private jet pilot versus airline pilot

Private jet pilot versus airline pilot

[spb_text_block animation="none" animation_delay="0" simplified_controls="yes" custom_css_percentage="no" padding_vertical="0" padding_horizontal="0" margin_vertical="0" custom_css="margin-top: 0px;margin-bottom: 0px;" border_size="0" border_styling_global="default" width="1/1" el_position="first last"]

Time literally flies. In 2010 I began my aviation career as a first officer on a private jet and it is already a half a year ago that I started my new job on the Airbus A300-600. My line training is not yet over and continues for another 40 flight sectors. I take the upcoming Labor Day as an occasion to share my first impressions about the new cockpit job.

[/spb_text_block] [spb_text_block animation="none" animation_delay="0" simplified_controls="yes" custom_css_percentage="no" padding_vertical="0" padding_horizontal="0" margin_vertical="0" custom_css="margin-top: 0px;margin-bottom: 0px;" border_size="0" border_styling_global="default" width="1/1" el_position="first last"]

„The bad new times flies the good news you are the pilot“

[/spb_text_block] [spb_image image="17325" image_size="full" frame="noframe" caption_pos="hover" remove_rounded="yes" fullwidth="no" overflow_mode="none" link_target="_self" lightbox="no" intro_animation="none" animation_delay="200" width="1/1" el_position="first last"][/spb_image] [spb_text_block animation="none" animation_delay="0" simplified_controls="yes" custom_css_percentage="no" padding_vertical="0" padding_horizontal="0" margin_vertical="0" custom_css="margin-top: 0px;margin-bottom: 0px;" border_size="0" border_styling_global="default" width="1/1" el_position="first last"]

Private jet pilot versus airline pilot

Last December I revealed my new aircraft type to you and explained my reasons switching to a different employee. As much as I love the General Aviation, I decided to move on and to accept a new occupational challenge with a totally different operation. It was definitely a hard decision but in the end, I have to say that I decided correctly. As I promised to I will compare both types of operation and show you the differences of a life as a private jet pilot and airline pilot.

[/spb_text_block] [spb_text_block animation="none" animation_delay="0" simplified_controls="yes" custom_css_percentage="no" padding_vertical="0" padding_horizontal="0" margin_vertical="0" custom_css="margin-top: 0px;margin-bottom: 0px;" border_size="0" border_styling_global="default" width="1/1" el_position="first last"]

Flight hours

[/spb_text_block] [spb_text_block animation="none" animation_delay="0" simplified_controls="yes" custom_css_percentage="no" padding_vertical="0" padding_horizontal="0" margin_vertical="0" custom_css="margin-top: 0px;margin-bottom: 0px;" border_size="0" border_styling_global="default" width="1/2" el_position="first"]

Airline

  • approximately 450 flight hours a year

[/spb_text_block] [spb_text_block animation="none" animation_delay="0" simplified_controls="yes" custom_css_percentage="no" padding_vertical="0" padding_horizontal="0" margin_vertical="0" custom_css="margin-top: 0px;margin-bottom: 0px;" border_size="0" border_styling_global="default" width="1/2" el_position="last"]

Business Aviation

  • 250 - 500 hours

[/spb_text_block] [spb_text_block animation="none" animation_delay="0" simplified_controls="yes" custom_css_percentage="no" padding_vertical="0" padding_horizontal="0" margin_vertical="0" custom_css="margin-top: 0px;margin-bottom: 0px;" border_size="0" border_styling_global="default" width="1/1" el_position="first last"]

Usually, airline pilots fly more hours over the year. At my first job in the business jet company I only flew about 250-300 hours a year. This is about the average for this branch. Later I flew about 500 hours in one year on the Citation XLS+. (not common for this type of operation) Now I will fly about 450 hours in one year even though it is an airline. Especially low-cost airline pilots fly up to the maximum of 900 hours a year. This is great to gain flight hours in a minimum of time. The total flight hours entirely depends on the type of operation (private, charter, commercial) the airline is doing.

