breitling takes flying to the next level

Breitling takes flying to the next level

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Hello my Aviator,

are you ready for some adrenalin thrust? To operate an Airbus A300 is already cool, but flying aerobatics is even more thrilling. Breitling takes flying to the next level. Their Jet Team invited me to their home base in Dijon, France. I still have to pinch myself that I had the opportunity to go flying with them. Flight tickets are by invitation only that's why I invite you to go on this experience with me in this blog post. 

 

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Transfer to Dijon

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Scenic highway from Geneva to Dijon

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The Breitling Jet Team

The Breitling Jet Team invited me to their home base in Dijon to go flying with them. It is the world’s largest civilian flight team performing on jets. To be exact it is a fighter jet trainer L39 Albatros which can also be used for passenger flights. They will take me on a formation and aerobatics flight this unique aerobatics team illustrates the brand’s cherished values: performance, precision, aesthetic sophistication and innovation.

 

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The 85 years old Bücker

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There are no direct flights to Dijon. That is why I had to make a detour via Geneva in Switzerland from where a private transfer took me and Nils my friend and cameraman to Dijon in France. The drive was about 2,5 hours and it was a really scenic winding highway which led us through valleys and high bridges. It looked like a perfect day to go flying. The sky was clear, the sun was shining with temperatures around 22 degrees. What we were about to experience was beyond our imagination.

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Check-in

Before heading to the airport, we had to check-in to our hotel in Dijon and we had a little bit of time left to discover the city. Our departure slot was in the afternoon.

Dijon is about three hours south east of Paris and is not only know for this fantastic wines but also for the mustard Dijon. Our luxury 5-star hotel was located right in the city center. (Not recomendable!) It is a really cute and beautiful city. Besides,  old half-timbered houses you can find magnificent buildings. Let me convince you in the first part of my video on my Youtube channel PilotPatrick.

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Hotel bed test! (Not recomendable!)

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It's time for Breitling

In the beginning of this year (2018) I teamed up with Breitling and I am feeling honored to work with such an exclusive brand. Now this invitation from their Jet Team tops it all. I never thought I would have the opportunity to fly with them one day.

The Breitling Jet Team is the world's largest civilian flight team performing on jets. The team consists of seven Czech Aero L-39 Albatros jets which are fighter jet trainers that can be used as passenger flights as well. In order to share their passion for aerobatics with a broad audience, they perform at multiple engagements over the year. And now they took me on a flight!

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Mirage fighter jet in the hangar in Dijon

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Flying with the Bücker

Besides the jets, the fleet consists of an 85 years old Bücker built in Berlin. It is a beautifully maintained double-decker airplane with two open-air seats. Formerly this historic airplane was used to train pilots for the German air force "Luftwaffe" for the Messerschmitt. Guillaume my pilot explained to me that this aircraft is really famous for pilots because it is really responsive and smooth in the commands. It was a lot of fun to go on a scenic open-air flight and to do aerobatics as well. I was really impressed about the quick maneuvers this old lady could do.

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Let´s fly the jet

Performance, precision, aesthetic sophistication and innovation. That's what the jet team and Breilting stand for.

After we were outfitted with our flight suit and helmet, we received a safety briefing. This was not standard as you may know it from airlines because of an additional briefing item: The ejection seat. In case your pilot calls  "eject eject eject" you were supposed to pull the red handle between your lap to start the sequence. The canopy would come off and you would fly away with the seat and would land safely on the ground with a parachute.

Was I nervous? Not at all, I was rather excited!

Ready for departure! We flew in a formation of four aircraft. My pilot was "Doukey", who joined the team in 2003 and was a former pilot of the French air force, and we flew in aircraft number three.

The lift-off still gives me goosebumps when thinking about it. After takeoff, we immediately joined the formation from the back. First time coming so close to another flying aircraft is socking, but when you realize how precise they fly and that it is their daily business you feel in safe hands.

The flight was like a ballet with the team leader in front. Sometimes we flew within 3 meters of each other, at speeds of over 700 km/h! A rapid-fire succession of figures was on our flight schedule. Barrel rolls, loopings, and inverted flying took my breath away (in a positive way).

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Time for boarding!

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Your controls

We left the formation for a moment and Doukey advised me that I have the controls now! "Are you serious?" Yes he was so I was in control of the fighter jet. I flew two Barrel rolls and joined the formation again. In the approach phase he gave me the controls again and I flew the traffic pattern with a speed of 250 km/h. I used my knowledge about flying and adapted to this situation. Compared to the big Airbus A300 it was like driving a sports wagon. Shortly prior landing he took over the controls again.

