social life of a pilot

Family, friends and sex - the social life of a pilot

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Hello my Aviator

lately, I posted a question on my Instagram stories asking you for ideas for my next blog post. Your feedback was impressive, but one topic came up numerous times: the social life of a pilot. In this blog post, I will be answering your questions regarding the social life of a pilot. Does a pilot have friends, family and sex when traveling all the time?

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Check out also my new Video on my YouTube channel.

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Pilot life vs. social life

You have been wondering how I manage to have a social/private life as a pilot when traveling so much and being absent from home a lot. Especially those of you who strive to become a pilot in the future asked me this question and informed me about their concerns. Everything is still possible but only a little bit more complicated.

Which challenges do pilots face balancing a long lasting relationship vs. work?

First off all a relationship is possible, but definitely not easy. In my case, I am gone from home about 15 days a month. Imagine the other partner has also to travel for work. This requires good planning to have enough time together to keep the relationship running. Another challenge couples could face are the base (the location from where crews start their duty) It happens that you need to relocate for a new cockpit job, but the partner is unable to move with you. Aviation requires flexibility in many ways.

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With friends in Dubai

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Mile high club

In case it counts when I saw a couple having fun, then I joined the mile high club already ;-) The story behind it: I was flying as a private first officer when a woman had her head between the lap of a man. There was no door between the cockpit and the cabin in this aircraft only a curtain. I had a look behind to check if the two passengers are okay, and I had to find out that they were having a good time on board.

Sex life and affairs with stewardesses

Yes, pilots do have a sex life like everyone else. Since the beginning of my career, I have been running quite well not to f*** the company. Relationship and affairs within the same company only cause problems. Especially in smaller companies. In the private jet company, I used to fly for I got to know a flight attended how had sex with a captain, then moved on to the head of flight operations and in the end, she was in the relationship with a First Officer. You can imagine that this was not easy for everyone involved.

One reason why there is so much "love" in the air in aviation is that crews are sometimes stuck together for days and that they are forced to work together in a small environment

Nude flying!

I have never heard of this! the only thing we take off is the airplane and the tie when it is too hot outside. haha!

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Private jet crew

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Does it depend on the airline how your social life looks like

The flight operation in the Business Aviation required me to overnight at those locations wherever the last flight of the day took me. Whereas the flights of many low-cost airlines end at their home base, which equals basically to a 9 to 5 job. The current operation once in while allows me to spend a night at home or it happens that a rotation is only of 2-3 days. But I could imagine that an operation, which allows you to sleep at home every night, can be a big advantage once you want to build a family.

As you can see it really depends on the type of operation and airline how many days a month you can spend at home. A minimum of 8 days are granted by the aviation authority. But only 8 days at home this would be not enough for me to have enough time for family, friends and hobbies. 

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8 years in Berlin

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Do you miss out on anything in your private life?

I have arranged myself with the absence from home quite well. I have a social life with friends and private activities like everyone else. Unfortunately, I can not attend all events (like birthdays, concerts, parties and family events) but due to good organization skills I get the best of my free time and I never have a big feeling that I miss out on something.

The benefits of a pilot life?

The greatest benefit of a pilot is that I get paid for traveling. When I finish my duty I leave work behind in the airplane and so I can use my off time to the fullest. Then I have minimum 4 days off in a row guaranteed without taking leave.

Watch my video on my YouTube channel to find out what I do during my off days in Berlin.

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Please be aware that those are my impressions and feelings. There probably pilots who would tell you something else.

Are you interested in a working day of a private jet pilot? Then check out my blog series a busy day of a private jet pilot.

Could you imagine to have a travel job and which problems do you face in your job?

Safe travels and happy landings!

