process of becoming a flight a captain

Moving to the left seat - Captain Upgrade Part 3

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Dear Aviator,

welcome on board of a new chapter. This is now your Captain speaking! After three months of training, the Upgrade to Commander course is completed. It was an intense time with lots of studying, challenging simulator sessions and first flights in the left seat. In the last two parts of my blog series, I already gave you insights into the process of becoming a flight Captain. In this last part, I will share with you the ultimate steps which were necessary to receive 4 stripes. In the end, you have the chance to win a pilot shirt with my 3 stripes. 

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The new Huawei P30 Pro

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What has happened so far?

Make sure to read the other two parts of this blog series to fully understand the process of becoming a captain.

Part 1: Written application and simulator assessment

Part 2: Upgrade to Commander ground course and simulator training

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

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Line training

After completing the simulator flight on the left seat, the next step was the line training also called supervision. This training takes place on board the real Airbus A300 during the regular line operation. Instead of flying with a First Officer, a training Captain was there to supervise me. The initial phase was to get familiar with the new position, which means the training captain guided, corrected and led me where necessary. He did all his First Officer tasks automatically and supported me in my tasks as well. But after a few flights, the leadership phase was due to strengthening my non-technical skills. All decisions were made by myself and he expected me to treat him like a "normal" First Officer. I had to lead the crew, give orders and to delegate tasks.

Main objectives during this phase:

  • Building up the confidence to fly from the left seat
  • Familiarise with the tasks of a Captain
  • Discussing the duties of the commander
  • Reviewing technical knowledge and operational procedures
  • Simulating CAT III (low visibility) approaches
  • Building up non-technical competency (leadership and decision making)

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last days wearing 3 stripes

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Paris Le Bourget airport

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Struggles on the first flight

Not everything flew smoothly at the beginning: I definitely had my struggles during my first flights. Now I smirk about it but when I was a trainee I was a little bit frustrated. The picture outside of the cockpit, especially during the approach and landing phase is different from the left seat. That's why I had difficulties finding the centerline of the runway. So I was unintentionally a little offset of the centerline. But the aim is to land exactly on the centerline, so to have enough margin left and right in case of gusts or failures pushing you to one side.  After four landings I finally found the centerline again :-)

In general, it feels different to fly from the left seat. Now all the buttons are on the other side. I had the impression I was seated now in a completely new cockpit. For takeoffs and landings, you use your left hand to steer (yoke) and your right hand to control the thrust. As First Officer, it was 8 years vice versa. The first few landings were a little bit harder and bouncy, but I was able to familiarize myself quickly and to get the right feeling again.

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First flights from the left seat

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Final check

The line training consisted of 25 flights in total. Even though it was a checking environment and I had to overcome some hurdles, I enjoyed it a lot. The training Captains passed on a lot of tips and prepared me well to fly soon with a First Officer.

The entire Upgrade to Commander Course ended with an evaluation flight, to check if I am ready for my initial line check as a Captain.

On the 25th of April 2019, the time has come for the last check to prove my knowledge, skills, and Captaincy on two flights. The specialty here: It was the first time flying with a First Officer. The check Captain was seated on the jumpseat in the cockpit to observe us. Everything flew smoothly and I was asked some theoretical questions during the flight; about fuel management and policies for example. After landing, the check captain, who is the Chief flight instructor of the airline, congratulated me for passing the check flight. He said it was a really good performance. I was the happiest person on earth.

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What will change now?

I will still fly the same routes and land at the same destinations but now I am the boss on board. One of my fellow Captain colleagues described the job quite well:

You are now like the diector of an orchestra. You are delegating and setting the tone.

Besides leading the crew, you have to manage all processes that happen with the aircraft including the communication with the ground crews. You have to keep the time insight to guarantee an on-time departure. You have to look like an eagle on top of the aircraft to observe and to assess the current situation. The so-called situational awareness. The decisions I have to make shall guarantee a safe, economical and efficient flight. It shall also be the best decision for the company as well. As you can see a lot of responsibility but I am looking forward to this new chapter on the left seat.

