PILOT COMPETITION: LANDING THE SPITFIRE (EPISODE 1)

Hey! In this first video episode Guillaume (Boeing 777 pilot), Viktor (Boeing 737 pilot) and I got to test our flying skills in the Spitfire simulator as we are preparing ourselves for the real flight in the 80 year old vintage airplane (which will be in the next episode). The three of us had a “friendly” competition about which pilot could make the best landing 😉

Xx,

Maria 😘

Q&A! ANSWERING QUESTIONS FROM MY FOLLOWERS

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Hi Maria! You always have the responsibility of so many passengers lives when you’re in the cockpit. I understand it’s rewarding, but it looks super tough at the same time. How do you get over this big stress? Thanks.

ANSWER: I don’t see my job as stressful. Actually, when I’m at work I feel the least stressed. All pilots have done extensive training in dealing with the unexpected while keeping a cool head in any situation.

Could you give me the link of the school that you studied at (school of pilots)?

ANSWER: I did my training to become a pilot at OSM Aviation Academy. They have a very informative website with a whole section of Frequently Asked Questions (many of the same questions that I receive).  Here’s the link to their website: www.osmaviationacademy.com. You can also find them on Instagram and Facebook!

I have really bad eyesight, can I still become a pilot?

ANSWER: You will need to pass a Medical Class 1 to obtain your pilot licence, and this certificate has to be renewed every year. A lot of pilots wear glasses or contact lenses (like I do),  but you should be able to see at least 0,7 with each eye and 1,0 with both eyes, with or without correction.

What are the requirements to become a pilot?

ANSWER: To apply for a flight school in Europe like OSM Aviation Academy you’d need the following: (found on osmaviationacademy.com)

  • 18 years of age

  • Graduated from High School with grades in:
    Mathematics
    English
    Physics*

  • Pass a Pilot Aptitude Test (both part 1 and 2)

  • *If you haven't read physics in High School, OSM Aviation Academy offers a 2-week long online course. You may sign up for this course after passing the Pilot Aptitude Test.

  • Pass an EASA Class 1 medical examination (the medical examination can be done after you apply, but must be done prior to course start).

How do you afford to pay for the pilot education?

ANSWER: I was fortunate enough to get accepted into the government funded aviation program in Sweden for half of my pilot education, the other half I did finance myself. After highschool I started delivering packages for a postal service company in Sweden, worked evenings in my mom’s paint shop and did a part-time job at the Air Traffic Control Academy at Malmö Airport. Saving all my money to finish my training and to build up hours in a small engine piston airplane. It was quite a stressful time when I studied for all my exams and worked at the same time, but I knew it was only temporary and kept motivating myself by looking at pictures of pilots in the flightdeck, having my eyes on the goal at all times, and that helped a lot! A lot of my colleagues have funded their training by taking a loan for part of the cost, or saved a bit before they started the training to become a pilot.

Are you guys in the cockpit allowed to hand fly approaches in bad weather? Or does the autopilot do everything?

ANSWER: All approaches and landings are manually flown. We have the option to keep the autopilot in until the minimum altitude of 158ft but then we have to disconnect and land manually (if not a CAT3 approach, then it’s autopilot landing). Sometimes when the weather is challenging and in windy conditions we disconnect the autopilot a bit earlier on the approach just to get a feel for how the aircraft is behaving.

Is it true than an airplane can start and land with only one working engine?

ANSWER: Yes, for take off you’d need a really long runway though. But no problem to cruise around and land with only one engine, we practice it every 6th month when we are in the simulator.

Have you ever experienced hard crosswind landing and landed the plane safely?

ANSWER: Many times! These kind of approaches that are a bit more challenging (compared to the days when we have good weather and calm winds) are the most fun approaches and landings! In the Boeing 737-800 that I fly, the maximum allowed crosswind component is 33 knots, for both takeoff and landing.

Is becoming a pilot a good job in the future? Will I get a job?

