busting aviation myths and answering your top questions

Busting aviation myths and answering your top questions

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Hello my Aviator,

time flies! My blog is now online for already one year. It has been an exciting journey to share my adventures, tips and travels with you. At an early stage, I noticed that you are interested in more than just cool photos and videos on my Instagram. Therefore I launched www.pilotpatrick.com. The biggest motivation is you, my Aviators. I am not only an inspiration for you but also you are an inspiration for me. To celebrate the anniversary of my blog I will give away an original A380 model of Airbus. Additionally, I will answer the most common questions. On top, I will bust some myths about pilots and aviation in general.

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Oh! You are only the First Officer. When will you fly the plane?

I love to hear this statement. Imagine all First Officers would not be allowed to fly. How are they supposed to become a captain one day without having the experiences of flying an aircraft? Before each flight, the decision is made which duties each pilot has. This is split apart in Pilot flying (PF) and Pilot not flying (PNF). PNF means to do the radio communication and to support the PF in his task of flying. The responsibility has the commander at all times even when the first officer is operating the aircraft. The first officer is allowed to take off and land the aircraft like the captain from the beginning on. Restrictions apply when the weather is marginal or other circumstances like special airports require the commander to fly.

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Boeing 747-800 of Lufthansa in Frankfurt (FRA)

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Can travel the world for free as a pilot!

I wish I could! In my past seven years as a pilot, I paid for all my flight tickets the regular price. So far I never had the privilege of staff traveling. It would be great to have the possibility to book ID tickets. This way I would be even more spontaneous to travel to new places. The fare is much cheaper than the regular ticket price. For example, a flight in Business class from Germany to New York (round trip) would only be around 500€. The tickets are only standby so there is the risk of not getting a seat, but on the other hand, they grant you great flexibility.

As a pilot, I have to commute to my home base and the location of the aircraft a lot. Especially during my time as a private jet pilot, I traveled with airlines a lot. For those flights, I am wearing my uniform as well. Most of the time I can use the fast track at security checks or I get free drinks and food on board. I even have been upgraded to Business Class several times. Aviation is like a big family and crews help each other out and make traveling as much as comfortable as possible.

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You are a pilot. You must have good eyes!

Contrary to popular belief, you can fly commercial aircraft wearing glasses or contact lenses, as long as your vision is correctable to 20/20. For the initial Medical class examination, you have to meet a lot of different requirements. In case you are wearing glasses, they need to be in the cockpit and you also need a to bring a spare one. Each year you have to revalidate your examination and proof that your vision is unchanged.

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Pilots earn a fortune! What do you do with all that money!

Pilots make a fortune and for their job, they get paid too much. This is not correct! Especially the first years as a first officer are not paid well. For example, I started as a private jet pilot and for a full-time contract, my wage was 2,800€ a month. I would not consider this a fortune! A big benefit of being a pilot is the extra allowances. I get paid extra for being a way from my home base. Some of the surcharges are tax-free, so it helps to boost the net salary. Just so you know in Germany you have to pay about 50% tax on your salary.

Over the last years, a lot of airlines practiced some kind of loan „dumping“. To be able to offer cheaper flight tickets and to be more competitive they save on the costs of staff. There has been an oversupply of pilots for a long time and that is why companies reduced the salary of their crews. They even developed a „pay to fly" models, which means that the pilot pays for his work and not the employer the employee. I also know about a pilot of a big German charter company, who still lives at home with her parents because she can not afford moving out. With the upgrade to a captain, the world can look different. Most of the times the salary is almost doubled.

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Welcome to my office!

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Do aircraft have a horn?

I alway thought they do not have a horn but they actually do. But this horn is not used to alert other aircraft, it is used to inform the ground crew that the cockpit asks for communication. In the Airbus this button is called „Mechanic call“. Once the engines are operating you will not be able to hear this horn anymore. The private jet I used to fly did not have this feature.

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What do you do during a long flight?

My longest flight so far was from Teneriffa to London. We had a strong headwind and the aircraft was heavy. The flight was almost 5 hours and this is about the maximum the Citation XLS can do. This flight felt like an eternity because there is not much space in the cockpit. Honestly, I do not know what pilots do when they fly 10 hours straight. On short flights below one hour, you are busy from the beginning to the end of the flight. In cruise flight, the workload is really low. The auto pilot flies the aircraft and the crew monitors the systems. The PNF (Pilot Flying) fills out the flight plan and does fuel checks. The PF (Pilot Flying) checks the weather en route and of the destination. Besides such tasks, I fill out my pilot log book, eat, drink read and take some short snaps for you.

