Flying a propeller airplane

Flying a propeller airplane
15/11/2016 pilotpatrick
flying a propeller airplane

Yesterday I went flying and I could leave my big suitcase at home. Instead of operating a private jet through Europe, I used my time off to go flying in a small Cessna 172 of ARDEX flight school.

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Lets go flying – C172S with 180HP and 4 seats

Lucky it was a sunny day in Berlin and the flight conditions were excellent. The newspaper Bild was interested to do an interview with me. Since everyone can do an interview on the ground, I invited the journalists to join me on a flight to do an interview up in the air.

Additionally the interview was live on my official Facebook page @PilotPatrick, so everyone could watch me flying from take off up to landing. For some action I flew a steep turn with 45° bank angle. Use this link or scroll down to the flying interview and watch if the journalists, Anne and Celal, enjoyed it.

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Back to Kyritz Airport – Shutdown checklist complete

Besides holding a valid type rating for the Citation XLS+, I possess a SEP (single engine piston) rating as well. This grants me to fly aircraft, which are driven with one propeller. I did most of my flight training on this type of aircraft. A big part of my SEP hours, I flew by myself without an instructor in Croatia. But like all licenses and ratings in the aviation industry, I have to revalidate the SEP rating every two years with a couple of flight hours.

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Visting Ardex flight school for a flying interview in a Cessna C172

But why should I fly a small aircraft besides my job as pilot?

There is a big difference between flying a jet and a small piston aircraft. The flying itself and the input to the control surfaces remains the same. One major difference of course is the speed and altitude I operate at. Yesterday I flew a maximum speed of 180 km/h at an altitude of 650m. In the Citation jet I usually fly a speed of 800 km/h at an altitude of 12.000m. 90% of the flight time of a commercial jet aircraft is operated under instrument flight rules (IFR), whereas a small Cessna is primarily flown under visual rules (VFR) in VMC (visual metrological conditions). This requires a constant look out for other traffic and the navigation is made through visual guidance on the ground.

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VFR + GPS chart for navigation (upper left blue circle indicates Kyritz)

A big issue in aviation is that the many pilots loose their manual flying skills over the years. Even when flying up to 900 hours in one year, the high level of automation and company procedures prevent pilots to fly manually more often. Usually only take off and landing are flown by end. But especially those manual flying skills are needed when there happens to be a failure or abnormality of a system. Read this report about it.

That is one reason why I decided to practice my manual flying skills once in a while. Additionally I enjoy flying at a moderate altitude to have a great view of the countryside and to choose the destination myself. I would say it is purer way of flying since everything feels closer without numerous systems and automation aids.

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Sunny day in autumn with temperatures around 2 degrees – on the way to Runway 14

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Live interview with BILD up in the air via Facebook live stream

ARDEX Flight School

This was definitely a special day of flying in my career, which I will remember for a long time. Thanks again to the flight school ARDEX for sponsoring and making this event happen. In case you want to become a pilot or want to charter a plane, this family owned business is situated only one hour from Berlin. They offer courses to a acquire a private or even a commercial license so you may become my first officer some day.

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Flight School ARDEX in Kyritz (close to Berlin)

Have you flown in a small aircraft before? Please comment below.

Postive mind, positive life and happy landings!

Your Pilot Patrick

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The Bild interview in full length:

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Arthur Estrada

This is really interesting pilot, I would definitely feel safe with you doing the flying. Be great.


That sounds so much fun. I would have load to have been up there


ARDEX and especially Anja also had a lot of fun. The weather was so nice and Patrick did a great job as pilot.

Stephanie Reinicke

So,as you said you were using your free time to go flying in kyritz i just can’t figure out why on earth you would have to wear a uniform to do so ? Are you one of these colleagues that I see grocery shopping in uniform as well ? Hilarious …

Nora Mezowra

Tbh, i am very moved and inspired with your passion and commitment of your dreams. A real role model!

Truly Limitless

Hi Patrick, reading your blog is a pleasure. I have flown light aircraft before but only under instruction. I began learning in the DeHavilland-Canada Chipmunk which was a delight to fly; very responsive but a little noisy too. I couldn’t achieve my aim of gaining my PPL unfortunately due to illness but I still love being a passenger at every opportunity. Keep up the great writing. It’s good to know that their are young pilots out there who despite wanting to pilot the ‘heavies’ still want to ‘fly’ the aircraft and not be flown.