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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A working day of a private jet versus an airline pilot

Die Unterschiede im Berufsalltag eines Privatjet und Airline Piloten

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Cooperation - Advertisement

Hallo mein Aviator, vor einem Jahr bekam ich das Angebot für eine andere Firma zu fliegen. Den Arbeitgeber zu wechseln und für eine neue Firma zu fliegen, bedeutete nicht nur ein neues Flugzeug Modell fliegen, sondern auch eine ganz andere "Operations" kennen zu lernen. Meine Luftfahrt Karriere als "First Officer" hat auf einem Business Jet Citation XLS begonnen. Jetzt fliege ich das Großraumflugzeug A300. Den "initial line check" habe ich vor drei Monaten bestanden und habe meine ersten 200 Flugstunden auf dem Airbus gesammelt. Wie ich finde, genau der richtige Zeitpunkt um den Berufsalltag eines Privatjet Piloten mit dem Alltag als Airline Piloten zu vergleichen. Finde heraus, was mein persönliches Fazit ist und ob mir eine der "Operations" besser gefällt. 

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Citation XLS + in Dublin

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Mein Arbeitsweg

Private Jet

Als Privatjet Pilot konnte ich meine eigene "Home Base" innerhalb von Europa selbst wählen. Es ist eher selten, dass die Flugzeuge auch mal zu ihrer "Base" nach Deutschland zurückkehren. Für die Operations ist es daher besser, die AirCrew mit der Linie, dem Auto oder Zug zu dem aktuellen Aufenthaltsort des Flugzeuges zu schicken. Am häufigsten bin ich von den berliner Flughäfen Tegel und Schönefeld nach Nizza, Paris oder London "proceeded".

Airline Pilot

In der Regel beginnt und Endet mein Dienst auf dem A300 direkt in Berlin. In seltenen Fällen muss ich auf dem "Jumpseat" bei einem anderen Flieger unserer Flotte mitfliegen. Dadurch habe ich weniger "Proceedings" mit anderen Fluggesellschaften und kann jetzt leider weniger Meilen sammeln, wodurch ich bald meine Status als Lufthansa frequent traveler verliere. Anderseits, gehören die aufwendigen Proceedings nun der Vergangenheit an und ich spare mir viel Zeit.

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Croove - Der neue & persönliche "Carsharing" Anbieter

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Abwesenheit von der Home Base

Sowohl der Alltag als Privatjet Pilot, als auch der Berufsalltag bei der Airline, beinhaltet viel Abwesenheit von Zuhause. Aus diesem Grund habe ich beispielsweise vor vier Jahren beschlossen mir kein eigenes Auto zukaufen, da ich die meiste Zeit nicht zuhause bin um es zu nutzen. Ein Auto brauche ich meistens nur für den Weg zum Airport und zurück.

In so einem Fall nutze ich gerne eine der vielen Alternativen wie z.B die neue private Autovermietung namens  "Croove". Das ist eine private "Carsharing" Platform, auf welcher  die Vermieter Privatpersonen sind, von denen man die verschiedensten Auto Modelle ausleihen kann. Man selbst hat auch die Möglichkeit sein eigenes Auto dort zum profitablen Verleih bereitzustellen. Croove funktioniert super leicht via App auf dem eigenen Gerät. (Appstore / google play) Zudem ist man komplett versichert. Für mich ist der ganze Service angenehm. Ich spare mir das Taxi Geld und nutze ganz einfach den "Valet Service", welcher das Auto bringt und abholt z.B. vom Flughafen.

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Croove - Übergabe des Fahrzeuges

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Dienstplan/ Erreichbarkeit

Private Jet

Im Normalfall bekam ich den Plan für den nächsten Tag, an dem Abend bevor mein Dienst begann. Die Geschäftsfliegerei ist eine sehr unbeständige Branche, weshalb Planänderungen jederzeit stattfinden können - manchmal sogar stündlich. Das ist einer der Gründe, warum die Firma mich mit einem Diensthandy ausgestattet hat, damit ich 24 Stunden für sie erreichbar bin. Fliegen war nur ein kleiner Teil des Berufsalltages als Privatejet Pilot. Der Großteil der Arbeit bestand darin, sich um die Passagiere zu kümmern, Catering zu organisieren und den Transport sowie die Unterkunft für die Nacht zu buchen. Im Dienst mag ich es abwechslungsreich uns ich fand es spannend, nicht zu wissen wohin der nächste Flug geht. Ich erinnere mich genau daran, wie wir einmal in dem kalten, grauen Moskau saßen und ich sagte zu meinem Kollegen:" Ein Flug nach Mallorca oder Ibiza wäre jetzt genau das Richtige!" Zwei Stunden später erhielten wir den Anruf mit der Info, dass wir wirklich nach Mallorca und Ibiza fliegen würden. Ein lustiger Zufall!

