how to become a captain

Moving to the left seat - Captain upgrade Part 1

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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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Do not miss any of my videos and subscribe to my YouTube channel PilotPatrick

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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!

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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.

Requirements

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.

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Job advertisement of the airline

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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. 

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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!

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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.

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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

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A380 emirtes business class

First time flying on board of the A380

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Hello my Aviator,

welcome on board of my first flight with an Airbus A380, the king of the skies. Yes, I am being sincere. Even though I am traveling so much and I am an aviation lover, I have never had the chance to fly with the A380 so far. To make my first flight an experience, Emirates welcomed me on board their flagship for a flight to Mauritius. In fact, it was also my first flight with Emirates. In this blog, I am sharing those two premieres with you.  

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Finally! I was excited like a little boy to go on my first flight the king of the skies. During the aerospace exhibition in Berlin this year, the ILA, I already took a glance inside the A380 of Emirates, which was displayed on the apron. At this point, I thought I will take forever until I will take a flight on board of the biggest passenger airline. But in the end, it took only 6 months to find me drinking a champagne in Emirates Busines Class on the way to Mauritius.

Check out my Vlog about the ILA and do not forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel: PilotPatrick

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The king of the skies

I am flying the A300, which was the first model ever built by Airbus. Its first flight was in 1972. About 20 years later in June 1994, Airbus announced its plan to develop a very large airliner, designated as A3XX to be a competitor to the B747. In 2005 the A380 had its first flight. The A300 is already a huge aircraft with 54 m length, 45 m wingspan and a maximum take of weight of 170 tons. Compared to the A380 this is small and light. The length is 72 m, the wingspan 79 m and the maximum take-off with is 575 tons. Impressive figures!

More economical than a car: The A380 consumes only 4,05L fuel per 100km per passenger.

Passengers: it seats a maximum of 853 passengers (typical 575)

Biggest aircraft? No there is one more airplane called Antonov An-225, it is larger than A380.

Wiring: If all the wiring in the A380 is laid end to end, it will stretch from Edinburgh to London – 320 miles.

Paint: More than 3600 liters of paint is required to paint the exterior of the aircraft.

Runway: Only 20 runways in the world are now fully capable of handling A380 aircraft. Others are not long or wide enough or not technically equipped for A380.

Flight hours: The Airbus A380 is designed to fly for 140,000 hours – meaning it could fly around the world more than 2,000 times in its lifetime.

Orders: as of September 2018, Airbus had received 331 firm orders and delivered 230 aircraft; Emirates is the biggest A380 customer with 162 ordered of which 105 have been delivered.

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Upper deck rear section of the Business Class

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Emirates

Emirates was only founded in 1985. Today the Gulf carrier, based in Dubai operates 3,600 flights a week to 140 cities in 80 countries around the world. Emirates only uses two kinds of airplanes, the Airbus A380 as well as the Boeing 777. Itis is the worlds largest operator of both airplane types. In total Emirates flies 234 planes.

Here are some more interesting facts about Emirates

International crew:  Cabin Crew from over 150 different countries. you will find at least 12 different nationalities of cabin crew. In total Emirates has over 60,000 employees.

First Flight from Dubai to Karachi was in 1985 on a Boeing B727 for the Royal Family.

Longest Flight takes 17 hours and 25 minutes from Auckland, New Zealand to Dubai on an A380.

Dubai Airport is the 3rd busiest on Earth after Atlanta Jacksonville and Beijing Capital Airport. 58 million passengers fly with Emirates in a year. (Source)

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Business class seat in row 23

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Business Class of the A380

Upperdeck! Flying in Business Class is truly a privilege and a luxurious experience. The entire upper deck of the A380 comprises the Business Class and First Class. The layout of the Business Class offers all seats direct aisle access. Especially the direct window and the middle seats (more for couples) grant extra privacy and storage. On all three A380 flights, I chose a seat in the rear cabin at the window. The seat right behind the bulkhead (row 23)  is great since there is no other passenger right in front of you. I enjoyed a tasty menu of regionally inspired gourmet dishes and drinks from an endless beverage menu. A specialty on Mauritius you could choose coconut water as a welcome drink. The seat also seamlessly reclines into a fully flat bed with a soft, comfy mattress and a cozy blanket.