Your Pilot Patrick

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A working day of a private jet versus an airline pilot

A working day of a private jet versus an airline pilot

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Cooperation - Advertisement

Hello my Aviator, one year ago I was offered to fly for a different company. Switching jobs not only implied to get trained on a new aircraft type but also to get to know a new operation. I started my aviation career as First Officer on a Citation XLS business jet. Now I am flying the wide-body aircraft A300. I passed my initial line check three months ago and I have flown over 200 hours on the Airbus so far. I thought this is a good time to compare a working day of a private jet pilot with an airline pilot. Find out in my conclusion if I finally prefer one type of operation. 

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Citation XLS + in Dublin

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Getting to and from work

Private Jet

As a private jet pilot, I could choose my home base within Europe. The aircraft returned rarely to its home base in Germany, so it was operational wise more convenient to send the crew by an airline, rental car or train to the current location of the aircraft.  Most of the time I proceeded out of Tegel or Schönefled airport to Nizza, Paris or London.

Airline Pilot

Usually, I fly on duty to and from my home base. Sometimes I also have to jumpseat on a flight of my company to get to work or to go home. Unfortunately, I have fewer proceedings flights with other companies. That way I am collecting fewer miles and I will soon lose my Lufthansa frequent traveler status. On the other end, the time-consuming proceeding flights are now past.

 

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Croove - New carsharing service

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Absent from home

Both jobs require being absent from home about half a month. Therefore I have decided four years ago not to own car. Before I only used it to drive to the airport and the rest of the time it was parked uselessly on the street.

In case I need a car there are many alternative means. Like the new carsharing service, called "Croove". It is a private carsharing platform so you rent all kind of car models from private persons. You can also rent your own car profitable when you do not need it. It all works via an application for your personal device (Appstore / google play) and you are fully insured like with any regular car rental service. It is really convenient for me. I can save money on the rental price and I can also use their valet service which brings and picks up the car e.g. at the airport.

 

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Croove - Handing over the vehicle

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Schedule/ Reachability

Private Jet

I usually received the flight schedule for the next day the evening before. The business aviation is a volatile branch and therefore changes can occur hourly. That I why the company provided me with a phone, so they can reach me 24 hours. A working day comprised only a small part of flying. The major part was caring about the passengers, booking transport, ordering catering and organizing a place to sleep. On duty, I liked to be flexible and I found it exciting not knowing where the next flight would take me. I remember one time sitting in cold Moskau and I said to my colleague: "A flight in the south to Mallorca or Ibiza would be nice!". Two hours later we received a call informing us that we fly to Mallorca and Ibiza. That was a funny coincidence.

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Happy crew = happy landings = happy VIP passengers

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Airline

My flight schedule is published one month ahead. This allows much better planning. I know already my destinations and flights with exact departure and arrival times well ahead of time. Aviation is influenced by many different factors that is why changes can occur at an airline as well. In case there is an update I will be reminded my an online platform or via an SMS on my phone. I can fully concentrate on my tasks of a first officer and I do not get distracted from loading passengers bags, receiving catering and taking care of special passengers requests.

 

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Checking my flight schedule online

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Flight hours / duty times

Private Jet

In my career as a private jet pilot, I probably waited longer on passengers, fuel, and catering than I actually flew the aircraft. On a typical working day in the high season, I flew up to 5 legs a day coupled with long waiting periods in between flights. The preparation and the postprocessing are extensive. At busy airports like Nice, France, we often arrived two hours before an outbound flight to be fully ready for the scheduled departure. After the last flight of the day the aircraft still had to be cleaned and maybe refueled for the next day.  Most of the time there was some catering left, so we could enjoy a meal together in the cabin. In six years as a private jet pilot, I flew about 2000 hours.

More about a day of a private jet pilot here in my series.

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First days as a Frist Officer on the Citation XLS private jet

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Airline 

Reporting time of the crew is one hour before the flight and I currently fly a maximum of three sectors a day. The departure times vary a lot. I had to get to used to fly really early in the morning and late at night. In this type of operation, I will gather about 450 hours a year. This is still not a lot when you think about low-cost airline pilots, who fly up to 900 hours a year. On a duty day, I know my exact flight schedule and I know the location I will be spending the night. The waiting time on turn around is decent. It is absolutely bearable when you compare to passengers who let you waiting for an unknown period. After the last flight of the day, we already leave the aircraft about 15 minutes later.

