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

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breitling roadshow

Breitling roadshow event in Munich

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Cooperation / Advertisement

Hello my Aviator,

this week I spent one night in beautiful Munich. I was delighted to be a guest at the Breitling roadshow event. Find out more about Breitling's connection to aviation, the luxurious hotel I stayed at and meet my new luxurious accessory for my flights. In a YouTube (@pilotpatrick) video, I wrapped up the entire trip as well.

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At Sophia's bar at The Charles Hotel Munich

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Breitling roadshow

Breitling, an innovative Swiss watch manufacturer, invited me to their roadshow event in Munich to celebrate their new collection of the Navitimer 8 and the new CEO, Georges Kern. Over 150 guests of economy, culture, entertainment, sports, media and me followed the invitation. It was the German event of the international tour of Breitling which started in January in Shanghai and will continue in New York.

I enjoyed a flying buffet while meeting interesting people. I had conversations with business people and TV stars. An exhibition and a short movie revealed the history of Breitling and it was like a step back in time to see their vintage models. The display puts emphasis on the design, innovation and pioneering achievement of the brand.

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On the red carpet

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New CEO of Breitling Georges Kern on stage

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Breitling and aviation

Breitling was founded in 1884 by Léon Breitling in Saint-Imier. Breitling is known for precision-made chronometers useful to aviators. The brand is used to the world leading manufacturer of precision timepieces in the cockpit. They provided the U.S. government and many major aircraft and airlines with their products.

In May 1962 a Navitimer flew into space. The NASA astronaut Scott Carpenter wore the Cosmonaute with a 24-hour display on board of the Capsule Aurora 7.

Breitling sponsors aeronautical endeavors, including the first circumnavigation of the globe by balloon (Breitling Orbiter), the fixed-wing jetpack flights and aerobatics teams including the Breitling Jet Team and Breitling Wingwalkers. I hope I will have the chance to be on board of a flight of the Breitling jet team some day.

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The new Navitimer 08

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Discovering the history of Breitling

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My new watch

It is a dream come true. Breitling provided me with a Navitimer 01. It is the iconic pilot watch. It was invented in 1952 as a functional watch. In the early stages of aviation, slide rulers were used on board to calculate fuel consumption, drift angle, ground speed and so on. During flight training, we were taught how to use this ruler. Nowadays electronic board instruments and modern computers take care of the calculations.

Breitling was able to integrate the mandatory slide ruler into a wristband. The name of the watch is a combination of navigation and time. Over the years its design has been updated several times. The watch mechanism has developed as well. Since 2011 the watch mechanism is an in-house developed chronograph caliber 01 in 2009.

The watch is a legend and that is why I was excited to wear the Navitimer at their roadshow event in Munich. Now I cannot wait to take it on my next flights.

The model I am wearing is a Navtimer 01 in the size 46 mm. The case is of steel. Strap and the clock dial are in black.

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In the city with my new Navitimer 01

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The Charles Hotel Munich

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Warm welcome at The Charles Hotel Munich

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My hotel in Munich

As a pilot, I stay in many different hotels mainly in Europe. But usually, they are not as luxurious and comfortable as the hotel I stayed in Munich. The Charles Hotel in the heart of the city was booked by Breitling for me. It is one of the best hotels in Munich and their standard rooms are already spacious and comfortable. The five-star hotel of Rocco Forte hotel kindly upgraded me to an Executive Suite. The elegant suite was located on the 7th floor offering fantastic views of Munich. For a warm welcome, I received a treat with Pilot Patrick written on it. Even though I stayed only for one night I managed to visit the modern spa with a huge indoor pool and a well-equipped gym.

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My Executive Suite

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Indoor pool at The Charles Hotel

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I had a busy schedule in Munich, but I still enjoyed it a lot. I even managed to do two photo shootings. With Max, I was shooting my evening outfit. With Alex, an Aviator I meet during a meet and greet last year, studies law and likes to take photos during his free time. Both results were fantastic and you can see their work in this blog post. The YouTube video was created in cooperation with the company Media Bottle.

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Winter wonderland Munich

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https://youtu.be/VubDZTtWW8w

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Don't miss to subscribe to my YouTube channel: PilotPatrick

Safe travels and happy landings!

Your Pilot Patrick

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revolutionary shaving

Revolutionary shaving takes you up in the air

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Cooperation/ advertisement

Hello my Aviator,

last Month I presented to you my new razor of EvoShave. The video has done so well that we want to thank you in a very special way. Together with EvoShave I am giving away a helicopter flight over Berlin with me on board. Find out below how you qualify for the flight and what the flight experience includes.

