process of becoming a flight a captain

Moving to the left seat - Captain Upgrade Part 3

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Dear Aviator,

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

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The new Huawei P30 Pro

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What has happened so far?

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

Part 1: Written application and simulator assessment

Part 2: Upgrade to Commander ground course and simulator training

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

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Line training

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

Main objectives during this phase:

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

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last days wearing 3 stripes

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Paris Le Bourget airport

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Struggles on the first flight

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

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

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First flights from the left seat

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Final check

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

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

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

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What will change now?

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

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

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

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

 

 

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GIVE AWAY!

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Captain giveaway

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

To join the giveaway

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

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

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GIVE AWAY!

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3 easy steps to subscribe:

  • Save me as contact: +49 152 52651846
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  • Send me the code “Takeoff”

Safe travels and happy landings!

Your PilotPatrick

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should you become a pilot

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

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Dear Aviator,

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

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

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

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Would I become a pilot again?

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

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

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What would I have done differently?

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

Have a plan B

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

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Why you should NOT become a pilot?

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

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

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Is it a good time to become a pilot?

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

 

Outlook

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

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

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

3 easy steps to subscribe:

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

Safe travels and happy landings!

Your PilotPatrick

FOLLOW ME:

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how to become a captain

Moving to the left seat - Captain upgrade Part 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
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  • Send me the code “Takeoff”

Safe travels and happy landings!

Your PilotPatrick

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dream to become a pilot charity

Charity: my bracelet could make you become a pilot

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Cooperation - Advertisement

Hello my Aviator, 

I am really excited to reveal an idea which has been in the planning for a long time. It deals with financial support, the dream to fly and my very first Pilot Patrick accessory. In this blog post, I want to share my potential project with you and I am asking you about your opinion on it. It really is my matter of the heart!

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UPDATE: The #aviatorbracelet is now on sale here!

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Revealing my project

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Charity

A growing audience on social media means automatically more responsibility. People look up to you and you become some kind of role model for them. That means you have the power to share your opinion, advice, and ideals with a huge number of people. For me, it also means that you are responsible to engage in social affairs and be part of a charity project. I have thought for a long time which kind of project I could support, but in the end, I came up with a totally different idea.

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Support

The idea of this project arose from your ongoing support. I soon realized that you are interested in more than just cool photos on Instagram, so I started my blog. For two years now I am giving you insights of my pilot life and my travels around the world. I am also sharing my advice for your aviation career and how you can become a pilot.

It made me really sad to hear that many of you would like to become a pilot, but do not have the means to pay for the flight training. Times did not get easier! More and more airlines do not offer a sponsored cadet program anymore, so it became a popular to self-fund once training. The costs are immense. You minimum have to spend 70,000€ for a commercial pilot license. I was in the lucky position that my parents paid for my entire training 10 years ago.

Now I would like to support you in your dream to become a pilot.

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Take off thrust set

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Would you buy the Pilot Patrick bracelet for 30€?

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Project

I want to support one person to becoming a pilot. I not only want to be the mentor for this future aviator and help him to pass the flight school successfully. Additionally, I want to support this person financially maybe even pay for the full training.

But how will I be able to pay for that? 

I designed my very first Pilot Patrick bracelet. So far I only produced one single version. The unisex bracelet would be available in navy blue and pink. The strap is out of parachute material and the small aircraft with my logo is out of carbon.

I don't want to make money with it, but I want to use my reach to spread my project and to sell it to all my Aviators. The entire profit will go into the flight training. The person could be anybody and I would implement a selection process.

Watch my latest YouTube video to see me wearing the bracelet.

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UPDATE: The #aviatorbracelet is now on sale here!

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It is my matter of the heart. That way we can realize ones dream to become a pilot together. It now depends on you. This project is only possible with you and your feedback. What do you think about it and would you buy the Pilot Patrick bracelet for 30€? It would be available worldwide.

