private jet pilot

A day of a Private Jet Pilot III

Welcome back on board and enjoy the last blogpost of this series "A day of a Private Jet Pilot". Make sure you have read Part 1 and Part 2.

Private Jet Pilot

Inflight having a healthy meal

The Approach

45 minutes prior our expected time of arrival (ETA) I start to prepare the approach, receive the actual weather and do an approach briefing. Runway 13 in use in Malaga (130 degrees magnetic orientated) Summerly weather conditions with only some clouds and temperature over 30 degrees. The approach is quite turbulent since the flight route takes us overhead a mountains area and thermic conditions are prevailing.
Citation XLS+ in sunny Malaga
At 17:25 after 3:05 hours flight time we reach our parking stand. The handling service informs us that the driver of the passengers told him that they will arrive in approximately 30 minutes. That means we need to hurry up to prepare everything for the next and last flight to Naples. We need the full package. Fuel, catering and fresh documents. Together we check the weather again of our destination and alternate. It looks that major parts of the thunderstorms will have moved southbound. Good news! While the captain is inside waiting for the passengers to arrive Victoria and me prepare the rest. Just in time for our passengers to board the aircraft. The couple is really happy to meet the crew since the flight was not confirmed four hours ago.
I feel good - important to stay hydrated

Flight to Naples

The flight is again really smooth. After Victoria has served a dinner for the passengers she dims the cabin lighting and helps the passengers to move the seats into a flat position for a little rest. We can see an amazing sunset overhead the Mediterranean Sea.
Sunset on top of the clouds Why I fly - sunset up in the air
Last approach of the day. Now it is really important to stay focused and concentrated. It has been a really long. As expected the weather has calmed down. We are cleared for a straight in approach which means that no big turns are required to align with the centerline of the runway. Ciao! Cleared to land advices the tower.

The landing

Watch out laser beams! Someone is pointing on us from the ground. We lower hour heads and turn of the lightning of the aircraft. Strong laser beams can harm us and cause intense reflections in the cockpit. There is the chance to loose the controls of the plane because of temporary blindness. Why and who does something like this?! It can be so dangerous for air traffic and it is a criminal offense with high punishments.
Cockpitview approaching LIRN at night
Shortly prior landing I can see fireworks on the right side. On block at 21:05 after 2:16 hours flight time. After the passengers have left the aircraft we start with our post flight duties. Finish the paper work, clean up the cabin, unload the luggage and install the red protection covers again. This takes another 30-45 minutes to be done.

Finally done

We are finally done for today. For the record: over 6.000 km flown and 8:29 hours up in the air. I think this is my new personal record! It is 22:30 by now when we finally reach the hotel. I am happy to get out of my uniform. 10 minutes later we meet as crew again to have dinner. We reflect the day and talk already about the upcoming flights.
Back in my hotel room. I answers some of my private messages and immediately fall asleep after closing my eyes!
I hope you have enjoyed flying with me. Good night from Naples!
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private jet pilot

A day of a Private Jet Pilot II

Welcome back on board and enjoy reading about the rest of the day. Be sure to sit back, relax and have read the blogpost: "A day of a Private Jet Pilot Part 1" before continuing.

Departure London

Holding Point Runway 26 in Luton. We are ready for departure. Two minutes left until we have to be airborne. No problem for a german crew being always on time. At 08:20 we are finally airborne for our flight to Malta. The airspace in London area is quite dense especially during rush hours. You have to be really concentrated to comply with the instructions and not to miss a radio call of the super fast speaking british ATC (Air traffic control). We need to level off several times before receiving the clearance to climb to our cruising altitude of 13.000m.

Healhy snack above the clouds to be a fit pilot

After crossing the Street of Dover we are handed over to a french controller. Our route takes us southbound overhead Eastern France. The flight conditions are really smooth so the passengers can enjoy a delicious breakfast served by our flight attendant Victoria. She offers us something to drink. As always I have a green tea with honey.

Cruise flight

During cruise the autopilot is activated. This a requirement otherwise we are not allowed to fly in this upper airspace. We continuously monitor the aircraft systems, we keep track of our fuel consumption and we have a look on the weather en route. After having crossed the french and swiss alps we reach italian territory. CIAO! says the controler. From now on the quality of the ATC deteriorates with every mile flying southbound. Our route takes us between Corse and along the west coast of Italy to Sicily. Our final destination this evening will be Naples. We already can see a huge build up of clouds in Southern Italy. This is caused by a low pressure area. We are hoping that those thunderstorms will not effect us later on this day.

