Personal Stories

From Art to Aviation

I became a teacher, but had wanted to fly from as early as I can remember.

I didn’t have the confidence to pursue my dream at first; not being the most academic, struggling with mathematics, and lacking finances. Becoming a pilot felt like an unattainable goal.


Nevertheless, I set a goal. My plan was to get established in a good career, build funds – and confidence – then, someday, learn to fly. I focussed on what I was good at: art. I went to university, completed a design degree and teacher training and began working as a secondary school Art & Design teacher.

Seven years into my career, having researched routes into commercial flying for career changers, I took my first steps into modular training and began my Private Pilot Licence (PPL) with Liverpool-based training organisation, Ravenair.

ATPL theory

Towards the end of my PPL, I began researching where to complete the next phase of training: ATPL theory. I heard about a modular ground school, ProPilot, (now part of L3 Harris) which used the new Padpilot materials. I met the team, looked at the training material and knew it would be ideal.

I passed all my theoretical exams first time. This was the turning point for me.
Going into the theoretical knowledge phase, I still had concerns about my academic ability, but I was quickly put at ease with the quality of the content and training. I passed all my theoretical exams first time with an average score in the mid-90s. This achievement was the turning point for me.

With new confidence, I went on to complete the rest of my modular training: CPL, ME, IR, MCC & JOC. From my first flight to being ‘CV ready’ took four years, and I continued to teach through much of it.


My first position as a commercial pilot came close to home, when I joined Ravenair as an AOC survey pilot, becoming a captain and then a training captain. Two years later I gained a position at VistaJet, where I now fly the Bombardier Challenger 350, quite literally all over the world.

I’m still pinching myself.


Padpilot enabled me to be fully prepared for the ATPL examinations but also ensured I gained the knowledge that I would need as a working pilot – knowledge I still draw on to this day.

I still glance at my Padpilot manuals on the iPad. Just recently, I purchased the Performance Based Navigation book to fill some gaps in my understanding of the subject as we use PBN more and more. I find the content, style and presentation, easy to navigate, read and absorb, with a good balance between text, images and animation.

I can’t recommend Padpilot enough – at all levels of flight training.