[/spb_text_block] [spb_image image="166" image_size="full" frame="noframe" caption_pos="below" remove_rounded="yes" fullwidth="no" overflow_mode="none" link_target="_self" lightbox="no" intro_animation="none" animation_delay="200" width="1/1" el_position="first last"]

Citation XLS+ Private Jet

[/spb_image] [spb_text_block animation="none" animation_delay="0" simplified_controls="yes" custom_css_percentage="no" padding_vertical="0" padding_horizontal="0" margin_vertical="0" custom_css="margin-top: 0px;margin-bottom: 0px;" border_size="0" border_styling_global="default" width="1/1" el_position="first last"]

Destinations

[/spb_text_block] [spb_text_block animation="none" animation_delay="0" simplified_controls="yes" custom_css_percentage="no" padding_vertical="0" padding_horizontal="0" margin_vertical="0" custom_css="margin-top: 0px;margin-bottom: 0px;" border_size="0" border_styling_global="default" width="1/2" el_position="first"]

Airline

  • network primarily within Europe
  • fixed routes and destinations

[/spb_text_block] [spb_text_block animation="none" animation_delay="0" simplified_controls="yes" custom_css_percentage="no" padding_vertical="0" padding_horizontal="0" margin_vertical="0" custom_css="margin-top: 0px;margin-bottom: 0px;" border_size="0" border_styling_global="default" width="1/2" el_position="last"]

Business Aviation

  • flight primarily within Europe
  • always varying destinations
  • no fixed routes

[/spb_text_block] [spb_text_block animation="none" animation_delay="0" simplified_controls="yes" custom_css_percentage="no" padding_vertical="0" padding_horizontal="0" margin_vertical="0" custom_css="margin-top: 0px;margin-bottom: 0px;" border_size="0" border_styling_global="default" width="1/1" el_position="first last"]

As a private jet pilot, I got to know a lot of different airports within Europe. I have been to over 100 different airports. Since the performance of the smaller business jets allow landing at shorter runways you get to approach many more destinations compared to an airline pilot. The customer decides which route he wants to fly and where he wants to land. I think almost every duty block I flew to a new airport I have not been to. The advantage to a have a limited network is that you become much more familiar with the airport, which helps a lot during adverse weather and high workload conditions.

[/spb_text_block] [spb_image image="17324" image_size="full" frame="noframe" caption_pos="below" remove_rounded="yes" fullwidth="no" overflow_mode="none" link_target="_self" lightbox="no" intro_animation="none" animation_delay="200" width="1/1" el_position="first last"]

Sunset at Tivat airport

[/spb_image] [spb_text_block animation="none" animation_delay="0" simplified_controls="yes" custom_css_percentage="no" padding_vertical="0" padding_horizontal="0" margin_vertical="0" custom_css="margin-top: 0px;margin-bottom: 0px;" border_size="0" border_styling_global="default" width="1/1" el_position="first last"]

Schedule / Roster

[/spb_text_block] [spb_text_block animation="none" animation_delay="0" simplified_controls="yes" custom_css_percentage="no" padding_vertical="0" padding_horizontal="0" margin_vertical="0" custom_css="margin-top: 0px;margin-bottom: 0px;" border_size="0" border_styling_global="default" width="1/2" el_position="first"]

Airline

  • Fix monthly roster with exact flights
  • Duty days stay but flight schedule may change
  • Publication of the new roster one month
  • ahead
  • Off days are your off days
  • Off request system
  • Additional off days over the year
  • Extra duty days are paid
  • Switching flights with colleagues possible

[/spb_text_block] [spb_text_block animation="none" animation_delay="0" simplified_controls="yes" custom_css_percentage="no" padding_vertical="0" padding_horizontal="0" margin_vertical="0" custom_css="margin-top: 0px;margin-bottom: 0px;" border_size="0" border_styling_global="default" width="1/2" el_position="last"]

Business Aviation

  • Monthly roaster
  • No fixed flight only either duty day or off day
  • High flexibility expected
  • Publication of the new roster only shortly prior
  • Off days may be changed last minute
  • Off requests are possible
  • Company phone so they can reach you anytime
  • Ad hoc flights and daily flight schedule changes

[/spb_text_block] [spb_text_block animation="none" animation_delay="0" simplified_controls="yes" custom_css_percentage="no" padding_vertical="0" padding_horizontal="0" margin_vertical="0" custom_css="margin-top: 0px;margin-bottom: 0px;" border_size="0" border_styling_global="default" width="1/1" el_position="first last"]

Working in the business aviation requires you to be highly flexible during your duty days. You have to expect Ad hoc charter flight and last minute changes. The schedule itself is usually not as stable as the one of an airline. Now I have a monthly roster which shows me my flights and exact times and destinations. Previously I only had a roaster showing only stating duty or off.  Like in my previous company I am working maximum 7 days in a row. But I know from other business jet company where pilots work up to 20 days in a row. To sum it up you can plan your social life much better with an airline.