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Squad on a Mission: The Breitling Jet Tem. Can you spot me?

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Watch part 2 of the video on YouTube!

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For me, it was an aviation dream come true. Nils did not feel so well after the flight. He looked quite pale. But I could not stop smiling. It was an amazing experience to feel the high g-forces, the fast accelerations and decelerations during the maneuvers. A big thanks to the Breitling for sharing with me their passion on that day. It was an unforgettable experience (also for Nils)

Have you had the chance to go on an aerobatic flight?

Safe travels and happy landings

Your PilotPatrick 

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What's in a pilot's suitcase? My ultimate packing tips

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Hello my Aviator,

through my profession as a pilot, I not only became a professional traveller but a packing expert as well. I am definitely not a good example when it comes to travelling light weighted. But what makes my luggage so heavy? I will reveal the content in this blog post. Packing a suitcase for a long journey can be time-consuming and disappointing when you forget something important in the end.  I will give you some great packing tips to make your next packing session a lot more enjoyable.

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From my first pilot salary I didn't buy a pilot watch, but a set of suitcases

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Choose the right size of a suitcase for your trip!

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Home is where my bags are

I am travelling for about half of the month. Sometimes I am gone from home for one week during my travels as a pilot. My luggage becomes my loyal travel buddy. That is why I need to rely on it. Each piece needs to be the correct size and of good quality. The design of the luggage is also very important. My current checked luggage is out of polycarbonate material and with four wheels to handle it more easily. The volume of 89l and the unique shape are ideal for longer journeys. Besides my checked luggage, I take my business trolley/pilot case.

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What makes my checked luggage so heavy?

Travelling light is no longer an option for me. I try to save weight wherever I can, but my blogger activities require a lot of electronics and other equipment.

I also take a good variety of clothing for photo shootings. A suit and a minimum of two pair of shoes are always on board. Besides my clothing, I pack:

  • [amazon_textlink asin='B01LW19QX2|B01LW19QX2|B01LWCQ81A' text='Carbon tripod of Rollei*' template='ProductLink' store='wwwpilotpatri-21|wwwpilotpat00-21|pilotpatrick-20' marketplace='DE|UK|US' link_id='28723399-ca1f-11e8-a78e-a13fb93c78dc']
  • [amazon_textlink asin='B01C847NUK|B01C89H12K|B01D8C6ULO' text='Power hub of Anker*' template='ProductLink' store='wwwpilotpatri-21|wwwpilotpat00-21|pilotpatrick-20' marketplace='DE|UK|US' link_id='eea09c4e-ca1f-11e8-b619-877892390463']
  • [amazon_textlink asin='B077BRX9B8|B0779B9VRP|B0774KTV1X' text='Panasonic Lumix G9*' template='ProductLink' store='wwwpilotpatri-21|wwwpilotpat00-21|pilotpatrick-20' marketplace='DE|UK|US' link_id='5de0d558-ca20-11e8-9e7e-c7b2670bf5de']
  • [amazon_textlink asin='B071KVFPHK|B00D76RNLS' text='Tripods*' template='ProductLink' store='wwwpilotpatri-21|pilotpatrick-20' marketplace='DE|US' link_id='b6e97f10-ca20-11e8-ad77-79cf9e3b4874']
  • [amazon_textlink asin='B015R0IQGW|B015R0IQGW|B015R0IQGW' text='Microphone of Rohde*' template='ProductLink' store='wwwpilotpatri-21|wwwpilotpat00-21|pilotpatrick-20' marketplace='DE|UK|US' link_id='e6c49ff4-ca20-11e8-b476-47094e8274d4']

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My blogger essentials

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Small speaker for good sound in the hotel room

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10 ultimate packing tips

  1. Pack for the right weather and use the right size of a suitcase
  2. Put your clothing and items e.g. on a bed to get an overview
  3. Pack clothing which can be easily combined to create different outfits
  4. Always put your clothing in the same spot in the suitcase so you find it more easily
  5. Take a first aid kit for emergency cases
  6. Use dead space in shoes or between the telescopic handle for clothing
  7. Roll your clothing to occupy minimum space
  8. Packing cubes can be helpful to organize your clothing
  9. After finishing go through your checklist with the most important items
  10. Never put valuables in your checked luggage and use a TSA lock

In my video on YouTube channel: PilotPatrick, I wrapped it all together.