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fully lie-flat bed

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The "Fly better" experience starts already before the flight. Since there is no flight from Berlin (unfortunately) I had to drive to Frankfurt Airport to catch my connection from there. The Business Class ticket includes either a free First Class Deutsche Bahn round-trip ticket (Rail & Fly) or the Chauffeur-drive. At Frankfurt Airport I arrived extra early so I could visit the Airport Lounge of Emirates. A picture/video is worth 1000 words. So check out my Vlog about my first time flying A380 with Emirates.

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Highlights of the A380

It is already a highlight itself to fly with the A380. The aircraft is extremely quiet inside the cabin. I was impressed that I could not really hear the take-off thrust on departure.

An onboard lounge: Fancy having a cocktail at 36,000ft in an exclusive lounge where you can mingle with other passengers and enjoy delicious snacks between meals. On the flight to Mauritius, the cabin supervisor invited me to have lunch at the dining table in the lounge. It felt like I was flying on a private jet.

Let's have a shower: Normally only First Class passengers are allowed to use the Shower Spa, but the for me the purser made a great exception. He knew how much you love seeing me taking a shower. ;-)

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Onboard lounge

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Shower Spa for First Class passengers

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Stop over in Dubai

On the way to Mauritius, I decided to do a short stopover in Dubai. It was only for 30 hours, but enough time to go shopping, to have a tasty dinner and enjoy some glamours vibes of the city of superlatives. I totally can recommend doing a stopover but plan for a couple of days so you can experience more. I stayed in the Le Meridien Airport Hotel. It is only a 10 minutes drive from the airport and 15 minutes to the downtown area of Dubai. Check out my Dubai Vlog from my vacation in April, If you want to find out about activities you can do.

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Le Meridien Dubai Aiport Hotel

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Thanks to the flight crew of Emirates for making my first A380 experience remarkable. I hope you enjoyed the journey as much as I did.

Have you flown on board of an A380 before? Leave it in a comment below and subscribe to my newsletter with your email!

As always safe travels and happy landings!

Your PilotPatrick

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leading aerospace exhibition and airshow

The great aerospace exhibition and airshow in Berlin

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Hello my Aviator,

since my early childhood, I am fascinated with aviation. It is an industry of passion, dreams and great achievements. The dream to fly is as old as mankind itself, but aviation, as we know it today, is still quite young. Even if I have to deal with aviation every day, my fascination has not ceased. That is why I visited the ILA in Berlin, which is one of a leading aerospace exhibition and airshow worldwide. Explore all kinds of different aircraft up close with me in this blog and my vlog below. 

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Static display of the ILA 2018

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Turbulent weather on the static display

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I 've never known an industry that can get into people's blood the way aviation does.

— Robert Six, founder of Continental Airlines.

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Airbus A350 cockpit

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Cabin of the A350

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The ILA Berlin focuses on aerospace innovations in five categories: Aviation, Space, Defense & Security, Supplier and Special Features. Unfortunately, I was only able to attend the show on one day and the weather was quite turbulent. It was sunny, rainy and stormy at the same time. That is why I concentrate on the static display with over 200 aircraft and the airshow.

I had the great chance to visit the new Airbus A350 from inside and I even could talk to the test pilot in the cockpit. Last time I visited the ILA many years ago, the A350 was still a project of Airbus and has not been in the air yet. I remember sitting in a cabin mock-up and I was surprised how wide the cabin was. That is why the aircraft is called A350 XWB standing for extra wide body. Now it was great to see the final product.

WATCH MY VLOG ON YOUTUBE ABOUT MY VISIT OF THE ILA

Please subscribe to my YouTube channel as well: PilotPatrick

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Additionally, I visited the A380 of Emirates. It was actually the first time for me to be on board of an Emirates aircraft. I was truly impressed about the luxurious cabin and I really liked the bar and lounge area for Business and Frist Class passengers. I hope I will soon have the chance to experience the amenities during a flight.

Next to the A380 was an A340 experimental aircraft. The outer wing sections are designed for highly smooth airflow over their surfaces. Known as natural laminar flow, such smoothed passage of air creates less drag than the airflow on traditional wings, potentially reducing fuel burn by as much as 4.6 percent on an 800-nautical mile trip. (source: Airbus)

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First time in First Class in Emirates

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Bar on the upper deck of the A380 of Emirates

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The Wright Brothers created the single greatest cultural force since the invention of writing. The airplane became the first World Wide Web, bringing people, languages, ideas, and values together.

