Application process

The processes listed below are those of my own (winter 2010/2011) and might now have changed.

I traveled to Dublin in the summer of 2008 to a Flyer Exhibition showing off the biggest Flight Training Organisations in Europe and across the world. There I met with a number of different companies including FTE, Oxford, Cabair and Pilot Training College.

As you would expect all took my details and over the following twenty four months as I completed my A levels in England I received numerous emails from all schools regarding their courses. It wasn't until after I had finished with school that I got an email from Pilot Training College (PTC) saying that they would be holding different selection days across the United Kingdom and that there would be a number of Flybe cadet places on offer to be decided at a later date. So I booked my place on a selection day at Manchester Airport for early February.

After signing up for the assessment day you will be given a number of documents to fill in and a number of forms you should bring with you on the day but these would all be included in the email from Waterford. Another important document you will be presented with is pages of basic physics and mechanics which you will need to learn pretty thoroughly for the tests taken on the day.

On the day of the selection I traveled down to Manchester Airport, UK for an 8am start. At this point I will say that my day promptly and I was finished by around 2.30pm but I was indeed the first to leave of those who had made it until the end of the day. It is pretty much non-stop and there was little time for a break.

The first part of the morning was getting to know the fellow persons applying for the course. We were split into two's. The very first exercise was to get to learn our new partners. There were ten different facts we had to learn about each other ranging from parent's professions to favorite sport. Having done this we each then had to stand in front of the group and give a presentation on the other person.

After this, we were given a presentation from PTC about how their different courses are structured, costs and their different locations in Florida and Ireland (and I'm guessing now England).

Next comes the tests. When I took them back in February 2011 there were two. One maths and the other a collection of questions from the information sent through by the company before the assessment day. Each consisted of twenty multiple choice questions which should be answered in thirty minutes each.

The maths questions are mainly what you would expect in a GCSE/secondary school examination except I had five answers to choose from. It was very much addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. As I said earlier it is very important to learn the material sent by PTC for the second test. They covered the following:

  • Aerofoils and lift
    • Chord line
    • Camber
    • Angle of Attack
    • Angle of Incidence
    • Atmospheric effects on lift and drag
    • Aspect ratio
    • Wing sweep
  • Stability
    • Static stability
    • Neutral stability
    • Static instability
  • Basic Meteorology
    • Troposphere
    • METARs
  • Magnetism
  • Hydraulics
  • Gear trains
  • Basic electrics
  • Pressure theories

There seems a lot. When I first received the information pack I was a bit taken aback as to how much there actually was to learn but since being here it seems like nothing compared to the amount that is thrown at you during certain stages of the training.

These tests are usually taken by half of the group at once and the other half would have their interview/discussion with a member of the PTC team and then swap. Mine covered basic questions of what you would expect in any interview. Explain to me what you have done for a living, what you like, dislike, basic aviation questions etc. The one question I can remember being asked with regards to aviation is how and aircraft actually flies. Google it. I'd say to do your homework on the basic principles of flight such as how the plane gets into the air, different parts of the aeroplane (ailerons, rudder, elevators, flaps etc. - nothing too challenging). It's always good to have an example about a problem you have encountered and how you have helped resolve it and a mistake you may have made that you made amends or learnt a lesson from. Mostly HRM stuff. In my case, this lasted around 15-20 minutes.

Following this came probably the hardest part of the day. The COMPASS test. I am under the impression this has now been changed but I could be mistaken. Basically it consists of eight (I could be wrong on this...) different tests which measure different abilities including quick mental maths, control, multi-tasking and spacial awareness on a computer using keyboard, mouse, an airbus style control column and rudder pedals. The computer will then, from your interaction, calculate the results and mark each section out of seven.

This is the last part of the day and following this a PTC representative sat down with me and discussed my results. These were all listed on an A4 sheet of paper. It was ran through section by section starting with the multiple choice results followed by the COMPASS results and finally the perception that they got from me through the interview and the rest of the day. Further information was provided going forward and their recommendation for which course I should take. Following the results from that day I was put forward for the Flybe scheme that was at that time running with six spaces available.

The next stage is the decision as to whether accept the offer from PTC or not. During this time I was placed into the Flybe hold pool which I would receive regular updates as to whether I would continue during the continuous cutting of the list. While this was taking place I booked myself on to the May course and duly paid the deposit.

Below covers the post-PTC/Flybe process. Above is up to the point of signing with PTC and the remainder up to the start date is covered separately in a different tab.

Everything started moving very quickly and towards the end of February PTC held two dates where they would offer a mock interview and advice to those who were in with a chance of going for interview for the Flybe cadetship.

The interview was held at the same hotel as the assessment day. It was conducted as would be any airline interview and the feedback would duly be given afterwards. The interview was conducted by an ex-airline pilot, a previous student with PTC who had indeed been given a Flybe position under the same scheme and a PTC employee. The questions covered were quite in depth including airline procedures, general knowledge of aircraft and airline operations (very much more thorough than the assessment interview) and general questions about myself. The feedback was both positive and constructive and was very much worth the effort in attending.

Following this I was offered an interview with Flybe down in Exeter in early March. The company held interviews over three days and were very accommodating to fit around the interviewees. Before attending all of those who had been offered an interview had to produce a one page document supporting their application sent well in advance of the dates given for Exeter.

Travelling down the night before I arrived early enough for the interview at the company's headquarters next to Exeter Airport.

The interview was more focused on myself than their procedures as had been in the previous with PTC. It was conducted by the manager of pilot recruitment as well as a current First Officer within the company.

It first started with one asking questions and the other taking notes and this was reversed half way through. The recruitment manager ran through my CV asking questions about me as a person, what I had done, what I thought of the company and most importantly what I knew about the company. When roles were reversed it was more focused on how the company operated (shortest route, type of aircraft operated etc.) as well as questions about basic aircraft control surfaces.

That was it really. The interview was finished and all seemed to go OK. The following Monday I found out via phone and subsequently email I had been offered a place on their cadet ship programme and I would be contacted by PTC in the near future with further information.

I hope the above gives you an idea about the who process I went through before signing the contract with Pilot Training College. 


  1. Great read, thanks. can you go through more detail about what came in the tests you were given? mainly Physics/Math sums. would be really useful because I have no idea how to prepare for that! thanks man, good luck!

  2. I've added the relevant information above.

  3. Thanks for the info, an interesting read. How many Flybe cadets are there on your course? Did you have to take the medical before the final Flybe interview? Many thanks!

  4. There are currently 4 of us out here on the Flybe scheme.

    No we didn't take them until post-Flybe interviews.

  5. Beautiful.
    I'm taking the assessment test soon, but I don't have anything to study say you were given papers by PTC (math and physcs) to study from? can you possibly post that here? would be a huge help. I know basic aviation stuff like how an airplane flies etc. but what about the rest? how do we prepare for that? I'm realllllllly nervous and I don't want to go there and embarrass myself knowing nothing. I just want to see examples of how the math questions were like maybe. and some of the other tests. sorry for being a pain.

  6. If you have sorted your assessment day out with PTC they will send you all of the information.

    Unfortunately I cannot distribute their work. Sorry.

  7. Great blog, even at 29, you may have inspired me to go follow my dream again! Just need to brush up on the old maths and physics! lol

  8. Haha that's the plan! Good luck!

  9. Doing the aptitude test soon, does this help?

    Doesn't look too easy tbh. thanks for the blog btw.

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