ANSWER: The market for aviation has a bright future! It’s very reassuring to know that the biggest aircraft manufacturer like Boeing and Airbus are forecasting a high demand for pilots in the coming years. In fact, there has never been a better time to become a pilot! Once finished with your pilot training you will start looking for your very first job. It’s important to choose a school with good reputation and training that will prepare you for what is to come. OSM Aviation Academy offers a conditional job offer these days, you can read more about it on their website https://www.osmaviationacademy.com/airline-ready-pilot. But in the end it’s up to you how well you do in the interviews.

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THE TIME AS A STUDENT PILOT AT OSM AVIATION ACADEMY

my 5 epic reasons why you should become a pilot:

  1. It's challenging but yet so rewarding! Getting behind the controls of a huge machine, pushing the throttle forward and taking off from the runway is a blast. Every single time.

  2. The job comes with the best office views. Remember the teacher telling you that nobody would pay you for looking out a window. Well, you can do exactly that as a pilot. 

  3. Flying is a satisfying career which can take you to any part of the world - THIS is my favourite reason! Because if you’re anything like me and have an urge to travel and explore new places, then working as a pilot can give you the opportunity to do so. When you’re coming home from a day of flying, you leave all work at work, there’s no paperwork or filing reports or answering emails. Which gives you that extra precious time.

  4. The market for aviation has a bright future! Once finished with your pilot training you will start looking for your very first job. Then it’s very reassuring to know that the biggest aircraft manufacturer like Boeing and Airbus are forecasting a high demand for pilots in the coming years. In fact, there has never been a better time to become a pilot!

  5. You get to wear a uniform to work and instantly look sharp 😉

When I was 18 years old I started my aviation training at OSM Aviation Academy. I joined a class of 14 students, all eager to learn and excited for what to come. I believe that having the will to learn is the most important trait when studying, it also helped to be surrounded by my friends from class that also went through the exact same phases as I did, and together we could help each other out to stay focused on the goal - to become an airline pilot.

After having finished my pilot training it was time for me to attend my first job interview for a first officer position. I had studied for the interview for weeks and with all knowledge still fresh in my mind just having finished the excellent training from my flight school and knowing that the OSMAA is the preferred education path by most airlines, I felt confident and well prepared for the assessment. 

Today there are many flight schools out there to pick from, but when choosing where you start your flight training, consider the following:

  • Pick a school with good reputation - the truth is that the aviation world is small, and therefore it’s important to choose a school that is known for its high quality and airline-oriented training programs. This could make a huge impact on weather or not you get selected for your first airline interview. OSMAA is a flight school that has its main focus on strict SOP’s (Standard Operating Procedures), these procedures are used globally with every commercial airline, so having practiced SOP’s from the very start of my flight training was a big advantage for me when I joined my first airline.

To become a professional pilot you will need the right attitude and mindset in order to succeed. It’s a challenging education and it requires a high level of dedication from you - but if you have the will to learn and are determined, then you can go from no flying experience to having all the licenses and ratings you need in order to work as an Airline Pilot in less than 2 years. This type of pilot education is called an integrated program. The advantage of integrated program is that they package everything you need into one education program.

If you are considering a career as a pilot then you should attend one of OSMAA’s Pilot Open Days, if you have questions or want to know more about what you need to do before you apply for a flight school or the costs of training then these events are great in that way that you’ll get a deeper understanding of the training and you get to ask any questions you might have.

For my next blogpost I will do a “Q&A” (Questions & Answers), so if you have ANY question about ANYTHING - write a comment and I’ll do my best to give you an answer 😊

SHOULD I GET A HELICOPTER LICENCE?

I think I do!

Flying a helicopter over Cape Town, above the mountains and down in the valleys was FREAKING amazing. My favourite part was when we were looking for an opening in the clouds, and then we saw it and just dove down to see all the beautiful waterfalls!! South Africa. You have my heart.

I sometimes have to pinch my arm to believe this was actually happening. And the best of all was I got to do it with my two favourite pilot girls! I absolutely LOVE to travel with you and can't wait for our next Swedish Flight Mafia adventure together! 

Pilot: Ari Kraak at the Aviation Pilot Training flight school (Congratulations to your first SOLO FLIGHT in the airplane!!)