— Bill Gates, CEO, Microsoft Corporation.

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Additionally, I visited the A380 of Emirates. It was actually the first time to be on board of an Emirates aircraft. I was truly impressed about the luxurious cabin and what I like the most was the bar and lounge area for Business and Frist Class passengers. I hope I will soon have the chance to experience the amenities during a flight.

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inside the A310 of the German airforce (medical aircraft)

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Experimental aircraft of Airbus

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Find your employer of tomorrow

There is the potential to get a job at an air show. It happened to me eight years ago. Back then I went to the "Aero" in Friedrichshafen, Germany, which is an exhibition of the General Aviation. Just by coincidence I met the CEO of the first company I flew for. After a short conversation I was invited to a job interview and already a couple of weeks later I went to the type rating in the UK.

The ILA even offered a CareerCenter, where you can talk to your potential employer and get to know companies better. You also had the chance to meet different flight schools during the public days.

 

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inside of the A340 experimental aircraft

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Rolls-Royce Trent XWB engines of the A350

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Since I work in the aviation industry, I am around aircraft on a daily basis. Never the less my fascination has not ceased. It is impressive to see how fast paced this industry is and which great innovations engineers come up with. Not every day you have the chance to walk up close the engine and landing gear of the new A350 or visit the entire cabin of the A380 of Emirates or walk into the cargo deck of the Antonov 225, the world biggest cargo airplane. Due to the stormy weather, some flight displays had to be canceled. That's aviation. Everything depends on numerous factors.

Have you been to an airshow?

Safe travels and happy landings

Your PilotPatrick

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vacation in the caribbean

Vacation in the Caribbean + My 10 travel tips

Hola my Aviators,

sunny greetings from the Punta Cana. In this blog post, I show you unpublished photos of my spontaneous vacation in the Caribbean and give you helpful tips when traveling to any place in the world.

You may wonder why I am already on vacation when I just completed my type rating on the Airbus A300-600 with a new company. Last Saturday I finished the initial training so I could apply for a new license at the authority. This takes approximately two weeks until I receive my new license. This is quite bothersome since I am not allowed to fly during this period. To bridge this time my operator granted me some days of vacation. Since the type rating was really intense and I got sick of the freezing weather in Germany I decided to use the time to escape winter.

pilotpatrick saona island caribbean sea starfish
Escaping winter in the Caribbean Sea

Last week I posted a photo on my Instagram on which I asked for an inspiration where I could travel to for sun and beach. I was so happy for all your travel tips. Two days prior my vacation started I finally booked a flight to the Dominican Republic. This was the really spontaneous decision because it was hard to find a location with a good flight connection and available accommodations when I started to search one week ago.

  • Travel tip: Read reviews and visit online hotel evaluation websites. This can help you to find the hotel that suits you best. I usually read the worst reviews first.

I flew with Air Berlin from Berlin Tegel Airport (TXL) to Düsseldorf (DUS). From Düsseldorf, I switched on the A330, which took me to Punta Cana (PJU).

pilot patrick air berlin business class punta cana
With Air Berlin in Business Class Seat 4K to Punta Cana
  • Travel tip: Compare ticket prices online. Always check the ticket prices on the website of the airline as well. I usually use google flight search a lot.

Luckily I could book seats in their Business Class. Even as a former Private Jet pilot I have to admit that their Business class product is great. Every seat has a direct aisle access and the seats at the window give a lot of privacy. The best thing is the seats convert to a fully flat bed so the vacation starts already on board ;-) The flight lasted about 10 hours. At 14:30 local time we touched down on PUJ on time. Outside air temperature 27 degrees and sunny. This is what I was longing for.

pilot patrick air berlin business class to punta cana
My business class set to PUJ
pilot patrick approaching pju dominican republic
Approaching paradise
  • Travel tip: Take your time and arrive at the airport early enough. This reduces your stress level. Reserve your favorite seat early enough. Sometimes you can use your bonus miles so it does not cost you anything. Try to travel lightly this makes your life easier ;-)

I could not believe it, but already 25 mins after we reached the gate I was outside the terminal in the taxi. The staff at the airport was super friendly and I experienced the first Caribbean vibes. It took a regular taxi to my hotel Paradisus by Melia, which I booked via my travel agency 'Thomas Cook' in Wiesbaden.

pilot patrick punta cana five star paradisus resort
First day in paradise relaxing in my private cabana
  • Travel tip: Compare hotel prices online and with travel agencies on site. In this case, I saved over 1.000,-€ because I got a last minute price via the travel agency Thomas Cook. As you can see the internet prices are not always cheaper.