 

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Underneath an Airbus A380

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Layovers/hotels

Private Jet

The final destination of a working day was not always sure when we left the hotel. Sometimes it was a real surprise in which city we would sleep at night. Since the business is so volatile we were not allowed to book a hotel until we received the "go" of the company. I am the master of hotels and it was usually my job to find an appropriate place to sleep. I liked that we as a crew could choose the hotel ourselves. But on the other hand, we wasted a lot of time, searching for a place to stay.I flew to many different destinations within Europe and I got to know a wide range of airports. I flew to many different destinations within Europe and I got to know a wide range of airports.

Airline pilot

Like as a private jet pilot I mostly fly within Europe but now only to certain destinations. In my first 200 hours, I almost got to know all airports within the network. Hotels and transport are organized by the company.

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Layover in Barcelona, Spain

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Do I have a preference?

I can only speak about my impressions and experiences I gained in both operations in the last seven years of my aviation career. The picture might look totally different with other airlines.

The private jet and airline operation differ a lot. Both are enjoyable.

As a private jet pilot, I spent most of the time waiting and duty times were lengthy. Whereas an airline pilot flies more in fewer duty hours. Everything is more organized and you do not waste time organizing catering, booking hotels and ordering transport. But I am missing the VIP catering and the private terminals, which also offered comfortable lounges for the crew.

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Private jet or airline pilot?

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One fact which I liked about the business aviation was that I flew too many different destinations and I got to know challenging airports. On the other hand, the business is very volatile. That means you can expect changes on short notice. Now I have fixed schedule and I know how much rest I have in the end. I can really plan with the time in between duties to do sightseeing and go on tours.

In my opinion, the business aviation was a really good school because I had to be independent and well organized to complete more than the task of flying the airplane. I still think that the airline operation is more relaxed and I really like the fact that I can now fully concentrate on my tasks of a first officer.

 

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If you could be a pilot for a day would you rather be a private jet pilot or an airline pilot? Please leave me a comment below and do not forget to subscribe to my blog with your email.

Happy landings!

Your Pilot Patrick 

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A working day of a private jet versus an airline pilot

Die Unterschiede im Berufsalltag eines Privatjet und Airline Piloten

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Cooperation - Advertisement

Hallo mein Aviator, vor einem Jahr bekam ich das Angebot für eine andere Firma zu fliegen. Den Arbeitgeber zu wechseln und für eine neue Firma zu fliegen, bedeutete nicht nur ein neues Flugzeug Modell fliegen, sondern auch eine ganz andere "Operations" kennen zu lernen. Meine Luftfahrt Karriere als "First Officer" hat auf einem Business Jet Citation XLS begonnen. Jetzt fliege ich das Großraumflugzeug A300. Den "initial line check" habe ich vor drei Monaten bestanden und habe meine ersten 200 Flugstunden auf dem Airbus gesammelt. Wie ich finde, genau der richtige Zeitpunkt um den Berufsalltag eines Privatjet Piloten mit dem Alltag als Airline Piloten zu vergleichen. Finde heraus, was mein persönliches Fazit ist und ob mir eine der "Operations" besser gefällt. 

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Citation XLS + in Dublin

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Mein Arbeitsweg

Private Jet

Als Privatjet Pilot konnte ich meine eigene "Home Base" innerhalb von Europa selbst wählen. Es ist eher selten, dass die Flugzeuge auch mal zu ihrer "Base" nach Deutschland zurückkehren. Für die Operations ist es daher besser, die AirCrew mit der Linie, dem Auto oder Zug zu dem aktuellen Aufenthaltsort des Flugzeuges zu schicken. Am häufigsten bin ich von den berliner Flughäfen Tegel und Schönefeld nach Nizza, Paris oder London "proceeded".

