Two Mindanawons make it to Cebu Pac`s Aussie training

Two young men from Mindanao have been shortlisted to join Cebu Pacific's first batch of Cadet Pilots to an intensive aviation training program at Flight Training Adelaide (FTA) in Australia. 

Darryl Dave G. Ditucalan of Iligan City and Dexie Jay Aljas of Banga, South Cotabato will be joining 16 other Cadet Pilots  selected from over 12,500 applicants. The applicants went through screening and a series of tests, as well as medical and physical examination, with 16 candidates attending an aviation foundation course at the Philippine Academy for Aviation Training in Clark Field, Pampanga last month.

Ditucalan is a certified Electronics and Communications Engineer (ECE) who graduated Valedictorian and Summa Cum Laude from the Mindanao State University-Iligan Institute of Technology. He was a board top notcher placing third for both the Electronics Engineering and Electronics Technician Board Examinations. He has also presented his thesis to various national and international conferences.

Like Ditucalan, Aljas is also a registered electronics engineer and technician. He was a Dean’s Lister from the Cebu Institute of Technology-University and was an Essay Writing Contest Champion of the Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation Association Inc. (CESAFI) and 2015 ECE Regional Quiz Show Champion.

The rest of the first batch of cadets represent a cross-section of the country’s main geographical regions.

Metro Manila was represented by James Kevin Chua (Sta. Cruz, Manila), Geronimo Miguel Mantes (Fairview, Quezon City), and Lorenzo Miguel Montinola (Malate, Manila).

Nine came from Greater Luzon area outside the metropolis: Kayrwin Kirch Remolona  (Mabalacat, Pampanga); Jose Angelo Santos (Cainta, Rizal); twins Ian John and Ivan Kevin Satentes (Noveleta, Cavite); and Juan Carlo Wage (Bamban,Tarlac): Janine Alyssa Marie Bautista (Cainta, Rizal); Aaron Jhun Bernabe (Santiago City, Isabela); Paulo Martin Concepcion (Sta Rosa, Laguna); and Martha May De Leon (Sta Rosa, Laguna);

There is one each from the Visayas: Rydale Pintor, from Cebu City; and MIMAROPA: Ardeen Bernabe Reguyal of San Jose, Occidental Mindoro.

“My twin brother and I have the same dream of becoming pilots since we were kids. The reason for this is all the airplanes we saw up-close whenever we accompany or fetch dad at the airport. While waiting for dad and looking at those big planes, our mom would always tell us that someday we will be inside the cockpit of whichever airplane she’s pointing at,” said Ivan Kevin Satentes.

“Ever since I was a child it has always been my lifelong dream to become an airline pilot but my family is not financially capable of supporting my dreams,” shared his twin Ian John.

For Juan Carlo Wage, joining the program meant having the chance to improve the lives of his loved ones, especially his parents who both worked as caretakers and housecleaners in Pampanga.

“I joined the program because I knew that it would change my life. Aside from being able to travel, and learn and experience new things, I want to pay my mom and dad back for their hard work, and give them a good life as well.”

The aspirants thanked Cebu Pacific for opening a program that would enable financially-challenged Filipinos to fulfil their dreams of becoming pilots.

“I joined the program because I wanted to be a pilot since I was in grade school. After graduating college and getting my first job, I did not think that I would be able to pursue my dream immediately because my salary was not enough to put me to flying school. Luckily, Cebu Pacific created a program for aspiring Pilots,” said Martha May De Leon, one of the two female cadets who made it in the first batch.

 The cadet pilots will be spending 52 weeks at the FTA campus in Adelaide. After completing their training there, they will return to the Philippines to complete type-rating and licensing requirements to become commercial pilots. After successfully completing the program, the cadet-pilots become First Officers at CEB, and join the corps of aviators at Cebu Pacific, flying domestic and international routes.

The airline undertook the ground breaking program after noting the dearth of pilots for its growing fleet of aircraft. At present, its 62-strong fleet includes one Airbus A321CEO, 36 Airbus A320, eight Airbus A330, eight ATR 72-500 and nine ATR 72-600 brand-new aircraft.

Between 2018 and 2022, CEB expects delivery of six more brand-new Airbus A321ceo, 32 Airbus A321neo and seven ATR 72-600 aircraft, hence the pressing need for more pilots to man its growing fleet.

Cebu Pacific will shoulder the cost of the training, type-rating and licensing, with successful cadet-pilots guaranteed employment with CEB. They will then reimburse the cost of the program through salary deduction over a maximum of ten years at zero-interest.

Cebu Pacific will be investing US$25 million for its Cadet Pilot Program. In partnership with FTA, the program will select a total of 240 candidates over a five-year period, or 48 candidates per year divided into three batches, with each batch composed of 16 Cadet-Pilots.

The program is open only to Filipino citizens who are college graduates, proficient in English and hold passports valid for at least two years prior to the start of the program. The screening process for applicants begins with an online screening, followed by an on-site screening for core skills and pilot aptitude tests, among other examinations where a fee of AU$425.00 (PHP17,000.00) will be charged. CEB and FTA will jointly select the final list of candidates.

Candidates for the second batch of CEB Cadet Pilots are currently being screened. Application for the third batch is set to open by mid-May 2018.

[Photo: The first batch of Cebu Pacific's Cadet Pilots Program with CEB CEO Lance Gokowngwei (center) and the pilot training staff and management committee of the airline; Ditucalan and Aljas]