After 15:00 hours of traveling, I finally arrived in paradise. The sandy white beach with hundreds of palm trees looked like from a postcard. I am usually not the guy who books an 'all inclusive' vacation but since I am staying only for 6 days I thought it would be a good idea. Additionally, the Dominican Republic is not really save at the moment, that is why the travel agencies recommend staying in the hotel and booking only guided tours. In my opinion, they sometimes exaggerate. If you know how to behave in a foreign country and know the "don'ts" you should be fine.

paradisus punta cana palm tress
My way to the hotel room at Paradisus resort
  • Travel tip: The website of the Federal Foreign office of Germany publishes current travel and security tips for all countries. Inform yourself prior booking your vacation.

The resort is huge and all rooms are located in separated two-storied villas with a private outside area. I have the impression to be living in a small town rather than a big hotel complex. Unfortunately, I was not satisfied with the first room, that is why I complained. I expect to have a clean room no matter if it is one or a five-star hotel. For the inconvenience, they upgraded me to a higher room category with my own jacuzzi on the balcony. Additionally, they granted me access to the exclusive beach and pool area. Besides that, I am allowed to use the a la carte Restaurant at the beach without any extra charge.

relaxing jacuzzi paradisus resort punta cana
My own jacuzzi on the balcony of my junior suite
  • Travel tip: If you are not satisfied with the hotel room or you are not happy with the series let the reception know. Especially in high-class hotels, they try their best to get everything right.

I have been to the Caribbean before but not to the Dominical Republic yet. Alle people I met so far are really friendly and in a good mood. Spanish is the official language here, but most of them speak proper english and some even german.

  • Travel tip: Always take local currency to the country you are flying to. This helps immensely when you want to get around and when tipping a service. I recommend taking two credit cards with you in case one gets lost or does not work.
altos de chavon tui excursion domican republic
View from Altos de Chavon to the river of Chavon

Excursion

After relaxing for a day at the beach I went on a full day excursion to Saona to experience the Caribbean Sea. As many people do not know at the northern shoreline (Punta Cana/Puerto Plata) of the island is the Atlantic ocean. First stop was in Altos de Chavon. A small Mediterranean replica village located on a cliff of the Chavon river. From there we walked down to the riverbed to jump on a steamboat to drive along a tropical landscape in the direction of the Caribbean sea. Movies like Rambo and Jurassic Park were shot at this location. Once we reached the river delta we jumped into a speedboat to cruise next to the East National Park. In the middle of the Sea is a natural pool with crystal clear cyan blue water. There were hundreds of starfish on the sandy ground of the sea.

pilot patrick vacation natural pool in caribbean sea
Into the blue - natural pool in the Caribbean Sea (close to Saona island)
  • Travel tip: Leave no valuables visible in your room. I do not trust the build in saves, that is why I put my electronics and money in my lockable suitcase when I leave the room.

Next stop was the island Saona. A small island with 300 inhabitants, which was discovered by Christopher Columbus it in May 1494 during his second voyage to the Americas. We had a BBQ at the beach. Locals sold Pina Colada in a pineapple and fresh coconuts. I found a nice private spot to enjoy this picture-perfect paradise.

pilot patrick excursion to paradise Soana island in caribbean sea
I am trying to get my next fresh coconut at Saona Island

In the afternoon we boarded the last boat of this day. A 35 m long catamaran, which took us with drinks and good music to the beach of Bayahibe. I laid down in a net in front of the boat and enjoyed the ride. This was truly a memorable day and I had a lot of fun.

