the greek Instagram island

The greek Instagram island - mini vacation on Zakynthos

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Dear Aviator,

great to welcome you back on my blog! Have you heard of Zakynthos before? I hadn't until I saw several bloggers posting like crazy from this greek Instagram Island - Zakynthos". I literally I was tempted by beautiful caves, crystal blue water and a breathtaking beach with a shipwreck. I thought I need to find out for us if this island is really that beautiful or if this is a "Instagram fake".

 

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Appraoching Zakynthos with Skyexpress

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It was super spontaneous

I finished my flight duty in Athens and decided spontaneously to stay in Greek during my off days. I checked for flight connections to the most famous islands Santorini and Mykonos, but there was no suitable return flight available. Then this island with the famous shipwreck beach came into my mind. I knew it was somewhere in Greece. I booked a flight connection with Sky Express from Athens, which lasts only 45 mins. The return flight was with Eurowings via Düsseldorf back to Berlin four days later. Watch also my the Instagram Story Highlight about the trip.

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Must see: Xigia Sulfur Beach

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Greek island facts - Zakynthos

The Greek island in the Ionian Sea is the third largest of the Ionian Islands. It covers an area of 405.55 km2  with only about 40,000 habitants and the coastline is roughly 123 km in length. The name, like all similar names ending in -nthos, is pre-Mycenaean or Pelasgian in origin. In Greek mythology the island was said to be named after Zakynthos, the son of the legendary Arcadian chief Dardanus. Zakynthos was hit by a 7.3-magnitude earthquake in 1953, which destroyed most of the buildings on the island. That's why you will not find any typical white buildings (like on Santorini) on the island.  Zakynthos econonmy is based on tourism, olive oil and wine.

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Suites at Olea All Suite

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Suite at the Olea All Suite

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Eagle view of the Olea All Suite

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Check out my YouTube channel PilotPatrick for more exciting videos about my trips around the world!

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Minimalism, elegance and a private pool

I have stayed at many hotels in my time as pilot and frequent traveler, but the two properties on Zakynthos were one of a kind. On vacation I prefer smaller more intimate hotels, than big hotel bunkers. Boutique hotels offer a much more personalized and exclusive service.

I stayed 2 nights in the Zante Maris Suites and 2 nights in the Olea All Suite hotel, which are sister hotels and are located on the same property. As the names suggest the star hotels properties comprises of suites only.

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Private pool suite Olea All Suite

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Pool area at the Olea All Suite

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Mountain views at Olea All Suite

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Olea All Suite

The unique hotel is set on a picturesque hill, surrounded by olive trees and green, walking distance to the beach and only 10 minutes from Zakynthos town and airport. I was lucky to stay in a suite with a private pool, which not only offered stunning views of the ocean, but also granted a lot of privacy.

Next to a Spa, gym and a vast pool area, the 3 restaurants offer exquisite culinary options, including greek and mediterranean dishes.

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Breakfast at Zante Maris Suites

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Dinner at Zante Maris Suites

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Dessert at Znate Maris Suites

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Zante Maris Suites

Smaller in its size. Only 45 suites in total, but all with outdoor living space. I have never seen such a special welcome drink. Smoking Ice tea served on a plate with fruits and nuts. Food was amazing as well. As a half board guest you can choose from a huge menu from seafood, cheese to meat and extortionary desserts.

Which one did I prefer?

Both hotels are similar in its minimalistic yet luxurious design. For even more privacy, relaxation and exclusive service I would go with the Zante Maris Suites, since this is an adult only hotel. In my opinion breakfast and dinner was even more exceptional at the Zante Marris Suites. However I did not try the a la carte restaurants at the Olea All Suite.

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Welcome drink at Zante Maris Suites

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Spa ath the Olea All Suite

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View from the massage place at the Zante Maris Suites

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Activites on the island

I stayed for 4 days, which is sufficient for a short getaway. However, 4 days was not enough to fully explore the island.  The stunning hotel property made it hard to leave the hotel, but I came to Zakynthos to see the island as well. So make sure you plan with enough time. One week should be about the perfect length.

