process of becoming a captain

12 Years Being a Pilot: Pros And Cons Of a Dream Job

Dear my Aviator,

I’m m now working for 12 years in the aviation industry and it is even over 14 years ago that I signed the contract with my former flight school to become a commercial pilot. I take this anniversary as an occasion to recap my time as a pilot. Even though my time as a pilot had a lot of ups and downs it is still a dream job for me. On my social media, everything might look perfect, but this job also has its downsides. Are you ready for the pros and cons of being a pilot?

But let’s start with a little aspect that annoys me about being a pilot. Security checks. As a private jet pilot, I had the privilege to skip security controls at many destinations. But as a commercial pilot you have to pass security like any other passenger with only a few exceptions.

Paris security staff treat pilots like a potential terrorist.

This is so ridiculous when you take into account that all crew members have a valid background check. Once they wanted to see my turmeric powder in my food bag. They tried to check it for liquid?! In the end, had to taste the spice in front of the security staff to prove that it is not an explosive. A waste of time and nerves but I decided to take it with humour from now on.

Flight school 👨🏼‍🏫

After I graduated high school I started right away preparing for the assessment to become a flight student for Lufthansa. I failed the first step of the selection process due to my extreme nervosity at that time.

Back then I was really sad about this but now I see it from a whole different perspective and I am actually happy that I failed the test.

I definitely took a more difficult way to become a pilot. The flight training was self-funded, which made me put so much effort into it so I would for sure succeed. There was no job guarantee after graduating from flight school. It was tough to start my aviation career as a first officer on a private jet. The “Lufthansa way” would have been the easy way but would not have made me the person and pilot I am today.

PRO: You have the time of your life with lots of studying and flying.

CON: No job guarantee with a self-funded training. There is a high risk of not getting a job and the waiting time can be extremely long. 

Pilot Licence 🎟

It is not an easy and inexpensive path to obtain the license to fly commercial airplanes. But in the end, it is “only” a license and not an occupational education nor a degree. Health restrictions could cause your inability to fly, thus you can not pursue your profession further. At least not in an actual cockpit. As a little back up I got a loss of license insurance which is a must for every pilot.

CON: If you lose your medical you lose your license and you cannot fly anymore. In case you did not study you are left without any education. With a contract, the airline pays for your training and keeps all ratings valid. In case of unemployment, you have to take care of it yourself which can get extremely costly. 

PRO: You fly yourself and you are in control of powerful machines. 

Salary 💸

The days of making a fortune as a pilot are over. A good availability of pilots on the market causes that working conditions and salaries to drop as it happens at moment due to the pandemic. Especially as a first pilot, the current time is not easy. My net salary was around 2800€ when I started in 2010. Luckily, I did not have to take a loan for the training, because my parents supported me. Imagine if have to pay back the costs of the license (70.000€) plus the type rating costs (20.000€) it would take ages and would not leave any money left to save.

The salary depends highly on which company you fly for, where you are based, which aircraft type you fly and how well you negotiate your salary.

There are a few pilot jobs out there in which you can make really good money. Especially in the business aviation on a private jet flying for an owner, you can easily earn 20,000€ as captain but those jobs are extremely rare and do not give you a lot of security.

PRO: A captain’s salary enables you to have a good life. But it is usually a long way to the left seat. 

CON: Pilot salaries differ greatly. Even “Pay to fly models” exist where pilots have to pay the airline to fly. You have to invest a lot and work hard to boost your income. When switching companies you lose your seniority or might even fly as first officer again. 

Job security 🦠

Aviation is a volatile business with great ups and downs. The pandemic has shown us how volatile. From one to the other day several ten thousand pilots got unemployed. You are dependent on the profitability of your airline. If an airline cannot cope with a crisis or suffers from bad management pilots are not needed anymore.

PRO: No office day is the same and you do not take any left work home. You can enjoy the good reputation of being a pilot and you get paid to look out of the window. 

CON: You are only needed as long there are flights and aircraft. This profession is highly specialized you can only fly aircraft and you are type rated on one special aircraft.

Social life and free time 🏄🏼

Do you have a social life? I have been getting asked this question many times. Of course, I do like everyone else.

But it requires good organization and planning to see friends and family.

You often have free time during the week when the majority of the people has to work and has no time. But one aspect I exceptionally like about the job is that you do not take any work home.

PRO: I have more than ten off days in a month. (German law requires a minimum of eight) Sometimes it is even half of the month that I am not working. Between duty days I can at least enjoy four off days in a row without taking leave. In which kind of job do you have this?

CON: You are not home. About half of the month you are not at home, so you will not be able to attend all family and friend events. It is not possible to attend weekly classes regularly like language or dancing classes. 

Layovers 🗺

In the past 12 years I have been to hundreds of different locations in Europe, North Africa, Middle East and Russia. As a private jet and as an airline pilot I am having layovers outside of my home base. The time I get to spend at one destination ranges from minimum rest (10 hours) up to two days. The destinations were varying all the time as a private jet pilot. I really liked the fact that I got to choose the crew hotel myself. You can imagine that I did not stay in the worst places. 😉

PRO: I have a fixed flight schedule and I know how much time I have at one destination. I can really use my rest time to do activities. (airline pilot)

CON: When the network is limited you get to stay at the same destination more often. (airline pilot)

Working hours ⏰

The pilot job has probably one of the most irregular working hours. Aviation does not know weekends or public holidays. There are some days you only have one flight and there are others you have up to five legs. Instead of four duty hours up to 16. Fortunately, I did not have to deal with jet lag, since I have been flying mostly within Europe. As a private jet pilot, I flew primarily during the day since VIPs do not like to get up early. As an airline pilot, I also got to fly at night, which is a lot of stress for your body and you have to fight against fatigue.

PRO: I like the irregular working hours. I do not have to get up at the same time every day. Some flying days are long some are short. The work remains on board and when I have off I have off.

CON: Due to the irregular working hours I have to take good care of my body. That is why I have a healthy diet and do regular body exercises to stay fit.

Crew life 🥳

Becoming a pilot means you become part of a big family. Crews all share the same passion which connects everyone easily. To guarantee a safe flight requires the crew to work in a team in a small environment. I think that is why you won’t find this energy and enthusiasm in other jobs. Crews take care of each other and support each other. The well being of each crew member ensures the safety of each flight. Nevertheless, there is a lack of diversity in aviation.

