Moving to the left seat – Captain upgrade Part 1

Moving to the left seat – Captain upgrade Part 1
07/01/2019 pilotpatrick
how to become a captain

Dear Aviator,

happy new year to you! I wish you all the best and many happy landings in 2019. The new year started with amazing news for me. At the end of last year, I already informed you that I applied for a captain position on the A300. The application process took several months and ended successfully with an assessment in the simulator. In this blog post, I want to give you some background information and insights into the application process and how to become a captain.  

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How to become a captain?

To become a captain of a commercial jet does not happen from one to another day. It takes several years after finishing flight school before you will able to move to the left seat. Your flight experience plays the most important role, on the way, you also have to pass countless simulator checks, type ratings, skill tests.

Additionally you not only need to meet the legal requirements, but you also have to prove yourself within in the company. You need to have the right attitude and personality for this position.

Read my blog series how I became a pilot for more information about my career path!

how to become a captain

How long does it take to become a captain?

This depends on the airline and the individual. To become captain of a commercial aircraft, you must have logged at least 1,500 flight hours and hold a full Air Transport Pilots Licence (ATPL). However, in reality, most airlines require a minimum of 3,000 hours before considering any pilots for promotion. Before I left the Business Aviation I had around 2400 flight hours and my previous employer already considered promoting me on a private jet. With the age of 27, this sounded pretty compelling, but I was looking for a different occupational challenge.


When I joined my current employer two years ago, I have never thought that I will be promoted that quickly. At the moment of the job advertisement, I  met exactly the requirements for the upgrade, (only a few flight hours were missing, which I have by now) In my mind I always had the goal to become a captain with the age of 30. When I switched airlines I thought this will not be possible anymore, but it seems like that I am mistaken.

how to become a captain

Job advertisement of the airline

Application Form

Like applying for a new job at a different company, I had to apply internally to the position of the commander. At first, I had to check if I meet all the requirements. The next step was to fill out the application form in which I had to mention why I want this position and why I would be a suitable candidate. Find my answers below. Additionally, I had to list my current flight hours.

All applications of the first officers were reviewed by the company. Training captains and the management were interviewed if I would be a suitable candidate.

I received positive feedback so the first step in becoming a captain was passed. 

how to become a pilot
how to become a captain

Commander assessment

The next step was an assessment in a full flight simulator. During an hour flight in the simulator, I was given a scenario with different malfunctions. Two instructor captains, one seated in the back operating the simulator and one seated in the captain position did the assessment with me. The check was primarily not to assess my flying skills, moreover to observe my flight management skills and my decision-making process. The whole flight I was pilot flying (PF) from the right seat and the captain to the left supported me but did not help me to find any solutions.

I was pretty nervous and really excited, but also really happy that I have this great opportunity. Once in the simulator, I was rather relaxed and I was looking forward to proving my skills and knowledge.

Additionally, I was asked a few questions to the operational procedure and technical aspects of the airplane. I went back home without any result and mixed feelings. The good news arrived in the new year!

how to become a captain

What will change?

I will still fly the airplane as before, but from the left seat with four stripes. As a commander, I will be responsible for the safe operation and the safety for all crew members, passengers and cargo on board as soon I arrive on board until I leave the aircraft at the end of the flight. So even when my colleague messes up something I will be the one who will be blamed for it. Flying means teamwork and finding solutions together, but in the end, it is the captain who orders and makes the final decision.

how to become a captain

Next steps

Passing the application process and the assessment in the simulator does not mean that I will start my next duty as a captain. The tough part lays now ahead of me. The upgrade course will start in a few weeks and will comprise a ground school, simulator sessions, the line training, and several checks. I will keep you updated!

Please cross your fingers that everything will fly smoothly.


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Safe travels and happy landings!

Your PilotPatrick



  1. Sakita Mahabier 1 year ago


  2. ayman 1 year ago

    Congrats mate, get ready to sim training, sectors under supervision and final line check, I think you will do great, I guess the most important part in this upgrade is “company policy” and “decision making abilities” all the best

  3. Maria Dugan 1 year ago

    Wow Patrick, an amazing insightful blog as always. I hope the next part of the assessments go well, I know me personally I have faith in ur skills, and I can’t wait for this step on ur career. This blog was fun packed with information and knowledge ur thoughts and views and u make it an easy read. Thank you for sharing so much. I knew there was a lot to do in regards to being promoted, but I confess I didn’t know how much. Good luck with studying and simulators etc. I have faith in ur professionalism and ur knowledge u have gathered over the years. All the best Patrick

  4. Vita 1 year ago

    Un capitano deve essere sempre se stesso, distinguersi, mai confondersi , essere umile, e sempre al servizio dei passeggeri!! Negli ultimi mesi ti eri confuso!! Ma ora stai recuperando il tuo self controll .Kiss

  5. Liliani setiawati 1 year ago

    Congratulations, Pilot Patrick. I cannot wait to see you on left seat with 4 stripes…yayyyyy…you deserve it, Pilot Patrick. Like the quotes in Spiderman movie ” with more power comes more responsibility”, but I am sure you will be the best captain. You are very competent . Your hard work am, dedications and perseverences finally paid off. More success ahead, for sure, PP. We love you so much. #Crazyaviatorsquad is soooo proud of you, proud beyond words. Cheers

    • Author
      pilotpatrick 1 year ago

      Really great that you are part of the Crazyaviatorsquad.

