Every time you get onto a plane, just behind the partition wall, there’s a pilot sitting. From that moment, the whole journey of yours is in his or her hands. It takes a lot of time and effort for him to make your flight comfortable and safe. How does the career of the pilot look like? Where does it start?
You might picture images of a distant travel, excited holidaymakers and business trippers, outermost corners of the world, and meeting new people every day. This picture might change after a small talk with a pilot… Have you become curious? We would like to tell you the story of a man who has gone through all the challenges in the pilot’s career path: Arkadiusz Guzek, First Officer in Small Planet Airlines Poland.
Inspiration came from a book
Arkadiusz’s destiny was clear after he read the book called “You may become a pilot” for the very first time. When he was in his first grade he already knew what he was going to do. He never hesitated and pursued his goal.
How did you achieve what you are now?
“Hard work”, answers A. Guzek. “First of all, when I was 21 years old, I attended gliding courses. Gliding is a fantastic experience giving the opportunity to enjoy the flight without hurrying anywhere. I grew up and my desires grew as well. I stepped towards becoming an Airline pilot by starting training for a Private Pilot Licence. Intensive theory training lasted for more than a year and in 2002 I started building my flight hours. No other course opens as many possibilities for the future as having a PPL licence: you can progress through different types of planes and activities that will give you an entire new perspective to the world of aviation,” notices Arkadiusz. “In 2007, I received my Commercial Pilot Licence. It was one of the best days in my life,” recalls the pilot.
There are a lot of choices after you graduate. How to choose what to do next?
“In my situation, I did not wait for a long time. Aviation is a very dynamic and rapidly changing industry, so you can not abandon it for a long time. Just after acquiring my licence I started working as a Corporate Pilot on BE58 and Piper Meridian single engine turboprop planes. I flew across Europe with businessmen. One of my guests on board was Lech Walesa, the President of the Republic of Poland, also Jerzy Buzek – the President of European Parliament and many other notable people. In 2014 I also worked for Polish Transplantations. But after 7 years of work, I could not resist the temptation to make my dream of flying big airplanes come true. I mean Boeing or Airbus,” remembers Arkadiusz.
“I invested much effort and time in search for an aviation academy. I chose BAA Training, the aviation academy in Lithuania, since it met all of my requirements in terms of quality. It was also close to my homeland. I finished Airbus A320 type rating training there in 2014. However, I understood that having A320 type rating qualification did not help me to stand out from the crowd of other pilots, so I decided to “push” my career – I joined a line training course at BAA Training too and then acquired experience working at Small Planet Airlines. I have never regretted any of these: neither the choice of the training facility nor the practice location. As you can see, now I am the First Officer at Small Planet Airlines Poland,” smiles A. Guzek.
Typical day of a pilot: is there such a thing?
According to A. Guzek, it is a normal working day which starts with a farewell kiss from his wife. He has to be in an airport briefing room at least 30 minutes before the check-in time starts, in order to print out all the documents required to perform a flight. After that they do briefings with all the crew members. This is meant for discussing the details of the upcoming flight and boarding the aircraft. After the flight pilots usually do debriefing and go home.
“This is quite a typical workplace. One thing that makes it spectacular is that your office desk is above the clouds and it’s mobile,” smiles the pilot. “This summer we mostly fly to Greek islands, Spain, the Canary Islands, Macedonia, Albania, Egypt, and Bulgaria. For me one of the best locations to fly to is Greek islands. Flights there are demanding because of short runways, but this is a place where pilots can practise visual approaches – a rare thing in a pilot’s life”.
A soldier who doesn’t want to be a general is a bad soldier
At the end of our interview, we asked the First Officer what his plans for the future are. He thought a little and answered: “I will be a Captain. This is a great honour and aspiration of every pilot, I guess”.
Arkadiusz Guzek is also sending his greetings to everyone who is still thinking about their career choices and doubt whether a pilot’s profession is worth considering: “Don’t waste your time, just do everything you want. Take your career into your hands and keep going. Good luck!!!”
The pilot career is one of the most challenging and inspiring professions. Even though it requires extensive training as well as determination to be a life-long learner, it pays off by amazing views and ever shining sun. Thanks to such devoted people we travel in a safe and reliable way. Do not miss a chance to smile and say ‘thank you’ to the pilot on your next trip!