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CX Cadet Programme standards

Old 15th Feb 2021, 17:16
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CX Cadet Programme standards

Hi! (this is my first post so please forgive me if I got any of the information wrong)

Is there anyone out there who was actually able to get in Cathay Pacific's cadet pilot programme? I was doing a lot of research regarding this, and I seem to find mixed/unclear answers. Based off their website, it looks pretty easy to get in, but now that (thankfully) I have found PPRuNe, it seems as if the selection process is really rigourous, a number of people who applied get regected after many different stages of the application, or tried more than once to get in. I've found interview questions, but I presume that those are for DESOs or DEFOs because they seem so technical... Do you have to self-study different books (Basic Aeronautical Knowledge, Flying the Big Jets, please reccommend more books as well) even if you are only applying as a cadet? Or will those interview questions be different?

Also knowing that their flying school (FTA) is in Austrailia, the place looks nice, 55 weeks of my life seems pretty great, the more I want to get in.

I really want to be a pilot since I was 12, and I feel like the cadet programme is the best (best in terms of being already hired after getting your liscense), and I haven't entered university. Although my math and science grades are pretty well (all above 90 or "A" for some countries for the past years), do they still prefer university graduates or have they gotten those fresh out of secondary school? Do I even stand a chance getting into CX's cadet programme in a few years time (since I am still studying and the airline industry now is just not great) say around 2-3+ years? Or do you really already have to have technical aeronautical knowledge when you apply to be a cadet? Of course I know their standard is world class, but sometimes it seems almost impossible to be hired by CX knowing that the people in my country almost never make it.

Please feel free to share your experiences preparing, applying, or getting selected for this. Thanks for your help!
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Old 15th Feb 2021, 21:18
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Brace , brace
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Old 15th Feb 2021, 21:28
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Let's start at the start. You are right, many people who apply for the CX cadetship are rejected. I assume you are a HK citizen, otherwise you aren't eligible for the CX cadet program.

CX spend a lot of money training cadets so they can be picky. Im sure there is plenty of info out there on what to study and how to apply. I know a few people in CX and none have a degree.

I assume you are still in highschool so the best thing in my opinion to do is order a private pilot license theory book to get familiar with avaition terms and basic flight theory. As I said before, there are many "CX study guides" online you can refer to for guidance. The PPL book won't cost much and you find out fast if your not really that into it.

Going to be a while before Cathay recruits again so plenty of time to get ready.
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Old 16th Feb 2021, 15:50
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kc_avis

I was on the cadet program with CX.

First of all to get into the ab-initio program without any experience you'll need to be a HK permanent resident, if you're not then you can still get in but only onto the 'advanced' program where the requirements are 250hrs and a CPL although apparently they don't really take people with experience that low.

The basic entry requirements are pretty low (I think you only needed the equivalent of 2 A levels to apply) however, everyone on my batch had at least a bachelor degree and I don't know of anyone that was hired straight out of high school. I think while not a hard requirement CX definitely prefers those with a degree and also the maturity that a candidate will have being a bit older as well.

The selection process is tough and as it is open to anyone (with a HKID) without any financial obligations the competition is pretty tough. From my experience in the interview they won't ask you any crazy technical questions although they will try and push you until there are things you don't know and will try and see your response to that. The questions can get pretty tough and up to ATPL level so actually might be similar to those that you've found. If the process is still the same they will send you an FAA book (pilots handbook of aeronautical knowledge) which will set you up well for the technical test in your stage 1.

If you are in HK then I would definitely suggest going to university in a STEM subject, aero engineering might be interesting to you although choose something that you enjoy as it will look much better if you finish than if you do something and then give up halfway because its something you 'thought' you should do. Also study up on the FAA book, its fairly long and should keep you studying for a while especially if the concepts are new. Also definitely worth going to australia or NZ when you can and trying to get at least to first solo stage - shows passion and also whether you'll actually like flying.
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Old 17th Feb 2021, 05:08
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Wow. Thanks for this. I was actually thinking of mechanical engineering for quite some time. I don't study here, but I am a permanent resident. In my country, aero engineering is only a graduate course, and for the longest time I was actually thinking of mechanical eng, because I think its actually pretty interesting. I know its hard, but I'm sure its worth it.