Airline Pilot

In der Regel beginnt und Endet mein Dienst auf dem A300 direkt in Berlin. In seltenen Fällen muss ich auf dem "Jumpseat" bei einem anderen Flieger unserer Flotte mitfliegen. Dadurch habe ich weniger "Proceedings" mit anderen Fluggesellschaften und kann jetzt leider weniger Meilen sammeln, wodurch ich bald meine Status als Lufthansa frequent traveler verliere. Anderseits, gehören die aufwendigen Proceedings nun der Vergangenheit an und ich spare mir viel Zeit.

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Croove - Der neue & persönliche "Carsharing" Anbieter

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Abwesenheit von der Home Base

Sowohl der Alltag als Privatjet Pilot, als auch der Berufsalltag bei der Airline, beinhaltet viel Abwesenheit von Zuhause. Aus diesem Grund habe ich beispielsweise vor vier Jahren beschlossen mir kein eigenes Auto zukaufen, da ich die meiste Zeit nicht zuhause bin um es zu nutzen. Ein Auto brauche ich meistens nur für den Weg zum Airport und zurück.

In so einem Fall nutze ich gerne eine der vielen Alternativen wie z.B die neue private Autovermietung namens  "Croove". Das ist eine private "Carsharing" Platform, auf welcher  die Vermieter Privatpersonen sind, von denen man die verschiedensten Auto Modelle ausleihen kann. Man selbst hat auch die Möglichkeit sein eigenes Auto dort zum profitablen Verleih bereitzustellen. Croove funktioniert super leicht via App auf dem eigenen Gerät. (Appstore / google play) Zudem ist man komplett versichert. Für mich ist der ganze Service angenehm. Ich spare mir das Taxi Geld und nutze ganz einfach den "Valet Service", welcher das Auto bringt und abholt z.B. vom Flughafen.

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Croove - Übergabe des Fahrzeuges

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Dienstplan/ Erreichbarkeit

Private Jet

Im Normalfall bekam ich den Plan für den nächsten Tag, an dem Abend bevor mein Dienst begann. Die Geschäftsfliegerei ist eine sehr unbeständige Branche, weshalb Planänderungen jederzeit stattfinden können - manchmal sogar stündlich. Das ist einer der Gründe, warum die Firma mich mit einem Diensthandy ausgestattet hat, damit ich 24 Stunden für sie erreichbar bin. Fliegen war nur ein kleiner Teil des Berufsalltages als Privatejet Pilot. Der Großteil der Arbeit bestand darin, sich um die Passagiere zu kümmern, Catering zu organisieren und den Transport sowie die Unterkunft für die Nacht zu buchen. Im Dienst mag ich es abwechslungsreich uns ich fand es spannend, nicht zu wissen wohin der nächste Flug geht. Ich erinnere mich genau daran, wie wir einmal in dem kalten, grauen Moskau saßen und ich sagte zu meinem Kollegen:" Ein Flug nach Mallorca oder Ibiza wäre jetzt genau das Richtige!" Zwei Stunden später erhielten wir den Anruf mit der Info, dass wir wirklich nach Mallorca und Ibiza fliegen würden. Ein lustiger Zufall!

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Gut gelaunte AirCrew = happy landings = zufriedene VIP Passagiere

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Airline

Bei der Airline erhalte ich meinen Dienstplan und eine festen Ablauf  einen Monat im voraus. Das ermöglicht es mir viel besser zu planen. Ich weiß somit schon lange Zeit vorher, welche Zielorte ich anfliege und kenne die exakte Ab-und Anflugszeit. Die Luftfahrt steht unter dem Einfluss vieler verschiedener Faktoren, darum sind auch bei der Airline Änderungen immer möglich. Ist das der Fall, so werde ich durch ein Update auf einer spezielle online Plattform informiert, oder bekomme ein Meldung per SMS auf mein Handy. Bei der Airline kann ich mich voll auf meine Aufgaben als Erster Offizier konzentrieren und muss mich nicht zusätzlich mit dem Gepäck der Passagiere, dass eingeladen werden muss, Catering, dass verstaut werden muss oder gar speziellen Passagier Wünschen beschäftigen.