What did I do:

Navagio Beach

The Instagran spot! Also known as the shipwreck beach. You can only get to the beach by boat because the beach is surrounded by 200m  high cliffs. A breathtaking setting with ultra blue water. Make sure to see the beach also from top of the cliff. The view is amazing but be careful as well!

 

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Navagio Beach - Shipwreck Beach

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Navagio Beach - Shipwreck Beach

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Navagio Beach - photo credit SPATHUMPA

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Blue caves 

One of the most popular attractions on Zahkynthos.  Nature is really the most beautiful thing on earth and so are the blue caves. To see the blue caves in real live and to find out why they are called blue caves was an amazing experience. The best way to visit them is in a small to medium boat. I charted a small boat with  Alykes VIP Boat  captain Georges knew all the amazing spots. With in 5  hours I was at the shipwreck beach, inside the blue caves, swam in crystal blue water and jumped of a cliff. Additionally he gave me lots of background information of the island. A true VIP and insider experience.

 

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Famous Blue caves

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Olive trees

Only few urban areas makes you feel that you are in nature the whole time. I did not expect such a green island. During my exploration tour I passed many wine-growing areas and olive trees. I also got to see the oldest olive tree of the island. It is supposed to be over 2000 years old.

Kampi

One of the best locations for sunsets on Zahkynthos. It is loacted on the west coast so you will be able to see the sun set into the ocean. The view is breathtaking. I could not stay for the sunset so please do it for me.

Transport

You do not necessarily need a car to get a round. One day I booked a driver to take me within 4 hours to many interesting sights on the island, since I did not have so much time. Alternatively you can book a quad or a two seater buggy to discover the island by yourself.

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oldest Olive tree on the island

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Go to Kampi for the sunset

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Zakynthos is not only an "instagramable" island with amazing photos spots, but also a place where you can relax and feed your soul to the fullest.

 

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Have you been on a greek island before? Let me know in the comment section below.

Safe travels and happy landings!

Your PilotPatrick

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how to become a captain

Moving to the left seat - Captain upgrade Part 1

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Dear Aviator,

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

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

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How to become a captain?

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

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

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

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How long does it take to become a captain?

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

Requirements

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

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Job advertisement of the airline

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Application Form

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

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

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

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Commander assessment

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

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

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

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What will change?

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

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Next steps

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

Please cross your fingers that everything will fly smoothly.

 

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

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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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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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christmas greetings

Christmas greetings with big changes in 2017

Merry Christmas my Aviators,

seasonal greetings from your first officer 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. Especially as flight crew it happens to be that you are not at home. Last year I spend Christmas eve with my crew in Zürich. This season I am lucky to be with my family in Hessen.

2016 was a fantastic year! Now I am excited for 2017, because of big changes in my pilot career. I will already give you a brief look out.  

Flying home for Christmas - I grew up close to Frankfurt

The bad news time flies, the good news I am the pilot!

Seriously this year past by so fast. Maybe this feeling arises, because so many things took place. During my job and my private journeys I got to visit many new places, I have never been too. One of my favorite ones was South Africa. In August I moved my home base to Barcelona for 3 months. I had the chance to get to know this vibrant city and I could definitely imagine living there. Cool side effect was that I improved my Spanish skills a little bit and I learnt to wave surf.

Social Media

At this stage I also want to thank you for your amazing support of my social media. I appreciate every single like and comment I receive from you. I try as much as I can to answer all your questions, but time is unfortunately limited. This is one reason why I decided to launch my own blog to be able to share my adventures and my healthy lifestyle with you. As you know you are all my Aviators and for those who really want to become a pilot I am sharing my experiences of pilot career to support and answer your questions. "How to become a pilot" is one of my most read blog post so far.

I am brining your presents this year ;-)

 What can you expect in 2017?

More aviation, more travel, more lifestyle and more of me!

You got to know me as a First officer who is operating private Jets. As you know I have been flying a fancy business Jet for six years now. It was an amazing time and for me the best way to start my pilot career. I have flown to hundreds of different destination getting to know all parts of Europe and many famous people. I welcomed the beautiful and rich on board and flew them to business meetings or to vacation hotspots. My favorite trips were with music bands when we were the personal jet for their tour.

