preparing pilot interview

Preparing for your job interview + 10 important advices

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Happy Easter my Aviator,

I recently gave you tips when applying for your dream job. I explained how crucial a perfect application is to receive an invitation for a job interview. In this article I want to share my experiences I made during my numerous pilot assessments and I will give you ten general advices to consider for an interview.

My experiences

Unlike other jobs in the world most airline companies seek their pilots not with a standard job interview. Over multiple stages, pilot selection typically involves online application, aptitude and maths testing, interview and group exercises and simulator assessment. The key to success is an extensive and a good preparation for the assessment.

In the article „May way into the cockpit“ I explained my rather uncommon way to find my first job as a first officer. Besides a job interview with the CEO, I flew some kind of screening with an instructor pilot on a C172 around Berlin. He assessed my airmanship and flying skills. For my second employee in the business aviation, I only had an interview without any testing. I suppose that my flight experience with over 1500 flight hours were enough to prove that I could fly the Citation XLS+. For my current employee I had to pass an assessment which consisted of three stages before I received a positive answer.

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Example pilot assessment

Stage 1

The two day assessment took place at Interpersonal in Hamburg. The first day consisted of computer based tests covering numerous subjects. English (multiple choice, hand written translation), maths (mental arithmetic and math text problems), logical reasoning, memory, ATPL knowledge, multi-task ability.

Stage 2

The second day consisted of interviews to get to know me in person. Additional my ability to work in a team in high workloads and to make effective decisions. During all events a physcologist judged me.

Stage 3

Last stage was a simulator screening at Lufthansa Aviation Training. I flew the B737 full flight simulator for the very first time. The check pilots wanted to see my airmanship and flying skills. Special Boeing procedures and system knowledge were not required but they wanted to see that I could transfer my skills to a new surrounding.

Now I have ten important advices for you which are based on my experiences in the aviation industry. They do not primary relate to flight crew positions and can be used for all job interviews and assessments. Please study them carefully as they might have a big impact on your future career.

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My 10 advices for your job interview and assessment:

1) Appearance

Your appearance is the marking criteria. Especially the first impression is really important. You should wear a outfit which suites your future job. As part of a flight crew you should wear a dark suit, white shirt and tie. Make sure your clothes and shoes are clean, are of the correct size and well ironed. In case you have to travel for an extended period to your interview, I suggest that you change just prior your appointment or take extra clothing. This way your clothing stays fresh. Use deodorant and perfume which is not persistent.

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Hello from Oslo

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2) Behaviour

Be friendly, respectful and professional. Professionalism starts with punctuality. Arrive on time and plan some extra time for any delays. I found it helpful to arrive a day earlier in case I had to travel lengthly. Greet your interviewer with eye contact. Try to memorize all their names. I know this can be really hard. I suggest to find out who your interview partners will be when you get invited for the interview. Listen careful and speak when you are challenged. If you did not understand anything ask again.

If you are not sure ask again! Pilots do this all the time.

Be confident and speak loudly so every one in the room can understand you. Try to have an open posture when sitting in the chair and do not cross your arms. During group exercises it is really important that you give input, but also let your fellow candidate speak up as well.

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3) Know the company

Try to gather as much as information about your future employee. Know about fleet size and type, passenger numbers, its history, staff, key players in their sector, where it flies to – make sure you know past, present and future. The interviewer wants to see that you are passionate about the job, but he also wants to see a well-rounded person, who his aware of the world outside

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4) Know yourself

You should not only know your possible future employee, but you should also know yourself. This means that you know your curriculum vita by heart including all dates and stages. As a pilot you should know the exact flight hours. A good preparation includes

Why do you want to work for us? What makes you the ideal person for this position? Why did you want to become a pilot?

I have been asked about my positive and negative characteristics. As I found this question superfluous (especially the negative aspect). I asked my family and friends about my characteristics. As a negative quality I always mention that I am too curious. Find a characteristic which is not solely negative.

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5) Be yourself

It does not help to pretend to be a different person to be a better fit for the position. Your interview partner and phycologist will find out easily. Just be yourself and try to be relaxed. Relaxed in a testing environment? This definitely helped would me a lot. I always try to blind out what the outcome would mean to me. This way my stress level is reduced and pressure drops a little bit. Using this technique helps me to me myself and my performance increases significantly.

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A300 engines in EGGW (London Luton)

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6) ATPL knowledge

In case you just graduated from flight school this should not be a major problem for you. Never the less you should revise the ATPL knowledge. I never struggled with those kind of  questions. In my last assessment I was even above average. Those candidates who were below average were asked ATPL questions again during their personal interview. Take your summaries out and study them again.

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7) Practise

Aptitude and numerical testing can sound daunting, but they are hurdles you have to overcome. Use your research to replicate each stage and practise, practise, practise. It is said that you cannot practise for aptitude tests, but that does not mean leave it to chance. You can still prepare by familiarizing yourself with the testing process and sharpening your skills.

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8) English skills

English is the most common language in aviation. I have seen many candidates who failed because of their weak English skills. This really surprises me a lot, because during flight training they are faced with English the whole time. So in case you struggle: Do translations from you native language into English. Try to translate texts which relate to the aviation industry.

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9) Film yourself

Practise your interview by answering questions out loud. Answering in your head or on paper is less efficient, so talk to yourself  in the shower, in your car and every spare minute. Give a friend a list of questions and simulate an interview situation. You could also use your smart phone and film yourself. This way you notice your mistakes and can improve. This makes you more confident.

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Book suggestions to prepare for your interview

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10) Have questions

Carry a small notebook with you. In this book you can take short notes. (shows extra interests) If you have questions note them prior the interview, so you will not forget them.

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An invitation to an interview means you are already halfway there. So do not screw up. Show the recruiters that you are capable of doing the job and that you are a good fit with their company. 

Book suggestions:

I would like to know your dream job. Please comment below this article!

Good luck!

Your Pilot Patrick

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Join me for a special tour with me through the historic airport of Tempelhof next Sunday (23.04.) Find all details and how to get a free boarding pass on my Facebook page PilotPatrick.

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methods how to save money

Simple methods how to save money for your career

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Hello my Aviator,

if you are considering a certain career, but struggling with the cost for the school or training, my friend and entrepreneur Fabian Fröhlich has some valuable advices for you. Especially the costs for flight training can be significantly high. That is why I received a lot of messages from individuals asking me how to save money and to make it possible to become a pilot.

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Flight training can cost anywhere between 60,000€ and 100,000€+. In order to cover these training costs, many pilots will take out substantial loans with high repayments. I was lucky that my parents paid my entire training costs. This definitely took a lot off pressure during my job search. But unfortunately not every family as the finical means to support their children. But there means how to fulfill the dream of flying when struggling with the financial backup.

Methods how to save money

Since Fabian always has great ideas concerning savings and investment I asked him to support me with this blog post. At the end he turned up with some great tips how to make 70.000€  (the sum I paid for my flight training). For those who do not know Fabian yet, he is a young and successful entrepreneur, investor and lifestyle designer from South of Germany. Fabian is not a pilot and does not know the business, but the basic path is always the same.

You have to work hard, stay humble and be grateful.

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Fabian Fröhlich

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How fast can I make 70.000€?

Fabian: „It won’t be able to accomplished it within a month, but it is possible. Maybe you are still a student who attends school and you have already the dream of becoming a pilot. In this situation you can already save up an incredible amount of money while still going to school. It won’t be easy, but if you really want it, it is going to be simple.

What strategy to you suggest?

I structured the my advices into five categories. 