Especially in the cockpit, you will not find many members of the LGBTQ community.

I have met great, open-minded, and modern thinking pilots. Most of them belonged to the younger generation. Unfortunately, there is still a huge percentage of pilots that are not tolerant and have an old fashioned mindset when it comes to sexuality.

PRO: Colleagues can become friends. To share the flight experience and to spend the layover together is double the fun.

CON: During work, I am not staying at a nice location with my beloved once. It still remains work. Every crew member has their own daily routine so it happens that you only spend time together in the cockpit and the rest of the time everyone does their own thing. 

Upgrade 👨🏼‍✈️

One aspect I really love about my job is that you constantly need to learn to be the best pilot possible. Whether it is to improve your flying skills or to review system related knowledge. Aviation requires you to be up to date on new procedures and regulations. Even after flying an aircraft for thousands of hours, you will find out something new about it.

With the first day of your first officer career, you start your training to become a captain one day.

PRO: You never stop learning as a pilot. That is a really nice fact which makes this job so interesting.

CON: Switching companies means you lose your seniority. So you usually have to fly as first officer again even though you flew as captain before. Becoming a captain can take up to 10 years.

What would I have done differently?

I would have done everything exactly the same, except one point. Before starting with the flight training, I would have studied to get a degree or at least studied in parallel to the flight school. Keep this in mind when deciding to become a commercial pilot.

Which downside would you like the least? Please let me in a comment below and do not forget to like this blog post. 

Happy landings!

Your Pilot Patrick


fear of flying

Fear Of Flying - My 10 Tips To Become a More Relaxed Flyer

Updated blog post from 2018

Hello my Aviator,

it makes me really sad to hear that many of you are anxious to fly and cannot enjoy travelling by plane! That is why I want to give you an update on my fear of flying blog post. I actually could write a whole book about this subject. I am passionate to help you to feel more comfortable on board. Hopefully, my 10 tips to manage this anxiety will help you so I see you much more relaxed up in the sky.

Fear of flying

In fact, a survey suggests that 43 percent of people have at least some fear of flying and around 9 percent are so afraid that they would not go on a flight. Now I understand why I receive so many comments and messages asking me what they can do against their fear of flying. In this article, I want to help you as much as possible to get over that fear which is also known as aviophobia. I hope that my personal words as a pilot are more persuasive than those of a third person who is not involved in the aviation industry as much as I am.

There is no reason to panic!

During my research for this blog post, I found out that the most common reason for the fear of flying is the fear to crash. But the probability for that is vanishing low. Let me mention them again to get an idea of how safe flying really is.

It is the safest means of transportation but also the most dangerous one at the same time.

Flying through the air with over 800 km/h with tons of ignitable fuel. In the first place, this does not sound really comforting. And because of that, we took all measures to make it to the safest way of travel.

The probability of your plane going down is around one in 5.4 million. (according to The Economist) It is more likely to be attacked by a shark or even killed by the flu. Travelling in a car is 100 times more deadly than flying in a plane. Despite the high profile plane crashes in the past, it has never been safer to fly. So are you also afraid when driving in the car?

Anxiety originates from ignorance!

I think the anxiety can originate from ignorance not understanding the complex system of aviation. This might trigger “what if?” catastrophic thoughts.

This starts with the ignorance of the systems of the aeroplane. Certain noises and normal flight manoeuvres can already cause unease. For example noise of the brakes, landing gear, the flaps, and the engines. Especially during takeoff, you experience a lot of different ones. The engines run at a high thrust setting, the runway might a little bumpy and the landing gear retracts with a loud “bang”. Trust me all those noises are normal. Most of you are scared of turbulences and think that they are dangerous. Please trust me they belong to the normal path of flight. Aircraft are built to withstand turbulence with ease.

Pilots always try to avoid turbulence and in case we encounter them we try to find a different level to escape the area of turbulence. This causes a spool up or down of the engines and a climb or descent to a different level.

The regulations in aviation are really strict. The authority requires that the aircraft are maintained at fixed intervals. Airlines could not afford to operate a badly maintained aircraft, which could cause them to lose their operator certificate (AOC) and of course their reputation.

fear of flyinig

Redundancy in all aspects of aviation!

Even when there happens to be a malfunction of a system, that does not mean it will end in a disaster. The aircraft are built to be flying in the air and constructed to be redundant. That means if one system fails, the aeroplane will still be safe to fly and a different system will take over it. For example, if one engine fails, the second one will keep the aeroplane in the sky and a safe landing will be possible. This is trained on regular simulator flights many times.

Maybe you have heard about the swiss cheese model before. This model of accident causation illustrates that, although many layers of defence lie between hazards and accidents. Only if there is a flaw in each layer, if aligned, can allow the accident to occur. A single mistake in one layer will not lead to an accident!

My 10 tips against the fear of flying

  1.  Choose an airline you feel safe with or you know they have a good reputation, do not book just because the ticket is cheap
  2. Arrive at the airport with enough time, so you do not get stressed additionally. Minimum 2 hours prior to departure.
  3. Book a seat with more space, e.g. at the emergency exit
  4. Try not to drink alcohol and caffeine this might intense your anxiety
  5. When boarding let the cabin crew know that you are a little bit nervous, a short chat with them can help
  6. Recall that you are safe and probability is on your side
  7. Control your breathing inhale deeply and exhale slowly: Relaaaaax!
  8. Use noise-cancelling headphones, recall that flying and systems produce loud noises, listen to relaxing music and do things that distract you (food, beverages, books, music, sleeping mask)
  9. You are not alone! Millions of people travel by plane at the same time
  10. Keep in mind that the aeroplane is built to travel through the air, turbulence is a normal path of flying,

fear of flying, blog post, help, fear, aviophobia, aviation, safety, app, am i going down

Am I going down?

I found an app “Am I Going Down?”, which claims to calculate the odds of a disaster on a particular flight. You put in three variables: the departure and arrival airports, the airline, and the type of plane used. For example, a flight from San Francisco to London Heathrow has a probability of 1 to 3.646.151 to go down. You would have to take this flight every day for 9.989 years before it crashes. Knowing the probability, which is not even worth mentioning for your particular flight, may help with your fear of flying.