Weather build up in Southern Italy

Shortly after passing Palermo we start our descent towards Malta. We expect nice weather with winds coming from the north and temperatures around 30 degrees. Runway 31 is in use which means we have the fly past the airport to start the approach after a 180 degrees to the left.

Malta is in sight. Descending for Runway 31

Touchdown on Luqa airport after a flight time of 03:08 hours. A short taxi takes us to our parking position on Apron 8. My captain leaves the aircraft first to take care of the luggage in the cargo compartment. I say good bye to my passenger and thank them for flying with us. I will see them tomorrow again when we fly them to Cannes. A small bus of the handling service picks them up.

A long turn around

Due to the slot in London we have a delay of almost one hour. Which means we should be airborne for our ferry to Malaga within an half an hour. But we still need to print out fresh weather, pay the landing fees and most important we need fuel for the outbound flight. Since we are in a hurry I start the APU (Auxiliary power unit) again to prepare the cockpit and to have air condition in the cabin. But then the phone rings. Our operations informs us that the flight with passengers from Malaga to Naples is not yet confirmed. It seems like that there is no proof of payment by the broker. As long as the flight is not confirmed we stay on the ground and use this time to have a coffee inside the terminal. That is how the charter business works. Flights can be cancelled our booked at last notice.

Waiting on the flight confirmation

We finally receive the GO of our company. Now everything has to been done as quick as possible. Fortunately my captain printed the new flight documents already saving some time now. We also filed a new flight plan since the old one would have taken us overhead Northern Africa. Our decision is to fly a more northerly route to be one the safe side. In aviation always safety first.

On the ground with the metal bird in Malta FMS set up for the next flight - 940 Nautical Miles

Leaving Malta

Take off in Malta. Now I am the pilot flying and my captain is doing the ATC communication. The responsibility still lies with the captain no matter who is piloting the plane. Scheduled flight time is again around three hours. To make up some time we cruise at max speed of 0.75 Mach and try to get some shortcuts on the way. Mach 0.75 is definitely not the fastest but for the short duration of the legs you would not save a lot of time flying faster. Our advantages are good takeoff and landing performance and a max flight level of 450 (13.700m). Even flying flight level 410 to Malaga today we have to request headings to avoid weather. Flying through an area of thunderstorms or even flying too close to them can cause severe turbulences, icing and hail could damage the aircraft. We would never take the risk.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J9VF-y5waF0]

Good bye Malta - hope to be back soon.

During this long flight without passengers I stretch out in the cabin for a while. I have a chat with Victoria while I am having lunch. It is 15:00 by now and I have not really eaten. I drink a green tea and a freshly squeezed juice to boost me with some energy. It is still a lot of flying ahead.

I hope you have enjoyed flying with me so far. In my next blogpost "A day of a Private Jet Pilot Part III" you will read how this day finally ends and which scary event happens during the final approach to Naples.

Your Pilot Patrick

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Private Jet pilot

A day of a Private Jet Pilot I

In my last blogpost I explained what I exactly mean with the Business Aviation. Now I want to tell you how a busy day of flying in this aviation branch can look like.

Welcome on board of a day of a private jet pilot

Hilton Hotel Luton Hotel 05:00 my alarm goes off. Time to get up! I question myself why so early? I snooze and sleep for another 10 mins. First thing in the morning I check my messages, my instagram and then I refresh my flight schedule. Unfortunately the take off is still early at 08:00 to Malta. I check the weather at the destination, alternate and en route. Smooth flying conditions during cruise and we might encounter some turbulences during the descent to Malta airport.
I catch a glimpse outside the window. It is still dark and it looks cloudy. The fact that I will see the sun in a couple of hours and that I will cruise at Flight level 430 (approx. 13.100m) motivates me.

Before I do anything else I turn on music on my portable Bose speaker to wake me up. I pack my suitcase, iron my fresh pilot shirt, take a shower and I jump in my uniform.

First breaky

Fortunately this hotel starts quite early to serve breakfast. Me and my crew captain Sven (32 years old) and flight attendant Viktoria (28) meet up at 06:00 to have breakfast before our taxi picks us up at 06:30. Today we are quite young crew. Through this job I managed to be hungry no matter what time it is. On this morning I have some hash browns, eggs and cereal with fruits (I always take my own almond milk) I drink a green tea with honey.

Even that early the atmosphere is really good. We talk briefly about the upcoming day of flying. Three legs with two different clients. It will be a long day! We depart from London Luton (EGGW) to Malta (LMML). Then after a quick turnaround to Malaga (LEGM) ferry to pick up passengers to fly them to Naples (LIRN). Final landing is scheduled to be at 19:30 Local time.

