The first batch Cadet Pilots were culled from over 12,500 applicants after a rigorous screening, series of tests, medical and physical examinations, and an aviation foundation course at the Philippine Academy for Aviation Training in Clark Field, Pampanga last year.
Among the successful cadets were two Mindanawnons: Darryl Dave G. Ditucalan of Iligan City and Dexie Jay Aljas of Banga, South Cotabato.
Ditucalan is a certified Electronics and Communications Engineer (ECE) who graduated Valedictorian and Summa Cum Laude from the Mindanao State University-Iligan Institute of Technology. He was a board top notcher placing third for both the Electronics Engineering and Electronics Technician Board Examinations. He has also presented his thesis to various national and international conferences.
Like Ditucalan, Aljas is also a registered electronics engineer and technician. He was a Dean’s Lister from the Cebu Institute of Technology-University and was an Essay Writing Contest Champion of the Cebu Schools Athletic Foundation Association Inc. (CESAFI) and 2015 ECE Regional Quiz Show Champion.
The rest of the first batch of cadets represented a cross section of the country’s main geographical regions including Metro Manila, Greater Luzon area outside the metropolis: and one each from Cebu City, MIMAROPA and Occidental Mindoro.
Ditucalan passed his Commercial Pilot Licensure Examinations last January 28, 2019 at the Flight Training Adelaide (FTA) in Adelaide, Australia.
He previously attained his first solo flight on July 10, 2018 with flying instructor Ryan Archer aboard a Diamond DA40 Star light aircraft. He also became the first student released by Archer.
The DA40 is an Austrian four-seat, single-engine, light aircraft constructed from composite materials. Built in both Austria and Canada, it was developed as a four-seat version of the earlier DA20 by Diamond Aircraft Industries and has the lowest fatal accident rate in US general aviation according to a 2011 Aviation Consumer magazine.
A true-blue Iliganon, Dave was born and raised in Iligan, the second of three children of David Ditucalan, former board member of the 2nd Congressional District of Lanao del Norte and now a Congressional Consultant for the 2nd District, and Letecia G. Ditucalan, Provincial Head of Dept of Agriculture in Lanao del Norte.
His eldest sister Lovelle was a Doctor to the Barrios, has started her residency at East Avenue Hospital in Quezon City while his younger brother Deaniel Dave is in his freshman year as a B.S. Bio student at Mindanao State University-Iligan Institute of Technology (MSU-IIT).
Dave finished his grade school at La Salle Academy and high school at the Integrated Developmental School-MSU-IIT.
He took up a B.S. in Electronics and Communications Engineering (ECE) at MSU-IIT) where he was graduated Valedictorian and Summa Cum Laude.
Following his graduation, Dave placed third in both the Electronics Engineering and Electronics Technician Board Examinations. He has also presented his thesis to various national and international conferences.
After working for almost a year for a semi-conductor company in Cavite as an IC designer, Ditucalan didn’t think twice when Cebu Pacific issued the call for the first batch of cadet pilots last year.
“To those wanting to be pilots but are financially or otherwise constrained, take advantage of this opportunity offered by Cebu Pacific,” he advised. “The ten year payback period is very affordable compared to what this career can bring to you and your family.”
Asked what qualities he had which had served him best in making it to the first batch of Cebu Pacific’s Cade Pilots, Dave replied “It's discipline, discipline, discipline!”
“We have to watch our body and mind. We have to be prepared physically, mentally, and psychologically for this kind of career. Any minor problem to our physical or mental capability might be a career-ender,” he stressed.
Cebu Pacific will shoulder the cost of the training, type-rating and licensing, with successful cadet-pilots guaranteed employment with CEB. They will then reimburse the cost of the program through salary deduction over a maximum of ten years at zero-interest.
Dave and his cohorts are spending 52 weeks at the FTA campus in Adelaide and would return to the Philippines upon completing their training there to complete type-rating and licensing requirements to become full-fledged commercial pilots.
After successfully completing the program, the cadet-pilots become First Officers at CEB, and join the corps of aviators at Cebu Pacific, flying domestic and international routes. The airline just recently sent off the fourth batch of cadet pilots to the FTA to undergo the same program.
CEB undertook the ground breaking program after noting the dearth of pilots for its growing fleet of aircraft.
Between 2018 and 2022, CEB expects delivery of six more brand-new Airbus A321ceo, 32 Airbus A321neo and seven ATR 72-600 aircraft, hence the pressing need for more pilots to man its growing fleet. These, in addition to its present 62-strong fleet of one Airbus A321CEO, 36 Airbus A320, eight Airbus A330, eight ATR 72-500 and nine ATR 72-600 brand-new aircraft.