A380 emirtes business class

First time flying on board of the A380

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Hello my Aviator,

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

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

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

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The king of the skies

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Upper deck rear section of the Business Class

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Emirates

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

Here are some more interesting facts about Emirates

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

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

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

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

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Business class seat in row 23

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Business Class of the A380

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

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fully lie-flat bed

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

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Highlights of the A380

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

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

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

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Onboard lounge

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Shower Spa for First Class passengers

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Stop over in Dubai

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

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Le Meridien Dubai Aiport Hotel

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

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

As always safe travels and happy landings!

Your PilotPatrick

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men of the year GQ awards

Men of the Year 2018 invited to the GQ awards

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Cooperation  / Advertisement

Hello my Aviator, 

first of all apologies for my absence here on my blog. It has been a while since I posted my last article. But I am not only a full-time blogger but also a full-time pilot. Time management and setting priorities are crucial in this case. My job as a pilot has always the highest priority, that is why it can happen that I am less active on social media. The moment I received the invitation to the GQ Awards I was more than happy that I had off and I could attend the event even with the flight schedule already being made. 

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Wake me up! Am I dreaming? I literally cannot believe what is happening in the past few months. I have been experiencing so many cool stuff lately. Like flying with the Breitling Jets, a documentary featuring myself and now the invitation to the GQ Awards. The event in Germany! Thanks to Grey Goose that I had the chance to attend my first GQ Awards. It is one of the biggest events in Germany with a lot of international superstars. When I received the invitation I knew I was going to see a lot of famous people live on stage. Maybe, someone, I had flown in a private jet before?

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Source: GQ Website

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GQ awards

Men of the Year is GQ's annual celebration of the year's cultural high points, packed with interviews, profiles, and videos featuring the actors, musicians, politicians, designers, and more whose work everyone is talking about.

In Berlin, it was the 20th celebration taking place in the Komische Oper. The event started with a huge red carpet photo shooting followed by a pre-gathering. The main part was the award show which lasted about two hours. The awards in different categories will be handed over personally to the winners. My highlight was Donatella Versace. She received a GQ award for her role as a style icon. Versace is my inspiration when it comes to fashion. I found out that she flew with a private jet of my former employer to Berlin. Unfortunately, I never had her on board and neither any star of this night.

In my Vlog on YouTube, I take you to the event and I give you some funny behind the scenes how I get ready for the night. Please subscribe to my YouTube channel PilotPatrick in case you haven't yet 

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My outfit and styling

The dress code for the was evening was strictly black tie. To be honest I had to google it to find out what it stands for. It means you have to dress up preferably a Tuxedo in dark colors.

I have one tuxedo in my closet I have worn twice, but I thought a special evening requires a special outfit and styling. Everything arrived in time, except for my cool airplane cufflinks. So I initially had to leave the house without any. Luckily, Verena from Breitling brought me some to the event. I hope nobody noticed that I was not wearing any cufflinks on the red carpet.

  • Tuxedo: by the Italian luxury brand Canali. The tuxedo was in black and 100 % wool with silk peak lapels.
  • Shoes: Oxfords of Scarosso with patent leather made in Itlay.
  • Watch: the new Breitling Premiere B01 Chronograph 42
  • Bracelet: Cartier love bracelet in 18k white gold

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I hope you enjoyed the glamours night with me. Please rate my outfit from 1-10. Leave it in a comment below and subscribe to my newsletter with your email!

As always safe travels and happy landings!

Your PilotPatrick

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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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my tips for a better sleep

My tips for a better sleep

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Hello my Aviator, time literally flies. I am already flying for one year the Airbus A300. As you may have noticed the operation requires me to have a lot of flights at night. A restful sleep is not only important for pilots to be fit to fly. Sleep is one of the most important needs in life. I am a pretty good sleeper and I want you to learn from my tips for a better sleep. I hope they will help you so a good night's sleep does not remain a dream.

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Breathtaking sunset at Milan airport /no filter!

