One day in May 2012 I was called to the Finnair Flight Academy. Before I was to be finally accepted to start the flight training, I had one more thing to do – to sit in an Airbus simulator!
The Finnair Flight Academy’s history began in 1950, when the flight training started, as the Finnair Flight Training Center. Today the FFA offers pilot training in many areas: type rating, multi-crew cooperation course (MCC), safety training and instructor training to name a few. One very interesting course is the Arctic Survival course. The participants are taken to Finnish Lapland beyond the Arctic Circle for four days to learn survival in emergency situations. It sounds like something I would love to take part in. If you are interested, read more about the course and see some pictures here: Finnair Flight Academy – Arctic Survival. The FFA also provides cabin crew and technical training as well as some consumer courses. The modern facilities are located right next to the Helsinki Airport (EFHK).
So my future depended on if I could fit in the cockpit of an Airbus. Not because I am too big, but because I am so small. I am only 163 cm in height, right at the minimum height required for the Finnish Aviation Academy. I guess the right question was if I could fill the cockpit enough. Walking up to the simulators I was greeted by a few pilots doing their training and I felt right at home. I seriously can not wait to be a part of it all. First I got to sit in an Airbus A330/340 simulator. I sat in the co-pilot’s seat. After I buckled my seatbelt, adjusted my seat to see out of the window and to reach the foot pedals, I then had to reach the engine fire switches in the overhead panel. I also got to sit in an Airbus A320 simulator where the picture in this post is from. It was slightly smaller than the A330/340 cockpit but not a lot. You can check the location of the engine fire switches in this photo: Airliners.net – Airbus A320. The switches are the three red squares on the top right.
I did reach the switches and I was fit to fly! The last letter arrived in mid-May 2012 stating the fact that the application process was now completed and I was to become a pilot. Since that day in the simulator I have looked at all the planes differently, knowing that I will be there one day.
A cool related video about starting up an Airbus A320: