Flying all over the place

My first year at Bucks has been somewhat of a rollercoaster ride, although an enjoyable one.

Much of first year is spent on campus studying modules about management in the aviation industry. You spend a lot of time building your skills for entry into the workplace as well as training for your Private Pilot License (if you don’t already have it) and flying license which allows you to fly for leisure – you can enjoy the skies with your friends, family, and other fellow aviators.

My first six months at university were amazing. During this time, I was able to make new lifelong friends and enhance my current knowledge of the aviation industry. I was also able to attend some great events and trips through the Aviation Society. Membership is free due to The Big Deal with the Students’ Union.

My flight training and theory for my private pilot license took a bit of swerve, training in winter with weeks of no flying, and then the coronavirus pandemic hit! When lockdown came, I had only hit 8 hours of flight training and completed 5 of my private pilot theory exams. Many of my friends had more hours than me by then but this was down to spending different days at the airfield and they were luckier with the weather!

Because of Covid, all flight training and airfields shut until restrictions were lifted. The aviation industry also came to a near halt. This was not the most ideal time to try and get flying hours! I completed my first year at the start of June and got all my grades back for the modules I was able to complete online. However, I still wasn’t flying. It was around this time that an opportunity presented itself in the form of a year swap.

Behind the scenes, my course leaders and Head of School had been working on alternative plans for us and announced that we now had the option to swap our second & third years around. Originally, in year 2 I would have been away doing my ATPL groundschool and exams (14 exams and intensive theory required to become an airline pilot), and in year 3 I would be back at the uni for final modules and my dissertation. We all knew that stalling our commercial flight training would be the best option to allow the industry to recover before progressing again, so I jumped at the chance to swap years which is such a relief.

The support during this uneasy time from my course leaders has been amazing and has brought the cohort closer together as a whole. I’m also proud to say that I’ve started flight training again and completed my first solo flight a few weeks ago. Now it’s onto the navigation phase of training, the most fun part!

Despite these setbacks, I’d highly recommend everyone continues to aim for their dream and do this degree because it’s one of the most flexible courses out there. Thank you BNU, I’m looking forward to the next two years of my degree.

Blog written by Jacob, a Air Transport with Commercial Pilot Training graduate.