Kudzi Chikohora, Pilot, Chartered Engineer, Writer

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What life is like working as a pilot

Being honest, COVID 19 has torn apart the aviation industry: many pilots out of work, those remaining in employment through a combination of pay cuts and part-time work are now on reduced salaries sometimes 50% or more. Being a pilot is still an incredible career, and I count myself lucky to be able to call this a job!

What are the key Pilot skills required?

  • Leadership and teamwork
  • Problem-solving and decision making
  • Application of procedures
  • Workload Management
  • Situational Awareness

What is the most exciting/challenging part of the role?

Nothing beats setting take-off thrust on the runway on a rainy, murky morning in the North of England knowing that in a few minutes, we will be above the clouds into the sunshine heading to warmer weather!

What a typical day looks like

A typical day may have my alarm going off at 4am. Before leaving the house, I’ll log in to my iPad and study the details for the day: weather, route, passenger numbers and any other issues that may affect us. Straight to the airport, through security and then head to the aircraft. After meeting the crew and discussing the day, we get straight into our designated roles. I am flying us on the first flight – the Captain, and I take it in turns to be Pilot Flying and Pilot Monitoring. After uploading the flight management computer, I configure the various switches and settings before reconvening to complete our checks and get our clearance to depart.

With all the passengers on board and the doors closed, we are on our way. Once in the cruise, we monitor the aircraft system and carry out various checks periodically. With around 45mins to landing, I get the latest destination weather, set up and brief for our landing. Once on the ground, we switch roles, the Captain sets up the return flight, and I go outside to complete the walk around and supervise the refueling!


Advice to give new entrants into the sector

Being a pilot is an extremely rewarding career. Do your research thoroughly as the financial outlay to become a pilot is very high (£60k-£100k). After studying Aerospace Engineering at university, I initially worked in the Oil and Gas industry for 12 years as a chartered engineer before progressing pilot training on a part-time basis around my full-time job.

With how fragile the aviation industry can be in terms of job security; it would be prudent to develop a skill or qualification outside of aviation that you can fall back on. If interested in learning more, check out my pilot training blog that I run as a hobby – kcthepilot.com

Aerostories #Pilots #Engineering #Operations

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