Rookies Akshita and Sam take off into the world of aviation, taking to the skies in a small aircraft with mentor Tony, who puts them through their paces.
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We push our rookies hard. They see the good...
How cool is this?!
..and the downright astonishing.
We give them glamour...
show them excitement...
..get their hands dirty...
put them under pressure...
..make them laugh...
all so they can experience their dream jobs.
Today, our rookies want to be pilots.
But will they fly like eagles or are their ambitions just pie in the sky?
Let's find out as we go All Over The Workplace!
Do you dream of being the person who makes those announcements
on a plane like, "We're flying at 35,000ft"?
Well, we're about to meet two rookies desperate to do just that,
and fly the plane, of course.
This is your captain speaking,
please fasten your seat belts as we're experiencing
some slight turbulence.
First on the runway is nine-year-old
Sam from Northern Ireland.
I would like to be a pilot
because you get to travel
to different places
and you get paid for it.
wouldn't be a problem for me,
because I just love staying up late.
Ready for take off is Akshita.
Flying is really exhilarating
and that feeling of being up
in the air is amazing.
Not many girls are pilots,
so I think it would be really nice
to bring some more girls
into the industry.
That's why I'm really passionate
to become a female pilot.
We've propelled rookie flyers Sam and Akshita to the Peak District
for the start of their adventure. Chocks away!
Oh, what a magnificent view!
Hi, Sam, Akshita, how are you doing?
So, Sam, why do you want to be a pilot?
Because I love the responsibility of the plane and I just love flying.
Sounds good to me. Akshita, why do you want to be a pilot?
I want to be an inspiration to girls,
because there's not many of them in the industry.
There aren't many women pilots, are there?
It would be fantastic to have a role model like you,
inspiring a whole new generation of pilots.
Let's see what your parents think.
Sam can be quite forgetful.
That would be a bit of a problem if he was going to be a pilot,
cos he might forget what airport he was landing at,
or he might forget to land.
He just wants to go through things as quick as possible,
and it would be good if he could work on maybe slowing down.
One thing that she needs to work on probably is
she gets tired very quickly,
so she might need to work on that a little bit
because with long flights and long stays abroad and all that,
she will come home very tired.
So, Akshita, apparently you fall asleep all the time.
-What do you think about that?
-I think I should work on that.
Especially if you're going to fly to Australia.
You can't fall asleep over the Pacific Ocean, can you?
What about you, Sam? You're very forgetful, apparently?
My parents are talking rubbish!
Come on, don't say that about your parents.
You'd set off on your way to Heathrow
and you'd end up at Charles de Gaulle in Paris.
-No, I wouldn't!
-Well, I hope not.
Let's go and find out about your first assignment. Come on.
We're about to reveal to the rookies a surprise from the skies.
Open the doors!
MUSIC: 2001 - A Space Odyssey Theme
Do you know what they are?
-Is it a glider?
It is a glider, you're absolutely right.
This is the first opportunity that young people have
to actually pilot an aircraft.
-Come on, shall we go and have a look?
Gliding is sometimes referred to as the purest form of flying.
Gliders are usually unpowered
and they use the same natural air currents that birds use to fly.
Meet our first mentor.
Andrew Neofytou began his flying career
on the Royal Navy Air Force scholarship
and from then on, it was his sole mission to become a pilot.
He did an aeronautical degree
before becoming a Royal Navy military pilot, aged 22.
Andrew, could you tell our rookies what your three top tips are
for becoming a pilot?
As a pilot you've got to have a lot of technical knowledge.
So you need to make sure that you work hard at school,
so you can pass all the exams you need to become a pilot
and when you are a pilot, you can really work hard
at maintaining your knowledge.
The second tip I've got is, don't let anyone tell you you can't do it.
And even if you think sometimes, "This is getting a bit difficult",
keep motivated - you can do it.
And a third top tip is, have a different interest,
cos it makes it more interesting when you're at work.
Andrew's top tips for being a pilot are...
Pass all your exams
and maintain your knowledge when you become a pilot.
Keep motivated, even if you think it's getting difficult.
It makes life more interesting.
Do you have an engine in a glider?
-The idea of gliding is we fly without an engine.
So we have to use all of the atmospheric conditions that we can
to keep ourselves up in the air.
It's a real challenge. Basically, we fly like birds.
Why is gliding a brilliant way to start flying?
You can actually go solo when you're only 14 years old.
