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The CTC Wings (Cadets) Thread - Part 2.

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The CTC Wings (Cadets) Thread - Part 2.

Old 6th Jul 2009, 08:41
  #3001 (permalink)  
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: newcastle
Age: 33
Posts: 42
I haven't been on this forum for what must be a few months now... if you ont mind, i'll briefly summarise my thoughts...

last june i graduated from university with a 2.1 hons in microbiology. i had always liked the idea of becoming a pilot, and in my last year at university, is started researching the means to achieving the job... july came, and i applied for the CTC Wings course, having inquired about it some 2 years earlier and after reading just about every thread on this forum regarding CTC, they seemed like the best FTO - i passed Stage 1, no suprises, i had what i needed in this respect...I was still skint from a tortuous final year at uni, so gathering together the 200 odd quid to book stage 2 was a challenge, and at the time, it went against logic to do it, as the little voice in my head said;' statistically, you have approx 2% chance of being selected, and you are going to spent mor ethan you're last pennies on a subjective selection?'... regardless i booked it...

While signing up to science recruitment agencies and going to interviews for graduate jobs, i studied, ****ing hard, my phase 2 was on september 9th/08, and that gave me 2 months to absorb as much info regarding the aviation industry as i could. I bought and read books, sent emails out to every flight operator and airport in the country/region requesting work experience (with little joy thanks to religous extremism). I bought maths books and every night i spent hours just doing arithmetic as i knew that this was the weakest chink in my armoury. i had never flown a plane before, so i sold some of my belongings to get a few hours on my logbook and instantly knew i was doing the right thing. i spent an open day at newcastle's brand new ATC operation, and boy was that a great day. even on the journey down to southampton, i flew with easyjet one way, i could only afford the plane ticket there, so i could quiz the pilot after we reached stansted, i took the megabus back on a journey from hell...

The phase 2 was gripping... i arrived in southhampton the day beforehand, as i live in newcastle, so had a bloody long way to go, and wanted a good night's sleep - the facilities at the manor were spotty dog, everyone was freindly and the bed was very comfortable, but bugger me - was i nervous.i sepnt all night doing mental arithmatic, and revising how many 767s BA had, and where they flew etc, i gave myself 4 hours sleep so i could spend a further couple of hours in the morning revising.the next day, people started arriving for selection, and we were split off into two groups; i would be doing my group excercises first, and Pilapt second - i wasn't sure if i prefered this, or vice versa! the excercises were fun, and you had to try very hard to remain composed, behaving like they want you to behave...after this there was a break, and we got to know our rivals a little better, some had degrees, some didnt, some had PPLs, most didnt. instantly, you could weed out the ones you knew had already screwed up, and just talking to them validated your original suspicions that they had not prepared one little bit for the days proceedings, but never mind...

Next was pilapt, now, in an interview situation, i like to look smart, this means suit; tie; quality shirt (with cufflinks) etc- had i known the pilapt test would be so absrbing, i'd rather have worn a string vest! sweating as i was as, i peeled layer off after layer, i worked my way through the maths questions, not sure if i'd cocked up or not - you dont get much time. as for pilapt, a lot of it was ok, my favourite being where you had to fly through the boxes - my recent purchase of Fligt SimX probably got me through that one! the last task was truly an ordeal, even though i tried as hard as i could, no preparation could prepare you for the absolute assault on your mental capacity as you counted down, notifying exceptions in sequence, whilst simultaneously localising a crosshair, and identifying shapes, colours and numbers correctly. tough stuff and it didnt get any better during lunch...

Now... for 200 odd quid, i kind of expected a little more than some slices of ham and potato salad, but regardless, i wasnt much in the mood for food as i heard recantations of the other peoples experiences - the difficult ones to hear were the, 'oh the maths questions were sooo easy!' and 'i did my pilapt in about 10 minutes'. i tried to ignore it, but once we were led into the room where we were told that some would be sent home, some sent home and invted back for reapplication, and some going through to phase 3, the nerves really started tugging... the names were read out; 8 people sent into different rooms before finally mine, and a freindly austrian's were mentioned. so me, and this other chap were looking at each other (dont worry, it doesnt get mills and boon), thinking the same thing - out of the 14 candidates, some of which were very strong, there was no way that only us two made the cut, therefore, we were going home...