TUI catamaran excursion soana island
2 hours on a 35 m long Catamaran in the Caribbean Sea
  • Travel tip: I see so many people taking photos with their cheap mobile phone camera. Rather take a decent charged digital camera, which takes high-quality photos for  your memories. Save the photos on an extra device.
pilot patrick relaxing in paradise saona island caribbean sea
Relaxing on Saona Island with a Pina Colada

I got back to the hotel in the evening to enjoy two nice dinners at two restaurants. The combination of sun, a lot of food and different drinks made me feel sick the next day. I took care of my diet and rested under a palm tree umbrella at the beach the whole day.

  • Travel tip: Take different medicine with you from home. Something for your throat, nose and for your stomach. I also recommend taking some bandages and disinfection spray.

Luckily I felt much better the next day so I could go on another fun activity. The airline Aerointer in Punta Cana invited me to go on a short helicopter flight over the shoreline. Thanks to pilot Bernie for giving me a different perspective of the island. I think I should get a helicopter license as well. It is so much fun taking off vertically with an aircraft. Watch the full video of my flight on Facebook 'PilotPatrick'

https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=1330316197033973

 

pilot patrick helicopter aerointer punta cana
Fun flight over paradise in Punta Cana with Aerointer

Vacation in the Caribbean is ending

After six days I had to leave paradise again. I really enjoyed the perfect weather and the marvelous beaches. The Dominicans are a really friendly and they are brimful of life. I suppose this is because of their relaxed way of living and the good weather all year around. I only left the hotel twice, but both times I noticed that streets are dirty and people and animals live in between trash. That made me really sad to see since the hotel industry boosts the economy in this region.

pilot patrick rimowa suitcase paradise palm trees punta cana
Leaving paradise :( for outfit details visit www.updressed.com/pilotpatric

For outfit details you can always visit my updressed page I am constantly updating this profile. 

My return flight with Air Berlin was a direct connection from Punta Cana to Berlin. This was quite convenient since it was a night flight and the landing in Tegel airport was at 6:30 in the morning. The flight time was around 8:45 hours and the lie flat seat was fantastic to get some sleep. This what I call luxury on board! During the flight, I watched the movie Miss Peregrine's Home for peculiar children. In case you like fantasy, drama and action at the same time I can really recommend this movie. The touchdown in Berlin was during darkness and the weather was rainy and cold. I missed paradise already!

business class Airberlin Airbus A330 Seat 2A
Seat that converts to a fully flat bed

I hope you like my travel tips and hopefully, they will help you on your next journey!

Where is your next vacation taking you to?

Your Pilot Patrick

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my way into the cockpit

My way into the cockpit + My 10 application tips

The blog posts of how I became a pilot have become to one of your favorite ones. So far I have published four parts in this series and yet there is more to come. In this blog post, I want to move up to one step further. I received a lot of questions asking me how I managed my way into the cockpit. I am going to explain exactly that and additionally, I want to give some general tips when applying for your dream job.

In Dublin with the beautiful business jet Citation XLS+

My way into the cockpit

In the end of 2009, I graduated from flight school. The training at Intercockpit was independent of any airline so I was able to apply at any company I wanted to. Unfortunately, the market situation at this moment was not the best. There were some jobs on the market Germanwings and Lufthansa City Line were searching for first officers at this moment. Those jobs were highly embattled. But for a good reason, I did not have the big desire to work for the Lufthansa group.

Unlike to my fellow flight student, I still was pretty much open to fly either for a big carrier or a small business jet company. But I felt that I was more willing to fly a private jet and to experience this kind of operation. I did not want to be the kind of pilot who does not have any layovers and returns to his home base every night. Moreover, I desired to be away from home to discover new places and new cultures.

Application

I applied at many airlines throughout Europe. Most applications to german operators I send as hard copy in a nice application folder. But the majority I send per email or filled out online which is the standard procedure. I found out that more than 50% did not send any feedback and that most airlines required flight experience on a certain type of aircraft. That became quite frustrating after around 40 applications. After a couple of months finishing flight school, I became impatient, because I wanted to be in the air and not on the ground waiting. In November 2009 I received my CPL(A) license by the authority, but the Muli Engine Instrument rating would already expire in July 2010 again. This rating is required for job applications and would cost around 1.000,-€ to revalidate.

pilot patrick in new first officer uniform in berlin
My new uniform for the career on the A300-600

I thought about doing something else besides writing applications. Unfortunately, I did not know anyone in the aviation branch, who could support me getting a job. So my idea was to get to know somebody who could help me. That is why I visited the aviation fair "Aero" in Friedrichshafen in April 2010. This fair is specialized on general aviation with numerous business jet companies attending. It was the best decision to go since I found my job that way. On a small booth, I got to know my former employer. Then things started to happen very fast.