Not only are you getting to learn how to fly an aeroplane
and learn how all the controls work,
but it really develops your knowledge of what the weather does
and all the different conditions you get used to when you're a pilot.
And when you're flying at 14 years old
and all of your friends at school ask you what you did on your weekend
and you can't even drive a car, that's pretty cool, isn't it?
Right, Andrew, what assignment have you got for our rookies?
Are you ready for this, guys?
Your assignment today is to go and fly in a glider
and actually take the controls.
You're going to actually get to fly the aeroplane. How does that feel?
My three top tips for becoming a pilot is firstly,
when you do start flying, do it regularly,
so you can build those skills that you need to be a pilot.
Secondly, take all the opportunities that you can get.
Apply for grants, join the Air Cadets,
so you can learn about aviation and go flying.
And finally, don't be afraid to ask questions.
There's a good chance you'll get the answer that you want.
Good luck, Sam and Akshita.
Time for Andrew to give the rookies the glider tour.
Open up the canopy first,
lower yourself in and put your feet all the way forward.
-Can you reach the stick?
Moving the control column right and left controls the ailerons.
So, they help roll the glider.
So if you're looking out the front,
the glider will either roll to the left or it will roll to the right.
And forwards and backwards controls the elevators.
If we pull the stick back,
the elevator goes up, and if you push it forward, it goes down.
Pulling the blue lever applies the air brake on the wing.
Have you ever stuck your hand out of the car window
-and felt it sort of getting pushed back?
That's exactly what these do.
And there's also a special dual-control feature
to the control column.
Have you noticed how you move one
and then the other one moves as well?
When you're flying with the instructor,
they'll be demonstrating just how that works
and how you control the aircraft and you'll feel it.
How do we know who's flying the aeroplane
when there's two of you in here?
Pretty important, isn't it, to know who's flying?
Otherwise no-one might be flying!
So when the instructor gives you control, he will say to you...
Let's say he's saying it to Sam, so he goes, "Sam, you have control."
What are you going to reply back to him?
-I have control.
And if the instructor, we'll pretend that's Akshita now.
So Akshita's the instructor and she wants to take control back again.
-She's going to say...
-I have control.
And what are you going to say, Sam? When Akshita...
-I have control.
-You have control.
-Anything on your mind? Any concerns or...?
-No, not really.
-What about you, Sam?
-No, not really.
No, Sam's ready for it, aren't you?
Do you think he's going to fit?
This is terrible! Ahh!
I can't get in here. I can't fly this, look at this!
I can't get it.
I think we should just leave Alex to it, then. See you later, Alex.
-Where are you going? Hang on!
I can't get... Andrew!
Before the rookies can take to the air, it's back to the classroom.
Now, when I move the control column back or the joystick back,
can you see what it's controlling on the back there?
Andrew explains some crucial flight theory.
I hope they're paying attention,
this could be vital when they're up in the air.
Listen and learn, there are four forces acting on a plane in flight.
They are lift, gravity, thrust and drag.
Lift is when the pressure on top of the wing
is lower than the pressure under it.
This causes the wing to be lifted upwards.
The shape of the wing is designed so that the air flowing over it
will have to travel a greater distance and faster.
That makes for lower air pressure above.
The higher air pressure under the wing causes lift,
making the plane rise.
Gravity pulls the plane vertically downwards,
exactly like dropping a stone.
Thrust is a force made by the aircraft engine,
similar to a car engine pushing a vehicle forwards.
Gliders don't have engines, though,
so they use gravity to provide the forward motional thrust.
If they tip the nose forwards, it starts falling faster.
Drag is when the friction of the air slows the plane down.
Got that? I hope Sam and Akshita have!
Andrew gives Sam and Akshita a lesson in the glider simulator
before they're ready to get airborne.
Follow me through on the stick.
-Is he going to let go of the wing, that fella?
-Yeah, there he goes.
-Look at that.
-Pretty cool, ey?
-You've seen a launch.
-Now it's your turn.
Experienced pilot Mike is accompanying Akshita
on her first glider flight.
There we are, we're setting off now.
Since the glider doesn't have an engine,
it's pulled into the air by a tow wire.
Now, you can see if you look out sideways at the wings,
-how steeply we're climbing.
This is so cool!
What do you think to that?
That is just... I don't know how!
-It's like a big kite, isn't it?
-It IS like a kite.
It's just like a kite, yeah.
We're about to hear a thud as the tow wire is released,
leaving the glider to fly free.
We're now at 1,000ft, so that didn't take long, did it?
