Tamer Ishak is a 24 year-old Egyptian citizen who earned a bachelors degree in mechanical engineering in 2009—graduating fourth in his class with a 3.75 GPA. His degree was accredited in the U.S. by ABET—an accreditation board that accredits engineering programs worldwide.
After graduation he went to a small flight school, Aero Prep Institute, at the Flying W Airport in South Jersey, south jersey to pursue his dream of becoming a pilot. He worked hard and quickly earned his CPL IR, CFI, CFII and got an A320 type rating.
He returned to Egypt in August of last year, and enrolled in a 2-year engineering graduate program. He also applied at Egyptair and was accepted. It appears there are great opportunities to fly in Egypt if you have the right training.
“Most of the pilots in Egypt lack jet experience due to a supply and demand issue similar to what was happening in the U.S. back in the day when PanAm was hiring pilots right out of CPL, Egyptair undergoes a jet transition training course which is like 4 months long. I started that last January, and I finished in June coming in second out of 70 pilots. I was also half way through my masters. Right now, I'm starting sim training on the B737-800 as an FO of course. I should be on the line by Christmas.”
Tamer’s dream is to fly for Delta. He speaks fluent English. And he loves to learn. For some reason I don't think anything will stop Tamer.
“I don't plan to stop learning and earning degrees. When I'm done with my masters, I'll start another one in something else.”
Tamer, you got your rating so quickly. What was the hardest part of the accelerated program?
“The hardest parts really were the weather and the availability of aircraft. I was fortunate to see a lot of different weather in that area of the country, but it was also very frustrating when I couldn’t fly for weeks. Also, there was a large number of students at the school at the time I was there and a few number of airplanes, so bad luck in scheduling with that and the weather could have one not fly for a long time and that was the hardest part of it.”
Obviously weather wasn’t going to stop you with such passion. When did you know you wanted to fly?
“I have always wanted to become a pilot since as far as I can remember my first memory. I am convinced that there are people who are born to fly, and I am fortunate to believe that I am one of them. It is so hard to describe, I can almost believe it is genetic, like it would be dictated on one’s DNA, the need to fly. I can remember my first flight lesson, when my instructor first told me to take the controls, I remember I could not stop smiling, and when he asked me why I am smiling, I just said that, I am happy.”
Genetics it may be. His father has been flying for nearly 40 years. He’s flown everything from B707, Fokkers, B737-200, Ilyushin, A320, A330 and A340. Right now, He is an active Captain flying and instructing A330 and A340, and instructing on the A320.
Amazing you got your A320 type rating so early in your career, what prompted decision?
“I got my type rating in the A320 to be able to convert my FAA CPL to an ICAO CPL to be able to apply in airlines in Egypt. To convert an FAA AMEL CPL here costs like 10000 US dollars. I know its ridiculous. I had the option of doing a type rating and have a sim check in Egypt, on that type to get my ICAO license. So instead of paying all that money for 3 hours of Cessna time, I used it to get a type rating, but I haven't flown any A320s.”
Tamer, you have accomplished so much in your career. If you could give any advice to pilots starting out, what would it be?
“Besides the most obvious advice most pilots will give pilots that are starting out, which is to love and enjoy what your doing the most you can, I wish to advise anyone starting out, to never stop reading and learning. Knowledge is one of the many tools that make pilots stand out from other pilots, it makes your brain ready to respond most appropriately at all times. So have your mindset to start reading and knowing from day one. Another important thing to have one’s mindset on is discipline.
I believe that discipline is a big part of our identity. Finally, If anyone starting out is in college, don’t ignore it, and if you are not in college, make sure it is in your plan. A college education is really important. It shapes your personality, teaches you how to think critically and adds a unique dimension to the way you think and how you see the world regardless of what you study. It would add a lot to a pilot to have that. That is why always have college and even post graduate studies in your plan as much as you can.”
Excellent advice Tamer! I know that all your dreams will come true. You have the talent, skills, enthusiasm and dedication. You will make it! I certainly hope the citizenship doesn’t hold you from flying with the airline of your choice—I’m seeing green in your future. And definitely blue skies. Keep smiling!
Enjoy the Journey!