Alessandro’s tale: how I became an airline pilot

Alessando Naibo pilot

Alessandro Naibo recently started as a First Officer with Ryanair, after putting himself through flight training on a modular ATPL course. Here’s Alessandro’s own story:

My name is Alessandro Naibo. I am 23 years old. I come from Sacile, a little town 40 miles northeast of Venice, Italy. When I was 18, I moved to London to improve my English, so I would be prepared for flight training.

Eventually, I went back home and I started to take flying lessons at Treviso airport to get my private pilot licence while I was working part-time at my mother’s coffee shop to help finance my training. It took eight months for me to receive my PPL.

I started looking into flight programmes to complete the rest of my training. In September 2015, after a thorough search, I moved to Sussex where I started the Airline Transport Pilot Licence (ATPL) ground school with FTA Global, to complete the training with a frozen ATPL. I finished the training in March 2017.

I was only missing one thing to be eligible to operate from the right-hand seat of an airliner which was the Multi Crew Cooperation (MCC) course. I undertook this in April 2017 in Dublin, Ireland.

Then I applied for a First Officer position with Ryanair. The airline contacted me within four days to set up an interview. Two weeks later, I was notified that I was placed on one of the next type rating courses starting in August 2017.

The type rating took place in the East Midlands through August and September 2017. In October, I finally started flying on the line with passengers from the Cypriot airport of Phapos and afterwards from Stockholm, Sweden. As I write this, I’m still in Sweden waiting to be relocated to a permanent base. I have just completed the line training and have achieved almost 250 hours on the Boeing 737.

Ryanair aircraft

I’m really enjoying the job and it is exactly as I thought it would be. It is very exciting to have control of an aircraft such as the Boeing 737. It is hard to put into words the the thrill I feel when I am landing a 70-ton airplane at over 160mph on a new, unknown airport in dense fog or when I am battling with wind and adverse weather.

It is also really satisfying to know that I safely carried hundreds of people to a different country covering hundreds of miles.

When searching for a flying school, I was mainly looking for programmes that were reasonably priced, had high standards, and the language spoken in the country. It was important for me to be surrounded by native English speakers, so I could improve my English and be able to stand out amongst all other candidates at job interviews.

When I was a kid, I always liked the idea of becoming a pilot. However, I thought it was something impossible to achieve. During high school, I started becoming more interested in it because I wanted to be able to see the world. I remember talking to my father about my possible career choice. He has always supported me and purchased a lesson for me on a light plane. I loved the experience and it was the trigger that made me want to focus into becoming a pilot.

Flight training comes with many challenges. There are times when everything feels overwhelming and difficult, but worst thing anyone can do is give up. My advice on those occasions is to break down what you are doing into small steps to make it manageable and stay positive.

Another difficult thing, for someone just starting, is understanding what the best path to becoming a pilot is. There are so many different flying schools that offer different curriculums. Also, many people give you advice that is vastly different from what someone else said.

In my opinion, I do not think there is a single, correct way to become a pilot. You just need to pick what you think is the best path for your situation and ask for advice from someone you trust and stick with that decision.

My biggest advice to anyone wanting to start this career is to always believe in what you are doing and surround yourself with people who support your dreams.

At the moment I wouldn’t change a thing of what I’ve done so far.

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