pilot life vs private life

Pilot life vs. Private life How does this work together?

In my last aviation related blog post "How I became a pilot part II" I told you about my first flight training phase in beautiful Croatia. Now I want to show you how a pilot life and private life work together. 

Pilot life vs. private life

In the past many of you wondered how I can have a social/private life as pilot when traveling so much and being absent from home a lot. Especially those of you who strive to become a pilot in the future asked me this question and told me their concerns-

Here are examples of two snapchat users.

This solely depends on you dude. But do not worry if you want, you can have both options. ;-) 

It is true that I am absent from home for about half of the month. Usually I am on duty for a  maximum of eight days in a row. The operation in the Business Aviation requires to overnight at those locations wherever the last flight of the day takes you to. Whereas the flights of many low cost airlines end at their home base, which equals basically to a 9 to 5 job. At this moment I would not be a fan of this kind of operation since one reason for me of becoming a pilot is to travel and get to know new places. But I could imagine that an operation, which allows you to sleep at home every night, can be a big advantage once you want to build a family.

As you can see it really depends on the type of operation and airline how many days in a month you actually spend at home. A minimum of 8 days are granted by the aviation authority.

I have arranged myself with the absence from home quite well. I have a social life with friends and private activities like everyone else. Unfortunately I can not attend all events (like birthdays, concerts, parties and family events) but due to good organization skills I get the best of my free time and I never have a big feeling that I miss out on something.

Enjoying my off days! Here on top of Montserrat mountain in Catalonia, Spain

Pros and Cons of my pilot life:

PROS

  • Getting payed well to travel, to see new places and to fly airplanes
  • I leave work behind in the airplane and so I can use my off time at the fullest 
  • More than 3 days off in a row without taking leave (sometimes even 6 days)
  • Per diem are paid for every hour I am being away from home
  • I do my paper work during my work so I can enjoy my off days without distraction
  • Hotel gyms are free of use and I do not have a contract for a gym at home
  • I have more off days than a full time job (about 12 days)
  • Some passengers pay a tip to the crew for the flight and inflight service

CONS

  • Great flexibility expected and the schedule might change at last minute 
  • I only have either Christmas or New years off at home
  • For important events and appointments I have to take leave 
  • I can not attend classes or courses which take place on a regular basis
  • Irregular working hours and sometimes only little sleep during busy months
  • It is hard to keep a special diet while traveling 
  • Especially in the Business Aviation there is a lot of waiting time

Those are my subjective impressions about my life as a First officer and other pilots would definitely mention different aspects.

Ready for boarding the VIP passenger at the pole position in Olbia

As much as I enjoy being at home, after a couple of days at home my wanderlust kicks in and I want to go on a journey again. Striving for a position of a crew member you have to make sure that you have this desire as well. If not you might not be happy in the long term.

Which aspect would you do not like being a pilot? Comment below.

Please have a look on my aviation related Links, which may you find helpful!

Your Pilot Patrick

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my healthy breakfast

My healthy breakfast recipe

In my blogpost "I am a Foodie Pilot" I told you a little bit of my special diet. As many of you have wondered how I prepare my daily breakfast after seeing it on my Instagram and snapchat account I decided to reveal my self created recipe.

My healthy breakfast recipe

Over the years I have changed the ingredients many times to develop the best breakfast I can imagine. I only use organic products.

I would call it the ultimative breakfast bowl consisting of cereals, fruits, toppings, powders and almond milk.

  • Rich in fiber
  • Good carbohydrates 
  • Rich in vitamins
  • Rich in protein
  • Dairy free
  • Vegan
  • Sugar free
  • Good fats

Positive side effects of the ingredients:

  • Easy to digest 
  • Cholesterol lowering 
  • Energy boost
  • Helps the immune system
  • Sustainable 
  • An much more...

For my breakfast I produce almond milk myself. It is not a mystery and you will be surprised how easy it is to prepare. Disadvantages of buying almond milk in the supermarket are the added sugar and the low percentage of almonds used.

ALMOND MILK

For about one liter of almond you need:

  • one hand full of almonds (non roasted)
  • dried coconut flakes (non roasted)
  • 8 dates (non sugared)
  • 1 liter of cold water
  • strong blender like this one

First blend the almonds and coconut very WELL then pour slowly the cold water into the blender. Blend well until it reaches a milk like consistency. Now add the dates. This will add some sweetness. Depending on your taste you decide the amount of them. Blend it again. DONE! One liter of almond milk lasts about 2-3 days depending on the size of the bowl.

Ingredients you need for the almond milk Quick and easy selfmade almond milk

FRUITS

You can choose all different kinds of fruit to add. I start out with a banana and a small apple. Depending on the the season I add berries, peaches, pineapple, mangos, etc.

Happy and healthy meal choose the fruit you like

CEREAL

Here is the list of cereal I add to my breakfast bowl. Of course you can add and leave out ingredients.