The lady that held the presentation that morning (through which i fell asleep several times and hoped no-one noticed, which they did) came in with a clipboard and a kindly expression upon her face, 'now, you know not everbody can get through, so i wont beat around the bush because its not fair on your emotions...' i nodded acceptingly- 'buggeration', i thought... 'congratulations, you passed phase 2!'
Couldnt believe it, i think my grin was wider than the fireplace, i immediately shook the hand of the austrian wo i'd later find out was called Michael...After what seemed like 30 seconds, the unseccessful candidates came through, and we chatted for a bit, some people being a little rude, but others being really nice and encouraging.

The interviews shortley followed, and the girl that interviewed me was very... 'appealing'... anyway, it was a very comfortable interview - i stumbled in a few areas, clearly not giving the right answer, but trying my best non the less, i felt pessimistcally opimistic. that was it, we'd find out how we'd get on in a couple of days, i took the train back to london with michael, we had a pint and i took the worst bus ride in history home- i'd had 4 hours sleep in the ast 36 hours by this point, and sitting next to a horrendously fat and smelly person, with my knees up to my chin due to economical seating arrangements was not going to improve the sleep deficit.

Two days later, i recieve the email i didnt want to see, i hand't been successful, but they felt i was close, so i could comeback in 6 months time for another go - this was a pivotal moment. I emailed Michael to see how he got on, almost sure that this guy was a dead cert - he flew thru pilapt and already had many hours on even MEPs! But apparently not, not even an invitation to try again whcih was very puzzling.After a couple of weeks, my assesor sent me some constructive criticism of the areas i needed to improve on - the main being my knowledge of CRM - i was a little puzzled at this, seeing as CRM is nothing you couldnt be taught whilst on a course, never the less, i embarked on a few routes to educating myself on the matter, namely buying the book 'The Naked Pilot' - a good book detailing the psychology behind air disasters. this book turned out to be dream shattering.

I came across the chapter which was based on pilot fatigue, and it drilled every single negative thing about flying into my brain - the hours, the monotony, the illness, the rotas, the missing of childrens birthdays, the divorce rate and stress... but most critical? the statistic that the 60%+ of pliots never reach retirement age. i'm not scared of crashing, but you have to ask, in an industry where you are fervently checked on medical grounds, can the job be so bad that heart disease and strokes reduce your life expectancy by 10-15 years? bugger that! add to that the section where the author mentions sleeping during flights - while i was at uni, i was known as mr sleepy, i couldnt get through 1 lecture without falling asleep, regardless of the time, and it is still the case today as i recently found out so how would i manage a transatlantic flight at night with the soothing whirr of jet engines and a cnfortablly heated flight deck?

After thinking long and hard, i've pretty much dropped the idea of being a commercial pilot - i think i'd get through the exams no problem, and i dare say i might enjoy the job for a few years, but i think i know myself that in the long run, i dont want to spend a life changing sum of money, gambling on whether i will a) find a job, and b) enjoy it. Just after my selection at CTC, i took an interview for an R&D job with one of the worlds biggest blue chip company's and was lucky enough to be successful, they say that with this particular company, you have more chance of getting into harvard, and perhaps in that case, CTC... with a reasonably secure graduate job with a sound future, looking back i do wonder about the what ifs, and whereas had the recession (which had ony just began to take affect last year) not happened, i might have been chewing my ear, now i look back and think... thank ****ing god. wondering about those ppor sods in the holding pool... i still have the option of reassesment, so who knows what will happen, one thing is for sure, i'll get a PPL, becuase flying is just the cats tats.

Sorry for length, hopefully i'll have inadvertantly answered a few n00b questions in advance, and give an opinion that isnt prejudicial at all on any FTOs... and for anybody that says "well if just took a book to put you off, then you cant really have wanted it much in the first place", can boil their heads...

Last edited by EvelcyclopS; 6th Jul 2009 at 16:58. Reason: paragraphs went missing
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Old 6th Jul 2009, 12:20
  #3002 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: UK
Posts: 41
"i'll briefly summarise my thoughts..."

thanks for saving us from the long version EvelcyclopS.
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Old 6th Jul 2009, 13:08
  #3003 (permalink)  
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: newcastle
Age: 33
Posts: 42
im off work with a broken foot at the minute so i've got bugger all better to do!
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Old 6th Jul 2009, 14:48
  #3004 (permalink)  
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Europe
Posts: 607
I for one enjoyed reading your post EvelcyclopS. Sorry to hear about your disappointment with the flying career but trust your current job is treating you well.

