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Not getting enough flight training in flight school

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Not getting enough flight training in flight school

Old 5th Feb 2024, 14:49
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Not getting enough flight training in flight school

Hi
First time on here and looking for some advice. My daughter is a cadet with a flight school and started the integrated course as she wanted to complete it in 18 months rather than drawn out. She felt it was better for her way of learning, intense and ongoing.
It was always a struggle to get the flight training, others steaming in and taking a place, weather issues, planes grounded, Instructors leaving or ill, the usual that ive seen others complain about, but she was meant to have finished before Christmas but is so behind and still is sitting in her digs just waiting to be scheduled each day. She is lucky to average 2 to 3 a month. Clearly she is worried, her hard spent learning is deteriorating with the lack of practise.

We are not well off, and in fact I sold my home to pay the fees and their are no more funds available, all savings have gone and she is living on air. I worry for her mental health, all the sitting and waiting to get her flight training to get her licence. She feels like she is missing all the opportunities to get a job, all she wants to do is to finish now and go earn some money.

I have asked her have they said they are holding you back for any reason, to which she has said no, or at least nobody has spoken with her about it.
She often emailed to remind them that she needed to be scheduled, spoken with instructors and other personnel but they say its not up to them. She needs to move forward or lose it.
If there is anyone that has over come this issue, or a staff member of a flight school that might point me in the right direction as to how to advise her to get these flights out of the school and finish the course I would be grateful for some advice.

Many thanks

Last edited by Oildrip; 5th Feb 2024 at 21:15.
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Old 5th Feb 2024, 17:37
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I'm sure you and she read the advice everywhere about not paying up front. Sounds like you disregarded that. Your call, but you ignored a lot of sound experience and advice.

Why is she sitting in her digs? Why is she not at the flight school, visibly studying, spending time in the aircraft on the ground, cadging back seat flights, asking to be scheduled? This shouldn't matter, but it really does, in any training organisation because they're made up of human beings. Emailing is not the way to solve problems like this. And she is not learning to be a student pilot here, she's learning to be an aircraft commander - so needs to act like a future Captain and take charge of the problem.

I'd also suggest quietly consulting a solicitor, and paying them to check through the training contract and advise you on what she should be getting. There can be unavoidable delays in anything aviation related, or there can be real failures of delivery. It's worth looking quietly into that, but don't take the gloves off until that seems essential..

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Old 5th Feb 2024, 18:09
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what school is she with?
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Old 5th Feb 2024, 18:14
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Oh my goodness. You have sold your house and used up all your savings - what were you thinking ?

But anyway; basically, what Genghis said.

But before getting solicitors involved, you both need to read the contract, then meet with the Chief Pilot and/or CEO of the company ASAP. You need a proper sit-down meeting and get them to look at your daughter's log books, and calmly ask why she is not getting enough flying, and leave them in no doubt that you expect some significant and positive action.

2-3 flights per month ?? Ludicrous. The weather can be bad but it is never that bad.

But, equally; she will not achieve anything by sitting in her digs and writing emails. Emails are very easily missed in the hundreds they receive. She needs to get up every day, put on the uniform and go into Ops. early - well before the flying has started. She needs to look at the day's weather and the NOTAMS to see what is happening, and also to make sure her name is on the flight board. She needs to talk to the instructors, ask for rides in the back of other students' flights, and make sure she is a cheerful and constant presence. I remember the female students at my flight school, and the instructors were falling over themselves to fly with them. Sexist perhaps, but true.

To be a pilot you need to have the ability to make things happen. If you are down-route and the fueler has not turned up or the bags have not arrived, and you have 20 mins before you lose your slot or go out of hours; you need to be able to motivate people and get some action.

If she is not going in every day, her face is being forgotten, and nobody is thinking about her.

Yes, the flight school should be across all this, but often they are not - I clearly remember having to go to the Chief Pilot's office at a prestigious UK Flight School to politely ask for my epaulettes a week after passing a significant flight exam; (I naively thought they would come to me and there would be some sort of mini presentation or at least a handshake) "Oh....erm.......yes, of course........... here you are" he said, opening a drawer...........
.

Last edited by Uplinker; 8th Feb 2024 at 00:03.
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Old 5th Feb 2024, 18:24
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I dont want to say, as she may be identified
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Old 5th Feb 2024, 19:22
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Thank you for this, not having been in this environment myself, Ive sat on my hands not really knowing where to advise her without going for the CEO, but the constant threat she feels that it might ruin any future job prospects, (they often put students forward to the airlines) has left me cold.
I think I will start with getting her in early in uniform and getting noticed and studying from the office, see if she can get any rides. If she is still ignored, its time for the meeting with the CEO with the both of us.
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Old 5th Feb 2024, 20:26
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Originally Posted by Oildrip
I dont want to say, as she may be identified
To be fair, not inconceivable.

