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How to become a professional pilot in the Czech Republic

Educational center GoStudy

2 July 2023

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Vlad Napolskikh from Krasnoyarsk was admitted to the "Professional pilot" programme of the Faculty of Transportation Sciences of the Czech University of Technology in Prague. The story of Vlad's successful admission is far from being an easy one. It involves a failed entrance exam as well as an appeal for admission.

The "Professional Pilot" programme curriculum is approved by the Civil Aviation Authority of the Czech Republic. The CTU Faculty of Transportation Sciences holds certificate of the Flying Training Organization No. 010. Students receive theoretical training in accordance with the European regulations as well as practical training provided by the partner airlines of the faculty. Upon completion of their training, students take an exam at the Civil Aviation Authority of the Czech Republic.

Vlad talked to the GoStudy blog editor about how, against all odds, he still managed to get admitted and about the ways civil aviation pilots are trained in the Czech Republic.

In fact I was going to study at UEB In fact I was going to study at UEB after the ninth grade, my dad and I figured why not try attending university abroad. We started considering our options and I joined the summer course here at GoStudy. I arrived here, spent two months studying. Back at home I told my family I enjoyed my time here and was very much interested in taking the full-year course. Actually, when I came here, I planned to go to the Prague University of Economics and Business. But my mom made me change my mind by saying there was no point in doing that as I could get an economics degree. In her opinion, looking into the technical direction for my education was a far better option. That's when I visited the CTU website, checked out departments and specializations that were available there. Ultimately I decided I d apply to the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Faculty of Civil Engineering. I had to take a math exam and a Czech language test. I was confident that I would pass. I didn’t actually have that much of a choice – my dad said: it’s either state-funded scholarship or the army. I was rejected Later on during the winter time I was browsing through the CTU website and stumbled upon a pilot training program. That program sparked my interest so I decided to try it out. "What? That`s way too dangerous'', – my parents were apprehensive at first. But I said, "Let me pass a medical examination first." In order to be cleared for the exams, you need to obtain a first- class medical certificate. It took me two days to undergo the medical examination and ultimately I have passed. Then it was time for the exams. In addition to the mathematics and Czech, the pilot training program required an English exam and an interview. Only 41 students were supposed to be admitted to the program, so the competition was very much in place. The Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Faculty of Civil Engineering were my backup options. When it came to those faculties - I got in, however I was rejected from the pilot training program.

I had a pretty good overall score. Mathematics has always been easy for me. However, the entrance exams at CTU included topics that we were never taught in school. For example, analytical geometry in some countries is studied only in the first year of university. That is, without additional training you simply won’t get there. I found a tutor and robbed him for a month and a half. The CTU exam is more difficult than the Unified State Exam. This exam includes the same number of tasks of the same difficulty level, as well as topics that are usually studied at university. But here’s the catch: when passing the Unified State Exam, you have 4 hours at your disposal, but the entrance exam at CTU lasts only 1.5 hours. The English exam was also quite difficult. I never took learning English too seriously. So I definitely had a number of gaps to fill in my knowledge. I didn’t prepare specifically for the KTU tests, I just studied English. By the way, a test sample has been posted on the site. The sample included grammar questions and essay topics. Therefore, I prepared for this type of assignment. The day of the exam comes, and I am given a huge text and two tasks based on it. The first included ten questions, for each of them it was necessary to find the corresponding word or, roughly speaking, a synonym in the text. 40 minutes, huge text, half the words in it I had never seen before. It was quite a difficult task.

The second one was a bit easier – a true or false choice. The bottom line is - I got 80 points in math and 60 in English. Thanks to the math results, my overall score was pretty good. I was told right off the bat that my math was at a good level and my English level was kinda ok. I felt that I d answered everything, and still I was told: "You failed" And the biggest pitfall turned out to be Czech. I scored 80 points for the written part of the exam, and the passing grade was 65. During the oral part, I had to answer some absolutely basic questions. Like, where are you from, why did you come here, what universities are you going to apply to. Back in October, GoStudy provided us with a list of 20 topics for the oral exam. It didn t take that much to memorize everything over the span of a whole year. Leaving the classroom, I felt that I had answered everything. I went back to the admission board, and they told me: "You failed." When they elaborated on the mistakes I had made, I was shocked. Take a word "decided" as an example – rozhodnul jsem se – I pronounced the [h] sound instead of the [ɦ]. They said my accent was too strong. I tried to explain that I had only been living here for a year and it simply was not possible to get rid of the accent in a year. All in all, I was simply failed. Second shot Still as I had applied to the three CTU faculties, I could take the Czech exam for the each one of them and use any of the received results in the admission process. So I decided to take the Czech exam at the Faculty of Civil Engineering and bring the result back to the Faculty of Transportation Sciences. At the final interview, I noted that I had all the documents ready except for the Czech language certificate, and that I had already found a place where I was going to take the Czech exam, as well as that the exam itself was supposed to be held in two days. I asked if it was possible to bring the certificate in a bit later – until June 20th. They said: "Of course, no problem". "You're late" I successfully passed the Czech exam at the Faculty of Civil Engineering. I went back to the Faculty of Transportation Sciences on the 18th, bringing in the certificate, which confirmed that I passed Czech. And lo and behold, they told me:

"We re sorry, young man, but you're late." "How's that? I was told that I could bring it until the 20th." - "Whatever you were told doesn t really matter as we have already recruited our students." I left feeling wronged, so Tatiana (who is a GoStudy education department specialist) and I drew up an appeal for admission. In the appeal we argued that overall I received a passing score. I had even more points than those they accepted. My appeal was successful I did not expect my appeal to successfully go through. I already got discouraged and told my parents that maybe it just wasn t meant to be. We submitted the appeal in early July, but that result didn`t come back positive until early August. The reason my appeal was successful was not specified. I guess denying me admission simply based on the fact that I was two days late with my certificate was not considered justifiable, bearing in mind I still got a passing score overall. When I m done with my studies my plan is to work for Czech Airlines Basically, everyone from my social circle was successfully admitted. At the end of the day, everyone got into the programme of their choice. Those who originally wanted to attend private universities were ultimately admitted there, and those who intended to attend the state universities got into their universities as well. For sure, studying in a foreign country is a little nerve wracking. It s pretty clear they won't tolerate those who are going to fool around instead of studying. You have to work pretty hard. Now, for the first six months before winter, I will be studying theory, and since February, practical training will be added as well. We are going to receive a lot of practical training. Starting February we ll receive the simulator training, and from the third semester on – practical training in flying an actual plane. To become a pilot you have to train for three years, there is no master's degree programme.

When I m done with my studies I m pretty sure I m going to work for the Czech Airlines. Why learn Czech, if not to use it in the future. I am going to live in the Czech Republic for 7 to 8 years, and then will figure out where to go next. A pilot can get a job in any country. Maybe I'll move to Germany.

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