I am leaving the private aviation with a crying and with laughing eye, because I will soon fly a big Airbus wide body aircraft. The type rating will start in January at Lufthansa flight training. I hope you will join me on this interesting and exciting career section.  

Christmas tree in the Taschenbergpalais Kempinski Hotel

Events in 2017:

More live videos

In case you have missed my first live talk on my facebook, you will soon have the chance again to ask me questions about aviation, travel, sports and my healthy lifestyle. Additionally I will go live more to share cool aviation related events.

https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=1243796799019247

Meet and greet

I am looking forward to meeting my Aviators. I am planning on a special meet and greet in the sky overhead Berlin. Stay tuned for more information. I am already super excited.

Youtube channel

Recently I have opened my youtube channel "pilotpatrick" to share my adventures in longer videos. I am working on more content for you.

I hope the world becomes more peaceful! May a guardian angel protect you in 2017

I am feeling blessed to have the chance to share my passion of flying with so many of you. 95.000 follower on Instagram and already over 65.000 clicks on my blog within in 4 months. Thanks for being such amazing followers. Without you it would be less fun!

In which country are you celebrating Christmas?

Positive life, positive mind with happy landings!

Your Pilot Patrick

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how i became a pilot

How I became a pilot III

Welcome on board of my series of “How I became a pilot". In part three I will talk about the flight training with Pilot Training Network in Zadar and the theory phase back in Frankfurt. Find out which drink was offered to me after landing in Slovakia and which malfunctions I had during one of my first solo flights.

Fleet of Diamond aircraft DA20 and DA40 models in Zadar, Croatia Beautiful views over the Adrian sea during flight training

The structure of the training:

  • 8 weeks of PPL theory classes in Frankfurt (How I became a pilot II)
  • 10 weeks of SE VFR (single engine, visual flight rules) flight training in Zadar
  • 30 weeks of ATPL theory classes in Frankfurt  (ATPL = Airline Transport Pilot License)
  • 8 weeks of IFR flight training in Vero Beach, Florida  (IFR = Instrument flight rules)
  • 4 weeks ME IFR flight training in Zadar, Croatia  (ME = Multi Engine)
  • 1 week MCC course in Frankfurt  (MCC = Multi Crew Coordination)
Younger me as a student pilot with my instructor "Wolle" in Zadar

The entire training in Zadar lasted about 10 weeks. I already had my first solo flight after 11 flight hours with an instructor. On 24th of July 2008 I lifted off the ground in a DA20 all by myself for the very first time. It was really exciting. At first I was nervous, because I wanted to do everything safe and correct. The first flight went really well and after 30 mins I landed safely. It was awesome.

Returning from my first solo flight DA 20 VFR flight training in Zadar (LDZD)

During the first couple of missions we always stayed either in the traffic pattern of Zadar (airport) or in close proximity. In dedicated training areas we practised special flight maneuvers to improve our manual flying skills. First lesson in aviation: aviate, navigate, communicate! Flying has always priority before everything else.

During the aerial work over the Adrian sea we did stalls, steep turns and slow flight. An aircraft being in stall means that the wings do not produce lift anymore, because of the angle of attack being too big. If not corrected may lead to a crash.

Steep turn (45 degrees) in a DA20 aircraft! Like a roller coaster!

Cross country flights

After being familiar with the procedures, the aircraft, the flight patterns and the communication with air traffic control we started flying cross country. Those flights took place between two points (e.g. airports) using navigational techniques. Some missions were flown in a DA40, which is a single piston four seater. One fellow student pilot as observer in the back and the instructor and me in the front. Usually we flew to more distant airports, where we landed and switched seats. Like one day when we flew to a small airport in Slovenia. After landing we were guided by a small motorbike to our parking position to refuel for the next flight. ;-) Before departure the handling guy offered us his self brewed liquor. I guess he wanted to fuel more than the aircraft. This guy was just too funny.