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Put everything on the bed to get an overview

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All travellers should pack a first aid kit

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Three items I always pack

  • Sleeping masks: to able to sleep in darkness also during the day
  • [amazon_textlink asin='B000TGKMZS|B00HCNHXV2|B01N8STO25' text='Earplugs*' template='ProductLink' store='wwwpilotpatri-21|wwwpilotpat00-21|pilotpatrick-20' marketplace='DE|UK|US' link_id='fd298bb3-ca21-11e8-8ecc-bb0dce99ba0a']: to have a silent and relaxing sleep
  • Swim shorts: the beach or pool can only be one flight away

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My before leaving home checklist not to forget anything important

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I hope you enjoyed my packing tips and find them helpful when packing next time!

What are the three items you always take on a journey? Please let me know in a comment below and subscribe to my newsletter with your email.

Safe travels and happy landings!

Your PilotPatrick

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(*) Alle amzn.to Links sind Amazon Affiliate Links. Werden Käufe über diese Links getätigt, erhält der Linkersteller eine Provision von Amazon. Der Preis für den Käufer (Euch) ändert sich dadurch natürlich nicht.

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fear of flying

Fear of flying - My 10 tips to become a more relaxed flyer

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Hello my Aviator, it makes me really sad to hear that many of you are anxious to fly and cannot enjoy traveling 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. 

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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 of a third person who is not involved in the aviation industry as much as I am.

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Clouds are an indication for an area of turbulence

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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. Traveling 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?

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Flying: the safest means of transportation!

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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 airplane. Certain noises and normal flight maneuvers 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.

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Aircraft are made to be flying and not sitting on the ground!

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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 airplane 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 airplane 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 defense 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!

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Let's enjoy the beauty of flying together

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My 10 tips against the fear of flying

  1.  Choose an airline you feel save 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 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-canceling 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 airplane is built to travel through air, turbulence is a normal path of flying,

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Flying in Busines Class can help as ;-)

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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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pilot pros and cons of a dream job

Ten years being a pilot: Pros and cons of a dream job

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Hello my Aviator,

I am now working ten years in the aviation industry. Exactly one decade ago, I signed the contract with the flight school to become a commercial pilot. I take this anniversary as an occasion to recap my time as a first officer. Being a pilot is still a dream job for me. On my social media everything might look perfect, but this job also downsides, which I will reveal in this blog post.

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office above the clouds

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But let's start with the aspect which annoys me the most of being a pilot. Security checks. As a private jet pilot, I had the privilege to skip security controls at many destinations. But now I have to pass security every time without any exception.

At the airport the Paris security they treat pilots like a potential terrorist.

This is so ridiculous when you take in to account that all crew members have a valid background check. Recently they wanted to see my turmeric powder in my food bag. They checked it for liquids?! In front of the security staff, I had to taste the spice to proof this it is not an explosive. You can take it only with humor!

 

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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. One reason for that was my nervosity at that time.

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

I took the more difficult way to become a pilot. The flight training was self-funded, which made me put even more effort into it. I had to find a job after graduating. It was also 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 definitely not made the person and pilot I am today.

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

Cons: No job guarantee with a self-funded training. It is high risk to take of not getting a job.

 

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Airbus A300 prior departure

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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 that you are not able to fly, thus you can not pursue your profession. As a back up I got a loss of license. This insurance costs me 150€ a month and pays in case I am not able to fly anymore.

Cons: 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.

Pros: You are in control of a powerful machine

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Job security

Aviation is a volatile business with great ups and downs. As an employee, you are dependent on the profitability of your airline. If an airline cannot cope with a crisis or suffers from bad management (airberlin) pilots are not needed anymore.

Cons: 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.

Pros: No office day is the same. You can enjoy the good reputation of being a pilot and you get paid to fly.

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Hamburg airport photo by Pando Hall

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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 salary to drop. Especially as copilot, the current time is not easy. My net salary was around 2800€ when I started in 2010. Luckily, I did not have to pay for my flight training, because my parents took care of it. 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.

Salary is not the same and highly depends on the company you work for. In the meantime, I earn as much as a captain does at my last employer. I paid back my costs for my type rating and I don't have any debts.

Pros: The captain salary enables you to have a good life. Some of the perks your salary are tax-free, which increases your net salary significantly.

Cons: 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.

