KURA is passionate about supporting aspiring Pilots at all stages of their BESTPILOT journey; from APS-MCC through to the end of line check (and beyond if you need us!). As part of this commitment, we have created the Customer Liaison Team.
The Customer Liaison Team is led by Pilot trainers Niven Phoenix, Jim Thurrell and Pete Whitten – a highly experienced team of Pilots who currently fly the line – and is supported by BESTPILOT graduate volunteers.
Niven Phoenix, Senior First Officer
Nivens aviation career began in the RAF, where he served between 1996 – 2011. He left after achieving command on the two most modern flight decks in the inventory – the C130J and Boeing C17 Globemaster. He is an RAF Central Flying School trained flight and instrument rating instructor, holds a CRMI qualification and ran the RAF C17 Human Factors training programme.
Niven currently flies long haul operations for British Airways on the B747. He presents on the British Airways ‘Flying with Confidence’ course, is a Pilot Trainer and Training Manager at KURA and is involved in launching KURA Human Factors training.
Jim Thurrell, Senior First Officer
Jim began is aviation career as a Flight Engineer on the C-130 Hercules culminating in an instructional position on the conversion unit. During his 18 years in the RAF he flew the Boeing C-17 Globemaster, gained command and again took on instructional duties as a Training Captain on 99 Squadron at RAF Brize Norton.
Jim joined British Airways in 2011 and is currently a Senior First Officer on the Boeing 747. He helps to run the British Airways mobile simulator at public and corporate events, volunteers for the RAF Air Cadets and is a Pilot Trainer at KURA Aviation.
Pete Whitten, Senior First Officer
Pete spent 12 years in the RAF during which he became one of the youngest captains on the Boeing C17 Globemaster. Latterly he flew the Beechcraft King Air 200 teaching Advanced Flying Training which involved airborne elements of multi engine flying, as well as ground studies including Human Factors and Safety Management Systems.
In 2016 Pete joined British Airways on the B777 fleet. He currently flies long haul on the B787 Dreamliner and is part of the British Airways ‘Customer First’ team, assisting with mobile and full motion simulator events for corporate clients. Pete is a Pilot Trainer and Training Manager at KURA and is involved in launching KURA Human Factors training.
In addition to our Pilot trainers, the Customer Liaison Team is supported by BESTPILOT graduates who now fly the line with different airlines and volunteer their time and experience to support aspiring BESPILOTs. These individuals offer the ‘front line of support’ by initiating weekly contact with current BESPILOTs who can benefit immensely from their recent training experience and knowledge.
“I graduated as a KURA BESTPILOT in March 2016 and within 6 weeks KURA had helped me secure interviews with BA CityFlyer, Norwegian and Flybe. I was blown away by the whole experience, it completely transformed my image of pilot training and I have been personally indebted to KURA ever since, as I’m now a Norwegian First Officer, based in Madrid, with two years experience under my belt.
KURA are family to me and every day when I wake up in sunny Madrid and get to go ‘to work’ and fly the B737 around the Norwegian network, I am forever grateful! As I live abroad, getting back to help at KURA in person is a challenge, so the opportunity to join the Customer Liaison Team remotely and help future KURA BESTPILOTs navigate the challenging initial training environment was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up.
I think the Customer Liaison Team really sums up the KURA spirit and how everyone in the family really wants to help each other. Good luck to all future KURA BESTPILOTs.”
Craig Brignall, First Officer
The team aim to speak to current BESTPILOTs and recent BESTPILOT graduates once a week to offer support and advice on the training courses, information on life with an airline and to gather valuable feedback… in addition, they offer a shoulder to cry on or person to rant to!
To date, approximately 80% of our BESTPILOT graduates have taken up the offer of continued support from the Customer Liaison Team – we believe this unique initiative offers our BESTPILOTs unparalleled, invaluable support which truly makes a difference to each individual.
For more information on the BESTPILOT programme or the Customer Liaison Team, visit www.kuraaviation.com/aspiring-pilots/bestpilot-incl-aps-mcc or contact us on +44(0)1789 298 582 or [email protected].