[/spb_text_block] [spb_image image="17321" image_size="full" frame="noframe" caption_pos="below" remove_rounded="yes" fullwidth="no" overflow_mode="none" link_target="_self" lightbox="no" intro_animation="none" animation_delay="200" width="1/1" el_position="first last"]

A300-600 cockpit

[/spb_image] [spb_text_block animation="none" animation_delay="0" simplified_controls="yes" custom_css_percentage="no" padding_vertical="0" padding_horizontal="0" margin_vertical="0" custom_css="margin-top: 0px;margin-bottom: 0px;" border_size="0" border_styling_global="default" width="1/1" el_position="first last"]

Layovers and Hotels

[/spb_text_block] [spb_text_block animation="none" animation_delay="0" simplified_controls="yes" custom_css_percentage="no" padding_vertical="0" padding_horizontal="0" margin_vertical="0" custom_css="margin-top: 0px;margin-bottom: 0px;" border_size="0" border_styling_global="default" width="1/2" el_position="first"]

Airline

  • Hotels and transport organized
  • Fixed crew hotels with discounts on food
  • Hotel room available for your entire stay
  • Usually only one night at a destination
  • Fixed duty check in times

[/spb_text_block] [spb_text_block animation="none" animation_delay="0" simplified_controls="yes" custom_css_percentage="no" padding_vertical="0" padding_horizontal="0" margin_vertical="0" custom_css="margin-top: 0px;margin-bottom: 0px;" border_size="0" border_styling_global="default" width="1/2" el_position="last"]

Business Aviation

  • Hotels and transported organized by crew
  • Had to stick to check in and check out times of the hotel
  • Consecutive nights at one destination
  • Early crew reporting times

[/spb_text_block] [spb_text_block animation="none" animation_delay="0" simplified_controls="yes" custom_css_percentage="no" padding_vertical="0" padding_horizontal="0" margin_vertical="0" custom_css="margin-top: 0px;margin-bottom: 0px;" border_size="0" border_styling_global="default" width="1/1" el_position="first last"]

At first, I was a little overwhelmed that everything is already organized for you. Hotel and transport are booked by the company and after a flight, you leave the aircraft already 15 minutes later. This is quite relaxing if I compare to my previous job. After a day of flying, we had to book a hotel within in a budget ourselves.  Not easy during summer at a hot spot location. On the other hand, I liked it to decide in which hotel I was going to stay. This way we could decide if we stay in the city center or stay rather close to the airport to have as much rest as possible.

[/spb_text_block] [spb_image image="17322" image_size="full" frame="noframe" caption_pos="below" remove_rounded="yes" fullwidth="no" overflow_mode="none" link_target="_self" lightbox="no" intro_animation="none" animation_delay="200" width="1/1" el_position="first last"]

Layover in Helsinki April 2017

[/spb_image] [spb_text_block animation="none" animation_delay="0" simplified_controls="yes" custom_css_percentage="no" padding_vertical="0" padding_horizontal="0" margin_vertical="0" custom_css="margin-top: 0px;margin-bottom: 0px;" border_size="0" border_styling_global="default" width="1/1" el_position="first last"]

Aircraft and Training

[/spb_text_block] [spb_text_block animation="none" animation_delay="0" simplified_controls="yes" custom_css_percentage="no" padding_vertical="0" padding_horizontal="0" margin_vertical="0" custom_css="margin-top: 0px;margin-bottom: 0px;" border_size="0" border_styling_global="default" width="1/2" el_position="first"]

Airline

  • Wide-body Airliner (170t)
  • Complex aircraft
  • Extensive training
  • Extensive documentation
  • Regular Simulator flights

[/spb_text_block] [spb_text_block animation="none" animation_delay="0" simplified_controls="yes" custom_css_percentage="no" padding_vertical="0" padding_horizontal="0" margin_vertical="0" custom_css="margin-top: 0px;margin-bottom: 0px;" border_size="0" border_styling_global="default" width="1/2" el_position="last"]

