how to become a captain

Moving to the left seat - Captain upgrade Part 1

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Dear Aviator,

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

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

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How to become a captain?

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

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

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

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How long does it take to become a captain?

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

Requirements

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

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Job advertisement of the airline

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Application Form

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

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

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

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Commander assessment

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

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

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

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What will change?

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

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Next steps

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

Please cross your fingers that everything will fly smoothly.

 

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

3 easy steps to subscribe:

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

Safe travels and happy landings!

Your PilotPatrick

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most followed pilot blogger

Seasonal greetings, recap of 2018 and my outlook for 2019

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Anzeige

Dear Aviator,

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

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

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

Maybe soon as Captain

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

The growing Aviator family

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

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

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Meeting you

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

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

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Meet and Greet at Windobona

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My projects for 2019

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

Never the less I set out the following projects:

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

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Most liked Instagram post

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

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My personal goals

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

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Whats app newsletter

Recently I launched my Whatsapp newsletter.

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

3 easy steps to subscribe:

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

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Most viewed YouTube video

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Thanks my Aviator

Thanks, my Aviator, for being so engaging. I appreciate every like, comment and all your advice. It makes me really happy to hear that I am an inspiration for some of you. You are also my inspiration for my stories, photos and my content on this blog. You are like a jet engine which propels me to goals, which I would never have imagined to achieve. Like me, you are probably noticing hate and bad vibes on a daily basis offline and online. But why? Life is already tough and each of us has problems and struggles, so be more kind to each other and spread good vibes!

Merry Christmas and happy landings in 2019!

Your PilotPatrick

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vacation on mauritius

The vacation in paradise I always dreamed of?

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Collaboration /Advertisement

Hello my Aviator,

if I had to choose I would always decide on a summer vacation. I love the warm weather, the sun, the beach and everything that goes with it. Especially when I am able to escape the cold season at home in Berlin. This year I decided on Mauritius. This destination was always on my bucket list. Did it meet my expectations and was it really the paradise I always wanted to visit?

This blog post is supported by skincare of Eucerin.

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The PilotPatrick flat white with almond milk

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My Ocean villa

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Why Mauritius?

The name Mauritius itself suggest long sandy beaches, palm trees, and crystal clear sea. From what I have heard and seen it must be a paradise on earth. Honestly, I am not able to recall how it got onto my exclusive bucket list of destinations. When I started to plan my vacation in September I still did not know where to go. But once Emirates offered me to fly in their Business Class my decision was made rather quickly. One important point was that both flights from Frankfurt via Dubai to Mauritius were on board the A380 and November you can expect good weather (as long no cyclones visit Mauritius) Check out my YouTube video about my first time flying the A380 and Emirates.

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Skincare on my travels

During the winter season in Germany, I try to escape the cold season of the year at least once. So I packed Eucerin Sun protection for the sunny weather on Mauritius. It is not only vital to protecting the skin from the sunlight, but skincare is important throughout the year. Every day I can read new comments saying that I am perfect, but I can say my skin is not ;-) You might be facing the same problems as me. Sometimes it is a turbulent flight with the skin and once in a while, you have to use the right products to get it under control again. Eucerin offers a wide range of skincare for your special needs.

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The Pilot Essentials of Eucerin

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Bedroom of the Ocean villa

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DermoPure face fluid

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My daily routine

Clean my face: Eucerin DermoPure Cleansing Gel cleanses to remove dirt, make-up, and any excess sebum. The gel eliminates skin bacteria and prevents bacterial growth. I use it in the morning and before going to bed.

Shower: The pH5 shower gel of Eucerin which is made for people who shower frequently. It protects your skin from drying out. Especially during work, I shower a lot, that's why I carry a small travel edition with me.

Day cream: I differentiate between if I am exposed to strong sunlight or not. If yes I use Hyaluron Filler with SPF30. If not I use the DermoPure face fluid which has a matting effect and it also helps to control blemished skin. I can easily have a shiny fatty-face appearance, so it is ideal for me.

Hands and lips: Especially during the cold season and to fight the dry air on board of aircraft, I have always a hand lotion and a lip balm with me.