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Some colleagues of mine have approached me and inspired me to share my tips and guidelines in this blog post. They thought since I am the fit and healthy pilot I might help others. Especially in the Aviation industry pilots have to cope with irregular working hours. Thus many are experiencing problems sleeping well. Lack of sleep can cause moodiness, lack of concentration, and sluggishness. A former colleague of mine faced these problems. The frustration turned into depression and in the end, she had to take a timeout in the hospital. The effects of a bad night's sleep are not to underestimate.

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Hotel bed in Casablanca

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My tips for a better sleep

Body's internal clock

Try to get in sync with your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle, also called circadian rhythm. This is one of the most important strategies for sleeping better, but also the most difficult one to follow as a crew member. Keeping regular sleep-wake schedule lets you feel more refreshed and energized than if you sleep the same number of hours at different times. Choose a bedtime when you normally feel tired.

Good night tea

Instead of alcohol which makes you sleepy, have a cup of tea before you go to bed. Access alcohol might even have the effect that your sleep is less restful. Any herbal tea works, as long as it is without caffeine. I can recommend the organic Snore & Peace Tea of Clipper. For me, a tea has a soothing effect and calms my body and my mind down.

Earplugs

Don't let you disturb by noise. In a hotel, I always hang the "do not disturb" sign out and I sometimes even unplug the hotel phone. If you have a noisy environment I recommend wearing earplugs to eliminate the risk of waking up by noise. I use costume made earplugs of Hoerluchs. They are fitted to my ears and are really comfortable to wear.  A more affordable option is the product of Ohropax. Those earplugs are made out of wax and adjust to any shape. The downside is that you might lose them during sleep.

 

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Bedtime tea

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Earplugs by Hoerluchs

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Sleeping mask

A room which is too bright makes it harder to fall asleep or wakes you up to early. Sometimes I use a sleeping mask when the room is not dark. I have not found the ideal one yet. Even the sleeping mask out of the first class of Lufthansa might come off while sleeping. Last night I tried the sleeping mask, SleepMaster. This sleeping mask is a little bit more expansive, but it is really comfortable to wear and I did not lose it while sleeping.

Your phone

Avoid bright screens within one hour of your bed-time. In case you have to use your phone just prior going to bed make sure, you have turned down the brightness and activated the night option, which is called "night shift" on the iPhone

Reading

Reading helps me a lot to fall asleep. I am reading a magazine or a book and I avoid reading from a back-lit screen. This technique helps me to relax and to clear my head if my brain has been overstimulated a lot over the day.

 

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Earplugs and sleeping mask

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How does food affect your sleep?

What you eat and drink before bed can affect your sleep. Spicy and acidic foods can also kill sleep efforts because they cause heartburn. Lying down makes heartburn worse, and the discomfort from heartburn hinders sleep. Additionally, a heavy meal activates digestion, which can lead to nighttime trips to the bathroom.

Foods containing the amino acid tryptophan—a building block of the sleep-related chemical serotonin—could make you sleepy. (not proven if the amount is enough to change your sleep) Foods such as eggs, chicken, fish, and nuts contain roughly equal amounts of tryptophan. Carbohydrates make tryptophan more available to the brain. Some whole wheat crackers with peanut butter are a good before bedtime snack.

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How does exercise affect your sleep?

Exercise regularly and you will sleep better at night and feel less sleepy during the day. Regular exercise also improves the symptoms of insomnia. Additionally, it increases the amount of time you spend in the deep, restorative stages of sleep. The harder the work out is the deeper is my sleep. But also light exercise will improve your sleep.

Try to finish moderate to vigorous workouts at least three hours before bedtime. Relaxing, light exercises such as yoga or gentle stretching in the evening can help promote sleep.

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Sunrise in the sky

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Most important is that you have the willingness to try out new techniques and alter your habits to potentially notice an improvement. Routine, relaxation, and listing to your body's internal clock is the key to success. One of my next blog posts will be about how to cope with working at night. 