Business Aviation

  • Small business jet below 10 tons
  • Less complex systems
  • Training on type

[/spb_text_block] [spb_text_block animation="none" animation_delay="0" simplified_controls="yes" custom_css_percentage="no" padding_vertical="0" padding_horizontal="0" margin_vertical="0" custom_css="margin-top: 0px;margin-bottom: 0px;" border_size="0" border_styling_global="default" width="1/1" el_position="first last"]

I am feeling honored having the chance to fly the legendary A300-600. The aircraft is complex with its numerous systems. An extensive training including a type rating is necessary to be able to fly the aircraft. The airline puts a lot of emphasis on well-trained cockpit crew. Therefore every pilot goes to the simulator two times a year. I have the impression that the documentation is more extensive and all guidelines are written down.

At the beginning of my career I did all my checks on ferry flights, so the company wanted to save on expensive simulator flights. But the training effect was definitely not as good as in the simulator. As I mentioned before the weight category of aircraft is important for one's aviation career. That is why accepted the new occupational challenge on the big Airbus. The A300-600 needs to be flown very precisely. Especially the landing feels different since you sit up much higher and approach the runway at the faster speed.

[/spb_text_block] [spb_image image="17142" image_size="full" frame="noframe" caption_pos="below" remove_rounded="yes" fullwidth="no" overflow_mode="none" link_target="_self" lightbox="no" intro_animation="none" animation_delay="200" width="1/1" el_position="first last"]

A300-600 engines

[/spb_image] [spb_text_block animation="none" animation_delay="0" simplified_controls="yes" custom_css_percentage="no" padding_vertical="0" padding_horizontal="0" margin_vertical="0" custom_css="margin-top: 0px;margin-bottom: 0px;" border_size="0" border_styling_global="default" width="1/1" el_position="first last"]

Conclusion

I have to emphasize that I am only talking about my personal impressions and opinions. The operation of another airline might sound totally different and fellow pilots would share with you a completely different opinion.

For planning reasons, an airline pilot life is the better choice. Your duty schedule is more consistent and you can plan with off requests days better ahead. This gives your social life a better quality. In the business aviation, I liked the fact that I flew to much more destinations and that I sometimes did not know where will be on the next day. I really loved those surprises.

On the other hand, a much more stable roaster lets you plan your rest time during layovers much better. In 6 years business aviation I only visited downtown London only twice, even though I stayed there 100+ nights. Either there was not much time or I did not know when the next flight was going to be, so I was on standby in the hotel. Now I know my exact departure time which already allowed me to do sightseeing in Paris and London.

There is a lot of waiting time in the business aviation. Either for the passengers, the fuel, for the hotel room, next flight, or the taxi. This can be quite tiring. I liked the fact that you could wait and rest in VIP lounges. The preparation time in the private aviation is much longer and after the last flight, you can not leave the aircraft straight away. You still need to get everything back in shape again and maybe refuel this can take up to an hour. Additionally, in the business aviation, you have to go on many more commercial flights to start your duty where ever the jet is currently located.

In my opinion, an airline makes you a better pilot, since the training is more extensive and the standards are set to a higher level. The operating procedures are laid out in detail so every pilot operates the aircraft in the same way. In the business aviation, I have seen pilots which were not strict about procedures and interpreted regulations their own way.

In my opinion, the life of an airline is much more relaxed since a lot is already done and organized. Honestly speaking I can not tell which operation I favor because they are so different, but I admit that I definitely miss some aspects of the business aviation.

Let's see how my point of view will be a couple of months later.

[/spb_text_block] [spb_text_block animation="none" animation_delay="0" simplified_controls="yes" custom_css_percentage="no" padding_vertical="0" padding_horizontal="0" margin_vertical="0" custom_css="margin-top: 0px;margin-bottom: 0px;" border_size="0" border_styling_global="default" width="1/1" el_position="first last"]

Which operation would you prefer? Airline or Private jet?

Happy landings!

Your Pilot Patrick

[social size = "large"]

 

 

[/spb_text_block]


Airbus A300 type rating

My Airbus A300 type rating

In my last blog post, I revealed my new aircraft type I will be flying in the near future. Currently, I am getting trained on a flight simulator of Lufthansa Aviation Training in Berlin. But what does the A300 type rating actually mean? In this blog post, I want to give a more detailed explanation and an insight view of my training.