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Mid air selfie

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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.

I often have free time during the week when the majority has to work and has no time. But one part what I like most about my job, I do not take work home with me.

Pros: 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 flying. 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?

Cons: You are not home. About half of the month I am not at home, so I can not attend all family and friends events. It is not possible to attend weekly courses (like a language course)

Watch my YouTube video about my off days at home in Berlin. Please subscribe.

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Layovers

The past 10 years I have been to hundreds of different locations in Europe, North Africa 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. As a private jet pilot, the destinations were varying all the time and I really liked that I got to choose the crew hotel myself. You can imagine that I did not stay in the worst place. ;)

Pros: 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.

Cons: The network is limited so I get to stay in the same destination more often. A good example for this is Sevilla. It is almost my second home. After a while, this can become less exciting.

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Layover in Sevilla photo by Rocío

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Working hours

The pilot profession has probably the most irregular working hours. Aviation does not know weekends or public holidays. Some days you only have one flight the other day maybe three flights and instead of four hours duty 11 hours. Fortunately, I do not have to cope with jet lag, since I am flying within Europe. As a private jet pilot, I mostly flew during the day since VIPs do not like to get up early. But now I am flying also at night, which is a lot of stress for your body and you have to fight against fatigue.

Pros: 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.

Cons: 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.

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Flying from sunrise to sunset

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Crew life

Becoming a pilot means you become part of a big family. Crews all share the same passion and 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.

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

Cons: 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.

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Upgrade

I recently completed a total of 3000 flight hours. One aspect I really love about my job is that you are constantly learning and improving your skills. Aviation requires you to be up to date about 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.

Before I left the business aviation one and a half years ago, my former employer told me that I will become a captain in one year. Switching companies implied that I have to build up my seniority again. I fulfilled the requirement of 1500 flight hours to become a captain, but I still require flight hours within the new company. It also depends on their demand. Earliest time for me to become a captain is in about 1,5 years.

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!

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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 study in parallel to the flight school. I am trying to study business administration alongside with the job and my social media, but currently, there is no time left for that.

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As a pilot, I am experiencing so many of awe-inspiring moments that I am left with no choice but to fly! This dream jobs also has downsides. But which job doesn't? The pros are vastly superior otherwise I would not continue to fly.

Which downside would you like the least?

Please subscribe to my newsletter with your email below and become an Aviator on my YouTube channel as well.

Happy landings!

Your Pilot Patrick

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seasonal greetings

Seasonal greetings and my outlook for 2018

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Cooperation - Advertisement

Merry Christmas my Aviator,

many seasonal greetings from your Pilot Patrick. I wish you a joyful holiday season and a happy new year! I hope you can enjoy the time with your beloved ones. So far I still do not know if I will be able to spend Christmas with my family, because of a standby duty. In this blog post, I recap the past year and I want to give you an outlook for 2018. You also have the chance to win a Christmas present!

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2017 was an exciting year. Both occupational and social media wise. In the beginning of the year, I started flying on the Airbus and by now I have already over 300 hours on a widebody aircraft. It was not easy to switch companies and to commence flying on a different type of aircraft. Lots of exams and check flights had to be passed. Thanks for supportive words during this process.

At first, I was scared to move from the private jet operation to the airline business. I really enjoyed the private flying and on the other hand, I feared that the airline operation would be less interesting and exciting for you. But was taught a lesson by you. My Aviator community continued to grow and you told me you prefer that I fly the big bird.

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airline pilot versus private jet pilot

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Airbus A300

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Meet and Greet

It was nice meeting you this year in five different cities around the world. Meet and Greets took place in Berlin, Los Angeles, Barcelona, Munich and Frankfurt. It is always a great pleasure getting to know you in person and to have a chat. I hope I will be able to do even more events next year to meet many more Aviators. If you recognize me on the street, in a hotel or at the airport please approach me and say hello. At the beginning, it was a whole new situation for me to be recognized, but I am always happy to meet you.

The next Meet and Greet I am planning to do at my home base in Berlin in the beginning of next year. Stay tuned on my Facebook event section, so you will not miss it.

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Meet and Greet in Barcelona

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Videos

My project for 2018 is to upload more videos on my social media channels. I noticed that you really enjoy my flying videos on Instagram and Facebook. My goal is to upload more content to my YouTube channel as well. I am trying to upload a video once a week. The topics: aviation, travel and lifestyle will remain the same. My idea is to publish my blog post in written form, and in a video version, as well! This will be a lot of additional work. But I am looking forward to it.