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What do your three golden stripes mean?

The stripes state the rank of a crew member. Three stripes are for first officer and four for captains. At some airlines, first officers also fly with two stripes to indicate their junior status. There is no difference between gold and silver!

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Below the wing of an Airbus A300

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How did you become a pilot and how much did the training costs?

At the European flight academy, formerly called Intercockpit, I became a flight student in 2008. I chose an integrated route which is a full-time course othat takes a student from complete beginner to a position of becoming a pilot at an airline. The course was really intensive at there was not much free time in between practical and theoretical flight training. The training facility organized everything for you and provided you with a monthly schedule. The theoretical phases were quite enduring, which made the practical flight phases even more exciting.

The ground courses took place in Frankfurt and my flight training in Florida and in Croatia. Even though the time was quite stressful and paired with a lot of pressure, I had one of my best times in my life. Already after 18 months, I completed the training. Like everything in aviation, flight training is expensive too. In total, I paid 64,000€ to the flight school. (This did not include housing transport administration fees at the authorities) In case you are interested in an extended version of how I became a pilot, I suggest to read my series on this blog.

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Do pilots sleep during flight?

The simple answer is yes. Certainly not on all flights. In pilot terms, sleeping is called controlled rest, which is taken in the operating seat. Of course only one pilot at the time. This procedure has been proven to improve safety because it improves alertness. The idea behind is that a pilot gets a sleep up to 30 minutes like a power nap and to be more fit afterwards! 

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Do aircraft have a key like a car?

Smaller aircraft do big once do not. The Citation XLS+ has a regular lock and I had a key for every aircraft in the company. You probably think that those were super fancy for a 12,000,000€ private jet. It actually looks like a simple key of a locker. The major reason why smaller aircraft or business jet has a lock is that you could enter the aircraft from the ground without any aids. On a big airliner, the picture looks different since the door is so high up that it is sufficient to remove the stairs to guarantee that no unauthorized personnel gets access.

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Give away of an original A380 model of Airbus (1:400)

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To celebrate the first anniversary of my blog, I am giving away an Airbus A380 model in the size of 1:400.

To have the chance to win the model you need to:

  • Be a follower either on my Instagram/ Facebook
  • Subscribe with your email to the newsletter of my blog below
  • Leave a comment below with the questions which is aviation, travel or lifestyle related. I will answer your questions in a later blog post.

I am looking forward to sharing my adventures as a pilot. Good luck and happy landings!

Your Pilot Patrick

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my highlights and travel tips of Los Angeles

My highlights and travel tips of Los Angeles

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Hello my Aviator, the road trip through California was a lot of fun. I started off in San Francisco from where I took the Pacific coast highway southbound. My final destination was Los Angeles, where I spend over one week in May. I am excited to show you my highlights and give you travel tips for your next stay in Los Angeles. 

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View from the Griffith Observatory

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The City of Angeles

Los Angeles is immense. Four million people live in a city which is so spread out that you get the impression that it does not seem to be one city. In fact, every part of town is different and has its own vibe. There is so much to discover and my list of things I wanted to do was long. In total, I stayed eight nights in L.A. and this was definitely not enough. On some days I was just relaxing and living like a local. The weather at the end of May was ideal.

 

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Meet and Greet with my Aviators from L.A.

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Public transportation exists but is bad and unreliable. I used a rental car for my road trip and to get around in town. Parking can be really expensive. Especially in West Hollywood, where street parking is not allowed at night. So you are basically forced to pay a valet parking which costs around 40$ per night. UBER  is very popular in the States. It is a convenient and inexpensive way to get around.

My tip: Stay at least for a week, so the sight seeing does not become too stressful. May is a perfect month. Overnight in different parts of town. Do not drive during peak hours and avoid parking at night in West Hollywood. 

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The Spirit of Santa Monica at the Flying Museum of Stanta Monica airport

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What did I do?

Griffith Observatory: This Observatory is well-known from movies and gives spectacular views of Los Angeles. The parking situation is horrible and it is a long way up there. I did a really spontaneous meet and greet. Even though that place is so remote seven Aviators showed up. Thanks again for coming!

Hollywood sign: I drove up to the Lake Hollywood Park (3160 Canyon Lake Dr), from this place you have a good view of the sign. The light was nice during sunset.

Venice: My favorite part of town. Trendy places with cool shops, café, and restaurants. Do not miss to visit Abbot Kinney Blvd and the famous and crazy Venice Beach Broadwalk.

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Santa Monica Pier

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Santa Monica Pier: I only took a quick stroll over the famous pier with its amusement attractions. The place was really crowded. I personally did not like it.