I hope you will be more relaxed on your next flight, so you can enjoy the beauty of flying. Recall my 10 tips when flying next time. You might even save them on your mobile device. Now sit back, relax and enjoy your flight!

What causes you unease on a flight?

Your PilotPatrick

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deal with jet lag

Best 9 Tips To Deal With A Jet Lag

Hello My Dear Aviator,

welcome back to my blog. I just returned home from my bucket list destination – Tulum in Mexico – and I am about to fly to Brazil in a few days. Both destinations lay in different time zones compared to Germany. Tulum time is 6 hours and Sao Paulo 4 hours behind Germany. Many of you have been wondering how I deal with jet lag during my journeys. In this blog post I will share the ultimative 9 best tips to deal with jet lag and its side effects due to flying east or west around the globe.

How to deal with jet lag

In my case I am staying in between Mexico and Brazil since it is only one week between both travels – that way I am avoiding jet lag completely. Currently, this means I am staying up until 2/3am in the morning which is 10 /11pm in the evening in São Paulo and sleeping in everyday.

 Thumbs up – Next trip you will deal better with jetlag.

deal with jet lag

The brandnew Airbus A330NEO

1. FLY PREMIUM ✈️

One of the best ways to mitigate the effects of a tiring long flight is to fly a higher booking class. This is a quite costly tip I know. Most airlines offer seats which fully convert into a flatbed to have a good rest, arriving at your destination refreshed. Unfortunately, the ticket prices are not always easily affordable compared to the costs of international economy tickets. Over the last few years, most major airlines introduced a premium economy class which gives more space and extra amenities for a decent surcharge. However those seats do not convert into a flatbed.

I recommend collecting miles to either get a reward ticket or to use them to upgrade your flight. Another way to fly Business Class for a decent price is to bid on empty seats. Use your booking code online to see which alternatives your airline offers.

deal with jet lag

2. RESERVE YOUR SEAT 💺

Besides having a comfortable seat, there are many other things you can do to mitigate the intensity of jet lag. 

When booking your ticket, reserve a seat right away so you will not end up squeezed into the middle seat. The website seat guru helps to find good seats.

  •  Via the flight search function, the system will show the cabin layout of your aircraft. I generally recommend booking a seat by the window, so you do not need to stand up for everyone, the traffic of the aisle does not bother you and you are in control of the window blind. 
  • When dropping your luggage at the airport, I would also ask the airline staff whether the seat next to you is still free or if they could possibly preposition you to an empty row. It’s always worth asking.

deal with jet lag

Business Class Seat of TAP Air Portugal

3. STAY HYDRATED💧

Stay hydrated during the flight. Since the cabin air is quite dry you should drink about 230 ml of still water or juice every hour. So on a 10 hours flight this means you need to drink at least 2,3 liters. Try to refrain from drinking alcohol. Maybe a glass of wine or champagne during the meal helps to fall asleep easier. But do not get wasted! This will aggravate jet lag.

deal with jet lag

Drink enough. Coconut water is rich in vitamins / Location: Ritz Carlton Cancun

4. MOVE YOUR BUTT 🍑

It is really important that you move enough during the flight. Do exercises on the way to the lavatory or even in your seat which helps eliminate the risk of thrombosis. The inflight entertainment of most airlines shows exercises you can do during the flight.

deal with jet lag

Go outside and exercise Location: Amanasala Resort Tulum

5. SLEEP AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE 😴

Sleeping will recharge your body so that you have more energy when you arrive at your destination. On red-eye flights, where you fly through the night and land early in the morning, I recommend sleeping as much as possible. Maybe it’s better to skip a meal and get some rest instead.

deal with jet lag

Comfy beds at the Ritz Carlton Cancun

6. RESET YOUR WATCH ⌚️

Once you take off, reset your watch to the new timezone. Do not constantly calculate which time it would be back home. This will confuse you and your body immensely.

deal with jet lag

Sunrise in Tulum at Amanasala Resort

7. BE COMFORTABLE 💆‍♂️

Bring everything on board which makes you feel comfortable. Take pajamas if you feel like it. An absolute must are noise canceling headphones, ear plugs, sleeping masks and a travel pillow, toothbrush and lip balm.

deal with jet lag

Amenity Kit in Business Class

8. POWER NAP 🛌

In general, if you get really tired during the day I can recommend taking a NASA power nap of 26 mins. A study of NASA in 1995 found that a “26-minute nap improves performance by 34% and alertness by 54%.” A great tool that not only works at home but also on a journey. Set your timer to 26 minutes, find a comfortable place and turn on “non-disturb on” your phone and close your eyes. Restricting the nap to 26 mins I feel more alert and energetic over the next few hours.  Try it out and let me know how you felt after a power nap. Napping longer might have the effect that you feel more tired afterwards.

deal with jet lag

Beach Club at Amanasala Resort

What to do when jet lag hits you?

Flying eastbound can be quite challenging since the flight usually takes place during the night and you land at your destination in the morning. Maybe you did not sleep well and now the whole day lays ahead of you. If your schedule permits I would suggest going to bed now and sleeping for a couple of hours. Set an alarm to wake up around lunch time. Have something to eat and motivate yourself to be active. A short body exercise can help to wake you up mentally and physically.

deal with jet lag

Jet lag – behavioural recommendations:

  • Set your watch to the time of your destination
  • Participate in the daily life of your destination
  • Spend time outside at your destination
  • Try to get enough sleep during the first night of your arrival
  • Try to avoid exhausting activities the first two days
  • No alcohol or sleeping pills
  • Drink enough water (still water or juices 230 ml per flight hour)
  • Keep a light and healthy diet (this is not proven but it will not hurt)
  • During short trips remain at the time of departure so you do not get double jet lag.
  • Wear comfortable clothing 

deal with jet lag

The body adjusts approximately 1,5 hours every day. This means it takes about six days to adjust to the new time when the spread between departure and destination is nine hours.

 

A lot of times travelers suffer from respiratory ailments: cold and fever-like symptoms after a long flight. During my research for this blog post I visited the website Zentrum der Gesundheit (unfortunately only in german) and I found an interesting article about colds after flight journeys. A study of the Griffith`s Menzies Health Institute Queensland (MHIQ)  found that taking elder (capsules or syrup) is a preventive measure to stay healthy after the flight! I have found myself being sick for a day or having fever-like symptoms after a long flight. For my next long-range trip, I will definitely test this out.