  6. Shiran Abraham 1 year ago

    Congratulations gorgeous. So excited to see you on left seat with 4 stripes . I know You work hard for this n you’re the well deserved, your hard work finally paid off you deserve this success Pilot Patrick. Your blog is always amazing n knowledgeable , informative n inspirational. I’m always glad to read your blog n always gaining inspiration from you. I know you’ll have more responsibility but I believe you you’ll be the best captain ‍✈️. Congratulations! There’s your reward for all the hardwork you put in I’m so happy for you , always finger crossed for you .#crazyaviatorsquad so proud of you .

    • Author
      pilotpatrick 1 year ago

      Thanks a lot my dear! I am really lucky to have such a loyal Aviator like you.

  7. Cherryl Chew 1 year ago

    Congratulations Patrick. I am so happy for you that you passed the simulator assessment and it is so great that you will be flying with four stripes at the left seat soon. I will definitely cross my fingers for your success in the upgrade course and l wish you all the best that everything will go smoothly for you. You are really a genius and l am really proud of your super achievement my favorite Pilot Patrick

    • Author
      pilotpatrick 1 year ago

      You are one of my bests thanks for your daily support

  8. Cyril Ndegeya 1 year ago

    Dear PP, i think u’re or will be(no doubt for this) one of the a greatest pilots on this earth! M fingers are crossed and my prayers in the background! Reach the farest position possible inur carrier. Happy new year!

    Please check my IG:cyril_ndegeya and follow me if u dn’t mind

  9. Michele 1 year ago

    Congratulations! ! So happy for you !! You are such an amazing influencer !! You would do great always! ! Hope you would achieve your aviation goal soon as a Captain !! So proud of you !!

  10. Jan 1 year ago

    Hi Patrick
    I always enjoy reading your blogs and this one is fantastic as it shares your excitement in furthering your aviation career. Your blogs are also so informative and inspirational!
    You have seriously helped me conquer my fear of flying and I am actually excited about trying it again this year.
    Keep up your excellent work and please continue posting and sharing your experiences with us.
    Congrats!! ⭐⭐

    • Author
      pilotpatrick 1 year ago

      I am happy, that I could help you! Thanks for your great support on all my channels!

  11. Teresita Lantaca 1 year ago

    Congrats new commander…everything would be easy for you for the knowledge you have with fashion,love,of all things you do.Nice to read your blog for first time it’s good to share all your accounts to inspired those hopeful pilot, see you on your Facebook update my as always ⭐️.

  12. Janita 1 year ago

    Good video on Whatsapp and You’re funny . Congratulations

  13. Udhayaprakash 1 year ago

    congrats pilot patrick sir for moved to left seat.. I’m very big fan fan of you… You are my inspiration too.

  14. Rahul Bikram Shah 1 year ago

    Great. Your regular viewer.
    Love from Nepal.

  15. Trần Thị Hằng 1 year ago

    <> I understand you had hard times to overcome them all, and now …you deserve to touch it. I’ve watched most of your videos and pages in just a few days at night it’s awesome ( i really happy and excited about your videos… smile- laugh …>> Without a doubt, you will continue to have new success in your aviation career.>> take good care of yourself.
    Have wonderful rest-days.

  16. GSE Solutions 1 year ago

    Congratulations Patrick! I’m sure that the next part of your assessments will go well. Carolina at GSE Solutions

  17. Dan Dan 1 year ago

    That’s so sick!!! Hopefully I can also become a Captain of a plane one day. I am just trying to become a pilot and I am documenting my journey. It’s gonna take a long time but worth it. You can read my journey on :

    Peace Out,

    Dan Dan

  18. Keshia 1 year ago

    I’m learning Germen to move there. It’s always friendly to black girls.

  19. KARIME 1 year ago

    Congratulations and Go ahead positive and Enjoyit the fun¡

  20. Horace M Roundtree 1 year ago

    Have been bing watching all your adventures and you are the man, love the videos very informative and fun, keep up the great work, and congrats on becoming a capt.

  21. Anas 1 year ago

    patrck pleaase i love you and i want your 3 stripes

  22. Emily 1 year ago

    What is the main characteristic in a captain?
    I want to be a pilot and for me the main characteristic is to be responsable and love your job, people behind you, depend on you to arrive to their destination and they trust in your capacity , try to be an inspiration for people and for that kids that want to become pilots, and every time be humble.

    pilot Patrick i want your stripes pleaseeee

  23. Daniel Antoszczyszyn 8 months ago

    Only 3,000 hours to go left seat? That would barely be enough to get you right seat in Canada. 10 years ago that was barely enough to get left seat in a King Air!

  24. 20 pounds in kg 4 weeks ago

    Can I just say what a comfort to discover a person that genuinely understands what they are discussing on the internet.
    You actually understand how to bring a problem to light and make it important.
    A lot more people really need to look at this and understand this side of your story.
    I was surprised you’re not more popular given that you definitely possess the gift.


  1. […] and I decided to put away the books for a day to write the blog about Vienna (finally). Read my blog about my captain upgrade if you want to find out […]

  2. […] which were 8 years in total and I could not believe that a new era would start soon. Check out part one if you want to find out more about the requirements and the selection […]

  3. […] Part 1: Written application and simulator assessment […]

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