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How can you join the contest?

  1. Like and comment my current post on Instagram.
  2. Go to your next Rossmann and buy your favorite EvoShave
  3. Take a photo of your EvoShaver and the receipt of Rossmann.
  4. Publish the photo on your Instagram and tag #evoshave and #pilotpatrick (In case you don’t have a public profile you can send an email to evoshave@pilotpatrick.com)

The contest runs until the 3rd of March 2018. Der winner will be picked according to the random principle by EvoShave and me.

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Post a photo with you, your favorite EvoShave and the receipt.

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What can you win?

You can win a 20 minute sightseeing helicopter flight over Berlin: Together with me on board, we will be seeing attractions like the TV Tower, Checkpoint Charlie, Potsdamer Platz and Olympiastadium from above.

Please visit the German version of my blog, to find out further details of the prize.

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Good luck and I am looking forward to our sightseeing flight!

Happy landings!

Dein PilotPatrick

Follow me: 

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Best business class

Best Business Class in the world

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Cooperation - Advertisement

Hello my Aviator, it is a very long flight down to Cape Town in South Africa. I had the chance to travel in the best Business Class in the world. Even though I was not the pilot, I was really excited to go on that flight. In this blog post, I share my flight experience, give you tips when booking tickets and you can win a high-quality pajama of Mey bodywear. 

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Boeing B777 in Cape Town (CPT)

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How can I afford to fly Business class?

Most commonly it is believed that all crew and airline staff can fly for free or really cheap fares. For me, it is not the case. I have to pay full price for all my flight tickets. On long-haul flights over 8 hours, I try to book Business Class tickets. Of course, it is not cheap. For this round trip, I paid 2200€. This is a lot of money and about three times the price of an Economy ticket. I was pretty much open to fly with any airline, but Qatar Airways was for my travel dates almost 50% less expansive than other airlines. I do not fly long haul very often. That is why I invest in the comfort. Especially when going on vacation.

Tip: Compare prices and adjust travel dates. This way you may be able to save significantly. Sometimes a different airport of departure can help to save as well. Join a loyalty program and collect miles. This way I was able to fly First Class for less than 500€ last year.

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Rimowa Classic flight Cabin trolley

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Cheers - Excited for my first flight with Qatar Airways

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How did I do the booking?

I book all my flight tickets direct via the website of the airline. This gives me an extra feeling that the reservation went through and is confirmed. Additionally, I can manage my booking like changing seats and ordering special meals online. Qatar Airways offers the great advantage to reserve the current fare for up to 72 hours. This costs a fee but in my case, this investment was well worth it. I still had to wait for the approval of my leave. When I finalized the booking the fare increased by over 1000€, but I still only paid the old price.

My tip: In general fares are cheaper when you book well in advance. But it is still common that prices may go down just prior to departure. Reasons for that may be low booking numbers or special deals. I suggest subscribing to the newsletter of your favorite airlines so you do not miss any special discounts.

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Business Class Cabin Boeing B777

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Layover at Doha Airport

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The Best Business Class in the world

Qatar Airways is the World’s Best Airline at the SKYTRAX 2017 World Airline Awards. Referred to as the “Oscars of the aviation industry”, which is voted by travelers across the world in an annual passenger survey. Furthermore, Qatar Airways won an award for the World’s Best Business Class.

That is why I was really excited to fly with Qatar Airways for the first time. My expectations were high. Especially when flying in their premium product.

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Breakfast in the sky

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Sky of central Africa

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The flight experience

I flew from Berlin Tegel via Doha to Cape Town. In total, I was about 16 hours in the sky for each direction. On all four legs, it was a Boeing B777-300. The aircraft are fitted with a 2 class configuration with the premium class up front. The Business Class consist of only 24 seats making the cabin really quiet. It is a 2-2-2 seating configuration.

The seat

Unfortunately, it was still the "old" Business Class seat on all flights. Qatar Airways recently introduced the Qsuite, which they call first in business. I really hoped that I will have the chance to test their new product.

Their "old" seat can keep up with any other Business Class seat. The extra-wide seats convert to a fully flat bed with enough space for your shoulders and feet. The rows are so far apart that they ensure privacy, space, and storage. Seats also have a massage setting and fully adjustable armrests, with precision controls to create the position that is right for you.

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Flying in a Mey pyjama

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City Center of Doha on departure

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Business Class catering

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Entertainment and service

The entertainment program seems endless. Food can be ordered whenever you want. The catering was all right. The excellent service made up for it. Especially the return flight was a lot of fun because the purser (head of the cabin) recognized me from my social media channels. Together with the crew, I did a boomerang for my Instagram story.

