Is it worth it to become a helicopter pilot?
Interview: 11 confessions from a pilot
From falling in love to the most important elements of flight training - find out here what a private jet pilot experiences in his job.
1. Why did you want to become a pilot?
There has been a deep-seated passion for flying since I was a child. There is no better feeling in the world than this. It's like an addiction, a kind of freedom that cannot be found anywhere else. Having your office 12,000 meters high is the best there is.
2. We believe that pilots lead a very glamorous life, but does this really consist of a lunch in Bangkok and then an overnight stay in a luxury hotel in Lisbon ?!
Yes and no. A private jet pilot can enjoy a number of advantages. I fly the celebrities around and see some of the most attractive places in the world, hang out in bars and restaurants in Nice, Corsica and Sardinia, stay in 5-star hotels and see places that are so incredibly beautiful that you can visit yourself can hardly imagine.
But there is another side. I spend a lot of time far from home, I miss my family and it is sometimes very difficult to keep up with people around me. Also, it's a very exhausting and demanding job with lots of early takeoffs and late landings and different time zones - all of which hit the body. All in all, it's 70% glamorous and 30% exhausting or boring.
Maybe our pilot will stay in one of these hotels: 10 of the most famous luxury hotels in the world.
3. Do pilots really sometimes wear their uniforms outside of working hours to look more attractive?
No, in my opinion it is pretentious to wear your uniform outside of working hours and I hardly know any pilots who do that. I noticed that a few women kept an eye on me, but in general the uniform is only for flying. Mine is handmade and cost € 3,500. But still - she never got me on a date.
4. Is it true that pilots and flight attendants like to crackle?
Yes, it does happen. We spend a lot of time together and it's true that there are relationships between the crew and the pilots. It's not that different from other professions where you just spend a lot of time together.
Fittingly: 10 typical couple crises on vacation!
5. What do pilots do outside of their working hours when they are not back at home?
Local restaurants in our destinations are my favorite place. I have a great fish restaurant that I visit regularly in France, where the owner even knows my name. With so much traveling, I really appreciate nice faces and people who welcome you on arrival. If you want to meet a pilot, you should try Carnegies in Hong Kong - a real hot spot.
6. What's the worst part about being a pilot?
In my opinion, it's the best job in the world, but the downside is that you're often away from home, family, and friends. In addition, we sometimes have to stay in really shabby hotels in the high season - so it's not always the 5-star luxury hotel!
7. Have you ever flown any celebrities? And if so, are there any exciting stories?
As a private jet pilot, I've flown thousands of celebrities. From Glen Close to various Formula 1 drivers to Sophia Lauren and Paul McCartney. I'm afraid I'm bound to secrecy, but let's just say they all lead very colorful lives.
Do you want to meet the stars and starlets? Then book one of the 13 luxury hotels worldwide where you are guaranteed to meet celebrities.
8. The film released in 2012 Flight tells the story of an alcoholic, hedonistic pilot. But are there really pilots who would fly under the influence of alcohol or drugs?
The responsibility for the lives of the passengers rests in our hands, so we take our job absolutely seriously. In my many years of experience, I have never met a crew member who was under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Attention: Only those who don't have to fly a plane the next day can treat themselves to one of the 8 craziest drinks in the world.
9. Is it true that the pilot and the co-pilot are not allowed to have the same food ?!
Yes that's true. It's an unwritten rule. The main reason is that we often travel to places where one could get an upset stomach due to the unfamiliar preparation methods. That's why pilots never order the same food in a restaurant before the flight.
10. When you fly as a passenger, what annoys you the most?
Passengers who get up early and then queue up before boarding the plane. And that although they have clearly been assigned a seat and will only be called later to board the aircraft! Passengers discussing with the crew about a bag that is too big for hand luggage or having other complaints and holding up the whole line. And finally, the passengers who are rude to the flight crew and think they should get extra treatment when there is no reason.
With this guide, you can be sure that you don't incite our pilots: The perfect passenger!
11. How do you become a pilot of a private jet and what advice would you give to others who want to pursue this career path?
Since the training is extremely expensive and there is no guarantee of a secure job, it should be a decision that you really stand behind. You will probably have to give up some things in order to finance your education, such as selling your car or taking out a large loan. On average, a pilot pays € 115,000 for training. Basic training and the license cost € 90,000. Then there are additional fees for job interviews. And then about another € 40,000 to get your rating for a specific commercial jet or operator. Pilots also have to pay for their not exactly cheap uniforms themselves.
Young pilots must complete 40 to 50 flights on this particular commercial jet in training. After this time you will receive a certificate that confirms that you have completed enough flying hours and can then fly as the first officer.
Training can be extremely difficult and not everyone ends up becoming a pilot; Even after completing their training, licensed pilots can be rejected by an operator. Still, once you get there, it's definitely worth it. I wouldn't want to swap my job with any other job in the world.
The interview was published by our UK colleagues and translated into German. Click here for the original.
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