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Gut gelaunte AirCrew = happy landings = zufriedene VIP Passagiere

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Airline

Bei der Airline erhalte ich meinen Dienstplan und eine festen Ablauf  einen Monat im voraus. Das ermöglicht es mir viel besser zu planen. Ich weiß somit schon lange Zeit vorher, welche Zielorte ich anfliege und kenne die exakte Ab-und Anflugszeit. Die Luftfahrt steht unter dem Einfluss vieler verschiedener Faktoren, darum sind auch bei der Airline Änderungen immer möglich. Ist das der Fall, so werde ich durch ein Update auf einer spezielle online Plattform informiert, oder bekomme ein Meldung per SMS auf mein Handy. Bei der Airline kann ich mich voll auf meine Aufgaben als Erster Offizier konzentrieren und muss mich nicht zusätzlich mit dem Gepäck der Passagiere, dass eingeladen werden muss, Catering, dass verstaut werden muss oder gar speziellen Passagier Wünschen beschäftigen.

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Online Check des Flugplanes

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Flug Stunden / Dienstzeiten

Private Jet

In meiner gesamten Karriere als Privatjet Pilot habe ich wahrscheinlich mehr Zeit am Boden damit verbracht, auf Passagiere, den Tanker und das Catering zu warten, als dass ich in der Luft war um das Flugzeug zu fliegen. An einem typischen Arbeitstag in der Hochsaison Sommer, bin ich bis zu fünf Legs geflogen, zusammen mit langen Wartezeiten zwischen den einzelnen Flügen. Die Vor- und Nachbearbeitung eines Arbeitstages in der Geschäftsfliegerei sind sehr umfangreich. An einem hochfrequentierten Flughafen wie z.B Nizza in Frankreich mussten wir zwei Stunden vor Abflug am Flugzeug sein, um einen pünktlichen Abflug vorzubereiten. Nach dem letzten Flug des Tages musste das Flugzeug noch gereinigt und manchmal  schon für den nächsten Tag betankt werden. In den meisten Fällen war immer noch etwas von dem Vip Catering übrig, somit konnten wir nach dem letzen Flug ein kleines gemeinsames Essen in der Kabine genießen. In sechs Jahren als Privatjet Pilot bin ich insgesamt mehr als 2.000 Stunden geflogen.

Mehr über den Berufsalltag als Privatjet Pilot, erfährst Du in meiner Serie here

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Mein allererster Tag als "First Officer" auf einem Privatjet

 Muster: Citation XLS

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Airline 

Meldung zum Dienst ist für die Crew eine Stunde vor geplantem Abflug und momentan fliege ich ein Maximum von drei Sektoren pro Tag. Die Abflugzeiten sind hierbei sehr unterschiedlich. Ich musste mich erst daran gewöhnen, sehr früh am morgen und spät in der Nacht zu fliegen. In dieser Art der Operations, werde ich bis zu 450 Flugstunden pro Jahr sammeln. Das ist nicht gerade viel, wenn man es mit der Anzahl der Flugstunden eines Piloten vergleicht, der für eine Billigfluggesellschaft fliegt. Für die Tage im Dienst weiß ich den exakten Ablauf, kenne die Aufenthaltsorte für die Nächte im Voraus und die Wartezeiten zwischen den Flügen sind annehmbar. Im Vergleich zu den Wartezeiten als Privatjet Pilot, wo wir oft lange für unvorhersehbare Zeit gewartet haben, absolut ertragbar. Nach dem letzten Flug des Tages verlassen wir schon 15 Minuten später das Flugzeug.

