On 8 March 1910, a female received a pilot license for the first time in global history. This grand moment is remembered worldwide every year during Aviation Worldwide Week (WOAW). This week that takes place 8-14 March aims to inspire females to pursue their aviation-related dreams even if the target point seems too hard to reach at first glance. Our student, Iva Sponarova from the Czech Republic, is one of the minority females who took her destiny into her own hands and decided to become a professional pilot. Curious to find out what’s on her mind? She’s glad to share some of her thoughts with you!
How I decided to become a pilot
I was six years old when I was on a flight for the first time. It was for a family vacation to Mallorca. Since then, I have loved planes and started thinking of becoming a cabin crew. My dream came true – I started working as a flight attendant for one of the best airlines in the world. But it was still not enough for me as I realized my love for aviation was endless, and my new objective was to become a pilot 👩🏻✈️.
I am from a small town, and my region is still a bit conservative. When people ask me what I am studying, I always say aviation without giving any more details, so they think I must be training to become a cabin crew. It is pretty fun to see their faces when I say it is pilot studies.😄
Hello, pilot academy and student life!
I joined BAA Training right when Covid-19 started. The first month was excellent. I also have perfect memories of exploring Vilnius, going to the academy and getting to know each other with my groupmates and instructors.
Our training began with Meteorology, one of the most time-consuming subjects. After three weeks, we had our first exam, which was quite difficult. Many of us were not used to studying because we had left schools years ago, but in the end, we all managed 😊.
First challenges I successfully overcame
As soon as we finished the second subject, the restrictions related to Covid-19 came into force, so we had to study from home. And guess what, I failed the Mass & Balance school exam (I am not very good at Math and Physics, so I think you can imagine it was giving me a hard time).
I was so sad and scared because my score was unsatisfactory. Unfortunately, because of the restrictions in place, there was no way to retake the exam. I thought I would never manage those complicated subjects. However, later I realized it was the best stimulus for me to study hard! I studied every day, all day long, and looked forward to the retake. In two months, I was able to do it again and got the highest mark. So I can say that story prompted me to find my way to study.
Don’t stop until you are proud!
Ground school was not typical due to the worldwide pandemic. On the other hand, it was the perfect time to focus on school and finish all the CAA (Civil Aviation Authority) asap.
There is a lot of information to memorize because of many subjects but few CAA sessions, so it is mandatory to do a couple of exams over two weeks.
The most important is to find your motivation! 💪🏻 For me, it was my family. I wanted to do what I was supposed to – finish my exam – and, finally, go back home, reunite with my family and make them feel proud of me.
Of course, taking care of your mental health and rest is also essential. There were some cool parties during the ground school too. 😊 We went on trips, clubbing, dinners, drinks, etc. It must be a bit balanced, right? 😜
To sum up, if you want something from the bottom of your heart, don’t be afraid and go for it!
Time to get to the real stuff – flying a plane!
The flight training takes place in Lleida, Spain, which I quite like. It is not so far from Barcelona and Pyrenees, so many options for trips.
The first phase of flight training is VFR (Visual Flight Rules). Some of my groupmates had PPL already, but many of us had zero flying skills. I was so excited about my first flight. Still, I was also a bit worried and was asking myself: “How can I fly the plane? There are so many buttons and rules, how can I ever fly solo?”…
Luckily, the instructors are very friendly, helpful and knowledgeable. I can promise you that they can teach anyone to fly! My instructor always says that even a monkey can fly the plane, but good pilots must know the procedures.
Nailing smooth landings and enjoying the first solo
Of course, it is me, so I faced some issues in the beginning 😂. I had the necessary knowledge, but my practical skills were not developing fast enough. Let’s say my landings were quite challenging initially, and it was not good. 😅
After the first solo flight (30min of traffic circuit pattern), there is a surprise! As a reward, they splash water on you and kick you in the butt for good luck once you have landed. 😂 But wow, that feeling when you are in the plane alone and just flying and enjoying the scenery… It’s fantastic!
En-route flights: more preparation and more things to see!
There are some more touch and go, emergency practices, and boom, en-route flights! I enjoyed those because I did en-route flights in summer.
Thorough preparation for them is necessary! Initially, it took me a couple of hours, but it is all about practice. Later on, I was able to finish nav logs fast. You need a map to draw the route, check all the restrictions, check NOTAMs to know if you can fly there and make your nav log. We practiced filling up the nav log during flight planning and general navigation. Ruler with nautical miles, plotter and CRP-5 are a must for VFR. You have to calculate distances, wind, time, etc. Then, you must check the weather (METAR, SIGWX) and fill up the flight plan. Once it is all done, you are ready to go!
If you, just like Iva, dream big, contact us to make your dream come true. We’ve recently presented three new ATPL pilot training packages for every taste. You can either take the sole ATPL Integrated, ATPL with Type Rating and Base Training or the same option but with accommodation included. It’s way more convenient and cost-efficient to take the whole set at once rather than adding every new training piece separately. Other alternatives are also available: ATPL Integrated in cooperation with ENAC, CPL, SmartLynx and LOT Polish Airlines cadet programs. Prefer having a conversation rather than doing your own research? Fill in the form, and we’ll be glad to guide you through the many possibilities you have!