As always safe travels and happy landings!

Your Pilot Patrick

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pilot pros and cons of a dream job

Ten years being a pilot: Pros and cons of a dream job

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Hello my Aviator,

I am now working ten years in the aviation industry. Exactly one decade ago, I signed the contract with the flight school to become a commercial pilot. I take this anniversary as an occasion to recap my time as a first officer. Being a pilot is still a dream job for me. On my social media everything might look perfect, but this job also downsides, which I will reveal in this blog post.

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office above the clouds

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But let's start with the aspect which annoys me the most of being a pilot. Security checks. As a private jet pilot, I had the privilege to skip security controls at many destinations. But now I have to pass security every time without any exception.

At the airport the Paris security they treat pilots like a potential terrorist.

This is so ridiculous when you take in to account that all crew members have a valid background check. Recently they wanted to see my turmeric powder in my food bag. They checked it for liquids?! In front of the security staff, I had to taste the spice to proof this it is not an explosive. You can take it only with humor!

 

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Flight school

After I graduated high school I started right away preparing for the assessment to become a flight student for Lufthansa. I failed the first step of the selection process. One reason for that was my nervosity at that time.

Back then I was really sad about this but now I see it from a whole new perspective and I am actually happy that I failed the test.

I took the more difficult way to become a pilot. The flight training was self-funded, which made me put even more effort into it. I had to find a job after graduating. It was also tough to start my aviation career as a first officer on a Private Jet. The "Lufthansa way" would have been the easy way but would definitely not made the person and pilot I am today.

Pros: You have the time of your life with lots of studying and flying.

Cons: No job guarantee with a self-funded training. It is high risk to take of not getting a job.

 

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Airbus A300 prior departure

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Pilot Licence

It is not an easy and inexpensive path to obtain the license to fly commercial airplanes. But in the end, it is "only" a license and not an occupational education nor a degree. Health restrictions could cause that you are not able to fly, thus you can not pursue your profession. As a back up I got a loss of license. This insurance costs me 150€ a month and pays in case I am not able to fly anymore.

Cons: If you lose your medical you lose your license and you cannot fly anymore. In case you did not study you are left without any education.

Pros: You are in control of a powerful machine

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Job security

Aviation is a volatile business with great ups and downs. As an employee, you are dependent on the profitability of your airline. If an airline cannot cope with a crisis or suffers from bad management (airberlin) pilots are not needed anymore.

Cons: You are only needed as long there are flights and aircraft. This profession is highly specialized you can only fly aircraft and you are type rated on one special aircraft.

Pros: No office day is the same. You can enjoy the good reputation of being a pilot and you get paid to fly.

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Hamburg airport photo by Pando Hall

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Salary

The days of making a fortune as a pilot are over. A good availability of pilots on the market causes that working conditions and salary to drop. Especially as copilot, the current time is not easy. My net salary was around 2800€ when I started in 2010. Luckily, I did not have to pay for my flight training, because my parents took care of it. Imagine if have to pay back the costs of the license (70.000€) plus the type rating costs (20.000€) it would take ages and would not leave any money left to save.

Salary is not the same and highly depends on the company you work for. In the meantime, I earn as much as a captain does at my last employer. I paid back my costs for my type rating and I don't have any debts.

Pros: The captain salary enables you to have a good life. Some of the perks your salary are tax-free, which increases your net salary significantly.

Cons: Pilot salaries differ greatly. Even "Pay to fly models" exist where pilots have to pay the airline to fly. You have to invest a lot and work hard to boost your income.

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Mid air selfie

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Social life and free time

Do you have a social life? I have been getting asked this question many times. Of course, I do like everyone else.

But it requires good organization and planning to see friends and family.

I often have free time during the week when the majority has to work and has no time. But one part what I like most about my job, I do not take work home with me.

