As I flew over the snow-covered forests, with the setting sun reflecting deep purples from the network of lakes below me, I realised just how lucky I am to fly in such beautiful and picturesque surroundings. It is a scene that I would be unlikely to experience back in the UK, and it was one of the many reasons that attracted me to OSM Aviation Academy.
The dream of becoming a pilot
After leaving university and working for eight years in London I decided it was time to follow my childhood dream of becoming a pilot. I set about researching and visiting flight schools and speaking to a few airline pilots. The pilots I spoke to all recommended an integrated program and also recommended a school with links to airlines.
It was OSM Aviation Academy’s links to Norwegian Airlines that initially got me interested in the school. I first visited in December 2018, flying direct from London to Västerås for my first taste of runway 01. I was instantly impressed with the friendly atmosphere, as well as the modern fleet of aircraft and the professional approach of the instructors and staff. Having successfully navigated the application process I started on the integrated First Officer Program in March 2019. I am currently in the cross-country phase of training and loving it.
I was instantly impressed with the friendly atmosphere, as well as the modern fleet of aircraft and the professional approach of the instructors and staff.
Benefits of studying abroad
Aside from the core aspects of OSM that were important to me, there were a number of other benefits that attracted me to getting my wings outside the UK. I love to travel and experience new places and studying in Sweden was an ideal opportunity to really get to know the country. I’m constantly learning new, surprising details about Swedish traditions and customs, whether it be their obsession with ‘Fika’ (coffee breaks with obligatory pastry treats) or their dedication to celebrating midsummer. There are endless funny comparisons to make.
On the occasions when I am not stuck in my textbooks or flying, the surrounding area also offers many tempting activities. When it gets cold enough in winter, you can go ice skating on the idyllic Mälaren lake or pop on a train to Stockholm and experience one of Europe’s most beautiful and sophisticated cities during the warmer months.
Harrison together with some of his classmates
Studying at OSM has also provided me with the chance to make friends with people from a wide range of backgrounds and cultures. In my class of 18 there are students from eight different countries. It has been particularly refreshing to make many new friendships where you all share the same enthusiasm for aviation. As you move through the training and share the same challenges these new friends become a valuable support network and welcome source of some light relief. The only downside being that everyone’s English is so good my Swedish language skills haven’t advanced nearly as much as I was hoping for!
Getting new flight experiences
Whilst the skies may not be as crowded as those over the UK, from a flying perspective there are benefits too, during our training it’s possible to fly to Norway, Finland, Estonia, Lithuania, Denmark... the list goes on. Now that I am in the cross country stage of my training I can finally begin to explore the beautiful landscapes across Sweden before traveling further afield later in the program.
View from the Cessna 172
Lastly, there's the scenery. The chance to experience and explore Sweden’s picturesque landscape was a big draw. I regularly get spine tingling moments flying over the countless lakes and evergreen forests below me. I cannot wait to discover the thousands of islands of Stockholm’s archipelago or the fjords of Norway later in my training.
Becoming a pilot at OSM Aviation Academy
Want to learn more about Harrison's adventure towards becoming a professional pilot? Follow his journey in the video series on our YouTube-channel (and don't forget to subscribe to our channel 😀).
Curious about how the student life in Sweden is? Download our free guide to learn more about our training location in Västerås, Sweden and learn more about the flight training program. Click here.