Busting aviation myths and answering your top questions

Busting aviation myths and answering your top questions
27/08/2017 pilotpatrick
busting aviation myths and answering your top questions

Hello my Aviator,

time flies! My blog is now online for already one year. It has been an exciting journey to share my adventures, tips and travels with you. At an early stage, I noticed that you are interested in more than just cool photos and videos on my Instagram. Therefore I launched www.pilotpatrick.com. The biggest motivation is you, my Aviators. I am not only an inspiration for you but also you are an inspiration for me. To celebrate the anniversary of my blog I will give away an original A380 model of Airbus. Additionally, I will answer the most common questions. On top, I will bust some myths about pilots and aviation in general.

Oh! You are only the First Officer. When will you fly the plane?

I love to hear this statement. Imagine all First Officers would not be allowed to fly. How are they supposed to become a captain one day without having the experiences of flying an aircraft? Before each flight, the decision is made which duties each pilot has. This is split apart in Pilot flying (PF) and Pilot not flying (PNF). PNF means to do the radio communication and to support the PF in his task of flying. The responsibility has the commander at all times even when the first officer is operating the aircraft. The first officer is allowed to take off and land the aircraft like the captain from the beginning on. Restrictions apply when the weather is marginal or other circumstances like special airports require the commander to fly.

busting aviation myths

Boeing 747-800 of Lufthansa in Frankfurt (FRA)

Can travel the world for free as a pilot!

I wish I could! In my past seven years as a pilot, I paid for all my flight tickets the regular price. So far I never had the privilege of staff traveling. It would be great to have the possibility to book ID tickets. This way I would be even more spontaneous to travel to new places. The fare is much cheaper than the regular ticket price. For example, a flight in Business class from Germany to New York (round trip) would only be around 500€. The tickets are only standby so there is the risk of not getting a seat, but on the other hand, they grant you great flexibility.

As a pilot, I have to commute to my home base and the location of the aircraft a lot. Especially during my time as a private jet pilot, I traveled with airlines a lot. For those flights, I am wearing my uniform as well. Most of the time I can use the fast track at security checks or I get free drinks and food on board. I even have been upgraded to Business Class several times. Aviation is like a big family and crews help each other out and make traveling as much as comfortable as possible.

You are a pilot. You must have good eyes!

Contrary to popular belief, you can fly commercial aircraft wearing glasses or contact lenses, as long as your vision is correctable to 20/20. For the initial Medical class examination, you have to meet a lot of different requirements. In case you are wearing glasses, they need to be in the cockpit and you also need a to bring a spare one. Each year you have to revalidate your examination and proof that your vision is unchanged.

Pilots earn a fortune! What do you do with all that money!

Pilots make a fortune and for their job, they get paid too much. This is not correct! Especially the first years as a first officer are not paid well. For example, I started as a private jet pilot and for a full-time contract, my wage was 2,800€ a month. I would not consider this a fortune! A big benefit of being a pilot is the extra allowances. I get paid extra for being a way from my home base. Some of the surcharges are tax-free, so it helps to boost the net salary. Just so you know in Germany you have to pay about 50% tax on your salary.

Over the last years, a lot of airlines practiced some kind of loan „dumping“. To be able to offer cheaper flight tickets and to be more competitive they save on the costs of staff. There has been an oversupply of pilots for a long time and that is why companies reduced the salary of their crews. They even developed a „pay to fly” models, which means that the pilot pays for his work and not the employer the employee. I also know about a pilot of a big German charter company, who still lives at home with her parents because she can not afford moving out. With the upgrade to a captain, the world can look different. Most of the times the salary is almost doubled.

busting aviation myths and answering your top questions

Welcome to my office!

Do aircraft have a horn?

I alway thought they do not have a horn but they actually do. But this horn is not used to alert other aircraft, it is used to inform the ground crew that the cockpit asks for communication. In the Airbus this button is called „Mechanic call“. Once the engines are operating you will not be able to hear this horn anymore. The private jet I used to fly did not have this feature.

What do you do during a long flight?

My longest flight so far was from Teneriffa to London. We had a strong headwind and the aircraft was heavy. The flight was almost 5 hours and this is about the maximum the Citation XLS can do. This flight felt like an eternity because there is not much space in the cockpit. Honestly, I do not know what pilots do when they fly 10 hours straight. On short flights below one hour, you are busy from the beginning to the end of the flight. In cruise flight, the workload is really low. The auto pilot flies the aircraft and the crew monitors the systems. The PNF (Pilot Flying) fills out the flight plan and does fuel checks. The PF (Pilot Flying) checks the weather en route and of the destination. Besides such tasks, I fill out my pilot log book, eat, drink read and take some short snaps for you.

What do your three golden stripes mean?