Beautiful sunrise at the airport

Pick up

A short taxi ride takes us to the VIP Terminal of Signature Handling in EGGW. After having our passports get checked, we proceed to the crew reception and lounge without any security check!! We have an espresso, print our flight documents and do a flight briefing to get everyone in the loop.

Now it is one hour prior departure and we walk over the parking position of our Citation XLS. It is only a hundred meter walk. Those short ways are awesome in the business aviation. I open up the entry door, stow our luggage in the aft hold and remove all red covers, which protect the engines and flight sensitive areas of the aircraft. The sun slowly rises and the temperature is pleasant. Luckily no rain!

The VIP catering of Air Culinaire is being delivered together with hot water and freshly brewed coffee. Rush hour in Luton. This airport is used both by low cost airlines and high cost airlines, the Private Jets ;-) The airport situated further outside the city than Heathrow. But since the ways on the airport are really short, you safe time in the end.

Early bird - Waiting on the passengers to arrive

Flight preparation

After the completion of the outside check of the airplane we start the APU (Auxiliary Power unit) which provides electricity and air conditioning without the main engines running. While I set up the flight deck and do all required cockpit checks, Victoria prepares the cabin and creates a nice boarding atmosphere for our two passengers.

The captain is inside the VIP terminal waiting for the passengers and informs me that we received a slot 30 minutes after our filed flight plan. That means we have a time window of only 15 minutes. Only within this period we are allowed to take off. A delay on the first flight of the day is not helpful. Good news the passengers arrive on time so we might manage to make the slot.

Boarding complete! While the Captain does a passenger briefing in the cabin, I request our clearance for the route and the approval to the start the engines. Start up approved. Let's go!

A lot of checklists have to be read before we are in a queue of aircrafts waiting to depart. We are currently number five to depart, which means a minimum of 10 minutes to wait. Finally reaching holding point 26 I call ready for departure. Only two minutes left until the slot expires.

Read my next blogpost "A day of a Private Jet Pilot Part 2" to find out if make the slot!

Your Pilot Patrick

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general avaition

What is the General Aviation + what do I exactly mean with Business Aviation?

I have been asked many times for which airline I am working for. Unfortunately I am not allowed to tell you the exact name of the company, but I am more than happy to let you know what we are doing. There is a big difference to the major airlines you maybe know.

General Aviation

General Aviation (GA) is easy to explain. It is basically all traffic which is non-scheduled. In this case all major airlines like Lufthansa, Air Berlin, Swiss, etc. do not belong to the GA because they operate on a fixed flight schedule. Airlines and most of the GA traffic fly according a flight plan which as to be submitted prior to flight execution.

The GA exists of many different types of operation. This could be the hobby pilot operating his own small Piper or the flight student flying a glider he just chartered. The Business Aviation also belongs to the GA since it depends on the demand of the passengers when they fly. Thus there is no fixed flight schedule they operate accordingly. This does not mean those aircrafts are automatically smaller. Private Jets or Business Jets can be a small as a 4 seater or even as big as a Boeing 747 VIP. The major difference is that you fly alone or take those persons on board you like to.

Citation XLS +

I am flying for a german Business Jet charter company. Everyone is eligible to charter a plane and can fly with us. Once you have booked a flight you are automatically treated as a VIP. You choose your type of aircraft, the route, the times, the catering and the people who travel with you. This service is quite expansive when you compare it to a regular ticket with an airline. But keep in mind you get the most exclusive flight experience.

As a commercial airline we have to obey the same regulations and rules from the LBA (German aviation authority) and the EASA (European Aviation Safety Agency) like a big airline company. We are always two pilots in the cockpit. One Captain one First Officer. Additionally we have a flight attendant on board, but she is not required by regulation to fly with us.

Most owner put their aircraft to a management company to take care of it. They organizse crew, schedule maintenance and charter the plane to others when he does not need it. Just to tell you a number: yearly costs to operate a Gulfstream (fix costs) are about 400.000€ without one minute of flying.

Citation XLS +

Our daily flight schedule can consits from 0-6 legs. Usually we fly different customers on one day but it can happen that we only fly one customer to different destinations in one day. For example Business men who have a tight meeting schedule.

Who flies private with me?

Unfortunately I can not tell you exact names because discretion is most important in this industry. But I can tell you that I have flown international superstars, politicians, sports men and those you can afford a flight hour of more than 3.000€. Of course it is really exciting to have someone really famous on board but this does not change anything on my job I am doing up front. I always try to give my best and everyone is treated equally.Remember: A Private Jet is like a dream. It waits only for you!

Your Pilot Patrick

Next blogpost: A day of a Private Jet Pilot

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