[Grammar Pedant]
Paragraphs would have saved my eyes a little though
[/Grammar pedant]
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Old 6th Jul 2009, 16:58
  #3005 (permalink)  
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: newcastle
Age: 33
Posts: 42

there was summit up with my interweb before, i tried a few times to sort the old paragraphs but it seems to have worked this time
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Old 6th Jul 2009, 20:08
  #3006 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: everywhere
Posts: 620
A good post EvelcyclopS. It's amazing, the people that say they have decided to leave commercial flying alone are without question the most reasoned, factual, sensible people I have heard within the industry and probably the ones who SHOULD go for it. They ignore their emotions and look at the facts - a quality that would see you good in non-normal flight. For what it is worth I do think you have made the right choice - you shouldn't mix business and pleasure and that is what has happened to this industry and I can assure you, ruined it beyond repair.

I maintain that you'd be crazy......no I'll be nice, you'd be brave to go near CTC within the next 9-10 months, these will be their most telling (and NOT because I have anything against them) - and rest assured 9 -10 months (especially now) will not make you miss the boat. It says alot about people how they are when they are winning and they are losing - look how all the FTOs have been in these terrible times i.e. one of the toughest times to place a pilot in the history of aviation (relatively speaking and for all the wrong reasons) and with people becoming ever more uncurrent and ever more disheartened. If they wanted this to be, it should be an opportunity for them and any other FTO to be the ONLY choice - sacrifice a relatively small amount of income now for a large amount in the future. There should be people coming on here and fighting for their FTOs, saying how loyal and supportive they have been. Instead it is nothing but bent truths, 'selling' and manipulation. And that is across all integrated FTOs.

Luck IS timing, get it right and you'll be very happy with life, get it wrong and you'll be one of those 'life is unfair' types - and no not like me! Don't rush into things, be lucky.
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Old 6th Jul 2009, 20:56
  #3007 (permalink)  
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Oop north
Posts: 1,031
There should be people coming on here and fighting for their FTOs
I'll come on here and defend CTC's standard of training and the Wings programme in general. I have problems with their communication, but generally they are one of the best around in terms of job prospects.

But I don't owe them anything, I paid them a lot of money and now I have a well paid job on an Airbus. The course for me did what it said on the tin. I wouldn't recommend anyone start an integrated course with any FTO right now. It is nothing against CTC, I just think paying silly money up front in these turbulent times, particularly when it's secured against a property of some sort (as it is with many people) is complete idiocy. Just my opinion.

When times are good, I will be on here proclaiming CTC's name loud and clear.
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Old 6th Jul 2009, 21:24
  #3008 (permalink)  
Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: England
Posts: 16,853
EvelcyclopS a thousand thank you's. Truly you are a hero. You came, you saw, you left AND you posted about it. The vast vast majority do not post about leaving. Many do, its the best decision, but they have no incentive to relate the fact.

You would have made a fine commercial pilot.

CTC like all flying schools at present are merely following airlines in their fight for survival.

Best of luck in your new endeavours,

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Old 6th Jul 2009, 22:11
  #3009 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Dreaming of the sky
Posts: 14
In response to a previous question I got posted the following information in a PM.....

Some very good inside / honest information for anyone currently considering spending serious money on a CTC course.


Hello there, I'd prefer to stay anonymous but feel free to post this:

To the best of my knowledge, there are roughly 70-80 cadets in the official hold pool, this includes 15 ATP and 5 Wings cadets who have already done a white-tail A320 type rating. This is set to grow by 14 people a month.

I was told by someone that the ATP guys got to do the TR instead of Wings Cadets because they had been in the Pool for more then a year.

Dropping guys after 12 months would be pretty bad PR for CTC and tragic for cadets. We did sign the contract that stated they could do this though.

easyJet took 70 cadets this year as Flexicrew. Will they need new cadets as well as the current Flexicrew for next summer? Will they even need the FC guys back?!

BA/Thomson won't be hiring for at least 2-3 years.

Not sure about the other airlines, anyone care to comment on the situation at Thomas Cook, Monarch, Jet2, DHL, CityJet, JetStar?