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I found my hotel room for tonight!

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How many hours do you sleep a day and what is your tip for a better sleep?Please leave me a comment below the article and subscribe to my newsletter with your email.

Happy landings and happy sleeping!

Your PilotPatrick

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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.

Please subscribe to my newsletter below not to miss any news.

Your Pilot Patrick

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preparing pilot interview

Preparing for your job interview + 10 important advices

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Happy Easter my Aviator,

I recently gave you tips when applying for your dream job. I explained how crucial a perfect application is to receive an invitation for a job interview. In this article I want to share my experiences I made during my numerous pilot assessments and I will give you ten general advices to consider for an interview.

My experiences

Unlike other jobs in the world most airline companies seek their pilots not with a standard job interview. Over multiple stages, pilot selection typically involves online application, aptitude and maths testing, interview and group exercises and simulator assessment. The key to success is an extensive and a good preparation for the assessment.

In the article „May way into the cockpit“ I explained my rather uncommon way to find my first job as a first officer. Besides a job interview with the CEO, I flew some kind of screening with an instructor pilot on a C172 around Berlin. He assessed my airmanship and flying skills. For my second employee in the business aviation, I only had an interview without any testing. I suppose that my flight experience with over 1500 flight hours were enough to prove that I could fly the Citation XLS+. For my current employee I had to pass an assessment which consisted of three stages before I received a positive answer.

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Example pilot assessment

Stage 1

The two day assessment took place at Interpersonal in Hamburg. The first day consisted of computer based tests covering numerous subjects. English (multiple choice, hand written translation), maths (mental arithmetic and math text problems), logical reasoning, memory, ATPL knowledge, multi-task ability.

Stage 2

The second day consisted of interviews to get to know me in person. Additional my ability to work in a team in high workloads and to make effective decisions. During all events a physcologist judged me.

Stage 3

Last stage was a simulator screening at Lufthansa Aviation Training. I flew the B737 full flight simulator for the very first time. The check pilots wanted to see my airmanship and flying skills. Special Boeing procedures and system knowledge were not required but they wanted to see that I could transfer my skills to a new surrounding.

Now I have ten important advices for you which are based on my experiences in the aviation industry. They do not primary relate to flight crew positions and can be used for all job interviews and assessments. Please study them carefully as they might have a big impact on your future career.

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My 10 advices for your job interview and assessment:

1) Appearance

Your appearance is the marking criteria. Especially the first impression is really important. You should wear a outfit which suites your future job. As part of a flight crew you should wear a dark suit, white shirt and tie. Make sure your clothes and shoes are clean, are of the correct size and well ironed. In case you have to travel for an extended period to your interview, I suggest that you change just prior your appointment or take extra clothing. This way your clothing stays fresh. Use deodorant and perfume which is not persistent.

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Hello from Oslo

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2) Behaviour

Be friendly, respectful and professional. Professionalism starts with punctuality. Arrive on time and plan some extra time for any delays. I found it helpful to arrive a day earlier in case I had to travel lengthly. Greet your interviewer with eye contact. Try to memorize all their names. I know this can be really hard. I suggest to find out who your interview partners will be when you get invited for the interview. Listen careful and speak when you are challenged. If you did not understand anything ask again.

If you are not sure ask again! Pilots do this all the time.

Be confident and speak loudly so every one in the room can understand you. Try to have an open posture when sitting in the chair and do not cross your arms. During group exercises it is really important that you give input, but also let your fellow candidate speak up as well.

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3) Know the company

Try to gather as much as information about your future employee. Know about fleet size and type, passenger numbers, its history, staff, key players in their sector, where it flies to – make sure you know past, present and future. The interviewer wants to see that you are passionate about the job, but he also wants to see a well-rounded person, who his aware of the world outside

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4) Know yourself

You should not only know your possible future employee, but you should also know yourself. This means that you know your curriculum vita by heart including all dates and stages. As a pilot you should know the exact flight hours. A good preparation includes

Why do you want to work for us? What makes you the ideal person for this position? Why did you want to become a pilot?

