The most memorable day in my flying career was when I put the thrust levers up in my first jet, a B737. I now fly the B747-400 and there is something thrilling about getting such a machine into the air, taking it thousands of miles across the world and putting it down again. The fact that one human being can do that is an amazing feat of engineering.
I had always wanted to work for
British Airways. I grew up seeing the iconic M&C Saatchi adverts of the people who make up a face, which then turns into the globe. The message of bringing people together really stuck in my mind.
Becoming a pilot was a long road for me. The first time I applied to BA I didn't get in, so I did a degree in aeronautical engineering before working in engineering for five years. Finally I was accepted as a cadet and now I've flown for 9,000 hours or just less than four million miles. Even after 12 years of being a pilot, I look out of the window and I am blown away by how beautiful the world is from 35,000ft.
Try, try and try again would be the advice I would give to budding pilots. Lots of people get in on their second, third, fourth or even fifth attempt so it's important not to be disheartened.
Leadership is a very important quality for a pilot to have as you have the whole crew plus all the passengers looking to you for guidance. Remaining calm and being able to make decisions under pressure are also key, as panic has no place on a flight deck at any time.
I was completely awed when I was invited out to Nasa to watch the space shuttle being launched. Joe Edwards, the captain of the shuttle, had presented me with my wings when I graduated from flying college. The fact that this same man who pinned the wings on my uniform was now going into outer space was pretty amazing.
Interview: Ianthe Butt.
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