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Online Check des Flugplanes

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Flug Stunden / Dienstzeiten

Private Jet

In meiner gesamten Karriere als Privatjet Pilot habe ich wahrscheinlich mehr Zeit am Boden damit verbracht, auf Passagiere, den Tanker und das Catering zu warten, als dass ich in der Luft war um das Flugzeug zu fliegen. An einem typischen Arbeitstag in der Hochsaison Sommer, bin ich bis zu fünf Legs geflogen, zusammen mit langen Wartezeiten zwischen den einzelnen Flügen. Die Vor- und Nachbearbeitung eines Arbeitstages in der Geschäftsfliegerei sind sehr umfangreich. An einem hochfrequentierten Flughafen wie z.B Nizza in Frankreich mussten wir zwei Stunden vor Abflug am Flugzeug sein, um einen pünktlichen Abflug vorzubereiten. Nach dem letzten Flug des Tages musste das Flugzeug noch gereinigt und manchmal  schon für den nächsten Tag betankt werden. In den meisten Fällen war immer noch etwas von dem Vip Catering übrig, somit konnten wir nach dem letzen Flug ein kleines gemeinsames Essen in der Kabine genießen. In sechs Jahren als Privatjet Pilot bin ich insgesamt mehr als 2.000 Stunden geflogen.

Mehr über den Berufsalltag als Privatjet Pilot, erfährst Du in meiner Serie here

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Mein allererster Tag als "First Officer" auf einem Privatjet

 Muster: Citation XLS

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Airline 

Meldung zum Dienst ist für die Crew eine Stunde vor geplantem Abflug und momentan fliege ich ein Maximum von drei Sektoren pro Tag. Die Abflugzeiten sind hierbei sehr unterschiedlich. Ich musste mich erst daran gewöhnen, sehr früh am morgen und spät in der Nacht zu fliegen. In dieser Art der Operations, werde ich bis zu 450 Flugstunden pro Jahr sammeln. Das ist nicht gerade viel, wenn man es mit der Anzahl der Flugstunden eines Piloten vergleicht, der für eine Billigfluggesellschaft fliegt. Für die Tage im Dienst weiß ich den exakten Ablauf, kenne die Aufenthaltsorte für die Nächte im Voraus und die Wartezeiten zwischen den Flügen sind annehmbar. Im Vergleich zu den Wartezeiten als Privatjet Pilot, wo wir oft lange für unvorhersehbare Zeit gewartet haben, absolut ertragbar. Nach dem letzten Flug des Tages verlassen wir schon 15 Minuten später das Flugzeug.

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Unter dem Airbus A380

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Aufenthalt/Hotels

Private Jet

Wenn wir am Morgen das Hotel verließen, war oft noch nicht klar wo wir am Abend landen würden. In manchen Fällen war es eine große Überraschung, in welcher Stadt wir dann schliefen. Wie schon erwähnt ist die Geschäftsfliegerei sehr unvorhersehbar, was der Grund dafür war, dass Hotels für die Nacht erst gebucht werden durften, wenn die Firma das "Go" gab. Ich bin der "Master of Hotels" und es war meistens meine Aufgabe eine angemessene Unterkunft für die Nacht zu finden. Einerseits gefiel es mir, dass wir die Hotels als Crew selber aussuchen durften. Anderseits wurde auch viel Zeit damit verschwendet ein verfügbares Hotel zu suchen und zu buchen. Als Privatjet Pilot bin ich die unterschiedlichsten Zielorte innerhalb Europas angeflogen und habe daher sehr viele verschiedene Flughäfen kennengelernt.

