What's in a pilot's suitcase? My ultimate packing tips

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Hello my Aviator,

through my profession as a pilot, I not only became a professional traveller but a packing expert as well. I am definitely not a good example when it comes to travelling light weighted. But what makes my luggage so heavy? I will reveal the content in this blog post. Packing a suitcase for a long journey can be time-consuming and disappointing when you forget something important in the end.  I will give you some great packing tips to make your next packing session a lot more enjoyable.

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From my first pilot salary I didn't buy a pilot watch, but a set of suitcases

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Choose the right size of a suitcase for your trip!

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Home is where my bags are

I am travelling for about half of the month. Sometimes I am gone from home for one week during my travels as a pilot. My luggage becomes my loyal travel buddy. That is why I need to rely on it. Each piece needs to be the correct size and of good quality. The design of the luggage is also very important. My current checked luggage is out of polycarbonate material and with four wheels to handle it more easily. The volume of 89l and the unique shape are ideal for longer journeys. Besides my checked luggage, I take my business trolley/pilot case.

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What makes my checked luggage so heavy?

Travelling light is no longer an option for me. I try to save weight wherever I can, but my blogger activities require a lot of electronics and other equipment.

I also take a good variety of clothing for photo shootings. A suit and a minimum of two pair of shoes are always on board. Besides my clothing, I pack:

  • [amazon_textlink asin='B01LW19QX2|B01LW19QX2|B01LWCQ81A' text='Carbon tripod of Rollei*' template='ProductLink' store='wwwpilotpatri-21|wwwpilotpat00-21|pilotpatrick-20' marketplace='DE|UK|US' link_id='28723399-ca1f-11e8-a78e-a13fb93c78dc']
  • [amazon_textlink asin='B01C847NUK|B01C89H12K|B01D8C6ULO' text='Power hub of Anker*' template='ProductLink' store='wwwpilotpatri-21|wwwpilotpat00-21|pilotpatrick-20' marketplace='DE|UK|US' link_id='eea09c4e-ca1f-11e8-b619-877892390463']
  • [amazon_textlink asin='B077BRX9B8|B0779B9VRP|B0774KTV1X' text='Panasonic Lumix G9*' template='ProductLink' store='wwwpilotpatri-21|wwwpilotpat00-21|pilotpatrick-20' marketplace='DE|UK|US' link_id='5de0d558-ca20-11e8-9e7e-c7b2670bf5de']
  • [amazon_textlink asin='B071KVFPHK|B00D76RNLS' text='Tripods*' template='ProductLink' store='wwwpilotpatri-21|pilotpatrick-20' marketplace='DE|US' link_id='b6e97f10-ca20-11e8-ad77-79cf9e3b4874']
  • [amazon_textlink asin='B015R0IQGW|B015R0IQGW|B015R0IQGW' text='Microphone of Rohde*' template='ProductLink' store='wwwpilotpatri-21|wwwpilotpat00-21|pilotpatrick-20' marketplace='DE|UK|US' link_id='e6c49ff4-ca20-11e8-b476-47094e8274d4']

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My blogger essentials

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Small speaker for good sound in the hotel room

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10 ultimate packing tips

  1. Pack for the right weather and use the right size of a suitcase
  2. Put your clothing and items e.g. on a bed to get an overview
  3. Pack clothing which can be easily combined to create different outfits
  4. Always put your clothing in the same spot in the suitcase so you find it more easily
  5. Take a first aid kit for emergency cases
  6. Use dead space in shoes or between the telescopic handle for clothing
  7. Roll your clothing to occupy minimum space
  8. Packing cubes can be helpful to organize your clothing
  9. After finishing go through your checklist with the most important items
  10. Never put valuables in your checked luggage and use a TSA lock

In my video on YouTube channel: PilotPatrick, I wrapped it all together.

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Put everything on the bed to get an overview

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All travellers should pack a first aid kit

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Three items I always pack

  • Sleeping masks: to able to sleep in darkness also during the day
  • [amazon_textlink asin='B000TGKMZS|B00HCNHXV2|B01N8STO25' text='Earplugs*' template='ProductLink' store='wwwpilotpatri-21|wwwpilotpat00-21|pilotpatrick-20' marketplace='DE|UK|US' link_id='fd298bb3-ca21-11e8-8ecc-bb0dce99ba0a']: to have a silent and relaxing sleep
  • Swim shorts: the beach or pool can only be one flight away

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My before leaving home checklist not to forget anything important

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I hope you enjoyed my packing tips and find them helpful when packing next time!