I am happy about one aspect particularly; it is not the increase in salary :-) Moreover, I am looking forward to passing on my knowledge and experience to new First Officers. Additionally, I will be in charge of the atmosphere in the cockpit. You know which vibes that will be!

 

 

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GIVE AWAY!

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Captain giveaway

So many of you joined my first give away to win my epaulets. That's why I decided to give away a second set of 3 stripes to one of my Aviators. Additionally this time, I will include a pilot shirt (I will buy it in your size) and a personal note.

To join the giveaway

  1. Like this post (heart symbol)
  2. Leave me a comment below this article mentioning "I want to be your copilot #CaptainPatrick" and let me know your shirt size
  3. REPEAT the previous step on today's post on Instagram post!!!

I will randomly choose a winner 12th of May 2019. Good luck!

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GIVE AWAY!

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3 easy steps to subscribe:

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Safe travels and happy landings!

Your PilotPatrick

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should you become a pilot

Should you become a pilot and is it a good time for it?

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Dear Aviator,

first of all thanks for following my request to send me your questions. It was difficult to make an appropriate selection out of thousands of questions for my FAQ video on YouTube. One question, in particular, was asked several times: Should I become a pilot and is it a good time for it? I thought I give you a more extensive answer to help you in the process of finding the right decision for your future. Be prepared for unadorned truth. 

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The dream of flying is as old as mankind itself. But the possibility for everyone on earth to fly like an eagle through the skies is only a few decades old. Aviation, as we know it from today, is still in its initial phase when considering that the desire to fly freely has always excited. Thanks to great legends and pioneers who made aviation to what it is today. We can feel quite fortunate that live in a time, in which the job as a pilot exists.

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The aviation is a moving, but also a really volatile industry with lots of ups and downs. As quick as aviation develops and changes over the years, the pilot job as altered as well. We still fly aircraft, but nowadays with a high level of automation, under economic pressure, an increasing number of regulations and a sky which does not seem so free anymore. I would not say that the job lost its glamor over the years, but it is a different glamor and not all jobs have it.

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Would I become a pilot again?

Yes! Yes and Yes. In a recent Instagram post, I stated that you should choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life. For me, it is still the best job in the world and it does not feel like work for me (most of the time). Of course, the job brings long also negative aspects. It can be indeed tough, unglamorous and hard work. But in the end, it counts that all negative aspects fade behind all the positive sides of the job. More about the pros and cons here.

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In case you are interested to get more questions about aviation, travel, and lifestyle watch my latest video "FAQ" on YouTube. Do not miss any of my future videos and subscribe to my YouTube channel PilotPatrick

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What would I have done differently?

I definitely chose the harder way to become a pilot. The entire flight training (about 70,000€) was self-funded and it did not have any guarantee after finishing my training to get a position in the cockpit. This was quite risky because you never know how the demand for pilots will look like when you complete your training. Within two years of training, it can happen a lot in the aviation industry. In my case, I was lucky to start flying as a First Officer on a private jet, but I know about other graduates who did not find a job right away. If I were you I would try to get into a cadet program of an airline, so you do not put yourself into financial risk.

Have a plan B

I would advise that you go to college to further your education and possibly gain a degree. This would enable you to seek further employment, even in the airline industry. Especially in aviation, a plan B is essential since you depend on your license.

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Why you should NOT become a pilot?

Good salary, layovers, free flights, job security. Those are probably aspects why you would like to become a pilot. But the opposite applies. As I mentioned before the pilot job has changed and the conditions in the airline industry have deteriorated tremendously. In the competition with low-cost airlines, major carriers had to reduce costs in all departments including the salary of aircrews. But the requirements and the complexity of the job has not decreased.

The days that you spend one week of a layover in the Caribbean are also over. In case you have a layover than it is the minimum time required at the destination before your next flights. Especially low coast airlines always return to the home base to save money. For me, the pilot job is linked to traveling and layovers. That is why I could not imagine sleeping every night at home. Even though I work in the aviation industry I do not have the privilege or benefit to fly discounted or even for free. As the high number of bankruptcies of airlines in the European market has shown, job security is not given

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Is it a good time to become a pilot?