What helps you best when you have jet lag? Please leave me a comment below and do not forget to like the blog post!

Your Pilot Patrick


favorite aviation movies

My Favorite Aviation Movies You Have To Watch

Anzeige / Cooperation

Dear Aviators, 

I have to admit that I have never watched so many movies and series before like in 2019. The pandemic with its lockdowns (now the 2nd one in Germany) made it possible. The free time you would normally spend with friends, going to a restaurant or working out in the gym you spend now at home. What to do in the evening when there is nothing else to do? Turn on the TV and watch my favorite aviation movies. 

favorite aviation movies

I present to you my favorite aviation movies you have to watch as well. Airplanes: They’re a useful mode of transportation, reliable subject matter for hacky stand-up comics, and a linchpin for some of the most memorable movies ever made.

Ironically, many of my choices would never play on an actual airplane: They would be too upsetting for most passengers on board. The thrill and terror of flying is the perfect dramatic device to create chills, scares, and big laughs.

Which streaming provider should you use?

The perfect streaming which provides all movies for a monthly flat rate does not exist yet. I use a combination of providers to have the best flexibility and the best selection. 

The streaming providers I am using:

NETFLIX
AMAZON PRIME
SKY CINEMA

favorite aviation movies

My Favorite Aviation Movies  

(sorted by year of publication)

TOP GUN

1986 ACTION / DRAMA IMDB 6,9

A legendary aviation movie. During my private jet I flew once Meg Ryan. After my duty I arrived at the hotel and turned on the TV. The channel which came up was broadcasting Top Gun. Such a funny coincidence. 

Plot: The Top Gun Naval Fighter Weapons School is where the best of the best train to refine their elite flying skills. When hotshot fighter pilot Maverick (Tom Cruise) is sent to the school, his reckless attitude and cocky demeanor put him at odds with the other pilots, especially the cool and collected Iceman (Val Kilmer). But Maverick isn’t only competing to be the top fighter pilot, he’s also fighting for the attention of his beautiful flight instructor, Charlotte Blackwood (Kelly McGillis).

EXECUTIVE DECISION

1996 ACTION / THRILLER IMDB 6,4

I do not know how often I have watched this movie as a teenager. I was fascinated how the stealth bomber docks underneath a Boeing B747 mid-flight.

Plot: When terrorists hijack a plane traveling from Greece to Washington, D.C., U.S. Army specialist David Grant (Kurt Russell) and Lt. Colonel Austin Travis (Steven Seagal) join forces to bring the plane to safety. While terrorists on board the plane claim they hijacked the plane to force the U.S. government to release their leader, who was captured by military forces, David and Austin discover that the plane is carrying a bomb full of nerve gas to be released on Washington, D.C.

AIR FORCE ONE

1997 ACTION / THRILLER IMDB 6,5

The movie is worth watching just because you can find out how the Air Force One looks inside!

Plot: After making a speech in Moscow vowing to never negotiate with terrorists, President James Marshall (Harrison Ford) boards Air Force One with his family (Wendy Crewson, Liesel Matthews) and advisers. When a group of terrorists led by Ivan Korshunov (Gary Oldman) hijacks the flight, the President’s principles are put to the test. Feigning escape, ex-soldier Marshall stows away in the aircraft and must race against time to rescue his family and everyone else on board.

CATCH ME IF YOU CAN 

 2002 Crime / Drama IMDB 8,5

One of my favorite movie scenes: Leonardo DiCaprio walks as pilot with his good looking crew through the airport terminal. 

Plot: Frank Abagnale, Jr. (Leonardo DiCaprio) worked as a doctor, a lawyer, and as a co-pilot for a major airline — all before his 18th birthday. A master of deception, he was also a brilliant forger, whose skill gave him his first real claim to fame: At the age of 17, Frank Abagnale, Jr. became the most successful bank robber in the history of the U.S. FBI Agent Carl Hanratty (Tom Hanks) makes it his prime mission to capture Frank and bring him to justice, but Frank is always one step ahead of him.

THE AVIATOR

2004 Drama / Epic IMDB 7,5

You cannot get more aviation in a movie. This is why it is one of my favorite aviation movies. It shows that bravery and passion is needed to shape and develop aviation. 

Plot: Billionaire and aviation tycoon Howard Hughes (Leonardo DiCaprio) is a successful public figure: a director of big-budget Hollywood films such as “Hell’s Angels,” a passionate lover of Hollywood leading ladies Katharine Hepburn (Cate Blanchett) and Ava Gardner (Kate Beckinsale), and an aviation pioneer who helps build TWA into a major airline. But in private, Hughes remains tormented, suffering from paralyzing phobias and depression. The higher he rises, the further has to fall.

RED EYE

2005 THRILLER / MYSTERY IMDB 6,4

Did you know? In commercial aviation, a red-eye flight is a flight scheduled to depart at night and arrive the next morning. The term “red-eye” derives from the symptom of having red eyes, which can be caused by fatigue.

Plot: In the wake of her grandmother’s funeral, hotel manager Lisa Reisert (Rachel McAdams) is waiting to fly back home when she meets charming Jackson Rippner (Cillian Murphy) at check-in. She thinks it’s lucky that they’re seated together on the plane, but soon learns otherwise. Jackson hopes to assassinate the head of Homeland Security, but to do so, he needs Lisa to reassign the official’s room number at her hotel. As insurance, Jackson has kidnapped Lisa’s father (Brian Cox).

FLIGHT PLAN

2005 THRILLER / MYSTERY IMDB 6,3

For an avgeek it is always hard to watch a movie in which “fake” airplanes are used. In this one it is a better looking A380. 

Plot: Airplane engineer Kyle Pratt (Jodie Foster) is heading home from Germany to New York on a double-decker Elgin 474 to bury her husband. But three hours into the flight, she awakens to find her young daughter missing — and the entire flight crew, including Capt. Rich (Sean Bean) and Air Marshal Gene Carson (Peter Sarsgaard), claims that the child was never on board. Determined to find her daughter, Kyle searches the limited space of the plane, all the while trying to maintain her sanity.

FLIGHT

2012 Drama / Thriller IMDB 7,3

The movie tackles the very real issues that some pilots have had with drugs and alcohol. Pilots are regular people, and in my opinion they are more susceptible to addiction given the irregular schedules, sleep loss, loneliness, and temptation faced when living out of a suitcase on multi day trips.

