So it has finally arrived, the day of Graduation.  Whenever I log onto the intranet system here at FTE it tells me how many days I have until I graduate.  This counter starts at 400 and something days and gradually works its way down.


Graduation was actually supposed to be on the 10th February, however FTE do not blank the following major sporting events out of their timetable:  MotoGP, Formula One Testing, Superbikes, Cadiz Carnival.  Accordingly, flights and accommodation will be 4x what they usually are.  I should point out here, that none of these dates have changed in the last 5 years.

Our graduation was tactically set for the week of the F1 testing, so there were no hotels for less than £300 and flights were all extortionate.  We made a request to move the graduation as well as the venue (it is normally in the FTE canteen) and after numerous meetings and negotiations, it was finally agreed that the graduation would be at the hotel Cortijo de Ducha just up the road.

My parents, my wife, and my in-laws came over for the festivities.  Fortunately my parents arrived early and were in time to see Ronnie and myself flying the 737-800 as part of the Jet Orientation Course.  This was fantastic for both me and them, because on the previous 3 occasions that they have been to Jerez I have always had my flights cancelled because of weather or technical issues, so they have never been able to see me flying.


The graduation was to consist of a few pre-drinks and the unveiling of our beer-can A321NEO that we had been building for the last 6 months (it took over 150 cans). 

[insert beercan pics here]

This was followed by the presentation of our wings and any awards, before retiring for photographs and tapas in the bar area.  Presenting our wings was Frank Pullman, who is the Managing Director of Thomas Cook Airlines.  It was truly a great privilege to be having our wings presented to us in front of not only our families, but our Thomas Cook mentors, Frank Pullman the MD, Paul Hutchings the Chief Pilot and Phil Stockton the Fleet Manager.

After the tapas and sherry tasting at the bar, we all boarded the coach for the 5 minute journey across to the Cortijo de Ducha where there was a sherry/champagne/wine reception to make sure if we weren’t already, that we would well and truly be on our way to being merry.

The venue room was a grand room in an old bodega building with a huge glass room and large chandeliers hanging from the ceiling.  The whole setup reminded me of some of the past achievement/award ceremonies I have been to with companies like Westinghouse, CHEP and Boxwood, it also reminded me a bit of a few weddings too.  We had the large seating plan, table numbers, and each table was labelled with guest names.  I was a bit gutted that my flying instructor, Nico Rusello, could not make it, he had come down with a bad fever/flu that was milling around and would be off work for the next 3 days.

The dinner was fantastic and there was plenty of excellent wine to go around for all.  Brendan Nolan (TCX Cadet) and Phil Maund (Cityjet Cadet) both made the speech on behalf of the students, and Charles Auty (Chief Flying Instructor) made sure to embarrass everyone from Course 101 with his speech/act based upon the old television programme Room 101.

[insert more pictures from dad/allie here]

Finally at the end of the evening came our graduation video.  This was put together from the copious video and photos taken during our time here in Jerez, although in the end, we realised that we could not put everything in that we wanted because it would run for far too long, that and we also had limited time to actually complete the whole video.  Perhaps we will create another one called “Course 101, the out-takes” at another point in time, it would be quite a funny video I think.  I hope you enjoy looking back over the time I have had here at Jerez, although it is not quite over yet, because I have another 3 weeks completing the Jet Orientation Course.  I think I will call it “Phase 4”.  The video is available to watch in full HD by the way, just click the little cog wheel to change the resolution.


~ by globalste on February 24, 2012.

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