  1. Keep your costs low
  2. Earn money
  3. Connect, so the thinks you want will be cheaper
  4. Get rid of expensive things 
  5. Let your money work for you

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Keep your costs low

  • Live at home as long as possible
  • Eat as basic as possible, that is usually the cheapest and healthiest
    • Oats (protein and carbs)
    • Vegetables and fruits that are on discount (vitamins)
    • Tuna (protein)
    • Lentils (protein and slow carbs)
    • Peanuts (protein and fat)
  • Use public transportation, a bike or your feet and not your car to make it from A to B (especially short distances)

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Earn money

  • Make yourself a Fiverr account and translate from your native language to English. As a side effect you improve your English skills which are important for your future career. 
  • Work at your local gym. Besides earning some money,  you can usually train for free and stay fit. 
  • Work at the local airfield - any job, any wage. That will teach you a lot about aircraft and the vibes on the airfield. Maybe you can work for a flight school who offers you a discount on flight hours.
  • When you drive from A to B find offer your route online so people can travel with you and pay for the journey. In Europe the App Bla Bla Car connects passenger with a driver. 
  • Become the tenant and manager of a housing community. Rent a large apartment and provide space to others. People will pay for your residence. (the rate per square meter of a small room is much higher than for the whole apartment)
  • Sell things online you don't really need.

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Connect

  • Talk to to people at the local airfield or basically every airfield you can visit. Maybe they will let you join and fly with them for free in a small aircraft.
  • Create your own Instagram/YouTube/Facebook account and tell your story of the dream you chase. Deliver value to your community and maybe monetize your story.
  • Visit flight exhibitions and career shows. Talk to different companies and try to connect to people in the same industry. These people will teach you great things

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Save and earn money when working in the gym

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Get rid of expensive things

  • Quit Amazon Prime, Netflix, Spotify (any of these streaming services) Instead use the time you wasted with them, chasing your dreams
  • Quit your expensive mobile contract. Compare prices and go for a basic one.
  • Quit your gym membership. See Make money
  • Sell your car if you don’t really need it. Imagine how much you can save only with insurance and the maintenance.
  • Check your insurances and regularly compare prices online. Check if you really need this insurance.

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Let your money work for you 

  • Look for the bank that pays the highest interests.  Even 0.5% can sum up pretty nicely over the period of 5 years. 
  • Put the money that  you don't need at the moment in a fixed-term deposit account (interests rates are higher)

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I hope that I could deliver value to you with my advices. Some are easier and some are harder to realize. But it depends on your level of commitment and obsession towards becoming a pilot. As I said, if you really want it, it is going to be simple.  

Thanks Fabian for your valuable advices and your motivating words. Lately I found out that there are plenty organisations which offer a wide variety of bursaries. They award recipients with the opportunity of valuable flying hours and sometimes sponsor of a full PPL. In the UK those organisations are: The Honourable Company of Air Pilots, the Air League and the RAF Association. Google "flying sponsorship". Maybe there are companies in your country as well, who support cadet pilots. 

Full throttle forward you can make it!

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Follow Fabian:

What is your dream job? Please comment below the article.

Positive mind. Positive life. Happy landings.

Your Pilot Patrick

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healthy recipes

My superfoods and healthy recipes for spring

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Hello my Aviator! It is spring time and I have some tasty vegan recipes for you. I already revealed some highlights of my healthy eating habits in my former blog post: „I am a Foodie Pilot“ Find out now my superfoods which I am consuming daily to stay healthy.

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Fit while traveling

Lately I received a lot of questions asking me how I stay fit while traveling so much. The secret is not only enough body exercises but also balanced diet.

To stay fit also means for me to fuel my body with the best possible food. I take particular care about the ingredients and the organic quality. As I mentioned before it is 70% nutrition and 30% sports to achieve your goals.

I follow a simple guideline:

  • Less dairy products 
  • No raffinated sugars, instead Xucker
  • No simple wheat flour, rather whole wheat
  • Meat only once a week, in organic quality 

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My daily dose of superfoods

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My superfoods

To be sure that my body receives all important vitamins and antioxidant, I found many natural products which have beneficial health effects. Antioxidants are molecules which inhibit the oxidation of other molecules. Oxidation is a chemical reaction which can free radicals. This reaction my damage cells. Antioxidants can be found in many foods.

All products I have listed here are easy to consume and do not waste a lot of time to prepare. Most of them I buy online since they are cheaper in bigger sizes.

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Lemon tea

Rich in natural Vitamin C. The juice is antibacterial, antiphlogistic and digestive. Additionally lemon can detox your body. As you can see a cheap and natural elixir. Make sure you use organic lemons, since you also  consume the skin. I use this Grater to get the skin off easily.  Then squeeze the lemon to get the juice. Put it all a cup and fill it up only with semi hot water so the vitamins do to not get burned right away. One cup of lemon tea a day.

Curcuma water

Curcuma (curcuma longa) contains curcumin and is one of the most significant medical plant. Especially in China and India it is well known for its antiphlogisitic effects. A good source of antioxidants. Take a glass of water and but one teaspoon of curcuma powder to it. Stir well. If you do not like the taste you can also but it in your cereal or blend it in almond milk. Curcuma Organic super healthy and super easy. 

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your foodie Pilot Patrick

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Spirulina

Spirulina is a alga which was already consumed by Aztecs. The concentration of vitamins and minerals is the highest which has been found yet. Rich in carotin, vitamin B12, iron and other trace elements. With all those good components it supports the immune system strongly. A real energy booster. I recommend organic Spirulina Tablets (3 times 4 tablets daily)

Riceprotein

You might thing of a simply protein shake but rice protein is a real superfood. It is extremely nutritious and rich in other vital substances. Compared to other superfoods, rice protein has a high level of vitamin E, which is a good antioxidant. This vitamin protects our cells from free radicals. It is ideal for vegans and people you try to avoid the diary protein. I am consuming about 40g of protein powder with water after a work out. I can recommend plain organic Rice Protein.

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My daily healthy breaky recipe

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Flaxseed oil

This oil is rich in omega-3 fat acids, which improve your concentration ability and supports your inner calmness. It may even preventive measure against cancer. I consume one table spoon of flaxseed oil in the morning before breakfast. Keep the Organic Flax Oil refrigerated and pay attention to good quality.

Filtered water

The quality of tap water in Berlin is not the best. Over the years Germany increased the limit of contamination of tap water step by step, because they could not keep the quality of water. I was shocked about the bad quality when I tested my water home with this Quality Water Test Meter. You can find residual of medicine, hormones and pesticides. So far I had been drinking out of glas bottles from the supermarket, but I had been using tap water for cooking and my tea. That is why I decided to install an Reverse Osmosis Drinking Water Filter to clean the tap water. Now my filtered tap water is cleaner than the bottled mineral water. I love sparkling water that is why I bought a SodaStream. It is great investment into your well being.

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But why?

The body is the most precious thing we have. That is why I treat it as well as possible. I am convinced that a healthy diet can hinder diseases from breaking out and can even heal them.  It not only gives me a good body feeling at the moment, but I also prepare my body for the future. In case I get sick at a later stage, I can be sure that I have been treating my body well with good food and exercises.

I retrieved the entire information from Zentrum der Gesundheit, a German health website.

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the healthy cooking crew

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Healthy cooking

On my Facebook page Pilot Patrick I showed you during a live stream with Timo, my personal trainer and friend, who easy it is to prepare a tasty vegan dish. A healthy recipe which fits ideally to springtime. If you want to prepare for yourself I have the recipe here for you. Happy cooking!

https://www.facebook.com/pilotpatrick/videos/vb.373722572693345/1361529030579356/?type=3&theater

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Clean eating cookbook

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Springtime vegetables Soba Noodles

Serves 4 and takes 30 min if you are quick.

Ingredients

Soba

  • 250g soba noodles (buckwheat flour) or noodles of choice
  • 2 cups frozen organic edamame
  • 3 cups of sugar snap peas or snow peas
  • 6 medium-sized carrots, peeled
  • ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro (about 2 handfuls)
  • ¼ cup sesame seeds

Ginger-sesame sauce

  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil or extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 small lime, juiced
  • 2 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon honey or agave nectar
  • 2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger

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Instructions

  1. To prepare the vegetables: Use a chef's knife to slice the peas in half lengthwise. Slice the carrots into long, thin strips with a julienne peeler, or slice them into ribbons with a vegetable peeler.
  2. To make the sauce: whisk together the ingredients in a small bowl until emulsified. Set aside.
  3. Bring two big pots of water to a boil. In the meantime, toast the sesame seeds: Pour the sesame seeds into a small pan. Toast for about 4 to 5 minutes over medium-low heat, shaking the pan frequently to prevent burning, until the seeds are turning golden.
  4. Once the pots of water are boiling: In one pot, cook the soba noodles just until al dente. Cook the frozen edamame in the other pot until warmed through (about 4 to 6 minutes) but before draining, toss the halved peas into the boiling edamame water and cook for an additional 20 seconds. Drain.
  5. Combine the soba noodles, edamame, snap peas and carrots in a large serving bowl. Pour in the dressing and toss with salad servers. Toss in the chopped cilantro and toasted sesame seeds.

Enjoy your healthy meal!

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Raw vegan Raffaello

The best was the desert on this evening. Raw vegan Raffaello. Trust me they even taste better than the original ones. They are without sugar, without diary and no wheat. In case you are a coconut lover they are a must for you.

To prepare about 10 pieces

Ingredients

Dough

  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 4 tablespoons coconut cream
  • 2 tablespoons cashew cream
  • 1 tablespoon maple sirup, honey or xylit sugar
  • 2 tablespoons coconut flakes
  • A little bit of vanilla powder

Filling and shell

  • 10 pealed almonds
  • 2 tablespoons coconut flakes

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Dough for raw vegan raffaello

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Instructions

  1. Put the coconut oil, coconut cream and cashew cream into a bowl and blend well. I suggest to put the the coconut oil and cream in a warm place (oven 60° degrees) so they are soft.
  2. Add the vanilla and maple sirup/honey/xylit sugar and stir well
  3. Put the soft cream into the refrigerator for not more than 10 min.
  4. Use the dough to form 2 cm big balls (you have to be quick so they do not get to soft again) Squeeze one almond inside and roll in coconut flakes afterwards
  5. Put it back in the refrigerator to serve cold.

Enjoy!

For more recipe inspirations check the food blog Schüsselglück!

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So tasty and so healthy

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Stay healthy my Aviator!

By the what is your favorite healthy dish?

Your Pilot Patrick

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how i became a pilot

Final part: How I became a pilot

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Welcome on board my Aviator! Now sit back, relax and enjoy the last part of my series how I became a pilot. In my previous blog post, you read about my instrument flight training abroad in Vero Beach, Florida. In this final blog post of my series, you will read about the multi-engine flight training at Pilot Training Network and about a shocking crash at end of my training.

How I became a pilot

In my previous blog posts, you can read:

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Being the back seater on a flight lesson with the PA44

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Back in Zadar

The final and most important flight training phase took place back in Zadar, where my practical flight training started in summer 2008. At this stage, I had to recall the entire knowledge and skills I gather over the past one and a half years and transfer it to the final training flights. It was the most difficult phase since we had to fly a more complex aircraft with two piston engine. The Piper PA44 is multi-engine four seater aircraft. All flights were conducted under instrument flight rules and we practiced flying a multi-engine. Most of the time we rather flew the aircraft with one than with both engines. This required to fly the aircraft really precise and you need to apply sufficient rudder to control it along the desired flight path.

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Losinj island in the Adrian Sea with a 700m runway

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PA44 cockpit with Avidyne avionics (glass cockpit)

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On August 31 2009 I had my final check flight with an examiner of the german authority. I was very nervous on this day because I had to pass this practical check to become a pilot. This flight took place from Zadar to Pula and back via Losinj. It lasted over 2,5 hours. Not only my flight skills were challenged but also my knowledge about the EU OPS. This regulation specifies minimum safety standards and related procedures for commercial passenger and cargo fixed-wing aviation. I was so happy that I passed the final check.

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Celebrating the passed check with a jump into the Adrian sea with my flight overall

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Piper PA44 seminole aircraft

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The crash

Back in Germany we celebrated a birthday of a fellow flight student when a shocking news crashed the party. The Piper PA44, which I flew days ago, crashed into the Adrian Sea. The search and rescue team needed two days until they found the wreckage at the bottom of the sea in 68 m depth. During that time no one knew what has happened to the crew.  Unfortunately the flight instructor and the flight student died during the crash. This was so socking to hear and I could not believe it at the beginning. Usually those flight missions are flown with a student as back seater. But on this day he was late so they took off without him. As investigators found out in the end that the aircraft got into spin during the demonstration of a speed which called Vmca.

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Heart shaped island in the vicinity of the crash - RIP

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What is a spin and the Vmca?

Vmca  is the minimum control speed in the air. This is the minimum speed at which a straight flight path can be maintained when an engine fails or is inoperative and the other engine is set to maximum thrust. At this point the rudder (vertical fin at the end of the airplane) is used to counter the asymetrical thrust and to maintain directional control (heading). If flying a speed less than Vmca the aircraft enters a spin. A spin is a special form of stall resulting in the rotation about the vertical axis. A stall means that the wing does not produce lift anymore. The aircraft autorotates toward the stalled wing due to the higher drag and loss of lift. Recovery may require a specific and counteractive set of actions to avoid a crash.

During my flight training the Vmca speed was demonstrated at a save altitude in a dedicated airspace for air work. When flown correctly this procedure is absolutely save. On this special day multiple factors led to the catastrophic crash. If you are interested you can read the full investigation report here (only in German)

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The three axis of an aircraft

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Conventional instruments on a Piper PA44 wit the basic T (speed, attitude, altimeter, heading)

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MCC

MCC stands for Multi Crew Coordination. This course is a requirement to fulfill the requirements to apply for a commercial pilot license (CPL). This course is constructed to rather teach the coordination and procedures of a multi crew cockpit than actually flying the aircraft. So far I have controlled all training aircraft by myself without an additional crew member. This means I flew the aircraft, did the radio communication and felt decisions by myself. This course is done in a simulator. I could choose between the Boeing B737 and the Airbus A320. I picked the Airbus since I always wanted to know how it feels like to fly a side stick. 

The entire MCC course consisted of 5 session each 4 hours. We had to study the basic operation procedures of the Airbus and had to get used to operating the aircraft as a Tea. It is was an exceptional feeling to fly a big and fast aircraft even though it was only the simulator at the stage. In my blog post "My Airbus A300 type rating" I already described how realistic the full flight simulators of Lufthansa Aviation Training are. After the completion of the course I was even more eager to get into the air with a big bird.

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MCC flight training in the Lufthansa A320 simulator

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Graduation Dinner

In October 2009 the last three courses of the flight school came together to celebrate the graduation from flight school. I was really happy about my accomplishment on one hand and on the other I was sad that a memorable time as flight student was over. It was a demanding and tough time. I had to study a lot, did not have much free time and I had to cope with a lot of pressure. My diligence paid off in the end.

At this time I was the flight student who passed the final written exam at the LBA the best. I did not know about it until I was exceptionally honored for this during the celebration event. My flight school invited me to fly from Frankfurt to Zürich in the cockpit of an Avro Jet. That was an amazing experience at the end of my time as flight student. It would take another three weeks until I finally received my pilot license.

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Intercockpit course E308 Graduation dinner in 2009

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In total my flight training lasted less than 2 years. During that time I flew about 210 hours  and made 258 landings.

The crash in Zadar showed me how vulnerable we are and how fast a happy life can be over. That is why it is so important to enjoy every day as if it was your last. Positive mind. Positive life. Happy landings.

In which cockpit would you love to fly in?

Your Pilot Patrick

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flying in airberlin business cass

Air Berlin Business Class review

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"As much as I love to fly myself I also enjoy the time as passenger, especially when traveling comfortably in an airplane."

My last long range flight in business class was with Lufthansa to Cape Town last January. That is why I was super excited to fly with Air Berlin in their business class for a spontaneous vacation in the Caribbean. Air Berlin offers non stop connections from Berlin and Düsseldorf to destinations in North America, Middle America and to Abu Dhabi.

The outbound connection was with a short layover in Düsseldorf. The flight AB7446 departed at 09:50 to Punta Cana (PUJ) and touched down in paradise already at 14:30. The return flight AB7315 was nonstop back to Berlin departing at 16:50. Read my review about the flight experience in Air Berlin's business class.

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Seat

The business class cabin is Air Berlin's premium product since they do not offer a first class. The business class cabin is located in the front section of their A330 long haul fleet. With only 19 seats the cabin is really intime and tranquil. That is a big plus compared to other major airlines, where the cabin is much bigger and noisier. All business class seats offer direct aisle access and convert to a fully flat bed. I am 1,86 m tall and I could fully stretch out. I could lay comfortable on the site and on my back, but I found the seat width a little bit too narrow.

My seat on the outward was 4K which was situated directly at the window providing extra privacy and extra shoulder width due to the curvature of the cabin. A seat at the aisle has the advantage that it is easier to get in and out. The 6 seats in the middle I recommend only to couples traveling together since the seats are quite close to each other.

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Unfortunately my inflight entertainment was not working properly on both flights. I found that the storage for personal belongings was not sufficient. But good news from the ITB this week. Air Berlin presented their new business class seat, which they have modified to be even more comfortable. The current configuration will stay the same.

Service

One of the best food and beverage service I have had on board of a plane so far. The meals where delicious, hot and well presented. The food and beverage menu was rich in variety. I really liked the fact that I could have an espresso to my dessert and snacks in between meals. Since the front cabin is small the service is individual like in a restaurant. There are no big trollies moving around for food and drinks. In my opinion there was a little bit too much meat on the menu. But in case you are vegetarian or vegan you can always request special meals prior the flight (also in economy)

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Entertainment

The inflight entertainment offers music, show, games, movies and much more. The selection of movies is not the biggest but it is well enough for a 10 hour flight. My movie recommendation: Suicide Squad and Miss Peregrine’s home for peculiar. The headset is comfortable to wear and reduces background noise quite well.

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Air Berlin exquisite

Air Berlin offers all passengers who book an economy ticket to bid on available business class seats. This online service is called airberlin equisite. The price is completely set by yourself. 12 hours prior to departure you will find out whether the bid was successful. I used this kind of auction and was lucky to fly in business class to Miami. The upgrade was around 500€ (one way)

My vacation already started when boarding the aircraft. For me it is luxury to stretch out and have a good sleep in a flat position on board. The high price was definitely worth it since I only stayed for six nights in Punta Cana. This is how I could reduce my jet lag!

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Where to book?
www.airberlin.com

Where to fly?
Non stop from Berlin and Düsseldorf:  Miami (Mia), Los Angeles (LAX), Abu Dhabi (AHU), New York (JFK), Punta Cana (PUJ), Havanna (HAV )  Cancun (CUN), Chicago (ORD) ...

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Amenities in business class

  • Welcome drink
  • Amenity Kit with cosmetics
  • Blanket and pillow
  • Food and drink menu
  • Inflight Enterainment
  • Priority boarding
  • Lounge access
  • higher baggage allowance

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Insider tips

  • Reserve a seat free of charge when booking your ticket
  • Exquisite: You can bit on available business class seats
  • XL Economy seats offer more space in economy class
  • Sign up for top bonus to collect miles for free flights

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Where is your next flight taking you to?

Your Pilot Patrick

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Playa de Barceloneta Barcelona

Living in Barcelona +healthy food and insider guide

I always wanted to live in a city at the beach with sunny weather. That is why I decided to move my home base from Berlin to Barcelona last summer. In the beginning, my plan was to stay longer than three months but then my pilot career changed everything. Read about my experience living in Barcelona and find insider sightseeing tips.

Luckily my former employee had an open base concept which allowed crews to live within Europe where ever they wanted to as long an airport was located in the vicinity. I have been to Barcelona many times during my journeys as a private jet pilot and I felt in love with this city right away. I was fascinated by the architecture, the people and the good vibes. Whenever I returned for a night stop I realized more and more that I could imagine living there. Last summer I fulfilled this. After a week on tour, I did not end in Berlin but in Barcelona with one suitcase. Hola Barcelona. It was a super strange feeling, but from the first minute, I already felt home.

sight seeing
View of Barcelona from mountain Tibidabo

I found a nice room in a big apartment on Idealista. It was completely furnished had an ensuite bathroom and the location was right in the heart of the old town called Barrio Gotic. The idea was to do a test phase of three months in this apartment since I have never lived in a shared flat before.

I lived in a really narrow (3 meters) street called Carrer Petritxol in a building which was over 700 years old.  Compared to the tight construction of the houses the apartment was really big. Thousands of people moved through this street because it was one of the most beautiful and historic streets in Gotic.  It was Picasso, who had his gallery on this street and it was Salvador Dali who had his coffee in a Granja café. It felt surreal to live at such a historic place.

famous and historic Carrer de Petritxol in Barcelona
Living in the Carrer de Petritxol

The culture of Barcelona is so rich and the people are really proud of Catalunya. I was fascinated by the number of cultural events and that all age classes carry on the tradition. La Merce was the biggest and most spectacular festival I could attend. It is held in honor of Mare de Deu de la Mercè, the Patron Saint of Barcelona. I watch the groups building their towers of human beings and watched parades of their famous oversized dolls. The festival ended with the correfoc (fire run), where people danced in fireworks. No joke. I was right with them.

cultural events in Barcelona
La Marce festival in Barcelona

My plan was to stay longer, but then my pilot career changed everything. I need to move back to Germany to start my job with the new employee and to do my type rating on the A300-600. I was sad on one hand, but on the other, I was happy about the big step in my career. Luckily I could spend the entire October in Barcelona without working. Personally, this was the most beautiful time. It was not too hot and not too crowded by tourists. This month I did things I always wanted to do. I went to have surf lessons two times a week and every second day I attended private Spanish lessons.

pilot patrick surfing in Barcelona
Surf lesson at the Playa Barceloneta in October

Insider tips

Barcelona is a great city to do sight seeing. Around every corner, you will discover something new. I recommend renting a scooter to do sight seeing but only when you feel comfortable driving in high traffic situations. Moto rent offers affordable prices. A scooter gives you so much freedom to go to different places in a minimum amount of time.

moto rent in Barcelona
Sight seeing with the scooter on top of Montjuic hill

Gaudi

Barcelona is the city of Gaudi. His architecture is world famous. Unfortunately, the entry prices to most landmarks are quite expensive and the queues long. In my opinion, it is already enough to gaze the impressive exterior. Take a walk through the famous Parc Güell and have a fantastic view over the city. I visited the interior of the Sagrada Familia. I bought tickets at a hotel reception so I did not have to wait in line. A visit to the tomb of Gaudi in the crypt is for free!

beautiful architecture of Gaudis house Battló
Casa Batlló of Gaudi in Barcelona

For outfit details please visit www.updressed.com/pilotpatric. I am constantly updating my page.

Barrio Gotic

Take a stroll through the oldest part of town without any particular destination. Walk through Carrer de Petrixol. Stop at a famous Granja Dulcinea for a coffee or even a hot chocolate with churros. To have a spectacular view over Barcelona ascend the bell tower of the Basílica de Santa Maria del Pi.

EL Born

My favorite part of town. Many restaurants, bars and boutiques in unique streets. Visit "El Born Centre de Cultura i Memòria" for free. It displays the old fundaments of the city and you can explore the history of Barcelona.

Turó del Carmel

A must visit if you want to have the best view over Barcelona and the sea. Turó del Carmel is a hill with a bunker on top located Best time is during sunset and sunrise.

enjoying the city of Barcelona
Viewpoint from the Bunker del Carmel

Other highlights:

Montjuïc Castle
Palau Nacional 
Montserrat mountain
Picasso Museum
Arco de Triunfo de Barcelona

Even three months were not sufficient to see everything of Barcelona. The city satisfies every interest. Culture, entertainment, and relaxation. I really loved to take a walk along the beach of Barceloneta during sunset. The atmosphere, the colors and the scenery are unique.

Don't do that 

  • visit the La Boqueria on La Rambla (too crowded and touristic)
  • be negligent with your valuables
  • go too early to dinner most restaurants are still closed
  • rely on taxis to get around in the city on the weekend

My healthy eating guide

As you know I am a foodie pilot and I am a big fan of healthy and tasty meals. Barcelona offers many diverse places and there is much more than tapas and paellas.

healthy clean raw food in El Born Barcelona
Raw lunch at the Blue project Café

Teresa's Carles: Vegetarian food and juices (only indoor/more for dinner) El Raval

Teresa's: Vegetarian café with healthy snacks and juices (breakfast, brunch, lunch) El Raval

Flax and Kale: Healthy restaurant offering a diverse menu (best for brunch and dinner) Make a reservation and request a table on their outdoor rooftop garden El Raval

Petit Brot: completely raw café, daily menus and juices (breakfast and lunch) El Raval

Casa Gispert: Dried fruits, nuts and so much more. Best dried mangos I ever had. El Born

BeBo cold pressed: Tasty healthy juices, raw snacks (more for to go) Eixample

Chaitea house food: trendy restaurant with healthy meal options Eixample

Barraca: seafood and paella overlooking the beach of Barceloneta (lunch and dinner)

Cafè Jaime Beriestain: high-class food in a concept restaurant (more for dinner) Eixample

Nubafancy restaurant with live DJ, nice interior and outside seating (more for dinner)

My resume living in Barcelona

After three months in Barcelona, I love the city even more. I really enjoyed the Mediterranean lifestyle. Everything was a little bit more relaxed and when it got too hot shops closed for a siesta. Sometimes I had the impression that it was too crowded (mainly because of tourists) Catalan or Spanish are not a requirement to live in Barcelona. Since they are proud of the Catalan language they rather speak English with you than in Spanish.

Playa de Barceloneta Barcelona
The Beach of Barceloneta

Fantastic weather and a great variety of restaurants and cultural events are a big plus. Organic products and the lease for a nice apartment are quite expensive. To sum it up the quality of life is extremely high. Especially because a beautiful beach is only one-foot step away. My dream would be to live in Berlin and Barcelona!

What is your favorite city in Europe?

Your Pilot Patrick

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how to deal with jet lag

How to deal with jet lag + my travel essentials

I am back in cold and rainy Germany after six wonderful days of vacation in the Caribbean. The time difference between my hometown and the Dominican Republic was five hours. My return flight was during the night and landed early in the morning in Berlin Tegel. The the next night I was already working again. Many of you wondered how I deal with jet lag during my journeys. In this blog post, I want to share my experiences over the years and give you a list of travel essentials to fly more comfortable.

Thumbs up - next trip you will deal better with a jetlag

How to deal with jet lag

One of the best ways to mitigate the effects a tiring long flight is to fly a higher booking class. Most operators offer seats which fully convert into a flat bed to have a good rest arriving refreshed. Unfortunately, the ticket prices are not always easily affordable compared to the costs of international economy tickets. Over the last years, most major airlines introduced a premium economy class which gives more space and extra amenities for a decent surcharge.

Lie flat bed in Lufthansa Business Class, Seat 3A A340-600

Besides a comfortable seat, there are many other things you can do to mitigate the intensity of a jet lag. When booking your ticket reserve a seat right away so you will not end up squeezed up in the middle seat. The website seat guru helps to find good seats. Via the flight search function, the system will show the cabin layout of your aircraft. I generally can recommend booking a seat at the window, so you do not need to stand up for everyone, the traffic of the aisle does not bother you and you are in control of the window blind.

Stay hydrated during the flight. Since the cabin air is quite dry you should drink about 230 ml still water or juice. Try to refrain from drinking alcohol. Maybe a glass of wine during the meal helps to fall asleep easier.

It is really important that you move enough during the flight. Do exercises on the way to the lavatory or even in your seat which eliminate the risk of thrombosis as well. The inflight entertainment of most airlines show exercises you can do during the flight.

travel essential amenity kit long range flight
My travel essentials for a long range flight

My travel essentials:

  • Take hand disinfection gel. Airplanes are dirty, after using the lavatory I clean my hands with hand disinfection. You can buy them at convenience stores or online here.
  • Wear thick socks. So you can take off your shoes and your feet stay warm
  • Take your own small pillow. I think the innovative pillow of POCKINDO® could be an awesome travel gadget.
  • Use noise canceling headphones. This is a must for every frequent traveler. They make traveling a lot more comfortable. You feel like in your own little word without hearing the outside noise. I use the in ear Bose Noise Cancelling headphones.
  • Use ear plugs by OHROPAX are the best. Due to the waxy material, they adjust perfectly to your ear shape.
  • Take a sleeping mask which is comfortable to wear
  • Wear sweatpants during the flight. I have them in my hand luggage and I change after take off.
  • Take your toothbrush. It can feel so refreshing to brush the teeth prior approach.
  • Use a lavera lip balm to work against the dry air in the airplane.
  • A power bar in case you do not have a power outlet on your seat. I use an Anker product which is great.

What's in my suitcase?

What to do when the jet lag hits you?

Flying eastbound can be quite challenging since the flight usually takes place during the night and you land at your destination in the morning. Maybe you did not sleep a single bit and now the whole day lays in front of you. If your schedule permits I would go to bed now and sleep for a couple of hours. Set an alarm to wake up around lunch time. Have something to eat and motivate yourself to be active. A short body exercise can help to wake up.

pilot patrick running in a gym
Exercising helps to wake up mentally and physically

In general, if you get really tired during the day I can recommend taking a NASA power nap of 26 mins. A study of NASA in 1995 found about that a “26-minute nap improves performance by 34% and alertness by 54%.” A great tool that not only works at home but also on a journey. Set your timer to 26 minutes find a comfortable place, turn on non-disturb on your phone and close your eyes. Restricting the nap to 26 mins I feel more alert and energetic over the next few hours.  Try it out and let me know how you felt after a power nap. Napping longer might have the effect that you feel more tired afterward.

Jet lag - behavioral recommendations

  • Set your watch to the time of your destination, so you can mentally adjust to the new time
  • Participate in the daily life of your destination
  • Spend time outside at your destination
  • Try to get enough sleep during the first night of your arrival
  • Try to avoid exhausting activities the first two days
  • No alcohol or sleeping pills
  • Drink enough water (still water or juices 230 ml per flight hour)
  • Keep a light and healthy diet (this is not proven but it will not hurt)
  • During short trips remain in the time of departure so you do not have a double jetlag.
pilot patrick travel style
Outfit as passenger

Visit www.updressed.com/pilotpatric to find out details of my style and the brands I am wearing. 

The body adjust approximately 1,5 hours every day. This means it takes about six days to adjust to the new time when the spread between departure and destination is nine hours.

A lot of times travelers suffer from respiratory ailments: cold and fever like symptoms after a long flight. During my research for this blog post I visited the website "Zentrum der Gesundheit" (unfortunately only in german) and I found an interesting article about colds after flight journeys. A study of the Griffith`s Menzies Health Institute Queensland (MHIQ)  found out that taking elder (capsules or syrup) is a preventive measure to stay healthy after the flight! I have found myself being sick for a day or having fever like symptoms after a long flight. For my next long range trip, I will definitely test this out.

What was your longest non-stop flight you have been on so far?

Your Pilot Patrick

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vacation in the caribbean

Vacation in the Caribbean + My 10 travel tips

Hola my Aviators,

sunny greetings from the Punta Cana. In this blog post, I show you unpublished photos of my spontaneous vacation in the Caribbean and give you helpful tips when traveling to any place in the world.

You may wonder why I am already on vacation when I just completed my type rating on the Airbus A300-600 with a new company. Last Saturday I finished the initial training so I could apply for a new license at the authority. This takes approximately two weeks until I receive my new license. This is quite bothersome since I am not allowed to fly during this period. To bridge this time my operator granted me some days of vacation. Since the type rating was really intense and I got sick of the freezing weather in Germany I decided to use the time to escape winter.

pilotpatrick saona island caribbean sea starfish
Escaping winter in the Caribbean Sea

Last week I posted a photo on my Instagram on which I asked for an inspiration where I could travel to for sun and beach. I was so happy for all your travel tips. Two days prior my vacation started I finally booked a flight to the Dominican Republic. This was the really spontaneous decision because it was hard to find a location with a good flight connection and available accommodations when I started to search one week ago.

  • Travel tip: Read reviews and visit online hotel evaluation websites. This can help you to find the hotel that suits you best. I usually read the worst reviews first.

I flew with Air Berlin from Berlin Tegel Airport (TXL) to Düsseldorf (DUS). From Düsseldorf, I switched on the A330, which took me to Punta Cana (PJU).

pilot patrick air berlin business class punta cana
With Air Berlin in Business Class Seat 4K to Punta Cana
  • Travel tip: Compare ticket prices online. Always check the ticket prices on the website of the airline as well. I usually use google flight search a lot.

Luckily I could book seats in their Business Class. Even as a former Private Jet pilot I have to admit that their Business class product is great. Every seat has a direct aisle access and the seats at the window give a lot of privacy. The best thing is the seats convert to a fully flat bed so the vacation starts already on board ;-) The flight lasted about 10 hours. At 14:30 local time we touched down on PUJ on time. Outside air temperature 27 degrees and sunny. This is what I was longing for.

pilot patrick air berlin business class to punta cana
My business class set to PUJ
pilot patrick approaching pju dominican republic
Approaching paradise
  • Travel tip: Take your time and arrive at the airport early enough. This reduces your stress level. Reserve your favorite seat early enough. Sometimes you can use your bonus miles so it does not cost you anything. Try to travel lightly this makes your life easier ;-)

I could not believe it, but already 25 mins after we reached the gate I was outside the terminal in the taxi. The staff at the airport was super friendly and I experienced the first Caribbean vibes. It took a regular taxi to my hotel Paradisus by Melia, which I booked via my travel agency 'Thomas Cook' in Wiesbaden.

pilot patrick punta cana five star paradisus resort
First day in paradise relaxing in my private cabana
  • Travel tip: Compare hotel prices online and with travel agencies on site. In this case, I saved over 1.000,-€ because I got a last minute price via the travel agency Thomas Cook. As you can see the internet prices are not always cheaper.

After 15:00 hours of traveling, I finally arrived in paradise. The sandy white beach with hundreds of palm trees looked like from a postcard. I am usually not the guy who books an 'all inclusive' vacation but since I am staying only for 6 days I thought it would be a good idea. Additionally, the Dominican Republic is not really save at the moment, that is why the travel agencies recommend staying in the hotel and booking only guided tours. In my opinion, they sometimes exaggerate. If you know how to behave in a foreign country and know the "don'ts" you should be fine.

paradisus punta cana palm tress
My way to the hotel room at Paradisus resort
  • Travel tip: The website of the Federal Foreign office of Germany publishes current travel and security tips for all countries. Inform yourself prior booking your vacation.

The resort is huge and all rooms are located in separated two-storied villas with a private outside area. I have the impression to be living in a small town rather than a big hotel complex. Unfortunately, I was not satisfied with the first room, that is why I complained. I expect to have a clean room no matter if it is one or a five-star hotel. For the inconvenience, they upgraded me to a higher room category with my own jacuzzi on the balcony. Additionally, they granted me access to the exclusive beach and pool area. Besides that, I am allowed to use the a la carte Restaurant at the beach without any extra charge.

relaxing jacuzzi paradisus resort punta cana
My own jacuzzi on the balcony of my junior suite
  • Travel tip: If you are not satisfied with the hotel room or you are not happy with the series let the reception know. Especially in high-class hotels, they try their best to get everything right.

I have been to the Caribbean before but not to the Dominical Republic yet. Alle people I met so far are really friendly and in a good mood. Spanish is the official language here, but most of them speak proper english and some even german.

  • Travel tip: Always take local currency to the country you are flying to. This helps immensely when you want to get around and when tipping a service. I recommend taking two credit cards with you in case one gets lost or does not work.
altos de chavon tui excursion domican republic
View from Altos de Chavon to the river of Chavon

Excursion

After relaxing for a day at the beach I went on a full day excursion to Saona to experience the Caribbean Sea. As many people do not know at the northern shoreline (Punta Cana/Puerto Plata) of the island is the Atlantic ocean. First stop was in Altos de Chavon. A small Mediterranean replica village located on a cliff of the Chavon river. From there we walked down to the riverbed to jump on a steamboat to drive along a tropical landscape in the direction of the Caribbean sea. Movies like Rambo and Jurassic Park were shot at this location. Once we reached the river delta we jumped into a speedboat to cruise next to the East National Park. In the middle of the Sea is a natural pool with crystal clear cyan blue water. There were hundreds of starfish on the sandy ground of the sea.

pilot patrick vacation natural pool in caribbean sea
Into the blue - natural pool in the Caribbean Sea (close to Saona island)
  • Travel tip: Leave no valuables visible in your room. I do not trust the build in saves, that is why I put my electronics and money in my lockable suitcase when I leave the room.

Next stop was the island Saona. A small island with 300 inhabitants, which was discovered by Christopher Columbus it in May 1494 during his second voyage to the Americas. We had a BBQ at the beach. Locals sold Pina Colada in a pineapple and fresh coconuts. I found a nice private spot to enjoy this picture-perfect paradise.

pilot patrick excursion to paradise Soana island in caribbean sea
I am trying to get my next fresh coconut at Saona Island

In the afternoon we boarded the last boat of this day. A 35 m long catamaran, which took us with drinks and good music to the beach of Bayahibe. I laid down in a net in front of the boat and enjoyed the ride. This was truly a memorable day and I had a lot of fun.

TUI catamaran excursion soana island
2 hours on a 35 m long Catamaran in the Caribbean Sea
  • Travel tip: I see so many people taking photos with their cheap mobile phone camera. Rather take a decent charged digital camera, which takes high-quality photos for  your memories. Save the photos on an extra device.
pilot patrick relaxing in paradise saona island caribbean sea
Relaxing on Saona Island with a Pina Colada

I got back to the hotel in the evening to enjoy two nice dinners at two restaurants. The combination of sun, a lot of food and different drinks made me feel sick the next day. I took care of my diet and rested under a palm tree umbrella at the beach the whole day.

  • Travel tip: Take different medicine with you from home. Something for your throat, nose and for your stomach. I also recommend taking some bandages and disinfection spray.

Luckily I felt much better the next day so I could go on another fun activity. The airline Aerointer in Punta Cana invited me to go on a short helicopter flight over the shoreline. Thanks to pilot Bernie for giving me a different perspective of the island. I think I should get a helicopter license as well. It is so much fun taking off vertically with an aircraft. Watch the full video of my flight on Facebook 'PilotPatrick'

https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=1330316197033973

 

pilot patrick helicopter aerointer punta cana
Fun flight over paradise in Punta Cana with Aerointer

Vacation in the Caribbean is ending

After six days I had to leave paradise again. I really enjoyed the perfect weather and the marvelous beaches. The Dominicans are a really friendly and they are brimful of life. I suppose this is because of their relaxed way of living and the good weather all year around. I only left the hotel twice, but both times I noticed that streets are dirty and people and animals live in between trash. That made me really sad to see since the hotel industry boosts the economy in this region.

pilot patrick rimowa suitcase paradise palm trees punta cana
Leaving paradise :( for outfit details visit www.updressed.com/pilotpatric

For outfit details you can always visit my updressed page I am constantly updating this profile. 

My return flight with Air Berlin was a direct connection from Punta Cana to Berlin. This was quite convenient since it was a night flight and the landing in Tegel airport was at 6:30 in the morning. The flight time was around 8:45 hours and the lie flat seat was fantastic to get some sleep. This what I call luxury on board! During the flight, I watched the movie Miss Peregrine's Home for peculiar children. In case you like fantasy, drama and action at the same time I can really recommend this movie. The touchdown in Berlin was during darkness and the weather was rainy and cold. I missed paradise already!

business class Airberlin Airbus A330 Seat 2A
Seat that converts to a fully flat bed

I hope you like my travel tips and hopefully, they will help you on your next journey!

Where is your next vacation taking you to?

Your Pilot Patrick

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Pilot Patrick how I became a pilot

How I became a pilot IV

Welcome aboard Aviator! I am looking forward to continuing to share my story of how I became a pilot.

In my previous blog posts, you can read:

Part I: How I became a flight student at Intercockpit (Pilot Training Network)

Part II: First theoretical training in Frankfurt (Germany) up to my first flight

Part III: First fight training phase including first solo flight in Zadar (Croatia) and ATPL theory phase including the final theory exam

In this, you will read about my second flight training phase and memorable flight hours as a student pilot.

First the bad news than the good news

Our course E308 of Intercockpit was scheduled to depart to Zadar for our IFR (Instrument flight rules) training in May 2009. At very short notice the flight school canceled the training in Croatia, because of different factors leading to no capacity for us. This was the bad news and the good news was that we were going to have our flight training in Vero Beach (Florida) instead. I was so happy about this location change since I am a big fan of Florida.  We would stay in Vero Beach for about 8 weeks before we continue our Multi-Engine flight phase in Zadar. This outsourcing to the flight school, Flight Safety, was necessary not to delay our training.

Piper Arrow of Flight Safety in Vero Beach (2009)

Flight Safety at Vero Beach

I was one five flight students who passed the theoretical exam with the first attempt. This granted me to be one of the first one to start the next training phase in Florida. We flew with Lufthansa from Düsseldorf to Miami on an A340-300.

Vero Beach is located on the East coast about a 2,5 hours drive north from Miami. It is a hotspot for elderly people of the USA to retire. By law bars and restaurants had to be closed at 1 am the latest. That is why we also called it Lame Beach. So an ideal place to entirely focus on our flight training without any discretion. Most of the time we went to the beautiful beaches and went shopping in oversized department stores. The entire course stayed at shared apartments on the Flight Safety campus, which was located on the premises of Vero Beach airport. Simple two story buildings without any luxury amenities, except of a small swimming pool. Flight students from all over the world used these training facilities of Flight Safety. The fleet of nearly 90 aircraft granted a good availability.

Vero Beach airport with the Flight Safety campus in the middle

IFR flight training

After flying under visual flight rules in Zadar the training was taken to the next level in Florida. From this stage onwards we were trained to fly under instrument flight rules. This means that the pilots entirely rely on their instruments to fly and navigate the aircraft. This technique is used in everyday airline business to fly through bad weather and to land at low visibility. But before being in the air again I had to pass 12 IFR sessions on an FNPT II flight simulator. This was a fixed based version and not like the full flight simulator you got to know during my type rating on the A300-600.

Cockpit of a Piper Arrow for IFR flight training

Why Florida?

Florida offers ideal conditions for flight training. In close vicinity of Vero Beach are numerous airports to practice approaches, go-arounds and holding patterns. In the beginning, the air traffic was difficult to understand. Nevertheless, they did a fantastic job fulfilling our requests. The weather and the shallow terrain are additional factors which make this location ideal. Even though there are a lot of thunderstorms in spring and summer, they are usually isolated so it is easy to detect and circumfly them. The sunshine state Florida enable to fly the whole year around. My training started in the beginning in May and the weather was already so hot at that time.

Palm trees in West Palm Beach Florida

IFR flight student

Our training device was a piston-powered Piper Arrow with a retracting landing gear. The instrument rating consisted of 22 flight missions with an instructor. Every mission latest about 4 hours. 2 hours of pilot flying and 2 hours sitting in the back watching your fellow flight student flying. To simulate IFR flying conditions (e.g. in clouds) I had to wear a big glasses which restricted to view outside.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Eey7LYxHlA4?rel=0&w=640&h=360]

Most of the mission we did cross country flights to airports around Vero Beach. For the first time, I experienced approaching a high-density traffic airport like Orlando. This was an amazing feeling to be between big airliner aircraft. I could choose from a wide range of airports to practice ILS (Instrument Landing System) and non-precision approaches. Every flight mission had to be planned precisely taking into account the current weather conditions, the fuel on board and other legal restrictions.

IFR flight training on a Piper Arrow

My highlight Miami

The entire flight training was exciting on the one hand and on the other quite demanding since I had to get used to a new aircraft type and to new flying procedures. I had two memorable flights I want to share with you in detail.

  • I planned a flight going to Kendall-Tamiami Airport, which is an executive airport, to do a fuel stop and crew change. Due to its close proximity to Miami, this airport is used by many private jets. In the end, we were parked next to a big Gulfstream jet and in front of the private jet terminal, called signature Flight support. At that time I never have seen a Gulfstream and such a luxury terminal before. For crew and passengers, they offered a small cinema, billiard room, a library and so much more. I was totally impressed. To top it all we received the clearance to depart in an easterly direction overflying Miami Beach at a low altitude. That view was thrilling!
Fuel stop at Tamiami Executive Airport and parking in front of the Signature private jet terminal Overflying Miami Beach during flight training in 2009

My highlight Cape Canaveral

  • Several days prior a launch of a space shuttle from Cape Canaveral I approached space coast regional airport to practice missed approaches when the air traffic controller called us for an unusual request. On his radar screen, he had an unidentified aircraft without radio contact overflying the launch pad of Cape Canaveral. He asked us if we could chase him to find out his registration since this airspace is absolutely prohibited. We acknowledged his request and so we were allowed to enter that airspace. Unfortunately, we were not able to read of his tail number, but we had the chance to see the space shuttle situated in its launch pad from the air. That was a one in a lifetime experience. I tried to take pictures, but for some reason they all became fuzzy.
Cape Canaveral from the air

Leisure activities

During the weekends we had off so we could tour around to explore Florida from the ground.

Course E308 In front of Costa d'Este Beach Resort of Gloria Estefan
  • Orlando: Famous for its Amusement parks and shopping malls. I can recommend the Premium outlet mall.
  • Tampa: Amusement Park Bush Gardens. Great roller coasters, but I disliked the fact that they kept wild animals in their park.
  • Cape Canaveral: A must for every aviation and space enthusiast. Great exhibition and museum of NASA. I was lucky to see the space shuttle start of Atlantis from a beach south of Cape Canaveral. Even miles away the launch was so noisy it gave me goosebumps.
  • Miami Beach: I am a big fan of Miami. Such a vibrant city with an amazing beach. Visit Lincoln Road Mall and rent a convertible to cruise along the famous Ocean drive.
celebrating my 21st birthday at the Cheesecake factory in West Palm Beach, 2009

The flight training in Vero Beach was a memorable time and I was really lucking to have the chance to discover Florida from the air and from the ground. Stay tuned for my last blog post of my series how I became a pilot.

Have you visited Florida before?

Your Pilot Patrick

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Waldorf Astoria hotel berlin pilotpatrick rimowa

My stay at the Waldorf Astoria

In my last blog post "My type rating", I gave you an insight view of my training at Lufthansa Aviation Training. The last three weeks in the simulator to acquire the certification to fly the A300 have been quite demanding. Therefore I did not have a lot of time to relax.

Next week I will have my final skill test flight in the simulator and this is why I have the weekend off. The Waldorf Astoria Berlin invited me to spend a weekend at their beautiful hotel in Berlin to relax a little bit from the busy weeks and to tank up some energy before my check flight. My job as a pilot requires me to stay at many different hotels around the world, but I have not stayed at a hotel in my hometown Berlin yet. I was really excited to spend a weekend at the Waldorf Astoria hotel since it really sticks out with its location and the architecture next to 20 other five star hotels in Berlin.

Read about my stay at the Waldorf Astoria and find out why I did not want to leave again. I hope my following hotel review helps you when choosing the right hotel for your next stay in Berlin or to find a place to escape the hectic city.

Location

In 2013 the Waldorf Astoria opened its doors for hotel guests. The hotel is situated in the famous building "Zoofenster" and is easy to recognize since it is a 32 stories-high skyscraper. Being one of the tallest buildings in Berlin it gives the hotel guests, including me a spectacular view over Berlin. It is located right in the center of West Berlin and one foot step away from tourist attractions, shopping locations and leisure activities.

Waldorf Astoria, Tower suites with panormaic windows on the upper levels

Watch my live Facebook video of my check in and the TOWER SUITE.

https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=1307668549298738

Accommodation

The room was amazing. I was lucky to reside in a TOWER SUITE. The luxurious suite was at the 28th level and its panoramic windows gave me a fantastic view over Berlin. I could unwind in a spacious and very comfortable room. The design is elegant and modern at the same time. A separate sleeping room with a private balcony was located in the rear of the suite. Every room granted you a different view of the city. The TV system was ideal for my needs to stream music and videos from my mobile phone and laptop.

Warm welcome in the Tower suite 2801 through sweets and a friendly staff Private small kitchen with a Nespresso coffee machine and a dining table

Features of the tower suite

  • upper level (22-29) separate elevators for the tower suites
  • separate living area with a dining table and mini bar
  • fully equipped small kitchen with a private Nespresso coffee machine
  • two 40-inch TVs with Apple TV technology
  • luxurious marble bathroom with a bathtub and separate shower
  • complimentary Wifi and so much more...
Signature Waldorf Astoria bed with a private balcony overlooking West Berlin Bathroom with a bath tub and a huge shower

I used my suite also for my monthly online live talk on my Facebook account 'PilotPatrick'. Follow me on Facebook so you don't miss any future events. (Meet and greet coming soon.)

https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=1308411159224477

Guerlain Spa

I enjoyed a short time-out from the vibrant Berlin outside in the Spa. The 1000 square meter spa features a cloud shaped pool, saunas and very cozy therapy rooms. I really liked the private bathroom with shower and changing facility.  The gym is fully equipped and big windows provide you with natural light during your workout. On Saturday I took a break from the gym since I did exhausting personal training with Timo on Friday.

Private bathroom for Guerlain Spa guests swim shorts by XARFIA

Premium swim shorts by XARIFA, which are entirely made in Italy. I am wearing the short length version in size medium. Use the code 'pilotpatric' to save 15% on your new swim shorts by XARIFA.

Cloud shaped pool at the Guerlain Spa Swim shorts by XARFIA

Features of the spa

  • therapy rooms
  • pool and hot tub
  • sauna and steam room
  • terrace
  • fitness room with daylight
  • complimentary water and fruits#

The spa area is free of charge for hotel guest. With a day pass, it is possible to you use the luxurious spa facilities as well. Mention PILOTPATRIC when booking a treatment and you will get a free glass of champagne.

Food

I am really conscious when it comes to my diet. In my blog post "I am a foodie pilot" I already wrote about my healthy eating habits. Nowadays I expect that hotels adopt to the healthy food trend or at least offer meal options in case you have a special diet. The selection of food of breakfast buffet was excellent. The vegetarian omelet and the smoked salmon were really tasty. For dinner, I went to the ROCA Restaurant on the ground floor. The atmosphere was relaxing. I suggest having a selection of their tasty salads as a starter.

Try the vegetarian omelette with salmon, Green organic tea and grapefruit juice

What do around?
Shopping

  • Kurfürstendamm a big street with hundreds of retail stores ranching up to luxurious boutiques
  • Bikini Berlin is a concept mall with interesting pop-up stores right around the hotel.
  • KADEWE (Department Store of the West) is the second biggest department store of Europe, visit the impressing food court on the upper level

Leisure activities

  • The huge park "Tiergarten" is right around the corner, at the Cafe am Neuen See you can rent small paddle boats to drive around on a small lake
  • Siegessäule (Victoria Column) at the big roundabout (Großer Stern) Some hundreds of steps take you up on top giving you an amazing view over Berlin.
  • The historic cinema "Zoopalast" is directly opposite of the hotel. Book a comfortable LOGE seat which grants you access to the lounge for a free drink before the movie
Sunset from my tower suite at the Waldorf Astoria hotel Berlin

Resume of my stay at the Waldorf Astoria Berlin

From check in and check out I felt welcome every minute of my stay. Besides an amazing suite and luxurious facilities, the friendly staff made it a memorable stay.

Good bye Waldorf Astoria It was a pleasure and I will miss the view

I hope my following hotel review helps you to choose the right hotel for your next stay in Berlin or to find a place to escape the hectic city. My tip: Book a room on one of the upper levels of the hotel. I just loved to sit at the window observing Berlin from the top.

Watch on my youtube channel pilotpatrick my Instagram story @pilotpatric of my stay at Waldorf Astoria Berlin.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ET2F33Mkqjk?rel=0&w=640&h=360]

Your Pilot Patrick

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