What are the key skills required?
As a Senior First Officer I am second in command of the aircraft and so problem solving and decision making are a key part of my career. These are both skills that you develop from a young age from personal experiences. Dealing with passengers is something that makes up a large part of the job too as we are responsible for every single person’s safety on board our aircraft, so it is important to have good communication and people skills.
What is the most exciting/challenging part of the role?
I think that travelling across multiple time zones presents a challenge in itself. Even on short haul, the time change means that there are days in the winter where you can spend all day flying through night, even when it is the middle of the day on your body clock. This means that your body needs to adapt and it is important to take time out to recover when possible.
Flying to the more challenging destinations can definitely be exciting. Some of the Greek Islands, or Alpine airports have more complex approaches due to their terrain or lack of high-tech radar equipment. This often means you get to disengage the autopilot and fly the approaches yourself, which is the best part of the job. Experiencing the aircraft respond to your control inputs is quite an amazing feeling and something I certainly don’t take for granted.