I was invited to an interview in Berlin and a second time to do some kind of screening on a Cessna 172. The idea behind this was to show my practical flying skills. Everything went well in order to begin my type rating on the Citation XLS in the beginning of July 2010. The only down point was that I had to fund my type rating myself. The costs were around 20.000,-€. Fortunately, the german authority for employment sponsored 50% of the costs. I was lucky to be at the right spot at the right time.

Seven years ago during my first rotation on the Citation XLS in Nice, France

It has become quite common that pilots have to compensate for their type rating in the beginning of their career in the cockpit. In the end, it took me eight months to find a job. This was quite fast considering that 1/3 of my fellow student pilots are not in a First Officer position until now.

Backup plan

It is always useful to have a backup plan. Mine was to go study to the university of applied sciences in Bremen. I was already accepted as a student to start in the winter semester of 2010. I would have done a bachelor in aviation management and system knowledge. Then everything changed with the job commitment.

Links I used in the past to find job offers:
latest pilots job
carrer. aero
pilotjobsnetwork.com

My 10 application tips 

Over the years I gained many experiences writing applications to numerous companies. I am definitely not an expert, but the following tips are useful for any dream job you are longing for.

  • Contact Person: Find out the person, who receives and reads your application. This name should be stated in the cover letter. A direct appellation is better than 'Dear Ladies and Gentlemen'.  To find out the name give them a call and ask. You might even have the chance to talk to the person in charge. In this case, you can assign to this phone call in your cover letter. This gives the application a personal touch.
  • Requirements: Always check you if you meet the requirements of the job offer. If you have any doubts drop a line via email or give them a call.
  • Paper or digital: Check which form the employer prefers. Nowadays most companies prefer the digital form via email.
  • File format: The file format is of uttermost importance. This can already decide if the human resources department prints out your application and if they are even able to read it. I recommend sending your documents as PDF in one single file. Check that the file size is appropriate. Not more than 10 MB.
  • Photo: Use a clear, friendly and professional portrait for your application. It is worth the money to go to a photographer to get a nice shot. Wear clothing which suits your further job. I recommend attaching a full body photo if you have a lot of personal contact with customers.
first officer application tips
Application of 2013. Example of my cover page with my hard facts at the bottom
  • Appearance: The design and the formatting of your application are really important. Use the same font and a common layout throughout the application. Make it special through a design that sticks out. Use the colors of the company and try work with their motto.
  • Cover letter: Keep it short, precise and interesting. You should surprise your reader and you should try to arouse his curiosity, so he is willing to continue to read your application. Remember you are not the only applicant and there is only a little time available to read yours.  Use correct grammar and spelling!
  • Hard facts: Consider writing your hard facts on a cover page with your portrait photo. Mention five to seven facts about which really speak for you. (see picture above)
  • Call: If you have not received any feedback within 7 working days, I would call and ask for it. This shows that you are really interested in that position.
  • Be patient: Sometimes it requires a lot of effort and time to find your dream job. Do not get frustrated when you receive many denials in a row. Always believe in yourself and do not give up!

A dream is like a private jet! It only waits for you!

It is the combination of a good application, perfect timing and a little bit of luck to get your dream job. For all future aviators, I have 10 tips for you when you consider attending a flight school.

Happy landings and good luck!

Your Pilot Patrick

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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

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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

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business class review Lufthansa

Business Class review - with Lufthansa to Cape Town

I decided to publish my first airline review, because you were interested in my opinion as private jet pilot about a flight experience in a higher booking class.

Business class review Lufthansa

This year I spend three weeks of vacation in South Africa. I had an amazing time and I felt in love with South Africa. The flight made this vacation special as well. Months in advance, I was excited to go on this flight. One reason for this was, that I flew in Lufthansa’s Business Class on the A340-600. But the flight almost did not depart…

A340-600 at the parking position in Munich prior boarding to Cape Town

I want to give you a brief review of my experience on board of Lufthansa, one of my favorite airlines. This might help you when booking your next flight, maybe to Cape Town.

