Day in the life of a Specsavers pilot

Posted in Support Office on May 03, 2018
Author: Sam Reed

My name's Adam and I'm a First Officer for Specsavers Aviation, based here in Guernsey. During thisĀ 
short insight into a working week with me, I'll be looking to give you a taste of possible rostered flights and what is required from my job role whilst flying the modern glass cockpit Beechcraft Super King Air 350i's. Generally in corporate flying, rosters vary from week to week, it's almost unheard of to have the same week as the previous one.

What better way to start the week bright an early, as I'm scrambling to turn my alarm off at 0450 on a Monday morning. I'm not a morning person, but it comes with the job and you get used to it surprisingly quickly. Today we're going to Copenhagen via Amsterdam, a personal favourite of mine. After rubbing
my eyes, I check the weather. It's all good, so there's no added pressure of foreseeable problems en route.
Once ready I put the final touches into packing my bags and get in the car to head off. Arriving at the hangar by 0545, we've got 45 minutes as a crew to get the plane ready for the 0630 take off time. I briefly check our maintenance diary to see if there's been anything wrong with the aircraft, all is well. After greeting the hangar staff, I walk out to meet the Captain. As they say, time flies when you're having fun and before we know it we've briefed, loaded the baggage, catering and passengers and are well on our way. Like most aircraft operators, our pilots share duties whilst in the air and I chose to fly to Denmark, so the Captain will have the return.

It's a relatively quick trip to Schiphol International, Amsterdam and we're lucky enough to be granted all Specsavers' pilots favourite approach - Runway 36R circle to land 04, this is because we break off the ILS approach for 36R at just a few hundred feet and bank right to land on 04. This is our preference as our aircraft handling centre is right next to the runway meaning we have an extremely short taxi - a rare occurrence for most aircraft in Amsterdam. After a quick turnaround, we're on our way to Kastrup International, Copenhagen. Again, before we know it we're in the hotel for our overnight stop, and back in Guernsey the following evening.

Next day is a late shift to East Midlands. The 'Air-bus' is the company's nickname of our King Airs as most often they're used to shuttle staff between Head offices, with a few ad-hoc flights on the side. Tonight is a straight forward evening hop up north, dropping off and picking up staff. As expected no complications and back in time for dinner.

Guernsey Airport is challenging to operate out of due to infamous Channel Islands fog, winds and it's 9pm closing time. It keeps us on our toes as no flight is ever the same, especially not out of Guernsey. Even with advanced forecasts from Jersey Met, it's never entirely clear what the weather is going to do.

I'm on another early start, this time to Southampton. Providing all goes well, we'll be back at home base by 9am, giving staff the chance to have a full day of work in the Guernsey head office of Specsavers before returning home that evening with us. It also gives us as crew the chance to do other things with our day. Like most small corporate flight departments, Specsavers Aviation doesn't have an operations department, so everything runs smoothly due to hard work on behalf of the pilots and corporate travel team. The pilots share duties ranging from maintenance, training and safety duties to uniform, catering and aircraft technical updates. We all work carefully to fit these duties in between flights, occasionally requesting a rostered 'Office Day' so that we can catch up on tasks, paperwork and meetings.

Unlike most flying jobs, crew rarely work over weekends due to the fact that the offices are only open Monday-Friday. Ad-hoc flights are the exception and can be to anywhere in Europe. They're often exciting, varied locations and have previously included Milan, Finland, Oslo, Stockholm, Helsinki, Dublin, Farnborough, Manchester, Newcastle, Cardiff and Exeter to name a few.

With a scenic and busy return flight to Farnborough to end the last 5 days, it's time to enjoy the weekend and see what is in store for the coming week.

Don't forget we are looking for applications for our aviation bursary now. Want to know more? Click here