This is George, a young 16-year-old high school student from London, passing through Toulouse, as part of a pen-pal exchange. George plans to enter the prestigious Cambridge University, then continue on to training as an aircraft pilot.
"I could decide to go into military planes and then from that go to commercial aviation, or I could go to a pilot’s school, and learn that way. That requires at least one year’s full-time and then after that I then need to get sufficient experience."
And his greatest wish is to fly a Boeing 777. "That would be a dream. I feel like it would be ambitious to go straight into a Boeing 777, I’d probably need to work my way up to that."
But why such a strong interest in aviation? "Honestly, I think it might just be from when I was a child seeing planes and getting an interest and that. I think a lot of people are interested in aviation. And it’s something I just feel could be great to travel the world and earn money at the same time."
George is therefore taking advantage of his stay in Toulouse (south western France) by visiting the many aeronautical sightseeing venues in, and around, the city.
According to a recent study commissioned by Boeing, the increased need for pilots and maintenance technicians is estimated at 40% - just for the Asia-Pacific region - over the next 20 years. Which is one reason why George is seriously considering the possibilities there. "If I want to achieve my goal of flying a Boeing 777 or an Airbus A330, I think Asia’s the best place to do that as it’s such an emerging market, and those heavy planes are very frequent there and are used on short-haul routes due to just how dense the population is there."
George still has time to obtain his Boeing 777 commercial pilot’s license, and his stay in Toulouse will definitely help to accentuate his motivation. Good luck George.