My name is Haytham and this is my story of how I tried to become a pilot.
Things might not go according to how we have planned or how we wish for it to turn out and that's alright. We take it in our stride to seek alternatives in attaining our set goals but at the very least we should be honest, upfront and transparent with ourselves as well as those around us.
No doubt we can't expect the same from others what we hold ourselves to and there is no denying that there are other more important things that requires absolute honesty and transparency.
However, you can't deem someone's journey as not that important. It is important.
It is important to them and they see the sacrifices they've made as huge, for that we shouldn’t fail them, can we?
The following account occurred between mid 2017 to mid 2018.
Passing immigration I waved back at my sisters and best friend who had accompanied me to send me off at the airport,
(I didn't want my mum to come because you know...it makes it harder)
I thought this is it, we're doing it. We as in myself, I'm doing it. Finally! On my way to a Flight School in Western Australia to realize my lifelong dream of becoming a Pilot.
Of course, I do not know what's in store but we journey positively. There are 16 – 18 year old(s) elsewhere in the world who have their PPL in hand, so why can’t I a 20 something year old achieve it?
I'm still thinking, when exactly I can actually call myself a pilot.
Boarding the plane, I’m thinking about all the good things the flight school had told me, picturing all the possible achievements they said that I could see myself achieve with their help, how they have the best instructors with the most approachable demeanor.
It's all exciting isn't it, yes it was and I believed them placing full faith in them.
So before this, I had no experience flying an actual plane whatsoever only that I have spent my early teens to early 20s flying Microsoft Flight Simulator 2004 on my laptop when I should have been studying, watching hundreds of National Geographic’s Air Crash Investigation series when I should have been studying, not missing a single Air Show since 2008 by even skipping school during the trade days, commuting a total of 3.5hrs both ways from my home in the west to the airport in the east for a job that I knew wouldn’t really propel me any further, but still stuck it out for 6 months just so that I could be next to a B737, in a B777, around an A380.
Also at one point before embarking on my journey to attain my Private Pilot’s License, I thought it would be a great idea to undertake a Bachelor’s Degree. Everyone around me was doing it. Everyone was pursuing a degree of some sort. Naturally, I thought that I should do the same. – Now this is where you should stop yourself. Never give in to society’s pressure. If you want to do a degree it should be because you want to do a degree and put yourself in a better position for whatever reason that might be. Not because everyone else is doing it and so should I, otherwise I would feel left out.
No. That shouldn’t be the deciding factor. It was a costly mistake and I dropped out after a year.
We live and we learn.
I was advised to check out this flight school in person to see if I wanted to train with them and at the same time try and see if I can acclimatize to the Australian weather. Basically try and test the waters before committing. So I did. I decided to go to Australia and check things out for 7 days. I flew down to W.A for the first time in my life in July 2017. Completely unprepared, didn’t know it was right in the thick of winter and it was 3˚C when I landed. My body went into a shock. I didn’t even have a winter jacket, all I had was a regular jacket that did little to keep me warm. My Airbnb host came to pick me up at the airport and was very accommodating. I tried to learn to cater to my needs in those 7 days, but I couldn’t neither did I feed myself any proper meal for that 1 week. All I could think about was the freezing cold weather.
With a lot of unease, I navigated my way down to the local airport on the 2nd day. Pulled up to the flight school and walked in to a huge stove like wood heater that I only saw in movies. It was warm and I never left the side of it while talking to the founder of the school. Out the glass door and windows I could see a lot of light aircrafts, C172's and C152's taxiing, landing and taking off.
They told me that I could do a 30 minute TIF – Trial Introductory Flight, if I wanted. I thought that I had to make a prior reservation for the slot and pay in advance etc. No, they made it very seamless and told me that I could get in the aircraft right away and if I chose to come back and train with them, then they would allow me to include that half an hour into my log book. So I said sounds fantastic, alright sure, let’s go. I waited aside by the front desk while someone went to get a flight instructor from the office at the back.
Fairly young, like myself I thought. Probably my age but I never asked nor confirmed. Shook my hand, not a lot of eye contact but welcomed me and asked if I’m ready. I said yes. I signed the waiver, made a quick call back home, grabbed a headset for myself and out to the aircraft we walked.
Surprisingly, he said that I could have control of the aircraft but that he would guide me and occasionally intervene at every stage of the flight. My mind was exploding in excitemen