IN THIS SPECIAL AVGEEK SERIES, FLIGHT CHIC GUEST WRITER RIDA KHAN HAS CANDID CONVERSATIONS WITH PILOTS WHO SHARE THEIR PASSION FOR FLIGHT AND WHAT INSPIRED THEM TO PURSUE A LIFE IN THE CLOUDS.
To most people, the sky is the limit. To those who love flying, the sky is home. Once you have tasted flight, you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards. There you find your wings. All you have to do is FLY.
Pilot Nick Priest is a Second Officer on the Boeing 787 based in Melbourne, Australia. His father is also a pilot, so he has always been around aviation. But he was focused on music throughout high school. He later discovered that music was more of a hobby and that being a pilot was what he wanted to do with the rest of his life. His family has backed his choices 100% and supported him throughout his training from day one.
Q: Tell us about your career starting off as a pilot.
Priest: It’s awesome being able to travel and see so much of the world at such a young age; being able to experience new cultures and make new friends around the world. Sure, I’ve missed some social events with friends, but when I am home I just make sure I make up for it!
Q: What do you like most about your job?
Priest: To me, it’s fairly simple. I just love flying: the feeling of the engines spooling up, rocketing down the runway heading into the sky. To me, it never gets old.
Q: What’s the first thing you think about when you’re headed out to fly a plane?
Priest: First and foremost I think about the destination I am going to and getting the passengers to that destination safely and efficiently.
Q: Would you say that the Pilot’s uniform is just a dress code or a responsibility?
Priest: Every time I put on my uniform I believe it carry’s with it a great sense of responsibility. Knowing that our job is to now get passengers to their destination safely and efficiently. They expect nothing less than this. I never take it for granted, every time I get to put my wings on.
Q: Compared to other professions, being a pilot can be a tough job, but you took the job on knowing that. How do you handle the demands?
Priest: It can be a tough job for sure. For example, flying is considered shift work meaning you may fly through the night or day and thus have to sleep accordingly. Many people find this tough. But, flying internationally, we typically get a few nights in the destination. So you normally have plenty of time to recover. Overall, I think the ‘pros’ far outweigh the ‘cons’. Personally, I chose it as my career because I love to fly and it’s a job that will continue to challenge me whilst getting to see the world.
Q: What do you think are the qualities required to be a good pilot?
Priest: I believe you need to have great CRM (crew resource management) skills. Every flight, we can fly with a new crew, so we all need to work together effectively. Paired with being able to follow the standard operating procedures, we achieve this. I believe that anyone can do anything they set their mind to. So, if you have a passion for flying, and never give up, the technical skills and knowledge can always be achieved.
Q: What are your future goals?
Priest: I currently fly a ‘heavy’ aircraft: the Boeing 787. One day I hope to fly a ‘super’ aircraft, like the Airbus 380. Along the way, I hope to show others that anything is possible if you set your mind to it.
Q: Do you have any advice that you would give to those who want to become pilots?
Priest: If you’re on the fence about whether you want to be a pilot, I would, first of all, say that doing a TIF (trial introductory flight) will help you make that decision. Second, start flying as soon as you can and building command hours which will help you stand out from the crowd when applying for positions!
After a lovely conversation with Pilot Nick Priest, it’s clear that a focus on hard work is the real key to success for him. By keeping his eyes on the goal, and consistently taking the next step towards that goal, has made him a successful pilot.
You can follow Pilot Nick Priest on Social Media:
Guest writer Rida Khan is a foodie blogger with a hunger for a big slice of the skies. A native of Bhopal, India, Khan writes about food and aviation and is working on an airline in-flight food research project. She also posts healthy food recipes for
pilots and travellers on social media.
You can follow Rida Khan on Social Media:
Twitter : @mohd_ridakhan
Instagram : @ridakhan_21
Food Blog: Innovative Dishes On Your Way