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Unter dem Airbus A380

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Aufenthalt/Hotels

Private Jet

Wenn wir am Morgen das Hotel verließen, war oft noch nicht klar wo wir am Abend landen würden. In manchen Fällen war es eine große Überraschung, in welcher Stadt wir dann schliefen. Wie schon erwähnt ist die Geschäftsfliegerei sehr unvorhersehbar, was der Grund dafür war, dass Hotels für die Nacht erst gebucht werden durften, wenn die Firma das "Go" gab. Ich bin der "Master of Hotels" und es war meistens meine Aufgabe eine angemessene Unterkunft für die Nacht zu finden. Einerseits gefiel es mir, dass wir die Hotels als Crew selber aussuchen durften. Anderseits wurde auch viel Zeit damit verschwendet ein verfügbares Hotel zu suchen und zu buchen. Als Privatjet Pilot bin ich die unterschiedlichsten Zielorte innerhalb Europas angeflogen und habe daher sehr viele verschiedene Flughäfen kennengelernt.

Airline pilot

Wie auch als Privatjet Pilot fliege ich bei der Airline hauptsächlich zu Zielorten innerhalb von Europa, jetzt allerdings nur zu bestimmten. Daher habe ich in meinen ersten 200 Stunden auch schon fast das gesamte Streckennetz kennengelernt. Die Hotels und Transporte werden von der Firma organisiert und gebucht.

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Aufenthalt in Barcelona- Spanien

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Was bevorzuge ich und was gefällt mir besser?

Ich kann nur aus meinen ganz persönlichen Eindrücken und Erfahrungen berichten, die ich während der letzten Sieben Jahre meiner Aviation Karriere in beiden "Operations" sammeln konnte. Das Gesamtbild könnte sich durch eine andere Airline nochmal komplett verändern.

Obwohl sich der Berufsalltag eines Privatjet und Airline Piloten von Grund auf unterscheiden, machen mir beide Operations viel Spaß.

Als Privatjet Pilot musste ich sehr viel Zeit mit Warten verbringen und die Dienstzeiten waren langatmig. Ein Airline Pilot sammelt mehr Flugstunden in weniger Dienststunden, weil alles insgesamt organisierter ist und man z.B. keine Zeit mit dem Organisieren von Catering, Hotels und Transporten verschwendet. Dennoch vermisse ich das VIP Catering und die Privaten Terminals- die Privaten Terminals haben immer sehr  bequeme Lounges, auch für uns, die Crew.

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Privatjet Pilot oder Airline Pilot

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Ein Punkt den ich an der Geschäftsfliegerei sehr gemocht habe, ist die Tatsache, dass ich sehr viele verschiedene Zielorte angeflogen bin und dadurch auch herausfordernde Flughäfen kennenlernen konnte. Auf der anderen Seite ist die Geschäftsfliegerei so launisch und daher ist es kaum möglich vorausschauend zu planen. Bei der Airline habe ich jetzt einen klaren Plan für meinen Dienst. Ich weiß wieviel "Rest" ich habe und  kann meinen Aufenthalt jetzt wirklich planen z.B. mit Sightseeing machen oder einfach drauf los erkunden.

Meiner Meinung nach, ist die Geschäftsfliegerei eine gute Vorbereitung. Ich habe gelernt sehr selbständig zu arbeiten und mich gut zu organisieren um die vielen verschiedenen Aufgaben, die mehr als "nur" fliegen beinhalteten zuverlässig zu erledigen. Ich denke aber, die Operations bei der Airline ist sehr viel entspannter. Hier kann ich mich voll und ganz auf das Fliegen und meine Aufgaben als Erster Offizier konzentrieren.

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Wenn Du jetzt ein Pilot sein könntest für einen Tag, wärst Du lieber ein Privatjet Pilot oder doch auch bei der Airline?  Bitte schreib es mir unten in die Kommentare und vergiss nicht Dich mit deiner E-Mail Adresse für meinen Blog anzumelden, für gute News aus der Luft!

Happy landings!

Dein Pilot Patrick 

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first time flying aerobatics

My First Time Flying Aerobatics

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Cooperation - Advertisement

Hello my Aviator,

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

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Cozy room at the Vienna QF Hotel in Dresden

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Arrival

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

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Hangar tour

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VIP passes with access to the hangars

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Racing in the air

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

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Lausitz Speedway in Germany

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Hangar tour

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

Technical specification of the Edge 540

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

 

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Meeting air race pilot Nicolas Ivanoff  / photo: René Gaens

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Racing aircraft Edge 540

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Sky Lounge

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

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Sky Lounge at the Red Bull Air Race

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Official timekeeper Hamilton watches

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Smoke on!

