I was born and raised in France, grew up in a small northern town called Amiens. My two grandfathers were pilots and as aviation enthusiasts, they “infected” me with their Virus of Aviation, by telling me stories about their pilot training in the US in 1944 in the middle of WWII, their epic flight memories later on with Air France, and all the famous Aviators they met throughout their careers. As far as I can remember I always dreamed to
become a pilot. At first, I just wanted to be a Spitfire or a B25 Mitchel pilot like them before realizing being an airline pilot will be more adequate.
I passed my Baccalaureate (High School Diploma) in France and after 3 years of the Intensive Mathematics and Physics program to prepare for the Great Engineers Schools screenings, I integrated the highly selective French National Pilot Program in the prestigious governmental National School of Civil Aviation (ENAC) where I finished 43rd out of more than 2000 applicants (only 60 seats available in 2007). I was very lucky to enter the
Aviation professional world without any debts as ENAC is a governmental School. I am grateful to be French; I realize this is a privilege, not many countries in the world provide such quality training for pilots free of charge.
On the other hand, the 3-year training was very demanding, and I have to admit I struggled at the beginning of each phase of the program. Maybe I am just a slow learner… but I am also a persistent and tenacious guy who never gives up!
In 2010, when I finished Flight School, Europe was in recession and no airlines were hiring. I decided to discover a different and completely unknown world for me: Corporate Aviation. After uncounted insistent tries to get in, I managed I find a job as Handling Agent first then as Flight Dispatcher for an FBO (Fix Base Operator) at Paris Le Bourget Airport, the busiest European airport for corporate aviation. Little by little, I managed to operate flights on my days off, as a Safety Pilot on BE20, C550, and CJ2, spending countless hours at the airport
working for different companies. I extended my network outside of France and despite a reputation of a hard worker and likable person I faced dozens of failures, promised to a first job I was never able to get.
However, one day I seized the most unprobeable opportunity; to become a First Officer on a private Boeing Business Jet (BBJ) for a US Part91 operation company. I converted my EASA Licenses into FAA, passed my B737 300-900 Type Rating in PanAm Miami, and finally started my career 2 years after finishing school. A few years later I got hired as a Captain on a Flacon 2000S for another US company based in the Middle East. After the closure of our
flight department due to the sale of our aircraft I decided to take another step in my career and to join an international airline, flydubai, operating B737-800 and 737MAX, where I work as a First Officer again.
I have discovered a different world, with new rules, new types of operations, and different standards. Although this experience has strengthened my aviation and technical knowledge, self-discipline, and rigor in the cockpit, I miss the excitement and adventure of Corporate Aviation.
After 10 years in the aviation industry, I have never seen a linear career. Aviation is full of surprises with its up and downs, and the recent COVID19 crisis is the perfect example. I think is it important to stay active all the time and embrace any challenges. You may don’t see the point now, but accepting another role, another job or other studies before your first airline job will definitely be an advantage later on in your career. Don’t be afraid
to try something different and try out different paths. It worked out well for me, it might work out as well for you.
Check out Chris's Instagram: @Flywithchris_
Chris also has a new website coming soon: www. letsflywithchris.com.
Be sure to follow his journey!