 

FLYING OPEN CANOPY AND SKYDIVING IN ITALY

When Maria asks me if I want to come to Italy to fly a Tiger Moth from the 1930's - I'm not going to say no. 

We stayed at the cutest little Bed&Breakfast just outside of Fano, and the older couple that rented our room out to us was so kind and friendly. They gave us maps and showed us where to go. I've never been to the east coast of Italy, so the first thing Maria and I decided to do (after enjoying a typical Italian breakfast) was to take our rental car to go see Fano town.

We didn't stay for long because we had other plans for that day - so after an hour or two we headed to an airfield not too far away where we met up with Cesare and Corrado. Together they fly the legendary open canopy Tiger Moth from 1930. They wanted our help to do their adventure of their lifetime - to participate in the Vintage Air Rally, where only 15 vintage airplanes will be selected to be part of this life-changing crazy trip that begins from the world’s southernmost airport, Ushuaia, Argentina, and heading north to Florida, USA, journey’s end.

Both Maria and I know what it's like to have a dream and thought that if we could help just a little bit with achieving theirs, then we're more than happy to do whatever it takes. The selection of which teams that will qualify is judged solely on popularity and likes on the Vintage Air Rally's Facebook Page, I ask everyone to give a big thump up by liking Cesare and Corrado's video on Facebook! I know it would make both of them so happy! 😀 Also, there's a flight giveaway!! One person of every 1000 that liked, commented or shared their video on the Vintage Air Rally's Facebook Page will get selected to get to fly with Corrado in the Tiger Moth!!

Flying the Tiger Moth was so much fun I couldn't stop smiling, THIS was truly something I've never experienced before and I'd love to do it over and over again. It's so different from anything I've ever flown before, such freedom feeling the wind with the open canopy. After our flight in the Tiger Moth we had a little break before our next adventure - skydiving.

Even though I've had the chance to try skydiving before with the Breitling team in Dijon, this was something completely different. We had the pleasure to jump out on an aircraft from 14000 feet (we normally use oxygen when at this altitude) while the sun was setting. It was SO beautiful to see the east coast of Italy at this altitude, and I was enjoying it so much more this time than the first time because I was feeling more relaxed. 

We got back to our cute little B&B that evening and went to bed with the biggest smile you can image on our faces. The next day before I went back to Tenerife and Maria to Sicily, we went on a little roadtrip to San Marino - a country I've heard so much about but never had visited. And I'm so happy we did this trip, because I liked it so much! The weather was perfect and so were the views! We didn't have much spare time before we had to go to the airport and catch our flights, so we tried to see as much as we possibly could. But both Maria and I said to ourselves that we definitely needed to come back, and next time we'd bring Malin with us, because without her our Swedish Flight Mafia trio isn't complete ❤️

Bye Italy & San Marino, until next time! Arrivederci 👋

(PS. Subscribe to my YouTube channel for the full video of our crazy flying adventure and a lot more)

TWO DAYS FILLED WITH CRAZINESS IN DIJON

"If you work with watches, you'd better be on time", that's exactly what Maria P, Malin, Emma & I were told when we arrived at the hotel in Dijon, France, and asked what time we should all meet up the day after. We were to spend two days here with the Breitling team, with a schedfull of adventures and activities planned, no time to lose! 

Flying crazy manoeuvres such as loops and rolls in the L-39 Albatros with the famous Breitling Jet team, then Jonathan Brandt took us flying in his helicopter so we could see Dijon from above. When he was told we girls were all pilots, he let us have the controls - which was freaking exciting and scary at the same time! It's so different from flying an airplane (and so much more fun). As soon as we landed the helicopter, we were off SKYDIVING!! This was truly a life experience that I'd never ever forget. We were dropped from 14000 ft, freefall for about a minute that felt like so much longer, and then when the pilot released the parachute we got to enjoy the prettiest view gliding over Dijon - I was so happy and couldn't stop smiling. I've always wanted to go skydiving and it has been on my bucket list for quite some time. It was truly an experience of a lifetime. Two days filled with craziness, just the way I like it!

