Reach for the sky

Reach for the sky

More young people are asking about flying lessons

A popular drama currently airing on TVB Jade, Triumph in the Skies II, has sparked an interest in the aviation industry, a flying instructor said.

Simon Wong Po-kei of the New Zealand (H.K.) Flight Training Academy said more young people are calling up his non-profit organisation to find out details about beginner pilot courses.

But he said the number of youngsters who had signed up remained the same as the cost - HK$50,000 for a two-week course in New Zealand - was a concern. The fee covers the course, accommodation and a return ticket to Christchurch, according to the flight school's website.

Years back, it was uncommon for people to fly overseas to countries like Australia and New Zealand to gain flying experience. But now places which organise such courses have become more common and accessible.

Airlines now look for pilots-to-be who already have hands-on flying experience before sitting for an interview because they are less likely to drop out.

These programmes are often funded completely by airlines, and it would be a big loss if the cadet pilot cannot withstand the pressure and leaves half-way.

The academy offers two types of courses - one for those aged from 14 to 15, and another for senior aspiring pilots aged 16 to 24, who are challenged to complete their "first solo", the first time they can fly without an instructor sitting next to them.

Wong said good English language skills were also essential for trainee pilots because English is used to communicate in the aviation world. This is an area Hong Kong applicants need to work on, he cautioned.

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