Thursday, April 19, 2012

the right side?

The right side of the fence?!

In the last few months I´ve been flying quite a lot, on our normal network as well as charters all over europe and once even arabia and onwards to the subcontinent. That was a long way in an ATR I can tell you ;)

I also managed to get few, highly enjoyable daytime flights, the fact that I`m very happy about flying during the day once shows how easy it is to please us night prowlers...

A very interesting point about those day flights was that I managed to get myself on to the mayor aviation photo webites, thanks to the spotters that shot pictures of us landing. This might not sound special to you, but I can still vividyl remeber the time when I was trying to get to the airport as often as possible, taking pictures of airplanes and just watching all the action going on airside. So now being pictured on the other side of the fence was something small, but special for

I think I made it to the right side of the fence.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

up north, where the sun never rests



airplane status is all good engines running, propeller spinning, we`re headed almost straight up north tonight. After leaving Cologne and passing by Hannover, Bremen and Hamburg we`re now almost abeam Copenhagen, weather has cleared and we have a nice view a the ships sailing the balitc sea below. We`ll at least we can see their lights…

It´s half past 12 local time and still its dusk, the sky ahead (direction north) is still glowing in a fantastic varierty of colours. So far the remaing lights helps a lot to fight of the tiredness. As minutes pass we keep pushing north and after another 30min its time to start the descend towards oslo, our destination tonight.

After an eventless landing at an airport still very much a sleep we have to wait for a couple of hours and wait for the cargo for the return flight.Amazingly the sky is still lightly light, and while we head for a coffee daylight is rapidly approaching.The clouds are still dark but the sky above is allright light up brightly.


after landing in Oslo

By the time we finished loading its infact still very early morning (around 4 local) and our plane sits on the ramp in broad daylight. So ist sunshade time again!

Still traffic is very light to not existiong so after a smooth departure we get a lovely direct of more than half the route and are southbound again heading for Hahn airport with a fully loaded plane.


southern Norway                             northern Denmark

Sipping coffee out the thermos bottle I`m enjoying the beatiful view of the northern landscape.passing underneath, life couldn`t be much better



Elbe river

As the radio frequencies and the sky start to fill up with early morning flights its time for us to get ready for our approach in hahn, a few nice directs and we´re qucikyl established on the ILS.

After securing our plane its of the hotel for us, and finally off to bed

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Simulator Time…

after a few busy weeks flying charters around southern europe and north africa I have lots of stories and pictures to tell!

But first I`m off to the simulator to brush up on emergency procedures and handling …


Thursday, January 27, 2011

Where am I?


Its pitch black dark, I can hear my alarm clock going off and while my hands try to find it and shut it off I try get my mind straigth, where am I? Bucharest, no the bed is smaller, Prague? no the room is to dark…

While I fumble aorund with my alarm I almost knock over a bed lamp and my coffee mug , ok thats a give away, I´m at home!

I finally manage to kill my alarm and switch on the lights, ok ist just noon my mind wakes up as well and I remember I`m off for the day…

A few month ago I wouldn`t have believed that this could acutally happen to me but apparently switching from hotel to hotel has had some impact.

The last few weeks or month have been pretty tough, with the winter kicking in at full force we had to fight delays, basicly every where and for every thing: loading, departure, arrival, or off loading…


At least the beginning of 2011 gave us all a little break, with temperatures rising a little and snow melting away we had to spent less times waiting and freezing, the delays dropped to allmost 0 and the operation smoothed out somewhat.


But still from time to time the winter comes back …

last week suddenly rain turned into snow again, so again we ended up beeing delayed because the de-icing teams where not really prepared for that sudden weather change. In the end we where able leave the ramp with just a small delay, However as we were taxing out to the runway we could hear one of our company airplanes returning to the ramp and when we where not handed over to tower, but stuck in queue of airplanes we started to realise something was going wrong…SDC16557

A few minutes later we were informed that the airport is now closed for snow removal at least for the next 45min… That completely busted our holdover time (the time during which the deicing fluid on the airplane gives sufficent protection) and we ended up taxing back to the ramp for another deicing treatment and waiting for the airport to reopen its runways…

In the end we left with about 1.5h delays, but we where quite happy to be on our way. Approaching Basel the weather broadcast sounded promising with good visibilty and high clouds and no snow at all, so we where expecting a rather easy approach and then off to the hotel…

Again this didn`t seem to be our day instead of high clouds and no snow we ended up the middle of strong snow showers, very limited visibitlity and low clouds… Just above the minimuns we were able to pick up the runway and lights and continued for a save landing.

While shutting down the airplane we saw that the hole airport had gone back to winter wonderland and again they closed an airport for snow removal, but as it was off to the hotel for us we we`re lucky once that day…

And the waiting and delays where left for the daylight guys Zwinkerndes Smiley

Monday, November 22, 2010

Sit tight and wait…

One can definitely tell that autumn has come and winter is not very far away…


On my last flight to Bucharest the weather really gave us a hard time, we had known since departure that they were forecasting some fog for the morning, basically about the time of our arrival. So we were pretty well prepared for a low visibility approach and a possible diversion to our alternate airport.


