Joshua Bimpong: Soon to be First Officer at Ryanair

Joshua Bimpong: Soon to be First Officer at Ryanair

Joshua joined the Wings Alliance in 2018, and completed his flight training through the modular route. Progressing through his Private Pilot’s Licence, ATPL theory, CPL, ME/IR, and APS MCC, he completed his training in November 2022. Joshua has demonstrated that with the correct preparation, perseverance, and gaining airline employment is achievable.

Wings Alliance conducted a short interview with Joshua, capturing his opinions and advice for future pilots to follow in his footsteps. See his story here:

What made you choose the modular route over integrated?

I decided to do an Air Transport degree at university initially. As part of the degree, my university asked me to choose which integrated school to deposit a large lump sum of money to, but as a modular student, I would have had my PPL at this point). If I chose the integrated route, I feared I wouldn’t have any control over how my training progressed as I would be one of a large group of students – and at a higher cost, which left me feeling uneasy. I wanted to have more say over my training finances, and freedom to work and study at my own pace and it’s a decision I am very happy I made!

I enquired firstly with Bristol Groundschool to see what distance learning was all about. It was a concept I really liked and I was even more pleased to hear from them about Wings Alliance, who were more than happy to offer the mentoring and structuring that I felt was missing at my university, and their integrated school partners. From then on my mind was set, that I would be a modular student. Wings Alliance’s mentoring and guidance continued a year longer than I was at university, and for this, I am particularly grateful, especially during the job market uncertainties caused by COVID.

How did you manage your time studying ATPL theory?

I balanced my ATPL theory with my university modules. The BGS training material was easy to follow and engaging. The revision weeks were conveniently spaced which doubled up as realistic study targets. Naturally, there were days I did less studying and days I did more but ultimately I was in charge of my own schedule (at home, where I am most comfortable) which made balancing studying and downtime easier. On the days that studying got really tough, if it was sunny and the schedule allowed, I would go hour building instead. It’s very easy to remember why you love all of this at 3000ft! I do think to get through your ATPL theory it has to be enjoyable and without losing time to the annoyances of rental accommodation / catching up notes frantically due to sick days etc. at integrated schools that I have heard a lot from my integrated peers.

Which flight training providers did you complete your training with?

Quite a lot of them to be honest! And not necessarily intentionally either. PPL Booker Aviation, Hour Building UK Flying Clubs, ATPL theory at BGS, CPL MEIR in Adriana Aviation (Poland), UPRT at British Aerobatic Academy, and APSMCC at VA Training. I remember early on in my training my instructors would say to try not to go to more than 2 schools in your training because employers could see ‘you’ as the problem, however, my modular type rating course mates all have ‘at least’ 3 so I hope I have busted this myth!

How challenging did you find the APS MCC course?

Very, very challenging, but I smile looking back because it was so rewarding – it is rewarding! I’m on my 737-type rating course now and I feel the APS MCC gave me such a strong foundation to build my knowledge on. I can’t imagine not doing an APS MCC before applying for my role and I’m so grateful to Wings and VA for offering this course. I think it is potentially the single most important flying course related to landing the job and I received a lot of pre-course study material to help me prepare.

What preparation tools did you use to succeed during the recruitment stage?

Wings Alliance’s Airline Prep day was brilliant. We touched on all aspects of an airline assessment day and it really gave me insight into how to present myself, how to answer questions confidently and correctly, and how to express CRM awareness and compliance. I got a lot of confidence out of it and it made especially the HR aspect of my assessment a breeze in hindsight.

I went back to VA to have a simulator session to revise my manual handling which the assessors were keen to see. Wings and VA really did send me to Dublin with confidence which is all I could ask for

What advice would you give to other budding modular students from your experience?

For starters, definitely go to Wings and have an initial chat about your plans. In this industry, it is very easy to get desensitized to these 4 and 5-figure sums paid to ATOs that don’t put you at the front, however, I found it priceless having a ‘big brother’ in Wings that would check up on me and help pave my path to the flight deck.

I was really reluctant to go to Poland for my training initially, due to my early instructors dissuading me in the interest of their own school (before I joined Wings) but it is a welcoming, lovely country. I found the weather fairer, the aircraft modern and the culture interesting. This is a travel industry, don’t be afraid to travel abroad for your training! The EASA licence may open more doors which can never be a bad thing – it opened the Ryanair door for me!

Lastly, It is inevitable that things will go wrong – for me, COVID that ultimately delayed me by 18 months. For others, it has been their company going bust or medical delays etc. So, I’m glad I have had Wings to help me structure my modular training and enabling me to have flexibility, which wouldn’t have been possible on my own; versus an integrated school that could potentially ignore my concerns. For anyone who wants to get into the cockpit, I will always point to the Wings website first and tell them to come back to me if they have any further questions!

We are very pleased and proud to see that Joshua has landed this position, and we look forward to hearing how he progresses.