SmartLynx Training Centre inside information by the man in charge: Captain Tomas Samcik, Head of our ATO


In took one day and a trip to an air show for Captain Tomas Samcik to get bitten by aviation bug. Thanks to his father who took him to the show in his hometown of Bratislava back in 1994, the sound of the jet engines became music for Tomas’s ears and since then he only had one thing in his mind.

“It took another 8 years to be old enough and brave enough to start my PPL training at a local airfield next to my home. Everything went well and with the help of my instructor the decision was made. I will train to become an airline pilot. I have joined Czech Technical University in Prague in order to gain my CPL ATPL frozen license. After that came the biggest challenge, getting the first job. Not so easy being the first pilot in a family. Luckily I got an opportunity to get a job under the condition of heaving A 320 type rating. I went for it and in 2009 I got my first job in cockpit of Airbus. Best six months of my life.” Beginners luck didn’t strike on Tomas, since the company he joined stopped operating after only 6 months. As it turned out, it was for the best. 

He joined SmartLynx Airlines in April 2010, and his path was intense, and as he says “Almost unbelievable”. After becoming a Captain, Tomas was recognized as an excellent teacher and was promoted to Instructor, and since a few months ago he is the main man of SmartLynx Training Centre. His first impressions are that our Training Centre graduates are real professionals, with a huge passion for flying and aviation. 

"I am proud of all our students. Since the first day of the training they are eager to learn, they want to know and want to be good. It’s a pleasure to see how they progress from a start in the classroom, learn the systems, manuals, task sharing, call-outs and limitations. Then come the procedures. Initially slow, with mistakes, but improving until all goes automatically. Full flight simulator next. Learning to fly manually, first landings in nice weather, then more difficult conditions. Of course, we have to train nonstandard situations. After a few sessions, even the most difficult malfunctions are a piece of cake for them." 

The main advantages of SmartLynx ATO program

Our ATO stands on three strong pillars. 

The first one and the most important is the manpower. Our instructors have decades-long experience teaching students in different stages of flight training. Each of them was handpicked for his dedication, passion, knowledge and flight experience on real aircraft. They are all current and flying in real operations in SmartLynx Airlines. There is a great chance you will meet your favorite instructor during your line training. This is another positive. As most of our ATO students continue in SmartLynx Airlines, their training can be more effective due to seamless transfer from one organization to another. This doesn't mean you can`t choose a different airline. Our students found their first A320 job all over Europe, mainly in national careers, but also low-cost airlines.

The Second pillar is our facilities. We take great pride in selecting the most modern and up to date computer training aids, procedural simulators and full flight simulators. Each student receives the first day of his training an IPAD full of information. Classrooms are equipped with computers and the entire training is managed in this manner. Despite our enthusiastic use of modern technologies, we strongly believe in human interaction. Any time a student has a question during computer based training, there is a dedicated instructor ready to help or explain. 

The newest addition of this year will be Flight Management and Guidance System simulator, available in each student`s IPad. This will allow students to understand Airbus philosophy first hand even before sitting for the first time in the full flight simulator. 

We understand that rest time is as important as classroom time. That is why we are glad our students use the opportunity to go exploring the streets of the city where the training is based. For some time now we have been using Sofia as our main location. The city is beautiful and the people very friendly. Our students also appreciate the low price of living which is a nice plus.

The third pillar is the design of our program. Each procedural simulator or full flight simulator session is targeting different aspect of flying Airbus and gives an opportunity to students to fully understand the topic and train to perfection. After passing the Skill Test in simulator there is no hassle finding an opportunity for base training. SmartLynx Airlines aircraft with its instructor is ready within a few days of completion of simulator training, to complete the last step on the way to getting the A320 type rating. 

The selection criteria for choosing cadets that will be offered a contract with SmartLynx Airlines. Initially before starting the training in ATO there are pre-entry requirements as mentioned on our website. These requirements are mandated by EASA and all ATOs are bound by them. Then, as a second step is a psychological assessment. This takes only a few hours and is focused on the personality of the candidate. Completing these two steps we are ready to start the type rating course. The students who successfully complete A320 type rating course are recommended based on their performance to SmartLynx Airlines for a contract offer. It was my pleasure to recommend all our students. 

This training season produced very high-quality First Officers and Captains and I am thankful to our entire ATO team. As each student has a completely original set of experience, knowledge, skills and abilities, there is only one advice Tomas says is applicable to every pilot, 1+1=3. And adds “The type rating is one big CRM exercise. Congratulations on your career choice, choice of the aircraft type and ATO choice."


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