29 January 2019

A lot can change in one year

It has been almost a year ago since I started this website and also this blog. A year that has been incredibly busy. I’ll try to give you a short summary from where I left off until now to give you an impression of what the year was like.


After finishing the MCC/AJFC with EPST I was immediately asked to apply for a job with an airline. The application process consisted of two days including: simulator assessment, interview, group assessment and capacity tests. Following the selection process, Lotte took me on a five-day holiday to Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic, where I hear that I did not make the cut. The first thing Lotte said was: “This was meant to be…” (you’ll read about this later). It was tough to realise that all the hard work of the past few years did not pay off as it could have done.


July & August

The process of getting to know where it went wrong during the first assessment with the airlines took longer than expected. Eventually, after a simulator session and a thorough debrief the case could be closed and I knew where to work on. This gave me some very needed motivation to continue to apply with other airlines that could help realise my dream in becoming an airline pilot. Luckily the weather in the Netherlands was beautiful in July, so I spent a lot of hours on the beach. In addition, Lotte’s parents invited us to come over to Malaga to visit them in the house they rented for a couple of weeks during the summer. It was my first time celebrating summer holidays on the Iberian Peninsula and I was very excited to go. The flights to Malaga were booked and we were all set. Until one day before departure. EPST called me saying they had a job opportunity which was basically an “offer I couldn’t refuse”. I was asked to come to the EPST office on Thursday morning, but oh hey, I booked my flight to Malaga to depart on Wednesday. I decided to cancel the flight and go to the office to listen to the offer I didn’t refuse and fly on the Thursday evening instead. It appeared to be a great decision as I was told that I would be given a chance to apply for KLM, which normally only hires ab-initio pilots from their own flight school (KLM Flight Academy). With the exciting news in my mind I traveled to Malaga and enjoyed a lovely week there.

Malaga during sunset

Malaga during sunset


September was the month where the application process with KLM took place. It consisted of a psychological test and an interview. At the end of the month, after a few tense days, only just before I was due to fly to Dublin for my assessment with Ryanair I got the best news ever through mail: I was offered a job as a Second Officer on KLM’s Boeing 777 fleet (plus the Boeing 787 after 6 months in service)! You can probably imagine that I cancelled my flight to Dublin and celebrated this great success instead!

KLM Boeing 777-300ER taking off from Amsterdam Schiphol

KLM Boeing 777-300ER taking off from Amsterdam Schiphol

October, November & December

Due to the growth of KLM and the associated recruitment of high numbers of new pilots me and my crew were notified that the first eight sessions our Type Rating Course (TRC) would take place in Dubai. At the start of October, after finishing the computer based training (CBT) for the 777 I departed to Dubai to start with the simulator phase of the Type Qualification (TQ). In only eleven days, eight simulator details were done and the base of the TRC was finished. Just prior to departure I received a phone call that my dad was in the hospital suffering from scepsis. After spending almost six weeks in the hospital he was dismissed at the start of December and is doing very well ever since. In the meantime I finished my TRC with KLM on the 18th of November, leaving only an Operator Conversion Course (OCC) to be completed at the start of January.

Lotte and I decided to move in together in a nice 2014-build apartment in Lisse, about 20 minutes from Schiphol Airport. This would be our new homebase from where we would start our journey to the destinations we’re traveling to. Luckily, both Lotte and I were off during the Christmas break which gave us the opportunity to celebrate the holidays partially in Zeeland.

January until now

Following the TRC, after a lovely Christmas holiday with friends and family it was time to kick off 2019 with the OCC. The OCC is a course that covers more company specific subjects rather than generic TRC aspects. It was concluded with a proficiency check, which lead the way towards my first flight as a Second Officer for KLM.

My first flight took off on the 19th of January to Atlanta (ATL), where I spent 24 hours before I flew back. Being in one of the front seats for the first time ever in flight is probably the most incredible feeling I have ever felt.


To celebrate my first flight, the Captain and First Officer of my flight joined me for late steak lunch in Atlanta.


Upon arrival back in Amsterdam, Lotte and her cousin Sven were taking pictures.

Arrival back at Schiphol with me waving from the observer seat. Photo by Sven Cozijn

Arrival back at Schiphol with me waving from the observer seat. Photo by Sven Cozijn

In the meantime I have already done my second flight to Panama City (PTY). Luckily I had 48 hours there which gave me the opportunity to explore a bit more from the city than I did in Atlanta.

So this is basically where I’m at right now. Almost halfway through my line training with next up Lima (LIM) on Friday! Thereafter it’s Johannesburg (JNB), Singapore (SIN) and Shanghai (PVG). As you can probably imagine, I am so incredibly happy and grateful with my current situation.

I’ll try to keep you guys more updated from now on! In the meantime, I created a separate - sort of - blog for the 777. Go check it out!

All the best,


© Daan van der Heijden