Royal Jordanian and I

My first dreams of career started when I was really young, around the age of three or four, I flew with Royal Jordanian from Abu Dhabi to Amman, and Queen Alia International Airport was still new. I knew instantly that this is what I wanted to do! Obviously like many other kids I toyed with many ideas, being a nuclear physicist or even an astronaut. Jordan’s lack of a space program, and the career prospects of a nuclear physicist dawned on me as I grew up, so did the prospect of being a Royal Jordanian pilot.  

I remember the 747 of that trip in the late 1980s, I remember the balding captain and his authoritative presence, I also remember that I was lucky to have my father pull a few strings and send me up to the first class cabin and then to the cockpit. I wasn’t happy though because the first officer (co-pilot) of that day wouldn’t even acknowledge me, and sent me back a few seconds later, not answering any of my questions. The uniform, the cockpit, the buttons, levers and switches were all an enigma to me. I decided then that one day I will be able to decipher all the mystery that surrounded the flight crew.

At age seventeen I visited the Royal Jordanian Air Academy, to understand what it takes to become a pilot, and to be honest, I left there more confused and disoriented than when I walked, thinking that an excessive amount of connections was needed to become an airline pilot. They also made sure to tell me that I was too young, and probably did not need worry about joining their establishment.

Two years later, I came back and joined, during my tenure at RJAA, I successfully sat for the tests administered for Royal Jordanian by the DLR on November 2006. I was elated to have all the requirements for Royal Jordanian. After dealing with some financial and family hardships, I joined RJ on January 24th 2010.  

I was trained and contracted to fly the Airbus A320, the generic name for the A319/A320/A321 family of aircraft. One of the most popular commercial airplanes ever made. With RJ it serves destinations everywhere from London to Delhi and lots of places in between, RJ currently has a fleet of 12 aircraft 4 of the A319, 2 of the A321 and 6 of the A320. A flight time of six hour is the usual endurance limit for the family so Royal Jordanian utilizes it for around 40 destinations. I fly most of them.

I finished my training and became a first officer on May 1st, 2011. The other day, two brothers in their preteens asked if they can take a picture in the cockpit, we were on ground and I couldn’t find a reason not to. They jumped in and the older brother instinctively assumed his seniority and jumped into the left seat, the younger sat in my seat and their proud father took a few pictures.

I couldn’t help but turn on the switch that tests all the lights in the cockpit, a trick I pulled straight from the balding Captain’s book. The awe in their faces was thanks enough and I knew I was part of their memories. I wish they had asked a few question so I can counter the previous trend of what happened to me in the Jumbo Jet; they didn’t ask but I was ready to answer.

I am presently tasked with flying the A320 family in addition to my duties in charge of the operation control function in the airline.