Tip: Stop in the amazing Business Class lounge in Doha. I had a layover of more than 7 hours at the airport. I went for dinner, took a shower and rested in private quite rooms. On board, I enjoyed row 2 the most. This row had no missing window, was not in the bulkhead and the full storage was available.

 

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Doha Business Class lounge

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Was it worth it?

Totally! My vacation already started on board and I arrived well rested at my destination. It is always hard to say goodbye to a great vacation. But knowing that I will be flying back comfortably, I am actually looking forward to my return flight.

Two years ago I flew to Cape Town in Lufthansa's Business Class. I paid about the same price for this flight.  The connection via Munich airport was a lot quicker, but the flight with Qatar Airways was a whole different experience.

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Thanks for the amazing flight with you

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Give Away

On both flights, I was flying through the night. MEY, a well known German fashion brand for day- and nightwear, provided me with a comfortable pyjama. I am already a big fan of their undershirts which I wear underneath my uniform. But now I love to sleep in their pyjamas as well. You can win one fancy MEY pyjama in my favorite color blue worth 120€. Additionally, I will send you an amenity kit with a personal note.

 

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Giveaway!

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The lucky winner is Jens!

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Here are the steps to join the contest:

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

I will randomly pick a winner on the 28th of February 2018.

Happy landings and good luck!

Your PilotPatrick

Follow me: 

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vacation in cape town

Vacation in South Africa - My stay in Cape Town

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Hello my Aviator, I spent the first two weeks of the new year in South Africa. A country I have fallen in love with after my first stay two years ago. It was fantastic to escape winter in Germany and to enjoy summertime in South Africa. In this blog post, I take you on my journey and I will recap my vacation in Cape Town with you. In case you are planning to visit this amazing place I have some great tips for you. 

 

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Vacation in Cape Town - why again?

I have been to Cape Town already two years ago and I could have visited a new place on my bucket list, but I just could not resist. I enjoyed my first time down there so much that I wanted to come back as quick as possible. Additionally, lots of friends of mine were in Cape Town as well.

I am not a big fan of the cold season. That is why I like to escape winter. Sout Africa is the ideal destination since it lays in the southern hemisphere which means it is summer at that time. Flying in from Europe has the big advantage of omitting a jet lag.

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Magical sunsets in Camps Bay

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Not only the landscape itself is beautiful but also their people. They are super friendly and I really like the relaxed atmosphere they embody.  As you know I am a foodie pilot and I am really picky when it comes to food. South Africa offers amazing cuisines for everyone's taste for reasonable prices.

From this stay, I have learned to avoid the peak season End of December/ beginning of January. It is difficult to get reservations in restaurant and hotel availability is low in combination with high rates. March, which is still summer, is supposed to be a good month to visit.

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Beachwear by Mey

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Clifton Beaches Cape Town

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Where did I sleep?

On vacation, I usually stay at hotels, because it is convenient and more comfortable. But this time I searched for an alternative since hotel room availability was already low and the rates high. That is why I booked an apartment on Airbnb.

The first week I stayed at a beautiful apartment in Greenpoint. I really enjoyed the modern place with two bedrooms and a huge balcony. The location was great because all hotspots were in close proximity.

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Lovely apartment in Greenpoint

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After my little road trip (blog post soon), I stayed the last four days in Cape Town at another place in Waterkant. It was a townhouse with four stories, an atrium with a tree inside and a rooftop with a plunge pool. The bedrooms and the living room offered amazing sea views. A truly exceptional unique place to live in.

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Townhouse from the outside

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Rooftop terrace with pool

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Luxury Airbnb in Waterkant

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Where did I eat?

Food is tasty in Cape Town. It is hard to find a place, which does not offer delicious meals. I tried several healthy eating options from the App "Happy Cow". Here is a list of all the places I went to:

Oranjezicht city farm:  A market every Saturday located close the V&A Waterfront, all kinds of vendors selling groceries, also a good place for breakfast and lunch

V&A Waterfront Food market: all kinds of little shops and cafés, a lot of healthy options

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Oranjezicht market Cape Town

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Nu healthy food cafe: several outlets in different parts of town, smoothies, bowls, wraps, great for breakfast and lunch

Raw and Roxy: new place in town which only serves raw food, try the sushi and the ice tea

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Breakfast at Nu healthy food cafe

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Gold restaurant: touristic place, but worth visit, an extensive African menu is served which is accompanied by a show of drummers and dancers

Hussar Grill Camps Bay: for all meat lovers

Asoka: trendy place with live DJ, good for cocktails and dinner, small menu, but food on the point

Kloof street house: trendy and busy place, good for cocktails and dinner

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Gold restaurant with show

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What did I do on NYE?

