Date: 25 April 2018
My name is Daniel Weston and I am currently an Airbus A320 First Officer for Spirit and a ground instructor at L3 Airline Academy in Florida. When I was a child I travelled a lot with my family, flying between Europe and the United States. At the time, prior to 9/11, I always wanted to go in the cockpit and meet the pilots. I remember being fascinated to see all the instruments and buttons and the view was incredible. I simply thought it was cool, and at that age never thought I could become a pilot...
I was 17 and about to finish high school when I decided that becoming a pilot was the right choice for me. I really didn’t know what I wanted to study after I finished school, but I did find myself always looking up to the sky. Since training is critical in becoming a successful airline pilot, it is important to look at the quality of training and the graduate placement programs each school has to offer. After a lot of research I decided to leave Europe behind and enroll in a program in the US to achieve my goal of becoming an airline pilot. Though out my training I found L3 to be one of the best flight schools in the world: the instructors made every lesson fun and exciting, but still held me to the highest standard on each and every flight.
My favorite part of training had to be my instructor rating. It was probably the hardest rating to complete, but it was also the most rewarding. Becoming a flight instructor was fantastic because it forced me to really understand all topics related to flying, so I could pass on my knowledge to others. I chose to become an instructor because it was part of the process in the USA in order to build flight time and experience to reach the airline requirements. As it turns out I really enjoy passing along my knowledge to new cadets. It was a great experience and I have learned so much from teaching: it kept me up to date with current regulations and helped develop my skills in the airplane in regards to ADM and aircraft control. I find myself using the things I have learned on an everyday basis; even in the airline environment. As an airline pilot now, I still instruct on my days off because I enjoy helping the new generation of pilots achieve their goals.
“Find a job you love, and you will never work a day in your life” I think this quote encompasses how every pilot feels about his/her career.
No matter if you are in a Cessna, Boeing or Airbus you will often hear a pilot talk about a love story. Flying for a living is absolutely incredible. No matter how many times you fly, it’s always different: every day you are faced with new challenges, meet new people and always experience new and amazing views from the flight deck. It absolutely is a rewarding career, and I would encourage anyone with a passion for aviation to pursue their dream.
The best thing about working at L3 is the people. I have built incredible relationships with students and instructors that will last a lifetime. In every career you will have highs and lows, but being at the academy I always had friends to help me out or to share a story and have a few laughs. After reaching my career goal of becoming an airline pilot, I would have not continued to instruct at L3 part time if it wasn’t for the great people I get to interact with every day.
The best advice I can give to people interested in becoming a pilot is to not give up on your dreams. If you really love aviation and want to become a pilot, do the research and find the path that best suits you. There are many paths to achieve your goal. Becoming a pilot is an exhilarating experience, but it is also a lot of work. Be prepared to spend many hours in the books to understand the theory behind flight, aerodynamics, regulations and systems, as well as many hours practicing in the real aircraft. If you struggle on one specific tasks, learn from your mistakes and continue moving forward. Your instructor will be the most supportive individual in your training, but they will also be the most demanding, because they want you to succeed.