Are you OK there?
Put your hand on the stick now and you can feel what's going on.
By following Mike's controls on the joystick,
Akshita can get a feel for the glider.
This is so awesome!
Do you want to try moving it forward yourself, then? You have control.
-I don't want to.
-You don't want to have control?
OK, no pressure.
Akshita has decided to just sit back and take in the view.
But shouldn't a budding pilot be keen to get her hands
on the controls?
And we straighten up...
The air brakes are going to come out on the wings
and bring us down more steeply.
The cars look like toys.
There we are, we're coming to the ground now.
There's the ground.
-Feel the bounces?
I wonder if it's relief or amusement making Akshita laugh?
-How was that, Akshita?
-It wasn't as scary as I thought it would be.
How was her control column technique?
She just wanted to feel the controls,
-so she felt the controls and felt what I was doing.
But decided she didn't want to actually move them herself, so...
OK, fair enough. But you could feel how it was moving?
High-five! Nice one.
Over to Sam.
-Nervous at all?
-No, no nerves.
-That's the spirit. OK, off you go.
-Canopy coming down.
-And we're in.
-Here we go!
It's so fast!
And we're airborne! And we're up, we're into the climb.
-How cool is this?!
-Right, we're at 800ft already.
-1,000ft, yep, you've got it.
Oh, you know all about the instruments, then?
There's the cable come off.
I pull the release twice to make sure it's gone.
Hanging in the air.
How did you feel when the cable came off before, Akshita?
-It was a very loud noise.
-Big bang, yeah.
Whoa, we're surfing!
Yep, surfing the wind now.
Surf the wind!
Right, do you want to put your right hand on the stick?
-You have control?
If we move it forwards. So just move it down a little bit.
-See the nose going down?
-Yeah, and we're creating speed.
-We're lifting speed.
-Converting height into speed.
And then when we want to slow down, we move the stick back.
Very sensitive, isn't it?
-And then we are reducing speed down to 55. Now, 50.
There you go!
I'm just going to push the stick to the right a bit,
-keep the wings level. You see how sensitive it is?
The nose comes up.
Whoa, it's so nice round here!
I think we can safely say, Sam is loving this!
Going to put my left hand on the air brakes now, so I'm ready to land.
So, the air brakes are out, no?
-No, not yet. You'll feel when they come out.
Opening the air brakes now,
-you'll feel us coming down more quickly.
The ground's coming up. It'll be a little bit bumpy, but...
There we go!
We have landed!
-Sam, how was that?
-Oh, it was amazing.
-Yeah? You enjoyed it, yourself?
-What was the best bit?
-Erm, probably the landing.
-And Mike, how was he? Was he a good passenger?
He was very good.
He took the controls as well, tried a little bit with the controls.
-Another beautiful landing, if I may say so.
Lovely to watch. Poetry in motion.
-Are you ready for this?
-Yeah, I think so.
I've just got one question.
You know, like, when you're flying and you're on the radio,
and you sort of say, "I'm at 35,000ft - Roger."
Is he, like, the air-traffic controller or something?
-Hey, what are you doing? What are you doing?!
What's the big secret?
Brace yourself, Riley!
Wha-hey, look at that!
Wow! 0-60 in 2.5 seconds!
I was feeling quite nervous before I went up,
but now I'm really happy that I did it.
It was just everything I'd hoped, and better.
The training we did with Andy was really useful,
because it reminded me of what the different controls do
and how they affect the plane.
I took control, and when I took control, I just felt free.
Sam, you knew nearly all the answers to all my questions,
and it was great to see such enthusiasm.
-When you took the controls, you knew which way to move them.
You'd already done quite a lot of study on it -
so I was very impressed with you.
You could have focused a little bit more on what was happening.
It's really good to see such enthusiasm, but as a pilot,
you've got to direct that enthusiasm in the right way.
Akshita, I thought your knowledge was excellent today,
you really applied yourself.
You followed through on the controls.
You didn't want to control it yourself, but that's fine -
at this stage, on your first flight, you just need to enjoy it.
A little bit further forward and stop.
OK. Now, on the count of three,
I want you to take your blindfolds off.
One, two, three!
What do you think about that, then?!
-It's big, isn't it?
-Well, you've already had a taste of the purest form of flying,
-with the gliders.
Now, we're going to find out about the commercial side of flying...
-..as you find out how to fly big jets like these!
-Come with me, then!