What are the three items you always take on a journey? Please let me know in a comment below and subscribe to my newsletter with your email.

Safe travels and happy landings!

Your PilotPatrick

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(*) Alle amzn.to Links sind Amazon Affiliate Links. Werden Käufe über diese Links getätigt, erhält der Linkersteller eine Provision von Amazon. Der Preis für den Käufer (Euch) ändert sich dadurch natürlich nicht.

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barcelona insider travel tips

Must visit places and my insider tips of Barcelona

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Cooperation / Advertisement

Hello my Aviator,

after one year of absence, I finally made it back to my happy place Barcelona. I really missed this city because it feels like a second home for me. Unfortunately, my schedule did not allow me to stay more than three days. In this blog post, I will show you my personal highlights and share my insider tips of Barcelona for your next trip. 

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Skyline of Barcelona from Bunkers del Carmel

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Barcelona my happy place

Barcelona is a great city for sightseeing. Around every corner, you can discover a new spectacular place. I recommend renting a scooter for your stay. This time I was cruising through the city with a Vespa of ViaVespa. A scooter gives you so much freedom to go to different places in a minimum amount of time.

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Scooter rental with ViaVespa

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Check out my Vlog about Barcelona on my YouTube channel PilotPatrick!

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Where to sleep?

Two years ago I lived for three months in Barcelona, I stayed in a shared apartment in the historic Gotico. It was a great experience to live right in the center of this vibrant city. Due to a new cockpit job, I was forced to move back to Berlin. For this mini-vacation, I decided to stay at the 5 star Arts Hotel Barcelona close to the beach. Its unique building characterizes the skyline of Barcelona and was first opened during the Olympics in 1992. The views it grants from the rooms, club lounge and the spa are exceptional.

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One bedroom suite in the Arts Hotel Barcelona

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Stay protected at the pool

The hotel recently opened a newly designed outside area with an infinity pool. Now you can overlook the beach and ocean while taking a swim. I love to cool down in the water and to relax in the sun. But not without the correct sun protection. At this stage, I want to remind you how important it is to use sunscreen to protect yourself from sunlight.

First of all not to get a painful sunburn. Secondly to lower the chances of getting skin cancer. Solely in Germany, 200.000 people became diagnosed with skin cancer for the first time in 2016. Additionally, the sun is the reason for skin aging and hyperpigmentation. About 90% of the visible skin aging is caused by UV- Light and HEV- light (high-energy visible light) Read one of my latest blog post to find out more about this vital topic.

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The new infinity pool at the Arts Hotel Barcelona

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Relaxing in a cabana with Eucerin sun protection

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Eucerin Sun Protection offers a wide range of sunscreen products for any age, skin type and occasion. Two of my favorite products is the “SUN OIL CONTROL FACE GEL-CREME” for the face and the “SENSITIVE PROTECT TRANSPARENT SUN SPRAY“. My face gets shiny really fast and is really sensitive. The “Sun oil control face gel-creme” is made for such skin types and is light and dries really fast. The transparent sun spray for the body has an ultra-light texture and is not sticky. Two great products for a day by the pool.

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Eucerin Sun Transparent and Oil Control

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What to do?

Bunkers del 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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highlight: La Sagrada Familia

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Cathedral in the gothic quarter

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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.

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

 

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Casa Battló on Passeig de Gracia

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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.

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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 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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healthy eating at Teresa's

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Teresa's Carles in el Born

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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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Nuba Restaurant

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Magic fountain show

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Which season is best to visit Barcelona?

Barcelona is great all year around. If you want to enjoy the hot weather at the beach then you need to visit during the summer months. But if you come to do sightseeing and to discover the city, then I recommend avoiding the high season. That way touristic places are less crowded and waiting times are less.

Insider tip: Visit Barcelona in the spring or late summer. My favorite months 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.

