Pilot and First Officer Matt Yemm says his job is a privilege and a pleasure
It was sunset as we took off from Paris. It is busy airspace and they kept us quite low. The lights were coming on and the views over the Seine and towards the Eiffel Tower were breathtaking as the sky had a beautiful orange tinge. You never get bored of seeing views like that.
My love of flying started when I was five years old. It was our first family holiday and we were going to Malta. I remember my excitement as the plane set off down the runway, and then the thrill when my dad took me to see the cockpit and it all looked mind-bogglingly complicated.
I joined the air cadets as a teenager, learnt to fly a glider when I was 16 and got a job with a flying school at Gloucestershire Airport when I was still at school. At 19 I had a Private Pilot’s Licence.
After 11 years in the Royal Navy I gained a Commercial Pilot’s Licence and also became a Flying Instructor. After teaching people to fly for a couple of years I joined The Little Jet Company in November 2018. This feels like a family business as we all care about each other and we have the same level of care for our clients. I enjoy that sense of working together – the pilots, and the operations team too.
On a sunny day flying out of Gloucestershire Airport is great. The crew arrive about an hour and a quarter before our clients. We talk about the flight, the airfields we are departing from or going to and we check the flight pack we have been given, for example we look at whether we are happy with the route based on the weather that day.
We check and prepare the aeroplane and then we carry out a thorough flight crew briefing. The passengers can arrive ten minutes before departure. We welcome them, get their bags on board, give them a safety briefing and we’re off. We cross check and monitor each other to make sure it’s all done safely.
I still feel a thrill going down the runway, pointing the nose skywards, and going flying. There’s the thrill of being at 40,000 ft. and travelling at 400 mph and more.
If we encounter turbulence we talk to air traffic control and try to change our levels. We go that extra mile to ensure the flight is as smooth and as pleasurable as possible.
I enjoy the interaction with our clients, making sure they are comfortable and happy. I have met such interesting people. Of course, we respect their privacy, some want to have meetings on board or talk to family and friends, but we are also happy to serve drinks and have a chat. I love it when we have excited families on board as I have children of my own and can think of no better way of travelling especially with a young family.
The variety in my job is fantastic. My week has included flying a client to Scotland on Monday for a business trip, taking another business client to Paris on Tuesday, bringing him back on Wednesday, a trip to the Isle of Man on Thursday and picking up clients from Farnborough on Friday to take them on holiday to Sardinia, then going on to Majorca and staying overnight, meeting more clients the next morning, bringing them back to Biggin Hill and then coming back home to Gloucestershire Airport.
We get to stay in some lovely places and in nice hotels. Going to different places makes the world feel very small. You feel a sense of togetherness which is hard to describe but aviation is a small world and we do rely on working as a team with air traffic controllers, airport staff and handling agents at our destinations.
I particularly like going to mountainous areas. They may be a bit more challenging when you are flying but they are beautiful and it certainly is never boring.
I remember taking a client to Nice, then flying on to Zurich to pick up other clients. Going over the Alps we were kept relatively low, about 24,000 ft. We went over Mont Blanc at a height where you could see people walking and waving at the aircraft. There were stunning views across the winter Alps. That was a special moment.
My job is a privilege and a pleasure.