted the fact that it was a near impossibility to fund the training costs and so I developed a 15 year career in financial services, which ultimately enabled me to fund my flight training at a later stage.

When and where did you first learn to fly?

I started my PPL in late 2015 with a clear plan and timeline for all of the stages needed to achieve a frozen ATPL, which I gained in mid 2018. The majority of my practical flight training was done with Multiflight / PTT at Leeds Bradford airport. ATPL studies were at Bristol Ground School and the final stage of modular training was the APS MCC course with VA.

What is your favourite thing about being an airline pilot?

At this early stage everything is a new experience, from meeting and working with new crew to handling a large commercial aircraft and adapting to a variety of different roster patterns. My favourite thing so far is the hand flying experience on the line.

APS MCC class 1818 graduates Christophe, Jean, Will, Oscar, Ryan, Adar and Andrew who now fly for a range of airlines including Ryanair, Thomas Cook and Saxon Air.

APS MCC class 1818 graduates Christophe, Jean, Will, Oscar, Ryan, Adar and Andrew who now fly for a range of airlines including Ryanair, Thomas Cook and Saxon Air.

What challenges did you overcome on your journey to becoming an airline pilot?

I have a young family so the time and monetary sacrifices needed along the way had to be managed well. I also found that modular training needs a lot of management on the part of the trainee, otherwise progress could be difficult to maintain. Basically juggling family, work and training commitments is a real challenge at times.

What advice would you give yourself at the start of your airline journey if you could?

Don’t try to become too comfortable with a specific aircraft / instructor / route etc. Accept that some days won’t be as good as others and learn from the negative experiences and challenging days. Flight training is definitely a challenge, in many ways, and I would encourage anybody to experience the challenges and overcome them rather than trying to avoid them or becoming too comfortable.

If you weren’t an airline pilot what would you be?

Since making the step into aviation as a career I wouldn’t want to do anything else. Naturally there are things that can disrupt the career of a pilot, such as medical issues or industry / company changes, but even in this case I would want to work within commercial aviation.

Adar (left) and Andrew (right) who now fly for Ryanair and Thomas Cook respectively.

Adar (left) and Andrew (right) who now fly for Ryanair and Thomas Cook respectively.

Andrew in our Boeing 737 simulator during his APS MCC training.

Andrew in our Boeing 737 simulator during his APS MCC training.

When did you land your first airline job?

November 2018, around 6 weeks after finishing the APS MCC. The VA course was incredible in that it 100% prepared me for airline assessment. Further to that, once I began the type rating a lot of the sim sessions were very similar to the ones I had already done at VA. In terms of providing a bridge between CPL/MEIR stage and type rating with an airline I can’t think of a better place than VA.

What aircraft are you currently flying for your airline?

Airbus A321.

For those thinking about becoming an airline pilot, would you recommend it, and why?

Absolutely yes, because it’s so addictive!