How can I say it is still a dream job after listing all the negative aspects, which make this job less appealing. I did not want to discourage you, but rather tell you the truth about the current situation. Fact is that it more and more depends on the airline you are flying for! The working conditions vary tremendously. There are still fantastic cockpit positions out there, may it be with a business jet company or a big airline. The demand for pilots is extremely high at the moment. According to Boeing, there is a requirement of 790,000 pilots in the next 20 years. In case we are not facing a crisis in the world of aviation the shortage of pilots will grow. The reason for this shortage is the job has become less appealing to new candidates. But a shortage is also a good sign because then the aviation industry has to act and airlines have to improve their working conditions to attract new pilots. It is utterly important to stop the ideational and material depreciation of the pilot job because this can in return infringe flight safety.

 

Outlook

International Air Transport Association (IATA) estimates that the air traffic will have doubled with the next years. The long term trend of the demand for aircrews exists. We as passengers, customers, and staff of the aviation industry have the power to change and shape it for the future.

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Become a pilot if you have the passion and fascination for aviation. It is important to know about the negative as well as the positives when considering being a pilot. Downsides exist in every branch. But with one huge difference, you become part of a world full of energy and enthusiasm which is hard to find in any other jobs.

Subscribe to my WhatsApp newsletter, if you want to receive a message from me when I posted a new blog, video or event!

3 easy steps to subscribe:

  • Add me as contact: +49 152 52651846
  • Open your Whatsapp
  • Send me the code “Takeoff”

Safe travels and happy landings!

Your PilotPatrick

FOLLOW ME:

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how to become a captain

Moving to the left seat - Captain Upgrade Part 2

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Dear Aviator,

I am able to share some good, but also some bad news with you! The good news is that I passed another important step in becoming a captain, but the bad news is that I don't know when my next flight will be! How can that be? In this second part of how I become a captain, I inform you about all the steps it requires and I give you insights about my training. At the end of this article, I have a little, but special give away for you. 

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What has happened so far

  1. In September 2018 I applied as captain with my airline
  2. My application was reviewed and accepted
  3. In November 2018 I passed the assessment in the simulator

Depending on the demand and if I am expandable from the flight operation,  my training to become a captain would start. In the meantime, I continued flying as First Officer on the A300. The last flight on the right side came earlier than expected. Already on the 31st of January 2019, it was my last flight, which took me to sunny Tel Aviv. I recapped my time as First Officer which were 8 years in total and I could not believe that a new era would start soon. Check out part one if you want to find out more about the requirements and the selection process.

 

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

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Upgrade to Commander course

Beginning of February the UTC (upgrade to commander) training started. The first part was a ground course which lasted one week. From this point onwards I was not allowed to fly as First Officer anymore by regulation.

This ground course took place with six other colleagues who were also in the process of becoming a captain. I thought I would be one of the youngest among them, but two other colleagues of mine were even younger than me.

Topics which were covered in the ground course:

  • Laws and regulations
  • Responsibility
  • Performance
  • CRM
  • Low visibility procedures

As a commander, I will be responsible for the aircraft, the crew, the passengers and the cargo on board. When operating the aircraft I have to consider all laws, regulations, and procedures. CRM (Crew resource management) plays also an important role in the safe operation. CRM is a set of training procedures for use in environments where human error can have devastating effects such it is the fact in aviation. It is used primarily for improving air safety, CRM focuses on interpersonal communicationleadership, and decision making in the cockpit. Human error is still the greatest factor for accidents in aviation.

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Not the A300 simulator but a A320 in Berlin

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One of my biggest goals is to become a captain at the age of 30 and as it looks right now it will most probably happen

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Simulator Training

After a free weekend, the training continued in the simulator. I prepared my self as good as possible because I wanted to show my training captain and myself that I am the right candidate for the left seat.