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

Up to 10 g and 370 km/h

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

 

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Happy racing and happy landings

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Hello my Aviators: Going live on Instagram

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My first time flying aerobatics

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

It is like drawing in the sky

The flight

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

 

https://youtu.be/stTulSaczm4

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Just in case with a parachute

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Ready for the departure for my first aerobatic flight

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Technical Specifications Extra 33 LX

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

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Happy pilots after a thrilling flight

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Insider tip and giveaway

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

Giveaway

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

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

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

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Giveaway

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Good luck and happy landings!

Your Pilot Patrick

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Happy place Barcelona and my insider tips

Happy place Barcelona and my insider tips

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(Sponsored by product placement)

Hello my Aviator,

in August 2016 I moved my home base from Berlin to Barcelona. The original plan was to stay longer than three months, but then I received a new job offer which forced me to move back to Germany. Since then I did not get back to Barcelona until this summer. I was excited to return to my happy place for two weeks of vacation. I really missed the city because it feels like a second home. Unfortunately, the new network of the Airbus does not include Barcelona with an overnight. In this blog post, I will not only share with you my highlights of my vacation and give you some great insider tips but also share my experiences during the cruel attack on Las Ramblas.

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Skyline of Barcelona from the air

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Happy place Barcelona and my insider tips

Barcelona is a great city to do sight seeing. Around every corner, you can discover something new. I recommend renting a scooter to do sight seeing but only when you feel comfortable driving in high traffic situations. Moto rent offers affordable prices. A scooter gives you so much freedom to go to different places in a minimum amount of time.

Since I did already a lot of sight seeing during my past stays, I did not do much this time.

What to do?

Bunkers el Carmel: A must visit if you want to enjoy one of the best views of Barcelona and the sea.  Turó del Carmel is a hill with a bunker on top. Best time is during sunset and sunrise. Take something to drink and don't think you will be alone ;-) The entrance is still free.

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Enjoying the view at Bunkers el Carmel

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Casa Batlló: Barcelona is the city of Gaudi. His architecture is world famous. One of the highlights is the Casa Batlló. I have walked by this townhouse many times before because it is centrally located on the Passeig de Gracia. If you like the outside of the building you should dare look inside. It is really impressive to discover the passion Gaudí has put into this building. I literally was overwhelmed by the beauty that I got glossy eyes. Each guest receives a smart phone as a tour guide and that way you can explore the building also in the virtual reality.

Insider tip: For most famous sights, you can buy tickets online. This way you can skip long lines at the entrance.

 

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Casa Battló on Passeig de Gracia

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Tour guide 2.0 = smart phone

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Boat trip: One of my highlights was a boat trip with Barcelona desde el Mar. I have seen Barcelona many times from the cockpit but to discover this amazing city from the sea was a unique experience. It gave me a whole new perspective of Barcelona. My little cruise lasted around 2 hours and I enjoyed a beautiful sunset from the sea.

Insider tip: Book the boat "Sa Nina" for yourself and take your friends with. Instagram: @barcelonadesdeelmar

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My first boat trip in Barcelona / Instagram: @barcelonadesdeelmar

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Sunset cruise in Barcelona / photo by Andrés

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Where to sleep?

During my three months in Barcelona, I lived in a shared apartment in the historic Gotico. It was a great experience to live right in the center of this vibrant city. For this vacation, I stayed at several hotels in different parts of town.

I had the chance to spend part of my vacationat the Hotel Arts Barcelona. Its unique building characterizes the skyline of Barcelona and was first opened during the Olympics in 1992. It belongs to the luxurious hotel chain Ritz Carlton. As a pilot, I have slept in many 5 stars hotels around the world but the Arts Hotel is exceptional. Not only the temporary design but also the great team make the difference.

 

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Pool area of the Hotel Arts Barcelona 

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My executive suite was located on the 26th and offered me over 70 square meters of space and a fantastic view of the city and the beach. At night I could even see the Tibidabo mountain laying in my bed. The hotel itself is located right on the beach and just one kilometer from Barceloneta.