My flights:
Berlin Tegel – Munich
Munich – Cape Town (night flight)

Cape Town – Munich (day flight)
Munich – Berlin Tegel

Welcome on board!

On the flight to Cape Town seat 3D was mine. Right after I stowed my hand luggage and took a seat, I was offered a welcome drink. Overall the service was excellent. The flight attendants were really friendly and gave a personal touch to their service. The front cabin of the A340-600 was quite spacious, but I noticed right away that there is not much privacy when seated. Nevertheless I really liked the modern design and the interior.

Welcome drink on board of Lufthansa's A3400-600 in Munich. Seat 3D

Take off thrust set in Munich. Reaching about 120 km/h the four engines spooled down and the brakes were applied. I said quite loudly: “Aborted take off!" I was right. The aircraft vacated the runway. Interesting fact: In 6 years as pilot I never had to reject a take off. Fortunately the pilots could solve the technical problem, so that we attempted for another take off 30 minutes later, after the brakes had cooled down.

Seat

Lufthansa Business Class Configuration 2-2-2

I was surprised about the versatility of the seat. It felt comfortable when eating, watching a movie and especially when in the sleeping position. A flat bed on a long-range flight is luxury. I am 1,86 m tall and I had enough space in length. Additionally you can adjust the degree of hardness of the cushion through air. Unfortunately I had the impression that the seat width was a little bit too narrow and the pillow a little bit too thick.

Food

Dinner in Business Class shortly prior landing in Munich

As I mentioned in my recent post “I am a foodie pilot”, I am really strict and picky about my food. That is why I am definitely not a benchmark. But I have to admit, that the selection and the taste of food were really good. Great wine and drink menu. I missed some snacks in between meals on a 12 hours flight. Fantastic was have an espresso above the clouds.

Inflight Entertainment

A huge selection of movies, series, documentaries, games, music and so on in up to eight languages were offered. The headsets were comfortable to wear and the interface was easy to control. I used Wi-Fi during flight to keep you up to date on my snapchat. :-)

Flat bed in Business Class, Seat 3D good while in sleeping position

My recommendations:

  • If possible reserve a seat in the first row. The seats in row 3 (A340-600) at the window give you some kind of shelf and the seats in the middle give you some extra legroom.

Seat 3D to CPT and seat 3A on the return flight

  • When traveling alone I recommend to take a window seat, because the seats in the middle section are angled a little towards each other. Those ones I rather recommend for couples.
  • During night flights I suggest to take a middle seat, since each seat has direct aisle access. Find your seat map on Seatguru.
  • Choose a seat in the front of the Business Class, because during boarding only Business and First Class passengers will pass you in the aisle.

Overhead Africa on the way from CPT to MUC

Following extras can you expect:

  • Amenity Kit (including socks, ear plugs and cosmetics)
  • Cosmetics in the lavatories
  • Water bottle at the seat
  • USB and power plug at your seat
  • Free newspapers and magazines
  • Big pillow and a blanket
  • High quality headset

Leaving Cape Town on Lufthansa's A340-600 overflying Camps Bay

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qSga1AL2q5w?rel=0]

The price for a Lufthansa Business Class ticket can be quite expansive, but the investment is totally worth it. This way the vacation already starts on board and you are looking forward to your flight. Especially on the way to Cape Town, which primarily takes place during the night, the flat seat is fantastic. Since their is only one hour of time difference, you can enjoy the day fresh and fit.

My rating

My rating of the flights in Lufthansa Business Class, where 5 aircrafts highest and 1 lowest:

Business Seat    ✈️ ✈️ ✈️ ✈️
Privacy                 ✈️ ✈️
Aircraft                ✈️ ✈️ ✈️ ✈️
Service                 ✈️ ✈️ ✈️ ✈️ ✈️
Food                     ✈️ ✈️ ✈️ ✈️
Entertainment  ✈️ ✈️ ✈️ ✈️ ✈️
Extras                  ✈️ ✈️ ✈️ ✈️

My Rating:         ✈️ ✈️ ✈️ ✈️

Which airline has the best Business Class for you? Please comment below.

Read my next blog post: "What's in my bag?"

Your Pilot Patrick

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