“I get excited like a little kid every time I have the chance to fly solo”
At IUBH, students in the aviation management bachelor’s degree programme can opt to earn their Airline Transport Pilot License (ATPL) while studying. Twenty-one year old Anton is pursuing this goal, establishing a strong second foothold in aviation.
Anton’s passion for flying began in his childhood: having been raised next door to the Munich Airport he watched airplanes taking off and landing when he was in primary school. When he was eight years old, he flew for the first time with his father from Munich to Hamburg. “At that time I was allowed to have a quick look around the cockpit after the flight. I found that so fascinating and knew that someday I wanted to fly a plane myself,” says the aviation management student.
How much does it cost to fuel up for a flight to New York?
Even as a kid, he had many questions. How does an airline earn money? How do you organise a flight plan? Why do the prices of tickets change so quickly? How much does it cost to fuel up for a flight to New York?
“At the end of high school I listened to a presentation given by an aviation professor at Open Campus Day at IUBH: here I could get answers to my questions. That is what ultimately led me to study at IUBH,” recalls Anton. The fact that IUBH provides an opportunity to combine the degree programme with training to become a pilot was the last detail that totally convinced him. Anton is now in his 5th semester and is expected to complete his Airline Transport Pilot License (ATPL) parallel to his bachelor’s degree next year.
Time management and motivation lead to the “absolute dream”
How do you combine two educational programmes at the same time? This requires good time management and strong motivation. Both are no problem for Anton. “Of course during exam period, time can be very tight. But you know that in advance and can adjust and plan accordingly.” Skills that are helpful for this double workload, and for studying in general, are motivation, the ability to comprehend information quickly, a capacity for spatial thinking, a solid basic understanding of mathematics and physics, the ability to concentrate for long periods and very good English skills.
“Before starting my pilot training programme my dream of flying was to see the world from above. The idea of experiencing and connecting different cultures fascinated me deeply, and it still does”, recalls Anton. In the meantime however, flying is much more: With each of the almost 140 hours of flying time, of which he has already flown over 80 hours as “Pilot in Command” when no flight instructor is on board, flying is getting more and more fun. It is incredibly exciting to be able to determine how high you fly, how fast, and in which direction. He sometimes dreams for days about a beautiful sunset he saw from the cockpit. “I get excited like a little kid every time I have the chance to fly solo. For me, it is my absolute dream”, he explains.
From theory to pilot’s license
But how do you become an airline pilot? The required ATPL training has a theoretical part and a practical part. The theoretical coursework takes place at the flight school at the airfield in Bonn-Hangelar, the Siegerland Airport or the Frankfurt-Egelsbach Airport. Each trainee pilot is independently responsible for completing the required number of hours to qualify for the examination.
The assigned flight instructor coordinates the practical flying lessons. At the beginning, the trainee goes through a very structured training plan that teaches the first basics. However, after about 15 flying hours the highlight of every pilot trainee arrives: the first solo flight as pilot in command.
Afterwards there are about 45 flying hours with and without a flight instructor and an examination for the Private Pilot License (PPL), the foundation of all other licenses. “Then the best part of the training programme begins: hour-building. This is 100 flying hours as pilot in command to gather experience and to fly to wherever you want with the amount fuel you have. “I currently use the hours to take excursions to France, Italy, and Austria, as well as to my native Bavaria”, says Anton.
Finally yet importantly, there are flying hours based on instrument flight rules and special instructions such as flying with multiple engines. The practical part of the ATPL training is then complete. Now, the so-called type rating follows. This is a two-month briefing about special types of airplanes such as the A320 or B737 and is normally done together with your future employer. With that, you are finally prepared to fly large commercial aircrafts as first officer.
A future in the air or on the ground?
And where does Anton want to work later? “Lufthansa CEO Carsten Spohr is my inspiration: in addition to his executive function he is also Capitan of the Airbus A320. I also would like to work half my time flying and the rest in a management role. However, if one day I had to make a choice between the two, I definitely want to fly!”