Pros: I have more than ten off days in a month. (German law requires a minimum of eight) Sometimes it is even half of the month that I am not flying. Between duty days I can at least enjoy four off days in a row without taking leave. In which kind of job do you have this?

Cons: You are not home. About half of the month I am not at home, so I can not attend all family and friends events. It is not possible to attend weekly courses (like a language course)

Watch my YouTube video about my off days at home in Berlin. Please subscribe.

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Layovers

The past 10 years I have been to hundreds of different locations in Europe, North Africa and Russia. As a private jet and as an airline pilot I am having layovers outside of my home base. The time I get to spend at one destination ranges from minimum rest (10 hours) up to two days. As a private jet pilot, the destinations were varying all the time and I really liked that I got to choose the crew hotel myself. You can imagine that I did not stay in the worst place. ;)

Pros: I have a fixed flight schedule and I know how much time I have at one destination. I can really use my rest time to do activities.

Cons: The network is limited so I get to stay in the same destination more often. A good example for this is Sevilla. It is almost my second home. After a while, this can become less exciting.

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Layover in Sevilla photo by Rocío

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Working hours

The pilot profession has probably the most irregular working hours. Aviation does not know weekends or public holidays. Some days you only have one flight the other day maybe three flights and instead of four hours duty 11 hours. Fortunately, I do not have to cope with jet lag, since I am flying within Europe. As a private jet pilot, I mostly flew during the day since VIPs do not like to get up early. But now I am flying also at night, which is a lot of stress for your body and you have to fight against fatigue.

Pros: I like the irregular working hours. I do not have to get up at the same time every day. Some flying days are long some are short. The work remains on board and when I have off I have off.

Cons: Due to the irregular working hours I have to take good care of my body. That is why I have a healthy diet and do regular body exercises to stay fit.

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Flying from sunrise to sunset

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Crew life

Becoming a pilot means you become part of a big family. Crews all share the same passion and a safe flight requires the crew to work in a team in a small environment. I think that is why you won't find this energy and enthusiasm in other jobs. Crews take care of each other and support each other. The well being of each crew member ensures the safety of each flight.

Pros: Colleagues can become friends. To share the flight experience and to spend the layover together is double the fun.

Cons: During work, I am not staying at a nice location with my beloved once. It still remains work. Every crew member has their own daily routine so it happens that you only spend time together in the cockpit and the rest of the time everyone does their own thing.

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Upgrade

I recently completed a total of 3000 flight hours. One aspect I really love about my job is that you are constantly learning and improving your skills. Aviation requires you to be up to date about new procedures and regulations. Even after flying an aircraft for thousands of hours you will find out something new about it.

With the first day of your first officer career, you start your training to become a captain one day.

Before I left the business aviation one and a half years ago, my former employer told me that I will become a captain in one year. Switching companies implied that I have to build up my seniority again. I fulfilled the requirement of 1500 flight hours to become a captain, but I still require flight hours within the new company. It also depends on their demand. Earliest time for me to become a captain is in about 1,5 years.

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!

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What would I have done differently?

I would have done everything exactly the same, except one point. Before starting with the flight training I would have studied to get a degree or at least study in parallel to the flight school. I am trying to study business administration alongside with the job and my social media, but currently, there is no time left for that.

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As a pilot, I am experiencing so many of awe-inspiring moments that I am left with no choice but to fly! This dream jobs also has downsides. But which job doesn't? The pros are vastly superior otherwise I would not continue to fly.

Which downside would you like the least?

Please subscribe to my newsletter with your email below and become an Aviator on my YouTube channel as well.

Happy landings!

Your Pilot Patrick

Follow me:

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reason why I became a pilot

My reasons why I became a pilot - still a dream job

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Hello my Aviator, one of my first article on my blog was about the "reason why I fly". I thought it is time to give you a more extensive update. Of course, when I started as flight student I could only imagine how the job of a pilot would be. At the beginning it was my fascination and passion which strove me to become a pilot. Therefore the reasons I am listing here rather tell you why you should become a pilot.