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One bedroom suite in the Hotel Arts Barcelona

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Luxury bathroom of my suite

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Over the weekend I almost did not leave the hotel, so I could enjoy all their facilities. The day typically started with a tasty breakfast. I spent some relaxing hours in a cabana at the pool and became a big fan of the Club Lounge on the 35th floor. This lounge is a bar, restaurant, cafe and relaxing area at the same time. It is like a hotel inside the hotel. It is more private since only few hotel guests have access to it.

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Check out in the club lounge

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Tasty breakfast on the patio of the Arts Hotel

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Do not miss out on the Spa 43, which offers luxury facilities paired magnificent view of Barcelona. Convince yourself in a 360 degrees video from the terrace in 150 meters height. For the first time, it took my VIRB360 of Garmin on a journey.  This compact camera takes your photos and videos to whole new level. Besides a brilliant resolution of up to 5.7k/30fps, it shoots in 360 degrees. The viewer can decide himself where he wants to look at and you can even share videos in real time with the VIRB360. Check out my first 360 degrees photo from the cockpit on my facebook page. From now on you have the chance to fly with me in 360 degrees.

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https://www.facebook.com/pilotpatrick/videos/vb.373722572693345/1524204674311790/?type=2&theater

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Insider tip: Get a cocktail prepared by Diego at the Hotel Arts. I was lucky to taste some of his creations. He is the funniest and coolest bar tender.

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Best barkeeper in town / Diego Instagram @dondiegobcn 

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If you rather want to stay in Eixample I can recommend the Ohla Eixample hotel. It is a five-star hotel with a minimalistic design and a roof top pool. I stayed in a spacious junior suite. The location grants you close proximity to all kind of different attractions, bars, and restaurants.

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Junior suite of the Ohla Eixample hotel

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Roof top pool in Eixample

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Which season is best to visit Barcelona?

Barcelona is great all year around. If you want to enjoy hot weather at the beach then you need to visit during the summer months. But if you come to do sight seeing and to discover the city, then I recommend avoiding the high season. That way touristic places are less crowded and waiting times are less. Additionally, you do not have to walk through the city in extreme heat.

Insider tip: Visit Barcelona in the spring or late summer. My favorite month was October. Of course, the weather is not that stable, but the city is less crowded and you have the chance to go wave surfing. Additionally, the prices for a hotel room are less expansive compared to the summer.

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Magic fountain show

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Where to eat?

Barcelona offers diverse dining options. There is much more than tapas. Catalans eat late. Either be early or make a reservation. Here are my all time favorite places to go:

Väcka: Vegan restaurant and cafe. Try their vegan classic burger and have a raw treat. Gracia

Teresa’s Carles: Vegetarian food and juices (only indoor/more for dinner) El Raval

Flax and Kale: Healthy restaurant offering a diverse menu (all day) Make a reservation and request a table on their outdoor rooftop garden. Don't miss the brunch on the weekend. El Raval

Surf House: Restaurant right by the beach. The menu offers healthy food but also tasty burger for a cheat day. Try their waffles! Barceloneta

Vinitus: In my opinion one of the best tapas restaurant in Barcelona. After 8 pm it gets really busy. You can choose your fresh fish from the display at the bar. Eixample

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Weekend brunch at the Flax and Kale

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Vegetarian restaurant Barcelona / Teresa's Carles

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Petit Brot: completely raw café, daily menus, and juices (breakfast and lunch) El Raval

Casa Gispert: Dried fruits, nuts and so much more. Best dried mangos I ever had. El Born

BeBo cold pressed: Tasty healthy juices, raw snacks (more for to go) Eixample

Barraca: seafood and paella overlooking the beach of Barceloneta (lunch and dinner)

Cafè Jaime Beriestain: high-class food in a concept restaurant (more for dinner) Eixample

Nubafancy restaurant with live DJ, nice interior and outside seating (more for dinner

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Meet and Greet in Barcelona

After a Meet and Greet in Berlin, Munich and Los Angeles, I was excited to meet my Aviators in Barcelona. One day prior my scheduled event the cruel attack happened on Las Ramblas killing innocent victims. I was at the sight just a couple of hours earlier and when it happened I was safe at the beach. The whole city was shocked and frightened that day. In the evening everyone stayed at home and Barcelona turned into a ghost town. But already the next day people were on the street again to make clear that they are not afraid "No tinc por!" This was a great signal to the world and to the terroristic organization. I decided as well not to cancel the Meet and Greet, because this would have been the signal that we restrict our freedom.

