Date: 23 November 2018
Cadets have recently flown to Abu Dhabi to start their flight training, Ali Lawrence being one of the first. Hear about his first week adjusting to life over there.
A group of 12 of us all assembled at Terminal 4 at Heathrow, eagerly waiting for our flight to the UAE. For me this was my first experience of flying on an Airbus A380, and what an experience it was. Etihad provided a first class service and for someone who doesn’t normally eat airline food, I came off the plane stuffed. The day was topped off by the invitation up to the flight deck by one of the staff members; for me this was a highlight of my trip so far.
The first week out here in Abu Dhabi has been a busy one, I have visited a countless number of government buildings trying to sort out Visas and Medicals, and I am glad that is now all over. The rest of the week was spent trying to adjust myself to the local culture, which to my surprise didn’t take too long at all. Another shock to me was the fact that the local malls are very similar to shopping centres back home; Al Bawadi Mall even has an M&S which does a very nice Madras curry sauce!
As for accommodation we are staying in the Green Mubazzarah area, which although it is out in the middle of the desert we are surrounded by amazing scenery. The chalets we are in are more like family villas and with only two people per chalet they are more than comfortable.
Now for the important bit; the flying! We had our first trip to Al Ain International Airport, which is where Etihad Aviation Training is based. Although we weren’t actually flying (as waiting for medicals to come through), we still got the opportunity to look round the facilities. I was very impressed with the layout and the aircraft hanger is every plane lovers dream, you are surrounded by Cessna 172’s, Diamond DA42’s, Extra 300’s and last but not least the favourite of them all, the Embraer Phenoms. The visit to the airport has made me even more excited for what’s to come in the next few weeks. Fingers crossed I’ll be writing an update a week from today describing my first few flights!
If you would like to follow my journey, my Instagram is @alilawrence__