I flew into Cape Town on the 31st of December without a fixed plan for the evening. Unfortunately, the weather was cloudy and sometimes even rainy. So I did not go to the beach party which was recommended to me. Instead, I was invited by German friends to celebrate NYE in a penthouse. The fireworks were really cute when I compare it to the craziness in Berlin. So it was a rather relaxed evening, but still with a lot of Champagne and good company.

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My first radio interview - Thanks Eloise for the invitation

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What fun activities did I do?

Cape Town is a fantastic place to spend a vacation. Besides a beautiful scenery, friendly people, good food and nice beaches, there are many fun activities you should not miss out.

A helicopter flight

I love going on helicopter flights. Even though I am used to flying, taking off vertically always gives me goosebumps. HelicoptersCapetown offers all kinds of different tours. I did the oceans flight which takes you around table mountain. The views are just spectacular.

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Helicopterscapetown.com

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Paragliding

For the first time ever I went tandem paragliding. It is was an unforgettable flight taking off from Signal Hill and landing in at the promenade in Sea Point. Carlos my pilot from Icarusparagliding called the flight a ride on a magic carpet. Flying without an engine and just the noise of the wind is a feeling I haven't experienced before. Over the water, we flew some awesome maneuvers which felt like a rollercoaster ride. Watch the 360° degrees video of the flight.

https://www.facebook.com/pilotpatrick/videos/1677430235655899/

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Lions Head

I am not a big fan of hiking, but the way up and down on Lions Head is a lot of fun. It takes about an hour to get up and you need to climb up ladders and chains. In the end, you will be rewarded with spectacular views.

 

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On top of Lions head

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On top of  Table Mountain

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Table mountain

A must is Table Mountain. This time I hiked up table mountain from the back side. The Skeleton Gorge starts in the beautiful Kirstenbosch potential garden. The way up is quite challenging. On top of table mountain, the hike continued along dams and beautiful vegetation. Two years ago I went up table mountain using the Platteklip Gorge. This route starts past the cable car station in Cape Town and is quite steep, but offers amazing views

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Skeleton Gorge up to the top

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Dam on top of table mountain

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Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden

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Constantia Valley

Nestled beneath the National Table Mountain park lays the valley of Constantia. Only a 25 minutes drive from Cape Town city center you indulge idyllic lifestyle in a picture-perfect landscape. The Constantia Wine Route is the oldest one in the southern hemisphere, and Beau Constantia is one of the 9 farms to call the Valley home. Besides exceptional wines, its restaurant, called Chefs Warehouse, is the 4th best restaurant in the country.

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Lunch at the Chefs Warehouse

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Wine estate Beau Constantia

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Beau Constantia oldest winery southern hemisphere

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Do you need a guide?

I am so happy that Jared reached out to me when I asked for recommendations in South Africa. He is a writer, influencer and tour guide, who calls beautiful Cape Town his home. He not only gave me helpful tips before I started my journey, but he also took me to hidden gems during my stay in Cape Town. Follow him on Instagram (@jaredincpt) and visit his blog: www.jaredincpt.com.

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Bokaap colorful houses

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I hope you enjoyed the time with me in Cape Town! Unfortunately, the Western Cape is suffering from a water crisis. As it appears right now they will run out of water soon. So please save as much as you can when you are in Cape Town.

On my bucket list:

  1. Brazil
  2. Iceland
  3. Bali

Please comment below with your top 3 destinations on your bucket list and subscribe to my newsletter with your email.

Happy landings and safe travels!

Your PilotPatrick

Follow me:

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seasonal greetings

Seasonal greetings and my outlook for 2018

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Cooperation - Advertisement

Merry Christmas my Aviator,

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

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

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

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airline pilot versus private jet pilot

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Airbus A300

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Meet and Greet

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

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

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Meet and Greet in Barcelona

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Videos

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

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Please subscribe to my Youtube channel

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Viral post "mid-air selfie"

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

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Best selfie of 2017?

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Thanks my Aviator

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

 

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Aviator watch by Hamilton Watch

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Christmas give away

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

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

To have the chance to win simply have to:

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

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

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Christmas give away

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Merry Christmas and good luck!

Positive mind, positive life and happy landings for 2018!

Your Pilot Patrick

Follow me!