The stripes state the rank of a crew member. Three stripes are for first officer and four for captains. At some airlines, first officers also fly with two stripes to indicate their junior status. There is no difference between gold and silver!

busting aviation myths and answering your top questions

Below the wing of an Airbus A300

How did you become a pilot and how much did the training costs?

At the European flight academy, formerly called Intercockpit, I became a flight student in 2008. I chose an integrated route which is a full-time course othat takes a student from complete beginner to a position of becoming a pilot at an airline. The course was really intensive at there was not much free time in between practical and theoretical flight training. The training facility organized everything for you and provided you with a monthly schedule. The theoretical phases were quite enduring, which made the practical flight phases even more exciting.

The ground courses took place in Frankfurt and my flight training in Florida and in Croatia. Even though the time was quite stressful and paired with a lot of pressure, I had one of my best times in my life. Already after 18 months, I completed the training. Like everything in aviation, flight training is expensive too. In total, I paid 64,000€ to the flight school. (This did not include housing transport administration fees at the authorities) In case you are interested in an extended version of how I became a pilot, I suggest to read my series on this blog.

Do pilots sleep during flight?

The simple answer is yes. Certainly not on all flights. In pilot terms, sleeping is called controlled rest, which is taken in the operating seat. Of course only one pilot at the time. This procedure has been proven to improve safety because it improves alertness. The idea behind is that a pilot gets a sleep up to 30 minutes like a power nap and to be more fit afterwards! 

Do aircraft have a key like a car?

Smaller aircraft do big once do not. The Citation XLS+ has a regular lock and I had a key for every aircraft in the company. You probably think that those were super fancy for a 12,000,000€ private jet. It actually looks like a simple key of a locker. The major reason why smaller aircraft or business jet has a lock is that you could enter the aircraft from the ground without any aids. On a big airliner, the picture looks different since the door is so high up that it is sufficient to remove the stairs to guarantee that no unauthorized personnel gets access.

busting aviation myths and answering your top questions

Give away of an original A380 model of Airbus (1:400)

To celebrate the first anniversary of my blog, I am giving away an Airbus A380 model in the size of 1:400.

To have the chance to win the model you need to:

  • Be a follower either on my InstagramFacebook
  • Subscribe with your email to the newsletter of my blog below
  • Leave a comment below with the questions which is aviation, travel or lifestyle related. I will answer your questions in a later blog post.

I am looking forward to sharing my adventures as a pilot. Good luck and happy landings!

Your Pilot Patrick

55 Comments

  1. Curtis 2 months ago

    Do you prefer flying smaller or larger aircraft? And, are they much different to fly?

  2. Caterina Quinci 2 months ago

    Your blog is amazing and yes, I like to know about your life and about aviation! This post was really interestig Id like to win the Airbus model! ☘️ And I have a question for you: with this kind of work, everyday different places… have you ever imagined to have your own family? Find the girl of your life and create a future with her?

  3. Sandra 2 months ago

    Sehr interessant und aufschlussreich wie immer! Außenstehende haben die Vorstellung, der Pilot hat keine Arbeit und macht ja gar nichts, geht alles automatisch. Weit gefehlt! So ein Flugzeug zu fliegen ist Faszination pur!
    Sind im Flugzeug auch Pedale für Gas und Bremse?

  4. Maurice 2 months ago

    Danke für diese vielen tollen Eindrücke welche du mit uns regelmäßig teilst. Du bist eine Absolute Inspiration für Junge Menschen wie mich die sich selbst in ein paar Jahren dort sehen möchten wo du gerade bist!! WooW!

    Was ich mich schon immer gefragt habe & auch noch nie eine Antwort darauf gefudnen/bekommen habe ist: Wie wird man Pilot (von meinem absoluten #dreamliner) A380? Welche Bedingungen, Flugerfahrung etc. sind Notwenig? Und Natürlich darf diese Frage auf keinen Fall fehlen: möchtest du selbst mal diese “Jumbos” 747-8 oder den A380 fliegen? 🙂

  5. Yer 2 months ago

    Where is your favorites places to visit and staying over night?

  6. Rob Keyes 2 months ago

    How do you make and maintain friendships despite flying so much?

  7. UMI NADHIRA 2 months ago

    Hello my Pilot Patrick! Thank you for taking some of my questions as the top questions. I never think that my questions are interesting. Once again ” Thank You”. I always have this question for you ” as someone who has responsibility to save passengers life. What the meaning of life for you as a pilot and as yourself? Thank you very much for your beautiful smile for us!

  8. elfra 2 months ago

    i always wondering where is the emergency exit for the pilots onboard? just like passengers too and are they have emergency equipments to safe their life same like passengers too?

  9. Pablk 2 months ago

    What is your secret for keeping so fit and trim?!!! You’re amazing!

  10. Kevin Thao 2 months ago

    How often do you get to see your family?