Walk of Fame: A must do touristic attraction. You probably will be disappointed by the crappy area around the walk of fame but it is fun to walk on the famous stars.

Beverly Hills: I was cruising along the Rodeo Drive with its luxurious shops and ended up in Beverly Hills, where the rich and famous life. The streets are picture perfect with hundreds of tall palm trees.

My tip: Rent a bike and drive along the bike route from Venice to Santa Monica. Especially around sunset it really beautiful along the ocean. 

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Typical road in Beverly Hills

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My accommodations

It stayed at several places in Los Angeles. The costs for an accommodation are expensive in Los Angeles. One night I paid 300$ for a 3-star hotel and it was nothing special.

The first few nights I spend in Venice at a lovely Airbnb. I had my own small bungalow with a nice outside area at a great location. The experience staying at the Airbnb was more personal than a hotel and the hosts Brad and Julien were great.

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My Bungalow in Venice.

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L.A. is so vast that is why moved to West Hollywood for a couple of days to discover this part of town as well.

The last five days I spend in Venice again. That time I stayed at different Airbnb which is one its kind. The property consisted of two houses with an original airstream and a patio with a hot tub. The property was located right in the heart of Venice close to Abbot Kinney Blvd.

My tip: Book your accommodations well ahead of time. They sell out quite quickly and get really expensive. I killed a lot of time searching for a place to stay during my vacation. The app "Hoteltonight" can be handy for spontaneous bookings.

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Amazing Airbnb with an airstream

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Abbot Kinney Boulevard

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Six Flags Magic Moutain

I am a big fan of roller coasters. For me, they can not be thrilling enough. As a teenager, I heard about Six Flags Magic Mountain the first time. In total, they have over 15 different roller coasters. I was excited to visit this amusement park, even though I read a lot of negative reviews on the internet. In the end, most of the complaints of other visitors proofed right. It was a rather disappointing fun day.

A lot of rides were closed because of maintenance and due to a short shower in the morning- It was not allowed to bring your own food (I still did). The outlets only offered unhealthy meal options and a regular pizza was over 30$. I did not have the impression that the park was well maintained either. But their rides were a lot of fun. Especially the roller coaster "X“ was a thrill. I visited on a Monday and maximum waiting time for an attraction was  20 mins. That was great.

My tip: If you are working in the travel industry register at Plum benefits. This online booking platform overs great discount on entertainment, hotels, etc. This way I could save 50% on the entrance fee. During my time as exchange student, I have been to L.A. before. I can recommend the Universal Studios a lot. 

 

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Six Flags Magic Mountain

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Where to eat?

Food is not inexpensive in the supermarket and in restaurants. Especially if you want good quality and organic products. To find healthy meal options I use the App "Happy Cow". Here are some places I can recommend. (not all healthy)

My tip: Popular restaurants are really crowded during peak hours. Try to do a reservation, so you do not have to wait for a table!

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Tasty oysters at a restaurant in Venice

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Sunset vibes at Venice Beach

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Pier at Hermosa Beach during sunset

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Next time in L.A. I want to take a helicopter flight over the city, do a hike to the Hollywood sign and visit the Getty Center. I also would like to visit all the amazing beaches along the coast line to go surfing. Los Angeles is definitely a place where I could imagine to live for a longer period of time.

What is your favorite city in the United States and what can you recommend to do there? Please comment below!

Happy landings and safe travels!

Your Pilot Patrick

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my electronic travel buddies

My electronic travel buddies

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(Sponsored by product placement)

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

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Elitebook

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

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my newest travel buddy HP EliteBook

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Camera

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

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

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Sony Cyper-shot digital camera with "Smatree" tripod

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Action camera

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

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

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Junker Ju 52 "Tante Ju"

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iPhone 7 versus GoPro 5

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Tripods

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

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

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Cullmann Magnesit copter tripod and handheld

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The secret behind jerk free videos

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

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

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Other technical must haves

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

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

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My technical travel buddies

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My editing tips

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

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Anywhere now with my HP EliteBook from notebooksbilliger.de

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

The first winners of the give away on Instagram are:

100€: @lifemightbealright @b2theritta

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

All you need to do is:

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

Good luck and happy landings!

Your Pilot Patrick

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berlin fashion week

From the runway to the catwalk - Berlin fashion week

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Hello my Aviator, my last off days at home were really exciting. It was fashion week in Berlin and I was there to prove that a pilot can be stylish without wearing his uniform. I have never been invited to so many shows and events before then this time. I got to know many interesting people from the fashion world and hat a chat with many famous people. The past fashion weeks I always envied those people who were invited to such events and this time I was on the guest list myself. Thanks to the agency Reichert Plus. Read about my connection to fashion, modeling and the events I went to in this first fashion blog post. You also have the chance to win a goodie bag.