Thanks to all my Aviators who came to see me. I was really happy to get to know over 20 people. We met for one hour at Placa Catalunya to have a chat, take photos and to show that we are not afraid. Together we can create a more peaceful world!

 

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Meet and Greet in Barcelona with my Aviators

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Fantastic weather, interesting sights, cultural events, the beach and of course friendly people make Barcelona a perfect vacation spot. You can choose from a great variety of restaurants and hotels. The prices for food are decent, but the hotel prices can be expensive during high season. My dream is still to live in my two favorite cities Berlin and Barcelona!

 

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Enjoying the beach of Barcelona

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In which city could you imagine to live as well? Please comment below and do not forget to subscribe to my newsletter with your email below.

Safe travels and happy landings!

your Pilot Patrick 

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busting aviation myths and answering your top questions

Busting aviation myths and answering your top questions

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Hello my Aviator,

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

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

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

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Boeing 747-800 of Lufthansa in Frankfurt (FRA)

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Can travel the world for free as a pilot!

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

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

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You are a pilot. You must have good eyes!

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

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

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

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

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Welcome to my office!

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Do aircraft have a horn?

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

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What do you do during a long flight?

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

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What do your three golden stripes mean?

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

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Below the wing of an Airbus A300

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

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

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

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Do pilots sleep during flight?

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

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Do aircraft have a key like a car?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Your Pilot Patrick

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my highlights and travel tips of Los Angeles

My highlights and travel tips of Los Angeles

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

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View from the Griffith Observatory

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The City of Angeles

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

 

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Meet and Greet with my Aviators from L.A.

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

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

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

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What did I do?

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

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

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

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Santa Monica Pier

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

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

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

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

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Typical road in Beverly Hills

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My accommodations

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

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

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My Bungalow in Venice.

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

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

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

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Amazing Airbnb with an airstream

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Abbot Kinney Boulevard

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Six Flags Magic Moutain

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

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

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

 

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Six Flags Magic Mountain

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Where to eat?

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

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

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Tasty oysters at a restaurant in Venice

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Sunset vibes at Venice Beach

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Pier at Hermosa Beach during sunset

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

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

Happy landings and safe travels!

Your Pilot Patrick

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my electronic travel buddies

My electronic travel buddies

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(Sponsored by product placement)

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

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Elitebook

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

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my newest travel buddy HP EliteBook

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Camera

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

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

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Sony Cyper-shot digital camera with "Smatree" tripod

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Action camera

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

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

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Junker Ju 52 "Tante Ju"

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iPhone 7 versus GoPro 5

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Tripods

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

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

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Cullmann Magnesit copter tripod and handheld

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The secret behind jerk free videos

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

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

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Other technical must haves

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

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

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My technical travel buddies

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My editing tips

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

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Anywhere now with my HP EliteBook from notebooksbilliger.de

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

The first winners of the give away on Instagram are:

100€: @lifemightbealright @b2theritta

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

All you need to do is:

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

Good luck and happy landings!

Your Pilot Patrick

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my first 100 flight hours on the airbus A300

Checks completed - my first 100 flight hours on the Airbus

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Hello my Aviator, after an extensive flight training on the ground and in the air, I finally had my initial line check on the Airbus A300. Thanks a lot for crossing your fingers for me. The check flight ran smoothly and I passed it very well. In this aviation related article, I am sharing my experience of the first 100 flight hours on the Airbus and I inform you how the training to acquire a new type rating looks like.

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First step Type Rating

With my CPL(A) license, I am basically allowed to fly all aircraft type as long as I am specially trained for the specific type. This training is called type rating and takes place in a full flight simulator and can cost about to 60,000€. The first type rating I did was on the Citation XLS in 2010. Back then I paid about 20,000€ to receive the training and to begin as a first officer on a private jet.

In the beginning of this year, I switched companies. I had to undergo an extensive training to be licensed to fly the Airbus A300. This time the employer paid for the costs of the type rating at Lufthansa Aviation training. In one of my previous articles, I explained how this training looks like in detail.

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Simulator in Berlin at Lufthansa Aviation Training

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Touch and Gos

After the completion of the type rating in the simulator, I had to do nine take offs and landings on the real aircraft. To be more economical the procedure is to touch down on the runway, then configure the aircraft again (flaps and trim) and to take off again without stopping. Usually, this base training is flown visually in a traffic pattern in the proximity of the airport. Unfortunately, the cloud base was too low on that day so we were forced to fly under IFR conditions.