Airline pilot

Wie auch als Privatjet Pilot fliege ich bei der Airline hauptsächlich zu Zielorten innerhalb von Europa, jetzt allerdings nur zu bestimmten. Daher habe ich in meinen ersten 200 Stunden auch schon fast das gesamte Streckennetz kennengelernt. Die Hotels und Transporte werden von der Firma organisiert und gebucht.

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Aufenthalt in Barcelona- Spanien

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Was bevorzuge ich und was gefällt mir besser?

Ich kann nur aus meinen ganz persönlichen Eindrücken und Erfahrungen berichten, die ich während der letzten Sieben Jahre meiner Aviation Karriere in beiden "Operations" sammeln konnte. Das Gesamtbild könnte sich durch eine andere Airline nochmal komplett verändern.

Obwohl sich der Berufsalltag eines Privatjet und Airline Piloten von Grund auf unterscheiden, machen mir beide Operations viel Spaß.

Als Privatjet Pilot musste ich sehr viel Zeit mit Warten verbringen und die Dienstzeiten waren langatmig. Ein Airline Pilot sammelt mehr Flugstunden in weniger Dienststunden, weil alles insgesamt organisierter ist und man z.B. keine Zeit mit dem Organisieren von Catering, Hotels und Transporten verschwendet. Dennoch vermisse ich das VIP Catering und die Privaten Terminals- die Privaten Terminals haben immer sehr  bequeme Lounges, auch für uns, die Crew.

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Privatjet Pilot oder Airline Pilot

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Ein Punkt den ich an der Geschäftsfliegerei sehr gemocht habe, ist die Tatsache, dass ich sehr viele verschiedene Zielorte angeflogen bin und dadurch auch herausfordernde Flughäfen kennenlernen konnte. Auf der anderen Seite ist die Geschäftsfliegerei so launisch und daher ist es kaum möglich vorausschauend zu planen. Bei der Airline habe ich jetzt einen klaren Plan für meinen Dienst. Ich weiß wieviel "Rest" ich habe und  kann meinen Aufenthalt jetzt wirklich planen z.B. mit Sightseeing machen oder einfach drauf los erkunden.

Meiner Meinung nach, ist die Geschäftsfliegerei eine gute Vorbereitung. Ich habe gelernt sehr selbständig zu arbeiten und mich gut zu organisieren um die vielen verschiedenen Aufgaben, die mehr als "nur" fliegen beinhalteten zuverlässig zu erledigen. Ich denke aber, die Operations bei der Airline ist sehr viel entspannter. Hier kann ich mich voll und ganz auf das Fliegen und meine Aufgaben als Erster Offizier konzentrieren.

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Wenn Du jetzt ein Pilot sein könntest für einen Tag, wärst Du lieber ein Privatjet Pilot oder doch auch bei der Airline?  Bitte schreib es mir unten in die Kommentare und vergiss nicht Dich mit deiner E-Mail Adresse für meinen Blog anzumelden, für gute News aus der Luft!

Happy landings!

Dein Pilot Patrick 

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private jet pilot versus airline pilot

Private jet pilot versus airline pilot

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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.

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

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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.

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Flight hours

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Airline

  • approximately 450 flight hours a year

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Business Aviation

  • 250 - 500 hours

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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.

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Citation XLS+ Private Jet

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Destinations

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Airline

  • network primarily within Europe
  • fixed routes and destinations

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Business Aviation

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

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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.

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Sunset at Tivat airport

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Schedule / Roster

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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

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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

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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.

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A300-600 cockpit

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Layovers and Hotels

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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

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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

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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.

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Layover in Helsinki April 2017

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Aircraft and Training

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Airline

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

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Business Aviation

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

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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.

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A300-600 engines

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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.

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Which operation would you prefer? Airline or Private jet?

Happy landings!

Your Pilot Patrick

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