Stuart Rawlinson



Full Name: Stuart Rawlinson

Current Role: B747-400 First Officer

Client: ASL Belgium


An AeroProfessional Success Story celebrates the achievements of an individual candidate and discusses highlights of their new role!

What ignited your love for aviation and how did your journey as a pilot begin?

I was fortunate enough to work at Clacton airfield as a teenager. We were paid in flying for working around the airfield where we did everything from polishing aircraft to cutting the grass runway. It was was proper grass roots flying where you worked hard but were rewarded with flying everything from the tiger moth to super cub, which became my first aviation love, which has continued for 25 years.

Gaining my PPL at age 17 in the cub I slowly built hours which finishing my A Levels and Sports Science degree which specialised in working with Aerobatic pilots on physiology and psychology. They’re a strange breed! After the degree I qualified as a commercial pilot and flying instructor, a job I still love even after 17 years of initially qualifying. Having been a charter pilot, and Calibration pilot, I decided that Airline life was the next adventure. The A320 with Wizz Air and Monarch and the B747 with Virgin Atlantic certainly gave the adventure I was seeking.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

I Flying the queen of the skies is most definitely rewarding in itself, the almost bulletproof design and engineering that gives her same handling characteristics at a light 200 tonnes or ladened 400 plus tonnes!

Tell us about one of your best days at work / career highlight in your current job?

I now work for ASL Belgium on the 747-400 Freighter. Working within a multi-national pilot team into challenging environments with heavy aeroplanes certainly makes you work hard, but the end result is very fulfilling. The 747 handles very much like the piston twins I spent many years on. It reacts like a proper aeroplane, it feels like a proper aeroplane. It is the pilot’s aeroplane of choice.

Through Virgin Atlantic I held the role of technical pilot. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not an engineer by any stretch of the imagination, but I do like the technical aspect of the aeroplane, and referring to manuals, checklists and procedures and more importantly finding solutions to problems presented give me real fulfilment. This skill transferred really nicely into ASL where everyday you are presented with unique challenges which needs solutions. This side of the freight business keeps me fulfilled.

During the COVID pandemic when we found out that we needed to find new employment, the amount of agencies promising the world on websites and social media was frightening. I spoke to each and went with personal recommendation and gut feeling. I was offered the role through AeroProfessional, who were most importantly honest about the role and expectations, efficient and available when paperwork was required, and now that I’m in the job, supportive, both in terms of always being at the end of a phone to discuss anything, and on top of the potential complex matrix of overseas tax and social security issues. As a result we are treated as U.K. employees with most of the benefits that surround it.

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