The simulator sessions took place in Berlin which was convenient for me since I could stay at home. The training consisted of six missions and a final check. Each session focused on a different subject. One session was primarily to train the procedures for engine fires and failures. Another session was to practice the low visibility procedures and flight control malfunctions. All had in common to improve the non-technical skills from the left seat. Non-technical means: the flight management, prioritizing tasks, decision making and the communication with the crew. In the beginning, I had to get used to fly the aircraft from the left seat. This was a little awkward because buttons and levers were now on the other side. It was a little bit like driving the car from the right seat.

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Studying hard

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A lot of flight maneuvers and SOPs (standard operating procedures) were new to me on the Captain's seat. Like the rejected take off and the engine fire with evacuation on the ground.

Up to the speed of V1 (Decision speed), the captain decides with the call "STOP" to aboard the takeoff. After this speed, the takeoff has to be continued because with a higher ground speed the runway would not be long enough to brake the aircraft anymore.

In case of an engine fire on the ground, two checklists have to be read in a structured and coordinated way. In the end, it is the captain's decision to evacuate the aircraft or not.

One duty session lasts six hours in total. One hour briefing before, four hours flying and one-hour debriefing. The simulator was intense with all the emergencies and abnormals, but it was still a lot of fun and I really enjoyed it.

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QRH (Quick reference handbook) Engine Fire and Evacuation checklist

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Check flight and ATPL skill test

End of February I had my simulator check flight which was combined with an ATPL skill test. As a commander, you need the ATPL license (Airline Transport Pilot license). To hold this license you need a CPL (Commercial Pilot License) with ATPL theory credit and a minimum of 1500 flight hours.

During my check flight in the simulator, it was the first time that I flew with a First officer, who was new on the fleet. This was the first time I really could demonstrate my role as commander because the simulator sessions before were flown with a captain aspirant with a lot of experience.

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Simulator check passed

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What's next?

Waiting time is next. Currently, I am waiting on my new license the ATPL, which will be issued by the authority. Once I receive it I will continue flying, but then as Captain. Not yet with four stripes, since the training continues on board of the real aircraft. The first 25 sectors/flights will be under the supervision of line training captain, who is seated on the right.

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Special giveaway

Soon I do not need my three stripes anymore. That is why I will pass the epaulets on to one of my Aviators with a personal note. They accompanied me for a long time, but now it is time for them to follow someone else journey. Maybe you are becoming a pilot and need them or you just want them as a lucky charm.

To join the giveaway

  1. Like this post (heart symbol)
  2. Leave me a comment below this article mentioning #PPstripes and answer: What is in your opinion the most important characteristic of a captain?
  3. Watch the full YouTube video in this article
  4. Like the video and leave a comment mentioning #PPstripes

I will randomly choose a winner 24th of March 2019. Good luck!

Stay tuned for part three!

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Giving away my 3 stripes!

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Safe travels and happy landings!

Your PilotPatrick

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how to become a captain

Moving to the left seat - Captain upgrade Part 1

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Dear Aviator,

happy new year to you! I wish you all the best and many happy landings in 2019. The new year started with amazing news for me. At the end of last year, I already informed you that I applied for a captain position on the A300. The application process took several months and ended successfully with an assessment in the simulator. In this blog post, I want to give you some background information and insights into the application process and how to become a captain.  

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

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How to become a captain?

To become a captain of a commercial jet does not happen from one to another day. It takes several years after finishing flight school before you will able to move to the left seat. Your flight experience plays the most important role, on the way, you also have to pass countless simulator checks, type ratings, skill tests.

Additionally you not only need to meet the legal requirements, but you also have to prove yourself within in the company. You need to have the right attitude and personality for this position.

Read my blog series how I became a pilot for more information about my career path!

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How long does it take to become a captain?

This depends on the airline and the individual. To become captain of a commercial aircraft, you must have logged at least 1,500 flight hours and hold a full Air Transport Pilots Licence (ATPL). However, in reality, most airlines require a minimum of 3,000 hours before considering any pilots for promotion. Before I left the Business Aviation I had around 2400 flight hours and my previous employer already considered promoting me on a private jet. With the age of 27, this sounded pretty compelling, but I was looking for a different occupational challenge.

