Neil and Tom Pass CPL(H) Skill Tests!

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Neil and Tom Pass CPL(H) Skill Tests!

Congratulations to our newest commercial helicopter pilots Neil Dowse and Tom Barnard who passed their CPL(H) skill tests yesterday with Captain Ric Fox.

Tom, from London, was awarded our 2019 CPL(H) scholarship earlier this year, fully funding his commercial modular flying course. We asked him how he felt having achieved his goal of becoming a commercial pilot. “I’m very happy – zero to CPL in less than two years! I’m feeling very excited about the future and what’s to come.”

Having trained with instructor Alex for the past month, Tom is pleased that his hard work has now paid dividend. “I drove back to London with all my windows down singing at the top of my voice with happiness!” he added.

Neil, from Birmingham, a finalist in the 2019 scholarship programme completed the majority of his training in March but was unable to take his skill test due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Neil commented “Finishing the CPL is the culmination of two years of effort and feels great. There were times in the depths of winter storms when flying wasn’t possible, or during the lockdown that I really thought it might never happen, so to finally finish is fantastic.”

Keen to progress straight onto the next chapter of his career plan, Neil added “I’m conscious that while it is in one sense the end of one period of training, it is very much the start of a lifetime of future learning. I can’t wait to get stuck into the Flight Instructor course and develop my skills further every day while instructing.” Neil was taught by Chief Pilot Steve, another homegrown Helicentre success story.

The pair have worked very hard during their training, completing the 35-hour modular course, which includes a night qualification, in the Cabri G2 helicopter. The challenge was even greater in the “new” training environment which requires trainees to adhere to the strict hygiene protocol the Academy implemented in order to protect its staff and students after reopening their training operations.

Wearing PPE in the cockpit and in the classroom can be tough, especially in an already challenging learning environment where the expected standard is so high but is necessary to keep people safe and we’d just like to say a big well done to Tom and Neil, and their instructors for this fantastic achievement. We look forward to taking Neil and Tom through their Flight Instructor course and welcoming them to the flight line in the not too distant future. Congratulations!

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