DA40 flight mission - Crew change in Solvakia

The flight training was a lot of fun. Nevertheless the pressure to be a good student pilot was high and the program did not leave a lot of space for deficiencies. This required additionally studying when on ground. Everything was new to me and especially at the beginning I had to take care that I fly the airplane and not the airplane me.

Pilotsview - Croatian islands in the Adrian Sea

Technical problems

I remember one special event during a solo cross country flight. During the approach to Pula airport I encountered problems with the engine. It did not run smooth at all. That is why I decided to stay in close proximity to the airport to figure out the problem and in case the propeller stops to glide to the runway. (We actually learn this procedure and do it simulated)  Luckily I managed to fly back to the home base safely. I informed our maintenance about the malfunction. In the end the airplane was grounded for several days.

The weeks in Croatia past by really fast. Not only because of the flying, but also because of the activities our course did together. Up in the air we have already seen how beautiful the landscape was. Krka water falls and the surrounding nature reserve is a great example.

Excursion to Krka water falls - Must see

ATPL theory

Back in Germany the ATPL theory phase began. That meant studying intensively. We learned the entire knowledge to be prepared for the final exams at the LBA (german aviation authority). It would take over 8 months before being back in a cockpit flying.

The legendary DC6 visiting Zadar Airport

Most of the questions of the final exams were in a multiple choice style. Over the years 1000 of possible of questions leaked to flight schools and to training programs like Peters software. Many students just learnt the questions and the answers to them without understanding them. I thought this is quite risky method for studying and plus I wanted to understand what I am doing in the future. My method proofed me more than right. This time the LBA changed a lot on their questions and added a lot to their question bank. In the end only five students (including me) of 20 students passed the exam at the first attempt. The exam consisted of 12 subjects which could be written on three consecutive days.  

First selfies out of the cockpit

Subjects

General Navigation, Meteorology, Radio Navigation, Principle of flight/aerodynamics (my favorite subject), Human Resources, Air Law, Power plant, Instrument/ Electronics, Flight Planning, Operational Procedures, Performance, Mass and Balance

My ATPL theory results

Since I passed the exam right away, I was allowed to proceed with the second flight training phase. Surprisingly it was not going to take place in Zadar. Read the next part of how I became a pilot.

Have you been to Croatia before?

Your Pilot Patrick

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flying a propeller airplane

Flying a propeller airplane

Yesterday I went flying and I could leave my big suitcase at home. Instead of operating a private jet through Europe, I used my time off to go flying in a small Cessna 172 of ARDEX flight school.

Lets go flying - C172S with 180HP and 4 seats

Lucky it was a sunny day in Berlin and the flight conditions were excellent. The newspaper Bild was interested to do an interview with me. Since everyone can do an interview on the ground, I invited the journalists to join me on a flight to do an interview up in the air.

Additionally the interview was live on my official Facebook page @PilotPatrick, so everyone could watch me flying from take off up to landing. For some action I flew a steep turn with 45° bank angle. Use this link or scroll down to the flying interview and watch if the journalists, Anne and Celal, enjoyed it.

Back to Kyritz Airport - Shutdown checklist complete

https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=1220076041391323

Besides holding a valid type rating for the Citation XLS+, I possess a SEP (single engine piston) rating as well. This grants me to fly aircraft, which are driven with one propeller. I did most of my flight training on this type of aircraft. A big part of my SEP hours, I flew by myself without an instructor in Croatia. But like all licenses and ratings in the aviation industry, I have to revalidate the SEP rating every two years with a couple of flight hours.

Visting Ardex flight school for a flying interview in a Cessna C172

But why should I fly a small aircraft besides my job as pilot?

There is a big difference between flying a jet and a small piston aircraft. The flying itself and the input to the control surfaces remains the same. One major difference of course is the speed and altitude I operate at. Yesterday I flew a maximum speed of 180 km/h at an altitude of 650m. In the Citation jet I usually fly a speed of 800 km/h at an altitude of 12.000m. 90% of the flight time of a commercial jet aircraft is operated under instrument flight rules (IFR), whereas a small Cessna is primarily flown under visual rules (VFR) in VMC (visual metrological conditions). This requires a constant look out for other traffic and the navigation is made through visual guidance on the ground.