Unfortunately, the economy gives a lot of reasons why you should not become a pilot. But like in every branch there are ups and downs. But it is for sure that air travel will expand. According to Boeing, there is a requirement of 617,000 pilots in the next 20 years. The glory days of flying are not over yet. It just has changed a lot over the decades. In my opinion, it is still the best job in the world and there are many great reasons why you should become a pilot.

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Avporn and cloudporn in London ;)

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The view

You are leaving the hotel and it is grey and rainy weather outside. Don’t worry! An hour later you will be up in the air wearing your sunglasses because the sunlight just became too bright. One of the few jobs where you can wear sunglasses 365 days a year.

"An office with a view beats a desk job any day!"

It is still spectacular to see the world from above even after seven years of flying. The beautiful views from the cockpit during sunset and sunrise are priceless. When flying I sometimes get the impression that I am alone in the world since you are so far away from the happening on the ground. Especially during night flying when everything is black outside except the moon and stars shine really bright. I really like this feeling of de-connection to the rest of the world.

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Office view - the world from 12,000 km

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Faszination

Aviation is fascinating. Already as a small boy, I was attracted by airplanes and I figured that it is probably a lot of fun to fly. Yes of course it is. Getting behind the controls of a huge machine which weighs several tons is an amazing feeling. Especially when you push the thrust levers forward and the moment you take off is a blast. It is always a sense of accomplishment when you land safely after each flight knowing that you were behind the controls of a powerful machine.

"It is contagious!"

Have you listened to a conversion between pilots? They always have to tell a story about places they flew to and other things that happened to them. It is really contagious. When I meet up with my friends from flight school the first couple of hours is only about flying.

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From a private jet to this big bird - Airbus A300

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Flight training

When I finished high school with the age of 19 I did not have the big desire to go to college and continue studying for years. I rather wanted to get into a job as quick as possible and earn money myself to be independent. With the financial back of my parents, I followed my passion of flying. After finishing my civilian year I already started with flight training.

The next two years were a big adventure. Even though the training was not easy and I had to face a lot of challenges they turned out to be the best ones of my entire pilot career. To be with a crew of other flight students who had the same goals was motivating. We always supported in every way. During the training, you knew that the effort will pay off in the end with a seat in the cockpit whereas studying a degree is not necessarily linked to a certain job. If you are interested in my full story of how I became a pilot start with part one of my series.

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Returning from my first solo flight in 2008

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Knowledge

Flying makes you smarter. The knowledge you gain as a pilot you can impose on your everyday life. You will become an expert in planning, staying organized and a good decision maker.

Aviation requires you to be up to date about new procedures and regulations. Even after flying an aircraft for thousands of hours you will find out something new about it. The adrenaline rush at the beginning of your career gets less and so does the nervosity. Actions become automated but flying to new places, flying new approaches and even learning a new type of aircraft makes this job so diverse.

I had to face a new challenge when learning a new aircraft type at the beginning of this year. I was busy several months with training in the simulator. This was a great occasion to improve my skills and knowledge.

 

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Office with a view shot with a GoPro Hero 4

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Great crew

Becoming a pilot means you become part of a big family. As a new pilot, you will be supported by the more experienced colleagues and they will never make you give up.  Every pilot is unique in his own way but all share the same passion. The past seven years I flew with lots of different captains and you will learn from every single one.

"You will have a hard time to fin this energy and enthusiasm in other jobs!"

Rarely you will find a colleague using formal appellation even if he is your superior. In my opinion, this would be hindering a good resource management and would impair communication and safety.  Since this industry is actually quite small everyone is somehow connected with each other. Especially in the business aviation in Germany, I had the impression that everyone knows each other.  

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At the beautiful airport of Oslo

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You are probably wondering why I did not mention the travel aspect for example.  This should not primarily be the reason why you want to become a commercial pilot. With some companies, you only operate from and to your home base and do not get stay overnight.