Plot: Commercial airline pilot Whip Whitaker (Denzel Washington) has a problem with drugs and alcohol, though so far he’s managed to complete his flights safely. His luck runs out when a disastrous mechanical malfunction sends his plane hurtling toward the ground. Whip pulls off a miraculous crash-landing that results in only six lives lost. Shaken to the core, Whip vows to get sober — but when the crash investigation exposes his addiction, he finds himself in an even worse situation.

INTERSTELLAR

2014 SIFI / ADVENTURE IMDB 8,6 

This is one of my favorite aviation movies. Thrilling, exciting and makes you think Less aviation but more space travel.

Plot: In Earth’s future, a global crop blight and second Dust Bowl are slowly rendering the planet uninhabitable. Professor Brand (Michael Caine), a brilliant NASA physicist, is working on plans to save mankind by transporting Earth’s population to a new home via a wormhole. But first, Brand must send former NASA pilot Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) and a team of researchers through the wormhole and across the galaxy to find out which of three planets could be mankind’s new home.

NON STOP

2014 ACTION / THRILLER IMDB 6,9

Plot: Alcoholic and world-weary, U.S. Air Marshal Bill Marks (Liam Neeson) lost his passion for his work long ago. Even though lives are potentially at stake during every flight, he sees the assignment as just a desk job. However, his “ordinary day at the office” becomes a high-stakes crisis during a flight to London. Marks receives a series of text messages demanding that he instruct the airline to transfer $150 million into an offshore account, or a passenger will die every 20 minutes.

SULLY

2016 DRAMA IMDB 7,4

Pilot Sully, our aviation hero. It is shocking to see which legal processes he had to go through even though he saved all lives. 

Plot: On Jan. 15, 2009, Capt. Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger (Tom Hanks) tries to make an emergency landing in New York’s Hudson River after US Airways Flight 1549 strikes a flock of geese. Miraculously, all of the 155 passengers and crew survive the harrowing ordeal, and Sullenberger becomes a national hero in the eyes of the public and the media. Despite the accolades, the famed pilot now faces an investigation that threatens to destroy his career and reputation.

7500

2019 Thriller / Drama IMDB 6,3

The movie was entirely shot from inside the cockpit. Sounds boring. Not really. It had some really exciting but also illogical parts. Find out yourself. 

Plot: Tobias Ellis starts his shift as a co-pilot and everything seems normal, but things quickly take a turn when terrorists storm the cockpit of his Airbus A319, and hijack the plane.

THE AERONAUTS

2019 ADVENTURE / DRAMA IMDB 6,6

Plot: In 1862 headstrong scientist James Glaisher and wealthy young widow Amelia Wren mounted a balloon expedition to fly higher than anyone in history. As their perilous ascent reduces their chances of survival, the unlikely duo soon discover things about themselves — and each other — that help both of them find their place in the world.

AD ASTRA

2019 Science Fiction / Drama IMDB 6,5 

Not a movie about aviation rather about space travel. I really enjoyed how the filmmakers visualized the future traveling to the moon and mars. 

Plot: Thirty years ago, Clifford McBride led a voyage into deep space, but the ship and crew were never heard from again. Now his son — a fearless astronaut — must embark on a daring mission to Neptune to uncover the truth about his missing father and a mysterious power surge that threatens the stability of the universe.

Enjoy watching my favorite aviation movies. Make sure you like my blog post and let me know about which one is your favorite!

I wish you a merry Christmas my Aviator! Stay safe and healthy!

Your PilotPatrick


how risky is flying

How risky is flying during a pandemic? How to make it safer!

Dear Aviator,

I noticed that a lot of people are scared to travel during the pandemic. Especially on board an airplane in which social distancing is not possible, people are fearing infection by the coronavirus. Are these worries justified? 

In this blog post I will inform you how risky flying is during the pandemic. How high are the chances of getting the virus and which safety measures make it safer.

how risky is flying

Photography by Manu (Professional photographer & plane spotter)

How risky is flying during the pandemic?

What do you think is more dangerous? – going to the supermarket or flying on an airplane? Spoiler, it is the first!

The chances of getting the coronavirus on an airplane are existent but very minimal.  If this is the case why do people fear to fly at the moment. Let me give you an analogy. You probably recall that a lot of people were, even before the pandemic, afraid to fly in fear of an accident. The chances of having a fatal accident traveling by plane are so little. 1 in 29 Million. By bicycle it is 1 in 340,000. 85 times higher. Yet, I know so many people who are afraid to fly but I don’t know anyone who is afraid to ride the bike (except for me).

Blog post: Tips against the fear of flying

It is identical to current times. People jump easily to the conclusion that air travel must be unsafe because that thought-process has already been made in our brain before. We irrationally associate it with risk, even though an airplane is the one of the safest indoor environments.

how risky is flying
how risky is flying

Airlines do the best they can

Airlines do their best to make flying even safer. Cabin attendants are wearing special protective uniforms. Emirates provides a hygiene travel kit with masks, gloves and hand sanitizer for every passenger. Social distancing procedures are in force during boarding and disembarking (some airlines free up the middle seat) Airlines use enhanced cleaning procedures.  

When it comes to infectious disease, airplanes have an excellent safety record because the air people breathe while flying is some of the most filtered air in travel, according to Joseph Allen, who directs the Healthy Buildings program at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

how risky is flying

Cabins: The safest indoor environment

The air in (many) planes is a 50/50 mix of outdoor air and recirculated air. The outdoor air is bled off the engine, conditioned and delivered into the cabin. The other 50% is recirculated air that goes through HEPA filters.

All major commercial jets have ventilation systems with high-quality HEPA filters capable of removing 99.97% of dust, pollen, mold, bacteria and other airborne particles with a size as small as 0.3 microns. For comparison, Covid-19 is thought to be between 0.06 to 1.4 microns.

