Ioannis Matheos

Why did you decide to study BSc Aviation Technology with Pilot Studies at the University of Leeds?
The decision to study at Leeds arose from the need to develop knowledge around all aspects of the aviation industry as well as prepare a foothold for the competitive job market for commercial pilots. The course’s reputation along with the range of interesting content covered over the three years made it a desirable choice for further studies. Upon visiting the university to see the faculty’s facilities and meet some of the staff, it further secured my choice and made Leeds my favoured destination upon finishing my A-levels.

What has been the best aspect of studying on your course and at the University and why?
Being on such a niche and unique course allows you to be placed in a group of very like-minded people with similar aspirations and interests. Sharing a common passion such as this in a relatively small group really brings everyone on the course close together, more so, I believe, than other courses. Combining this with the excitement of observing progress throughout the course and progressively edging closer to taking to the skies, studying on the course is a very enjoyable experience. The PA-28, PA-34 and Airbus A321 simulators available to use are also a great aspect of studying here.

Tell us about some of the exciting projects you have completed so far?
Throughout the first year there are a variety of assignments and projects to be undertaken, each requiring different skills and both application of the knowledge gained from the course as well as background experience. For one project we were split into fairly large groups and each group was assigned a specific aircraft. The objective was to first research the aircraft, and subsequently run experiments on an engineering orientated flight simulator with aspects of the flight model changed. Nearing the end of the allocated two weeks we had to present our ideas about the aircraft to all of the aviation students and comment on the design choices made by the manufacturer as well as possible areas for improvement based on the research undertaken.

What does Leeds as a city have to offer students?
Attending the university puts you close to the heart of the city and this means that a wide variety of restaurants, cafes, shops, cinemas, clubs among other things are easily accessible throughout your studies, being only a short walk or bus ride from the main campus. In addition to these, the student union on-site has many of these facilities available to students; perfect for when running tight for time or in need of a good deal. Transportation is also particularly good with easy access to both the bus and train stations. Leeds Bradford airport is also only a short bus ride away, serving many domestic and European destinations.

What are your ambitions for the future?
My dream, along with many others on the course, is to become an airline pilot. I intend to gain the necessary qualifications through the modular training route which involves me attaining the necessary licences and ratings with a flight training organisation and completing my ATPL exams at a certified ground school. At the time of starting university, I had recently obtained my PPL and at the time of writing, am currently hour building prior to undertaking the professional part of the flight training. Next year’s ATPL studies will help me to complete the exams with flying colours and I believe that each university module undertaken will help to widen my knowledge of the industry and mould me into a better pilot.

What Experiences at Leeds do you think will help you in your future career?
The university doesn’t simply aim to expand a student’s knowledge but also aims to make a student more employable, allowing them to hone in on various skills with each activity. Different assignments seek to enhance presentational skills, oral communication, teamwork and working effectively under time pressure, among many others. Each student has their own ambitions and niche strengths which they can share with the remainder of the group to develop each other’s knowledge. Among the cohort, there are future pilots, air traffic controllers, flight operations managers, engineers etc. which encourages an environment in which different perspectives of the industry can be understood outside of your main focus.

What would you say to students coming to do the same course?
As well as the knowledge and skills gained from the course, the university’s connections to different aviation bodies and organisations serves as a great tool to alumni who require guidance on a particular career path. Those joining the course are encouraged to take full advantage of the opportunities presented as few wishing to gain a place in the industry will have such assistance in finding employment in aviation. It is also well worth researching the options for possible training routes/employers early on in the course in order to be able to take the necessary actions in good time, so not to miss any opportunities or waste money unnecessarily.