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“The Self-Improver: A Pilot’s Journey” by Nick Eades

My first flight was in 1974 and I was so unimpressed it took me another five years before my second flight. Aviation ran in my family, sadly not in my veins. After a very unsuccessful attempt at selling second-hand cars, and then dropping out of university, I decided to give aviation one more try. Unable to gain sponsorship I fought my own way up the aviation ladder. From cleaning and loading aircraft seven days a week I managed to find the time and money to complete my own training.

Once qualified, the airlines were not interested in a ‘Self-Improver’, instead preferring to employ professionally trained pilots. And so, my best friend Pete, my golden retriever Roffey and I, decided to start our own flying company. Starting out with propeller aircraft from grass runways we ended up flying executive jets from London Gatwick. One of our major contracts was flying the Irish band U2 on their Joshua Tree Tour.

I now work for British Airways, and with the retirement of the Boeing 747 fleets worldwide in 2020 I became the most experienced 747 captain on the planet.

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