We are in Manchester,
and we've come to the airport to get a real close-up look
at a passenger jet.
And for their next assignment,
the rookies are going to be helped along the way by India Allix.
India comes from a flying family.
She applied for her private pilot's licence at 19.
She then passed various exams
and applied for her commercial pilot's licence,
which allows her to fly passenger airliners.
India now has over 2,500 flying hours under her belt.
Let's hear her top tips.
I would say number one, make sure you work hard at school,
make sure you study hard.
Number two, make sure you keep fit, because every year,
we have to undertake medical examinations.
And number three,
make sure that you're prepared to work early mornings and late nights,
because the hours are very varied.
India's number one tip is the same as Andrew's...
This can't be stressed enough.
You have regular medical checks as a pilot,
so keeping fit and healthy is crucial.
There are lots of early starts and late finishes as a pilot,
so be ready for that.
How does it feel to be a female pilot,
because there aren't very many?
I really enjoy it, because it's different, it's exciting.
Do you do long-haul or short-haul flights?
Just short-haul at the moment.
Eventually, I'll be doing some long-haul.
An airline pilot is responsible for the whole aircraft,
so they must do a full check before they fly.
-Next, we'll come round to the tyres.
And we're checking that there's no tears.
So, do you want to have a look for me and see if you can see anything?
I hope you're checking that thoroughly, Sam.
So, we're also checking that there's no leaks, such as oil leaks,
and we're checking the condition of the lights,
making sure there's no dents, scratches.
The rookies won't actually be flying this aircraft today,
but they will be getting a taste of what it would be like,
in a hi-tech aircraft simulator.
Hello. My name is Paul Bonhomme.
I'm a 747 captain, an aerobatic display pilot
and a three-times Air Race world champion.
My three top tips for flying aeroplanes - firstly...
Imagine what's going to happen first - much easier when it then happens.
Always ask yourself, "What if this happens? What if that happens?"
Don't wait for something to happen and not be ready.
The day you think you know it all about flying,
is probably the day you should stop, because you will never, ever
stop learning about new things flying aeroplanes.
To the simulator, Roger!
Real pilots have to train using simulators like this one
to gain qualifications for flying different types of aircraft.
Kestrel 01, you are clear for take off, surface wind is calm.
The simulators help pilots gain experience of flying,
without actually leaving the ground.
Captain of the first simulator flight is Akshita.
Pitch down a little bit.
So, come round to the right.
And push down.
Pull back slightly
cos your speed is increasing a little bit.
And pull back.
Those mountains seem pretty close, Akshita!
-Caution, terrain! Caution, terrain!
-Are we reaching the mountains?
-Yeah, we're near the mountains now.
Pull up! Pull up!
Near miss there, Akshita.
Let's hope your landing's smoother!
It's quite hard to keep it in the centre and balanced.
-Keep it coming down.
As Akshita brings the plane in for landing,
she seems far more composed than Alex.
When you hear, "30ft", just pull back a little bit, yeah?
Fuel input. 10.
Just keep it coming down.
Pretty good landing from Akshita.
But she seems to have steered into the grass after touchdown.
Don't think the passengers would be too pleased!
Bumpy ride, Alex?
Hello, this is your captain speaking.
It should be a smooth flight.
Should be a smooth flight? OK, well, I'm looking forward to it, then.
And pull back now.
-Sam seems to be focused on the job.
Flying a passenger jet is a serious business, after all.
So, you pull it out. Yeah, great.
Just make very small movements. You're doing really well.
Captain Sam begins his descent towards landing.
Looks like you've got the hang of it. You're doing really well.
When it says 30, just pull back.
Nervous, Alex? 10...
And now you can pull these back. Put your hand in here.
Now, pull them all the way back.
Alex can breathe a sigh of relief.
India was a big inspiration to me,
because she's exactly what I want to be.
I thought India seemed quite young, and that really inspires me,
because I really want to be a pilot when I'm young.
I still really want to be a commercial pilot,
because I've now felt how it is to be in the front seat.
I'm learning lots at the moment,
so I think I'm going to be able to be a pilot soon.
-Sam, you were really enthusiastic from the start.
You made small movements,
exactly how you're supposed to fly the aircraft.
Akshita, the only thing I would recommend
is to work on your reaction times.
Apart from that, everything was fantastic.
Our rookies have learned how to control a glider,
and face the challenge of landing a passenger jet in a flight simulator.
Now, it's time to put everything they've learned to the test.
And I know just the man to help them.
