Friday, October 25, 2013

Share Your Story: Sean McCusker, Student Pilot, Isle of Man

Welcome to the 27th "Share Your Story" post. Pilots from around the world write in featuring their flight experiences, promoting their blogs, websites, social media, novels, etc. These posts show future aviators the diverse range of experiences/careers available to them. More details + how to participate can be found via the following: Click Here and Get Involved

My passion for aviation has existed for as long as I can remember. I've always been keen to fly whether it be as a passenger or pilot. I remember that I was slightly 'obsessed' with aviation when I would look forward to a flight, more than the holiday destination that it may be taking me on and I will always try to book flights that involve connections, even if they're more expensive than the directs! I consider myself very fortunate that I live on an island and my parents hating boats, as it means even as short a journey to Mainland UK is still another trip on a plane!

I first experienced my taste for piloting planes at the age of 13 - flying with a family friend in a Piper Archer out of Prestwick Airport, Scotland. This for me is where the fuse was lit because ever since then I've been passionate about returning to the skies and the thought of being there has never left my mind. I returned again to the skies not long after my 14th Birthday, again in Scotland but this time in a smaller airfield called Cumbernauld. This airport is especially thrilling as it lies between both Glasgow International and Edinburgh International airports - making for some extremely interesting airspace!

My flying after this took a lengthy break as I became bombarded with school work and had no money to fund my flying, but upon reaching 16 I was starting to study for my A-Levels (UK qualification) and I got a part time job at a local fast food outlet and from then on worked my Friday and Saturday nights away, missing out on every party or social gathering that was happening. Despite my none existent social life, I considered myself to be very lucky as I was earning good money whilst still in full-time education. 

To read more of Sean's "Share Your Story" article, click below. (If you're already on the full article, ignore this)

I waited a few months before starting my flying, but on May 25th 2013 - I returned to the skies at my local airport - Ronaldsway Airport in the Isle of Man. The first flight was a familiarisation/orientation flight in a Piper Cherokee 140 Reg: G-AYPV and it has to be said that it was a pretty good break from studying for my exams which weren't too far away!

Still in school and still with my job I was able to fund a lesson every 2 weeks and continue to do so now. I've not been able to fly constantly for every 2 weeks as I've either been away on holiday or been contintously grounded due to weather (that's the bad thing about living on an Island, we get fog all the time!!) I currently have 7 hours forty minutes logged and I'm about to move onto circuits - I'm medically certified and my instructor is confident that my first solo isn't too far away! After I sit my Air Law exam that is ;) 

Anyone I talk to about my flying tell me how cool they think it is and a lot of them are shocked that I can fly planes - my friends are amazed that I'm trusted to actually fly but one of the things that gets to me is when people say "Oh yeah, I'd love to do that." or "That was always my dream". A career in aviation is not going to happen if you just sit there and plan it, the ones who make it are those that get up and do something about it. Money is probably the biggest factor in their reason for not pursuing a career in aviation but so far, that hasn't stopped me as I work for my flying and I never ask my parents to help me fincancially, as it's my dream, not theirs. Don't get me wrong, they support me all the way but I want this to be my achievement.

After completing my PPL, I hope to continue onto complete my Commercial licences and associated ratings/qualifications - I have the determination and I won't let anything get in my way of making it to the airlines.

I consider myself very lucky to be flying and achieving my dream. It's a lot of money and hard work, but it's by no means impossible. If you're truly dedicated to succeeding, then nothing will get in your way. I thank my flying instructors for being amazing at what they do and always going above and beyond the call of duty. I myself feel privileged to be friends with pilots for major UK companies - these contacts stemmed from my time in the Air Training Corps and various bits of 'work experience' that I've done at my local airport within check-in/ops departments. The people in the aviation industry tend to be the loveliest people out there!

If anyone has any questions or even just wants a chat about flying in general, follow me on twitter/instagram: @sean__mccusker 

Thanks so much Sean for writing in and sharing your story. I'm really impressed with your determination to continue training, even while it's so incredibly expensive. The fact that you have a good attitude about it, and are willing to work, will take you far. Make sure to write back in sometime soon about more of your training and transition into the airlines! 

Thanks again for writing in and participating in the Share Your Story section of the blog, 

Swayne Martin 
Martins Aviation / From Private to Professional Pilot
Twitter: @MartinsAviation
Youtube: MartinsAviation1 


  1. Sean, I love your attitude! "It's a lot of money and hard work, but it's by no means impossible. If you're truly dedicated to succeeding, then nothing will get in your way." I would love for you to join my blog and then leave a comment on the pilot shortage post. I'm afraid that people fear there won't be a shortage (so what) and that it will be too hard and too much money. I would also love to quote you on another post.

    Swayne, thanks for the great post of an inspirational pilot!

    Pilot shortage post:

    1. Thanks for the comment Karlene! Make sure to check out her site, Sean... it's a fantastic read as a student pilot.


    2. Thanks for your comment Karlene, it means a lot to receive such nice words from an aviator as distinguished as yourself. I'd be honoured to join your blog and I'll be sure to leave a comment on your pilot shortage post. Feel free to quote me wherever!


Thanks for your comment; I really appreciate it! Glad you are here with me on the blog. If your comment does not appear right away, it will after verification.

Many Thanks, Happy Flying,
Swayne Martin