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Ideas worth spreading - TEDxFrankfurt

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Advertisement - Cooperation

Hello my Aviator,

the time is now! We all have the same amount of time — 24 hours a day and yet most of us have the impression that time flies. Especially for the things we really want to we do not have enough time. But isn't it about time to challenge ourselves and make a change? Last Sunday I attended the TEDxFrankfurt event at the Frankfurt Marriott Hotel to find out what the speakers do with their time and how they make a difference. In this blog post, I will share my experience of this inspirational weekend. 

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On top of Frankfurt

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TED - ideas worth spreading

Maybe you have already heard about TED before? TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. Started out (in 1984) as a four-day conference bringing together people from three areas: Technology, Entertainment, Design. TED has grown to support those world-changing ideas with multiple initiatives, like the TEDx program. At TED, the world's leading thinkers and doers are asked to give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes!

 

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The time is now - Speaker!

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TEDxFrankfurt

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TED has created a program called TEDx, a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together. The idea behind is to share and discuss ideas that have the power and potential to make a difference in our lives and in our world. It was great to be part of the TEDxFrankfurt event where people all shared this passion. Like in the world of aviation in which we all have the same passion. Over 550 people attended the event, which took place at the premises of the Frankfurt Marriott Hotel.

During a break between the two speaker sessions, you had a good opportunity to network, have a snack at the buffet and to try out fun activities. I tested the beer pouring machine, which you had to control only with your mind. I did not too good at it, but maybe because it was beer. It probably would have worked better with coconut water for me.

I went live on Facebook during the break. You can still watch the video here, to get an idea of the event and the atmosphere.

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Speaker Dinner TEDxFrankfurt

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Skyline view of Frankfurt from my suite

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Frankfurt Marriott Hotel

The whole event was hosted by the Frankfurt Marriott Hotel. Therefore it was really convenient to have a hotel room on their property, so the event was only an elevator ride away. During my time as a private jet pilot, I have stayed at the Frankfurt Marriott Hotel several times before. It is conveniently located to get to the city center of Frankfurt and to the airport at the same time. Especially when visiting the exhibitions grounds, which are located opposite the street.

Upgrade!

As you know I am Mister Upgrade. Through my Marriott Rewards Gold Status, I received an upgrade to a suite on the 33rd floor. The spacious room offered besides a seating area and a small kitchen with espresso machine, a fantastic view of Frankfurt's skyline. But one of the best features of Marriott hotel rooms is the comfortable bed. If you have slept in one of those you know what I am talking about.

 

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My suite in the Frankfurt Marriott Hotel

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Executive lounge

My status also granted me access to the executive lounge on the 43rd floor of the skyscraper. It is a great place to have a chat and to have some snacks in an exclusive atmosphere. In the morning, you can also have breakfast with a fantastic view of the skyline of Frankfurt.

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Executive lounge Frankfurt Marriott Hotel

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The speakers

So far, I have been listening to many speakers online on TED.com. It is definitely a completely different level to listen to them live and to feel the atmosphere of the audience. I had the chance to hear from ten inspiring German and international speakers coming from the fields of technology, entertainment, and design.

Speaker Amelie

For example the speaker Amelie. I met her in the elevator of the hotel and we had a short conversation. I was really excited to listen to her speech because I was affected by her topic before: Finding an apartment in Berlin. She currently works as the Head of Marketing at cabin spacey, a start-up that conquers empty roofs of Berlin with smart cabins for urban nomads. A great idea to improve the shortage of apartments in Berlin.

Speaker Dinner

The evening before the conference, I was invited to the Speaker Dinner at the Frankfurt Marriott Hotel. It was a nice occasion to meet the speakers in advance and to do a little bit of networking. I found it really refreshing to talk to people, which were not involved in aviation and get to know their story. Networking nowadays might be mainly taking place on the internet but the personal contact and sharing of ideas and concepts should not be underestimated.

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Meet and Greet with my Aviators in Frankfurt

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Surprise on the way back

For my short stay, I traveled between Berlin and Frankfurt by plane. On the way back I was about to board my return flight when the ground staff at the gate called my name. At first, I was a little confused and I thought they have bad news for me. In the end, it was a new ticket for the flight. An Aviator, who is working at the airport at the gate, upgraded me to Business Class. I had a really pleasant flight and I could enjoy a nice meal on board. She really made my flight.

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Airbus A320 wing with "sharklets"

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Business Class meal on the short flight

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Cheers! Thanks for the upgrade

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The time is now

The time is now was the motto of the TEDxFrankfurt event. For me, it implies that we need to find solutions to the most pressing issues and challenges. We have to solve problems like climate change, poverty, immigration, violence, gender, and economic inequities - now!

What does the time is now mean for you?

