In our second meet the team profile, we'd like to introduce you to pilot Brian Hughes. Born in Jersey, brian went to De la Salle and Hautlieu schools and after joining Blue Islands at 22, he was promoted to become our youngest captain at just 25.
Here he explains just how and why it's his dream job...
I think what really sparked my desire was when I was six years old, and I travelled on a flight by myself. The cabin crew were absolutely amazing, and they took me into the flight deck and gave me a tour around the plane. Everything was just so incredible, and to a six year old, the pilots looked extremely cool. That was the moment I knew being a pilot was exactly what I wanted to do with my life. I followed that up when I was 16, and started my private pilot’s licence in Jersey, and then I decided I had to take it further and become a commercial pilot.
Completing my private pilot’s licence in Jersey was a fantastic experience with lots of things which were just jaw-droppingly exciting for a 16 year old – such as flying over water to lots of little French airfields, it was pretty cool. When I turned 18 I went to Florida to complete my commercial licence, which was a very full on experience. In total I had pass 14 theoretical exams, but the flipside was I got to do a lot of flying in really great weather, which made everything seem that much more bearable. But it wasn’t over, because then I had to go to Ireland to complete the instrument rating system to allow us to fly in bad weather. It is amazing all the pilots training happens in such terrific countries! All of this happened in around a year, which meant intense pressure – but I fondly remember all of it as one of the best experiences I have ever had.
It’s hard to choose just one as there are several which have really interesting aspects to them. But, saying that, I think flying into London City during the evening has to be my favourite – the view of London is just spectacular. With my pilot’s hat firmly on, it is also quite an unusual approach as it is a lot steeper than most airports, as the buildings are a lot closer than you would find elsewhere. Zipping between Guernsey and Jersey on a seven minute flight at 2,000 feet on a great day is – and there’s no other word for it – fun.
Like everyone else flying, we have to go through security. That marks the start of our day, as we head to the crew room, where the first order of business is to print off all the paperwork needed for our shift. Next up it’s the briefing, where we cover the day’s weather and routings, to see if there’s anything that is going to affect us throughout the day, or anything which has changed at the airports we are flying to, before planning the amount of fuel we are going to use. We make sure to cover anything which may affect the cabin crew, such as bad weather or other specifics for the day which they need to be made aware of. Then it is time to head out to the aircraft to get it ready for boarding, which means completing all the security checks, pre-flight inspections of the plane, overseeing the fuelling and baggage loading - which then means we are ready for the passengers. As soon as everyone has boarded, we speak to air traffic control and get airborne. Typically we do between four and six flights daily, and the entire shift can vary based on weather, air traffic and passengers.
It is the hands on flying, every time I sit behind the controls I just cannot wait to get going. I also take great pride in a good landing, as everyone is waiting for that bit. Interesting airports to fly into are also a highlight, so that’s London City - or for a breath taking scene, Zurich or Geneva when it’s snowing.
Without a shadow of a doubt, it is my first day flying with Blue Islands. This marked my transition from flying small aircraft to piloting commercial ones – it’s a real watershed moment in my life. I remember doing six circuits of Jersey with the Blue Islands Training Manager Chris Stubbs, it was a great feeling. Oh, and, the first time flying in snow looking out over the mountains and landing in Zurich when everything was white also sticks in my mind.
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