Harry Ball | Work Experience | Cranfield Flying School

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At CFS we want to inspire the next generation of aviators. At the end of 2012, Harry Ball of The Hazely Academy, spent a week with us. He got an insight into what it was like at a commercial flying school teaching people to become pilots. He sent us his report which he submitted to his school and we wanted it to share it with you.

So in his own words, this is what he wrote…

Tuesday 11th December – Tuesday 18th December 2012

I was lucky enough to be given the opportunity to work at Cranfield Flying School, a professional flight training centre, as part of my GCSE Work Experience.  Other classmates in my year believed that finding your own placement was too much work, and for them it was better to find a business on the schools database provided. For me, I wanted to use this time, to find a business in the area of work that I am interests in to gain knowledge of my future working environment!

On my first day there was an unfortunate amount of fog completely covering the Airfield, which meant that there were to be no flights in or out of the airfield. This gave me the opportunity to look at other areas around the campus at Cranfield University, which included many aircraft hangars and Museums. That day also provided me the chance to have a look around the Air Traffic Control Tower. This was certainly something I didn’t expect I would be allowed to do on my work placement and I found the experience extremely exciting.

When I arrived every morning, my routine I would be to turn the computer on and get all the needed weather charts (TAF’s) for the day. Weather is very important to pilots because, this informs the team if they can fly that day. At the beginning of the week, the weather charts were confusing but by the end of my week, I was able to understand them and decode them.

Throughout the week I was given many different tasks, from re filling oil canisters, de-icing planes and assisting with the ‘A ‘checks on some of the aircraft. This included checking ailerons, elevators, fuel, oil and navigation lights and thus making sure the planes are safe to fly, a very important job, and so to be given this responsibility made me feel very valued and entrusted.

My most enjoyable moment has certainly got to be the chance’s I got to observe an actual flying lesson and a flight experience session. The first lesson I was included in was named, ‘Stalling and Recovery’, this was very ‘interesting’ because I had never experienced a stall before. This is something that I obviously wouldn’t experience everyday!! My second flight was much less gripping! It was a routine local flight, just flying over Milton Keynes and enjoying the scenery.

During the next couple of days I was given more opportunities which I didn’t expect such as being able to observe and even use the flight simulator.  I have simulator software at home on my computer, but that’s definitely not the same as being literally inside the cockpit.

After a while being on the simulator, I overheard that a lecture was just about to start with a couple of students who would be discussing navigation. As I’m in the Air cadets, I have had similar lessons, but in their basic form and I thought it would much more interesting if I had a lesson in much more detail.

My week spent with Cranfield Flying School helped me understand the career path I want to commit to. It proved to me how much this is the area that I want to work in. The insight I got was very valuable to me and has now allowed me to better understand the stages of my own development that i need to focus on.

The staff are all kind and helpful and if a situation arose where I wasn’t too sure what to do, they were quick to offer their help and assistance.

I would like to thank everyone at CFS for the opportunity offered to me during this time… it was amazing.

Harry Ball