Aer Lingus took guys recently. However they are cutting LH routes and transfering LH pilots to SH so I don't think there's much scope for placement at the moment.

I do think CTC are doing all they can to place people. Like you already said though, they can't force airlines to take us on. There is only so much CTC can do at times like this, the industry at the moment is terrible.

Good luck to everyone, we definitely need it.
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Old 7th Jul 2009, 01:46
  #3010 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: UK
Posts: 7
Cheers 99jolegg much more helpful

Also I don't know if these have ever been posted about, I'd be surprised if at least one of them hasn't but there definitely worth a look.

Petition to: Freeze student pilot loans until such time that the economy and therefore aviation industry recovers and we can find work. | Number10.gov.uk

Petition to: award official student status to british trainee professional pilots... | Number10.gov.uk
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Old 7th Jul 2009, 11:19
  #3011 (permalink)  
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Canada
Age: 42
Posts: 253
EvelcyclopS - I don't usually comment on these but you're post sounded so familiar - good decision making mate.

I'm sure you won't look back. In fact, I'm willing to bet that in 10 years time - you'll be in a senior extremely well-paid position in your microbiology career with your own home (mortgage paid off), something that you'll almost certainly never achieve in aviation - and also hold a commercial pilot license. You will have gained your PPL + night + CPL over countless weekends of having fun at your local grass strip and then be instructing in your spare time.

I made that same decision as you back in 1999 and boy I'm so glad I did. The opportunities that I've had could never had been matched had I been financially shackled to an aviation career.

When I look at the people I know who hold commercial licenses - most of them have main careers in other industries.
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Old 7th Jul 2009, 16:15
  #3012 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Somewhere
Posts: 2
From the desk of The Supreme Leader (with apologies to Private Eye)

Hello Cadets (UK and NZ)

As you are aware, we introduced the Zenbu internet system on June 1 – this was introduced to curb the excessive internet use for non-training and communications home by cadets in CTC accommodation. Most of you realise that NZ is limited in internet usage and does not have an option by any IT provider for unlimited usage. The new government has recently awarded contracts to Australia to improve the availability and speed in NZ, and this investment will take a few years.

We provide the internet for training reasons, in particular, Tracker, Weather Info, accessing Air Law, NOTAMS and the Schedule and recognise the need for contact with home.

Last week Zenbu started to have faults at Clearways and Peachgrove, this continued for 4 days with our IT Company initially unable to pinpoint the problem.

It has now been determined that the faults have been caused by cadets ‘hacking’ into Zenbu or trying to bypass it for free internet. The Peachgrove IT cupboard had been forced open, our system reset and our timer removed. This abuse of CTC property is totally unacceptable as is the hacking into any IT system in use at CTC.

Out of respect of cadets needs for contact home and study – we changed from Zenbu back to ordinary free internet, until problems were resolved on the Zenbu system.

Using recently introduced monitoring tools we can see that within 1 hour of switching back to the free internet, some cadets were downloading at extreme rates and we were able to pinpoint these cadets as well as what sites they were downloading from. One cadet downloaded 4.2GB in less than 10 hours (extrapolate that out to a month and it is 120GB for a month for that cadet). Downloads were from sites clearly not approved at CTC.

All of the above behaviour from cadets is totally unacceptable – our records show it is mostly 20% of cadets using 80% of the internet bandwidth. CTC showed respect to cadets by quickly switching you to free internet whilst problems with Zenbu (caused by cadet interference) were resolved. CTC expects the same respect from cadets, and that the policy you all signed on arrival is observed.

From today, any cadet found downloading to the extreme and accessing sites that are prohibited by CTC policy (decided solely at CTC's discretion) will be instantly disconnected from the internet and immediately suspended from training under grounds of “gross misconduct” and will attend a DHoW review to assess suitability to continue on the programme.

Any cadet identified as having hacked into the CTC IT system or tried to circumvent Zenbu or any other monitoring system put in place will immediately be suspended from training under grounds of “gross misconduct” and will attend a DHoW review to assess suitability to continue on the programme.

Cadets are reminded that anyone terminated from the programme on the grounds of gross misconduct WILL NOT receive any failure protection.

Do not under estimate how seriously CTC is taking this issue – if, as an employee in almost any business, including an airline, you were caught downloading pornography or hacking into an IT system you could expect instant dismissal and likely face criminal charges – your training here should be considered to be the same sort of environment.

