Posted on Feb 3, 2021 2021 at 18:46Updated Feb 4, 2021 2021 at 9:49
It took him an hour of flight to realize that was his calling. However, this desire to be an airline pilot was present in her, buried since always, in the inability to imagine that this dream was possible. “There was an incompatibility between being a woman and being an airline pilot”, today recognizes Elise, 28, a student pilot. Self-censorship due to this lack of a female role model ended up shattered when she encountered an airline pilot who told her: “Elise you are wired for this job!” “.
Arthur also grows up with this project. But his ambition comes up against another wall: that of guidance. The maths and terminal physics teachers tell him that he does not have the skills for a prep maths sup / maths special and integrate Enac, the National School of Civil Aviation. “I was 17, it was not easy to hear”, confides nine years later, this holder of the pilot's license
Faced with these barriers which stand in their way, Elise and Arthur choose reason. They join EM Strasbourg, a business school. Objective: to have a successful international career. The school allows them each to do an exchange abroad. Arthur chooses Australia. This is where his vocation comes back to him as a boomerang.
He then inquired about the different pilot schools. Back in Paris, he nevertheless continued his management training with a marketing internship in a Parisian start-up. But there, the vase overflows. “The metro morning and evening, the screen all day, from Monday to Friday, that is no longer possible. Everything was going very well but I saw myself one Monday morning opening my emails and wondering if this is what I wanted for the next 40 years, explains Arthur. I realized how uncomfortable office life was for me. Or at least I wanted to work in a cockpit, the most beautiful office in the world. “
“The teachers advised me with what they knew …”
The past awareness, how to reorient yourself? In addition to the prestigious Enac that he was not recommended (a selectivity of around 1/100), he discovered the system of private schools and their training in two years. They nevertheless have a cost: the cheapest, with the theoretical part taught at a distance, are worth around 45 to 50,000 Pounds, the most expensive up to 100,000 Pounds. An investment that he has the certainty of being able to amortize once in office.
Elise, she succeeds in integrating the formation of Lufthansa, the famous German airline company. Like the Air London Cadet training, students pay nothing at first, and start repaying from their first salaries.
Both realize that they have gone nowhere to never live their vocation. When Arthur thinks back to the advice of his teachers, he has no bitterness. “They did with what they knew, he testifies. In the collective imagination, we believe that you have to be very good at maths and physics, that the job is very complex, and that you have to be an engineer. “ But in his training, academic results are not an obstacle. The level is actually adapted to the job, according to the young pilot. “They really pick on what will serve us in flight. In short, a terminal level S. “
However, airline pilot is a technical job and that is what Elise likes. A job much less glamorous than the movies Top Gun or Stop me if you can do not let it be believed. Hands are dirty after inspecting the plane, Arthur assures us.
But it's not just the technical side. The human side fills the young woman. Being a pilot means working as a crew, with the co-pilot and the cabin crew. It is also an achievement of their business school: learning to manage. And Arthur to confirm: “A commander is above all a manager”. “It is the director of the aircraft, the one who makes the strategic and commercial decisions. “
If safety is the first of its missions, it must also ensure the comfort and profitability of the company. The choice of fuel, the compromises to be made between punctuality and consumption, trajectory and weather conditions are all elements to take into account before making a decision. “A plane leaving an hour late asks about the upcoming connections of some of the passengers. Should we go faster and consume more or less quickly but have to organize – and pay – transport or even hotel nights for passengers? An arbitration which returns to the command “, He assures.
“Becoming a pilot does not mean giving up our diploma, hammers Elise on his side. It is thanks to the maturity brought by the business school that I was able to initiate this retraining. “ She emphasizes that the year abroad opened her mind.
Stewardess reaching the cockpit through another door
The history of these conversions would be immaculate if they had not taken place in the midst of the Covid crisis. Arthur had completed his training and had to pass the psychotechnical selections of Air London… on March 17, 2021. They were canceled, “As in many large companies which recruited and which no longer recruit at all from now on”. Even Elise's training has been on standby for a year and is expected to resume next month. The aviation sector is hit hard by the border closures. Its 2021 revenue plunged 60%, according to the International Air Transport Association.
If the time is for the general gloom, it does not seem to affect the morale of our two young drivers. From the start, Arthur knew that the adventure was not won in advance. “I started knowing that if I didn't make it to the end, I would have the security of a business school master's degree. “ Elise took advantage of the imposed break to take flight hostess training. “It's a way to reach the cockpit through another door. “
This type of gate exists in some companies. Even company executives, working in support functions, can switch to pilot (with the necessary skills). Arthur has just been interviewed for a position in a sales department of a company. Ten months in this position with the promise to then spend as a pilot, the time for the storm to calm down …
Find the other two episodes of our series “Pilot, when passion resists the storm”: Thursday: “I became an airline pilot after five years in finance”
Friday: “Pilot: the crisis of the dream job”