You, and she, need to be absolutely clear in your minds that she is not a Ďcadetí or whatever they want to pretend she is. She is a customer buying a product. Thatís it. End of.

Hindsight, was it the best product to buy, clearly not etc etc, others reading this just go Modular blah blah. That doesnít help you. What will do is going in and start to bash some heads together. Donít have to be savage but make it crystal clear that what has been advertised has not been delivered.

Integrated schools pump up their prices and get people in with glossy instagram advertising, no doubt your daughter bought into some of that. Ď0 to fATPL in 18 monthsí that sort of thing. Use that. Thatís what you had a reasonable expectation of achieving.

And donít worry too much about annoying them. From experience it really is those that shout loudest whoíll get stuff sorted. They donít care who they fly, they just want the cash. If they have a difficult bunch theyíll want them out the door and on their way ASAP.

Try and sort your PM issues out, thereís some great posters on here with far more up to date and relevant info who Iím sure would gladly reach out and PM you.

And please let us know how it all pans out, if not just as a cautionary tale to others considering parting with their cash for one of these sauger factory offered courses.
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Old 7th Feb 2024, 23:54
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Absolutely: YOU; (your daughter) are the customer and you are paying their wages. They work for you, not the other way around.

And you don't have to be nasty or shouty. Just calmly explain the situation and what you expect them to do about it. Have a printed copy of the contract with any relevant passages highlighted and show these to the chief pilot if necessary.

Don't whine either. You need to behave like a professional pilot explaining to the handling agent what needs to happen and what you want them to do. Smile, and stay polite but firm.

With this approach you and your daughter will come across as reasonable people but who cannot be pushed around, and this should help them in recommending her to the airlines.

Good luck
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Old 8th Feb 2024, 21:30
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I would highly recommend going over the points previous posters have mentioned with your daughter.

However she is the one that needs to go and speak to the relevant department at the school. If she is training to become a professional pilot and a future commander, then she needs to learn to start dealing with people directly and addressing any issues or setbacks with assertiveness. It wonít do her any favours if youíre running around and emailing the flight school staff (who most likely wonít do anything anyway unless you meet them face to face).

I understand that it is as much your problem as it is hers, but at least let her do the talking on your behalf.
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Old 9th Feb 2024, 00:39
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Two to three flights per month is ridiculous for a full time student. Luckily, there's some really good advice on this thread.

It may sound harsh, but I think she really needs to pull herself up by her bootstraps and get out there.
There's little point sulking in her room or sending emails which are either ignored or even more quickly forgotten.
She needs to get up, put her uniform on (if she has one), and get to the planning/operations department (and whoever schedules). Make herself seen. She needs to be a constant positive presence. She should be ready for a flight every day (i.e. by checking weather/ notams/ aircraft schedule etc. each morning) This is general advice for any school.

Dependent on how her school operates, she can do a lot of others things too.
She should chat semi-informally with someone who in known for getting things done. She needs to tell them she's concerned by her slow progress and how she needs to fly more to maintain her skills and graduate on schedule. Not in an unpleasant way, but you need to remember she is the customer of the school. I wouldn't bring in contracts or CEOs at this point either. It's not always who you think. At my previous school, the chief theoretical knowledge instructor or (oddly) the owner's wife were the people to speak to if you wanted something actually done.
If she has a personal FI assigned, she should contact them/ use polite pester power. After each flight during the debrief, inquire about the next flight.
On days she isn't flying, she should try and go in the back of the plane for another student's flight. Much better to learn from other's mistakes for free and also a chance to talk to other instructors.

Honestly, as a female cadet, she has an advantage that she 'stands out' to a certain extent and will be less easily forgotten.

Only if this doesn't work would I push things further.
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Old 9th Feb 2024, 04:30
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Originally Posted by Oildrip
Hi
First time on here and looking for some advice. My daughter is a cadet with a flight school and started the integrated course as she wanted to complete it in 18 months rather than drawn out.
There's your first mistake. Modular is faster, flexible and a LOT cheaper.
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Old 9th Feb 2024, 08:44
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Reading between the lines, perhaps this particular integrated school's sales rhetoric is a lot more impressive than its ops department's delivery. But, the OP's daughter is clearly where she is and needs to make the best of it.

