P1020706.jpg

James Clay

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

Twice I thought it was something I wanted to do! The first was when I was 7 years old on a flight to New York on a Virgin 747, I was given the chance to go to the cockpit, and seeing the view and what they were doing excited me! The second time was when I had my first trial flight when I was 13, that was 30 minutes of pure excitement, and that’s the point when I got the bug for it.

When and where did you first learn to fly?

My first few hours were based at Dunkeswell in Devon but my PPL and Night rating were completed at BCFT at Bournemouth Airport

What are you looking forward to the most about being an airline pilot?

The ability to further enhance my career and that feeling of waking up knowing I’m doing something that I love, and at the same time, getting paid to do it. It doesn’t get much better than knowing you’ll see the sun everyday and have the responsibility of getting people to a destination safely.

James and the rest of APS MCC class 1822, who have now all secured a job. From left to right - James (Flybe), Scott (Ryanair), Ken (Ryanair), Thomas (Flybe), Matthew (Ryanair), Luke (Ryanair).

James and the rest of APS MCC class 1822, who have now all secured a job. From left to right - James (Flybe), Scott (Ryanair), Ken (Ryanair), Thomas (Flybe), Matthew (Ryanair), Luke (Ryanair).

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

Bereavement, loss of relationships, ground school and my first airline going into administration within 24 hours of taking the job!

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

Don’t get bogged down if something doesn’t go your way, we all have those days. Focus on the end goal and keep striving for it. It will seem a long way, but the satisfaction you get when you land that first job at the end of everything is unrivaled!

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

I couldn’t see myself doing anything else, maybe either a pilot in the air force or navy, or perhaps something to do with aviation, either working in a terminal or an instructor.

James (right) and his training partner Ken (left) in our Boeing 737-800 simulator.

James (right) and his training partner Ken (left) in our Boeing 737-800 simulator.

When did you land your first airline job?

I landed my first job on the 14th February 2019 with flyBMI and then, shortly after the administration issues with the airline, I secured a job with Flybe on 28th March 2019.

What aircraft will you be flying for your airline?

At the moment it could be anything, but I’m hoping for the Embraer 190/170. If not it will be the Dash 8 Q400.

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

Its a career like no other, to be flying as a job is something most people dream of, it has some lows but the highs will far outweigh them. Being in charge of machines that do over 500mph is pretty cool! Its challenging and if you like to push yourself to be the best you can then you will love this as a career. To be in a place where people look up to you is such a privilege and being part of such fantastic teams and organisations who pay you to travel the world and have the best seat in a plane. You can’t beat it.