I've been to both Australia and NZ, for a vacation before, but I haven't been to Adelaide.

Do you know where to get that FAA book you mentioned, or what are there specific books you would think I need to prepare?
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Old 17th Feb 2021, 15:41
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From current situation, you may expect CX is not going to recruit any cadet in coming few years.

I know many applicants have flight experience, a PPL or even CPL. I know a guy he got his ATPL in CAE Oxford, but didn't get a job because he has not right to wrok in the EU. Few years later he was recruit by CX as a cadet, redo his ZERO to ATPL training. And I can assure you he is not the only one.

Age and Education background never a problem in CX, as long as you are under 40, your age doesn't matter. If you have other nationality, I suggest you go there to seek chances.
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Old 18th Feb 2021, 07:42
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kc_avis

I'm not allowed to post links but if you google "FAA Pilots Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge" you will find the PDF.

Mechanical engineering sounds like an excellent choice, this will definitely help with some of the ATPL subjects like AGK. It also gives you a solid fall back if the cadet program doesn't work out for whatever reason. It will be a long time before CX starts hiring, I would imagine once they do start needing pilots again priority will be given to ex-KA pilots and then cadets that have been put on hold after their training of which I think there are quite a few as CX had a big recruitment drive in 2018 / early 2019. I wouldn't count on the program opening up until 2025 at the earliest... Although hopefully I am wrong about this!

Waiting that long does give you an advantage however, in that you can start building up your profile now, get involved with as many extra-curricular activities that help build up your core competencies (google pilot core competencies to find more info on this), anything that will develop leadership, teamwork etc. and try doing things now that show your passion for aviation and especially working for Cathay. Document all this so that you can show it when you do apply - they will like this.

Regarding flying experience - personally I would definitely recommend doing some flying but I think getting a PPL or CPL is overkill. If you can get to first solo with less than 15 hours then this shows natural aptitude and also that you are keen on flying. If you are able to do some gliding in your country then I would also recommend that as it develops your skills well and is relatively cheap. If you are taught bad techniques or pick up bad habits these are much harder to correct than learning from scratch. Whilst there are some people with extensive experience like dragoon17c says I would say these are definitely the exception rather than the rule, most people on the program have less than 20 hours when starting and I even knew some who hadn't flown an aircraft at all before going to Adelaide.

I recommended Australia and NZ as these are the closest places to HK that have a generally good reputation for flight training although the same can be said for the US and Europe, when you do choose a flying school though make sure you choose it based on reputation not price. The first few hours are arguably the most important so it is essential you have a good instructor.

Make sure you keep your permanent HKID if you are not living in HK full time as this is essential to get in.
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Old 19th Feb 2021, 08:24
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cadet7000

Thanks again, I've never been told such detailed advice and you've been really helpful! My mom used to work for CX as a cabin crew, so she's the one who introduced me to the industry, but I don't have relatives or close family friends who are pilots, so majority of what I know are what I find from the internet (but of course I am aware that not everything that I find may be factual) so pardon me for asking a lot of questions (I hope its not too much)

Do the majority of those who went to Adelaide already have a few flying hours, or would you say that most who go there have never flown before? ... or is experience not necessarily a big advantage? Do these hours have to be when you are flying solo, or do the hours with a flight instructor also count?

I don't know what other things I can do in the meantime to show my passion for aviation apart from already reading the books, watching whatever video about aviation, aircrafts of all sorts, plane crash investigation etc... or finding anything that can help me learn more about the industry or about being a pilot. Even by 2025, I would still be in university. Is there anything more that I can do, or would it be best to start trying to get a few hours?

