Ioannis Matheos

Ioannis Matheos

Why did you decide to study Aviation Technology with Pilot Studies at the University of Leeds?

The decision to study at Leeds arose from the need to develop knowledge around all aspects of the aviation industry, as well as prepare a foothold for the competitive job market for commercial pilots. The course’s reputation along with the range of interesting content covered over the three years made it a desirable choice for further studies. Upon visiting the university to see the faculty’s facilities and meet some of the staff, it further secured my choice and made Leeds my favoured destination upon finishing my A-levels.

What has been the best aspect of studying on your course?

Being on such a niche and unique course allows you to be placed in a group of very like-minded people with similar aspirations and interests. Sharing a common passion such as this, in a relatively small group, really brings everyone on the course close together – more so than other courses. Combining this with the excitement of progressively edging closer to taking to the skies, studying on the course is a very enjoyable experience. The PA-28, PA-34 and Airbus A321 simulators available to use are also a great aspect of studying here.

Tell us about some of the exciting projects you have completed so far

Throughout the first year, there are a variety of assignments and projects to be undertaken. Each project requires different skills and applies the knowledge you gain from the course. For one project, we were split into fairly large groups and each group was assigned a specific aircraft. The objective was to first research the aircraft, then run experiments on an engineering-orientated flight simulator by changing aspects of the flight model. Nearing the end of the allocated two weeks, we presented our ideas to all of the aviation students and commented on the design choices made by the manufacturer, as well as possible areas for improvement based on our research.

What does the city of Leeds have to offer students?

Attending the university puts you close to the heart of the city and this means that a wide variety of restaurants, cafes, shops, cinemas and clubs are easily accessible throughout your studies. In addition to these, the student union onsite has many of these facilities available to students – perfect for when running tight for time or in need of a good deal. Transportation is also particularly good with easy access to both the bus and train stations. Leeds Bradford Airport is also only a short bus ride away, serving many domestic and European destinations.

What are your ambitions for the future?

My dream, along with many others on the course, is to become an airline pilot. I intend to gain the necessary qualifications through the modular training route, which involves me attaining the necessary licences and ratings with a flight training organisation and completing my Airline Transport Pilot Licence (ATPL) exams at a certified ground school.

At the time of starting university, I had recently obtained my Private Pilot’s License (PPL) and, at the time of writing, am currently hour-building prior to undertaking the professional part of the flight training. Next year’s ATPL studies will help me complete the exams with flying colours and I believe that each university module will help to widen my knowledge of the industry and mould me into being a better pilot.

What experiences at Leeds do you think will help you in your future career?

The university doesn’t simply aim to expand a student’s knowledge but also aims to make a student more employable, allowing them to hone various skills with each activity. Different assignments seek to enhance presentational skills, oral communication, teamwork and working effectively under time pressure. Each student has their own ambitions and niche strengths that they can share with the remainder of the group to develop each other’s knowledge. Among the cohort, there are future pilots, air traffic controllers, flight operations managers, engineers and more – which encourages an environment in which different perspectives of the industry can be understood outside of your main focus.

What would you say to students coming to do the same course?

As well as the knowledge and skills gained from the course, the university’s connections to different aviation bodies and organisations serves as a great tool to alumni who require guidance on a particular career path. Those joining the course are encouraged to take full advantage of the opportunities presented, as few wishing to gain a place in the industry will have such assistance in finding employment in aviation. It is also well worth researching the options for possible training routes/employers early on in the course in order to be able to take the necessary actions in good time, so not to miss any opportunities or waste money unnecessarily.

Read more student and alumni profiles here.