"I’m very happy in my new job, piloting again after a break of more than 10 years."

After an unplanned 10-year break from flying following a career as a fighter pilot, Didier completed the AirlineReady® course and is now flying as a First Officer for Transavia France.

When I was 17 years old, I had the dream of becoming a French fighter pilot.

After graduating from High School, I got accepted into the French Air Force Academy where I flew for many years.

In 2008 I wanted to retire from the Air Force and I applied to Air France - but, because of the recession, my type rating was postponed every 6 months for a total of 8 years!

From 2008 to 2012, I stayed in the Air Force but was only allowed to fly 15 hours a year. Then, from 2012 to 2015, I took a non-aviation job and only flew a few hours each year in light aircraft. I noticed how hard it was to maintain my skills and proficiency during this period.

I decided to complete an MCC+JOC and sent emails to all known companies in Europe. VA was the first to respond. Their AirlineReady® training met all my requirements. It was also all the little things that made the difference. They helped me out finding suitable accommodation, for example. I was able to start the course within one month after enrolling.

I will recommend VA to all my friends - and I already did - because of the high quality. Without the knowledge and skills taught by VA, it would have been very difficult for me to succeed in my type rating - because I had not been flying in a squadron for 10 years and I did not know any civilian procedures.

Their AirlineReady® MCC+JOC was not just a helping aid, but it was a necessity. Even with my 3,000 hours fighter experience it was necessary, because many type rating programs are now reduced to the minimum of what is required by legislation. It’s hard work.

My most memorable time was my first time in the simulator. It was a mix of great pleasure and asking a lot of question about all the switches and buttons. Another thing I will never forget is that in raw data, when all the automation is switched off, an aircraft remains an aircraft. No matter how big it is, it will still fly according to the same principles as a training aircraft does.

My piece of advice I would like to give to all the people aspiring to an airline job, is to work, work, work - and always be ready for that first opportunity. Seize it, because it is probably an opportunity you shouldn’t miss. It is really hard to make a plan in aviation, since it’s subject to change all the time. You have to be able to deal with this as a pilot.

A great thanks to VA. The AirlineReady™ MCC+JOC is a big investment, but it definitely returns the profit.

I especially appreciated the instructors, who are current airline pilots, as well as the kindness of the VA team, their responsiveness and the time spent to accommodate my needs, despite my “perfectible” English.