WORK AND ITALIAN PASTRIES

Paul Hewitt (here) - Gold Sailor Line Collection Watch with Gold Strap and White Dial

"Ladies and gentlemen, welcome onboard! This is your first officer speaking and I have the pleasure to take you to our destination of today" :) Here are some pictures from last week's flight to East Midlands, UK and Treviso, Italy :) I was so excited to see my bestie Maria Pettersson on the ground during our turnaround in Treviso. Thanks for the cannoli from Sicily my love, they were delicious!! Also, my other bestie Malin Rydqvist was on the same flight as I was flying back to Tenerife. Imagine how surprised I was when I found her sitting there on row four, neither of us knowing we were on the same flight! I got to see my two best friends on the same day, that is what I call a good day! 

Xx,
Maria

MY STORY

My dream about becoming a commercial pilot started when I was very young. My dad has always been my role model and inspiration to pursue my dreams. For almost 20 years he flew long haul across the world, always taking me and my three sisters with him on his travels, I couldn't think of a better way to see the world from such a young age – I fell in love with aviation and the world. Today he is a captain on the Airbus 320. My sisters and I grew up with the idea that everything is possible and that we could do what ever we desired in our lives, but you'd have to be willing to work hard, because truthfully very little in life has to do with luck.

2010, when I was 18 years old I was lucky enough to get accepted into the government funded aviation school in Sweden, Scandinavian Aviation Academy. That summer I flew solo for the first time in a single engine piston Cessna 172. When I was 20 years old I graduated from high school of the natural science program and was a proud owner of a commercial pilot license. I then moved back home to the south of Sweden, started working part time at the Swedish ATC (Air Traffic Control) Academy as a simulator pilot, while continuing my studies to become an airline pilot. Summer of 2014, I took my multi engine license, instrument rating, MCC course and ATPL theory. At that time I finally had completed all my aviation training and was now an owner of a frozen ATPL and could start applying for aviation jobs as a first officer. 

Less than a month after I completed my training I received the great news that I had been accepted into the cadet program for Ryanair, flying the Boeing 737-800 in the right seat as a first officer. After the intense few months of type rating in Amsterdam and London, I was allocated my first base, Palma de Mallorca in Spain. I was fortunate enough to live on this beautiful island for five months during my line training. The months spent on Mallorca quickly made me realize what I value in life and I decided I wanted to stay in Spain, as close to the ocean as possible. In October 2015 I was allocated my new permanent base, my new home Tenerife. The climate they have in the Canary Islands is like a perfect summer day in Sweden, just all year round. And I found myself as happy as I've ever been. Scandinavia and Sweden will always have my heart though, it’s the one place I get to call my home and where my beloved family lives. There’s nothing better than be able to go home for a few days after being away for some months, I just wish the weather was more like Tenerife-weather ;)

My dream has always been to fly long haul just like my dad used to. However, being based on Tenerife, with it’s long flights all over Europe, it’s kind of like working long haul. Today I work on a 5/4 schedule, which means I work for five days then have four days off, with no layovers. On a typical month I have between 7-12 working days, flying 75-100 hours a month. It's perfect. This allows me to spend time doing all sorts of different things that I cherish in life. On my four days off from work I either go visit friends and family all over Europe, or I stay on my island where I go hiking, snorkeling with the turtles, kitesurfing in El Médano or hang by the pool enjoying the sun. I especially love the ocean and all kinds of water sports. 

Two of my best friends are also airline pilots, Malin Rydqvist is based in beautiful Croatia and Maria Pettersson is based on the equally beautiful island of Sicily. Today female pilots account for less than 6% of all airline commercial pilots in the world and personally I think that's way too low of a percentage. Together we are each others cheerleading squad, always lifting each other up whenever we think that the world is too dark. There is too much negativity in the world, so this is a place for me where I try to inspire and keep up a good spirit. I think my job is serious enough so it's important to smile as much as possible, whenever you find an opportunity. Through my social media accounts I’d like to share all my adventures with you and show that with the right mindset and hard work it's possible to come a little bit closer to do the things that you desire in life. The same way my parents raised me and my sisters.

Med kärlek, 
Maria