I have been asked about my positive and negative characteristics. As I found this question superfluous (especially the negative aspect). I asked my family and friends about my characteristics. As a negative quality I always mention that I am too curious. Find a characteristic which is not solely negative.

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5) Be yourself

It does not help to pretend to be a different person to be a better fit for the position. Your interview partner and phycologist will find out easily. Just be yourself and try to be relaxed. Relaxed in a testing environment? This definitely helped would me a lot. I always try to blind out what the outcome would mean to me. This way my stress level is reduced and pressure drops a little bit. Using this technique helps me to me myself and my performance increases significantly.

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A300 engines in EGGW (London Luton)

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6) ATPL knowledge

In case you just graduated from flight school this should not be a major problem for you. Never the less you should revise the ATPL knowledge. I never struggled with those kind of  questions. In my last assessment I was even above average. Those candidates who were below average were asked ATPL questions again during their personal interview. Take your summaries out and study them again.

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7) Practise

Aptitude and numerical testing can sound daunting, but they are hurdles you have to overcome. Use your research to replicate each stage and practise, practise, practise. It is said that you cannot practise for aptitude tests, but that does not mean leave it to chance. You can still prepare by familiarizing yourself with the testing process and sharpening your skills.

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8) English skills

English is the most common language in aviation. I have seen many candidates who failed because of their weak English skills. This really surprises me a lot, because during flight training they are faced with English the whole time. So in case you struggle: Do translations from you native language into English. Try to translate texts which relate to the aviation industry.

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9) Film yourself

Practise your interview by answering questions out loud. Answering in your head or on paper is less efficient, so talk to yourself  in the shower, in your car and every spare minute. Give a friend a list of questions and simulate an interview situation. You could also use your smart phone and film yourself. This way you notice your mistakes and can improve. This makes you more confident.

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Book suggestions to prepare for your interview

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10) Have questions

Carry a small notebook with you. In this book you can take short notes. (shows extra interests) If you have questions note them prior the interview, so you will not forget them.

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An invitation to an interview means you are already halfway there. So do not screw up. Show the recruiters that you are capable of doing the job and that you are a good fit with their company. 

Book suggestions:

I would like to know your dream job. Please comment below this article!

Good luck!

Your Pilot Patrick

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Join me for a special tour with me through the historic airport of Tempelhof next Sunday (23.04.) Find all details and how to get a free boarding pass on my Facebook page PilotPatrick.

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how i became a pilot

Final part: How I became a pilot

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Welcome on board my Aviator! Now sit back, relax and enjoy the last part of my series how I became a pilot. In my previous blog post, you read about my instrument flight training abroad in Vero Beach, Florida. In this final blog post of my series, you will read about the multi-engine flight training at Pilot Training Network and about a shocking crash at end of my training.

How I became a pilot

In my previous blog posts, you can read:

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Being the back seater on a flight lesson with the PA44

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Back in Zadar

The final and most important flight training phase took place back in Zadar, where my practical flight training started in summer 2008. At this stage, I had to recall the entire knowledge and skills I gather over the past one and a half years and transfer it to the final training flights. It was the most difficult phase since we had to fly a more complex aircraft with two piston engine. The Piper PA44 is multi-engine four seater aircraft. All flights were conducted under instrument flight rules and we practiced flying a multi-engine. Most of the time we rather flew the aircraft with one than with both engines. This required to fly the aircraft really precise and you need to apply sufficient rudder to control it along the desired flight path.

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Losinj island in the Adrian Sea with a 700m runway

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PA44 cockpit with Avidyne avionics (glass cockpit)

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On August 31 2009 I had my final check flight with an examiner of the german authority. I was very nervous on this day because I had to pass this practical check to become a pilot. This flight took place from Zadar to Pula and back via Losinj. It lasted over 2,5 hours. Not only my flight skills were challenged but also my knowledge about the EU OPS. This regulation specifies minimum safety standards and related procedures for commercial passenger and cargo fixed-wing aviation. I was so happy that I passed the final check.