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Old 9th Feb 2024, 09:04
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Out of sight out of mind. AlwaysWondering is absolutely correct in the approach she needs to take.

Aviation training seems to be the exception to the rule of the 'customer is always right'. One of the problems being at the end of the course (particularly full-time) there will be reports written by the school & if you have in their view annoyed them it might not be particularly favourable. Yes I know it's wrong but I have seen it happen, so present polite persuasion is likely to get you further than resorting to threats & contracts.

I hope this thread serves as warning to integrated training & especially putting your house on the line.
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Old 9th Feb 2024, 13:06
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Unfortunately, this is nothing out of the ordinary for integrated schools, from my experience. I also attended one of these schools and it was not uncommon to go 35+ days without flying despite having a 'nice new shiny fleet' (I once went 50 days). I can't speak for Skyborne, but the organisation at the other schools, including the one I attended, was pretty abysmal from the scheduling to accommodation; there were guys from another school joining us with only a few months left before their ATPL theory exams expired who only just started on the ME! Stay farrr away from the 'top 3' schools unless you're aware of the multitude of issues and delays associated with the 100k price tag.
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Old 10th Feb 2024, 13:12
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Originally Posted by allert
I would highly recommend going over the points previous posters have mentioned with your daughter.

However she is the one that needs to go and speak to the relevant department at the school. If she is training to become a professional pilot and a future commander, then she needs to learn to start dealing with people directly and addressing any issues or setbacks with assertiveness. It wonít do her any favours if youíre running around and emailing the flight school staff (who most likely wonít do anything anyway unless you meet them face to face).

I understand that it is as much your problem as it is hers, but at least let her do the talking on your behalf.
Hi, Yes I did wonder if it was a good move to physically get a meeting with me tagging along. So difficult to balance the desperation to get this moved on and allowing her to deal with it herself. She once went to the CEO who is essentially a nice guy and she did get two or three flights, then nothing. One thing she did note is the death stares from the staff involved in having to be told to find her flights. She really wasnt comfortable and didnt use that ploy again. She has kind of dropped comments when a few of them have been at the school discussing issues in the common area, just a comment like in a joking way, that it would be nice to get a little more practise and scheduled more often. No reaction from this either. It seems like a little clique of self preservers that are either too dumb to do the job or have taken a dislike to her for God knows what reason. Its soooooo frustrating.
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Old 10th Feb 2024, 16:10
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Originally Posted by VeeeOne
Unfortunately, this is nothing out of the ordinary for integrated schools, from my experience. I also attended one of these schools and it was not uncommon to go 35+ days without flying despite having a 'nice new shiny fleet' (I once went 50 days). I can't speak for Skyborne, but the organisation at the other schools, including the one I attended, was pretty abysmal from the scheduling to accommodation; there were guys from another school joining us with only a few months left before their ATPL theory exams expired who only just started on the ME! Stay farrr away from the 'top 3' schools unless you're aware of the multitude of issues and delays associated with the 100k price tag.
Yes, You clearly understand this issue. How did you overecome it, or did you just go through it. Are you flying now, have a job?
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Old 10th Feb 2024, 16:36
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[QUOTE=Oildrip;11590746]Hi
First time on here and looking for some advice. My daughter is a cadet with a flight school and started the integrated course as she wanted to complete it in 18 months rather than drawn out. She felt it was better for her way of learning, intense and ongoing.
It was always a struggle to get the flight training, others steaming in and taking a place, weather issues, planes grounded, Instructors leaving or ill, the usual that ive seen others complain about, but she was meant to have finished before Christmas but is so behind and still is sitting in her digs just waiting to be scheduled each day. She is lucky to average 2 to 3 a month. Clearly she is worried, her hard spent learning is deteriorating with the lack of practise.

We are not well off, and in fact I sold my home to pay the fees and their are no more funds available, all savings have gone and she is living on air. I worry for her mental health, all the sitting and waiting to get her flight training to get her licence. She feels like she is missing all the opportunities to get a job, all she wants to do is to finish now and go earn some money.

I have asked her have they said they are holding you back for any reason, to which she has said no, or at least nobody has spoken with her about it.
She often emailed to remind them that she needed to be scheduled, spoken with instructors and other personnel but they say its not up to them. She needs to move forward or lose it.
If there is anyone that has over come this issue, or a staff member of a flight school that might point me in the right direction as to how to advise her to get these flights out of the school and finish the course I would be grateful for some advice.