Requirements

When I joined my current employer two years ago, I have never thought that I will be promoted that quickly. At the moment of the job advertisement, I  met exactly the requirements for the upgrade, (only a few flight hours were missing, which I have by now) In my mind I always had the goal to become a captain with the age of 30. When I switched airlines I thought this will not be possible anymore, but it seems like that I am mistaken.

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Job advertisement of the airline

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Application Form

Like applying for a new job at a different company, I had to apply internally to the position of the commander. At first, I had to check if I meet all the requirements. The next step was to fill out the application form in which I had to mention why I want this position and why I would be a suitable candidate. Find my answers below. Additionally, I had to list my current flight hours.

All applications of the first officers were reviewed by the company. Training captains and the management were interviewed if I would be a suitable candidate.

I received positive feedback so the first step in becoming a captain was passed. 

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Commander assessment

The next step was an assessment in a full flight simulator. During an hour flight in the simulator, I was given a scenario with different malfunctions. Two instructor captains, one seated in the back operating the simulator and one seated in the captain position did the assessment with me. The check was primarily not to assess my flying skills, moreover to observe my flight management skills and my decision-making process. The whole flight I was pilot flying (PF) from the right seat and the captain to the left supported me but did not help me to find any solutions.

I was pretty nervous and really excited, but also really happy that I have this great opportunity. Once in the simulator, I was rather relaxed and I was looking forward to proving my skills and knowledge.

Additionally, I was asked a few questions to the operational procedure and technical aspects of the airplane. I went back home without any result and mixed feelings. The good news arrived in the new year!

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What will change?

I will still fly the airplane as before, but from the left seat with four stripes. As a commander, I will be responsible for the safe operation and the safety for all crew members, passengers and cargo on board as soon I arrive on board until I leave the aircraft at the end of the flight. So even when my colleague messes up something I will be the one who will be blamed for it. Flying means teamwork and finding solutions together, but in the end, it is the captain who orders and makes the final decision.

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Next steps

Passing the application process and the assessment in the simulator does not mean that I will start my next duty as a captain. The tough part lays now ahead of me. The upgrade course will start in a few weeks and will comprise a ground school, simulator sessions, the line training, and several checks. I will keep you updated!

Please cross your fingers that everything will fly smoothly.

 

Subscribe to my newsletter, if you want to receive a message from me when I posted a new blog, video or event!

3 easy steps to subscribe:

  • Add me as contact: +49 152 52651846
  • Open your Whatsapp
  • Send me the code “Takeoff”

Safe travels and happy landings!

Your PilotPatrick

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most followed pilot blogger

Seasonal greetings, recap of 2018 and my outlook for 2019

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Anzeige

Dear Aviator,

many seasonal greetings from your PilotPatrick. I wish you a joyful holiday season and a happy new year! I hope you can enjoy the time with your beloved ones. This year I am lucky and I can spend Christmas with my family. My seasonal greetings blog post has become a small tradition over the past years. As always I will recap 2018 and give you an outlook for 2019. 

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"The bad news times flies, the good news you are the pilot"

2018 what a year, but it flew by just too quickly. It was exciting, thrilling and intense. My occupational career and my social media kept me always busy. Maybe sometimes too busy, that I did not have enough time for friends, family and most important for myself. The year had its ups and downs, but in the end, 2018 was a very successful year.

Maybe soon as Captain

I am still flying the old lady, the A300. I applied as Captain this year, my application was accepted and I had the chance to attend an assessment in the simulator for the upgrade.  Besides my first long-range flight of six hours from Milan to Bahrain, the Captain upgrade is the biggest highlight of my aviation career this year. I am excited to take you on this exciting journey with me. Most possibly I will launch a blog series about my way to the left side.

The growing Aviator family

I am still really satisfied with my current job and it was the absolute right decision to switch airlines two years ago. One reason is that I have enough time for my second passion: my social media channels! It is still a lot of work and it does not get less, it only gets more :-) Especially now with my YouTube channel, which I launched this year. But all the effort and time I am investing pays off. All channels combined my Aviator family counts now over 550.000!!! It means the world to me that I am able to share with you my pilot life and give you insights you would normally never get. It is both for you entraining and informative. The money I make with collaborations plays only a little role for me. Yet it is still mandatory to finance my channels. I am more proud and grateful for everything I can experiencing through my blogging.