As a private jet pilot, I did mostly sleep at a different location every day. But this did not mean automatically that I had always had time for sightseeing and to spend a mini vacation.  It was quite the opposite most of the times. In this case, you really don't care about the location you just want to get sleep. Luckily this was not always like that. I had so many nice rotations where I had time to discover new cities, relax at the beach and meet friends. This is a really nice side affect of the job. They are aspects why you shouldn’t become a pilot for. I will address them in a different blog article soon.

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As a pilot, you will experience so many of awe-inspiring moments that you are left with no choice but to fly! 

What makes aviation for you so fascinating? Please comment below!

Always safe travels and happy landings!

Your Pilot Patrick

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preparing pilot interview

Preparing for your job interview + 10 important advices

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Happy Easter my Aviator,

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

My experiences

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

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

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Example pilot assessment

Stage 1

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

Stage 2

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

Stage 3

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

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

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My 10 advices for your job interview and assessment:

1) Appearance

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

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Hello from Oslo

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2) Behaviour

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

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

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

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3) Know the company

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

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4) Know yourself

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

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

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

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5) Be yourself

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

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A300 engines in EGGW (London Luton)

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6) ATPL knowledge

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

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7) Practise

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

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8) English skills

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

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9) Film yourself

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

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Book suggestions to prepare for your interview

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10) Have questions

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

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

Book suggestions:

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

Good luck!

Your Pilot Patrick

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

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methods how to save money

Simple methods how to save money for your career

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Hello my Aviator,

if you are considering a certain career, but struggling with the cost for the school or training, my friend and entrepreneur Fabian Fröhlich has some valuable advices for you. Especially the costs for flight training can be significantly high. That is why I received a lot of messages from individuals asking me how to save money and to make it possible to become a pilot.

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Flight training can cost anywhere between 60,000€ and 100,000€+. In order to cover these training costs, many pilots will take out substantial loans with high repayments. I was lucky that my parents paid my entire training costs. This definitely took a lot off pressure during my job search. But unfortunately not every family as the finical means to support their children. But there means how to fulfill the dream of flying when struggling with the financial backup.

Methods how to save money

Since Fabian always has great ideas concerning savings and investment I asked him to support me with this blog post. At the end he turned up with some great tips how to make 70.000€  (the sum I paid for my flight training). For those who do not know Fabian yet, he is a young and successful entrepreneur, investor and lifestyle designer from South of Germany. Fabian is not a pilot and does not know the business, but the basic path is always the same.

You have to work hard, stay humble and be grateful.

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Fabian Fröhlich

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How fast can I make 70.000€?

Fabian: „It won’t be able to accomplished it within a month, but it is possible. Maybe you are still a student who attends school and you have already the dream of becoming a pilot. In this situation you can already save up an incredible amount of money while still going to school. It won’t be easy, but if you really want it, it is going to be simple.

What strategy to you suggest?

I structured the my advices into five categories. 

  1. Keep your costs low
  2. Earn money
  3. Connect, so the thinks you want will be cheaper
  4. Get rid of expensive things 
  5. Let your money work for you

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Keep your costs low

  • Live at home as long as possible
  • Eat as basic as possible, that is usually the cheapest and healthiest
    • Oats (protein and carbs)
    • Vegetables and fruits that are on discount (vitamins)
    • Tuna (protein)
    • Lentils (protein and slow carbs)
    • Peanuts (protein and fat)
  • Use public transportation, a bike or your feet and not your car to make it from A to B (especially short distances)

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Earn money

  • Make yourself a Fiverr account and translate from your native language to English. As a side effect you improve your English skills which are important for your future career. 
  • Work at your local gym. Besides earning some money,  you can usually train for free and stay fit. 
  • Work at the local airfield - any job, any wage. That will teach you a lot about aircraft and the vibes on the airfield. Maybe you can work for a flight school who offers you a discount on flight hours.
  • When you drive from A to B find offer your route online so people can travel with you and pay for the journey. In Europe the App Bla Bla Car connects passenger with a driver. 
  • Become the tenant and manager of a housing community. Rent a large apartment and provide space to others. People will pay for your residence. (the rate per square meter of a small room is much higher than for the whole apartment)
  • Sell things online you don't really need.

