Q&A with Katherine Miller, Skyborne graduate and Second Officer, DHL

Where are you from and why do you want to become a professional pilot?

Growing up, I lived in many different places. However, the places I call home are Australia and the Isle of Man, where I spent most of my time. I am currently 29 years old.

From a young age, I was told many stories about my grandad, who was a pilot in the air force during WWII. This is where my interest in aviation really developed.

I loved to hear the stories from my dad about the amazing experiences my grandad had had as a pilot. It was these stories that cemented my dream of becoming a pilot – and my passion for flying has steadily grown since then.

What training course have you chosen and why?

Before deciding which training course to choose, it was really important to me that I found a course which would allow me the flexibility of working alongside my training. Although it can take longer to complete a modular training programme, it was perfect for me because it gave me the opportunity to earn a living while training.

How did you fund the training course?

I was really lucky in that my parents kindly lent me the majority of the fees for my training course. As I chose the modular programme at Skyborne, I was able to support myself financially throughout with a part-time job.

Katherine was delighted she chose Skyborne

Why did you choose Skyborne?

There are a few reasons why I chose Skyborne. First of all, the facilities and the level of instructing that Skyborne offers were extremely appealing to me. I visited Skyborne during one of its open days, which was great, as you could really get a feel for the place.

I was even given the opportunity to speak to a few of the trainees at the academy and hear about their experiences, which really reinforced my view that Skyborne would be a great fit for me for my pilot training. Another deciding factor was Skyborne’s hands-on career support and airline connections.

It helped me feel secure in my choice to pursue a career in aviation, knowing these resources would be built into my training.

How did the training go?

The training process was thoroughly enjoyable and I was really happy with my results at the end of the course. Overall, my training went really well.

Which bit did you find hardest?

The hardest part of my training was probably the ATPL (groundschool) exams. The ATPLs are the final hurdle in becoming a fully certified pilot – so a key part of your training – consequently there’s added pressure on you to succeed. I completed the ATPLs as part of a distance learning course and found working alongside studying quite challenging. However, I received a lot of support from the Skyborne instructors and managed to pass.

Which bit did you enjoy most?

The bit I enjoyed the most in my training would be the Multi-Crew Cooperation (MCC). The MCC gave me the opportunity to experience and get a taste of what to expect when I work for an airline. I also thought the majority of my Multi-Engine Commercial Pilot Licence and Instrument Rating was great. 

What’s your new job and what kind of flying you will be doing?

Upon completion of my modular training course at Skyborne, I was fortunate enough to secure a role with a cargo airline. Leading up to the final assessment stage with my new employer, the Skyborne team led me through comprehensive interview preparation and simulator assessment sessions. These extra measures of support really made me feel confident and ready to perform at my best, ahead of such an important moment. Now that all the hard work and preparation has paid off, I’m excited to finally be in the early days of my career as a pilot.

All set and raring to go!

Finally, if there was one piece of advice you would give to someone about to start pilot training, what would it be?

One piece of advice I would give to someone about to start their pilot training is to enjoy it as much as you can (even the ATPLs)! It’s so crucial that you do as much research as you can on a variety of pilot training schools, as there is a huge amount of cost involved and you will be spending the majority of your time there. So, choosing a pilot school that is the right fit for you is so important.