I’m Thomas Vaughan, and I’m an Integrated ATPL cadet here at Skyborne. I’m delighted to be starting the flying stage of my training in Skyborne’s modern fleet of Diamond aircraft.

Before starting my journey as an airline pilot, I took my time to research different training providers so I could find an academy that would bring out the best in me, while fully preparing me for a career in the industry. I chose Skyborne because of its state-of-the-art facilities, the knowledge of its instructors, and the experience of its directors who have helped graduates secure airline placements for decades.

In preparation for joining Skyborne, I focused on honing skills that would help me for both my flying and ground school exams. This included sharpening my mental arithmetic and numerical reasoning, as well as revisiting basic physics principles. Having a good understanding of the airline industry is important, and I’d recommend signing up for as many aviation e-newsletters as you can to keep across the latest developments.

When it comes to moving away from home or meeting new people, this can be quite intimidating, especially for younger cadets. But it’s also really exciting. You will be surrounded by individuals who share the same aspirations, meaning you motivate each other and build great friendships. Training at Skyborne feels like joining a large family, where you are supported from your first day to the end of your course and beyond. Because of this, I found the transition to living in Cheltenham smooth and enjoyable.

The Integrated ATPL programme is demanding, but immensely rewarding, with 14 exams to complete during ground school. It is important to be ready for a challenge. My top three tips to anyone going through, or about to commence ground school, are:

  • Remember to look after yourself and keep healthy. Stress can have negative effects on your revision in the long run, so to avoid burnout make sure you are eating well, take regular breaks and get plenty of fresh air and exercise.
  • Create a structured but flexible revision plan. This will help you to manage your time during a busy schedule, or when studying multiple topics in one sitting.
  • Be confident and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Maximise online resources such as forums on social media, speak to your fellow cadets, as well as those further down the line in their training programme because they can share interesting insights and different perspectives. The more questions you ask, the more you will understand.

After successfully completing ground school exams, I’m looking forward to the challenge of the flying stage. My focus now is on going solo and becoming the best pilot I can possibly be under Skyborne’s guidance.