Jonny the Pilot

Commercial Airline Pilot. Vlogging Europe. Loving life. Ironman. Feminist.

Run in Scotland 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 Windsurf in Greece 🇬🇷 All in a weeks work…

Hello everyone, Let me start by saying a huge thank you to all of you.  Your interest in my blog has seen me voted the best pilot to follow on…

Hello everyone,

Let me start by saying a huge thank you to all of you.  Your interest in my blog has seen me voted the best pilot to follow on Instagram by Londonspotter. I was shocked and delighted by the accolade!  I’m also thrilled to be able to tell you I’ve been made a BA ambassador. Better make this week’s blog a good one!  Here goes…

Its certainly been another busy couple of weeks both in the air and on the ground with trips to Corsica, Italy, Denmark, Greece and one of my favourite destination’s Edinburgh.

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Despite the downpour I decided to brave the elements and run. Run I did, all the way up to ‘Arthur’s Seat’  🌧 🏃 ☔️

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Amazing views from Arthurs seat! I was soaked but it was worth it.

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Every time I visit Edinburgh I fall in love with it a little bit more. I feel like this could definitely offer a pretty awesome lifestyle with so much available on the doorstep.

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It took me about 25 mins to run up to the top. I had a couple of high fives from hikers and many more ‘are you mental’ type looks as I powered on. 😆

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Cobbled streets on the way to the top – not ideal for running!

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Here you can see the National Monument of Scotland and Nelson’s Monument on top of Calton Hill.  You can climb Nelson’s Monument if you fancy the 143 steps to the top. It was closed when was there but i’ll definitely be giving it a go!

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Conquered! 😊

We had a very special passenger aboard our flight to Edinburgh who made a flower from the inflight magazine.  How cool is that.  His cheerfulness all the more surprising given he’d had everything, including his dissertation stolen, while he was in the Pyrenees.  We did our very best to make his flight as enjoyable as possible.

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While I jetted off to Legoland in Billund, Denmark I noticed some of my colleagues had also been having fun blogging and vlogging as part of #BASmart.  Perhaps you saw my buddy @mmsba take his followers on a virtual journey to Beirut.  All from the comfort of a cafe at Terminal 5.  If not, do check it out on his Twitter feed.

While MMS was heading to the Middle East I took a train to Brighton to celebrate with Claire who had walked 100km in less than 30 hours in sheet rain to raise money and awareness for Oxfam.  She was absolutely exhausted as you can see, but am so proud of her.  You can support her here.

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It was certainly a stormy few days and while challenging for Claire it also caused a few problems for us in the air.  We were hit by lightning!  Sounds dramatic, but be safe in the knowledge our aircraft and expertise mean we can cope with every eventuality.

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I used the blustery conditions to my advantage when arriving in Athens and with 30 knot winds decided to seek out the top windsurfing spots.  Being brought up on an island I am no stranger to water sports and learnt to windsurf at a young age. Having seen the forecast as part of our preflight briefing you can imagine how excited I was to learn that it was going to be 35kts of wind all day long! It was a northerly wind so headed to a well know local spot about 45 mins in an Uber from where we stay. This was the perfect opportunity to get out on the water and blast around for the day in the waves. I rented some really decent kit from Lucas the local water sports dude with a radical haircut. I was shattered by 6pm which worked in my favour as the wake up call for our flight to London was at 0400.  An early night was just what I needed.

Speaking of the Isle of Wight, I managed a quick overnight trip home this weekend to celebrate the end of Cowes Week with schoolfriends.  So good to catch up and recharge my batteries with people I know and love.

Which is exactly what I did with mum this week too.  She still lives on the island but has taken a few days holiday to Lourdes.  I’m sorry I couldn’t fly her down to Toulouse but I know she’s in safe hands with my colleagues.  Next time…

I know lots of you enjoy my pix airside so let me share this with you?

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Any idea?

Well its a Mototoc. A remote control pushback machine that can manage up to 25 pushbacks with one battery charge! It seemed to work… I couldn’t help but imagine a giant whacker was about to appear from the top. 😆

Pretty cool, don’t you think?

So, thanks again for taking the time to read my blog.  Hope you’ve enjoyed travelling around Europe again with me this week.

I also had the opportunity to visit to Venice. Watch out for my next blog!

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Ciao for now!

 

 


 

 

1 Comment on Run in Scotland 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 Windsurf in Greece 🇬🇷 All in a weeks work…

A speedboat in Venice 🇮🇹 & a very quirky bar in Berlin 🇩🇪

Hi everyone, Well, that was a soggy week, wasn’t it! Whoever normally puts the weather order in clearly pressed the rain and thunderstorm button by mistake.  It certainly brought some…

Hi everyone,

Well, that was a soggy week, wasn’t it!

Whoever normally puts the weather order in clearly pressed the rain and thunderstorm button by mistake.  It certainly brought some challenging conditions for flying. Lots of fantastic cloud pics, extra fuel for weather delays and re-routing in a ‘road closed’ kind of style,  quite quickly became the norm.

Despite the challenging conditions, I’ve been lucky enough to make fleeting visits to Mallorca, Aberdeen, Hanover, and Glasgow with time off to explore in Venice, Frankfurt, Berlin and Belfast.  So many fabulous destinations in such a short time that I thought I would  let my photographs do the talking this week.

My addiction to travel has been more than satisfied this week with some brilliant crew and plenty of laughter along the way.

As always, please do tell me what you think…

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Departing London Heathrow and tracking south on Saturday involved a ‘double ding’ and a bit of cloud dodging until we reached 39,000ft where we found ourselves  above the majority of the weather. A tasty tailwind then helped us on our way to the sunnier climes of Palma, Mallorca.

Regular flyers are probably already well aware of the ‘double ding’.  It’s something you may hear from time to time on our flights after take off when the weather could cause a bit of a bumpy ride. We do it from the flight deck to let the cabin crew know that it’s now safe to leave their seats in order to carry out duties.

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Mallorca (PMI) is always a welcome stopover.  The 29 degrees was quite the contrast to the continuous downpour that seemed to be creating chaos in the UK. But only a few mins of sunbathing as I did the walk around to check the aircraft for the flight back home to London.

 

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Piove sul bagnato

Despite the sunshine of Mallorca it was still bucketing down in London and we were prepared for more thunderstorms too.  Did you know, statistically, you have a 3,000 – 1 chance of being struck by lightning. Roy Sullivan however, the Unluckiest Man in the world, has been hit 7 times! ⚡️ 7 separate occasions. His job as a park ranger may have contributed to his terrible luck, and what’s more, one time he was actually inside his office. I would certainly want to know if he was on one of my flights in a thunderstorm!

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10 tonnes of fuel loaded and 2 hours later we’re back in Heathrow with the A-team at the ready to re-cater the aircraft. It was now time to head to warmer climates – the city of bridges, Venice.

Venice (VCE) is a place I know little about but with an overnight stop and another trip planed in a couple of weeks, I was keen to get my bearings and figure out the best way to navigate across the city.  It is known as ‘The City of Bridges’ which may have something to do with the 400 that span across the 117 islands.  Venice is slowly sinking at a rate of 1mm a year. I suppose another way of looking at it is the Northern Adriatic is rising at 0.04 inches a year.  Either way its a challenge for the locals who often have to deal with challenging floods in the winter months.  One of the reasons Venice is particularly busy in the summertime.  I was keen to head off the beaten track and so armed with my camera and GoPro I began to quickly lose myself in the enchanted maze of alleyways, a great way to see everything from the Piazza San Marco to magnificent St Mark’s Basilica.

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Of course, I couldn’t resist the canals for long. Any excuse to feel like 007. I pressed a few of the buttons on my Omega watch and a few seconds later I found myself jumping from a bridge into a beautiful Italian speedboat as we were chased by bad guys down the narrow canals tipping up all the tourists whom had taken out a second mortgage to impress their partner with a gondola ride.  Not really, but that’s how it felt as we sped along.

