Generation easyJet cadet pilot at L3 CTS Airline Academy
Hi! My name is Dan Martin and I am 19 years old. I am currently fortunate enough to be enrolled on the generation easyJet cadet program with L3 CTS Airline Academy.
I, like many others, decided that I wanted to be a pilot from a very early age. As a kid, I was taken to Heathrow to watch the planes with my grandad. My love of aviation turned into a love of flying after my parents gave me a trial flight in a Piper PA28 out of Fairoaks Airport for my 16th birthday.
As soon as the main wheels left Runway 24 of Fairoaks airport, I instantly fell in love. From that day, I was determined to save enough money to have more flying lessons – in order to try and get my PPL (Private Pilot’s licence). From the summer after my GCSE’s; I had 2 jobs in order to get enough money for lessons at Synergy Flight School, Fairoaks.
I initially started by having one lesson a fortnight, but eventually managed to earn enough for once a week. My love of flying only grew after each flight, despite the hard work required – especially while also studying for my A Levels.
My first solo flight was on 5th April 2016 and was one of the most exhilarating moments of my life. Although just one circuit, it was finally the moment my instructor believed that I was ready to pilot an aircraft for the first time on my own. It was incredible.
G-BGIB, the same white Cessna 152 I went solo in, then became the aircraft I passed my PPL skills test in, on 22nd October 2016.
After enjoying the freedom of being able to fly with a PPL, and having had the privilege of flying my family and friends around the South of England – I set myself to my next goal.. an ATPL!
After selection and interviews at CTC (now L3) in Dibden Manor – I was over the moon to be offered a conditional offer of employment with easyJet and a place at L3 Airline Academy!
My commercial airline training started on 8th August 2017 at the Coventry training center.
ATPL Ground School:
There’s no way around it… ground school is the hardest thing you will ever do. It was 6 months of non-stop learning and testing! During my training at L3, the 14 ATPL subjects were split into 3 modules:
Module 1 (8 weeks): Principals of Flight, Meteorology, Human Performance, Mass & Balance.
Module 2 (8 weeks): General Navigation, Radio Navigation, Instrumentation, Performance.
Module 3 (9 weeks): Aircraft General Knowledge, Air Law, Operational Procedures, Flight Planning, VFR Communications and IFR communications.
I have created a page with advice from cadet pilots about how to get through ground school here.
I was incredibly proud to have completed my 14 ATPL subjects with first time passes with each, especially considering my course being the first at L3 to sit all 14 of the new Quadrant CAA exams.
After an initial start in Bournemouth, I was transferred and started my commercial flight training in Hamilton, New Zealand. After a few weeks of familiarization with New Zealand Air Law and the new aircraft, I started my single engine flying phase in the Diamond DA20 Katana. At first it was a challenge to adapt to the busy VFR airspace around Hamilton, as well as the abundance of uncontrolled airspace with 'Common frequency zones' - something I had not come across in my UK flying. I soon fell in love with both the country and the Katana aircraft. Visual navigation became easy, having such prominent landmarks such as the Kaimai mountain ranges and coast lines visible in all directions.
The real fun started when I began to venture out on solo navigation flights. We pretty much had freedom to fly wherever we so wished, providing it was thoroughly planned and signed off by an instructor. This meant that I was able to fly over some breathtaking scenery which included a flight North East up the Coromandel and across to Great Barrier Island; and a flight south at 10,000ft orbiting Mount Ruapehu and Mount Ngauruhoe (The mountain known as Mount Doom in the Lord of the Rings films!)
Nearing the end of the single engine phase, I was introduced to flying at night in VFR conditions. This included an hour navigation flight and 2 hours of circuits at Hamilton - including 5 solo takeoffs and landings. Although flying in very familiar airspace, the landscape completely transforms at night. Instead of using prominent mountains and landmarks to navigate, we had to use well lit towns and roads as visual reference. Seeing Hamilton city at night was one of the highlights of my flying!
Single engine VFR flying finished with PT1; an internal CPL style skills test which tested our ability to accurately fly and navigate, as well as deal with simulated emergencies and diversions. I am pleased to say I passed PT1 first attempt and was able to progress onto the advanced stage of training in New Zealand.
If you would like to contact Dan and ask him any further questions, you can email him at: