top gun flying scenes

How TOP GUN: Maverick Shot Those Thrilling Flying Scenes

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The wait finally came to an end. After 36 years, the second part of Top Gun landed in theatres on May 26. I had already got to see it a week ago during the movie premiere in Berlin and Top Gun: Maverick is an absolute must-see for all Aviators. It was a thrill ride from the moment you are seated in the theatre, with popcorn in your hand. You did not need to be flying in one of those jets on the screen.

In this sequel, the flying ace, Maverick, has to prep a younger generation of pilots for a highly dangerous mission. During the movie, I was wondering: How in the world did they shoot the amazing flying scenes? The answer will surprise you as much as it did me. Spoiler alert: they did NOT use any green screen.

top gun flying scenes

Copyright: Paramount pictures

I Flew Aerobatics 🎢

I once had the chance to fly in an Extra 300 and Albatros L-39 fighter trainer. Personally, it cannot be thrilling enough when it comes to aerobatic flying. Loopings, barrel rolls, twists and tight turns are absolutely fun and easy to withstand for me. I neither had issues with my stomach. But I know that’s fairly unusual. High G-forces can have extreme side effects on your body and flying upside down just makes you throw up! So now I am thinking about the cast, who are not used to flying aerobatics. Plus they not only have to withstand the extreme forces and manoeuvres, they also have to act as if they are elite fighter pilots.

top gun flying scenes

My Connection To Top Gun ✈️

Tom Cruise, alias Maverick, instructs flight students in the new movie. So, like me, he has high responsibility for his cadets. I also have a personal story connected to the movie. Years ago, I had the actress Meg Ryan once on board as a passenger. I was very excited to meet her in person, since I had watched the first Top Gun movie so many times. After the flight, I checked in to the crew hotel, got to my room, turned on the TV and Top Gun was running with a scene starring Meg Ryan.

top gun flying scenes

How Fake Are The Flying Scenes? ❌

Now, you will probably be as surprised as I was when I found out! For the best movie experience, the mission was: How do you convincingly shoot scenes in which actors look like they are flying in jets with extreme G-forces contorting their facial features as the planes perform extreme aeronautical manoeuvres? You get the actors to do it for REAL. That, at least, was the conclusion of Tom Cruise when he began to think about how to shoot Top Gun: Maverick. That’s what they did in the end. All cast members are believably looking in the film like they are really in the skies because they really were in the skies.

The Big Issue of Throwing Up! 🤮

When filmmaker Tony Scott directed the original 1986 Top Gun, he too had hopes of shooting actors in the air but was thwarted when cast members began throwing up whenever they were taken for a ride. The new cast did throw up as well on board. Did Powell throw up over his plane? “Not on the plane,” says the actor. “You’ve got bags obviously. I never missed a shot in the bag.” How did they get this issue fixed: They thoroughly prepared the cast for the extreme flight manoeuvres so they were mentally and physically fit for it.

top gun flying scenes

How Did The Cast Prepare For The Flying? 👨🏼‍✈️

In the years after Top Gun made him a global star, Cruise became a pilot himself thanks to Sydney Pollack, who directed him in 1993’s The Firm and gave the actor flying lessons as a present. Cruise was determined to depict the aerial sequences in Top Gun: Maverick as realistically as possible, an ambition shared by Kosinski.

“That was Tom’s expertise,” says Kosinski about Cruise’s insistence that the actors be properly prepared for the shoot. “He’s a pilot, and he’s done aerobatics, and he was in the first Top Gun. He knew that they wouldn’t be able to get in the plane and hold their lunch down and be able to do these scenes, so he created a training program that they all went through.”

 

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Ein Beitrag geteilt von Patrick Biedenkapp | Captain (@pilotpatrick)

Flight Lessons For The Cast 🎬

The actors began the schedule flying in single-engine Cessna 172 Skyhawks before moving on to the Extra 300, which is capable of more aerobatic manoeuvres, finally graduating to L-39 Albatros single-engine high performance jets, which prepared them for the F/A-18s in which they would be filmed during the shoot.

“You just feel the peril for everyone in the movie in a different way,” says Powell. “If you were using CGI, audiences are very smart, they can tell the difference. When you are whipping through canyons at 650 knots, you can’t fake that, and you can’t fake the Gs on actors’ faces.”

top gun flying scenes

The Great Difficulty Of On-Board Cameras 🎥

While the pilots were preparing to act like real pilots, Kosinski was figuring out how to shoot them doing so. “[That] took a lot of preparation,” says the director. “We had to work for about 15 months with the navy to figure out how to get cameras in the cockpit. We ended up getting IMAX-quality cameras into the cockpit with the pilots and the actor.”

During the shoot itself, Kosinski had the strange experience of “directing” actors who were many miles away during the actual filming.

“I’m there, with the actor, when they’re getting in the jet, I’m setting the cameras up, making sure all the angles are exactly what we need,” says the filmmaker. “But once that jet pulls out onto the runway, they’re gone for the next hour or two. As soon as they landed, we took the footage, we went into the debrief, we put it all in and watched it together. We give them notes on what didn’t work, and we’d cheer when something was great, and then we’d give them notes and send them up again in the afternoon. It was a very unique way to direct, because it was a lot of prep and a lot of rehearsal. And it was very tedious — you’re only getting a minute or two of good stuff every day. But it’s the only way to get footage that looks like this.”

 

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Will There Be Another Sequel? 🎞

So, if Top Gun: Maverick is a success, can Kosinski imagine overseeing more of such sequences in a sequel? “It’s all about the story for Tom,” says the filmmaker. “If we can figure out a way to tell what Maverick’s up to next, who knows?”

Top Gun: Maverick definitely exceeded my expectations and I seriously cannot wait to watch it again! To find out that all flying scenes are real, left me speechless because I know what a huge challenge it was for everyone involved.

Have your paper bags ready while watching it! Do not forget to like the post and leave me a comment with your feedback about the movie. 

Happy and thrilling landings

Your PilotPatrick

Source: here


how to become a pilot

How To Become a Commercial Pilot - My 10 Tips To Suceed

“How to become a pilot?” Probably the most frequent question I’m getting asked throughout my social media channels and also in real life. I am here to inform you, so I am more than happy to answer you again and again. 

Dear Loyal Aviator, 

Welcome on board my blog. Besides my series “How I became a pilot”, I want to give you 10 personal pieces of advice if you are hoping to become a commercial pilot.

how to become a private pilot

So Many Pilot Licenses 🎟

First of all I want to clarify the different types of licenses:

PPL: Private Pilot License. As the name suggests this license is solely used for private operation. (e.g. flying in a small piston engine, non-commercial)

BLOG: “How To Become A Private Pilot Fast

CPL: Commercial Pilot License. This license grants you to fly aircraft commercially (passengers and or cargo) as a First Officer. 

ATPL: Aircraft Transport Pilot License. This license is granted to those who fulfill certain flight hours and are holding a CPL with ATPL theory. This type of license is needed to become the commander on board.

how to become a private pilot

My 10 Tips On How To Become a Commercial Pilot:  

1. Your Health Status 👨🏼‍⚕️

Make sure you are fit to fly and you meet all medical requirements to pass the class 1 examination. The visit to the doctor should be one of your first steps when thinking about becoming a pilot. After having passed the initial examination, you need to revalidate your Medical every year which requires you to pursue a healthy lifestyle. Regular exercises and a healthy diet will tremendously increase the chance to pass every medical check throughout your career. This job is not made for lazy people even though being a pilot requires sitting a lot.

 

2. Your Genius Level 🤓

Be efficient in mathematics and physics. You do not have to be a genius, but basic knowledge in these subjects is necessary when you want to become a pilot. Your sense of space should be well developed, which will help you originate quickly when flying in a 3-dimensional space. Check the requirements of airlines and flight school as to which kind of graduation level they expect. Some airlines only hire pilots with a high school/ A-level graduation.

 

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Ein Beitrag geteilt von Patrick Biedenkapp | Captain (@pilotpatrick)

3. Find The Right Flight School 👨🏼‍🏫

Find the flight school which suits you the best. There are many flight schools which all promise to make a pilot out of you. Attend “Open Days” or info events at the flight schools to gather as much information as possible. Try to talk to graduates to get genuine, truthful feedback. Consider the location of the school, training devices and length of the entire education. Here you find a list of flight schools for example.

 

4. Pilot For a Day 🛩

Go for a short test flight lesson with an instructor. This way you will find out if you agree with Leonardo Da Vinci’s quote:

“When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return“.

I think it is a smart idea to invest this money to get a better indication as to whether your imagination of flying an airplane matches reality.

5. Who Pays For It? 💸

Flight training with an airline. This would be the best and financially, least risky way of becoming a commercial pilot. Usually airlines give you a training loan and offer you a cockpit position after graduating successfully. A certain amount of the training cost is paid back with your salary. (differs for all airlines of course). I have not heard about any scholarships for cadets and the pandemic has changed a lot in the aviation industry as well.

6. Self-funded Training 🙋🏼‍♂️

Consider the high education costs of a private flight school. I was lucky that my parents were able to support me financially. The costs were around 70.000€. Depending on the school and country, the prices range from 50.000 to 150.000€. Additionally you have to consider the costs for daily living and accommodation. It will be quite difficult to work part time since integrated training is very time consuming. Even when you get a loan to pay for the training there is absolutely no job guarantee in the end.

7. Modular Training 🛸

In case you do not have the financial background, it would be a more safe way to do the training step by step. This type is called modular training. I do not want to scare you, but there are students who took out a high loan to afford the training. This can be quite risky when you do not get a job right away and/or the salary turns out to be not as good as expected.

8. No professional education 🤯

A pilot license is not an official professional education. In the event of losing your medical for whatever reason, you can only show flight hours in your logbook. That is why I decided to attend a distant university after becoming a pilot, but then social media became a major part of my life.  Maybe think about going to college or learn a profession before becoming a pilot. Sounds strange, but it is always good to have a Plan B.

process of becoming a captain

9. Pros And Cons 👈🏼

Think about what the pros and cons of a pilot life could mean for you. Especially at the beginning of your career, you should be quite flexible in terms of your home base location. During your training you might be forced to move to different places which can be extremely difficult when you have a family. Always take all possible options into account. 

BLOG: Pros And Cons Of Being a Pilot

10. Go to exhibitions ✈️

I recommend going to exhibitions, where flight schools introduce themselves. For example: The ILA (Internationale Luft- und Raumfahrtausstellung) in Berlin. At the career center you have the chance to get to know different flight schools and chat with them. I am sure there are career fairs near you. Do not hesitate to use google search 🙂

how I became a pilot

I hope you find my updated article helpful. Please do not forget to like the blog post.

Positive mind, positive life and happy landings!

Your PilotPatrick


process of becoming a captain

12 Years Being a Pilot: Pros And Cons Of a Dream Job

Dear my Aviator,

I’m m now working for 12 years in the aviation industry and it is even over 14 years ago that I signed the contract with my former flight school to become a commercial pilot. I take this anniversary as an occasion to recap my time as a pilot. Even though my time as a pilot had a lot of ups and downs it is still a dream job for me. On my social media, everything might look perfect, but this job also has its downsides. Are you ready for the pros and cons of being a pilot?

But let’s start with a little aspect that annoys me about being a pilot. Security checks. As a private jet pilot, I had the privilege to skip security controls at many destinations. But as a commercial pilot you have to pass security like any other passenger with only a few exceptions.

Paris security staff treat pilots like a potential terrorist.

This is so ridiculous when you take into account that all crew members have a valid background check. Once they wanted to see my turmeric powder in my food bag. They tried to check it for liquid?! In the end, had to taste the spice in front of the security staff to prove that it is not an explosive. A waste of time and nerves but I decided to take it with humour from now on.

Flight school 👨🏼‍🏫

After I graduated high school I started right away preparing for the assessment to become a flight student for Lufthansa. I failed the first step of the selection process due to my extreme nervosity at that time.

Back then I was really sad about this but now I see it from a whole different perspective and I am actually happy that I failed the test.

I definitely took a more difficult way to become a pilot. The flight training was self-funded, which made me put so much effort into it so I would for sure succeed. There was no job guarantee after graduating from flight school. It was tough to start my aviation career as a first officer on a private jet. The “Lufthansa way” would have been the easy way but would not have made me the person and pilot I am today.

PRO: You have the time of your life with lots of studying and flying.

CON: No job guarantee with a self-funded training. There is a high risk of not getting a job and the waiting time can be extremely long. 

Pilot Licence 🎟

It is not an easy and inexpensive path to obtain the license to fly commercial airplanes. But in the end, it is “only” a license and not an occupational education nor a degree. Health restrictions could cause your inability to fly, thus you can not pursue your profession further. At least not in an actual cockpit. As a little back up I got a loss of license insurance which is a must for every pilot.

CON: If you lose your medical you lose your license and you cannot fly anymore. In case you did not study you are left without any education. With a contract, the airline pays for your training and keeps all ratings valid. In case of unemployment, you have to take care of it yourself which can get extremely costly. 

PRO: You fly yourself and you are in control of powerful machines. 

Salary 💸

The days of making a fortune as a pilot are over. A good availability of pilots on the market causes that working conditions and salaries to drop as it happens at moment due to the pandemic. Especially as a first pilot, the current time is not easy. My net salary was around 2800€ when I started in 2010. Luckily, I did not have to take a loan for the training, because my parents supported me. Imagine if have to pay back the costs of the license (70.000€) plus the type rating costs (20.000€) it would take ages and would not leave any money left to save.

The salary depends highly on which company you fly for, where you are based, which aircraft type you fly and how well you negotiate your salary.

There are a few pilot jobs out there in which you can make really good money. Especially in the business aviation on a private jet flying for an owner, you can easily earn 20,000€ as captain but those jobs are extremely rare and do not give you a lot of security.

PRO: A captain’s salary enables you to have a good life. But it is usually a long way to the left seat. 

CON: Pilot salaries differ greatly. Even “Pay to fly models” exist where pilots have to pay the airline to fly. You have to invest a lot and work hard to boost your income. When switching companies you lose your seniority or might even fly as first officer again. 

Job security 🦠

Aviation is a volatile business with great ups and downs. The pandemic has shown us how volatile. From one to the other day several ten thousand pilots got unemployed. You are dependent on the profitability of your airline. If an airline cannot cope with a crisis or suffers from bad management pilots are not needed anymore.

PRO: No office day is the same and you do not take any left work home. You can enjoy the good reputation of being a pilot and you get paid to look out of the window. 

CON: You are only needed as long there are flights and aircraft. This profession is highly specialized you can only fly aircraft and you are type rated on one special aircraft.

Social life and free time 🏄🏼

Do you have a social life? I have been getting asked this question many times. Of course, I do like everyone else.

But it requires good organization and planning to see friends and family.

You often have free time during the week when the majority of the people has to work and has no time. But one aspect I exceptionally like about the job is that you do not take any work home.

PRO: I have more than ten off days in a month. (German law requires a minimum of eight) Sometimes it is even half of the month that I am not working. Between duty days I can at least enjoy four off days in a row without taking leave. In which kind of job do you have this?

CON: You are not home. About half of the month you are not at home, so you will not be able to attend all family and friend events. It is not possible to attend weekly classes regularly like language or dancing classes. 

Layovers 🗺

In the past 12 years I have been to hundreds of different locations in Europe, North Africa, Middle East and Russia. As a private jet and as an airline pilot I am having layovers outside of my home base. The time I get to spend at one destination ranges from minimum rest (10 hours) up to two days. The destinations were varying all the time as a private jet pilot. I really liked the fact that I got to choose the crew hotel myself. You can imagine that I did not stay in the worst places. 😉

PRO: I have a fixed flight schedule and I know how much time I have at one destination. I can really use my rest time to do activities. (airline pilot)

CON: When the network is limited you get to stay at the same destination more often. (airline pilot)

Working hours ⏰

The pilot job has probably one of the most irregular working hours. Aviation does not know weekends or public holidays. There are some days you only have one flight and there are others you have up to five legs. Instead of four duty hours up to 16. Fortunately, I did not have to deal with jet lag, since I have been flying mostly within Europe. As a private jet pilot, I flew primarily during the day since VIPs do not like to get up early. As an airline pilot, I also got to fly at night, which is a lot of stress for your body and you have to fight against fatigue.

PRO: I like the irregular working hours. I do not have to get up at the same time every day. Some flying days are long some are short. The work remains on board and when I have off I have off.

CON: Due to the irregular working hours I have to take good care of my body. That is why I have a healthy diet and do regular body exercises to stay fit.

Crew life 🥳

Becoming a pilot means you become part of a big family. Crews all share the same passion which connects everyone easily. To guarantee a safe flight requires the crew to work in a team in a small environment. I think that is why you won’t find this energy and enthusiasm in other jobs. Crews take care of each other and support each other. The well being of each crew member ensures the safety of each flight. Nevertheless, there is a lack of diversity in aviation.

Especially in the cockpit, you will not find many members of the LGBTQ community.

I have met great, open-minded, and modern thinking pilots. Most of them belonged to the younger generation. Unfortunately, there is still a huge percentage of pilots that are not tolerant and have an old fashioned mindset when it comes to sexuality.

PRO: Colleagues can become friends. To share the flight experience and to spend the layover together is double the fun.

CON: During work, I am not staying at a nice location with my beloved once. It still remains work. Every crew member has their own daily routine so it happens that you only spend time together in the cockpit and the rest of the time everyone does their own thing. 

Upgrade 👨🏼‍✈️

One aspect I really love about my job is that you constantly need to learn to be the best pilot possible. Whether it is to improve your flying skills or to review system related knowledge. Aviation requires you to be up to date on new procedures and regulations. Even after flying an aircraft for thousands of hours, you will find out something new about it.

With the first day of your first officer career, you start your training to become a captain one day.

PRO: You never stop learning as a pilot. That is a really nice fact which makes this job so interesting.

CON: Switching companies means you lose your seniority. So you usually have to fly as first officer again even though you flew as captain before. Becoming a captain can take up to 10 years.

What would I have done differently?

I would have done everything exactly the same, except one point. Before starting with the flight training, I would have studied to get a degree or at least studied in parallel to the flight school. Keep this in mind when deciding to become a commercial pilot.

Which downside would you like the least? Please let me in a comment below and do not forget to like this blog post. 

Happy landings!

Your Pilot Patrick


change when flying post covid-19

6 Things That Will Change When You Fly Post Covid-19

Hey My Dear Aviator,

Have you considered how flights will be after Covid? Your beloved Aviation industry is one that has definitely been affected by the pandemic and has changed it irrevocably. For this reason, there are many shifts and changes in the experience for passengers, in the operation, for crews and in aviation in general. When researching the way Covid has affected aviation in the aftermath of the pandemic, I found 6 major things that will change when you fly post Covid-19. Some shifts we will embrace and enjoy, but others make us wish the pandemic never happened.

change when flying post covid-19

1. More Stringent Hygiene Regulations on Board and at the Airport 👮🏼‍♀️

When you think about it, there are a number of areas in the airport that require physical contact from baggage check-in to security points. These areas will likely be completely redesigned to eliminate contact as much as possible and maintain social distance as well. In major airports, you may have observed self-drop offs for baggage, self-check-ins and self-scanning ID stations. This will be the future airport experience. One step further I could also imagine that there will be less security personnel due to more automation. We become more and more transparent through digitization. So, maybe one day those who hold a trustworthy record could possibly pass through security without getting checked. 

However, after the pandemic, I think the lines/queues will be longer, to enforce social distancing, and checkpoints could take significantly longer, as travellers will need to separate more of their carry-ons, so that bag searches are less necessary.

In my opinion, we will be required to wear PPE for some time due to the nature of airports and aeroplanes. Space for travellers is limited and the ICAO might implement this as an extra safety measure once countries get rid of the mask requirements. 

I am sincerely hoping that on board cleaning policies change tremendously. Who hasn’t taken a seat and found a dirty cushion, dirty tray tables and smeared window blinds? Airlines will take more care to present a clean impression of the cabin to their passengers and they will promote their disinfection process as a selling point.

I don’t believe that disembarking the plane by rows will have a future. However, I would favour a more speedy process, also for embarkation, through more boarding bridges. This would help to reduce contact with other passengers,

change when flying post covid-19

Outdated Business Class of Lufthansa

2. Updated Cabin Configuration 💺

We have been seeing a change in cabin configuration already over the past few years. First Class cabins have been decreasing, Business Class cabins have been improved and Premium Economy cabins have gotten bigger.  

Passengers demand more comfort, more seat separation and more space from fellow passengers. However the extra pricing for a Business Class is too much for most travellers. That’s why the Premium Economy is a great alternative in between both classes. You get more comfort and a better flight experience for a reasonable price. So, for extra safety and comfort, more and more passengers will book Premium Economy.

Airlines will also need to configure the layout of their cabins to address the increased share of leisure traffic. At the simplest level, lower numbers of business travellers may lead to smaller Business Class cabins. So the layout will shift to a bigger Premium Economy Cabin and/or development of Business Class seats more suitable for travelling as couples or groups.

change when flying post covid-19

In the future Business Class will be First Class with more comfort

change when flying post covid-19

Pay for everything model will be implemented for all booking classes

3. Everything, Everything and Everything will Cost Extra 💸

Thanks to low-cost airlines, the policy of “everything has to be paid as an extra” has been implemented in the aviation industry. Premium airlines have refused as long as possible to adapt to this model. But since they appear to have lost clients and could not keep up any longer with the pricing of other operators, passengers have had to start paying for extras. 

Even premium airlines like Lufthansa, do not offer any free drinks or snacks on their short-haul flight anymore. Taking this further, passengers will have to pay extra for EVERYTHING, whether it be luggage, carry-on baggage, priority boarding, catering onboard or seat reservations. This is already the case on most short and medium-haul flights. It will also be the future for long-haul flights to keep the ticket price low and make more revenue from any passengers. 

I do favour this trend because I think this way you can personally shape your flight experience. It will be more individual and fit your needs. Even in business class, I could imagine that you have to pre-order your meal and pay for it extra. Why not? So, less catering will be thrown away after the flight. 

BLOG: Why You Should NOT fly with TAP Business Class?

change when flying post covid-19
change when flying post covid-19

4. More Expensive Flight Tickets 🎫 

The aviation industry received state-provided aid, credit lines, and bond issuances, which collectively amassed more than $180 billion worth of debt in 2020. This figure is equivalent to more than half of total annual revenues that year. These costs will need to be recouped. Therefore, we’ll likely see ticket prices rise. To keep ticket prices low or at the same level, airlines may potentially calculate extras within their ticket price. E.g. to take hand-luggage on board. In my opinion, ticket prices need to be high so that they can pay fair loans, reduce the environmental footprint and safety standards can be at the highest level. 

change when flying post covid-19

5. More Hassle due to Certificates and Tests 📲

When travelling out of the country, a passport may not simply be sufficient anymore. We can experience this already. Despite an ID, you may need a vaccination certificate, a test and most of the time you need to register in the country where you are flying to. Additionally, you have to take care when flying via a third country, which may have totally different regulations. This can get quite confusing for travellers to know which documents they need for their journey. 

Digitalization will continue to transform the travel experience. Mobile apps will be used to store travellers’ vaccine certificates, COVID-19 test results and entry forms. Carriers will invest in the customer experience and IT automation – such as making check-in and boarding processes more seamless. Travellers will need to upload all documents before the flight and the system will check it and grant them access to check-in online. At the moment everything needs to be checked at the airport which causes long queues. 

change when flying post covid-19

6. More Leisure Destinations on the Flight Plans 🏝

Leisure trips will fuel the recovery of the industry, whereas business aviation travel will take longer to recover, and even then, it is estimated that it will only recover to approximately 80 percent of pre-pandemic levels by 2024. Remote work and other flexible working arrangements are likely to remain in some form post-pandemic and people will take fewer corporate trips.

This will cause more leisure destinations to be on the flight plans of airlines. We are likely to fly to vacation hotspots more directly. I am hoping that post-pandemic consequences will change a lot at Berlin Brandenburg airport. Let’s see if the disaster airport and other airports will soon offer more direct flights, not just going to major hubs.

change when flying post covid-19

Boeing B777 of SAUDIA

Conclusion 🛫

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is far from over. There seems to be some relief at the moment, but the process to recovery will still take several years. Multiple longer-running trends have been accelerated, such as digitization and the phasing out of less-efficient aircraft. Burdened by debt, many carriers have depleted their cash reserves. But the forecast is not without positivity and hope. Travel will become greener and more efficient, and we are all itching to travel again without restrictions.

I hope you enjoyed my blog post: “6 things that will change when you fly post Covid-19” with my outlook. Please do not forget to like and comment below telling me what else will change in the aviation industry. 

Happy and safe future landings!

Your PilotPatrick


fear of flying

Fear Of Flying - My 10 Tips To Become a More Relaxed Flyer

Updated blog post from 2018

Hello my Aviator,

it makes me really sad to hear that many of you are anxious to fly and cannot enjoy travelling by plane! That is why I want to give you an update on my fear of flying blog post. I actually could write a whole book about this subject. I am passionate to help you to feel more comfortable on board. Hopefully, my 10 tips to manage this anxiety will help you so I see you much more relaxed up in the sky.

Fear of flying

In fact, a survey suggests that 43 percent of people have at least some fear of flying and around 9 percent are so afraid that they would not go on a flight. Now I understand why I receive so many comments and messages asking me what they can do against their fear of flying. In this article, I want to help you as much as possible to get over that fear which is also known as aviophobia. I hope that my personal words as a pilot are more persuasive than those of a third person who is not involved in the aviation industry as much as I am.

There is no reason to panic!

During my research for this blog post, I found out that the most common reason for the fear of flying is the fear to crash. But the probability for that is vanishing low. Let me mention them again to get an idea of how safe flying really is.

It is the safest means of transportation but also the most dangerous one at the same time.

Flying through the air with over 800 km/h with tons of ignitable fuel. In the first place, this does not sound really comforting. And because of that, we took all measures to make it to the safest way of travel.

The probability of your plane going down is around one in 5.4 million. (according to The Economist) It is more likely to be attacked by a shark or even killed by the flu. Travelling in a car is 100 times more deadly than flying in a plane. Despite the high profile plane crashes in the past, it has never been safer to fly. So are you also afraid when driving in the car?

Anxiety originates from ignorance!

I think the anxiety can originate from ignorance not understanding the complex system of aviation. This might trigger “what if?” catastrophic thoughts.

This starts with the ignorance of the systems of the aeroplane. Certain noises and normal flight manoeuvres can already cause unease. For example noise of the brakes, landing gear, the flaps, and the engines. Especially during takeoff, you experience a lot of different ones. The engines run at a high thrust setting, the runway might a little bumpy and the landing gear retracts with a loud “bang”. Trust me all those noises are normal. Most of you are scared of turbulences and think that they are dangerous. Please trust me they belong to the normal path of flight. Aircraft are built to withstand turbulence with ease.

Pilots always try to avoid turbulence and in case we encounter them we try to find a different level to escape the area of turbulence. This causes a spool up or down of the engines and a climb or descent to a different level.

The regulations in aviation are really strict. The authority requires that the aircraft are maintained at fixed intervals. Airlines could not afford to operate a badly maintained aircraft, which could cause them to lose their operator certificate (AOC) and of course their reputation.

fear of flyinig

Redundancy in all aspects of aviation!

Even when there happens to be a malfunction of a system, that does not mean it will end in a disaster. The aircraft are built to be flying in the air and constructed to be redundant. That means if one system fails, the aeroplane will still be safe to fly and a different system will take over it. For example, if one engine fails, the second one will keep the aeroplane in the sky and a safe landing will be possible. This is trained on regular simulator flights many times.

Maybe you have heard about the swiss cheese model before. This model of accident causation illustrates that, although many layers of defence lie between hazards and accidents. Only if there is a flaw in each layer, if aligned, can allow the accident to occur. A single mistake in one layer will not lead to an accident!

My 10 tips against the fear of flying

  1.  Choose an airline you feel safe with or you know they have a good reputation, do not book just because the ticket is cheap
  2. Arrive at the airport with enough time, so you do not get stressed additionally. Minimum 2 hours prior to departure.
  3. Book a seat with more space, e.g. at the emergency exit
  4. Try not to drink alcohol and caffeine this might intense your anxiety
  5. When boarding let the cabin crew know that you are a little bit nervous, a short chat with them can help
  6. Recall that you are safe and probability is on your side
  7. Control your breathing inhale deeply and exhale slowly: Relaaaaax!
  8. Use noise-cancelling headphones, recall that flying and systems produce loud noises, listen to relaxing music and do things that distract you (food, beverages, books, music, sleeping mask)
  9. You are not alone! Millions of people travel by plane at the same time
  10. Keep in mind that the aeroplane is built to travel through the air, turbulence is a normal path of flying,

fear of flying, blog post, help, fear, aviophobia, aviation, safety, app, am i going down

Am I going down?

I found an app “Am I Going Down?”, which claims to calculate the odds of a disaster on a particular flight. You put in three variables: the departure and arrival airports, the airline, and the type of plane used. For example, a flight from San Francisco to London Heathrow has a probability of 1 to 3.646.151 to go down. You would have to take this flight every day for 9.989 years before it crashes. Knowing the probability, which is not even worth mentioning for your particular flight, may help with your fear of flying.

I hope you will be more relaxed on your next flight, so you can enjoy the beauty of flying. Recall my 10 tips when flying next time. You might even save them on your mobile device. Now sit back, relax and enjoy your flight!

What causes you unease on a flight?

Your PilotPatrick

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TAP Business Class review

Why You Should NOT fly with TAP Business Class?

Hey my dear Aviator,

Flying Business Class is indeed exclusive and special. Nobody wants to fly cramped up in Economy on a long-range flight! Once you have tasted the comfort of flying upfront, you don’t ever want to fly in the back anymore.

 (So my advice: Do not ever taste the sweet cheery of Business Class) NO just kidding: You should if you have the chance to! However, the pandemic has changed a lot about this service class. So here is why you should not fly with TAP Business Class.

TAP Business Class review

Airbus A330-900neo

My First time with TAP Air Portugal 🛫

I have flown numerous times on short-haul flights with TAP Air Portugal, which is a member of Star Alliance. In the beginning of 2022 it was m  first time to experience their Business Class service on a flight to Cancún in Mexiko. I was very excited for this flight since flight reports differed a lot online. So I was eager to come to my own opinion, especially because it was their new Business Class service on board an Airbus A330-900neo. Unfortunately, I had to find out that not only was I surprised, I was also very disappointed.

TAP Business Class review
TAP Business Class review

TAP Business Class A330-900neo

Why Should You Not Fly TAP Business Class

Business Class Crew 👩🏼‍✈️👨🏼‍✈️

They were present but not really attentive.  Most of them are very friendly but you could feel that they were not really enjoying their job. This always makes me kind of sad to see. Of course, I am taking lots of photographic content during the flight. I am an aviation blogger and I always respect the privacy of other passengers. But what I don’t like is when a crew member approaches me right after boarding to tell me that it is not allowed to take photos without greeting me.  Why not say: “Hello, welcome on board. Thanks for being a passenger in Business Class. Please try to avoid disturbing other passengers while taking photographs!”.  I would then have felt a little differently towards them.

Please bear in mind this is my personal opinion of this specific flight. The crew makes a huge impact on the experience, so it could be that the crew is totally different on the next flight. Indeed it was the case on the return flight. I definitely felt much more welcomed on board.

TAP Business Class review

Onboard Service 🍽

Service? Which service? The soft products in Business Class (service, food, drink amenity kits, etc.) make such a huge impact on the overall experience. The service only took place to an absolute minimum. There was no boarding drink. I don’t know if it is connected to the pandemic situation or the harsh cost-saving program of TAP. Many airlines have been impacted by the ongoing crisis.

Maybe it is a combination of several things.  However, before the flight, the flight attendants were running up and down the aisle like crazy. So reducing passenger interaction cannot be the reason. 

In general, they were not very attentive during the flight. I either had to call them or go to the galley to get a drink. It was very seldom that they came to me to ask me if I would like anything else. 

AND OMG! It took them so long to start with the service after the takeoff. Especially since they did not offer a boarding drink. 1,5 hours passed before they served the first drink. I think that is not acceptable.

 

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Ein Beitrag geteilt von Patrick Biedenkapp | Captain (@pilotpatrick)

Lounge 🛋

TAP offers a lounge at their hub in Lisbon, Portugal. However, there is only one lounge, which is situated at the Schengen side of the airport. After arriving at Lisbon airport from Berlin I had about 2 hours between the flights. So plenty of time to visit the lounge. Since I did not receive any information about TAP’s service, I just followed the signs to the international departures. I passed passport control and then I looked out for a lounge but I could not find one. The staff at the gate informed me that I had to exit and go back to the Schengen side. All in all, it would take 30 minutes in total, which would leave me a maximum of 30 minutes in the Business Class lounge. So I decided to wait for boarding at the gate. #FAIL

HERE is what you can do during a layover in Lisbon: What To Do In 24 Hours In Lisbon – My Highlights

TAP Business Class review

Food and Drinks 🥂

The pandemic cannot be the reason why the food is not tasty and so limited. It shocked me that the food menu was almost the same as on the short-haul flight to Lisbon. The portions were extremely small and the crew was not able to offer small snacks on a 10-hour flight. 

What shocked me the most: They did not have Champagne on board! #ultimatefail. Instead, they served sparkling wine which was offered as Champagne by the crew. This service should belong to a Business Class experience, like the wings to an aeroplane.

TAP Business Class review
TAP Business Class review

Looking out for that Champagne.

Why Should you fly with TAP Business Class?

Not everything was disappointing, of course. Additionally, I like to exaggerate a bit, I know. There are some great aspects as to why you should fly with TAP in Business Class. 

The New Seat 💺

Onboard the A330-900neo, TAP offers their latest Business Class seat by the brand Recaro. The overall design and layout looks very appealing and modern. You feel comfortable right away. The seating layout 1-2-1, which grants aisle access from every seat, is fantastic. For passengers who travel alone, I recommend the seat which is directly at the window because it offers the most privacy. The seats in the middle, which are close together, are great for couples. However, you do not have a window. The forward cabin is not very big which gives an exclusive feeling.

TAP Business Class review

Seats in the middle are ideal for couples.

TAP Business Class review

More privacy at the window seat.

Ticket price 🎟

The ticket price was definitely one reason why I booked this flight connection to Cancún. One round trip was 1850€ – a very reasonable price for the length of the flight. I use google flights search, as you can select a calendar that shows you the cheapest fares. This is very useful when you are flexible with your travel dates.

A330-900neo ✈️

To fly with the brand new A330-900neo is another reason you should fly with them. It is a mid-size widebody with the lowest seat-mile costs. Designed to be efficient on any sector length, the A330-900 reduces fuel consumption and CO2 emissions by 25% compared to previous generation aircraft. You can feel it is a brand new aircraft. Another big plus of this aircraft model is that TAP offers free Wifi for messaging. Data packages are expensive on the other end.

TAP Business Class review

Would I fly with TAP again?

I would say yes in this case as the ticket price is reasonable. 1850 € for a round trip from Berlin to Cancún is okay when you consider an economy ticket is around 800 € which means per way it is 500 € more in Business Class. Due to the pandemic and the cost-saving program of TAP you pay for the seat, the extra baggage allowance, the lounge access, the priority boarding and not for the service, food and drinks on board. 

I hope you find my blog post: “Why Should You NOT fly with TAP Business Class?” helpful for your future travels. Do not forget to like it and leave a comment below. 

Happy and safe landings!

Your PilotPatrick


sleep like an aeronaut

Sleep Like An Aeronaut In The Hotel Charles Lindbergh At The Phantasialand

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Dear Aviator,

Pack your suitcases for a unique aviation experience! The well-known German amusement park Phantasialand opened up a new theme world called Rookburgh, in which you can sleep like an aeronaut in the Hotel Charles Lindbergh. Instead of an ordinary hotel room, you get to stay in an aircraft cabin, and that’s not all. Whenever you want to fulfil your dream of flying you board the rollercoaster F.L.Y. for a thrilling ride, I mean flight. In this blog post, I am sharing with you my two-day experience at Phantasialand which is a must for all avgeeks.

 

sleep like an aeronaut
sleep like an aeronaut
sleep like an aeronaut

Become A Pioneer of Aviation Oneself

Welcome to your private aviation cabin! At the Hotel Charles Lindbergh you don’t just get a room – here you stay in the cabin of a real airman. When Rookburgh’s seasoned pilots are travelling, you will stay in their private quarters. And as small as their cabins are, they are also great space miracles. Full of warm wood and leather, fine brass and metal and everything you need for a peaceful night out: Two single beds, a private bathroom, a practical wardrobe and much more. Ltd. Meyerhopper, Flight Engineer Festerzieher, Skipper Pilot Durburry – they own the cabins and their traces can be found everywhere. Between all the venerable documents and photos, one becomes a pioneer of aviation.

sleep like an aeronaut
sleep like an aeronaut
sleep like an aeronaut
sleep like an aeronaut

The New Theme World Rookburgh

In 2020 Phantasialand was ready for boarding their passengers to the new theme world Rookburgh where they can become aeronauts. The last time I visited Phantasialand, the theme park in  Brühl, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, was over 10 years ago. Since then they have opened up new thrilling and exciting attractions. The park attracts approximately 2 million visitors annually and was opened in 1967 by Gottlieb Löffelhardt and Richard Schmidt.Originally starting as a family-oriented park, Phantasialand has also added thrill rides, especially during recent years. 