Time to leave came much too soon.  I am certainly looking forward to returning for another sleepover this week.  Ciao until then.

Did you know ciao (pronounced CHOW) originates from the Venetian dialect. The phrase s-ciào vostromeans “I am your slave” – and over time, the phrase was abbreviated to simply s-ciào.

Ciao

What does this mean for you, the traveler? It means that if you want to offer a polite greeting to a shop owner, a waiter, or just someone you pass in the street, you’ll need to have an alternative to ciao… Try ‘buongiorno’ or ‘buona sera’ or if your feeling fancy ‘buon pomeriggio’ (good afternoon)

The crew and I made for the airport and found an Airbus 320 with 160 people that wanted to come with us to Heathrow.  We set up the aircraft, ran the checks and taxied out to runway 04R before being cleared for takeoff. The departure took us back over Venice and gave us the most fabulous view of the islands. We continued to climb up to 36,000ft, soared over the Alps and on towards London. Ciao.

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Buon pomeriggio!

The weather was still poor in London but had little impact on us.  After another quick turnaround we were on our way to Frankfurt, the largest airport in Germany.  The city was a contender for German capital after the Second World War. It has the largest inner city forest in the country and is home to two of Europes highest skyscrapers. Arriving late evening meant we only had time for a quick beer before bed. Of all places at a local Irish bar 🍀

It wasn’t my only visit to Germany this week we also travelled to the capital.

Anyone know what this confusing airside sign at Berlin Airport (TXL) means?

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It is PAPA. Parallax Aircraft Parking Aid that indicates when to stop. Best to know what plane you’re in.

I lived in Berlin for a few months in 2013 when I flew for easyJet. One of the coolest capital cities in the world. Dubbed “Europe’s Silicon Valley,” because of the vast start-up community, Berlin has it all: history, art, shopping, food, and bier!!

Top tip: – Über-cool Berlin locals don’t Uber. Download the Mytaxi app to travel like a native. But if you’re happy being a tourist Uber works like a dream.

After arriving at our hotel in the evening I had been recommended a bar named ‘Klo’… which translates to Loo/toilet. After a quick freshen up we met in the hotel lobby and went to the loo!

Not sure what else to say about that…

The following morning I had some time before the flight so head to just south of the Brandenburg gate and the Holocaust memorial with its 2711 concrete slabs.  Built in 1999 I would very much recommend a visit and an opportunity for quiet reflection.

 

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My other trips this week included a quick jaunt to Belfast (BHD).  I knew little about the Harland and Wolff cranes that still dominate the skyline here.  A quick google enlightened me.  Named Samson and Goliath they were constructed in the late 60s and early 70s.  The shipyard was also home to the ill-fated Titanic (built more than half a century earlier) and the White Star line.  Anyone remember the name of the Titantic’s sister ship?

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Samson and Goliath 💪 👊

Quite the week then traversing the skies over Europe.  Returning home to London, I had an old easyJet captain friend staying with me and it was time to explore our own capital city!

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Dancing the night away with the magnificent Beth Rigby.  On a table top.  In a West End cocktail bar.  We had the best time.

 

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Not bad for an all-nighter.  This was taken on Waterloo Bridge at 06:30 after a night of dancing with friends.  It will take me all week to recover.  See you next week.

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The Pink city 🇫🇷 , Hogwarts 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 & some fun facts on Zurich 🇨🇭

Hi everyone, Hope you’ve all had a fab week.  Remember last week I mentioned I hadn’t done much flying – well goodness I’ve made up for it this week.  After…

Hi everyone,

Hope you’ve all had a fab week.  Remember last week I mentioned I hadn’t done much flying – well goodness I’ve made up for it this week.  After the heat and sun of Spain it was a bit of a shock to the system to head up to Scotland.  I certainly needed my coat on.