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Celebrating the passed check with a jump into the Adrian sea with my flight overall

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Piper PA44 seminole aircraft

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The crash

Back in Germany we celebrated a birthday of a fellow flight student when a shocking news crashed the party. The Piper PA44, which I flew days ago, crashed into the Adrian Sea. The search and rescue team needed two days until they found the wreckage at the bottom of the sea in 68 m depth. During that time no one knew what has happened to the crew.  Unfortunately the flight instructor and the flight student died during the crash. This was so socking to hear and I could not believe it at the beginning. Usually those flight missions are flown with a student as back seater. But on this day he was late so they took off without him. As investigators found out in the end that the aircraft got into spin during the demonstration of a speed which called Vmca.

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Heart shaped island in the vicinity of the crash - RIP

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What is a spin and the Vmca?

Vmca  is the minimum control speed in the air. This is the minimum speed at which a straight flight path can be maintained when an engine fails or is inoperative and the other engine is set to maximum thrust. At this point the rudder (vertical fin at the end of the airplane) is used to counter the asymetrical thrust and to maintain directional control (heading). If flying a speed less than Vmca the aircraft enters a spin. A spin is a special form of stall resulting in the rotation about the vertical axis. A stall means that the wing does not produce lift anymore. The aircraft autorotates toward the stalled wing due to the higher drag and loss of lift. Recovery may require a specific and counteractive set of actions to avoid a crash.

During my flight training the Vmca speed was demonstrated at a save altitude in a dedicated airspace for air work. When flown correctly this procedure is absolutely save. On this special day multiple factors led to the catastrophic crash. If you are interested you can read the full investigation report here (only in German)

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The three axis of an aircraft

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Conventional instruments on a Piper PA44 wit the basic T (speed, attitude, altimeter, heading)

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MCC

MCC stands for Multi Crew Coordination. This course is a requirement to fulfill the requirements to apply for a commercial pilot license (CPL). This course is constructed to rather teach the coordination and procedures of a multi crew cockpit than actually flying the aircraft. So far I have controlled all training aircraft by myself without an additional crew member. This means I flew the aircraft, did the radio communication and felt decisions by myself. This course is done in a simulator. I could choose between the Boeing B737 and the Airbus A320. I picked the Airbus since I always wanted to know how it feels like to fly a side stick. 

The entire MCC course consisted of 5 session each 4 hours. We had to study the basic operation procedures of the Airbus and had to get used to operating the aircraft as a Tea. It is was an exceptional feeling to fly a big and fast aircraft even though it was only the simulator at the stage. In my blog post "My Airbus A300 type rating" I already described how realistic the full flight simulators of Lufthansa Aviation Training are. After the completion of the course I was even more eager to get into the air with a big bird.

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MCC flight training in the Lufthansa A320 simulator

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Graduation Dinner

In October 2009 the last three courses of the flight school came together to celebrate the graduation from flight school. I was really happy about my accomplishment on one hand and on the other I was sad that a memorable time as flight student was over. It was a demanding and tough time. I had to study a lot, did not have much free time and I had to cope with a lot of pressure. My diligence paid off in the end.

At this time I was the flight student who passed the final written exam at the LBA the best. I did not know about it until I was exceptionally honored for this during the celebration event. My flight school invited me to fly from Frankfurt to Zürich in the cockpit of an Avro Jet. That was an amazing experience at the end of my time as flight student. It would take another three weeks until I finally received my pilot license.

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Intercockpit course E308 Graduation dinner in 2009

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In total my flight training lasted less than 2 years. During that time I flew about 210 hours  and made 258 landings.

The crash in Zadar showed me how vulnerable we are and how fast a happy life can be over. That is why it is so important to enjoy every day as if it was your last. Positive mind. Positive life. Happy landings.

