MY FIRST TWO WEEKS AT SCHOOL

Wednesday last week was my first day at school. And I guess most of you know what that feels like. The first day was all about orientation, information, and uniform fitting. We ended the day with some relevant maths for aviation personnel. 

Thursday we had some more orientation, study methods and a safety course. This was also the first day in our uniforms. Friday we just uploaded our documents, medical and passport, and then we took some portraits to our student ID.

This Monday we started with the theory. Our first two classes are General Navigation and Human Performance and Limitations. So that’s what all my days basically have consisted of. We are finishing the whole theoretical part before we get to fly. Eat, sleep, read and repeat.

Next week we have our first progress tests, and I hope I´ll become best friends with the navigation part during the weekend.

From a permanent job, with a safe and sound everyday life to a completely new student life in an unknown city, with unknown people. It has been kind of weird, but I guess it takes some time to get used to this new life. Anyway, the last weeks have flown by.

After three weeks as an unemployed (haha), I am happy to make me some normal routines again though. Actually, I appreciate being back in Norway (for now), with no need for Google Translate in the grocery stores. 😀

All in all, it´s exciting to finally be a pilot student!

STEP TWO: FUNDING YOUR PILOT TRAINING

The second step from being a cabin crew to become a commercial pilot: funding.

The financial part of the education might be the first and most important factor to figure out. I know this is one of the main obstacles for many aspiring pilot students out there because pilot training is pretty expensive. 

In the Nordic countries, we are lucky to have different student loan organizations, like the Norwegian State Educational Loan Fund (Lånekassen) and The Swedish Board of Student Finance (CSN). These organizations allocate low-interest loans and grants for students attending government-approved schools. Most schools have some information about this solution in their web pages worth to check out. You can read more about pilot training and the Norwegian Lånekassen here.

Some schools have deals with selected banks to grant student private loans, some people finance the whole training from their own pocket, some work hard for years and save their money, and some people do their training at government-funded schools (or in the military).

As you see there are multiple ways to finance your training and most students end up combining several options. The most common being governmental support, bank loans, and own savings.

Unfortunately, the schools catching my interest abroad did not have approval from the Norwegian student loan organization, and that´s the main reason why I will do my pilot training in Norway. For me, it was essential to find a school where I would be able to finance the entire education upfront, to get the chance to finish on time and avoid involuntary breaks (due to financing) along the way. 

My best advice is to research a lot, and to ask people who has done this before. Everyone has a different story to tell and it may be helpful to hear the experiences of others.

STEP ONE: MEDICAL EXAMINATION

The first step from being a cabin crew to become a commercial pilot: the medical class 1 examination.

To operate as a commercial pilot an EASA Class 1 Medical Examination is one of the requirements. Just to make sure you’re fit to fly, and like everything else in the aviation industry safety is always the number one priority. This is also most likely one of the most important obstacles to pass before you do anything with your upcoming flying career.

My medical examination took place at Flymedisinsk Institutt in Oslo. By then, the only Aero Medical Centre in Norway (now it’s two).

I started it all with some paperwork, completing a form about previous medical history, current medicines, about hereditary diseases within the family etc. Remember to be honest about this part.

The tests are conducted by a number of examinators, specialists in each field, and in between these visits, it’s a lot of waiting.

When my paperwork was done, I delivered both blood- and a urine sample. They checked my vision, monitored my ECG, I did a lung function test, they tested my hearing ability and the last part was a physical/general health examination; for example, testing my balance, reaction time and mental state.

And finally, after almost 3 hours of testing (and waiting) at the AMC I got my medical certificate. Such a relief and from now on I have to renew my medical every year. Anyhow it’s quite nice to have my health checked once a year.

You can find the two AMC’s in Norway here,

and if you want to read about EASA’s requirements you can read more here.