Flying time to Edinburgh (EDI) is in the region of 1 hour so with the passengers, fuel and bags loaded, we were “cleared for takeoff, runway 27R. Wind 300/12”. We departed to the north.   It was quite literally a flying visit to EDI with my brilliant colleague making sure the tight 50 minute turnaround went ahead without any hitches.  What a lovely smile too.   I didn’t have to wait long to see her again – we were down to London and back up to EDI later that evening for an overnight stay.

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The following morning I was up early and left my colleagues resting at the Apex Waterloo Place hotel and headed out for a spot of sightseeing.  Climbing up Calton Hill gave me a sensational view of the city right across to the castle.  Did you know it’s built on an extinct volcano?

Another fun fact I learned is that the Royal Mile is actually one mile, 107 yards long.   Edinburgh was also the first city in the world to have its own fire service. Who knew?

I left Edinburgh at lunchtime with a new friend Don who joined me on the flight deck for the journey back to London.  He’s a duck and every guest at Apex hotels are encouraged to take one home with them.  Don is now residing in my bathroom with Derek who I liberated from a previous stay in Glasgow.

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We usually do three flights a day, so after a short stopover in LHR we were off again.  This time to Zurich (ZRH).  I always find it almost impossible to resist Swiss Chocolate.  Despite a moment on the lips, a lifetime on the hips mantra, I still have to indulge…

Did you know Zurich, although the largest city, is not the capital of Switzerland. You can spell it six different ways so its useful just to use the three letter flight code to avoid any confusion.  My captain was Damien.  A really great guy.  Its so important to have a strong working relationship with colleagues, especially when we’re on a three day trip strapped into a aluminium tube travelling at more than 500 miles an hour!

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Arriving home with Swiss chocolate excess baggage there was no alternative but to do some exercise.  Regular readers will know I took part in an Ironman challenge and still have my wetsuit.  So, skateboard at the ready, I headed down to the Brockwell Lido for a few lengths.  I was impressed with my efforts and rewarded myself with a fab chorizo salad and Acai, banana, apple, peanut butter, almond milk smoothie for lunch. It was healthy and tasted absolutely amazing.

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As I mentioned, its been a busy week of flying and I was soon heading on the Heathrow Express back to the mothership.  This time Amsterdam (AMS) was our chosen destination.  Again though it was just a quick turnaround before collecting passengers at LHR and driving the bus south to the Pink City.

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Toulouse (TLS) is a place I know very little about but with another overnight stop I was keen to explore.  Known as ‘Rose Ville’ because of its rose-bricked architecture, Toulouse is the home of Airbus.  Many of you will know its also the birthplace of Concorde.  Or Concord if you’re French!

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The weather was great and I had a lovely couple of hours strolling around the city and along the banks of the river.

My week still wasn’t finished yet.  Next stop was Stockholm (ARN).  Built on 14 islands connected by 57 bridges, Stockholm is the home of the Nobel Peace Prize.  We arrived late into the city and I was keen to get some sleep.  Unfortunately,  the sun barely sets at this time of  year.  Note to self:  Remember my BA eye mask next time.

 

There was still one more stop before the end of my flying week, a quick trip to Nantes (NTS).  A place I remember fondly from my days flying for EasyJet.  I was based in Lyon and we would often head across to Nantes.  The city is right at the threshold of runway 21 and we don’t want to wake the locals with too much noise so we fly an offset approach. At 2 miles out we fly visually and align with the runway to land on one of the many humps.  It’s quite fun…

Arriving back at LHR, it was late but I was exhilarated by so much flying and wasn’t ready for bed so instead donned my trainers for a run.  I ran and ran and ran taking in some of the sights of one of the most beautiful cities in the world.  My favourite spot is Tower Bridge. What’s yours?

 

With so much flying and exercise under my belt this week I felt a little treat was in order and so the following day spoiled myself by visiting the Magnum pop-up store in Covent Garden.  I went for double dip, first peanut butter the second milk chocolate. I could also choose 3 toppings, so I did! Honeycomb, chocolate fudge brownie and gold flakes.  I was in heaven.

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All in all it’s been quite the week and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it. How was yours?  It’s always great to hear what you’ve been up to and I know many of you take the time to have a chat on Twitter.  Don’t forget you can reach me via Instagram and Facebook too.  I also have a Youtube channel where you can see all my videos.