    • bitterhearts89 2 months ago

      Happy Anniversary. I’ve read your blogs from the very first one. Enjoy them and always learn something new. Can’t wait to find out more answers to questions about flying.

  11. Alba 2 months ago

    how many countries had you fly to since you are pilot? Which is your favourite one?

  12. Osi Dela 2 months ago

    Is it true that when you’re on pilot school they give you a lesson how to fold and manage your belongings so it stays fit on your pilot suitcase?

  13. Jody 2 months ago

    I love to read about aviation and your blog has answered a lot of my questions but there are always more! When I fly I always look inside the front craft entrance door facing to find the craft’s date of manufacture. Its amazing in the US how old some of these jets are. Do you have any special rituals you perform before each flight? And it always looks like the cockpit is so tiny and cramped. I know space on a plane is valuable but it seems like they would give you a bit more comfort up there! Thanks for your blog and I wish you a happy week.

  14. Leah 2 months ago

    Was sind deine Lieblings Reise Ziele?
    Wie lange fliegst du schon?
    Bist du zufrieden mit deinem Job?

  15. Svetla 2 months ago

    What inspired you to become a pilot and was the journey to becoming a pilot hard for you?

  16. 黃茲庭 2 months ago

    I have roughly read some articles (probably 3-4) that were written by you, and of course, I also have read the latest one on your blog! After that, I sincerely thought you definitely put so much effort into your own blog! 🙂 Some of the articles you wrote gave me inspiration and useful information about aviation. Additionally, I hope I could be like you, just like to fill your life with meaning and joy and to chase your dreams and make them possible.

    Einen schönen Tag noch!

    Also, I’d like to know what places are on your bucket list?

  17. Alzbeta 2 months ago

    How was your studying time to know all ATPL questions? Did you manage your time better between studying and friends (traveling/or other thing you like and do most of the time)? Some FOs said me that they were only studying it for 2 years, no friends, no traveling, no other things they like. Because I am trying to study all ATPL questions, but I can’t concertrate for it all the time.

  18. Kim barber 2 months ago

    Great blog very insightful

  19. Ywett 2 months ago

    Wow, you are soo amazing ❤️
    What do your parents think about your job? Do they support you?
    #slovakia

  20. Hollie 2 months ago

    I’m 14 and have been interested in becoming a pilot for a while. Do you get a choice on which countries you fly too and what aircraft you fly?

  21. Pia 2 months ago

    Wieviele Tage arbeitest du bei deiner Airline maximal am Stück? Und wie lange ist der Block im Monat an dem du durchgehend frei hast?
    Lg Pia ☺️
    (Bin sehr begeistert von deinem Blog und der Persönlichkeit die du rüber bringst)

  22. Quynh 2 months ago

    Good luck to you!

  23. Mari Carmen 2 months ago

    Is it true that in aviation women can not intervene because of the mood changes caused by menstruation?

  24. Caroline 2 months ago

    What’s the one thing you have always wanted to do but haven’t yet?

  25. Jayveersinh 2 months ago

    Dear sir,
    I am also Aviation Lover.I like to read your blog.

  26. Gary 2 months ago

    Hey Patrick, after flying to so many places, have you found it hard to call one place “home?”

  27. Karol 2 months ago

    Are you sometimes bored in cockpit? What do you do then?

  28. Paulina 2 months ago

    Hi Pilot Patrick! ☺ Is it difficult for pilot to start a family? Do you miss your home when you have a lot of time in the air? Who would you like to be if you didn’t become a pilot?

    • Paulina 2 months ago

      If I can still ask ☺ :
      Did you want to become a pilot as a child?
      What do you think about miracle of the Hudson river?
      Do you have some “idol” amond the pilots?
      And last question did you happen to have a accident during the flight?

  29. Margareth 2 months ago

    What is the most often that you thinking when you are flying??

  30. Anna 2 months ago

    Lieber Patrick,
    Erst will ich Vielen Dank sagen. Es gibt solche Momente im Leben, wenn man etwas sucht. Und wenn er das findet, wird er auf einmal sehr glücklich.
    Es ist bewusst, dass viele Menschen, die in Aviation sind, machen viele Bilder und Videos. Plötzlich habe ich deine Webseite gefunden. Alles wird so gut geschrieben, es gibt Info, die echt wichtig und interessant ist. Ich, als eine Person, die sich dafür interessiert und eines Tages ihr Leben damit verbinden will, finde das super. Du gibst dir Mühe und das merkt man. Deswegen hast du hier viele Followers, die dir gerne “Danke” sagen wollen.
    Vielleicht gibt es eine neue Liste von Ländern, die du gerne besuchen würdest? Und was eigentlich heißt für dich glücklich zu sein? Klar dass kleine Dinge viel Freude bringen können. Für mich ist es meine Motivation besser zu werden und andere Menschen zu begeistern. Gerade finde ich meine Insperation hier.
    Danke, dass du auf Instagram deine Geschichten übersetzt. Ich kann schon Englisch sprechen , lerne Deutsch. Gut dass ich immer neue Wörter finden kann und lerne was Neues dabei. Weiter so!
    Viele Grüße,
    Anna

  31. Arsheen 2 months ago

    Hello Patrick, since I plan to pick aviation soon, I’d like to ask you what does it feel like living your dream? Idk if anyone has ask you this or is that even proffesional to ask something like this but I really wanna know about your experiences, all my regards.