Phantasialand is known for its high attention to detail in its theming and introduces new attractions more often, compared to other theme parks, possibly to compensate for its small area and is regularly voted one of the best parks in the world.

Among the park’s thrill rides is Taron (the world’s fastest multi-launch coaster), Black Mamba (a Bolliger & Mabillard inverted coaster) and a themed Mine Train roller coaster called Colorado Adventure, which speeds around some mountains in the park’s Wild West section and was opened by Michael Jackson.

sleep like an aeronaut
sleep like an aeronaut
sleep like an aeronaut

Sleeping like an Aeronaut

The Hotel Charles Lindbergh is a dream come true. I was able to experience a worldwide unique aviation experience. Once you board the hotel you are entering a different world. A world in which you become an Aeronaut and sleep in your own vintage aeroplane cabin. Every little detail fits the world of aviation, honouring the pioneers of it. The hotel completely merges with Rookburgh and the Flying Launch Coaster F.L.Y. which flies next to your aeroplane cabin. This can become quite noisy over the day but busy airports are never quiet. As a hotel guest, you can enjoy Rookburgh by day and night. That’s the benefit of belonging to the Explorers’ Society.  As a hotel guest you are welcomed into this special society.

sleep like an aeronaut
sleep like an aeronaut
sleep like an aeronaut
sleep like an aeronaut

Included In The Aviation Experience

  1. The following exclusive experiences are included in your package:
  2. Exclusive access to the Hotel Charles Lindbergh
  3. Spending the night in an aeronaut cabin
  4. Boarding Pass Phantasialand: per Explorer at least two days theme parking experience
  5. Charles Lindbergh Ticket: Once a day faster access to F.L.Y.
  6. A delicious 3-course menu at the Restaurant Uhrwerk
  7. A delicious breakfast at the Restaurant Uhrwerk
  8. Private access to the theme park directly from the hotel
  9. Exclusive access to the Bar 1919

sleep like an aeronaut
sleep like an aeronaut
sleep like an aeronaut

My Recommendation

Staying at the Hotel Charles Lindbergh and visiting the Phantasialand is an exciting experience. The cabins are really not the biggest and are probably the smallest hotel room I ever slept in. Considering this and the compact size of the Phantasialand I am recommending a 2-day adventure. Arrive as early as possible on the day of arrival so you have as much time as possible in the park. Once it is check-in time (approx. 3 pm) move into your cabin, relax a bit and go for more fun in the Phantasialand.

I really liked the short ways. In minutes you could access the park from the hotel through a dedicated hotel entrance and only as a hotel guest you received quick boarding passes to ride the roller coaster F.L.Y. This way you could skip the queue which can be very long on busy days.

After you had dinner try some drinks at the bar 1919 in the evening. Prices per night start at around 400€ per night for 2 persons. This sounds quite expensive but when you consider that all benefits listed above are included (also park entrance and food) I think it is reasonable!

USE this link to book your unique aviation experience.

sleep like an aeronaut
sleep like an aeronaut
sleep like an aeronaut
sleep like an aeronaut

I hope you enjoyed the hotel review: “Sleep Like An Aeronaut”. Do not forget to like the blog post and leave a comment below. Do you know about another hotel that has an aviation theme? Let me know. 

Always happy and healthy landings!

Your PilotPatrick


why should you not become a pilot

Why Should You Not Become A Pilot?

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Dear Aviator,

Being a pilot is a dream job and will always be one. Unfortunately, Covid-19 not only turned our lives upside down but also many branches. The aviation and travel industry has been suffering tremendously from travel restrictions and quarantine safety measures worldwide. Consequently, there are now more pilots than jobs on the market.  Corona has not diminished the dream of becoming a pilot for so many. Should you aim to become a pilot and why should you not become a pilot? Is it a good time to pursue your dream despite the current situation? Here I give you a more extensive answer to help you in the process of finding the right decision for your future. Be prepared for the cold truth.

becoming a commercial pilot

Photography by Manu (Professional photographer & plane spotter)

The Dream Of Flying

The dream of flying is as old as mankind itself. But the possibility for everyone on earth to fly like an eagle through the skies is only a few decades old. Aviation, as we know it, is still in its initial phase when considering that the desire to fly freely has always existed. Thanks to great legends and pioneers who helped make aviation what it is today, we can feel quite fortunate that we live in a time where the job as a pilot exists.

A Fast-Paced Industry

Aviation is a moving, but also a really volatile industry, with lots of ups and downs, as Corona has proven. As fast as aviation develops and changes over the years, the job of a pilot has altered as well. We still fly aircraft, but nowadays with a high level of automation, under economic pressure, an increasing number of regulations and a sky that does not seem so free anymore. I would not say that the job lost its glamour over the years, but it is a different glamour and not all jobs have it.

how risky is flying

Would I Become A Pilot Again?

Yes! Yes and Yes!

In a recent Instagram post, I stated that you should choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life. For me, it is still the best job in the world and it does not feel like work for me (most of the time). Of course, the job also has negative aspects. It can indeed be tough, unglamorous and hard work. But in the end, the negative aspects fade behind all the positive sides of the job.

More about the pros and cons here

What Would I Have Done Differently?

I definitely chose the harder way to become a pilot. The entire flight training (about 70,000€) was self-funded and it did not have any guarantee after finishing my training, to get a position in the cockpit. This was quite risky because you never know how the demand for pilots will look when you complete your training; it can happen a lot in the aviation industry. In my case, I was lucky to start flying as a First Officer on a private jet, but I know about other graduates who did not find a job right away. My advice is to get into a cadet program of an airline, so you do not put yourself at financial risk.

 

Have A Plan B

I would advise that you go to college to further your education and possibly gain a degree. This would enable you to seek further employment, even in the airline industry. Especially in aviation, a plan B is essential since you depend on your license.

becoming a commercial pilot

Why You Should NOT Become A Pilot?

Good salary, layovers, free flights, job security – these are probably aspects of why you may like to become a pilot. But the opposite applies. As I mentioned before, the job of a pilot has changed and the conditions in the airline industry have deteriorated tremendously. In the competition with low-cost airlines, major carriers had to reduce costs in all departments including the salary of aircrews. But the requirements and the complexity of the job has not decreased.

The days where you spent one week of a layover in the Caribbean, are also over. In the case of you having a layover, it is now the minimum time required at the destination before your next flight. Low-cost airlines always return to the home base to save money. For me, the pilot job is linked to travelling and layovers. That is why I could not imagine sleeping every night at home. Even though I work in the aviation industry I do not have the privilege or benefit of discounted or free flights. As the high number of bankruptcies of airlines in the European market has shown, job security is not a given.

becoming a commercial pilot

No Air Travel Like Before Corona 

At the moment it is very difficult to assess how the aviation industry will look in the future. But I am very sure that the general demand for flights will not reach the same level as before the pandemic started. Firstly, lots of people are suffering from the crisis which means they will simply not have the means to go on a vacation. Secondly, the whole business trips scenario will change or has already changed.

Companies will think twice and decide if the budget for the business trip makes sense, or if the meeting can be done online instead. In general, most companies have been weakened throughout the crisis, which means they will have a reduced budget for travel in general. The business traveller who books expensive business class tickets will fly less, which will seriously impact the airline’s revenue.

becoming a commercial pilot

My Honest Advice

Do not enter flight training right now!