Additionally, authorities have installed body temperature checkpoints at airports and implemented social distancing measurements. To numerous destinations you need a negative PCR-test prior departure which reduces the chance that a passenger infected with Covid-19 being allowed to board. (source: CNN)

how risky is flying
how risky is flying

Tips to lessen the risk

  • Wear the right mask at all times. Make sure it covers mouth AND nose.
  • Reduce the usage of the lavatory. Wait some time after another passenger used it.
  • Disinfect surfaces around your seat you may touch during the flight.
  • Avoid touching your mouth, nose and eyes with your fingers.
  • Spread out in the cabin to create more space between fellow passengers.
  • Think about the full travel experiences and not solely about the flight itself.
  • Bring hand sanitizer with you and use it regularly especially after using the lavatory.
  • The shorter the flight the less the risk of getting infected.

how risky is flying

The risks of getting infected are higher in security queues or on the way to the airport in the public transportation or when visiting the supermarket before the flight to get some snacks. So think about the full travel experience and not only about the flight itself. 

It is not about confining yourself and stopping doing things you enjoy but to use your capable mind to do research on the information that is just a google search away. Make the best decision for yourself, your mental health and others.

I hope you you find my article: “How risky is flying during the pandemic?” informative. Don’t forget to to like the post post and share it with users. 

Stay safe and healthy travels

Your PilotPatrick


healthy diet while traveling

Wie ich es schaffe eine gesunde Ernährung während meiner Reisen aufrechtzuerhalten

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Unbezahlte Kooperation- Werbung

Hallo mein Aviator,

meine Freunde und Kollegen nennen mich manchmal kompliziert wenn es ums Essen geht. Manche denken auch ich währe verrückt, weil ich neben meinem Pilotenkoffer und Reisekoffer immer eine extra Tasche für mein Essen mit mir dabei habe. Meiner Meinung nach ist dies jedoch sehr klever. Unser Körper ist unser kostbarster Besitz und deswegen achte ich gut auf ihn. Meine Tasche voll mit Essen, garantiert mir eine gesunde Ernährung auf meinen Reisen.

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Smoothie cookies by Ultrafrisch

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The difficulty of this job

My career has a pilot just turn eight and already at an early stage of my aviation career, I noticed that it is difficult to maintain a healthy diet as a pilot. All my cockpit jobs required me to spend layovers at different destinations. In a month I am gone from home somewhere between 10-16 days. When traveling non-stop, you have to rely on the food of hotels, restaurants, airline catering and outlets at the airport.

Here another example. Currently, I am in Madrid and the hotel is located close to the airport. It is more than 30 minutes from the city center. There are restaurants close by, but they do not meet my eating habits. Additionally, I waste a lot of time when going to a restaurant.

To stay healthy I fuel my body with the best possible food. I take particular care about the ingredients and the organic quality. My food bag makes me a little bit more independent. So I can enjoy a healthy rice dish out of my food bag tonight.

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Four simple guidelines

I follow four simple guidelines when choosing my food:

  • NO raffinated sugars
  • NO dairy products
  • NO white flour
  • NO saturated fats

Are you vegan?

No. I eat fish and eggs almost on a daily basis. I eat meat, but only once a week. I try to avoid meat during my pilot travels because I can not be sure about the quality. Lately, I tried to be vegan for one week of flying. In my YouTube video, you can see how I managed and find out why veganism is not an option for me.

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What's in my food bag?

I used to carry my food in my suitcase up to the day when a almond milk spilled and ruined my clothes. For years now I am traveling with this cool bag with insulation inside. This way I can bridge the time between refrigerators for perishable food.

Almond milk: only of almonds and water, dairy free, sugar-free version

Cereal: sugar-free and vegan with dried fruits, my favorite Chia Cacao Crunch

Porridge: gluten-free vegan porridge of quinoa flaxseeds, for the super porridge you only need hot water to prepare it

Rice cups: rice dish with vegetables, the product of Davert is ideal for traveling, you only need hot water to prepare it, unfortunately it contains sugar but only about 1g in 100g.

Smoothie cookies: liquid is heavy and smoothies need cooling, smoothie cookies of Ultrafrisch are crunchy and contain only fruits and vegetables

More food: peanut mush (only of nuts), whole wheat crispbread, raw bars of nuts and dried fruits, dates, tea bags, fruit (mostly organic bananas), nuts (unsalted and not roasted), raw chocolate

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Selection of my food I am traveling with

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My daily dose of superfoods

Lemon tea: Rich in natural Vitamin C. The juice is antibacterial, antiphlogistic and digestive. Curcuma water

Curcuma (curcuma longa): contains curcumin and is one of the most significant medical plant. Especially in China and India, it is well known for its antiphlogistic effects.

Spirulina: is an alga which was already consumed by Aztecs. The concentration of vitamins and minerals is the highest which has been found yet.

Check out my superfoods article if you want to find out more about their positive side effects

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More about my superfoods here in my article

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Do you know raw chocolate?

As much as possible I try to avoid food that contains raffinated sugar. Sugar is toxic for your body and fuels cancer cells. A great and natural alternative is XUCKER and coconut sugar. Of course, all sources of natural sugar like from fruits are acceptable. I am not the guy who loves sweet stuff, but once in a while, I have a craving for chocolate. I have discovered raw chocolate for me. Raw chocolate itself is really bitter, but in addition to dried fruits and nuts, it tastes sweet.

 

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Sweet treat: raw chocolate

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Raw bars: 100% natural and only of nuts and dried fruits

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... and besides my food bag?

It sounds like that I am only eating out of my food bag. That is not the case. In the morning I go to breakfast in the hotel. WIth my food bag, I can pimp my breakfast. I am honestly shocked by the bad selection of good and healthy food. Especially during my vegan week, I missed a declaration of the ingredients on the buffet.

To find healthy restaurants, coffee places or supermarkets, I can recommend using the App „Happy Cow“ This app has already led me to many nice places in numerous cities around the whole world.

 

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Pimp my crew meal in London

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On board: sugar free vegan cereal

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I never have the impression that I miss out on any food because there is always a healthy option available which tastes equally good or even better.

Is the whole effort worth it?

Yes, I am convinced that it is worth it. I carry a lot of extra weight, but this way I can eat well even when being busy traveling.  No idea if my body stays healthy for a long time, but If does not I cannot blame myself that I fueled it incorrect.

What's your favorite healthy snack?

Safe travels and happy landings!