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Berlin Mitte / shot by Tobias Herrmann / shirt by The Kooples

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How important is fashion for me?

Fashion has always played a big role in my life. Already as a small boy, I was picky about my clothes and I chose myself what I was wearing. Sometimes I like to go shopping but since my time has become limiting I order a lot of clothes online. I would describe my look as clean chic street style. It is a lot of fun to combine basic clothing with fancy accessories or extraordinary piece of clothing. Metallic bracelets and a watch are great manly accessories.

I am not following every fashion trend, but I do consider a new trend and check if it fits me. Over the years I have become a more and more conscious shopper. I support local brands and I try to buy only products which are made in Europe. This way I want to make sure that I do not bolster child labor or horrible working conditions in third world countries. Quality is really important so that I can enjoy the piece of clothing for a long time.

For work, I have to wear my uniform. On one hand it is easy because I do not waste time thinking about what to wear to work today, but on the other hand, it can become boring sometimes. This is why I love to dress up for a special occasion with my own personal taste. The fashion week was a great occasion to do so.

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Fashion week outfit / Jacket  Versace / Shoes Diesel Black Gold 

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Are you a model?

I have been asked this question many times before on my Instagram. The answer is no: I am a pilot ;-) But I actually have a little bit of modeling experience modeling. After I finished flight training in 2009 I bridged the waiting time for a cockpit job at the DFS (German air traffic control). Additionally, I was working part-time at the very first Hollister store in Frankfurt. They presented the job position as some kind of model job, but in the end, it was a regular sales position with loud music in the darkness.

In 2010 I moved to Berlin, to begin with, my first job in the cockpit. Back then I applied at some model agencies in Germany. I eventually got my first sedcard and was invited to my first casting for a coffee brand. The big problem of getting a model job was the timing. I had off during the casting but once accepted for a job I had to have off for the fitting and the shooting as well. This is not possible with a pilot job. That is why I only could accept direct bookings. I have walked on a catwalk, had a shooting with Vladimir Klitschko and I was on an online shop for a fashion label.

The past five years I also have been the fitting model of Michalsky, because I have the perfect measurements for a size M. Most of the jobs were a lot of fun but I also got to know rude people who treated models like objects. It is difficult not to take this personal. That is why I could not imagine working solely as a model, but I hope that my social media will open new possibilities to model in the future.

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Last day of fashion week / outfit by Hugo

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Events during fashion week

VIP Beauty and Fashion Lounge

This event took place at the Marriott Hotel in Berlin. Invited guests could get to know different brands while enjoying finger food. In the Gentlemen’s Corner, I received a free hairstyling and tested some new products for men.

Guido Maria Kretschmer fashion show

Guido Maria Kretschmer is one of the most famous fashion designers in Germany. That is why his fashion show is one of the most popular once during the Berlin fashion week. A lot of VIPs were invited and I even saw Goldie Hawn. The fashion show and after show party event took place in the Tempodrom. The sound and light installation were spectacular and had an awesome evening. Watch my live video of the show.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nk5PuXNYW-U&feature=youtu.be

GQ Mension Party

GQ Germany celebrated its 20th birthday with a party in the Austernbank  in Berlin Mitte. It was a fun event. Good music, tasty drinks, and cool people. I am a big fan of the GQ magazine and during my time as private jet pilot, I always bought the GQ for my VIP passengers.

Leck mich am Hashtag

This was mainly an event to connect blogger and brand ambassadors with different labels. I received again a free hairstyling and even got a free smartphone, which I will be testing for you soon. While having a delicious brunch, I had a chat with other bloggers and I even met an old friend from high school.

Michalsky Style Nite

Michalsky is a well-known designer for fashion and nowadays also for lifestyle products. His Stylenite is one of the most popular and biggest once of fashion week. I know him for many years since I am fitting his new collections.

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I met the german top model Lena Gercke at the Soho House

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Goodie bag

During the fashion week, I received a lot of goodie bags with a lot of cool stuff in it. Those bags are given to the guests at the end of a show or event to thank them for coming. I cannot use all the products by myself especially the once for women. Therefore I will give them away to you. I prepared one bag for men and one for women. The value of each is more than 50€.

TO WIN: Just leave me a comment below with your favorite fashion label and subscribe to my newsletter. (see below)

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Giveaway of my goodie bags / to win comment below with your favorite fashion label and subscribe my newsletter

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Happy landings!

Your Pilot Patrick

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