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Please subscribe to my Youtube channel

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Viral post "mid-air selfie"

The most viral photo was my "mid-air selfie " in 2017. It reached over 3,000,000 Instagram users and I got 100,000 on one single post. I always wanted to take such a photo, but the window of the private jet was just too small to stick my head out. Usually, I try to read all my comments on a new post. But this time I could not keep track anymore. It was funny to see that people were discussing if the photo is real or fake. I was even on German TV to clarify in a short movie.

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Best selfie of 2017?

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Thanks my Aviator

Thanks, my Aviator, for being so engaging. I appreciate every like, comment and all your advice.  It makes me really happy to hear that I am an inspiration for some of you. You are also my inspiration for my stories, photos and my content on this blog. You are like a jet engine which propels me to goals, which I would never have imagined to achieve. Over 289,000 Aviators joined my Instagram in only 1,5 years. This amazing and crazy at the same time. As a result, I was several times in the press and even on TV. On the 28th of December, I will be even live on German TV as a talk guest of SAT1 Frühstücksfernsehen.

 

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Aviator watch by Hamilton Watch

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Christmas give away

The past year I gave away all kinds of different products to you. For Christmas, you have the chance to win a suitcase of Hamilton watch for your upcoming travels in 2018. Maybe you have noticed it already, but finally, after seven years of flying, I am wearing an Aviator watch.

The suitcase is a lightweight carry-on-luggage and in case you need more room you can even extend it through a sipper. Four wheels guarantee an easy handling.

To have the chance to win simply have to:

  • subscribe to my newsletter with your email
  • leave me a comment just underneath this article
  • subscribe to my YouTube channel

I will randomly pick a winner on 14th of January 2018.

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Christmas give away

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Merry Christmas and good luck!

Positive mind, positive life and happy landings for 2018!

Your Pilot Patrick

Follow me!

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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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my electronic travel buddies

My electronic travel buddies

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(Sponsored by product placement)

Hello my Aviator, I have been asked many times about my devices I am using for my daily updates on my social media. This weekend I visited the museum of engineering in Berlin to discover their aerospace exhibition and to present you my technical travel buddies. Besides sharing my experiences with the devices, I am giving away gift vouchers worth 20€ and 100€ for electronic devices! Find out below how to win.

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Elitebook

My newest travel companion is the HP EliteBook Folio G1 X2F49EA. I have been using this EliteBook now for two weeks and I am really convinced of the mobility and the performance. With a weight of only 1,07 kg and the size of 29,2 x 20,9 x 1,24 cm it is perfect for traveling. The touch screen makes this laptop even more innovative. Before the purchase, I checked review sites to retrieve more information about the HP Elitebook. This notebook is currently the best of its kind at the moment. The Elitebook was provided by the courtesy of notebooksbilliger.de. At the end of this article, you have the chance to win gift vouchers worth 100€ and 20€ of notebooksbooksbillger.de

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my newest travel buddy HP EliteBook

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Camera

In the beginning, I used my smart phone to take videos and photos. But I noticed quickly that the quality of my photos on my blog needs to be better. The smart phone is handy for quick snaps and to record content for my Instagram story, but the capability of a smart phone camera is limited.

That is why I bought a digital camera which is easy to handle because I am not a photographer.  After reading lots of reviews I chose the Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100 IV Camera. Of course, this camera has a lot of settings as well but is easier to handle than a reflex camera. The automatic function works great for me and the size is ideal for my travels. I can also flip the screen to take a selfie for you.

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Sony Cyper-shot digital camera with "Smatree" tripod

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Action camera

An action camera is must for everyone who wants to record action scenes. I primarily use this camera to take videos and photos in the cockpit. The big advantages over a regular camera are the numerous mountings and the wide angle. Compare the photo below! The left one is taken with the iPhone and the right one with a GoPro. Both from the same position. I switched to the Hero5 lately. One of the biggest benefits of the new model is that you do not need an extra water proof case and you can view your recordings on a build in touch screen on the back.

The silver aircraft is a Junkers Ju 52 also called "Tante Ju". My great grand father used to work for the company which built this aircraft. As an "avgeek" it is a dream to fly on board of one of the last models.

