My Journey to becoming a 737 First Officer

My Journey to becoming a 737 First Officer

Hey dear fellow aviators or interested reader! Please allow me to introduce myself to you. Online I am known as the Third Culture Pilot, I am 26 years old, from Germany and I work as a First Officer on the Boeing 737, flying across all of Europe!

I first came into contact with aviation at the age of 2 months old, when my parents took me on the first of many flights to come, from Germany to the UK to meet some family. Both my mom and dad, who are from Austria and Sri Lanka, have worked and still do, in aviation. They even first met onboard of a flight when my mother worked as flight attendant, while my dad was on a business trip for another airline. So I guess one could say, I was born with the passion for flying in my blood!

Throughout my life I was lucky enough to regularly fly across the world to places such as Dubai - UAE, Colombo - Sri Lanka and Melbourne - Australia, to visit my relatives who lived there. Thanks to my parents and their work, during these flights I was able to visit the flightdeck countless times, sometimes even taking off and landing in them from the jumpseat. The experience was so memorable and exciting to me every time that I knew that this is what I would want to do when I grew up. 

So while I was progressing through school, all teachers and students always knew me as the kid that wanted to fly airplanes one day. And although not everyone believed that I would actually stick with that dream, I kept on working hard to get closer to this dream every single day. I didn’t view school as boring or annoying, but as a ticket towards a job as a pilot one day. This made studying so much easier for me than for others and showed me the importance of having dreams and goals, even if they seem very distant and hard to achieve at first.

After finishing high school I applied for Lufthansa's ab initio cadet pilot training, for which the selection was said to be one of the most difficult in the civil aviation industry. Only around 5% pass the three rounds of assessments, which you are allowed to only take once in your entire life.  I got through all rounds successfully and was placed in a waiting pool of candidates that were supposed to be trained eventually. However, during this time back in 2014, Lufthansa halted all trainings due to fights with the pilot unions and uncertainty about the future growth of the airline. I decided to initially join university, studying economics for the time being, while waiting for my training with Lufthansa to begin, but later dropped out of it, as it was evident that there wouldn’t be any flight training courses soon. Economics really wasn’t for me at all anyway, so I decided to instead use my time differently, working closer to what I loved. I went for an open day interview to join Emirates, to work as flight attendant based in Dubai. My dad actually used to work for Emirates, too when he was in his 20s and he suggested it might be a good experience for me as well. All went smoothly and few months later I found myself living in the ‘sand pit’, flying onboard the Boeing 777 and Airbus A380 across the entire world. I had one of the best times of my life there, while still looking for options to follow up with my actual dream of becoming a pilot. Only half a year after moving to Dubai, I moved back to Germany and begun my private flight training to become a commercial pilot. I had to take a loan from my bank to be able to finance the program, but was confident that I will be successful with it. The day I then finally received my commercial pilots license less than two years later; I applied for my first job as First Officer on the Boeing 737, got invited, passed the interview, passed the training and type rating and started to work in October 2019, only few months before the pandemic struck. Throughout the crisis, I was lucky enough to keep my job and even fly now and then. As of April 2021 I now have roughly 500h on the Boeing 737 and look forward to fly again next in May. Come join me along my future story!

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