A day in the life (flight training)…

This blog post will be written based on my experiences with Etihad Aviation Training/L3 Airline Academy at their Al Ain training location in the United Arab Emirates. L3 are currently utilising Etihad’s facilities to ensure they maintain an adequate number of flight training positions for their cadets worldwide.

A typical flight day usually begins quite early, however this depends on the slot times that Etihad have on the day. Sometimes wake up’s can be as early as 3am, or, if you’re lucky, as late as 12pm. I tend to ensure all my preparation for the flight is done the evening before so I can be certain of a good, stress-free night sleep. This includes: completing the relevant mass and balance, practicing flows and procedures, and ensuring I have all the necessary equipment in my flight bag. Although there isn’t much to prepare for except from the above, it allows me to feel prepared and ready for the flight the following day.

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Here is an outline of what a typical day in Al Ain can look like:

  • 03:00 – Wake up and get ready for the day. This includes getting myself ready and double-checking I have all the relevant and necessary items that I need to complete the flight. I usually give myself 45 minutes to 1 hour to ensure I am not rushed.
  • 04:00 – Depart for Al Ain International Airport. The airport is located 30 minutes away from our accommodation in Green Mubazzarah and Etihad’s stipulations require us to arrive at the airport 30 minutes before our scheduled briefing time to allow us to complete the walk around and ensure all relevant documents such as the mass and balance and solo authorisation forms have been completed properly.
  • 04:30 – Check in with operations at Etihad.
  • 05:00 – Briefing with the instructor on the lesson plan and outline the key parts of what to expect. This is done in coordination with L3’s Training Manual to ensure our training is completed correctly. The lesson has a mission number, such as FM008 and its relevant information such as prerequisites, duration of flight and type of flight e.g. dual or solo.
  • 06:00 – Briefings are usually scheduled 1 hour before take-off time, which of course depends on sunrise times. Most lessons are scheduled to be 1 hour long, however some are less and some are more.
  • 07:15 – After returning to the airport after the flight and having a short rest period, the instructor and student debrief to reflect on the flight. This tends to include whether the flight met expectations, how the student felt throughout as well as the instructors thoughts. The flight is then graded depending on performance and comments are made as to whether or not any elements of the flights must be repeated.
  • 07:30 – Debrief done and its time to head home. Depending on delays and cancellations etc, the entire flight including briefs can last as long as 8 or 9 hours – however if all runs smoothly I can be back in bed for 9am!

Although the flight doesn’t last awfully long, it is extremely intense and therefore I tend to be exhausted after its completion. Depending on the time, I asses whether or not it’s worth me heading back to bed for a few hours or not. If not, I take some time to just relax for the next flight. Preparation is key!

I hope this has given you an insight in what you can expect as an L3 cadet undertaking their flight training with Etihad Aviation Training.

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