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A Fresh Start 11,427 miles from home - Harrison Gliddon

Date: 24 October 2018

Moving away from home for the first time can be one of the most exciting, yet terrifying time of anyone’s life, especially when you’re moving to the other side of the planet! I am a part of CPN21 who will be completing both the groundschool and, hopefully, foundation flying phases in Hamilton, New Zealand. This is undoubtedly going to be an extremely exciting and challenging 14 months.

After a lengthy selection process and a complicated medical situation, I was so relieved to finally receive a start date. As I was processed through enrolment, I had a choice to make, I could either start my training in Coventry or New Zealand. To me this was a no brainer, a cold and wet winter in Coventry or 6 more months of summer in New Zealand. So, with two weeks notice, I got ready to move to New Zealand! I had honestly never been so excited and, if you looked at my instagram, I was literally counting down the days until my flight. Although I was excited, as the day got closer I became more and more nervous as I started to say goodbye to my family and friends. This was incredibly hard for me knowing that I wouldn’t see them for well over a year. However, what helped me overcome these nerves was getting excited about what was to come, packing and reading blogs like these, helped me overcome any sadness I was feeling about leaving my loved ones, and get excited about the journey ahead of me. Finally on the 5th September, my dad drove me the 3 hours to Heathrow where I would catch my incredibly long flight to Auckland and where I would start this adventure of a lifetime. As we started seeing signs for the airport, the nerves were getting the better of me as I started to finally realise how crazy this actually was. I said goodbye and walked into the terminal and made my way through check in, security and onto the boarding gate. As I looked at the huge A380 in front me, my dream that I have been wanting for so long was becoming a reality.



After what seemed like an enternity, we finally began our final approach into Auckland. As you can see from the picture, this place was incredible, flying over the city on a clear day really showed you how amazing New Zealand was and we hadn’t even landed yet. After meeting up with the rest of my course, we were driven the 90 minute journey to Hamilton where we moved into our accomadation. I would be staying in brand new offsite houses that had literally just be built which is a lot more modern than the usual rooms over in Clearways.


Our house was bordering hamilton lake which is a beautiful place. After waking up around 5am on the Sunday, due to jet lag, I decided to take a walk round the lake and talk to some of my friends back home. Not being able to see my friends and family was quite a shock for me as I had never done anything like this before, homesickness set in very quickly. However just as quickly as it happened, it was gone, as I started to become closer with the rest of the people on my course and this strange place was becoming more familiar to me.



On the Monday we started what we came here to do, groundschool. We arrived at the training centre and began the day with an introduction to the course and what we could expect. I would be starting with module 1 which was split up into four subjects, Principles of Flight (POF), Human Performance & Limitations (HPL), Mass & Balance, and Aircraft General Knowledge (AGK). These subjects cover everything from how an aircraft flies, how hypoxia impacts on the human body, how to load an aircraft safely, and the ins and out of a planes structure. Now that I am 3 weeks in, I can tell you that the workload is intense, and you move through content extremely quickly, however the instructors are amazing and if you keep on top of revision you will be fine.


Time is going extremely quickly and I cannot believe I have already been here for 3 weeks and am half way through module 1, sitting mid-terms in a couple of days. Hamilton is an incredible place and although it’s tough, sitting there watching the planes take off during our lunch break keeps me motivate and I cannot wait to start flying.

I do not regret coming to New Zealand in the slightest and I urge anyone who is given the opportunity to do it as it is an incredible experience. I can’t wait to see you guys out here!


- Harrison


Personal Blog - https://harrytakesflight.wordpress.com/