Australian Guy Malpas joined Cathay Pacific as a Boeing 747-400 second officer in 1995. Now a senior captain on the Airbus A330/340 fleet, he recently worked in pilot recruitment and plans to move into a training role
How did you start in aviation?
I finished high school in Australia in 1989 and learned to fly. At the time, there were no university courses as there are now, so I had to pay for it myself, building up my hours by working as an instructor. I qualified on the [Fairchild] Metro and had some casual employment in Tamworth [New South Wales], but I struggled to get a full-time job.
When did you move to Cathay?
I tore out an ad for second officers at Cathay and wrote to them before I went to Tamworth. I had been at Tamworth almost a year when I got a letter back. They had kept my letter on file. I always impress the importance to young pilots of just getting your name on a database. Even if you don't get accepted, or even a reply from an airline, it does not mean your approach has been in vain. If you really want something you should ask for it, like the last piece of cake on the plate.
Malpas: immediately slotted into Hong Kong lifestyle
Where did you go from there?
After my poverty-striken career in Tamworth, coming to Cathay as a second officer was fantastic. We were only allowed to fly above 20,000ft, but it was a great start. I graduated to being a first officer on the Boeing 777, which at the time was still a very new aircraft, so we felt very special. After six months as a junior first officer, I became a full first officer, which meant quite a big increment, and finally a senior first officer. Finally, after 10 years, in 2005, I had the chance to train on the A330 and A340 and I've been a line pilot on the fleet ever since.
How have you developed your career in other ways?
I recently spent some time as part of the pilot-recruitment team, which was good experience for a move into training next year. I will still do line flying but I will aim to get my Hong Kong qualification for simulator training. In my own time, I am studying for a masters in airline management. It covers safety management and accident investigation. I have also joined the Australian chamber of commerce. Ultimately I would love to be involved in fleet planning.
What about living in Hong Kong?
I came up here and immediately slotted into the lifestyle. There's a lot of outdoor activity available: watersports, rowing, paragliding, rock climbing. But the urban environment is superb too. You can go out any day of the week at any time, which is fantastic when you don't work a 9-5 rota. Everything is close, and taxis and public transport are readily available and signs are in English. It makes life as a pilot very easy. In fact, it's the easiest Asian city in which to live.
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