The bad thing was that instead of increasing the weather conditions especially the visibility were getting worse by every report we got. So when approach gave the final vectors and RVRs (technically measured visibility on the runway) we knew that we were not able to continue for a landing. So we abandoned the approach and as agreed earlier told ATC that we are diverting. So this had us heading about an hour across Romania to alternate of Timisoara. Not a big deal and we were even treated with a nice scenic tour of Transylvania and the Carpathians. But the problem was that we had started flying out of Cologne many ours ago and we would not be able to wait very long in Timisoara for the weather to clear or we would be out of crew duty time…

SDC16242 SDC16243

After landing we did a quick check and came up with a maximum wait of approx. 3 hours. After refueling we checked the latest report from Bucharest again and discovered that it was even worse now, so it was a good choice not to sit in a holding pattern overhead Bucharest and wait. Because now we would have to wait as well, but we could go for some fresh coffee and a toilet here in Timisoara while waiting ;)

As report after report comes in the situation is not changing at all the visibility still hovering around 200m, we need at least 300 to come in for an approach…

So after waiting for close to 3 h we don`t have high hopes for the last report out of Bucharest before we have to call it a day and head for a hotel . But surprisingly the weather decided to give us a chance suddenly the fog seems to be way less dense with about 800-1000m visibility we`re good to go and head out literary speaking on the last minute.

In Bucharest they still have low ceiling and the fog is going back and forth over the field, but reports are now good enough to continue the approach. Descending into the dense layer atmosphere on the flight deck becomes very quiet and concentrated as we descend further and further along the glide path and finally get ground contact at around a 150` an uneventful landing follows and we just have to find our way to the parking spot and then we`re off to the Hotel.

It has been a long day (or night)!

And the fog didn`t go away for the next 1 1/2 days so when we got back to to the airport it was still looking like this:

SDC16246 SDC16245

Friday, October 29, 2010


Life on the line… BEGINS!

Yes I`m done with the type rating and base training and after lots of paperwork I finally can really start!

Of course for the first few legs (40 to be exact) I´ll be flying together with a sort of instructor or more correctly “training captain”. They´re supposed to help me start in the normal ops and also guide and teach where necessary. But as mentioned above this part of my training will be done on the normal flights, so carrying passengers or cargo across Europe.

One of my first flights took me east to Sofia, Bulgaria. We took off early in the morning and so we were treated with a magnificent sunrise over Austria.

I´ve been able to see lots of sunsets during my training flights but never a sunrise in the air. So If I recall correctly this was my second sunrise I´ve seen from the cockpit, the first one long ago when was still a small kid dreaming of becoming a pilot. Flying with my family I was allowed to visit the cockpit on a Qantas 767 just as the sun started to rise, somehow that stuck in memory…


Saturday, September 18, 2010

Just recently

Sorry its been a while since the last post,
But I was rather busy during the last weeks...
So here is a new update from my recent experience:

it was just a like normal flight, another full load of cargo, all systems running good. So off we go, I`m the pilot flying on this leg, nothing special on the take off maybe a little bit more x-wind than normal but nothing we can`t manage. After the initial climb we join the SID, clean the plane and continue climbing to our cruise level. Once settled there we start to get a little bit more relaxed but not for long, soon a master caution gets our attention and we identify an electrical system failure, it seems one of our busses has had it… It’s not too bad after all, most of the systems are still running but we lost a lot of indicators probably the most annoying one for time being seems to be the loss of a few engine instruments and the normal pitch trim. Just as we are working through the checklist and getting an overview of the lost equipment we`re interrupted by a more severe warning, the warning bell goes off continuously combined with red lights flashing and a clear indication on the warning panel: Electrical Smoke! Just as we go for our oxygen masks we realize that we already have smoke sneaking into the flight deck, not a good sign so it’s probably not an erroneous warning…
After we`re both on oxygen I order the appropriate checklist and actions, while maintaining control of the airplane. My crewmember starts working on the memory items and the checklists while I declare emergency, advising ATC of our serious problem. I risk a glance to my left and can`t see much of the other half of the flight deck but I can see a dancing flashlight piercing through the smoke and I hear him working on the checklists. ATC offers as vectors to Stuttgart the closest field, we quickly decide that we accept Stuttgart and while I turn the plane on to the new heading he`s still busy working on the checklist. It turns out we cannot clearly identify the source of the smoke so we have to continue shutting down more and more systems in order to try to stop the smoke. Within in a few seconds this leaves me hand flying the airplane hauling towards Stuttgart. Once the checklists are finished we prepare the approach as far as possible, by the time we got the ILS set up done we`re already on the intercept vector and cleared. The smoke situation is still not improving and as another goodie we also have to configure the plane using backup gear extension…
As finally approach the last mile to the airport we can finally start to see flickers of runway lighting flashing through the smoke and clouds up ahead. A few hundred feet above the minimums we break the clouds and have the runway dead ahead, to be honest a very welcome sight at that situation! The landing is not especially smooth but still we are on the ground, we stop on the runway but the smoke is still billowing in to the cockpit. So without losing time we go for the evacuation checklist with is done within a couple of seconds. Just as I`m getting out of my seat to open the escape hatch someone turns on the lights and a voice says:

All right guys good job, that`s it for today now let’s go debrief!

Just another mission in the during the type rating…
Sorry that there are no pictures, but as you can imagine I was rather busy and didn`t have time to dig the camera out...