Check out my Christmas Video on my YouTube, in which I am talking more about my upgrade, my projects, the collaborations and I am explaining why everything is now labeled with Anzeige.

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Meeting you

Back in 2017 I managed to meet you in different cities around the world. Berlin, Los Angeles, Barcelona, Munich and Frankfurt. I hoped that I will be able to do more events in 2018, but unfortunately I only managed to do two Meet and Greets. One in Berlin and one in Tel Aviv. The one in Berlin was a very exciting one since we meet in a wind tunnel to go flying/skydiving. Additionally, a camera team joined me on that day to shoot a documentary about my blogger life. It is always a great pleasure getting to know you in person and to have a chat.

The next event I am planning is a 500k Instagram party. So far I only know that I would like to celebrate this. Stay tuned on my Facebook event section, so you will not miss it.

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Meet and Greet at Windobona

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My projects for 2019

My biggest goal for 2019 is to become a Captain. The upgrade training will be tough and will require a lot of studying. As I always stated clearly, my profession and flying have always the priority. With good time management, I try to keep everything at a high level, but sometimes I need to slow down my activity online. I count on your understanding!

Never the less I set out the following projects:

  • My Aviator bracelet: Currently sold out, but I am working on a new design for 2019. With my profits, I want to support one individual in the process of becoming a pilot. It would be fantastic to be able to pay for the entire flight training. More information here.
  • The PilotPatrick collection: I want to design more than just an Aviator bracelet. Any thoughts and wishes?! Let me know in a comment.
  • The PilotPatrick book. I do not want to reveal too much on this project, but I want to write a book

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Most liked Instagram post

https://www.instagram.com/p/Bpe3qJgDw66/

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My personal goals

Both my passions consume a lot of time and time is one of the few things you cannot buy. In 2019 I have to take more care of myself. I want to do more sports and I want to have more time not for myself, but also for my people around me! My YouTube team is already a great help, but also the photographers I am working with. Thanks for your great support! In 2019 I need to optimize processes and may get some extra support. Maybe you want to be my assistant? ;-)

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Whats app newsletter

Recently I launched my Whatsapp newsletter.

Please subscribe to the newsletter, if you want to receive a message from me when I posted a new blog, video or event!

3 easy steps to subscribe:

  • Add me as contact: +49 152 52651846
  • Open your Whatsapp
  • Send me the code "Takeoff"

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Most viewed YouTube video

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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. Like me, you are probably noticing hate and bad vibes on a daily basis offline and online. But why? Life is already tough and each of us has problems and struggles, so be more kind to each other and spread good vibes!

Merry Christmas and happy landings in 2019!

Your PilotPatrick

FOLLOW ME: 

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breitling takes flying to the next level

Breitling takes flying to the next level

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Advertisement - Cooperation

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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Airbus A300 type rating

My Airbus A300 type rating

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

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

Welcome to my new Airbus office (simulator)

My A300 type rating

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

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

Mock-up cockpit to learn the location of the buttons

Full flight Simulator

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

Full flight simulators with motion systems

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

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

My training highlights so far:

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

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

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

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

Full flight Simulator A300 (in Schönefeld since 1990)

Practice makes perfect

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

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

What is your favorite Airbus airplane?

Your Pilot Patrick

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Christmas charity

Christmas Charity for DKMS

Christmas charity UPDATE of 07.01.2017:

I am happy to inform you that my charity auction of my suitcase was really successful.

The company MIG Isoliermontage GmbH auctioned the suitcase for 700,-€. Peter Ludwig, the CEO of this company, found that the proceeds were not high enough. That is why he doubled the sum to 1.400,-€ without taking the suitcase.

In the end the second highest bidder received the suitcase. The proceeds of 310,-€ go additionally to DKMS. Myself increased the donation with 90,-€. Therefore I was able to donate a total of 1.800,-€ to DKMS for the fight against blood cancer.

Thanks to all who supported this auction by bidding, liking and sharing my posts.