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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 PilotPatrick

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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

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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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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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XLETIX sports challenge with myown crew

XLETIX sports challenge with my own crew

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(Sponsored by product placement)

Hello, my Aviator! I am excited to share with you the successful event with Arla® Protein and Xletix. Arla® Protein invited three blogger to participate with four of their fans at the Xletix obstacle run in Munich. All three teams competed against each other. Via my Instagram, Facebook and blog I called to become my member of the crew "Arla® Protein Alpha leaders". Additionally, my call up was published two times in the magazine Business Punk. Read until the end of the article to find out which team won and have the chance to win a gift voucher for sports apparel worth 100€.

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Snack at Frankfurt am Main airport

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My crew

When Arla asked me if I want to participate in this challenge I was full of enthusiasm to get started. As you know I am doing my best to organize events to meet my Aviators. This was a great occasion to meet some of you in person again.

On the day of the event (23rd of June) all team member met up at the design hotel Ruby Lilly in Munich. After the check-in to the stylishly furnished rooms, we gathered in the lobby. While having a drink we got to know each other better.

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LOVELY ROOM at hotel Ruby | LILLY in Munich

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Unfortunately, I had to find out that one "crew member" could not attend the challenge due family reasons. Luckily Fabian, who is a good friend of mine, had time to join the challenge spontaneously. My other team members were Timo, Dominik, and Oliver who joined the lottery to win a boarding ticket into my team and got selected by Arla.

The crew did not only humanly harmonize, but we all were physically in a good shape. That is why we were really motivated. We knew that this event was supposed to be a lot of fun, but our will was to win.

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The perfect crew "Arla® Protein Alphatiere"

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Decision day

Next morning all teams came together to have a breakfast with Arla® Protein products. We could choose from a great variety of products like shakes and quarks. After we finished the breakfast each team member received his sports outfit and photos of each team were taken.

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Arla® Protein breakfast

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The team leaders of the two other teams were Florian a Fitness- Blogger "Arla® Protein Gamemaker" and Food-Blogger Per "Arla® Protein Steakheros". Feeling reinvigorated we drove to the venue in Munich, where the run started around 2:30 pm. Before we got started we took some more photos of the teams and we did a warm up for the run. One crew member of mine had his birthday so a huge group of people was singing for him!

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All three teams before the challenge!

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Warming up before the run

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The challenge

Xletix offers you to choose between three degrees of difficulty. We had to master the medium distance "M". The route was over 14 km long and included about 25 challenging obstacles. It was not allowed to skip obstacles and in case you were not able to overcome it, you had to do 15 burpees as some kind of punishment. One time we used this rule to skip one obstacle because the queue was so long that we would have lost a lot of time.

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Our strategy

Right at the beginning our motivated crew "Arla® Protein Alpha leaders" managed to be the first one of all three teams and we were able to build a good lead. The obstacles got harder and harder. Most of the time they were only possible to accomplish in a team.

We had to crawl underneath barb wire fence through mud, climb over obstacles, dive through ice cold water and swing like Tarzan on a robe. It was still so much fun.

Working in a team is important to guarantee a smooth execution of flight as well. Before the run, we decided that we will stay together the whole time and support each other as much as we can.

Watch the video which was taken live during the run.  You will find more videos on my Youtube Page PilotPatrick:

https://www.facebook.com/pilotpatrick/videos/1467105820021676/

 

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Shortly prior our landing

Naturally, the run was tiring after a while. Two of my crew struggled a little bit so I had to motivate them again. The combination of cardio and strength is not easy to handle that is why two of us started to have cramps. At two obstacle stations, the task was to carry one crew member. So we picked the weakest one so he could relax and tank up some energy.

After about 2 hours and 30 minutes, we "landed" in the finish as the first team! The atmosphere was really good and we were all quite happy that we did so well and that we landed safely without any injuries.

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We are the champions!

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It was an exciting, exhausting and fun day. Thanks again to my powerful crew members. We all were rewarded with a gift voucher for sports apparel worth 100€. I want to give away this one to you. All you need to do to have the chance to win is: Subscribe to my newsletter and leave me a comment with your favorite type of sport. The winner will be picked out of the subscribers and commentators.

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Happy landings!

Your Pilot Patrick

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reason why I became a pilot

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

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

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

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Avporn and cloudporn in London ;)

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The view

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

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

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

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Office view - the world from 12,000 km

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Faszination

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

"It is contagious!"

