Another of our recent students who gained their PPL in 2018 is Keir Williams, starting from a young age Keir grew up around aviation flying in various aircraft with his dad who is also a pilot of vintage aircraft.
Since gaining his private pilots’ licence at Bristol and Wessex, Keir has gone on to do a tailwheel conversion course which now allows Keir to fly his Dads aircraft which is a great achievement. In the not too distant future he wants to do some aerobatic flying as well as hopefully flying commercially, a route a lot of our PPL students decide to take.
For this article we asked Keir some questions regarding his training and what advice he has for others:
What made me want to become a pilot?
My dad is a pilot as well and has owned a vintage aircraft since around the time I was born. I’ve therefore been incredibly fortunate to grow up around aviation, and have had the pleasure of being able to fly in quite a few different aircraft as a youth. Naturally, I caught the flying bug from an early age and have been hooked ever since.
What were the main parts I most enjoyed of my training?
It was very satisfying to fly a whole circuit for the first time without my instructor having to touch anything or make any comment (though I’m sure he was thinking of some!), as I’d been in the right-hand seat so many times with my dad and watched, but never had the chance to do so myself.
Navigational exercises were really fun as well; again, there is a good feeling about getting exactly to a waypoint at the time you had estimated on your PLOG, using only your eyes, a chart, compass and stopwatch. The qualifying cross country is the pinnacle moment for this.
Were there any aspects of training you didn’t enjoy?
There were elements which take a few lessons to click, like the circuit, especially where I may have had a 6 week gap in between lessons due to weather or other commitments. I didn’t not enjoy them, but you can leave the club feeling slightly disheartened after a lesson where you didn’t perform at your best.
The ground exams are often something that comes up as a topic that people don’t enjoy, but I found them interesting and applicable to your flying. Martin really helped with his pre-exam briefings and fortunately I passed all the first time.
Who were your instructors at Bristol and Wessex?
Predominantly my training was given by Phil Dunglinson, who was excellent. His long career in commercial flying meant that he always had anecdotes from his career to tell, that were interesting and relevant to the training, and his instructing style thorough and enjoyable.
Importantly, I always received a long debrief after each lesson. Jonathan Cormack also gave me a few lessons, and his instructing was equally stellar!
What would I want to tell others looking to become a pilot?
Relax, stay focused and enjoy it, as it opens up something which is so fun, and we are so privileged to be able to do it. I think sticking with one instructor is best for continuity and means you the instructor always knows where you left off after your last lesson. Also, get the written exams out of the way early on, as it frees up the rest of the course without them being a burden.
Since getting my license, I did my tailwheel conversion straight after my skills test, so I could get checked out on my Dads aircraft, which I now get to fly. I’m hoping to do some form of commercial flying next year, and I’d like to get into aerobatics.
If you would like to find out about obtaining your private pilot’s licence, please get in touch with us or visit our PPL page to find out more.