A Day In The Life Of A Virgin Australia Pilot Cadet

Last chance to apply for our Pilot Cadetship Program for 2018...

Always wondered what it would be like to be a pilot? We sat down with Lachlan and Samual, two of our Pilot Cadets, to get the low down on their Virgin Australia Pilot Cadetship experience…


What inspired you to apply for the Pilot Cadetship Program?

Lachlan: I always knew that I wanted to fly for an airline as a job and I was also aware that in order to do so I would have to go out and get a General Aviation (GA) job. This would then allow me to get the hours required to join an airline. The Virgin Australia Pilot Cadetship Program was a great opportunity to go straight to what I wanted to do which was to fly for a commercial airline.

Samual: Flying was always something I knew I wanted to do, I got straight into completing my Bachelor of Aviation after I finished school and completed my Commercial Pilot Licence (CPL), then Multi-engine Command Instrument Rating (MECIR) and instructor rating. When I heard about the Virgin Australia Pilot Cadetship program through Flight Training Adelaide I realised what an incredible opportunity it was. Filling that experience gap between getting a CPL and applying for an airline position is so hard, especially in a competitive GA environment and the cadet program provided an amazing path to the airline role I’d always dreamed of.


Throughout the training, what has been the most challenging aspect for you personally and why?

Lachlan: The most challenging part has been the separation from people that I would normally have around me in my ‘support network’ at home. In saying this though, it has really helped me understand that if I look around me wherever I am there are many people who are there to help me to get the most out of my training.

Samual: The most challenging part of my training would have been completing those final few Airline Transport Pilot Licence (ATPL) subjects. After 9 or 10 weeks of study in a classroom it can be challenging to maintain your motivation at times, but it was very important to remember what I was actually working toward.


What did you find was the most exciting part of your training?

Lachlan: So far the most exciting part of my training has been the hour building phase of the Commercial Pilot Licence. It is great to be able to leave at first light and fly away to a place you have never been to before, across scenery that can only be truly appreciated from the sky. That's definitely one of the most rewarding parts of the training.

Samual: The most exciting part of the course was definitely the Multi-Crew Coordination (MCC) simulator training. After those 10 weeks of ground school and 7 exams it was really exciting to get into the cockpit of an airliner, work with a partner and use airline procedures. Compared to my previous training in light aircraft it really felt like the “real deal”.


Follow a day in the life of a Virgin Australia Pilot Cadet as 19-year old Shelby shares her experiences of the Pilot Cadetship Program.


Given you’re just about to graduate from the program, what are you most looking forward to once you are officially an operating flight crew member for Virgin Australia?

Lachlan: I am looking forward to the chance of being able to pilot and manage a machine that is always much bigger in person than you think it is! I'm also looking forward to flying an aircraft that allows thousands of people a year to travel, visit loved ones and conduct business in other countries.

Samual: I’m super excited to finally get online as a Boeing 777 Second Officer. Although there won’t be a lot of opportunity for hands on flying, I’m looking forward to operating on such a big, complex aircraft, flying a long haul route. I hope there will be plenty to learn from the crew regarding airline procedures and the differences in operating such an automated aircraft.


If you could share one piece of advice with aspiring pilots that have not applied, what would it be?

Lachlan: If you think you have the ambition, drive and determination to become a pilot, give it a go and you will surprise yourself with how much you can achieve.

Samual: My only advice is to put in an application. If your goal is to become an airline pilot, this cadetship program is hands down the best way to get there. I knew how competitive the application process would be and I didn’t think I had a chance but it was definitely worth a shot!


For more information on the Virgin Australia Pilot Cadetship including FAQs and how to apply, please visit our website here. 

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