Also, would you have an idea (before the pandemic started) or rough estimate around how many people each year apply and get in? I heard there are around 16-20 people per batch/class, but I don't know generally how many people apply. (Just out of curiosity)
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Old 19th Feb 2021, 18:39
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If you want some inexpensive reading material,
Amazon Amazon
(I have no affiliation)

Or free PDFs

https://www.spilve.lv/library/variou...l%20Manual.pdf
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Old 20th Feb 2021, 02:58
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kc_avis

No problem, I remember being in your position so am happy to help.

I would say the majority of people taken onto the cadet program did have some flying experience. I would also say experience is definitely an advantage, it shows that you're interested, that you actually like it (Adelaide is a bad place to find out you get really bad airsickness) and like I said if you can get to first solo with less than 15 hours this shows CX that you have natural aptitude. However, like I said it's not really worth getting a PPL or CPL in my opinion and I do think it is possible to have too much experience as I explained in my last post. Cathay are wanting to train you their way, it's one of the advantages for them, running the cadet program. If you have learnt a different way it can be quite difficult to relearn.

While those things you've listed are a really good start I would really recommend doing things that you can put on a CV. These don't even have to be aviation related but like I said anything that can boost your core competencies, join a sports team, apply for leadership posts at your school, start an 'aviation club' at your school etc. If there is an aerodrome near you then show up and ask if anyone will take you up in exchange for cleaning their planes, apply to aviation related businesses for internships, try and get a weekend job at your local airport etc. Do these things in addition to some flying hours.
Flight simulator can be a good way of getting a feel for flying without having to spend too much however you have to be quite disciplined with yourself, again its easy to pickup bad habits especially as you are effectively teaching yourself and these will be hard to un-learn.

I couldn't give you an estimate on how many apply versus get in, it all depends on Cathays hiring requirements at the time. Like I said 2018 / early 2019 had a pretty high intake but some years they will only send 1 or 2 batches. Number of applicants would be a complete guess but as the entry requirements are so low I would imagine its definitely in the thousands if not tens of thousands. This isn't important to you though, the only thing you need to focus on is to make yourself as good a candidate as possible so that when the time comes you are in the top X% of candidates that apply so that you get in.
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Old 21st Feb 2021, 22:41
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cadet7000

Thanks. I'm now thinking of so many things to fatten up my CV this coming summer break. Since most aerodromes are in the more provincial area of my country and I live in the city part where everything's mostly buildings, I think the most feasible one is getting a part time in a nearby airport.

Apart from the paperwork required to get a student pilot license to start flying, what do you usually need to know to have your first solo apart from the knowledge from the FAA Pilots Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge? (and other books that covers these basic subjects?) Or is that it? Do people usually study on their own before flying with an instructor already? What is the best way to prepare for this?

Also, after those 55 weeks, what comes next? Did you go back to HK for flight sim training or was that also in Adelaide? Then after do you already get rostered flights, or are there more tests etc. after that?
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Old 22nd Feb 2021, 16:51
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After you ATPL training, you will have your TR training. Then is base training and line training. These training last months because CX SO only fly long haul. You are a qualified SO only when you complete your line training. Salary is deducted to pay back half of your training fee. SO won't do take off and landing. SOs are required to do it in a sim every few months. After 2-3 years service, you will have chance to promote to JFO. You only have 2 chances in your lifetime. If you failed in 2nd try, sorry you are fired.
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Old 24th Feb 2021, 04:29
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Depending on where you are the things you'll need prior to first solo may be different. Most places require at least a Class 2 medical certificate and you have to be at least 17 years old. You are best off asking the flying school about this. As you are hoping to work as a professional pilot though I would recommend doing a class 1 medical if you can. The more you study before hand the better, just make sure you go into the lessons with an open mind and don't think that you know everything just because you've read the PHAK.
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