Airline Pilot Interview – Rashid

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8 minutes to read

Pilot Story #13

This week we have in our page, Rashid a FO flying above the beautiful Canada! A huge story this time as Rashid explains how he made it as a first officer in the Bombardier Q400NG!

Enjoy!

So Rashid! Tell us who you are and how you made it up to flying the Q400!

Hello all aviation enthusiasts, my name is Rashid!

I’m a 24, Airline Pilot from Canada, currently flying the world’s most modern turbo-prop (Bombardiers Q400NG) out of Toronto, Canada. 

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Like everyone else in the field, my aviation journey has been quite a journey and a story that I will now cherish for the rest of my life. When I was very young I had the opportunity to travel a lot! We were lucky that our parents wanted their kids to see the world and that’s exactly what we did. 

Like all young boys, I was all about cars, engines, big machines and airplanes fascinated me the most beyond any doubt. I had many opportunities to visit cockpits of different aircraft that I would not even be able to recall except one that has always been engraved in my mind. On a flight from Jeddah to Frankfurt, we flew on the B747 (I only knew it as the “Jumbo Jet” at the time.), the FAs allowed me and my sisters to visit the cockpit in a cruise to meet the pilots. The First Officer was away from his seat for a small break and the Captain let me sit beside him while my sisters were behind us. It was an amazing feeling sitting there at 36,000ft. I did my best holding myself on my tiny legs up so I could see ahead in the sky and remember him telling us about the aircraft and pushing many buttons. I was definitely hooked. I still have his autograph on my Disney Autograph Booklet we used at Disney Land Paris.

For many years after, once we got our first home computer, I installed Microsoft’s FS1996 / 1998 and the century of flight to fulfill my desires using just a keyboard until I got a joystick from my mom as a present. 

As I grew up, my interest in aviation seemed to have dissipated in other interests I developed. Especially after getting glasses, it seemed becoming a Pilot would only be a dream. I developed a strong interest in computers in Web-Development, Graphic Design, and Computer Programming. I self-taught myself many different computer languages (HTML/XHTML/CSS/PHP) as well software such as Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. I did a lot of freelance work and even volunteered my services to many school events and organizations. It seemed like it was my world for many many years. I even did a little bit of professional gaming and heavily involved in Pakistan’s gaming community (yes; I also made money doing it) but that is another story all together.

While in high-school in, I also worked quite a bit in my family’s textile business and applying all other skills I had picked up over the years to improve the business. I worked hard completely integrating strong accounting and inventory software into the business while also managing all the marketing aspects. I started gaining a lot of exposure in the business world while also developing an interest in policy and law. I continued through high school in hopes of becoming a lawyer until one day while working, I met a pilot at work through my dad and it completely changed my life. 

grI started researching again on becoming a Pilot and enrolled my-self at the Lahore Flying Club in Lahore, Pakistan in 2011 for their integrated CPL/IR program. At the time I wanted to go to Australia or back to Canada but circumstances made it feasible to finish everything there and convert. I completed all my licenses and training relatively fast and returned to Canada in 2012 to convert everything. Conversion of the license was a challenge itself having to learn a lot more about flying in North America and after a couple of months studying very very hard, I had my Canadian CPL in hand.

I enrolled myself into the Instructor Program at the Moncton Flight College while also working a Ramp agent at the airport and flight dispatch for a cargo airline while I continued school.  

I was 21 at the time with the busiest schedule you can possible imagine working as well as in a fulltime study program. I learned so much, made so many new friends and gained a lot more exposure to the world of aviation in Canada. I was hired at the College right before graduating which added another dispatch job for myself while I waited to be assigned students. I did my best to make myself available for every opportunity to fly and did my best to keep myself educated and helping my students succeed in their own goals.

Later that year, the college offered me a spot at their satellite base which focused on training only Chinese Airline Student Pilots. I accepted the position and beginning of 2014 I was in Fredericton, NB teaching some very talented students.

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I flew a lot, maintained a perfect pass rate for my students and improved myself as a young instructor and pilot. Most of my students now fly for China Southern, Hainan and China Eastern on much bigger aircraft such as A320/B737/B787 etc.

While working, I also continued gaining my multi-rating, completed my ATPL exams and renewed my Instrument Rating.I was then offered a spot to fly the Cessna Caravan 208B delivering bank-mail to remote locations. It was probably some of the best flyings I did, learning a lot about real IFR flying as well as exposure to much adverse and harsh weather conditions that we experience in Canada.

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I then took a spot with the same airline to fly the Beechcraft 1900C, in Hamilton flying cargo for UPS Canada. This brought me back to my hometown in Oakville where I grew up and still live in. I gained so much exposure flying a twin turboprop to remote locations and even really big airports like New York KJFK and Louisville.

During this time I was heavily involved working closely with senior management as Crew Scheduling for all the Eastern bases of the company. I was then offered a Captain position by the company which I had to politely decline as I was looking to move into the airline world to grow my career further. I went through the toughest interview process I had ever been through and quite grateful I made it through to get offered a spot with such a great company.

Is there any emergency that you would like to share?

Like most pilots, I have seen my share of very adverse weather conditions and some minor emergencies.

I did have one particular one on departure out of KJFK (New York), where we had an electrical fire from our flap motor which caused smoke in the cabin. We followed our procedures, checklists and worked great as a team to get back down safely without any further incident.

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Do you hold any other license?

I used to do some part-time instructing when I had a bit more time. My job keeps me in the air long enough nowadays that I do my best to myself to enjoy being outdoors with family and friends as well as practice playing my guitar keeping involved with other activities.

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Tell us about your future plans!

I am very content flying the Q400 and hope to take command of it one day! There is still so much to learn. I do also hope to get the opportunity to fly the B737 as well as wide-body aircraft such as the (777/787) in the future of my career.

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People that you want to thank and inspired you?

My dad has been my biggest inspiration. He is the most modest man I know and has done everything he can to give me all the opportunities he didn’t get a chance himself with. I am lucky to have amazing parents. I would also like to thank the rest of my family, all my friends, my instructors, my Captains and my mentors for believing in me and providing the solid support I needed throughout. My journey has only just begun and I couldn’t and wouldn’t have been able to do it without any of them.

Your message to the upcoming Pilots!

I know this story is much longer than you expected but I’m giving you all this information to understand that some people spend their lives discovering. Continue learning in everything you do, develop different interests and don’t be afraid to fail. I still continue learning by going to University part-time, getting involved, volunteering and trying to read as much as I can. Be humble, respectful to everyone and try to always be a true professional.

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Although this story highlights the successes of my journey, there have been many failures in there that have taught me a lot more. Don’t be scared of it because you MUST fail to succeed and if you don’t then be truly grateful and be even more modest. You get to decide where you want to be in life and don’t ever be scared to make the toughest decisions. And oh yes, always listen to your parents because they do know better and I couldn’t have accomplished much of what I did and who I am now if it wasn’t for their continued efforts and support.

Rashid you gave so much value to upcoming pilots! Thank you so much, we wish you all the best and always the best career opportunities! 

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You can reach Rashid on Instagram:

@pilotrashid

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