Please comment below with your answer and subscribe to my newsletter with your email below!

Happy landings!

Your Pilot Patrick

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my tips for a better sleep

My tips for a better sleep

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

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Breathtaking sunset at Milan airport /no filter!

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

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Hotel bed in Casablanca

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My tips for a better sleep

Body's internal clock

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

Good night tea

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

Earplugs

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

 

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Bedtime tea

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Earplugs by Hoerluchs

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Sleeping mask

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

Your phone

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

Reading

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

 

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Earplugs and sleeping mask

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How does food affect your sleep?

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

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

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How does exercise affect your sleep?

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

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

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Sunrise in the sky

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

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I found my hotel room for tonight!

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

Happy landings and happy sleeping!

Your PilotPatrick

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36 hours layover guide of Sevilla

36 hours layover guide of Sevilla

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Advertisement - Cooperation

Hello my Aviator, the past year I spend over six layovers in Sevilla and I take this as an opportunity to share my highlights of this beautiful city with you. My layover is usually 36 hours and this is why my following city guide is based on this period of time. Additionally, I will give general tips for your next city trip.  

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Bar at the Alfonso XIII Hotel / Photo by Emilie (@esunshi)

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Facts about Sevilla

Sevilla is the capital and largest city of the autonomous community of Andalusia. It is situated on the plain of the river Guadalquivir. Seville has a municipal population of about 703,000 as of 2011, making it the fourth-largest city in Spain. Seville is approximately 2,200 years old. The passage of the various civilizations has left the city with a distinct personality, and a large and well-preserved historical center.

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Expo venue of 1992 / lost place in Sevilla

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Travel tip: bank

Over the years I have spent a lot of money on fees when paying with my checking account abroad. But those days are finally over. I recently opened a new account. This premium bank offers an account which incorporates many benefits to their customers. Which is especially useful for me as a frequent traveler who spends a lot of time in foreign countries. Besides giving me the services of traditional a checking account, it includes a MasterCard Gold free of charge.

In Sevilla, you can pay with your card in many shops and restaurants, but I have been to other cities in which they require cash for purchases. Especially taxi drivers, who rarely accept credit cards. With the gold credit card I can withdraw money for free and I even have an exclusive insurance package as well. For example, my health and my luggage are all ensured when I am staying abroad, even when I am not paying with the card.

Watch my V-log about Sevilla. Subscribe my YouTube channel for more videos:

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36 hours layover guide of Sevilla

10:00 - 14:00

Buenos dias 

Like my flight, you arrive in Sevilla in the morning. Since it is too early for the check-in,  I suggest to drop your luggage at the concierge and start discovering the city right away. The old town consists of many narrow streets with historical buildings. I usually approach a new city without a strict guide, so let your feet decide where to go. You will be surprised about the places to discover, which you did not expect.

Healthy snacking 

Maybe you have not had a good breakfast yet or you are ready for a small lunch. Close to the cathedral you can find a healthy food place, called "Milk Away". Their smoothies and salads are fantastic. I always have the Acai bowl with granola and fresh fruits (it is up to you to decide which ones you like on top). For more healthy cafés, restaurants and shops around your personal location, I recommend the App called "Happy Cow".

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Acai bowl at the healthy food place "Milk Away"

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famous cathedral in old town of Sevilla

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Travel tip: accommodation

Since you are staying only for one night I suggest sleeping in the Alfonso XIII hotel, named after King Alfonso of Spain. This elegant hotel with an Arabic style is located in the center of Sevilla. I personally always choose a hotel which is located in walking distance to major attractions when planning a short city trip. This saves time and I can return to the hotel for a quick break between sight-seeing. Apart from all the online booking platforms, I recommend, to always check the website of the hotel as well. Sometimes the rates are even better or you receive extras complimentary.

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Hotel Alfonso XII hotel

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pool of the Alfonso XIII hotel

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14:00 - 18:00

Check-in

Time to check-in to your hotel and to refresh and relax a little bit. The Alfonso XIII has an inviting outside area with a pool. Enjoy a couple of hours of sunbathing, swimming and doing sports.

18:00 - 22:00

Sunset

There are many beautiful locations from where you can watch the sunset, but for me the most spectacular place is the Metropol Parasol. This tree-shaped wooden sculpture grants you the best views of Sevilla. Plan enough time to get up, because there might be a queue to get up. (entrance fee: 3€)

Now it is time to have a tasty dinner. Sevilla offers a huge variety of dining options. Most restaurants do not open before 20:00. For popular places, you need to make a dinner reservation. Last time in Sevilla I had dinner at El Paladar a simple looking Tapas bar. They offer three menu boards including one with meat, one vegetarian, and one vegan. It was tasty, inexpensive and local.