Donation to DKMS

Update vom 07.01.2017:

Deutsch:

Der Koffer wurde freundlicherweise von der Firma MIG Isoliermontage GmbH für 700,-€ ersteigert. Die Summe war dem Geschäftsführer Peter Ludwig jedoch zu gering, sodass er auf den Koffer verzichtete und den Betrag auf 1.400,-€ verdoppelte.

Dadurch kam der zweithöchste Bieter zum Zuge, sodass noch einmal 310,-€ zusätzlich für DKMS erwirtschaftet wurde. Ich selbst habe die Spende noch einmal um 90,-€ auf 1.800,-€ erhöht. Somit konnte ich die DKMS mit Hilfe meiner Aktion mit 1.800,-€ im Kampf gegen den Blutkrebs unterstützen!

Danke an alle die meine Aktion unterstützt haben!

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G4F8CfQu6n4?rel=0&w=560&h=315]Hello my Aviators!

(Deutsche Version siehe unten)

Welcome on board of my Christmas charity event. Christmas is the time of giving that is why decided to do my first charity event for DKMS. I will auction a smart suitcase worth 450€ through my Instagram and social media. This fancy hand luggage, which has GPS, a build in scale and power bar, can be controlled with a App.  The entire proceeds of the auction will be handed to DKMS Deutschland.

Who is DKMS? It is a non profit organization which tries to delete blood cancer. There are 6,8 millions of registered donors world wide, but still 6 out of 10 do not receive a bone marrow transplant. Every 3 minutes an American and every 15 minutes a German is diagnosed with a blood cancer.

Christmas Charity Auction for DKMS

The auction will start December 12th and ends on December 16th at midnight. You can bit on the suitcase via the comment function on Facebook and Instagram on December 12th. Whoever bits the highest will receive the suitcase.

To support my charity auction please like and share my event on facebook to make aware of blood cancer and raise a lot of money for DKMS.In case you are not interested in the suitcase you can become a donor. It is for free and does not hurt at all. You can be become a donor in: Germany, USAUKPoland and Spain.

Together we can delete blood cancer together!

Your Pilot Patrick

Deutsch:
Hallo meine Aviators,

willkommen "on board" meines Wohltätigkeit- Weihnachtsevent. Weihnachten ist die Zeit des Gebens und deswegen habe ich mich dazu entschieden meine erste Wohltätigkeitsaktion für DKMS Deutschland, DKMS US, DKMS UK Fundacja und DKMS Fundación DKMS. Ich werde über Instagram und Facebook meinen persönlichen smarten Koffer im Wert von 450€ (mit integriertem GPS, Wage und power bar) versteigern. Die gesamte Summe, die bei der Versteigerung erwirtschaftet wird geht an DKMS Deutschland.

DKMS ist eine non Profit Organisation, welche sich dem Kampf gegen Blutkrebs verschrieben hat. Es gibt bereits 6,8 Millionen registrierter Stammzellenspender, doch trotzdem erhalten 6 von 10 erkrankten nicht rechtzeitig die dringend benötigte Stammzellenspende. Alle 15 Minuten erhält ein Patient in Deutschland die Diagnose Blutkrebs.

Stäbchen rein Spender sein - Become a donor for free!

Die Auktion startet am Montag, 12.12.2016 und endet am 16.12.2016 um Mitternacht. Die Gebote können über die Kommentarfunktion unter meinen Bildern getätigt werden. Derjenige mit dem höchsten Gebot erhält den cleveren Koffer.

Um meine Wohltätigkeitsaktion zu unterstützen und auf die Problematik Blutkrebs aufmerksam zu machen, bitte ich Euch an meiner Facebook Veranstaltung teilzunehmen, sie zu liken und zu teilen.

Falls Ihr kein Interesse an dem Koffer habt könnt Ihr dennoch Euren Teil dazu beitragen. Ich bin seit fünf Jahren regestrierter Spender. Eine Registrierung als Stammzellenspender ist kosten- und schmerzlos möglich. Weitere Infos dazu findet Ihr hier.

Zusammen können wir Blutkrebs besiegen!

Dein Pilot Patrick