  • Oatmeal (as base)
  • Buckwheat flakes
  • Amaranth (popped)
  • Kamut flakes (rich in protein)
  • Wheat bran
  • Flax seeds
cereal, seeds and toppings filled in glas jars

POWDER

Additionally I had two kinds of powder:

  • 1 x small spoon of wheatgrass powder
  • 1 x big spoon of hemp powder
  • cinnamon
Hemp powder wheatgrass powder, cinnamon and dates

TOPPINGS

Those are the toppings I use:

  • Chia seeds
  • 2 dates
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Goji berries
  • Chocolate drops by XUCKER (healthy chocolate but not organic)
Toppings: Chia seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, chocolate drops and goji berries

Put all ingredients in a big bowl and add the almond milk. Now enjoy your super healthy breakfast bowl which gives you energy to start the day.

My tip: Buy the ingredients in big seizes this saves money. Fill them in glas jars which makes the preparation easier.

In the morning I usually drink a green tea. My favorite is "Morgentau" of Ronnefeldt and a glas of grapefruit juice.

My favorite tea " Morgentau" by Ronnefeldt

What ingredients would you add? (Please comment below)

Have a look at this video about a game. It shows the sad reality of the industrialised food production of today.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lUtnas5ScSE?rel=0]

Your Foodie Pilot Patrick

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how I became a pilot

How I became a pilot II

In my first part of the blogpost "How I became a pilot" I told you about my way to become a flight student at Intercockpit Pilot Training Network.

How I became a pilot

Another requirement to be accepted as flight student is the initial medical class one examination. This examination is standardized for all pilots and needs to be revalidated every year. For detailed requirements please have a look here) For this examination I went to a special Aviation Doctor at Stuttgart airport. Of course I was a little nervous at this stage, because the outcome will decide about my future career. Not only did I pass it very well, but I also met Fabian, who later became a friend and a fellow flight student.  

Training facility of Lufthansa Flight Training (LFT) in Frankfurt

First day of school

My first day of school at the facilities of Lufthansa flight training was in April 2008. I remember it was a really exciting day, because it meant a new stage of life. The Intercockpit course E308 consisted of 20 guys and one girl. After the introduction of the team we were handed out all the training material, that we would need for our studies. I think it were around ten big binders. At this stage quite intimidating. Additionally we received a black pilot bag. Back then, I was really proud to have it.

Intercockpit course E308 in 2008

Theory classes

For the next two months we attended several theory classes to reach the knowledge of a PPL Pilot (Private Pilot License) to be prepared for the first flight phase in Zadar, Croatia. Additionally we had to pass the AZF (flight radiotelephone operators certificate), which grants the permission to communicate with ATC (Air Traffic Control). Why did the flight training take place in a foreign country? Mainly, because of the weather and the lower operating costs. Especially for VFR (visual flight rules) flights, that require a certain cloud ceiling and visibility, the weather in Croatia was definitely better than in Germany over the year.

First theory part in Frankfurt (8 weeks)

The entire flight training was scheduled to last about 18 months, depending on one's personal performance. Since the planning was really tight there was only a couple of off days in between. As this was an integrated training you had to learn continuously to be ready for the exams. It sure was a tough time, but it was worth the effort in the end. Time management was super important. I found it helpful to set weekly goals concerning learning to have a good feeling and to monitor my progress.

First time in Zadar

In June it was time to head down to Zadar for the first practical flight phase. Accommodation and transport had to be organized by ourself. Most of the course stayed at the same location of a croatian women, who rented prevailing to flight students from Germany. I shared an apartment with my friend Fabian. The place was not special at all, but it was only a short walk away from the waterfront.

The historic old town of Zadar is really beautiful. It is located right at the Adria, where we enjoyed amazing sunsets. The landscape of Croatia is unique with many small islands (66 inhabited) stretching along the coastline of 1800 kilometer and the high Biokovo mountains in the back. It did not take long until we got to see the beautiful landscape from above. After a couple of days of introduction in a basic fixed simulator the first flight in a DA20 aircraft with a instructor was due.

PA44 flight school aircraft of Intercockpit in Zadar

I was super excited and also a little scared. Not of the flying itself, rather if I really like it and could imagine to do it for the rest of my life. All sorrows were gone, when I lifted off the ground for the first time by myself. I remember, that everything was going so fast. It felt like I was flying a fighter jet. Today I can grin about it, since I take off with the Citation XLS+ at a speed, which is 2,5 times faster.

Structure of the training:

  • 8 weeks of PPL theory classes in Frankfurt
  • 10 weeks of flight training in Zadar, Croatia
  • 30 weeks of ATPL theory classes in Frankfurt  (ATPL = Airline Transport Pilot License)
  • 8 weeks of IFR flight training in Vero Beach, Florida  (IFR = Instrument flight rules)
  • 4 weeks ME IFR flight training in Zadar, Croatia  (ME = Multi Engine)
  • 1 week MCC course in Frankfurt  (MCC = Multi Crew Coordination)

Read in my next part about the rest of the flight training in Zadar, a drink offer after landing in Slovakia and the ATPL theory part back in Germany. I am working on more photos of my flight training.

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