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The pH5 shower gel for frequent showers

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Hyaluron Filler with sun protection

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Brief facts about Mauritius

Mauritius officially the Republic of Mauritius is an island nation in the Indian Ocean. The main Island of Mauritius is located about 2,000 kilometers (1,200 mi) off the southeast coast of the African continent The island of Mauritius is relatively young geologically, having been created by volcanic activity some 8 million years ago. The capital and largest city Port Louis is located on the main island of Mauritius. It inhibits around 1,2 million people.

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I was excited to go on a snorkeling trip but then ...

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Not the visibility underwater I expected (ocean in front of Grand Gaube)

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The paradise I have dreamed of?

As a blogger, it is my responsibility to share with you my personal opinion. This includes mentioning aspects that I did not enjoy or like as well. Like on previous blog posts, for example, the one about my dream job. I have not only listed the great advantages of my job, but I also mentioned the downsides which come with it.

I stayed for one week on Mauritius close to Grand Gaube, which is in the northern part of the island. As I found out the concentrations of attractions and activities is a lot higher in the southern part then up north. This was not too severe since I wanted to enjoy a rather relaxed vacation at the beach, with good food and hot weather.

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Why my disappointment?

But in the end, I was rather disappointed. Not of Mauritius itself. Do not get me wrong: it is paradise on earth! The people are all super friendly and their hospitality is one of the best one I have ever experienced. Never the less I felt like I was in a tourist trap. I do not mind to spend a little fortune for a vacation, but the cost-benefit has to be aligned. For a 5 star hotel in a junior suite with half-board, I spend over 700€ a night (regular price was around 1000€) I have never spend so much money on accommodation. Despite all the luxury amenities, it was not worth the extremely high price. I expected a lot more.

Additionally, all extras in the hotel were, in general, more expensive outside of the hotel and more expensive than in Germany. During my stay, I had to find out about the salary of the staff. I was literally shocked. Their daily salary is even less than the price for a burger in the hotel. They put in all the hard work to make it an unforgettable for the guests and they do not get rewarded accordingly. That's why I think the price is even more over the top.

Since it was my vacation, my precious off time, I made the best out of it: I wrapped up the positive sides in a video on my YouTube channel

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My recommendation

My opinion should not stop you from visiting Mauritius. Next time I would plan my stay more wisely. Get a rental car and stay at different spots on the island. Maybe a serviced apartment or a vacation rental of a villa could be a more affordable option. With a car, you can be more flexible and you have the chance to discover and see more of the island. That way you do not have to rely on expansive hotel prices of tours and activities.

Good planning is the key to a successful and satisfying vacation. 

Where will you spend your next vacation? Leave me a comment below and subscribe to my newsletter with your email!

As always safe travels and happy landings!

Your PilotPatrick

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A380 emirtes business class

First time flying on board of the A380

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Advertisement / Cooperation

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

Follow me:

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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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social life of a pilot

Family, friends and sex - the social life of a pilot

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Hello my Aviator

lately, I posted a question on my Instagram stories asking you for ideas for my next blog post. Your feedback was impressive, but one topic came up numerous times: the social life of a pilot. In this blog post, I will be answering your questions regarding the social life of a pilot. Does a pilot have friends, family and sex when traveling all the time?

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Check out also my new Video on my YouTube channel.

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Pilot life vs. social life

You have been wondering how I manage to have a social/private life as a pilot when traveling so much and being absent from home a lot. Especially those of you who strive to become a pilot in the future asked me this question and informed me about their concerns. Everything is still possible but only a little bit more complicated.

Which challenges do pilots face balancing a long lasting relationship vs. work?

First off all a relationship is possible, but definitely not easy. In my case, I am gone from home about 15 days a month. Imagine the other partner has also to travel for work. This requires good planning to have enough time together to keep the relationship running. Another challenge couples could face are the base (the location from where crews start their duty) It happens that you need to relocate for a new cockpit job, but the partner is unable to move with you. Aviation requires flexibility in many ways.

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With friends in Dubai

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Mile high club

In case it counts when I saw a couple having fun, then I joined the mile high club already ;-) The story behind it: I was flying as a private first officer when a woman had her head between the lap of a man. There was no door between the cockpit and the cabin in this aircraft only a curtain. I had a look behind to check if the two passengers are okay, and I had to find out that they were having a good time on board.

Sex life and affairs with stewardesses

Yes, pilots do have a sex life like everyone else. Since the beginning of my career, I have been running quite well not to f*** the company. Relationship and affairs within the same company only cause problems. Especially in smaller companies. In the private jet company, I used to fly for I got to know a flight attended how had sex with a captain, then moved on to the head of flight operations and in the end, she was in the relationship with a First Officer. You can imagine that this was not easy for everyone involved.

One reason why there is so much "love" in the air in aviation is that crews are sometimes stuck together for days and that they are forced to work together in a small environment

Nude flying!

I have never heard of this! the only thing we take off is the airplane and the tie when it is too hot outside. haha!

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Private jet crew

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Does it depend on the airline how your social life looks like

The flight operation in the Business Aviation required me to overnight at those locations wherever the last flight of the day took me. Whereas the flights of many low-cost airlines end at their home base, which equals basically to a 9 to 5 job. The current operation once in while allows me to spend a night at home or it happens that a rotation is only of 2-3 days. But I could imagine that an operation, which allows you to sleep at home every night, can be a big advantage once you want to build a family.

As you can see it really depends on the type of operation and airline how many days a month you can spend at home. A minimum of 8 days are granted by the aviation authority. But only 8 days at home this would be not enough for me to have enough time for family, friends and hobbies. 

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8 years in Berlin

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Do you miss out on anything in your private life?

I have arranged myself with the absence from home quite well. I have a social life with friends and private activities like everyone else. Unfortunately, I can not attend all events (like birthdays, concerts, parties and family events) but due to good organization skills I get the best of my free time and I never have a big feeling that I miss out on something.

The benefits of a pilot life?

The greatest benefit of a pilot is that I get paid for traveling. When I finish my duty I leave work behind in the airplane and so I can use my off time to the fullest. Then I have minimum 4 days off in a row guaranteed without taking leave.

Watch my video on my YouTube channel to find out what I do during my off days in Berlin.

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Please be aware that those are my impressions and feelings. There probably pilots who would tell you something else.

Are you interested in a working day of a private jet pilot? Then check out my blog series a busy day of a private jet pilot.

Could you imagine to have a travel job and which problems do you face in your job?

Safe travels and happy landings!

Your Pilot Patrick

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seasonal greetings

Seasonal greetings and my outlook for 2018

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Cooperation - Advertisement

Merry Christmas my Aviator,

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

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

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

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airline pilot versus private jet pilot

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Airbus A300

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Meet and Greet

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

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

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Meet and Greet in Barcelona

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Videos

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

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Please subscribe to my Youtube channel

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Viral post "mid-air selfie"

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

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Best selfie of 2017?

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Thanks my Aviator

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

 

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Aviator watch by Hamilton Watch

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Christmas give away

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

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

To have the chance to win simply have to:

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

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

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Christmas give away

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Merry Christmas and good luck!

Positive mind, positive life and happy landings for 2018!

Your Pilot Patrick

Follow me!

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first time flying aerobatics

My First Time Flying Aerobatics

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Cooperation - Advertisement

Hello my Aviator,

as you now Sunday is a fun day. Last weekend I attended my first Red Bull Air Race in Lausitz, Germany. On top, I was also invited to go on my very first aerobatic flight with an Air Race pilot. I spent two exciting and action-packed days. In this blog post, I will share the fun with you. You also have the chance to win a bag back with a lot of useful goodies. 

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Cozy room at the Vienna QF Hotel in Dresden

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Arrival

I arrived late in Dresden because I had an evening flight from Bergamo back to Germany. After I landed in Leipzig I took a rental car on 1,5 hours drive to Dresden. At 1 am in the morning I checked in the Vienna QF Hotel, which is located right in the city center. The next morning I already had to get up at 7 am. The cozy hotel room helped me to have a good, but short rest. After a tasty omelet and smoked salmon for a breakfast, a shuttle picked me up to take me to the venue of the Red Bull Air Race.

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Hangar tour

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VIP passes with access to the hangars

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Racing in the air

Hamilton watches (The Swatch Group Germany GmbH) invited me to the 7th RedBull Air Race World Championship in Lausitz. It is the only air race in Germany and Hamilton watches is the official timekeeper of this championship. It is a great match because Hamilton is linked to the time keeping in aviation since 1918. Back in the days, pilots had to rely on the precision of their watches for navigation. First of all, we were equipped with VIP passes which granted us access to the Sky Lounge. The Hamilton crew consisted of Percy (luxify), Jens (atomlabor), Sebastian (Männer Style) and Basti (Basti_go_pro).

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Lausitz Speedway in Germany

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Hangar tour

Our schedule for the day was filled with a lot of activities. The first item on the agenda was the hangar tour. I had the chance to see the racing aircraft up close and I met the pilot Nicolas Ivanoff, who is the brand ambassador of Hamilton watches. We took a photo in front of his aircraft, Zivko Edge 540 and I wished him happy landings for the upcoming race!

Technical specification of the Edge 540

  • Roll rate: 450°/s
  • Max Takeoff weight: 750 kg
  • Vne: 220 kts (never exceed speed)
  • Wingspan: 7,43 m
  • Lenght 6,30
  • Max G-forces: +/- 12 g

 

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Meeting air race pilot Nicolas Ivanoff  / photo: René Gaens

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Racing aircraft Edge 540

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Sky Lounge

The weather was perfect. The sun was up and the winds were calm. Ideal conditions for the pilots and the spectators. We enjoyed refreshing drinks in the sky lounge, which granted us the best view of the race track. The runway was situated right in front of the terrace, so the aircraft were taking off and landing up close. The area was exclusively for VIP guests. I almost forgot to enjoy the catering because of the action on the race track and the fun in the lounge.

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Sky Lounge at the Red Bull Air Race

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Official timekeeper Hamilton watches

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Smoke on!

The first flight battle was between Nicolas Ivanoff and Martin Sonka. It was the first time for me to watch an air race live. Even as a pilot I was impressed by the speed and the maneuvers the air race pilot flew. It is a combination of skills, precision, and speed to succeed in this competition. One round consist of two laps through the course of pylons. Nicolas controlled his aircraft flawlessly through the tight race track. But unfortunately, his competitor Sonka was a little bit faster.

Up to 10 g and 370 km/h

The pilots pull unbelievingly up to 10 g and fly speeds up to 370 km/h in the race track. In a thrilling roller coaster, you might experience around 4 g. 10 g means 10 times your body weight. Amazing what the structure of the aircraft and their pilots have to withstand. I was wondering what the feeling was like to be on board of such a flight. Luckily I was going to find out the next day.

 

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Happy racing and happy landings

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Hello my Aviators: Going live on Instagram

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My first time flying aerobatics

The next day Nicolas Ivanoff and Hamilton invited me on an aerobatic flight in an Extra 330 LX at the aircraft Schwarzweide-Schipkau. Ivanoff is the leading French aerobatic pilot and an expert in creativity when it comes to his flying skills and techniques. During my flight training, I flew step turns of 60° bank angle. This was the most aerobatic maneuver I have flown. Many of my Aviators asked me before the flight if I am nervous or scared to go on this flight. Anything but that. I was super excited to discover a new way of flying.

It is like drawing in the sky

The flight

I told Ivanoff that he can fly the full program with me and that I am not scared a single bit. He really did and it was amazing. I could not stop smiling. It was really a thrilling flight. All roller coasters are boring compared to this flight. Ivanoff flew countless barrel rolls, loopings, spins, vertical flight maneuvers. He pulled 8 g followed by the maximum roll rate of 400° a second. Once I blacked out for a very short time. In the end, I took over the controls and I flew to barrel rolls myself. It was an exceptional feeling. Watch the video. It says more than 1000 words.

 

https://youtu.be/stTulSaczm4

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Just in case with a parachute

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Ready for the departure for my first aerobatic flight

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Technical Specifications Extra 33 LX

  • Roll rate: 400°/s
  • Max Takeoff weight: 950 kg
  • Vne: 220 kts
  • Wingspan: 8,0 m
  • Lenth: 7,2 m
  • Max G-forces: +/- 10 g (1 person) +/- 8 g (2 persons)

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Happy pilots after a thrilling flight

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Insider tip and giveaway

When you think about cities in Germany you won't necessarily think about Dresden. But it is definitely a highlight you should not miss out. Especially the city center, which was completely destroyed after the second world war, was beautifully restored.

Giveaway

I am giving a Hamilton bag back with a lot of useful goodies, like sunglasses, mini speaker, a hat, keychain and an umbrella. Additionally, you will get a personal note. To have the chance to win, follow these steps:

  • subscribe to my newsletter with your email below
  • Would you dare to go on an aerobatic flight? Answer in a comment below

Winner of the A380 model giveaway of the blog post about aviation myths is Maurice.

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Giveaway

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Good luck and happy landings!

Your Pilot Patrick

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