Many thanks

UPDATE
Have just been chasing up my daughter to see what has happened this week, has only been in 1.5 days only because the weather was so bad that hardly anyone was in.
No progress made on the time in, where she did some revision, some touch drills. All planes with rear seats are grounded with issues so couldnt cadge lifts.
She has confirmed the following to me

"Ive already spoken to everyone who I can about this matter all the time, most of them known for getting things done. Going in to plan for flights I wont get is not going to help in any way, and they wont just assign me flights for the sake of it unfortunately. I want to backseat and ask often but like I said I am unable to at the moment. There isnt much more I can do as I ask them all directly all the time, but they just follow a spreadsheet now but I must be a stack overflow on it, as I never seem to be given the due priority. For Notams, I plan for the next flight after my previous one, I just wait for the 20 mins it takes to adapt it to the days events and conditions."

I also know she has asked to help in Ops and on the ramps, but they wont allow as she is a full time student
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Old 10th Feb 2024, 16:37
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Originally Posted by Oildrip
Hi
First time on here and looking for some advice. My daughter is a cadet with a flight school and started the integrated course as she wanted to complete it in 18 months rather than drawn out. She felt it was better for her way of learning, intense and ongoing.
It was always a struggle to get the flight training, others steaming in and taking a place, weather issues, planes grounded, Instructors leaving or ill, the usual that ive seen others complain about, but she was meant to have finished before Christmas but is so behind and still is sitting in her digs just waiting to be scheduled each day. She is lucky to average 2 to 3 a month. Clearly she is worried, her hard spent learning is deteriorating with the lack of practise.

We are not well off, and in fact I sold my home to pay the fees and their are no more funds available, all savings have gone and she is living on air. I worry for her mental health, all the sitting and waiting to get her flight training to get her licence. She feels like she is missing all the opportunities to get a job, all she wants to do is to finish now and go earn some money.

I have asked her have they said they are holding you back for any reason, to which she has said no, or at least nobody has spoken with her about it.
She often emailed to remind them that she needed to be scheduled, spoken with instructors and other personnel but they say its not up to them. She needs to move forward or lose it.
If there is anyone that has over come this issue, or a staff member of a flight school that might point me in the right direction as to how to advise her to get these flights out of the school and finish the course I would be grateful for some advice.

Many thanks
Originally Posted by RichardH
Out of sight out of mind. AlwaysWondering is absolutely correct in the approach she needs to take.

Aviation training seems to be the exception to the rule of the 'customer is always right'. One of the problems being at the end of the course (particularly full-time) there will be reports written by the school & if you have in their view annoyed them it might not be particularly favourable. Yes I know it's wrong but I have seen it happen, so present polite persuasion is likely to get you further than resorting to threats & contracts.

I hope this thread serves as warning to integrated training & especially putting your house on the line.
Yes Im afraid this is what she is afraid of. over a barrel, just concerns me as to how long this can go on.
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Old 11th Feb 2024, 00:00
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Originally Posted by Oildrip
"Ive already spoken to everyone who I can about this matter all the time, most of them known for getting things done. Going in to plan for flights I wont get is not going to help in any way, and they wont just assign me flights for the sake of it unfortunately. t
Thanks for providing updates on her situation. I really feel for her. Too many in flight training world have, sadly, been in the same situation.

Especially in the world of integrated training. Glossy magazines and slick sales teams mean very little in reality. When times are good, few schools are capable of training the number of candidates the sales team sign up. Given your comments on weather, if it's the school I am thinking of, they also have a lot of tagged airline cadets who receive priority due to stiff penalties they agree to with the sponsoring airline. All things the sales team will, of course, not tell you.

Though, having been on both sides of the desk, I think she/ you have a misunderstanding on the best approach. Perhaps she has just given up (and your post certainly makes it sound like she has. ''Going in to plan for flights I wont get is not going to help in any way'' is total nonsense I'm sorry to say), but giving up/ going legal isn't the right way to go. This sounds a bit harsh and it's obvious this has been going on too long which is disheartening, but she really has few other options.

She needs to become a de facto part of the operations/ planning departments. As I said, a constant positive presence with polite pester power. Everything done quite informally. She should chat with everyone. Become 'friendly' with everyone. She should be on first name terms with everyone and everyone with her. She should soon find out what is going on and find she is getting a few more slots than she used to.
And how is she trying to backseat flights? In my experience, going through ops is not the way. The best ways are, one, doorstepping instructors just before they fly with a students and, two, chatting to other students asking them if it's OK to backseat and then going through their FI. Again, just my experience.

Also, what is happening with her coursemates? Are they training at the same pace or are some racing ahead? Has she spoken to them?