Your foodie PilotPatrick

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my awesome vacation in dubai

Mein großartiger Urlaub in Dubai mit spektakulären Aktivitäten

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Kooperation- Werbung

Hallo mein Aviator,

es ist die Stadt der Superlative, in der ich meinen letzten Urlaub verbracht habe. In diesem Artikel nehme ich Dich auf eine einzigartige Reise nach Dubai mit. Die offizielle Tourismusbehörde hat mich und drei Freunde eingeladen einen Aktion geladenen Urlaub in Dubai zu verbringen. Eine Reise, die ich so zuvor noch nicht erlebt habe! Obwohl ich bereits zum dritten Mal in dieser spektakulären Stadt war, bin ich immer noch von den vielfältigen Möglichkeiten beeindruckt. Mach Dich bereit zum Abflug nach Dubai!

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Dubai Marina skyline

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How to get to Dubai

Dubai is only 6 hours flight time away from Germany. With a time shift of maximum two hours and warm temperatures throughout the year (a little bit too hot in the summer), Dubai is a travel destination also for a shorter stay. Lufthansa and Emirates offer daily direct flights from numerous airports. Unfortunately, Emirates does not fly from Berlin yet. That is why I flew with Lufthansa from Berlin Tegel via Frankfurt to Dubai.

The flight was really comfortable since I was upgraded to Business Class. Watch my vlog about my flight to Dubai on my YouTube channel.

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Where to stay

In 1993 Dubai counted 167 hotels and now you can choose from over 700 hotels with a total of 100,000 hotels rooms available. You are spoilt with an endless number of choices. At first, you have to decide which part of town you want to stay in. Downtown, at the beach or even on the palm? Dubai is quite spread out. Secondly, it depends on your budget you want to spend. There is almost no limit on the scale upwards. Dubai probably offers the most luxurious hotels in the world, like the famous Burj Al Arba hotel.

I decided to stay on the Palm, which is an artificial island shaped like a palm tree, situated in front of Dubai Marina. My hotel was called "Five Palm" which was located on the trunk of the palm, so the drive to downtown Dubai was approx. 30 minutes. This five-star hotel offered a private beach, a penthouse lounge with pool and numerous restaurants. My hotel room was situated on the upper floor giving me a fantastic view of the skyline of Dubai Marina.

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My hotel room balcony at the Five Palm

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At the Penthouse of the Five Palm hotel

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What to do

I often hear that people say that there is not much you can do in Dubai. It is just a city of skyscrapers in the heat of the desert. How wrong they are. I spent one week and I could not fit in all activities I favored. Dubai offers so much you can do from water sports to a desert safari or a zip line flight over the Marina.

Here is the list of activities I experienced. For me, they could not be exciting enough. Almost too thrilling that I even hurt my self. Find out in my YouTube vlog about Dubai what exactly happened and all the activities I did:

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The highest building in the world

The Burj Khalifa is enormous and the views it offers are breathtaking. Unfortunately, it is not possible to go up to the highest point, which is 829 m high. Instead, you can visit the observation deck at 555m (148 level) called at the top Burj Khalifa SKY. I recommend going up before sunset and spend enough time to have a view of Dubai at night as well. Afterward, you can watch the big fountain show at the bottom of Burj Khalifa or go shopping in the biggest mall in the world.

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In front of the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa

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Observation platform: At the top sky

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The old town of Dubai

Make a detour and visit the old part of Dubai. It is an alternative program to the luxurious and shiny new part of town. But definitely worth a visit. You can visit all kinds of different souks, like the spice and gold market. Take a ride over the Dubai Creek with a traditional boat and visit the Dubai museum to discover the history and the fast-paced change of the city.

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on the Dubai Creek

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Relaxation at the Talise Ottoman Spa 

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Thrilling activities

Zipline flight

Are you brave enough for the Xline adventure from a launch platform which is 170 m high? You will go 60 km/h for one kilometer on a zipline over the Marina Bay. I was so excited to go on this flight. I felt like superman flying between skyscrapers. It was a lot of fun, but it did not last long enough.

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Xline Dubai Marina

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Waterpark

I went with my whole crew to the Aquaventure Waterpark on the Palm. If you like slides water and action this is the right activity for you. Watch my YouTube Vlog about Dubai to see me going down the slides. Next to the Burj Al Arab is the Wild Wadi waterpark which is a little bit smaller but also a lot of fun. In this park, you can go on a wakeboard and try to ride on an artificial wave.

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At the Atlantis Hotel

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Fun at the waterpark

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Helicopter flight

I love to go on a helicopter flight. Even though I am a pilot, taking off vertically always gives me goosebumps. My crew and I took-off with helicopter Dubai on the palm, flew along the Jumeirah beach and downtown. If you like flying this is a must-do activity and the views were just stunning. Next to the helipad is the famous Atlantis hotel. Stop by to check out some fish in their huge aquariums.

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Desert safari

This activity I enjoyed the most. The adventure with "Platinum heritage" takes place half a day and is a luxury and authentic safari which preserves the landscape and its dunes. It was a private tour in a vintage Landrover. After a fun drive along the dunes, we stop to ride camels and watched a falcon show. The evening ended in a beautiful camp where we enjoyed local food and smoked shisha on a magic carpet.

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And action: It was not easy to record everywhere in Dubai

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Let's do a Instagram Story together

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My recommendations

Dubai is different with its spectacular architecture and glamours appearance. I once again enjoyed the hospitality and the luxury lifestyle in Dubai. My tip: try to avoid the really hot summer months unless you are looking for great deals. The city is not only suited for a longer stopover between flights, but also for a longer vacation with lots of activities or just relaxation at the beach.

Which activity would you enjoy the most? For more: vistitdubai.com

Please do not forget to subscribe to my newsletter with your email below.

As always safe travels and happy landings!

Your PilotPatrick

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XLETIX sports challenge with myown crew

Xletix Hindernislauf mit meiner eigenen Crew

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(Mit freundlicher Unterstützung durch Produktplatzierung)

Hallo mein Aviator! In meinem heutigen Artikel möchte ich noch einmal das gelungene Event von Arla® Protein und Xletix Revue passieren lassen. Arla® Protein hatte Anfang diesen Jahres drei Blogger dazu eingeladen mit jeweils vier ihrer Fans an dem Hindernislauf Xletix in München teilzunehmen. Dabei kämpften die drei Teams gegeneinander. Ich hatte Euch via Facebook, Instagram und meinem Blog dazu aufgerufen Teil meiner Crew der "Arla® Protein Alphatiere" zu werden. Parallel dazu wurde mein Aufruf zusätzlich in zwei Printausgaben des Business Punk veröffentlicht. Lese bis zum Schluss um zu erfahren, wer gewonnen hat und gewinne einen Gutschein für Sportartikel im Wert von 100€!

