In 2011, Mr. Toh started his pilot training and earned his Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) issued Commercial Pilot’s Licence (CPL) with a Multi-Engine Instrument Rating (CPL MEIR) in 2012. He was selected to perform circuits flying with a passenger on board alongside Captain Sven from Denmark Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) for audits.
After getting his licence, he served as an Aviation Ground Instructor at Singapore Flying College (SFC), a wholly owned subsidiary of SIA, where he provided ground instruction for new ongoing private and airline sponsored cadets, airline flight dispatchers and the conversion of foreign pilot licences. He was elected as a member of the SIA Group Pandemic Health Watch Team and also attended the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Safety Management System (SMS) course.
After he left SFC, he served as an Instructional Designer and ATPL Subject Matter Expert at a leading aerospace technology-based training provider in Asia. He also initiated the design and development of the JAA/CAAS ATPL Computer-Based Training (CBT) storyboards, oversaw the JAA/CAAS ATPL planning and analysis, analysed and developed assessment instruments to assess and evaluate the effectiveness of learning.
He was designated as an Aviation Management Professional (AvMP), globally recognised, by the International Air Transport Association (IATA), and was elected as an Associate Member of Royal Aeronautical Society (AMRAeS), the world’s only professional body dedicated to the aerospace and aviation industry.
Mr. Toh was kind enough to participate in an interview with Women in Aviation – Singapore, answering a few questions sharing a little bit about himself and also highlighting the gender equality in the industry.
Why did you choose aviation?
I wished to take up a career as an airline pilot and it’s never easy to really explain my desire of becoming an airline pilot, but I would say because of the high job satisfaction with the totally varied working routine, the great challenge of seeking for excellence in every flight.
However, after few years of being an instructor, I get incredible joy in seeing the difference I have made and that’s when I realised that this is my calling, to help aspiring pilots to achieve their dreams and that’s why I founded Revion Ground School.
What are your thoughts on the gender imbalance in the aviation industry globally?
According to the International Society of Women Airline Pilots, only about 5% of pilots worldwide are female.
Look at EVA Air. Based on 2016 report, it has about 50 female pilots among its 1,200 pilots (approximately 4.2%) and they do acknowledge that it’s hard to meet the demand and therefore they have been trying very hard to find more female pilots.
Many airlines have been trying hard to push the gender bias aside therefore I think it’s quite encouraging although it’s going to take quite some time to see the positive impact.
With the aviation industry burgeoning here in Singapore, what are your thoughts on addressing the gender imbalance as we move forward?
For the past 5 years, Singapore Demographic: Resident Population shows that, approximately 51% is female, 49% is male. Yet, female pilots make up less than 1% of the total pilot population in Singapore, to make it even worst, it is way lower than the 5% of pilots worldwide.
Singapore carriers are losing many pilots to China and Middle East, and the cost of training remains a major barrier to many aspiring pilots. In a long run, I believe that the only way to meet the growth is by getting more female interested in becoming pilots which will help to meet the growth, increase the pool of potential pilots, and improve the gender equality at the same time. Otherwise, this would further reduce the small pool of potential pilots which is mainly caused by the high cost of training.
Could you tell us a little Information on the ground school you started?
Revion offers something that no existing local training organisation has offered so far, is that aspiring pilots do not have to quit their full-time job during the ground school, this way they can continue to have their income for a year before leaving their full-time job to commence the full-time flight training in Hamilton (New Zealand) with a world-renowned flight training organisation.
I strongly believe in maximising training value rather than maximising profits. This in turn, helping to lessen their financial burden and get to receive world-class flight training as compared to existing local flight training organisations.
Please let us know about what caused you to start-up the ground school in Singapore.
Both Singapore Airlines (SIA) and SilkAir are the only local airlines that provide sponsorship. Aspiring pilots who are not able to secure a place on the limited number of airline sponsored training scheme can apply to Scoot and Jetstar Asia cadet programme. However, these airlines do not provide sponsorship. Aspiring pilots who wish to join Scoot cadet pilot programme must self-fund their own training and overseas living expenses which can cost more than S$250,000. Due to the high cost of training that existing local training organisations are charging, many aspiring pilots could not afford to pursue their dreams and as a result, driving fewer people to take up the career.
I felt that there is no/little initiative in helping aspiring pilots by the existing local training organisations. What I see is that the training cost keeps on increasing and aspiring pilots have no choice but to find a way to pay for it because of the limited choices of training organisation if they are really keen on pursuing their dreams.
This motivated me to set up Revion Ground School in March 2016, to help people achieve their dreams. I hope to lessen their burden as much as possible by offering an alternative option that is more affordable for aspiring pilots and I also hope to be a part of their success stories.
Moving forward, WIA-Singapore welcomes Mr. Toh and his team at Revion Ground School onboard as a strategic partner.
By Rachel Tay