Next week I’m off to Venice, Frankfurt, Berlin and Glasgow.

🇮🇹 🇩🇪 🇬🇧

Want to come?

 

 

2 Comments on The Pink city 🇫🇷 , Hogwarts 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁳󠁣󠁴󠁿 & some fun facts on Zurich 🇨🇭

Here’s Jonny

This is the post excerpt.

Hello everyone,
How’s your week been?

Let me start with an apology!

I haven’t been flying much this week so all you #avgeeks out there maybe a little disappointed if you’re hoping for facts and figures from my journey around Europe. Next week!

I have however been having a fun time in the UK.

As a hangover from an iron man challenge I took part in a couple of years ago I still love to swim. When I’m at home in the Isle of Wight there’s nothing better than swimming in the sea. In south London I head to the Brockwell Lido. It’s been a public pool since 1937 and has a wonderful Art Deco setting. Not sure why I wore my wet suit!

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Morning dipping Brockwell Lido

While there I started reading the new book by my friend Jason Farrell who is a political correspondent at Sky News. He’s spent the last few months chronicling events surrounding Brexit. At his launch party I bumped into my buddy Kay Burley.

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Celebrating Jason’s success with friends 📚

A quick trip up to Gothenburg 🇸🇪 and back. Unfortunately no time to stay and look around. It’s definitely on my go to list as I plan to do a kayak tour around some of the thousands of little islands they have. It’s meant to be awesome! We landed back in Heathrow at about 2130 and it was all systems go. As I decided it would be a great idea to fly to Valencia first thing in the morning.
But this time I wasn’t driving the bus. We went to a Daddy Yankee concert. Having only heard one of his songs that he collaborated on with Justin Bieber you’ll understand this was a total spur of the moment adventure. We left the blistering heat of London and arrived in Valencia where it was pouring with rain. I looked like a local as you can imagine, donning my shorts, t-shirt and flip-flops. I proceeded to practically ice skate like a total beginner across the marble paved streets of Valencia.
Getting into town was easy. I hopped onto the metro within the airport terminal and headed 40 mins into town were I checked into an Airbnb. €30 for the night!! AMAZING. After a whistle stop tour of some of the historic streets and buildings on offer I headed for the Plaza de Torres… (the bull ring).

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Partying into the night in Valencia

Welcome to Latin Fest!

Packed with thousands of crazed Daddy Yankee fans and a disproportionate number of very good dancers. Such an awesome night! And the exact reason I love being spontaneous.
You’ll be delighted to know I did manage to squeeze a little bit of work into my schedule this week!

An overnight stop in Paris where I was fortunate enough to meet up with an old friend from our training days in Oxford. Do check out my Oxford Blog if you havn’t seen it already. We caught up over a pizza and a glass of wine. Very French… 🇫🇷 🍷

An overnight stop in Paris where I was fortunate enough to meet up with an old friend from our training days in Oxford. Do check out my Oxford Blog if you havn’t seen it already. We caught up over a pizza and a glass of wine. Very French…
I finished this week with a trip to Malaga. The pilot I flew with coincidently lives round the corner from me and enjoys cycling. Perhaps he’d fancy another iron man challenge with me. He also grew up on the Isle of Wight.

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Home sweet home… #IsleofWight

Then I headed back to Spain for the second time in a week. The rain had gone and it was 38 degeees. The return trip was a real treat as we flew right over home just as the sun was setting.

We were able to enjoy one of the rare delights of our job. I’m so lucky to have the best job in the world.

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I love my job

 

Anyway, I’m very much looking forward to spending much more time in the air next week and also have stopovers in Edinburgh 🇬🇧 Toulouse 🇫🇷 and Stockholm 🇸🇪

Have you been to any of them? Any thoughts on what I should do while I’m there?
Do let me know what you think of my blog. Any suggestions about what you’d like to see more, or less of would be greatly appreciated.

 

Until next week.

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