Tony Partakis has been flying light aircraft for over 32 years,
and has been a qualified instructor for 20 of those.
Tony will be in charge of the aircraft
for the rookies' next flight.
And with over 10,000 flying hours under his belt,
he should be a great mentor.
All pilots need to be able to navigate, because let's face it,
if you don't know where you're going,
you're not going to be much of a pilot.
Tony's going to teach the rookies how to plot their route.
Route plotted, onto the pre-flight checks.
This is no ordinary flight.
If Tony's confident enough in Sam and Akshita's piloting abilities,
he'll allow them to actually fly the plane.
Again, those all-too-crucial checks.
And Sam and Akshita are watching closely.
There's fuel in there.
It's about half-tanks.
-Move it up and move it down like that and we're ready to go.
-Are you all excited?
-Let's go for it.
In 1903, American brothers Orville and Wilbur Wright
became the first inventors to get a contraption into the air.
It flew barely the width of a football pitch
and was in the air for only 12 seconds.
But it flew!
The age of flight had begun.
Since 1903, aircraft have constantly changed,
becoming faster and more efficient.
In 2016, a solar-powered aeroplane circled the globe
for the first time.
New methods of transporting cargo are also being developed,
and one day, passengers may travel in these giant airships, too.
The ultimate in personal transport could soon be available
for those who can afford it - a flying car.
Ideal for avoiding busy motorways!
It's take off time.
Will Sam and Akshita be good enough to actually take control
of the plane?
Good view. Fantastic day to go flying.
He's loving it! He's loving it!
Sam's big moment is upon us.
Tony seems confident in him,
so he's about to pass over the control of the plane.
-Are you ready?
-You have control.
-I have control.
-How does it feel, Sam, to be...?
Sam flew an Airbus in a simulator but that wasn't real.
This is real. He's actually piloting a light aircraft.
-Yeah, it's really impressive.
Very modest, Sam(!)
Tony's going to land the plane, as that is a very tricky manoeuvre.
But Sam has piloted brilliantly.
Now for Akshita's big moment in the skies.
She, too, has proved herself ready to take the helm.
How does it compare to the simulator?
It's similar, compared to the simulator,
because you have to keep it balanced.
Is it easier than the simulator?
Look at that.
Akshita - she's only just learnt about the controls of an aeroplane,
and here she is, 2,000ft above the countryside, flying a plane.
She's ten years old.
Hang on a minute.
She's ten years old?
That was absolutely awesome!
I didn't feel very confident controlling the glider,
but I felt more confident controlling the aircraft.
It's so exciting that I just flew a plane and I'm only nine years old.
I've learnt a lot about being a pilot
and I still want to become one.
I'm going to try and get my pilot's licence as soon as possible,
cos I really want to fly.
Sam, you just need to stay a little bit more focused.
Rather than look outside, concentrate on the flying
and occasionally look at the instruments.
Akshita, your confidence grew as the flight progressed.
I was very impressed with the way that you were focused,
and you seemed to have attention to detail.
Our rookies have soared high in the skies,
flying a glider, a commercial airline simulator,
and actually taking control of a light aircraft.
But have they got what it takes to propel themselves
into careers as pilots?
Sam, I think if you focus and you work really hard,
I think you could be a very successful pilot.
I definitely think you could become a pilot one day,
as long as you keep motivated and focused and study hard.
Sam, you definitely have potential, you weren't nervous,
so I have no doubt that you could make a good pilot.
I'm sure you could make it as a pilot, Akshita.
What you're going to need to do, though,
is to practise and practise and build your confidence.
You absolutely can be successful -
just work on your confidence and you'll absolutely be a pilot.
From what I saw, and the way that your confidence grew
as the flight progressed,
I have no doubt at all that you could make it as a pilot.
Sam, do you still want to be an airline pilot?
-Yeah? No question?
Akshita, do YOU still want to be an airline pilot?
Give yourselves a high-five!
And now give me one!
Yeah! Well done, you two. I'm really proud of you.
Rookies Akshita and Sam along with presenter Alex Riley take off into the world of aviation. The aspiring young aircrew get their first opportunity to fly a plane as they are catapulted into the skies high above the peak district in a glider. They then head for Manchester to meet an airline pilot who shows them just what is needed to fly a passenger jet, and lets them fly a professional simulator as used to train real pilots. What they have always dreamed of happens as they take to the skies in a small aircraft with mentor Tony, who puts them through their paces handling a twin-engine plane.