FTA-global provides 100% UK based commercial pilot training, from a fully operational airport (the site of the nation’s first flying school) and uses the latest training aircraft. Spending more time with each student than most other flight schools, FTA works hard to prepare every trainee pilot for a career in aviation. It’s vital to equip every student with the skills and confidence they need to succeed in the aviation industry; FTA graduates have secured jobs with major airlines, including easyJet, Ryanair, Monarch and Aer Lingus Regional. Other graduates have gone on to become pilots with Cathay Pacific, Qatar Airways, Etihad, Lion Air, Arik Air, Iraqi Airways and Susi Air.

Flying Career Development

FTA also offers all students additional career development support after successful completion of their course, including CV development and interview technique practice. Flight instructors work hard to help students achieve the best results possible – one of the key ways to impress a prospective airline employer, according to FTA.

The Fleet and Simulators

FTA owns one of the most modern fleets of training aircraft in the world, chosen for their exceptional safety record and enabling students to train on similar systems to those found in modern commercial airliners. Currently, FTA utilises both single-engine piston (SEP) and multi- engine piston (MEP) aircraft – all maintained in accordance with and exceeding stringent European EASA regulations.

In addition, FTA operates two simulators; the Diamond DA42 and Cessna Citation. The simulators are invaluable for training, enabling FTA flight instructors to replicate extremes of weather and emergencies at the touch of a button – for example, it’s possible to reproduce conditions of a freezing cold winter when the students are training in the height of summer or vice versa. The simulators also allow instructors and students to simulate emergencies that would otherwise be too dangerous to simulate in real life, such as engine failure during take-off at a height of less than 500ft. FTA can also position a student at airfields that would physically be too far to travel to, allowing the student to fly more challenging and varied approaches.

Simulators are an important factor when choosing a flight school because they can reduce the amount of time a student would need to fly if he/she were conducting a course in an aircraft only, reports FTA. ‘The simulators give us the ability to reposition the aircraft, so that we can repeat exercises until students are up to a good standard, without the need to fit in with other aircraft and Air Traffic Control restrictions that would add time to the flight’, says James Piper, Flight Instructor at FTA.

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At FTA, students enjoy the rewards of being part of a tight knit community, with people who share the dream of becoming a pilot. Students make friends for life while training at FTA and celebrate each other’s successes, often supporting each other through the challenges of the course.

As well as the facilities, it’s the people who make the difference, according to FTA. Dedicated instructors are knowledgeable, approachable and they create the perfect environment in which to help students succeed. As a parent, it’s important to find out as much information as possible before selecting the right flying school for your son or daughter. Many FTA students choose pilot training as an alternative to university, while some join soon after graduation from a degree course. For some people, gaining a degree is very important and FTA strives to offer degree-based opportunities for students. FTA’s integrated pilot training route is highly vocational, intensive and can take less than 16 months to complete. As a result it is important for FTA to take on students who demonstrate leadership, logical skills, focus, dedication and a willingness to achieve.

Flying Safety and Efficiency

Student safety is always FTA’s first priority. The UK enjoys a global reputation for safety, due in part to the rigorous requirements of the Civil Aviation Authority. Flight conditions in the UK match those that students will face as career pilots, which is why FTA chooses to offer 100% UK based pilot training. For international students, training in the UK also gives them an added advantage as English is the international aviation language. FTA believes that UK trained students make better commercial pilots.

Training to become a commercial pilot is resource intensive. It involves highly skilled people using sophisticated equipment, as well as ongoing costs such as aviation fuel and aircraft maintenance. To mitigate this, FTA applies strict operational procedures that ensure their aircraft and simulators are managed and used efficiently, helping to lower course fees without compromising on quality or safety. FTA works very hard to make their courses accessible to people with different budgets and time commitments.

The Integrated Flight Deck Programme

FTA’s Integrated Flight Deck Programme is ideal for students who are thinking about their options after A-levels.This popular course takes students with little or no flying experience to a ‘Frozen ATPL’ in 14-16 months. On successful completion of the course, students can apply for a First Officer role with an airline and start earning a competitive salary. Once they gain 1,500 hours’ of flight experience, their ATPL becomes ‘unfrozen’ and they are eligible to be promoted to Captain by the employer airline, depending upon the airline’s requirements. This full-time, integrated course is the preferred training route for most airlines and FTA runs the Integrated Flight Deck Programme continuously throughout the year. With entry requirements of 5 GCSEs (including Maths and English) and preferably two A-Levels, students can join the Integrated Flight Deck programme, from the age of 17 and will need to obtain an EASA class 1 medical certificate to join the course.

Airline Career Prospects

‘On successful completion of the Integrated Flight Deck programme, you can join an airline on a starting salary of £30,000-£50,000 and in five to six years you could be earning £100,000 as a captain’, explains Jonathan Candelon, managing director of FTA. ‘The reputation of UK trained pilots abroad is very good and they can get jobs anywhere in the world. Once you’ve qualified and gained employment, you have job security to look forward to’, he adds.

In addition to competitive starting salary prospects, a good return on the pilot training investment, a shorter route into employment and job security, the Office of National Statistics annual survey of Hours and Earnings for 2013, lists ‘airline pilot’ at number two on the their list of highest paid jobs in the UK. However, it seems that qualified pilots are in short supply.

With forecasts that 235,000 more pilots will be needed worldwide over the next seven years to meet the growing demand for air travel and fill the gap caused by a generation of retiring pilots, FTA is now embarking on its biggest ever recruitment drive in the UK. Jonathan Candelon summarises pilot shortage the situation, by saying ‘There are around 22,000 commercial jets globally and this is forecast to grow to 40,000 by 2030. But there are just fewer than 150,000 pilots; over the next few years, the aviation industry needs to find a further 235,000 not only to meet the demands for more airline travel but also replace retiring pilots.’

Prospective students are welcome to contact FTA, to find out more.

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