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Junker Ju 52 "Tante Ju"

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iPhone 7 versus GoPro 5

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Tripods

Tripods can be really handy especially if there is nobody around to take a photo of you. I am trying to travel light that is why I am only taking two small tripods which fit easily in my carry on luggage. The tripod "Magnesit Copter" of Cullmann is versatile in its usage. Besides using it as a tripod you can use it as a handheld to attach your device. The head is movable and the standardized bolt allows me to attach my digital camera or my action camera. I also use it for my Instagram live videos. This way it is easier to hold the camera and to guarantee a smoother stream while moving.

Additionally, I am taking a flexible tripod of "Smatree" on my journies. This one has an adjustable arm and a clam. This is really handy if there is no flat surface to put a regular tripod. I use it most of the times to install my GoPro 5 in the cockpit.

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Cullmann Magnesit copter tripod and handheld

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The secret behind jerk free videos

This secret is expensive. I bought an "Osmo Mobile" of DJI a while ago. This is a handheld device which turns your smartphone into a smart motion camera. This makes your video look professional and smooth. Watch the video below to discover the cinematic effect. Most of the time I use it for my live streams on my Facebook page. Even during the Xletix run, it produced a smooth video: That makes it more attractive for my Aviators to watch.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vBmWJ5sMwRM&feature=youtu.be

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Other technical must haves

You can have the best cameras, but with a low battery, they are worthless. That is why I always carry a power bar with me. I can recommend the power bar of Anker PowerCore + 13400 mAh. The size and weight fit easily even in a pocket of a jacket. It comes with two USB ports and charges an iPhone about three times.

Since all my devices are charged via a USB port I have an adapter for an outlet which can charge up to four devices simultaneously. This way you do not have to carry numerous adapter for each device.

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My technical travel buddies

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My editing tips

I am not a big fan of filters because, in my opinion, this changes the "reality" of a photo. This is why I do not use any of them. I want to keep it clean and do not express something which is not the real world. To edit my photos I am using "Snapseed". This mobile app is really easy to use and helps you to fine tune your photo. I use it to crop photos and adjust the brightness, saturation, contrast and so on. It really just takes minutes to edit one photo. My tip less is more!

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Anywhere now with my HP EliteBook from notebooksbilliger.de

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As I promised to you I am giving away some more gift vouchers of notebooksbilliger.de! You have the chance to win gift vouchers worth 2x 100€ and 5x 20€.

The first winners of the give away on Instagram are:

100€: @lifemightbealright @b2theritta

20€: @michaela_barber @p_wongsakon  @ameer_swead @lukus_poz @_dennis87_

All you need to do is:

  • like my Instagram/ Facebook post with my new EliteBook
  • subscribe with your email to the newsletter of my blog below
  • leave a comment below with the device you would use the gift voucher for

Good luck and happy landings!

Your Pilot Patrick

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my first 100 flight hours on the airbus A300

Checks completed - my first 100 flight hours on the Airbus

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Hello my Aviator, after an extensive flight training on the ground and in the air, I finally had my initial line check on the Airbus A300. Thanks a lot for crossing your fingers for me. The check flight ran smoothly and I passed it very well. In this aviation related article, I am sharing my experience of the first 100 flight hours on the Airbus and I inform you how the training to acquire a new type rating looks like.

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First step Type Rating

With my CPL(A) license, I am basically allowed to fly all aircraft type as long as I am specially trained for the specific type. This training is called type rating and takes place in a full flight simulator and can cost about to 60,000€. The first type rating I did was on the Citation XLS in 2010. Back then I paid about 20,000€ to receive the training and to begin as a first officer on a private jet.

In the beginning of this year, I switched companies. I had to undergo an extensive training to be licensed to fly the Airbus A300. This time the employer paid for the costs of the type rating at Lufthansa Aviation training. In one of my previous articles, I explained how this training looks like in detail.

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Simulator in Berlin at Lufthansa Aviation Training

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Touch and Gos

After the completion of the type rating in the simulator, I had to do nine take offs and landings on the real aircraft. To be more economical the procedure is to touch down on the runway, then configure the aircraft again (flaps and trim) and to take off again without stopping. Usually, this base training is flown visually in a traffic pattern in the proximity of the airport. Unfortunately, the cloud base was too low on that day so we were forced to fly under IFR conditions.

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First landing during base training on the A300

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Flying the simulator feels almost like the reality but flying the real machine for the very first time was an overwhelming feeling. Up to this point, I had been flying an aircraft with a maximum take off weight of 10 tons and I was about to fly an aircraft with 170 tons. The first take off gave me goose bumps. Half of my landings on that day were nice, but about the second half, I do not want to talk about;-)

Practice makes perfect!