In which cockpit would you love to fly in?

Your Pilot Patrick

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flying in airberlin business cass

Air Berlin Business Class review

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"As much as I love to fly myself I also enjoy the time as passenger, especially when traveling comfortably in an airplane."

My last long range flight in business class was with Lufthansa to Cape Town last January. That is why I was super excited to fly with Air Berlin in their business class for a spontaneous vacation in the Caribbean. Air Berlin offers non stop connections from Berlin and Düsseldorf to destinations in North America, Middle America and to Abu Dhabi.

The outbound connection was with a short layover in Düsseldorf. The flight AB7446 departed at 09:50 to Punta Cana (PUJ) and touched down in paradise already at 14:30. The return flight AB7315 was nonstop back to Berlin departing at 16:50. Read my review about the flight experience in Air Berlin's business class.

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Seat

The business class cabin is Air Berlin's premium product since they do not offer a first class. The business class cabin is located in the front section of their A330 long haul fleet. With only 19 seats the cabin is really intime and tranquil. That is a big plus compared to other major airlines, where the cabin is much bigger and noisier. All business class seats offer direct aisle access and convert to a fully flat bed. I am 1,86 m tall and I could fully stretch out. I could lay comfortable on the site and on my back, but I found the seat width a little bit too narrow.

My seat on the outward was 4K which was situated directly at the window providing extra privacy and extra shoulder width due to the curvature of the cabin. A seat at the aisle has the advantage that it is easier to get in and out. The 6 seats in the middle I recommend only to couples traveling together since the seats are quite close to each other.

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Unfortunately my inflight entertainment was not working properly on both flights. I found that the storage for personal belongings was not sufficient. But good news from the ITB this week. Air Berlin presented their new business class seat, which they have modified to be even more comfortable. The current configuration will stay the same.

Service

One of the best food and beverage service I have had on board of a plane so far. The meals where delicious, hot and well presented. The food and beverage menu was rich in variety. I really liked the fact that I could have an espresso to my dessert and snacks in between meals. Since the front cabin is small the service is individual like in a restaurant. There are no big trollies moving around for food and drinks. In my opinion there was a little bit too much meat on the menu. But in case you are vegetarian or vegan you can always request special meals prior the flight (also in economy)

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Entertainment

The inflight entertainment offers music, show, games, movies and much more. The selection of movies is not the biggest but it is well enough for a 10 hour flight. My movie recommendation: Suicide Squad and Miss Peregrine’s home for peculiar. The headset is comfortable to wear and reduces background noise quite well.

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Air Berlin exquisite

Air Berlin offers all passengers who book an economy ticket to bid on available business class seats. This online service is called airberlin equisite. The price is completely set by yourself. 12 hours prior to departure you will find out whether the bid was successful. I used this kind of auction and was lucky to fly in business class to Miami. The upgrade was around 500€ (one way)

My vacation already started when boarding the aircraft. For me it is luxury to stretch out and have a good sleep in a flat position on board. The high price was definitely worth it since I only stayed for six nights in Punta Cana. This is how I could reduce my jet lag!

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Where to book?
www.airberlin.com

Where to fly?
Non stop from Berlin and Düsseldorf:  Miami (Mia), Los Angeles (LAX), Abu Dhabi (AHU), New York (JFK), Punta Cana (PUJ), Havanna (HAV )  Cancun (CUN), Chicago (ORD) ...

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Amenities in business class

  • Welcome drink
  • Amenity Kit with cosmetics
  • Blanket and pillow
  • Food and drink menu
  • Inflight Enterainment
  • Priority boarding
  • Lounge access
  • higher baggage allowance

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Insider tips

  • Reserve a seat free of charge when booking your ticket
  • Exquisite: You can bit on available business class seats
  • XL Economy seats offer more space in economy class
  • Sign up for top bonus to collect miles for free flights

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Where is your next flight taking you to?

Your Pilot Patrick

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