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

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From a private jet to this big bird - Airbus A300

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Flight training

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

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

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Returning from my first solo flight in 2008

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Knowledge

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

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

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

 

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Office with a view shot with a GoPro Hero 4

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Great crew

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

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

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

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At the beautiful airport of Oslo

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

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

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

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

Always safe travels and happy landings!

Your Pilot Patrick

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flying in airberlin business cass

Air Berlin Business Class review

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"As much as I love to fly myself I also enjoy the time as passenger, especially when traveling comfortably in an airplane."

My last long range flight in business class was with Lufthansa to Cape Town last January. That is why I was super excited to fly with Air Berlin in their business class for a spontaneous vacation in the Caribbean. Air Berlin offers non stop connections from Berlin and Düsseldorf to destinations in North America, Middle America and to Abu Dhabi.

The outbound connection was with a short layover in Düsseldorf. The flight AB7446 departed at 09:50 to Punta Cana (PUJ) and touched down in paradise already at 14:30. The return flight AB7315 was nonstop back to Berlin departing at 16:50. Read my review about the flight experience in Air Berlin's business class.

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Seat

The business class cabin is Air Berlin's premium product since they do not offer a first class. The business class cabin is located in the front section of their A330 long haul fleet. With only 19 seats the cabin is really intime and tranquil. That is a big plus compared to other major airlines, where the cabin is much bigger and noisier. All business class seats offer direct aisle access and convert to a fully flat bed. I am 1,86 m tall and I could fully stretch out. I could lay comfortable on the site and on my back, but I found the seat width a little bit too narrow.

My seat on the outward was 4K which was situated directly at the window providing extra privacy and extra shoulder width due to the curvature of the cabin. A seat at the aisle has the advantage that it is easier to get in and out. The 6 seats in the middle I recommend only to couples traveling together since the seats are quite close to each other.

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Unfortunately my inflight entertainment was not working properly on both flights. I found that the storage for personal belongings was not sufficient. But good news from the ITB this week. Air Berlin presented their new business class seat, which they have modified to be even more comfortable. The current configuration will stay the same.

Service

One of the best food and beverage service I have had on board of a plane so far. The meals where delicious, hot and well presented. The food and beverage menu was rich in variety. I really liked the fact that I could have an espresso to my dessert and snacks in between meals. Since the front cabin is small the service is individual like in a restaurant. There are no big trollies moving around for food and drinks. In my opinion there was a little bit too much meat on the menu. But in case you are vegetarian or vegan you can always request special meals prior the flight (also in economy)

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Entertainment

The inflight entertainment offers music, show, games, movies and much more. The selection of movies is not the biggest but it is well enough for a 10 hour flight. My movie recommendation: Suicide Squad and Miss Peregrine’s home for peculiar. The headset is comfortable to wear and reduces background noise quite well.

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Air Berlin exquisite

Air Berlin offers all passengers who book an economy ticket to bid on available business class seats. This online service is called airberlin equisite. The price is completely set by yourself. 12 hours prior to departure you will find out whether the bid was successful. I used this kind of auction and was lucky to fly in business class to Miami. The upgrade was around 500€ (one way)

My vacation already started when boarding the aircraft. For me it is luxury to stretch out and have a good sleep in a flat position on board. The high price was definitely worth it since I only stayed for six nights in Punta Cana. This is how I could reduce my jet lag!

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Where to book?
www.airberlin.com

Where to fly?
Non stop from Berlin and Düsseldorf:  Miami (Mia), Los Angeles (LAX), Abu Dhabi (AHU), New York (JFK), Punta Cana (PUJ), Havanna (HAV )  Cancun (CUN), Chicago (ORD) ...

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Amenities in business class

  • Welcome drink
  • Amenity Kit with cosmetics
  • Blanket and pillow
  • Food and drink menu
  • Inflight Enterainment
  • Priority boarding
  • Lounge access
  • higher baggage allowance

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Insider tips

  • Reserve a seat free of charge when booking your ticket
  • Exquisite: You can bit on available business class seats
  • XL Economy seats offer more space in economy class
  • Sign up for top bonus to collect miles for free flights

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Where is your next flight taking you to?

Your Pilot Patrick

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