  32. Nadia 2 months ago

    Dear First Aviator Patrick, thank you for impressive blog & Instagram!

    What are the most common and interesting ways to apply data science in aviation? Do you face data analysis in your work?

    Thank you and fly safe 🙂

  33. Megan 2 months ago

    I would love to be a pilot when im older, what qualifications would i need and do i need to go to university ? X

  34. Manuel Ess 2 months ago

    How did you financed your pilot trainee programm?
    Many thanks!
    Manuel.ess
    Instagram: Jettales

  35. Daniel 2 months ago

    Hey Patrick

    Congrats to one full year! Congrats to all your happy landings!

    One comment: The horn with A aircraft is also in case of APU fire.

    Beat regards
    Daniel

  36. Eduardo 2 months ago

    I have two questions: 1)Have you been to Brazil? 2) Where do you buy your clothes?

  37. Rae Chong 2 months ago

    You are an inspiration, I love how your travel lifestyle, career, life story is provoking such a good positive influence and motivation to people who’s ambitious to be a pilot. You instill faith for those who wants to be a pilot to follow their dream !

  38. Brandon 2 months ago

    If you could see 3 things in Aviation change, what would it be? Higher pay? Different hours?

  39. Josh 2 months ago

    Hey Sir,
    I’m doing my 12th grade right now in AbuDhabi.
    i would be so grateful if you would answer to some of my questions.
    Sir,i do not know what i should take as my subject for further studies to become a commercial pilot.
    Right now i’m confused about what to take,my parents are telling me to take bachelors degree on mechanical engineering and then specialize on Aerospace engineering.
    Sir what should i do?

    AND SIR YOU ARE A GREAT INSPIRATION TO ME,GOD BLESS YOU SIR.

  40. Alejandro 2 months ago

    Hi Patrick!
    I’m really looking forward to become an airline pilot, I hope to learn a lot from your blog to achieve my goals.
    My question is: What is your lifestyle as a pilot?

  41. Adrian 2 months ago

    Hi Patric !
    Since when did your passion aviation start?
    How long did you work to become airline pilot ?

    • Alannah 2 months ago

      How many model airplanes do you own? Love your blog!

  42. Kayleigh 2 months ago

    Do you prefer airbus or Boeing ? What’s your favourite model? Mine is the A321 from looks purely. But what’s the difference between an a319/20 to a 321?

  43. Laura 2 months ago

    Did you think about being unable to fly due to health illnesses and what you could do instead of flying?

  44. Love your blog!!! My question is: a pilot has an age considered as a limit to fly? And, when will you come to América? Blessings for you.

  45. Musa 2 months ago

    My question is:which type of aircraft will you like to fly in the future 2.between Boeing or airbus which one’s cockpit is more comfort 3.why can’t aircraft takeoff in vertical 4.why can’t a pilot be in the same hotel for more 5.why can’t two pilot eat the same food at the same time 6.can aircraft reverse. Thank you

  46. Alfraydo 2 months ago

    I’m fascinated by your job, it is so cool . So do airline pilots fly for a specific airline or they just fly with one company? Which airline do you fly with? What is your favourite activity to do to past the time? Sorry for many questions but you’re amazing at what you do 🙂

  47. Osi Dela 2 months ago

    Is an aircraft has a key to start on and start off just like a motorcycle and car?

  48. Johnson W. 2 months ago

    People think being a pilot is definitely one of the top dream jobs, so do I. But I believe it comes not only pros, but cons. What are they?

  49. Sylwia_ol2 2 months ago

    Does the plane have reverse gear?

  50. Ricky 2 months ago

    Hey Patrick, what a wonderful and interesting blog providing a look into the mysterious life of a man in the sky. I wanted to ask you about the mile high club but maybe another question would be more appropriate so if you could only take one more flight, where would you fly to, who would you take with you and why? Sounds like a question you could get asked in the Mr Germany finale…

  51. Andrew 1 month ago

    I have always wondered, do you/ pilots, first officers etc own your own living space? or do you still ‘ live ‘ at home with your parents?

  52. Author
    pilotpatrick 4 weeks ago

    Thanks to all my Aviators for participating in my contest to win the A380 model. I finally selected a winner. I am sorry that it took so long but I have been really busy flying lately! Your questions were great and I will answer the top ones in later blog post.
    Happy landings! Your Pilot Patrick

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