Victor Safonov came from Russia to Slovenia a year ago to study for a pilot and has recently received a pilot license to operate aircrafts weighing up to 5.5 tons.
Here he feels at home, because the nature of Russians and Slovenes is very similar. He was mostly surprised by the working schedule, which begins very early in Slovenia and ends after 8 hours of work, which is very different from what Victor used to in Moscow.
Victor Safonov studied in the Adria Airways School, which trains pilots of small private aircrafts as well as professional pilots for passenger and cargo aircrafts.
In Moscow, Victor studied international logistics, and then worked for 10 years in the banking sector. He sought for himself new goals and landmarks in life, and he wanted to change completely the sphere of professional interests.
Victor decided to become a professional pilot for practical reasons. He drew attention to the dynamic development of the aviation industry and the ever-growing popularity of air traffic in the world, particularly in Asia, where millions of people fly regularly.
In Russia, his chances of taking the wheel were low, primarily because of health problems and a high competition for training.
At first, Victor planned moving to Canada to his brother. There he could receive a diploma in aviation engineering and a pilot’s license. However, he had problems with obtaining a visa, so he came first to the Czech Republic, and then to Slovenia. It was in Slovenia that Victor truly realised a possibility of becoming a pilot. Safonov highly praises Adria Airways, which closely cooperates with the airline of the same name, the international airport, and has the entire necessary infrastructure.
Half of his fellow students are from Europe, and the second half, mainly from the Middle East and Central Asia. “The school offers a quality and affordable education by European standards. The European pilot’s license is considered the most prestigious worldwide.”
Studying in Slovenia, Viktor says, involves some difficulties. For example, he does not like the organization of educational process. “Everything is too slow and measured.” However, as he rightly notes, there are problems everywhere.
Many people ask him if he enjoys flying. Victor replies that flying for him is not an entertainment.
“When I’m in the sky, I do not view nature and do not admire its beauties. A flight is a duel with nature. A small airplane can feel the slightest movement of the atmosphere.” The main aircraft of the school weighs only 600 kilograms. “We are very concentrated and we do not have time for distraction.” Victor admits that by the end of the school day he is pretty tired.
A few days ago, he passed the final exam for a pilot’s license, and now can fly a plane weighing up to 5.5 tons. “Each aircraft must be specially adapted, and for admission to large boards with a complex control system, you need to pass an additional exam.”
“Of course! I like this profession and I think I made the right choice!” Upon completion of the training, Victor would like to get a job in the airline, to start with a low-coster. “There you can fly a lot of hours. Usually, airlines do not offer the best terms of the employment contract, but pay the cost of obtaining a license to operate certain types of aircrafts.” This opens up many opportunities. “At first, it is not easy, because nobody wants to hire you for work, and then you can choose whom you will work for.”
Victor will stay in Slovenia for another year to complete his studies. The only thing that bothers him now is that he has not yet signed up for Slovenian language courses and the language barrier complicates his communication and job search. At first, he was looking for work in the banking sector, but since there are no suitable vacancies now, he is looking for any job. In the aviation school, communication is in English, and therefore Slovenian is not required.
Life in Ljubljana is difficult to compare with Moscow, according to Victor. “Moscow never sleeps. It lives 24 hours a day.” He drew attention to the fact that free time is very much appreciated in Slovenia. “I do not remember that anyone in Moscow was going home after 8 hours of work. People here start working even at 6:00 a.m., but their workday ends earlier. In Moscow, people start working between 8:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m. and sometimes work late.” At the same time, Victor believes that the rhythm of life in Slovenia is more useful for the family and the person as a whole.
“Obviously, people here are not so interested in money and career.” He suggests that the reason for that is good economic development.
In Slovenia, Victor feels more free and at ease than, for example, in Germany. He claims that all people who met him in Slovenia are very friendly. Victor notes that they show great interest in him and his country. “I think that the general Slavic mentality and a similar way of thinking play a role here. For example, a person may not want to divide a cafe bill, but simply pays for everyone. In Russia, we also do not divide bills and do not recalculate kopecks.”
The image of Slovenia in Russia is best expressed by the words “a small happy European country,” says Victor. If you want to provide your children with a better life, a calm and clean environment with mountains and the sea, then Slovenia is an excellent choice. “If you need, you can quickly get to Venice or to Vienna. You can quickly find yourself in five countries,” he adds.
A couple from Moscow helped him move to Slovenia and adapt in new conditions. “They still help me a lot today. They have their own car and they showed me a lot of beautiful corners in Slovenia. So, things would be difficult for me without these people,” Victor admits.
He says that he really misses his family and friends. “Frankly speaking, it allows me to focus on my studies. When friends are around, it’s impossible,” says 29-year-old Victor Safonov.
After graduation, he is going to look for work in different countries. Victor, probably, will not return to Russia, since the advantage at employment there is given to pilots who passed training in Russian aviation schools. He also thinks about former Soviet republics, for example, about Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan or Belarus because they recognize European certificates and are interested in Russian speaking professionals.