This problem can be controlled by the sensible and professional 80% of you not tolerating what the other 20% are doing – help us control or eliminate these people from our training organisation – the consequences for you all will only become more severe if the individuals causing these issues are not curbed.

Please read this and absorb the contents well – our patience on this issue is at an end.

A mate of mine sent me this. Initially, I thought it was a joke, but apparently this was genuinely sent out by a CTC director. Presumably, all those cadets out there who happen to say something CTC find distasteful, so defined "solely at CTC's discretion" will also be sent to the gulag or to toil in the salt mines.

Absolutely bloody farcical.
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Old 7th Jul 2009, 19:55
  #3013 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: everywhere
Posts: 620
I'll come on here and defend CTC's standard of training
I am certainly not disputing that, I would too for my flight school.
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Old 8th Jul 2009, 08:31
  #3014 (permalink)  
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: london
Posts: 166
Oh dear DTOW, publishing of top secret data from the bastion?! Well, that's one way to reduce the number of cadets entering the hold pool ;-)
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Old 8th Jul 2009, 08:37
  #3015 (permalink)  
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Oop north
Posts: 1,031
Basically all they're admitting in that message is that despite numerous attempts, nothing has really changed in the last three years or so!
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Old 8th Jul 2009, 08:50
  #3016 (permalink)  
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: By the sea
Age: 37
Posts: 103
Except that we now can only use 3GB a month... If you want more you can get more.... 100$ per GB!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Old 8th Jul 2009, 11:09
  #3017 (permalink)  
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Europe
Posts: 607
A mate of mine sent me this
Probabtionary Ppruner, post number 1... Not willing to post on your normal account?

Presumably, all those cadets out there who happen to say something CTC find distasteful, so defined "solely at CTC's discretion" will also be sent to the gulag or to toil in the salt mines.
What nonsense, it's not North Korea out here. They have an issue with downloading tens of gigabytes from bittorrent and/or downloading of porn. I don't think they're being unreasonable in that, I certainly wouldn't expect them to give us a 'porn allowance'.

PPRuNe is listed as one of their 'approved sites', so I don't think they're trying to hinder our 'freedom of expression'. Let's be honest, CTC have their hands full (and some) and doubt very much they would be hiring a crack team of specialists to decipher and censor our emails and other internet traffic. They seemingly will only take issue with the website (eg. porn.com) or volume of traffic.

The internet, before they brought in Zenbu, was abysmal; slower than dialup. At least some restriction on downloading has freed up bandwidth for those who want to check their emails/speak to family on Skype etc.

It's not the best situation to be in but I personally have greater things to worry about (training, job markets, what's on for dinner etc)
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Old 8th Jul 2009, 11:47
  #3018 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Somewhere
Posts: 2
Kerosine. I think you miss the point. It is yet another example of CTC's appalling record of communication with cadets. Who could forget the time the CFO in NZ turned the internet off at Clearways without telling anyone, saying "You are here to study, not to surf the internet."

Further, the fact that CTC talk about internet "misuse" constituting "gross misconduct" and threatening offending cadets with suspension from training is just ludicrous. Those out in NZ are, and have always been, customers of CTC; they ARE NOT employees. I look forward to their first attempt to chop, without a refund, a cadet on the grounds of internet misuse.
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Old 8th Jul 2009, 12:42
  #3019 (permalink)  
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Oop north
Posts: 1,031
Who could forget the time the CFO in NZ turned the internet off at Clearways without telling anyone, saying "You are here to study, not to surf the internet."
Neglecting to realise, of course, that doing so cut off access to Tracker and the NZ weather service, both of which were pretty essential for study and flight planning purposes. Going in for early flights with a blank PLOG and virtually no planning done due to lack of internet access and having to explain the reasons to unsympathetic ops staff was a low point...

Like I said in an earlier post I'll always defend their standard of training, but this sort of thing is where CTC let themselves down. I understand the problems, I was as frustrated as anyone when the internet repeatedly broke due to people going OTT on BitTorrent, but their response to things like this usually consists of wield sledgehammer first, ask questions later.
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Old 8th Jul 2009, 16:08
  #3020 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: UK
Posts: 41
you dont need the internet to fill out a plog!

be grateful chaps.......least you dont have to live in dey street. no internet there, just grey 10'x5' prison cells.
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