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Connect

  • Talk to to people at the local airfield or basically every airfield you can visit. Maybe they will let you join and fly with them for free in a small aircraft.
  • Create your own Instagram/YouTube/Facebook account and tell your story of the dream you chase. Deliver value to your community and maybe monetize your story.
  • Visit flight exhibitions and career shows. Talk to different companies and try to connect to people in the same industry. These people will teach you great things

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Save and earn money when working in the gym

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Get rid of expensive things

  • Quit Amazon Prime, Netflix, Spotify (any of these streaming services) Instead use the time you wasted with them, chasing your dreams
  • Quit your expensive mobile contract. Compare prices and go for a basic one.
  • Quit your gym membership. See Make money
  • Sell your car if you don’t really need it. Imagine how much you can save only with insurance and the maintenance.
  • Check your insurances and regularly compare prices online. Check if you really need this insurance.

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Let your money work for you 

  • Look for the bank that pays the highest interests.  Even 0.5% can sum up pretty nicely over the period of 5 years. 
  • Put the money that  you don't need at the moment in a fixed-term deposit account (interests rates are higher)

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I hope that I could deliver value to you with my advices. Some are easier and some are harder to realize. But it depends on your level of commitment and obsession towards becoming a pilot. As I said, if you really want it, it is going to be simple.  

Thanks Fabian for your valuable advices and your motivating words. Lately I found out that there are plenty organisations which offer a wide variety of bursaries. They award recipients with the opportunity of valuable flying hours and sometimes sponsor of a full PPL. In the UK those organisations are: The Honourable Company of Air Pilots, the Air League and the RAF Association. Google "flying sponsorship". Maybe there are companies in your country as well, who support cadet pilots. 

Full throttle forward you can make it!

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Follow Fabian:

What is your dream job? Please comment below the article.

Positive mind. Positive life. Happy landings.

Your Pilot Patrick

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my way into the cockpit

My way into the cockpit + My 10 application tips

The blog posts of how I became a pilot have become to one of your favorite ones. So far I have published four parts in this series and yet there is more to come. In this blog post, I want to move up to one step further. I received a lot of questions asking me how I managed my way into the cockpit. I am going to explain exactly that and additionally, I want to give some general tips when applying for your dream job.

In Dublin with the beautiful business jet Citation XLS+

My way into the cockpit

In the end of 2009, I graduated from flight school. The training at Intercockpit was independent of any airline so I was able to apply at any company I wanted to. Unfortunately, the market situation at this moment was not the best. There were some jobs on the market Germanwings and Lufthansa City Line were searching for first officers at this moment. Those jobs were highly embattled. But for a good reason, I did not have the big desire to work for the Lufthansa group.

Unlike to my fellow flight student, I still was pretty much open to fly either for a big carrier or a small business jet company. But I felt that I was more willing to fly a private jet and to experience this kind of operation. I did not want to be the kind of pilot who does not have any layovers and returns to his home base every night. Moreover, I desired to be away from home to discover new places and new cultures.