VFR + GPS chart for navigation (upper left blue circle indicates Kyritz)

A big issue in aviation is that the many pilots loose their manual flying skills over the years. Even when flying up to 900 hours in one year, the high level of automation and company procedures prevent pilots to fly manually more often. Usually only take off and landing are flown by end. But especially those manual flying skills are needed when there happens to be a failure or abnormality of a system. Read this report about it.

That is one reason why I decided to practice my manual flying skills once in a while. Additionally I enjoy flying at a moderate altitude to have a great view of the countryside and to choose the destination myself. I would say it is purer way of flying since everything feels closer without numerous systems and automation aids.

Sunny day in autumn with temperatures around 2 degrees - on the way to Runway 14 Live interview with BILD up in the air via Facebook live stream

ARDEX Flight School

This was definitely a special day of flying in my career, which I will remember for a long time. Thanks again to the flight school ARDEX for sponsoring and making this event happen. In case you want to become a pilot or want to charter a plane, this family owned business is situated only one hour from Berlin. They offer courses to a acquire a private or even a commercial license so you may become my first officer some day.

Flight School ARDEX in Kyritz (close to Berlin)

Have you flown in a small aircraft before? Please comment below.

Postive mind, positive life and happy landings!

Your Pilot Patrick

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The Bild interview in full length:
https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=366609890348612


business class review Lufthansa

Business Class review - with Lufthansa to Cape Town

I decided to publish my first airline review, because you were interested in my opinion as private jet pilot about a flight experience in a higher booking class.

Business class review Lufthansa

This year I spend three weeks of vacation in South Africa. I had an amazing time and I felt in love with South Africa. The flight made this vacation special as well. Months in advance, I was excited to go on this flight. One reason for this was, that I flew in Lufthansa’s Business Class on the A340-600. But the flight almost did not depart…

A340-600 at the parking position in Munich prior boarding to Cape Town

I want to give you a brief review of my experience on board of Lufthansa, one of my favorite airlines. This might help you when booking your next flight, maybe to Cape Town.

My flights:
Berlin Tegel – Munich
Munich – Cape Town (night flight)

Cape Town – Munich (day flight)
Munich – Berlin Tegel

Welcome on board!

On the flight to Cape Town seat 3D was mine. Right after I stowed my hand luggage and took a seat, I was offered a welcome drink. Overall the service was excellent. The flight attendants were really friendly and gave a personal touch to their service. The front cabin of the A340-600 was quite spacious, but I noticed right away that there is not much privacy when seated. Nevertheless I really liked the modern design and the interior.

Welcome drink on board of Lufthansa's A3400-600 in Munich. Seat 3D

Take off thrust set in Munich. Reaching about 120 km/h the four engines spooled down and the brakes were applied. I said quite loudly: “Aborted take off!" I was right. The aircraft vacated the runway. Interesting fact: In 6 years as pilot I never had to reject a take off. Fortunately the pilots could solve the technical problem, so that we attempted for another take off 30 minutes later, after the brakes had cooled down.

Seat

Lufthansa Business Class Configuration 2-2-2

I was surprised about the versatility of the seat. It felt comfortable when eating, watching a movie and especially when in the sleeping position. A flat bed on a long-range flight is luxury. I am 1,86 m tall and I had enough space in length. Additionally you can adjust the degree of hardness of the cushion through air. Unfortunately I had the impression that the seat width was a little bit too narrow and the pillow a little bit too thick.

Food

Dinner in Business Class shortly prior landing in Munich

As I mentioned in my recent post “I am a foodie pilot”, I am really strict and picky about my food. That is why I am definitely not a benchmark. But I have to admit, that the selection and the taste of food were really good. Great wine and drink menu. I missed some snacks in between meals on a 12 hours flight. Fantastic was have an espresso above the clouds.

Inflight Entertainment

A huge selection of movies, series, documentaries, games, music and so on in up to eight languages were offered. The headsets were comfortable to wear and the interface was easy to control. I used Wi-Fi during flight to keep you up to date on my snapchat. :-)

Flat bed in Business Class, Seat 3D good while in sleeping position

My recommendations:

  • If possible reserve a seat in the first row. The seats in row 3 (A340-600) at the window give you some kind of shelf and the seats in the middle give you some extra legroom.

Seat 3D to CPT and seat 3A on the return flight

  • When traveling alone I recommend to take a window seat, because the seats in the middle section are angled a little towards each other. Those ones I rather recommend for couples.
  • During night flights I suggest to take a middle seat, since each seat has direct aisle access. Find your seat map on Seatguru.
  • Choose a seat in the front of the Business Class, because during boarding only Business and First Class passengers will pass you in the aisle.

Overhead Africa on the way from CPT to MUC

Following extras can you expect:

  • Amenity Kit (including socks, ear plugs and cosmetics)
  • Cosmetics in the lavatories
  • Water bottle at the seat
  • USB and power plug at your seat
  • Free newspapers and magazines
  • Big pillow and a blanket
  • High quality headset

Leaving Cape Town on Lufthansa's A340-600 overflying Camps Bay

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qSga1AL2q5w?rel=0]

The price for a Lufthansa Business Class ticket can be quite expansive, but the investment is totally worth it. This way the vacation already starts on board and you are looking forward to your flight. Especially on the way to Cape Town, which primarily takes place during the night, the flat seat is fantastic. Since their is only one hour of time difference, you can enjoy the day fresh and fit.

My rating

My rating of the flights in Lufthansa Business Class, where 5 aircrafts highest and 1 lowest:

Business Seat    ✈️ ✈️ ✈️ ✈️
Privacy                 ✈️ ✈️
Aircraft                ✈️ ✈️ ✈️ ✈️
Service                 ✈️ ✈️ ✈️ ✈️ ✈️
Food                     ✈️ ✈️ ✈️ ✈️
Entertainment  ✈️ ✈️ ✈️ ✈️ ✈️
Extras                  ✈️ ✈️ ✈️ ✈️

My Rating:         ✈️ ✈️ ✈️ ✈️

Which airline has the best Business Class for you? Please comment below.

Read my next blog post: "What's in my bag?"

Your Pilot Patrick

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cockpit, gold, stripes, epaulettes, pilot patrick, pilotpatric, uniform

How to become a pilot - My 10 personal advices

"How to become a pilot?" Probably the most frequent question I get on my Instagram account @pilotpatrick.

Additionally to my series "How I became a pilot" I want to give you 10 personal advice when you strive to become a commercial pilot.

My epaulettes. Three stripes for a First Officer / Copilot

Licences

First of all I want to clarify the different types of licenses:

  • PPL: Private Pilot License. As the name suggests this license is solely used for private operation. (e.g. flying in a small piston engine, non commercial)
  • CPL: Commercial Pilot License. This license grants you to fly aircrafts commercially as a First Officer. The A states for airplane.
  • ATPL: Aircraft Transport Pilot License. This license is granted to those how fulfill certain flight hours and are holding a CPL with ATPL theory. This type is needed to become a Captain.

My first day of flying a commercial Jet in 2010

My 10 tips how to become a pilot:  

1. Make sure you are fit to fly and meet the medical requirements to pass the class 1 examination. After having passed the initial examination you need to revalidate your Medical class one every year.

2. Be fit in maths and physics. You do not to be genius but the basic knowledge is necessary. Your sense in space should be well developed. Check the requirements of airlines and flight school which kind graduation level they expect. Some airlines only hire pilots with a high school/ A-level graduation.

3. Find the flight school which suites you the best. There are many flights schools which all promise to make an airplane out of you. Attend “open days” or info events of the flight schools to gather as much as information as possible. Try to talk to graduates to get a genuine feedback. Consider location of the school, training devices and length of the entire education. Here you find a list of flight schools for example.

4. Go for a short “test flight” with an instructor. This way you will find out if you agree to Leonardo Da Vinci’s quote: When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return“. This way you will easily find out if aviation and flying is for you

5. Flight training with an airline. This would be the best and financially the least risky way of becoming a pilot. Usually the airline gives you a training loan and offers you a cockpit position at the end. A certain amount of the training cost is paid back with your salary. (differs to all airlines of course). I have not heard about any scholarships for cadets.

Cockpit of a Piper Arrow in Vero Beach during flight training in 2008

6. Consider the high education costs of a private flight school. I was lucky that my parents paid for my entire training at pilot training network. The costs were around 70.000€. Depending on the school and country the prices range from 50.000 to 150.000€. Additionally you have to consider the costs for a daily living and accommodation. It will be quite difficult to work part time since an integrated training is time consuming

7. Modular Training: In case you do not have the financial back ground, it would be a more safe way to do the training step by step. This type is called modular training. I do not want to scare you, but there are students you took a high loan to afford the training. This can be quite risky when you do not get a job right away and/or the salary might not be so good as expected.

8. A pilot license is not an official professional education. In case you lose your medical for whatever reason, you can only show flight hours in your logbook. That is why I decided to attend a far distant university to have some kind of back up. Maybe think about going to college or learn a profession before becoming a pilot. Sounds strange, but it is always good to have a Plan B.

9. Think about the pros and cons of a pilot life could mean for you. Especially at the beginning of your career you should be quite flexible in terms of your home base location. During your training you might be forced to move to different places.

10. I recommend to visit exhibitions, where flight schools introduce themselves. For example: The ILA  (Internationale Luft- und Raumfahrtausstellung) in Berlin. At the career center you have the chance to get to know different flight schools and chat with them.

Overflying Miami Beach during flight training in 2008

Have a look on my aviation related Links page, where you might find additional information.

I hope this blog posts helps some of you. In case you have further questions comment below!

Positive mind, positive life and happy landings!

Your Pilot Patrick

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pilot life vs private life

Pilot life vs. Private life How does this work together?

In my last aviation related blog post "How I became a pilot part II" I told you about my first flight training phase in beautiful Croatia. Now I want to show you how a pilot life and private life work together. 

Pilot life vs. private life

In the past many of you wondered how I can have a social/private life as 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 told me their concerns-

Here are examples of two snapchat users.

This solely depends on you dude. But do not worry if you want, you can have both options. ;-) 

It is true that I am absent from home for about half of the month. Usually I am on duty for a  maximum of eight days in a row. The operation in the Business Aviation requires to overnight at those locations wherever the last flight of the day takes you to. Whereas the flights of many low cost airlines end at their home base, which equals basically to a 9 to 5 job. At this moment I would not be a fan of this kind of operation since one reason for me of becoming a pilot is to travel and get to know new places. 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 in a month you actually spend at home. A minimum of 8 days are granted by the aviation authority.

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.

Enjoying my off days! Here on top of Montserrat mountain in Catalonia, Spain

Pros and Cons of my pilot life:

PROS

  • Getting payed well to travel, to see new places and to fly airplanes
  • I leave work behind in the airplane and so I can use my off time at the fullest 
  • More than 3 days off in a row without taking leave (sometimes even 6 days)
  • Per diem are paid for every hour I am being away from home
  • I do my paper work during my work so I can enjoy my off days without distraction
  • Hotel gyms are free of use and I do not have a contract for a gym at home
  • I have more off days than a full time job (about 12 days)
  • Some passengers pay a tip to the crew for the flight and inflight service

CONS

  • Great flexibility expected and the schedule might change at last minute 
  • I only have either Christmas or New years off at home
  • For important events and appointments I have to take leave 
  • I can not attend classes or courses which take place on a regular basis
  • Irregular working hours and sometimes only little sleep during busy months
  • It is hard to keep a special diet while traveling 
  • Especially in the Business Aviation there is a lot of waiting time

Those are my subjective impressions about my life as a First officer and other pilots would definitely mention different aspects.

Ready for boarding the VIP passenger at the pole position in Olbia

As much as I enjoy being at home, after a couple of days at home my wanderlust kicks in and I want to go on a journey again. Striving for a position of a crew member you have to make sure that you have this desire as well. If not you might not be happy in the long term.

Which aspect would you do not like being a pilot? Comment below.

Please have a look on my aviation related Links, which may you find helpful!

Your Pilot Patrick

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