November 28, 2022

Franck, airline pilot

Many young boys dream of flying planes ... it was your case?
Strangely no, my father was a pilot but I had not thought of following in his footsteps. It was when I started my military service that I wanted to do it in the air force. I was not admitted and it made me want to persevere!

What training should we follow?
There are three possibilities. The first is to enter the ENAC (National School of Civil Aviation) after maths sup. and special maths. About 10% of the drivers come from this school and usually come to Air France. Then there is the army: you are a military pilot and you can become a civilian. Finally, there is the path I followed, which is to start with a training in aeroclub. One learns to pilot on a small private plane, the qualification with the instruments, then a training theoretical line pilot, which is also followed by ENAC in the form of UV (value units). We also do a lot of tests on flight simulators.

How long does it take training ?
It depends on our finances, because it is extremely expensive. It takes about 90,000 euros. I worked at the same time in IT, I borrowed and followed several individual training. In all, it took me 8 years.

Do you remember your first flight with passengers?
Yes, I remember being in front of my meal tray and having thought, looking at the beautiful landscape, "Well that's it, I'm there!"

What is the main quality required for a pilot?
Perseverance and assurance. You have to be sure of yourself, never doubt.

Have you ever been afraid?
Not really. There are more stressful flights than others, like when we go through a thunderstorm, but I never said to myself, "It's going to end badly." Anyway, I get the impression that case of big concern, the pilots do not even think about their possible disappearance. They must be too focused on solving the problem they face.

What are the constraints of this profession?
Schedules, difficult to combine with family life. But on the other hand, I have to work only a couple of weeks a month, so I'm pretty often at home. Then it's a tiring job. And we have every year controls, including simulator. If we fail, we can be banned from flying, and must follow the course again! It is never allowed to go down. Since September 2001, everything is recorded, the flights are shelled. It's a little more stressful. That said, I do not regret a second my choice!

Why ?
I am passionate about theft. I like traveling, but it's mostly flying that I like. We have a great feeling, really unique.

How do you explain the fascination exercised by this profession?
This may be due to the image conveyed by the pilots in the 60s, the myth of the adventurer, the captain of the long course ... when my father left, it was for 15 days at the time . There was a mysterious side, distant ... Now, it's still a little less magical, when I leave "long" it's only for 4 days!

Cockpit Chronicles: Frank's Retirement Flight to Paris (November 2022)