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Zwischenmahlzeit am Flughafen Frankfurt am Main

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Meine Crew

Als ich von Arla gefragt wurde, ob ich bei dieser Challenge teilnehmen möchte, war ich sofort Feuer und Flamme. Wie Ihr wisst, versuche ich so oft wie möglich Treffen mit meinen Aviatorn zu organisieren. Dies war erneut ein guter Anlass einige von Euch persönlich kennen lernen zu dürfen.

Am 23. Juni war es dann endlich soweit. Ein Tag vor der Veranstaltung trafen sich alle Teammitglieder im Design Hotel Ruby Lilly in München. Nach dem Einchecken in die stilvoll eingerichteten Zimmer, versammelten wir uns in der Lobby. Dort lernten wir uns bei einem gemeinsamen Getränk besser kennen.

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LOVELY ROOM im Hotel Ruby | LILLY in München

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Leider musste ich an dem Tag erfahren, dass eines meiner "Crew Member" aus familiären Gründen spontan absagen musste. Zum Glück konnte ich Fabian, einen guten Freund von mir, spontan als Ersatz organisieren. Weitere Teilnehmer waren Timo, Dominik und Oliver, die an der Verlosung teilgenommen hatten und von Arla ausgewählt wurden.

Nicht nur, dass unsere Crew menschlich perfekt harmonierte, es waren zudem auch alle fünf in guter körperlicher Verfassung und somit in Topform und hoch motiviert! Auch wenn klar war, dass die Veranstaltung vor allem Spaß machen sollte, hatten wir den eindeutigen Willen zum Sieg!

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Die perfekte Crew "Arla® Protein Alphatiere"

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Der Tag der Entscheidung

Am nächsten Morgen trafen sich alle Teams, um gemeinsam ein reichhaltiges Arla® Protein Frühstück einzunehmen. Dabei kam unter anderem das gesamte Sortiment an Shakes, Quarks usw. zum Einsatz. Nach dem Frühstück zogen alle Teams ihre Sportkleidung und Team- Shirts an und es wurden Gruppenfotos aufgenommen.

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Reichhaltiges Arla® Protein Frühstück

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Die anderen beiden Teams wurden zum einen von dem Fitness- Blogger Florian „Arla® Protein Spielmacher“ und dem Food- Blogger Per "Arla® Protein Steakhelden" angeführt. Frisch gestärkt fuhren die drei Teams im Anschluss zum Veranstaltungsort, wo es nach weiteren Photo Shoots gegen 13.30 Uhr an den Start ging. Bevor es jedoch los ging wurde sich kollektiv aufgewärmt. Eines meiner Crew Member hatte zufällig an dem Tag Geburtstag und bekam von einer riesigen Menge ein Ständchen gesungen.

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Alle drei Teams vor der Challenge!

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Aufwärmen vor dem Lauf

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Die Challenge

Beim Xletix Hindernislauf gab es insgesamt drei Schwierigkeitsgrade. Bei unserer Arla® Protein Challenge mussten alle Teams die mittlere Distanz "M" absolvieren. Auf einer Strecke von ca. 14 km galt es 25 zum Teil sehr anspruchsvolle Hindernisse zu überwinden. Die Hindernisse durften nicht umgangen werden. Falls ein Teilnehmer ein Hindernis aus welchen Gründen auch immer nicht erklimmen konnte, musste er zur Strafe 15 Burpees ausführen. Einmal haben wir diese Regel genutzt um eine riesige Schlange vor dem Hindernis zu umgehen.

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Unsere Strategie

Gleich zu Beginn konnte sich unsere hochmotivierte Crew der "Arla® Protein Alphatiere" von den beiden anderen Teams absetzen und einen ordentlichen Vorsprung aufbauen.  Die Hindernisse wurden dabei zunehmend schwieriger und konnten oftmals nur im Team gemeistert werden.

Wir mussten unter Stacheldrahtzaun durch Schlamm robben, über Hindernisse klettern, durch Eiswasser tauchen und wie Tarzan an einem Seil schwingen.

Teamarbeit ist auch beim reibungslosen Flugablauf unerlässlich und daher kein Fremdwort für mich! Wir hatten vorab ausgemacht, dass wir immer zusammen bleiben und uns gegenseitig unterstützen.

Ein Team ist immer nur so stark wie sein schwächstes Glied!

Gemeinsam konnten wir alle Hürden meistern und unseren Vorsprung immer weiter ausbauen.

Siehe hier mein Video, welches live auf Facebook während des Laufs aufgezeichnet wurde. Mehr Videos gibt es auf meiner YouTube Seite PilotPatrick:

https://www.facebook.com/pilotpatrick/videos/1467105820021676/

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Kurz vor der Landung im Ziel

Natürlich wurden wir zunehmend müder und einige im Team hatten mit sich zu kämpfen. Als Teamleader war es aber meine Aufgabe, alle bestmöglichst zu motivieren. Lange Ausdauerstrecken gepaart mit kraftraubenden Hindernissen hatten Erschöpfung und bei einem unserer Team Mitglieder Krämpfe zur Folge. Bei zwei Hindernissen musste wir ein Teammitglied tragen. Wie haben dafür natürlich den Schwächsten gewählt, damit er sich ausruhen konnte.

Nach ca 2:30 Stunden sind wir als erstes der drei Teams im Ziel "gelandet". Die Stimmung war ausgelassen und alle waren super glücklich, dass wir es geschafft hatten und sich niemand bei den zum Teil gefährlichen Hindernissen verletzt hatte.

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Wir sind die Gewinner!

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Es war ein sehr aufregender, erschöpfender aber auch ein wirklich toller Tag. Danke noch mal an meine Crew für diese tolle Leistung. Als Gewinn gab es für jeden Sieger einen Gutschein für Sportartikel in Höhe von 100€. Diesen möchte ich gerne an einen von Euch weiter schenken! Dafür abonniere meinen Newsletter und hinterlasse unten ein Kommentar mit Deiner Lieblingssportart. Der Gewinner wird aus den Newsletter Abonnenten und Kommentatoren ermittelt!

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Happy landings!

Dein Pilot Patrick

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