First Officer at Air Malta Type: A320 family Air Cadet, PPL, Night Rating I began my pilot training in 1996 as an Air Cadet and I was immediately impressed by the Company’s commitment to make pilot training possible in Malta at a time when even gaining access to the aircraft for a local flight was a challenge in itself. The friendly service provided by both the flying and administrative staff was evident right from the start. The Ground Instructors were always extremely knowledgeable on the subjects being put forward, not to mention the availability of audiovisual material, including aircraft parts, and comfortable facilities, which have been improved further since then. Apart from actual flying, the practical training also included well organized visits to various airport sections such as the airport fire section, which helped me further understand how it comes all together. Such knowledge is invaluable and still helps me build a mental picture of what is going on around me and also helps me understand why certain things happen the way they do. Back in 1998 it was only possible to fly solo aged 17 or older. Having had the opportunity to start training so early as an Air Cadet, I was ready to fly solo before reaching my 17thbirthday. The Academy actually took the trouble to organize a surprise by having me released for my first solo on my 17th birthday! How can one forget such an experience? Not to mention the traditional bucket of water emptied over my head just as I walked away from the aircraft. I am lucky that today I fly for our National Airline on one of the most advanced aircraft in the world, but I also still fly those same light aircraft I trained on back then on a regular basis, and can’t help being nostalgic of those days when PPL training was started in Malta.
The friendly service provided by both the flying and the administrative staff was evident right from the start.