I think this thread should serve as a warning to others.
- Don't get taken in by a good sales team or nice marketing.
- Remember modular is usually a lot cheaper and gives a lot more flexibility than integrated. It is likely the best option for most. Despite what the slick sales team told you...
- Do thorough online research, but take everything online with a hefty pinch of salt.
- Try to make lots of friends/ acquaintances in the aviation world. A personal review is worth twenty online ones.
- Visit the school you're thinking of training at.
- Look at the school, planes, classrooms, offices, ops department etc.
- Speak to current students outside of the earshot of staff.
- Weigh up the pros and cons (every school has both) and go in with both eyes fully open.



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Old 11th Feb 2024, 05:07
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Having fairly recently graduated from an ATO that I suspect is fairly similar to your daughter's, I think I can relate to her situation. I also couldn't agree more with VariablePitchP, AlwaysWondering and several others in this thread have already said. Whilst my training was protracted by weather/aircraft availability/serviceability -especially during the winter, and also when the school took it upon themselves to train cadets from another ATO (for a rather large amount of money) to make up for that ATO's own abysmal lack of training capacity, 2-3 flights a month is very poor, and well below any reasonable standard that you should expect as a trainee, let alone a customer. I remember passing my CPL exam (long delayed due to weather), and having my first couple of instrument rating lessons within days, then after not being scheduled for 5 days or so I went in to print off some plates only to find out from Ops that they had assumed I was still doing my CPL and therefore had not even considered that I might need to fly. We had a good laugh about it, but of course I didn't actually find it very funny. At this point I properly realised that quite a lot of the time in a large school, whether you get flights is as much up to you as it is the person who is supposedly paid to ensure that you are getting flights. The advice I would give based on my own experiences is this:

-I was incredibly lucky to have an instructor who didn't mind causing a bit of a fuss and peering over the computer in Ops if he thought his students weren't being scheduled enough. I cannot overstate enough how helpful this was, especially as I probably had a more introverted nature when it came to dealing with that sort of thing at the time. Several students who were seen as 'favourites' for getting rushed through were sometimes seen as brownnosing the flight school management by the other students, whilst those who became known for complaining to the management risked being perceived as 'argumentative' and 'anti authority'. The fact is that your daughter should not be having to strike this balance alone. She has enough going on with trying to become a pilot, getting involved in flight school politics should be very low on her list of priorities. As well as making herself visible as others have said, she should also be talking with her primary flight instructor and getting them to fight in her corner. Any instructor worth their salt should know that it is in their vested interest as much as hers to ensure that she is current and confident in her abilities.

-Sometimes, especially on Saturday and Sunday mornings, it can pay dividends to put yourself on an impromptu airport standby. Just sit there suited and booted with a book, and when the plan falls apart, helpfully volunteer yourself to save the day, winning the heartfelt admiration of a grateful Ops department (who may then remember you). My ATO actually ended up introducing this formally to an extent, and I don't recall many times where I didn't end up flying when I was rostered for it. Even with the pre-arranged standby slots, there were still occasions where for whatever reason aircraft were underutilised. I appreciate that nowadays with the better state of aviation there are probably even more students than in my time, but never underestimate how dynamic that environment can be, and how you can get some flying at a moment's notice. As previously mentioned there is also a lot to be said for doorstepping instructors and backseating whenever possible. If she is scheduled for a flight there's also nothing wrong with inviting a friend/somebody in Ops who got their flight cancelled to backseat too. That's how favours are owed.

-I get the impression that your daughter is quite stressed about job opportunities and missing out. All I can say is that whilst this is obviously an incredibly volatile industry and the usual caveats apply, she should not be worrying about that now. Instead the best advice I could give is to take it one flight at a time and focus on the present. Ideally enjoy it too! It's good fun when you aren't sat in your room and can see the improvements starting to happen. I have also found that across a few of these schools with 'airline connections' (beware of that claim), the people who are often responsible for putting forward those students to be 'tagged' or employed are often quite removed from the people she would risk mildly inconveniencing by asking them to let her fly. For the most part they are also perfectly nice, normal people who are not cut from the same cloth as the marketing/sales department. Airline training departments nowadays are more than aware of the bottlenecks in the training industry and the impact of COVID, so I assure you that it isn't uncommon to see new airline cadets (both integrated and modular) who have had their training take SIGNIFICANTLY longer than anticipated. She is certainly not the first to have that complaint, and many who have been in the same situation are still perfectly able to (eventually) sit in the right hand seat once it's all over.

In short, as long as she is still making an effort to physically talk to people and hasn't resigned herself to failure, I think she will be fine.
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