Those landings are a requirement of the aviation authority and have to be completed before flying commercially with passengers. During my time as flight student in Zadar, I had the chance to be aboard of a Lufthansa aircraft, which did touch and go training. I even sat in the cockpit during one approach. This was definitely one of my highlights as a flight student. I remember that one landing of a flight student was a little bit too hard, so a small panel inside the cabin came off.

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Zadar 2008 as flight student

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Observer flights

After the completion of the type rating and the touch and gos, the application for the issue of a new license was sent to the LBA. To bridge the waiting time I was scheduled as an observer on four flights. Additionally, to the regular crew, I was sitting in the cockpit on the observer seat. The intention behind is to get to know the working life and the line operation. It was fun watching my colleagues flying but I wanted to get behind the controls myself again.

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Annunciator light test during preflight preperation

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Line Training

It took about seven working days until I received the new license. I not only bridged the waiting time with the observer flights but also with a vacation in the Caribbean. This was the perfect spot to flee the winter and to have a short time out.

The first flight was scheduled on the 1st of March. The first leg was to Vitoria and the second to Sevilla in Spain. The next 80 flights were under supervision which meant I was only allowed to fly with qualified line training captains. Additionally, the first eight flights were with a safety first officer to support me in my tasks.

You fly the aircraft and not the aircraft you!

Flying the simulator is one thing but flying the real aircraft is a completely different world.  At first, I had difficulties managing the numerous task in a structured way before each flight. But from flight to flight, I got more confident and structured with the set up of the cockpit and the handling of the aircraft.

My first approach into Sevilla felt like I was flying supersonic. Everything was going so quick! Even with my experiences of 2000 flight hours, everything felt so new. Of course, I did my best to impose my knowledge and skills to the new operation.

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First layover in Sevilla

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Supervision

The type rating in the simulator was the first step to obtain the skills, procedures, and knowledge to operate the A300. In the supervision phase of 80 sectors, the training continued on the real aircraft:

  • Every flight is evaluated and during a debriefing reviewed
  • Captain shares his experiences and knowledge about the aircraft
  • Improve standard operating procedures
  • Discussions about aircraft systems, procedures, regulations
  • Use of electronic flight bag (approach charts and manuals)
  • Simulated automatic landings

The line training ended with the initial line check. I had to prove that I am operating according to the aircraft manuals and the standard company procedures. The check flight comprised of two parts. One as pilot flying and one a pilot non-flying. I am now released to "fly the line" but this does not imply that the training has ended. There is still lots to learn about the Airbus.

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Initial line check grading

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My 100 flight hours on the Airbus

The Airbus is compared to the Citation XLS a more challenging aircraft. This is not only because it is a more complex aircraft with more systems, but also because of the sensitivity of the control wheel. Minor inputs into the control wheel have a great effect on the control surfaces. The A300-600 is equipped with powerful Pratt and Whitney engines and through the wing mounted position they produce a pitch moment during power changes. This means you have to counteract this moment with your controls. Additionally, the set up of landing gear makes it difficult to do smooth landings.

In relation to my 1800 hours on the Citation, I already experienced a lot during my 100 flight hours on the Airbus:

  • Thunderstorms with lightning strike in front of my cockpit window
  • My first crosswind landing with about 25 km/h wind from the side,  it was easier to handle than on the small Citation Jet
  • Hard landing due to gusts at touch down and wind shears during final approach
  • St Elmo’s fire on the cockpit front windows due to a charged atmosphere

I am looking forward to the upcoming flights and challenges on the Airbus.

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St Elmo's fire on the cockpit window

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Have you been on a flight which did not run as smoothly as usual? Maybe you were flying in adverse weather or something extraordinary happened on board. Please share your experience with me below in the comment section.

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Your Pilot Patrick

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reason why I became a pilot

My reasons why I became a pilot - still a dream job

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Hello my Aviator, one of my first article on my blog was about the "reason why I fly". I thought it is time to give you a more extensive update. Of course, when I started as flight student I could only imagine how the job of a pilot would be. At the beginning it was my fascination and passion which strove me to become a pilot. Therefore the reasons I am listing here rather tell you why you should become a pilot.