If you are leaving high school and you want to become a pilot:

I recommend those who are leaving high school at this time, to get experience in another profession or a degree. Once completed you can reconsider your plans of becoming a pilot. This way you postpone your start date to a time where there will be a  much clearer picture of the aviation industry. Additionally, some pilots will be leaving because of retirement or a new profession. This will guarantee you a full back-up plan, in case you do not manage to get employment as a pilot.

If you have started your flight training already:

I think in this situation it makes sense to finish your course with the pilot school in order to receive your license and use every possible resource to find a job and be open to relocating.

becoming a commercial pilot

Post Corona

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) estimates that air traffic will have doubled within the next few years. The long term trend for the demand for aircrews exists. We as passengers, customers, and staff of the aviation industry have the power to change and shape it for the future.

Become a pilot if you have the passion and fascination for aviation. It is important to know about the negative as well as the positives, when considering becoming a pilot. Downsides exist in all industries – but with one huge difference – you become part of a world full of energy and enthusiasm, which is hard to find in any other jobs.

becoming a commercial pilot

I hope you enjoyed my honest blog post: “Why should you not become a pilot?” Do not forget to like it and leave me a comment below.

Happy and healthy landings

Your PilotPatrick


how to become a private pilot

How To Become A Private Pilot (fast)

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The dream of flying is as old as mankind itself. I fulfilled my dream of flying airplanes as a pilot and it seems that you have the same desire. In this blog post, I will tell you what it takes to obtain a private pilot license and share with you the steps necessary. How long does it take? How much does it cost and how to become a private pilot FAST? It definitely ain’t rocket science and if you have the same excitement for flying as me you will easily fulfil our dream. (All requirements and regulations are based on the European aviation authority)

how to become a private pilot

Flying The Small Birds

In my latest question and answer videos on my Instagram page, I noticed that so many of you had questions on how to become a private pilot to fly small planes just for fun. I am currently operating piston-engine aeroplanes regularly since I completed my flight training to become a flight instructor. My flight students train VFR flying to obtain the PPL (private pilot license), the LAPL (light airplane pilot license) and the ATPL (airline transport pilot license). You probably have heard of the PPL but the LAPL might sound new to you. It is a way to fly light airplanes faster. I will share more information about this license later in this article.

Check out this blog post in case you are interested in How To Become A Flight Instructor”.

how to become a private pilot
how to become a flight instructor

The Private Pilot License

The license of PPL(A) (EASA-FCL), which stands for Private Pilot’s License European Aviation Safety Agency Flight Crew Licensing. I am glad that we have so many abbreviations in the aviation language. This license allows you to fly two  and four-seater aircraft (such as our Cessnas C-172) in Germany as well as abroad, whereby it is valid only for one-engine aircraft which have a maximum permissible gross of two tons. The license can later be expanded by further licenses or class ratings. (like Instrument flying or multi-engine ratings.)

 

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Ein Beitrag geteilt von Patrick Biedenkapp | Captain (@pilotpatrick)

Requirements

  • Sec. 23 para. 2 Air Traffic Licensing Order (LuftVZO): minimum age to start training is 16 (license qualification with age of 17)
  • Aviation medical class 2
  • Declaration of pending criminal proceedings (Sec. 24 para. 3 no. 3 and 4 Air Traffic Licensing Order)
  • Extract of German Federal Bureau of Motor Vehicles and Drivers (Kraftfahrt-Bundesamt) (Sec. 30 para. 8 of Road Traffic Act (StVG))

The following documents are needed in the course of the training:

  • Radio Telephony Certificate (BZF) – (is being acquired in parallel to the flight training)
  • Security background check

My insider tip: Before searching for a flight school in your preferred location, I would do the medical examination first so you know that you are fit to become a pilot.

how to become a private pilot

Find A Suitable Flight School

Finding the right flight school is probably the most difficult task on the way to becoming a pilot. The quality of your training highly depends on the flight school and their instructors. Let Google do the job for you to find flight schools at your preferred location.

My insider tips:  

  • Talk to former flight students and ask them for their opinion on the flight school
  • Visit them personally before signing a contract. Maybe they have an “open day”  to get to know the flight school.
  • Check the size and state of the fleet of aeroplanes. A small fleet could cause your flight missions to be cancelled more often because of technical issues.
  • Take your first flight lesson as a test to see if you like it and feel comfortable with the school.

Pricing for a private pilot license (flight school around Berlin):

how to become a private pilot
how to become a private pilot

Theoretical training

The theoretical part of the training contains 6 training subjects. In addition, there will be the theory for the Radio Telephony Certificate.

  • Technics (aerodynamics, aircraft knowledge)
  • Navigation
  • Meteorology
  • Air Law
  • Human Performance
  • behaviour in exceptional situations
  • Radio Telephony Certificate (BZF) theory

Practical training

The practical part of the training contains 45 flight lessons, 10 lesson hours of which have to be flown without a flight instructor (solo), whereby again at least 5 lesson hours of which need to be cross country flights. One of these cross country flights need to have a minimum flight route of 270 km containing two stops at foreign airports. Furthermore, controlled airports have to be approached as part of the training. On top of that, the training contains instructions in instrument rating and radio navigation. You also practice different airwork flight patterns to get to know the behaviour of the aeroplane in critical flight conditions.

Examinations

The training will be completed by a theoretical and a practical examination. For logical reasons, the theoretical examination will be taken after the student pilot’s first solo-flight, whereby all subjects of the theoretical training will be examined by means of multiple choice. The practical examination will be taken at the end of the training when you will fly together with an examiner for about 60 minutes.

how to become a flight instructor

How To Become A Private Pilot (fast)

There are a few ways to become a private pilot a little bit quicker. In general, it takes a minimum of two months for flight training. Once you have passed your examinations you have to apply for the license and your aviation authority in charge. This can take another few weeks. It took the German LBA over 6 months to issue my flight instructor license.  This is definitely not acceptable in our faced-paced aviation world.

  1. Easing of training restrictions

If you have a license for gliding, it is possible to reduce the flying time by 10 %, whereby a maximum of 10 flight hours can be accepted.

  1. Pick the right time of the year

Your VFR flight training highly depends on the weather. If the weather is below VFR minimums, you will not be able to fly so the flight mission needs to be cancelled. So pick a time of the year for your location in which you have the best flying weather. In case you are in doubt, ask the flight school for the best starting time.

  1. Have all your papers and documents ready

Before you start with your flight training, make sure that you have all the papers on board and requirements fulfilled.

  1. Light aeroplane pilot license

The LAPL allows you to become a pilot quicker. The downside is that you will not be able to add class ratings like IFR or multi-engine. Additionally, you are only allowed to fly within the European Union with a maximum of 3 passengers on board in aeroplanes that weigh below two tons. The advantage is that you only need 30 flight hours in total and the costs are reduced by about 25%, so a total of 8,000€ approximately.

My insider tip: GO for the full Private pilot license which allows you to fly globally.

how to become a private pilot

I hope you find my blog post on “How To Become A Private Pilot (fast)” helpful and could clarify some uncertainties. Make sure to like the post and share it with others who might be interested in this topic.

Drop me an e-mail to flightstudent@pilotpatrick.com, in case you are searching for a flight school in Berlin. I am happy to help you out and maybe I will even be your flight instructor.

Always happy landings!