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First landing during base training on the A300

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Flying the simulator feels almost like the reality but flying the real machine for the very first time was an overwhelming feeling. Up to this point, I had been flying an aircraft with a maximum take off weight of 10 tons and I was about to fly an aircraft with 170 tons. The first take off gave me goose bumps. Half of my landings on that day were nice, but about the second half, I do not want to talk about;-)

Practice makes perfect!

Those landings are a requirement of the aviation authority and have to be completed before flying commercially with passengers. During my time as flight student in Zadar, I had the chance to be aboard of a Lufthansa aircraft, which did touch and go training. I even sat in the cockpit during one approach. This was definitely one of my highlights as a flight student. I remember that one landing of a flight student was a little bit too hard, so a small panel inside the cabin came off.

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Zadar 2008 as flight student

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Observer flights

After the completion of the type rating and the touch and gos, the application for the issue of a new license was sent to the LBA. To bridge the waiting time I was scheduled as an observer on four flights. Additionally, to the regular crew, I was sitting in the cockpit on the observer seat. The intention behind is to get to know the working life and the line operation. It was fun watching my colleagues flying but I wanted to get behind the controls myself again.

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Annunciator light test during preflight preperation

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Line Training

It took about seven working days until I received the new license. I not only bridged the waiting time with the observer flights but also with a vacation in the Caribbean. This was the perfect spot to flee the winter and to have a short time out.

The first flight was scheduled on the 1st of March. The first leg was to Vitoria and the second to Sevilla in Spain. The next 80 flights were under supervision which meant I was only allowed to fly with qualified line training captains. Additionally, the first eight flights were with a safety first officer to support me in my tasks.

You fly the aircraft and not the aircraft you!

Flying the simulator is one thing but flying the real aircraft is a completely different world.  At first, I had difficulties managing the numerous task in a structured way before each flight. But from flight to flight, I got more confident and structured with the set up of the cockpit and the handling of the aircraft.

My first approach into Sevilla felt like I was flying supersonic. Everything was going so quick! Even with my experiences of 2000 flight hours, everything felt so new. Of course, I did my best to impose my knowledge and skills to the new operation.

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First layover in Sevilla

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Supervision

The type rating in the simulator was the first step to obtain the skills, procedures, and knowledge to operate the A300. In the supervision phase of 80 sectors, the training continued on the real aircraft:

  • Every flight is evaluated and during a debriefing reviewed
  • Captain shares his experiences and knowledge about the aircraft
  • Improve standard operating procedures
  • Discussions about aircraft systems, procedures, regulations
  • Use of electronic flight bag (approach charts and manuals)
  • Simulated automatic landings

The line training ended with the initial line check. I had to prove that I am operating according to the aircraft manuals and the standard company procedures. The check flight comprised of two parts. One as pilot flying and one a pilot non-flying. I am now released to "fly the line" but this does not imply that the training has ended. There is still lots to learn about the Airbus.

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Initial line check grading

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My 100 flight hours on the Airbus

The Airbus is compared to the Citation XLS a more challenging aircraft. This is not only because it is a more complex aircraft with more systems, but also because of the sensitivity of the control wheel. Minor inputs into the control wheel have a great effect on the control surfaces. The A300-600 is equipped with powerful Pratt and Whitney engines and through the wing mounted position they produce a pitch moment during power changes. This means you have to counteract this moment with your controls. Additionally, the set up of landing gear makes it difficult to do smooth landings.

In relation to my 1800 hours on the Citation, I already experienced a lot during my 100 flight hours on the Airbus:

  • Thunderstorms with lightning strike in front of my cockpit window
  • My first crosswind landing with about 25 km/h wind from the side,  it was easier to handle than on the small Citation Jet
  • Hard landing due to gusts at touch down and wind shears during final approach
  • St Elmo’s fire on the cockpit front windows due to a charged atmosphere

I am looking forward to the upcoming flights and challenges on the Airbus.

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St Elmo's fire on the cockpit window

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Have you been on a flight which did not run as smoothly as usual? Maybe you were flying in adverse weather or something extraordinary happened on board. Please share your experience with me below in the comment section.

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Your Pilot Patrick

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