My career as a first officer started six years ago on the Citation XLS+ business jet. During this period I gained a lot of experiences of operating a jet engine aircraft, I flew to many challenging airports and transported thousands of VIP passengers. In total, I have flown over 2000 hours on this private jet. As I informed you in my blog post "Big changes in 2017" I recently switched my employer. Since the new airline operates a different type of aircraft it was mandatory to undergo a so-called type rating to be able to fly the Airbus A300-600.

Welcome to my new Airbus office (simulator)

My A300 type rating

The theoretical phase of the type rating ended with a skill test about the systems of the aircraft. The entire December I read the manuals of the aircraft and studied with computer-based training (CBT). Do you know what the alpha floor protection means? This protection sets automatically maximum power when reaching a high angle of attack. The angle of attack is the angle between the relative wind direction and the wing chord line. Lift varies with angle of attack. Increasing angle of attack increases the lift coefficient up to the maximum, after which lift coefficient decreases again, leading to a stall condition.

I also had to attend ground courses about the performance of the aircraft. As a pilot, I am required to determine e.g. the take off performance to find out whether the runway is long enough for a certain take off weight and under certain meteorological conditions. Before the simulator training started, I was trained with a mock-up cockpit. This helps to familiarize with the location of the buttons and the operating procedures.

Mock-up cockpit to learn the location of the buttons

Full flight Simulator

I remember playing the Windows flight simulator when I was a kid and now I am flying the most realistic simulator I could imagine. Those full flight simulators (FFS) are built to exactly replicate the respective aircraft type with its performance. All the checking and training take place in those big boxes. This extends the life of the real aircraft and saves fuel, thus protects the environment.

Full flight simulators with motion systems

From the inside, the simulator looks like the real aircraft cockpit with one additional seat in the back. From this position, the instructor can control the setup of the simulator. The whole simulator is built on a platform which can be moved by a motion system to any realistic attitude. When flying the simulator it is fascinating how real everything feels. From the vision, motion, up the acoustics, everything is build to imitate a real flight.

I was nervous and I was looking forward to my first simulator flight at the same time. The first three sessions consisted of normal operating procedures, after that we were introduced to abnormal procedures. All kinds of scenarios can be trained, which could not be replicated in real flight conditions. In modern flight simulators, up to 500 malfunctions can be programmed in the system, for every malfunction, there is a checklist with a special procedure to cope with the situation.

My training highlights so far:

  • Reverser unlock: flight with one engine and asymmetric drag
  • Both engine flame: Cockpit becomes dark and only standby instruments work
  • Emergency descent: After a decompression of the cabin quick descent wearing oxygen masks
  • Dual hydraulic failure: coping only with one hydraulic system remaining
  • Slats and Flaps stuck: Landing without high lift devices the approach speed needs to be increased by over 110 km/h
  • multiple engine failures: making a safe landing and handling of asymmetric thrust

A300 simulator cockpit wearing the quick donning oxygen mask (practicing procedures)

Most of the malfunctions are not independent, which means the cause secondary failures. For example, a problem with the hydraulic system causes the flaps not to be operational and for the approach, the landing gear needs to be extended by gravity with a hand crank.

I have completed session eight and there are five more to come. Every session is basically a check flight, from which I learn. I put a lot of pressure on myself to be successful and not to make any mistakes. But this is almost impossible since you do most of the procedures and abnormals for the very first time. The Airbus is a complex aircraft and I am really impressed how advanced the system are, keeping in mind that the design is from the 1960s. I am not used to flying an aircraft with an auto throttle and an auto flight system with extensive modes. This gave me a hard time at the beginning of the training.

Full flight Simulator A300 (in Schönefeld since 1990)

Practice makes perfect

Flight simulators are the best possible device to train pilots well in a most efficient way. The costs for an A380 simulator are about 1,8 Mio €. That is why the price for a type rating is in a range from 15,000 to 50,000€ depending on the aircraft type. The full flight simulator I am currently training at is almost as old as I am (check my FAQs for my age) and also quite historic. It used to belong to the DDR airline Interflug when Germany was separated between east and west.

