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SUCCESS FOR AN AIRPORT MAN WITH A MISSION

At left is Jamie Goatman in the role of an aircraft fueller. Main picture is Jamie as a corporate jet pilot preparing for a flight in a Zenith Aviation Learjet.

For the past 10 years, Jamie Goatman has been a man with a mission – to be a professional pilot. At the age of 28, after a decade of hard slog of studying for professional examinations while raising a family, his dream has come true as he takes up his first full-time professional appointment this month as a First Officer with Biggin Hill-based Zenith Aviation.  He has been assigned to their Learjet fleet.

The achievement may look straight forward enough, but that is not the case for people like Jamie who decide to fund their own training to achieve the essential licenses.  Qualifications for corporate jet pilots are set at a high standard and there are 14 CAA ground examinations to prepare for, flying costs and licence fees in addition.

Jamie’s interest in aviation was sparked at the age of 10 when his father brought him to the Biggin Hill International Air Fair of 1998 where, amongst many world-class displays, he saw the RAF’s Red Arrows team flying.   The experience became a deciding factor for his future career.  He wanted to be a pilot.

In 2006 at the age of 18, James joined Jet Aviation at the airport as a hangar cleaner and saved the money to fund his flying lessons and his technical studies. In 2012, he joined the airport’s aircraft fuelling team while his self-funded studies continued unabated and he became engaged to his future wife Amanda.

Successfully passing all his exams in 2014, he carefully juggled work and family time while taking on part-time work as a co-pilot on a Pilatus PC12 turbo-prop while continuing as a fueller at Biggin Hill.

A milestone month after 10 years of hard graft is January 2017 when he joins Zenith and becomes a full time professional pilot.

“It has been a challenging journey to realise my goals – but definitely worth the effort to achieve my dream.  I have proved to myself that a self-funded route is a workable one if properly planned and given family support – in which I rejoice” says Jamie.  His home is in Maidstone where he lives with his young family.