Instructors play a vital role in shaping the future of aviation. Through their teaching, through the wisdom they instill, and through their sharing of insights gathered from years in the industry, they are responsible for producing the next generation of pilots and aviation leaders.
We take a look at some of Alpha Aviation Group’s flight instructors to discover their personal insights about flight training, the aeronautics industry and what it takes to be a successful commercial airline pilot.
Mr. Matutina is the Chief Ground School Instruction at the Alpha Aviation Group Philippines campus. He is also in charge of the Air Law, Meteorology and Radio Communications courses included in the various programs.
Can you give us a short background of your professional career in the aviation industry?
I am a Bachelor of Science in Aircraft Technology graduate from Philippine Air Transport and Training Services (PATTS). I am an Air Force enlisted personnel. I was a weather observer for 3 years and a weather forecaster for 9 years. In 2005, I joined the rank of Air Traffic Control (ATC) when the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) needed qualified ATC personnel coming from the military. In 2008, I was transferred to the Clark Tower in Diosdado Macapagal International Airport, where I received a civilian aerodrome rating. In 2011, we received guidance from the military, recalling us from ATC duties back to the Air Force. I then opted for early retirement and joined AAG as a radio communications instructor.
Can you tell us more about your experience in the Air Traffic Control tower?
In Clark, which is second to Manila when it comes to number of traffic, sometimes you are monitoring 20-30 aircrafts at a time. You need to memorize all the aircrafts, and you need to give instructions to all of them. As much as possible, you should not have anything else hanging on your mind. You need to be focused all the time. What we’re talking about here is number of lives and millions of costs in aircrafts that may be lost.
The Alpha Aviation Group Training
What are the courses/trainings that you provide to the cadets?
Air law, meteorology, and radio communications between the ATC and the pilot. Cadets must know basic weather and meteorology. I help prepare them by teaching radio phraseology, the language used in communicating with ATC. At AAG, we’re using the standard radio phraseology from the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).
How do you share your professional aviation experiences with your students?
In every lesson, you can’t just always be based on the book. You need to inject real life examples like the typical mistakes committed by the pilots—and how they can avoid them. I always tell them, “Don’t play with mother nature.” They would say “It’s just the weather.” I remind them, you can always outsmart the weather, but what if the weather outsmarts you?
What’s the best part of teaching radio communications?
When you see your cadets in the airlines flying an Airbus and they still remember you. Also, when AAG cadets are already in the airlines, captains are amazed because they can easily answer the questions. What separates AAG cadets from the others is before they are sent to the flight line, they already have basic knowledge of radio phraseology and communication with the ATC.
The Alpha Aviation Group Culture of Discipline and Camaraderie
Can you tell us more about how AAG molds its students’ character?
Majority of the instructors here in AAG are from the military. We inject in their system the right discipline and correct attitude to become airline pilots. Remember in airlines, majority of people in the higher echelon are from the military as well. So discipline is very important.
How do you cultivate brotherhood?
AAG cadets are not allowed to be late. If one cadet is late in class, they will all exercise as a penalty. If there is an exam and a cadet fails, it’s not the cadet’s fault. It is the fault of the whole class because they failed to push their batch mate to study.
You don’t develop camaraderie overnight though—students will inevitably clash given their different backgrounds. They need a person to lead them, to set an example. Every morning and afternoon students need to exercise. To promote fitness, I run around the campus every day. A good leader is a good follower.
Success after Airline Pilot Training
What’s the one thing that cadets need to succeed in flight school?
It’s proper upbringing of these cadets. So when they arrive in the airlines, they won’t go through a culture shock. In other schools, the students fly without uniforms, they fly whenever they want. This is not the case with airlines. Everything is scheduled, everything is by the numbers.
At AAG, the airline culture is injected right from the very start. The training that our cadets receive here in Clark is designed to prepare them for the airline industry.
Is there a former student that you feel especially proud of?
The very first batch of AAG cadets. They are the ones who set the standard in ground schooling and core flying for future batches. All of them are with airlines now: seven with Cebu Pacific and one with Philippine Airlines (PAL). Jonathan Avellanosa from Batch 1 was part of the flight crew that pioneered PAL’s Manila-London flight. During their recurrency training, they go back here. They still visit and call.
At Alpha Aviation Group, it is our commitment to build pilot careers through comprehensive training programs together with inculcating a culture of professionalism, discipline, and respect. For more information about AAG’s airline pilot training programs, contact us today.
Photos from Alpha Aviation Group