Unfortunately, the economy gives a lot of reasons why you should not become a pilot. But like in every branch there are ups and downs. But it is for sure that air travel will expand. According to Boeing, there is a requirement of 617,000 pilots in the next 20 years. The glory days of flying are not over yet. It just has changed a lot over the decades. In my opinion, it is still the best job in the world and there are many great reasons why you should become a pilot.

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Avporn and cloudporn in London ;)

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The view

You are leaving the hotel and it is grey and rainy weather outside. Don’t worry! An hour later you will be up in the air wearing your sunglasses because the sunlight just became too bright. One of the few jobs where you can wear sunglasses 365 days a year.

"An office with a view beats a desk job any day!"

It is still spectacular to see the world from above even after seven years of flying. The beautiful views from the cockpit during sunset and sunrise are priceless. When flying I sometimes get the impression that I am alone in the world since you are so far away from the happening on the ground. Especially during night flying when everything is black outside except the moon and stars shine really bright. I really like this feeling of de-connection to the rest of the world.

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Office view - the world from 12,000 km

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Faszination

Aviation is fascinating. Already as a small boy, I was attracted by airplanes and I figured that it is probably a lot of fun to fly. Yes of course it is. Getting behind the controls of a huge machine which weighs several tons is an amazing feeling. Especially when you push the thrust levers forward and the moment you take off is a blast. It is always a sense of accomplishment when you land safely after each flight knowing that you were behind the controls of a powerful machine.

"It is contagious!"

Have you listened to a conversion between pilots? They always have to tell a story about places they flew to and other things that happened to them. It is really contagious. When I meet up with my friends from flight school the first couple of hours is only about flying.

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From a private jet to this big bird - Airbus A300

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Flight training

When I finished high school with the age of 19 I did not have the big desire to go to college and continue studying for years. I rather wanted to get into a job as quick as possible and earn money myself to be independent. With the financial back of my parents, I followed my passion of flying. After finishing my civilian year I already started with flight training.

The next two years were a big adventure. Even though the training was not easy and I had to face a lot of challenges they turned out to be the best ones of my entire pilot career. To be with a crew of other flight students who had the same goals was motivating. We always supported in every way. During the training, you knew that the effort will pay off in the end with a seat in the cockpit whereas studying a degree is not necessarily linked to a certain job. If you are interested in my full story of how I became a pilot start with part one of my series.

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Returning from my first solo flight in 2008

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Knowledge

Flying makes you smarter. The knowledge you gain as a pilot you can impose on your everyday life. You will become an expert in planning, staying organized and a good decision maker.

Aviation requires you to be up to date about new procedures and regulations. Even after flying an aircraft for thousands of hours you will find out something new about it. The adrenaline rush at the beginning of your career gets less and so does the nervosity. Actions become automated but flying to new places, flying new approaches and even learning a new type of aircraft makes this job so diverse.

I had to face a new challenge when learning a new aircraft type at the beginning of this year. I was busy several months with training in the simulator. This was a great occasion to improve my skills and knowledge.

 

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Office with a view shot with a GoPro Hero 4

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Great crew

Becoming a pilot means you become part of a big family. As a new pilot, you will be supported by the more experienced colleagues and they will never make you give up.  Every pilot is unique in his own way but all share the same passion. The past seven years I flew with lots of different captains and you will learn from every single one.

"You will have a hard time to fin this energy and enthusiasm in other jobs!"

Rarely you will find a colleague using formal appellation even if he is your superior. In my opinion, this would be hindering a good resource management and would impair communication and safety.  Since this industry is actually quite small everyone is somehow connected with each other. Especially in the business aviation in Germany, I had the impression that everyone knows each other.  

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At the beautiful airport of Oslo

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You are probably wondering why I did not mention the travel aspect for example.  This should not primarily be the reason why you want to become a commercial pilot. With some companies, you only operate from and to your home base and do not get stay overnight.

As a private jet pilot, I did mostly sleep at a different location every day. But this did not mean automatically that I had always had time for sightseeing and to spend a mini vacation.  It was quite the opposite most of the times. In this case, you really don't care about the location you just want to get sleep. Luckily this was not always like that. I had so many nice rotations where I had time to discover new cities, relax at the beach and meet friends. This is a really nice side affect of the job. They are aspects why you shouldn’t become a pilot for. I will address them in a different blog article soon.

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As a pilot, you will experience so many of awe-inspiring moments that you are left with no choice but to fly! 

What makes aviation for you so fascinating? Please comment below!

Always safe travels and happy landings!

Your 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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