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vies of the Metropol Parasol

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sunset from the roof of the Metropol Parasol

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22:00 - 24:00

Drinks and show

In Sevilla, the life takes place on the streets. Even late at night people are outside enjoying themselves. I can recommend the rooftop of the EME hotel for some drinks. The bar grants a nice view of the illuminated cathedral. Andalucia is also known for its Flamenco dance shows. I have not been to one yet, but it is on my list for my next layovers in Sevilla.

 

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Rooftop of the EME hotel

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Travel tip: season

Sevilla is a city you can visit the whole year around. But keep in my mind that Sevilla is the hottest major metropolitan area in the geographical Western Europe, with summer average high temperatures of above 35 °C. Therefore I recommend coming here in spring or in late summer. While writing this article I am actually sitting in the sun in Sevilla  it is around 25°C at ist already the end of October. At this time of the year, the climate is much better for sightseeing.

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Royal Palace of Sevilla

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Next day

09:00 - 11:00

Breakfast

Start the day with a good breakfast followed by an espresso in the sun on the terrace. In my opinion, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. This gives you the energy for the day. Nevertheless, you should eat consciously. Even in hotels, I try to avoid white wheat bread, dairy products, and sugar. Here you can find my recipe for my super healthy breakfast bowl.

11:00 - 13:00

Real Alcázar 

The old town contains three UNESCO World Heritage Sites. One of them is the Alcázar palace complex, the royal palace. This is one of my highlights in Sevilla and it is also renowned as one of the most beautiful places in Spain. Plan enough time (minimum 2 hours)  to discover all rooms and to take a stroll through the extensive gardens. (entrance fee: 9,50€)

 

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Garden of the Royal Palace

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Real Alcázar courtyard

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Garden of the Real Alcázar

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14:00 - 16:00

Plaza de España

Not far from the royal palace, you can find the Plaza de España. The first time visiting this square, I was overwhelmed by its size, architecture and look. I was surprised when I found out that the square is relatively young. It was built in 1928 for the Ibero-American Exposition of 1929. You can even rent a small paddle boat to discover the square from the water. If you are lucky you can watch Flamenco dancer with live music underneath the roof in the middle of the building.

18:00 - 20:00

Shopping

The old town consists of many shops and small boutique. As a souvenir I often buy clothing, so I get reminded of my stay when wearing them.

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Beautiful square: Plaza de España

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Plaza de España at sunset

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Have you been to Spain and what is your favorite in Spain so far? Please comment below and subscribe to my newsletter with your email below. 

Happy and safe traveling!

Your Pilot Patrick

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A working day of a private jet versus an airline pilot

A working day of a private jet versus an airline pilot

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Cooperation - Advertisement

Hello my Aviator, one year ago I was offered to fly for a different company. Switching jobs not only implied to get trained on a new aircraft type but also to get to know a new operation. I started my aviation career as First Officer on a Citation XLS business jet. Now I am flying the wide-body aircraft A300. I passed my initial line check three months ago and I have flown over 200 hours on the Airbus so far. I thought this is a good time to compare a working day of a private jet pilot with an airline pilot. Find out in my conclusion if I finally prefer one type of operation. 

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Citation XLS + in Dublin

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Getting to and from work

Private Jet

As a private jet pilot, I could choose my home base within Europe. The aircraft returned rarely to its home base in Germany, so it was operational wise more convenient to send the crew by an airline, rental car or train to the current location of the aircraft.  Most of the time I proceeded out of Tegel or Schönefled airport to Nizza, Paris or London.

Airline Pilot

Usually, I fly on duty to and from my home base. Sometimes I also have to jumpseat on a flight of my company to get to work or to go home. Unfortunately, I have fewer proceedings flights with other companies. That way I am collecting fewer miles and I will soon lose my Lufthansa frequent traveler status. On the other end, the time-consuming proceeding flights are now past.

 

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Croove - New carsharing service

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Absent from home

Both jobs require being absent from home about half a month. Therefore I have decided four years ago not to own car. Before I only used it to drive to the airport and the rest of the time it was parked uselessly on the street.

In case I need a car there are many alternative means. Like the new carsharing service, called "Croove". It is a private carsharing platform so you rent all kind of car models from private persons. You can also rent your own car profitable when you do not need it. It all works via an application for your personal device (Appstore / google play) and you are fully insured like with any regular car rental service. It is really convenient for me. I can save money on the rental price and I can also use their valet service which brings and picks up the car e.g. at the airport.

