My warmest greetings to all aspiring aviators and, hopefully, future colleagues!
My story has begun literally long before my birth; with my grandfather and dad, who dreamt to become pilots. Due to some constraints of difficult times, they did not succeed with their goals, but from my early childhood, they definitely instilled in me a love to aviation. I was always mesmerized by their stories about planes, and my most desired gift always had been a new aircraft model constructor.
When I turned 12 my dad took me to Kyiv Aviation and Cosmonautic Center, where I saw everything I dreamt of. Aircraft modelling, rocketry and parachute groups, flight and navigation trainings with plane-simulators, caring experienced instructors, and above all – many children of my age, who have become my friends and still are.
I shall never forget my first moto-delta plane flight with instructor Elena Igorevna, when you had nothing under your feet and the land was somewhere far away… Yet, after a couple of slides, I felt that very feeling to become a pilot whatever it takes me.
Remembering sober luck of my relatives, I perfectly understood that the task was extremely difficult. Yet, this challenge only motivated my enforced studies and English language training. Owing to efforts of my teacher-instructor in flight and navigation Hrygoriy Chorniy, I was fit enough to win an annual competition at the Center and was awarded in 2015 with an unforgettable trip to UK under the Ukrainian-British Air Cadet Exchange program. There I saw countless aviation artefacts in museums, where I had a chance to touch legendary aircrafts; I attended Royal Air Tattoo Show, met legends of the British aviation and paid a courtesy visit to HRH Prince Michael of Kent; I flew EC120 in a pilot seat and was lucky enough to fly in Tiger Moth. We had a great time with my British comrades and felt no cultural barriers. They accompanied me everywhere and introduced into UK Air Cadets routines… This life experience ever more inspired me to achieve the desired goal and I studied even more intensely. I won in annual competitions for another 2 years, but let other children from the Center to participate in the exchange program.
Upon the graduation from the Aviation and Cosmonautic Center, I had to find a way to continue my education. While Ukraine nowadays does not have cadet programs with state scholarship, I had to apply abroad. Looking for financial support, I contacted over 50 aviation companies, but unsuccessfully. At one of education exhibitions, I have found a suitable high education course in Slovakia. Family earnings allowed me to live in this country. Moreover, I counted on extra earnings after classes and during vacations in order to pay for my flights and pilot license. Then I went through admissions procedures, paper work, study permit and eventually I was a student in Slovakia. Studies were not difficult, but earnings were a bit of a task. Yet, I managed to travel to the USA during vacations under the student program “Work and Travel”, where I received excellent recommendations. These would be of use and I would need extra years to receive my pilot license. Having studied for 2 years, I matured enough to become a fledged person who knew what to do further.
Being in my second year of studies, I received wonderful news. Wizz Air opened admission to cadet program for Ukrainians with a perspective to obtain a place as a second pilot on Airbus 320. What a JackPot! I decided to act immediately. Another turn of paper work, overloaded bureaucracy, extensive travelling, hotels, airtickets, medical checkings, tests… the list is endless. All these in different EU countries. 4 days for professional casting with other applicants in their 20ies and 30ies… And me.. 19 year old chap, who tried his luck… Yet, I succeeded! With another girl from Bulgaria. Two out of 15 in the group! This was one of the luckiest days in my life! I was admitted. For this, I had to disrupt my study at the University without a right to return. I had to obtain my new permit and so on. Nevertheless, everything that does not kill us makes us stronger!
My delight was brief. I had to submerse myself again into another paper work for an aviation school in Greece. On top of all COVID restrictions disrupted my visa application and travel plans. I spent almost a year for all the formalities and bureaucracy. There were times when I thought it was the final straw… But my dream drove me further.
Eventually, I was the only one Ukrainian out of 800, who attended the presentation of the cadet program in five cities of Ukraine, and the one out of four admitted, who managed to get to Greece under lockdown restrictions. Leave alone my challenges with missing connecting flight in Germany and forced return to Ukraine in 24 hours, another try… and final destination was reached! Again, 14 days of self-isolation in a Greek hotel, another paper work with study permit…
Next part of education “Type Rating” on А320 simulator and real test-drive will continue in Hungary. Another paper work ahead. However, this does not frighten me anymore. I shall fight for my dream until final success.
Certainly, I will not bother you with all the nuances of my challenges. I should write a separate book on them. My path to my dream is not a broad motorway, but I withstand everything. I am immensely grateful to all whom I have met on my way. It is you, who have made me strong! Yet, foremost, I am grateful to my parents, who supported me on every step.
I am twenty now. I have travelled in many European countries and cities. I have been to the USA. I speak fluently two foreign languages. Many would have preferred to stay in one of these comfortable countries, were they in my shoes. Still, my goal is different. I feel much closer to my dream now. I need to hardwork with my studies, and to pass my qualification exams. I shall become a pilot. There is no other way to go.
All we need is simply to keep putting one foot in front of the other! NEVER GIVE UP!