I am looking forward to flying the real aircraft soon and I am already excited to let you know how it feels like to control a jet with a maximum takeoff weight of 170,5 tons. Check out my Instagram stories, where I give you an insight view of my training.

What is your favorite Airbus airplane?

Your Pilot Patrick

Follow me
[social size = "large"]

 


revealing my new aircraft type

Revealing my new aircraft type

HAPPY NEW YEAR MY AVIATORS!

Welcome on board of a new year full of new challenges, adventures and hopefully many happy landings. I am really sorry, that I have not published a blog post for a while. But I have a really good excuse for that. As I mentioned in my previous post "Christmas greetings with big changes" I started 2017 with a new aircraft type and a new employer. This has been keeping me busy for the last couple of weeks. In this blog post, I will reveal my new aircraft type I will be flying in the near future.

Hard decision

You got to know me as a first officer for private jets. In 2010 I started flying for a german VIP charter company on the Cessna Citation XLS +. I became a big fan of the exclusive operation since the everyday work was always very diverse. During the last six years, I met really interesting and famous people and got to stay in many different cities throughout Europe, Russia and North Africa. The working atmosphere on board was great and it sometimes felt like being on tour with friends.

With the Citation Business Jet on Malta

After six years of flying a small jet, it was time for a new occupational career. In the first place, it meant for me to fly a bigger aircraft type. In the end of 2016, I received a job offer by a big german air carrier to become a first officer on their A300-600 fleet. At the same time, my former employer wanted me to upgrade on the Legacy 650 aircraft. At this point, I had to decide for one or the other. This was a really hard decision for me. One the one hand I could stay in the private operation, flying a big business jet around the world and on the other hand, I got the one and only chance to fly the legendary A300. (read more about this type of aircraft below)

In the end, I decided for a new employer with a very good reputation and the bigger aircraft. Many pilots are a big fan of the A300 because the level of automation is less than on other modern jet aircraft. Flying this jet takes me back to the roots of aviation and the flight hours on this type of aircraft will allow me to operate on any other aircraft in the future. As much as I love the General Aviation, I decided to move on to accept a new occupational challenge with a totally different operation. But I do not spurn that I might return back to the business jet operation as a Captain on a private jet.

Welcome to my new office! Currently in Simulator training at Lufthansa Aviation Training

Revealing my new aircraft

The A300 is a twin jet airliner and is the first aircraft ever manufactured by Airbus. Development of the A300 began during the 1960s as a collaboration of different European nations. Its first flight was already on the 28th of October 1972 and was at that time the first twin wide-body aircraft of the world. (two aisles in the cabin) It typically seats around 266 passengers with a maximum take-off weight of 170,5 tons. This is 17x the takeoff weight of the Citation Jet I used to fly.

The production ceased in 2007 with 561 aircraft built. Another world first of the A300 is the use of composite material to reduce overall weight and improve cost-effectiveness. When it entered service in 1974, the A300 was a very advanced plane. Its state of the art technology influenced later airliner designs. As far as I can tell from the simulator the handling capabilities are excellent for such a big aircraft. I am fascinated by the advanced  I am already looking forward to flying this oldtimer, which sure is already a legend in aviation.

My new aircraft type: A 300-600 copyright: widebodyaircraft.nl

Flight training

In December I started with ground courses and online based training for my new employer. I studied hard to pass the technical skill test last week. All efforts paid out because I passed the exam with 94%. That qualified me to continue with the practical flight training. All complex aircraft require so-called type rating to become familiar with the systems and how to operate the aircraft according to the books.

I currently get trained at Lufthansa Aviation Training in Berlin in a full flight simulator. The type rating started one week ago and will last until the first of February. Yesterday I finished session number four. It is quite demanding, but also a lot of fun. I am totally in love with the new "old school" cockpit and I am really looking forward to flying the real aircraft soon.

Flight Simulator at Lufthansa Aviation Training in Berlin A300 cockpit of the full flight simulator

I am looking forward to sharing my future adventures with the Airbus A300 and to write about my first impressions. It will be really interesting to compare both operations to find out their advantages and disadvantages.

I know you have been waiting for the next part my series "how I became a pilot", but I am really busy acquiring my new type rating. Please stay tuned!

Are you an Airbus or Boeing fan?

Your Pilot Patrick

Follow me
[social size = "large"]