Your PilotPatrick


how to become a flight instructor

How To Become A Flight Instructor

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Dear Aviator,

Welcome back on board my blog. It has been a while since the last time I posted here. I have a viable excuse for this. For the last two months, I have been busy with the training to become a flight instructor. The 10 most frequent questions regarding the training will be answered in this blog post. So buckle up, sit back, relax and enjoy my insights into the flight instructor rating. 

how to become a flight instructor
how to become a flight instructor

1. Why did I become a flight instructor?

You never forget your education and skills when working in the aviation business. Obtaining the pilot license sets the foundation for different ratings. Whether it is a type, examiner or in my case, the instructor rating. There are many ways to upgrade your pilot license and your personal proficiency. Becoming a captain was my biggest goal once I started flying as a First Officer. Once this was accomplished, I quickly noticed that I enjoyed passing on my experience and knowledge to my younger colleagues on the ride side. Before getting the 4th stripe on my uniform I was seated in their position and I expected from my superior that he/she would guide and teach me so that I could become a captain one day. 

To be in the position of a flight instructor on a regular flight, which I enjoyed very much, led me to become a flight instructor.

It must be a great feeling to pass on my passion and knowledge and to be able to teach people how to fly!

how to become a flight instructor

2. Which does the flight instructor rating grant?

ATPL(A), Airline transport pilot license: that is the pilot license I am currently possessing. This permits me to fly commercially in a two-man cockpit both as a First Officer or Commander.

The flight instructor for fixed-wing aeroplanes (FI(A)) gives me the qualification to instruct future pilots (flight students) on single piston aircraft to fly VFR (visual flight rules). Basically, when you decide as a pedestrian (that is how aviators call people who do not fly) to get a private pilot license (PPL) I could be your instructor. A PPL as the name suggests permits you to fly private so non-commercially. I am not only entitled to train up in the air but also on the ground during theory courses.

If a flight instructor is licensed according to EASA-FCL, his license will be titled FI(RP) during his first 100 hours of training. This abbreviation means “Restricted Privileges” – one restriction is, for instance, that a FI(RP) is not allowed to declare a flight student to be permitted to perform his/her first solo flight.

 

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Ein Beitrag geteilt von Patrick Biedenkapp | Captain (@pilotpatrick)

3. How long does the training last?

In the aviation business, you always need to be ready for last-minute changes and amendments, which may lengthen the training significantly. Especially when you need VFR flight conditions in Germany during spring, it may take a little bit longer. All in all, it took me 7 weeks to have the entire training including the examination completed.

4. What are the costs of the training?

This depends immensely on the location and the flight school. The cost for a flight instructor course is around 12,000€ in Germany.  Flying is not inexpensive.

how to become a flight instructor

DA20 and C152 for the practical training

5. What are the minimum requirements?

1. Minimum age of 18
2. Valid PPL(A) EASA Part FCL, CPL(A) or ATPL(A) license
3. Valid aviation medical of at least class 2
4. At least 200 flight lessons, including:

  • holding of ATPL(A) or
  • holding of PPL(A) at least 150 hours in command + CPL(A) theory course (e.g. Distance Learning + Classroom instruction) und theoretic CPL(A) test at the Luftfahrt-Bundesamt or another authority
  • at least 30 flight hours on an one-engine aircraft with a piston engine, at least 5 flight hours of which must have been passed within the last six months prior to pre-examination, which is performed by the flight training school
  • at least 10 flight hours of instrument flight training (IR or CVFR), maximum 5 hours of which may be passed on the ground using a simulator or FNPT II
  • at least 20 hours cross country flights being the pilot in command, including one flight, whose flight route is at least 540 km long and which includes at least two landings on airports that differ from the start airport

5. Evidence of CPL(A) knowledge according to EASA Part FCL.915.FI b) (2) i)
(this may be provided by a passed theoretical exam at CPL(A) or ATPL(A))

6. Pre-examination: has to be passed within six months and at the latest one week prior to the start of the training examined by a FI(A) who has been licensed according to EASA Part FCL.905.FI i), based on the proficiency check according to appendix 9.

how to become a flight instructor
how to become a flight instructor

Outfitted with accessories of Porsche Design by Brics

6. How is the training to become a flight instructor structured?

The training is decided in a theoretical and a practical part.

Theoretical training

125 lesson hours of classroom instruction of the subjects:

  • the learning discourse
  • the process of a lesson
  • basics of training
  • applied learning methods on theory and practise
  • evaluation and examination of flight students
  • development of training program
  • human performance with respect to flight training
  • dangers simulating breakdowns during flight training
  • night rating
  • administrative task during the training

Practical training

30 flight lessons on an one-engine aircraft, 25 hours of which have to be flown together with an apprenticeable FI instructor, including 5 exceptional flight conditions on an aerobatic aircraft. 5 flight lessons being part of a team with another applicant for FI(A). The applicant is flying the aircraft sitting on the right-hand side, the FI-I is simulating the student pilot.

how to become a flight instructor
how to become a flight instructor

Closed Tegel airport TXL

7. Which ratings can you add to the flight instructor license?

FI(A) IR Flight instructor aims to teach instrument flying rules (flying without visual references)

FI(A) ME Flight instructor aims to teach on multi-engine aeroplanes.

IRI (A) – Instrument Rating Instructor aims to qualify you as an instructor for training in instrument flight.

CRI SE SPA – class rating instructor single engine single-pilot aircraft has the aim to qualify you as an instructor for single-engine airplane training.

CRI ME SPA – class rating instructor multi engine single-pilot aircraft has the aim to qualify you as an instructor for multi-engine aeroplane training.

MCC Instructor – Multi-Crew Cooperation training is to improve the cockpit coordination between the crew members. The MCC training course is the bridge between the ATPL course and the future workplace within the cockpit environment.

Just to mention a few options on how you can upgrade your pilot license. The foundation sets the flight instructor rating.

how to become a flight instructor

8. When are you going to instructor your first flight student?

TBA announced on my social media channels. In particular on my Instagram channel @pilotpatrick. So make sure to follow me and have the notifications turned on.

9. Which aeroplanes do you fly during the training?

It was back to basics. Instead of flying big birds, it was those little birds we trained on. Flying is costly so the training primarily takes place on two-seater piston engine aircraft like the Diamond DA20 and the Cessna C152. This does not only keep the costs down but the environmental footprint as well. As a rule of thumb, the bigger the aircraft the higher the fuel consumption.

10. How does the examination look like?

Once the theoretical and practical training was done, I was ready for the examination. The examination consisted of three parts. In my case, it took approximately 5 hours to complete. 

  1. Check flight: An examiner checks your flying skills, knowledge about the aeroplane and the regulations. Overall he checks your capability to operate a single-piston aircraft from the right seat and your competency as an instructor. The examiner simulates engine failures, aborted take offs, navigation through landmarks, simulated emergency landing in a field, airwork like steep turns and stalls. Even though it was a check flight, I saw those flights also as training, and there is always something another experienced pilot can pass on to you.
  2. PPL theory: The examiner checks if you are familiar with the entire knowledge a private pilot should possess. He/She may ask you questions about aerodynamics, navigation, meteorology and so on.
  3. Theory class: The examiner checks if you are capable of holding a theory class in front of flight students. He/she basically wants to see that you have the ability to convey knowledge comprehensively.

how to become a flight instructor

Overall I am very happy that I followed my excitement of becoming a flight instructor and I can absolutely recommend getting this rating as well. I could upgrade my airmanship and my proficiency in flying small aeroplanes a lot. I hope you enjoyed my article on how to become a flight instructor. Please do not forget to like the blog post.

It would be fantastic when one of you will be my flight student in the future.

Happy and healthy landings!

Your PilotPatrick