Application

I applied at many airlines throughout Europe. Most applications to german operators I send as hard copy in a nice application folder. But the majority I send per email or filled out online which is the standard procedure. I found out that more than 50% did not send any feedback and that most airlines required flight experience on a certain type of aircraft. That became quite frustrating after around 40 applications. After a couple of months finishing flight school, I became impatient, because I wanted to be in the air and not on the ground waiting. In November 2009 I received my CPL(A) license by the authority, but the Muli Engine Instrument rating would already expire in July 2010 again. This rating is required for job applications and would cost around 1.000,-€ to revalidate.

pilot patrick in new first officer uniform in berlin
My new uniform for the career on the A300-600

I thought about doing something else besides writing applications. Unfortunately, I did not know anyone in the aviation branch, who could support me getting a job. So my idea was to get to know somebody who could help me. That is why I visited the aviation fair "Aero" in Friedrichshafen in April 2010. This fair is specialized on general aviation with numerous business jet companies attending. It was the best decision to go since I found my job that way. On a small booth, I got to know my former employer. Then things started to happen very fast.

I was invited to an interview in Berlin and a second time to do some kind of screening on a Cessna 172. The idea behind this was to show my practical flying skills. Everything went well in order to begin my type rating on the Citation XLS in the beginning of July 2010. The only down point was that I had to fund my type rating myself. The costs were around 20.000,-€. Fortunately, the german authority for employment sponsored 50% of the costs. I was lucky to be at the right spot at the right time.

Seven years ago during my first rotation on the Citation XLS in Nice, France

It has become quite common that pilots have to compensate for their type rating in the beginning of their career in the cockpit. In the end, it took me eight months to find a job. This was quite fast considering that 1/3 of my fellow student pilots are not in a First Officer position until now.

Backup plan

It is always useful to have a backup plan. Mine was to go study to the university of applied sciences in Bremen. I was already accepted as a student to start in the winter semester of 2010. I would have done a bachelor in aviation management and system knowledge. Then everything changed with the job commitment.

Links I used in the past to find job offers:
latest pilots job
carrer. aero
pilotjobsnetwork.com

My 10 application tips 

Over the years I gained many experiences writing applications to numerous companies. I am definitely not an expert, but the following tips are useful for any dream job you are longing for.

  • Contact Person: Find out the person, who receives and reads your application. This name should be stated in the cover letter. A direct appellation is better than 'Dear Ladies and Gentlemen'.  To find out the name give them a call and ask. You might even have the chance to talk to the person in charge. In this case, you can assign to this phone call in your cover letter. This gives the application a personal touch.
  • Requirements: Always check you if you meet the requirements of the job offer. If you have any doubts drop a line via email or give them a call.
  • Paper or digital: Check which form the employer prefers. Nowadays most companies prefer the digital form via email.
  • File format: The file format is of uttermost importance. This can already decide if the human resources department prints out your application and if they are even able to read it. I recommend sending your documents as PDF in one single file. Check that the file size is appropriate. Not more than 10 MB.
  • Photo: Use a clear, friendly and professional portrait for your application. It is worth the money to go to a photographer to get a nice shot. Wear clothing which suits your further job. I recommend attaching a full body photo if you have a lot of personal contact with customers.
first officer application tips
Application of 2013. Example of my cover page with my hard facts at the bottom
  • Appearance: The design and the formatting of your application are really important. Use the same font and a common layout throughout the application. Make it special through a design that sticks out. Use the colors of the company and try work with their motto.
  • Cover letter: Keep it short, precise and interesting. You should surprise your reader and you should try to arouse his curiosity, so he is willing to continue to read your application. Remember you are not the only applicant and there is only a little time available to read yours.  Use correct grammar and spelling!
  • Hard facts: Consider writing your hard facts on a cover page with your portrait photo. Mention five to seven facts about which really speak for you. (see picture above)
  • Call: If you have not received any feedback within 7 working days, I would call and ask for it. This shows that you are really interested in that position.
  • Be patient: Sometimes it requires a lot of effort and time to find your dream job. Do not get frustrated when you receive many denials in a row. Always believe in yourself and do not give up!

A dream is like a private jet! It only waits for you!

It is the combination of a good application, perfect timing and a little bit of luck to get your dream job. For all future aviators, I have 10 tips for you when you consider attending a flight school.

Happy landings and good luck!

Your Pilot Patrick

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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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