 

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Croove - Handing over the vehicle

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Schedule/ Reachability

Private Jet

I usually received the flight schedule for the next day the evening before. The business aviation is a volatile branch and therefore changes can occur hourly. That I why the company provided me with a phone, so they can reach me 24 hours. A working day comprised only a small part of flying. The major part was caring about the passengers, booking transport, ordering catering and organizing a place to sleep. On duty, I liked to be flexible and I found it exciting not knowing where the next flight would take me. I remember one time sitting in cold Moskau and I said to my colleague: "A flight in the south to Mallorca or Ibiza would be nice!". Two hours later we received a call informing us that we fly to Mallorca and Ibiza. That was a funny coincidence.

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Happy crew = happy landings = happy VIP passengers

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Airline

My flight schedule is published one month ahead. This allows much better planning. I know already my destinations and flights with exact departure and arrival times well ahead of time. Aviation is influenced by many different factors that is why changes can occur at an airline as well. In case there is an update I will be reminded my an online platform or via an SMS on my phone. I can fully concentrate on my tasks of a first officer and I do not get distracted from loading passengers bags, receiving catering and taking care of special passengers requests.

 

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Checking my flight schedule online

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Flight hours / duty times

Private Jet

In my career as a private jet pilot, I probably waited longer on passengers, fuel, and catering than I actually flew the aircraft. On a typical working day in the high season, I flew up to 5 legs a day coupled with long waiting periods in between flights. The preparation and the postprocessing are extensive. At busy airports like Nice, France, we often arrived two hours before an outbound flight to be fully ready for the scheduled departure. After the last flight of the day the aircraft still had to be cleaned and maybe refueled for the next day.  Most of the time there was some catering left, so we could enjoy a meal together in the cabin. In six years as a private jet pilot, I flew about 2000 hours.

More about a day of a private jet pilot here in my series.

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First days as a Frist Officer on the Citation XLS private jet

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Airline 

Reporting time of the crew is one hour before the flight and I currently fly a maximum of three sectors a day. The departure times vary a lot. I had to get to used to fly really early in the morning and late at night. In this type of operation, I will gather about 450 hours a year. This is still not a lot when you think about low-cost airline pilots, who fly up to 900 hours a year. On a duty day, I know my exact flight schedule and I know the location I will be spending the night. The waiting time on turn around is decent. It is absolutely bearable when you compare to passengers who let you waiting for an unknown period. After the last flight of the day, we already leave the aircraft about 15 minutes later.

 

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Underneath an Airbus A380

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Layovers/hotels

Private Jet

The final destination of a working day was not always sure when we left the hotel. Sometimes it was a real surprise in which city we would sleep at night. Since the business is so volatile we were not allowed to book a hotel until we received the "go" of the company. I am the master of hotels and it was usually my job to find an appropriate place to sleep. I liked that we as a crew could choose the hotel ourselves. But on the other hand, we wasted a lot of time, searching for a place to stay.I flew to many different destinations within Europe and I got to know a wide range of airports. I flew to many different destinations within Europe and I got to know a wide range of airports.

Airline pilot

Like as a private jet pilot I mostly fly within Europe but now only to certain destinations. In my first 200 hours, I almost got to know all airports within the network. Hotels and transport are organized by the company.

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Layover in Barcelona, Spain

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Do I have a preference?

I can only speak about my impressions and experiences I gained in both operations in the last seven years of my aviation career. The picture might look totally different with other airlines.

The private jet and airline operation differ a lot. Both are enjoyable.

As a private jet pilot, I spent most of the time waiting and duty times were lengthy. Whereas an airline pilot flies more in fewer duty hours. Everything is more organized and you do not waste time organizing catering, booking hotels and ordering transport. But I am missing the VIP catering and the private terminals, which also offered comfortable lounges for the crew.

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Private jet or airline pilot?

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One fact which I liked about the business aviation was that I flew too many different destinations and I got to know challenging airports. On the other hand, the business is very volatile. That means you can expect changes on short notice. Now I have fixed schedule and I know how much rest I have in the end. I can really plan with the time in between duties to do sightseeing and go on tours.

In my opinion, the business aviation was a really good school because I had to be independent and well organized to complete more than the task of flying the airplane. I still think that the airline operation is more relaxed and I really like the fact that I can now fully concentrate on my tasks of a first officer.

 

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If you could be a pilot for a day would you rather be a private jet pilot or an airline pilot? Please leave me a comment below and do not forget to subscribe to my blog with your email.

Happy landings!

Your Pilot Patrick 

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