Hi everyone,

What a week! Can’t believe its September already.  This year has flown by…

Apart from a few sunny days in June we seem to have been rained on for most of the year.  Who else is hoping for an Indian Summer?

IMG_1617

Chilling with my sister, the amazing @PilotCharlotte

Having said that the sun did shine for the August bank holiday as I safely delivered many of you on your last summer holidays before the kids are back to school and now its the long stretch from here to Christmas.

Yikes, I can’t believe I’ve mentioned the C word with still another three months to go. Moving swiftly on, this is what I’ve been up to this week.

I began my bank holiday weekend on the sunny Friday afternoon in London with a flight over to Frankfurt and back before heading to Berlin, one of my favourite cities and one I’m lucky enough to visit fairly regularly.

IMG_8999

Storms moving in at Frankfurt 🇩🇪

IMG_9092

+TSRA (Thunderstorms and heavy rain in pilot speak) Time for a bit of a detour…

After negotiations with thunderstorms departing Frankfurt and the notorious stop board at Tegal airport (TXL) in Berlin we hopped into the crew transport which whisked us into town where we stay at a lovely hotel by the zoo.

A quick shower to freshen up before heading to the toilet!  The KLO bar to be precise. You may recall I visited this whacky bar with a colleague once before. After telling the story to the crew on the journey to the hotel they were keen to experience sitting on the loo drinking from sample bottles! The bar with its moving tables and squirting water certainly didn’t disappoint and we had a great evening.

We had a late pick up the following day and so I treated myself to Wiener schnitzel for lunch.

 

As we flew back towards home, the gods must have been looking down on us.  Air Traffic Control was quiet!  That’s almost never the case at one of the busiest airports in the world where aircraft land seconds apart.  Speed reduction and at least a 10 minute delay is the norm.

IMG_9138

Approaching the east coat of the UK before our descent into LHR

It was our lucky day: ‘Speedbird 985, maintain high speed 300 knots. Expect straight in approach, runway 27L’. Awesome! The words every pilot loves to hear.

We were 20 minutes early delivering delighted passengers to the stand and it also meant some unexpected chill time for us before prepping the aircraft for Paris 🇫🇷

IMG_9200

Prepping for our departure to ORY 🇫🇷

Flying to Paris is over in the blink of an eye and our work must be swift but precise. Running a systems check of the aircraft, sending for an updated weather report for destination and alternate airports to make sure they’re still suitable options and checking the runway you are expecting to land on is still the one in use are done without delay.

IMG_0165

We are lucky enough to see some incredible views. 🛫 🇫🇷

It’s then time to check the coding in the system for the approach you expect to be flying and deciding on how the approach is to be flown. We brief that between us in the flight deck, setting ‘gates’, where we verbalise our intentions at certain stages of the procedure. The pilot flying will intend to have the aircraft in a certain configuration at a certain speed. This is a hugely efficient way of sharing your mental model. We achieve this with the use of what we call ‘open questions’. Questions beginning with what, why, how, describe, tell me about, therefore engaging the other party in conversation.

Paris, au clair du lune 

                                                                                       -Paris is the moonlight

This time we were flying over to Paris Orly (ORY) as opposed to (CDG). I enjoy flying into ORY with its 2 runways and a short taxi onto stand. Safely on the ground and with passengers disembarked my mission on this trip was to see the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe.

I managed one better. I also skateboarded the final stretch of the Tour de France that Chris Froome has cycled to victory on, 4 times!! (The Champs Elysee)

IMG_1163

Sunday morning in Paris was as perfect as you might imagine. Like all capital cities the pulse slows but she remains elegant and stylish. A relaxed atmosphere, locals sitting outside enjoying their morning coffee with breakfast. The polite exchange of bonjour was pretty much my limit as I glided up towards the magnificence of the Arc de Triomphe. This is where the heartbeat quickens.

L’Etoile (the star) is 12-pointed junction – the craziest roundabout I’ve come across and I was certain the saying Fred karno’s circus must have originated. Even on a Sunday morning it was carnage!  Sat serenely in the centre is the Arc de Triomphe.

 

My guide book tells me the Arc was commissioned by Napoleon, the then Emperor. He wanted to honour the ‘Grande Armee’ (the French Army), who had conquered most of Europe. Napoleon told his soldiers  “to return home through the Arches of Triumph”.

A grand gesture from the famously diminutive leader, but nevertheless the Arch remained unfinished for 12 years during the abdication of Napoleon and was finally completed a decade later in 1836 at a cost 9.3 million Francs

 

I really enjoyed being a culture vulture in Paris and next on my list is heading to the top of the Eiffel Tower. `Next time.

IMG_0176

The city of love – My skateboard and I

Heading home I was looking forward to sharing some quality time with family and where better than the rather swish Soho Farmhouse in the Oxfordshire countryside.

With 40 log cabins set in more than 100 acres its the perfect getaway for yours truly and it certainly didn’t disappoint.

I swam, I worked out in the gym, I ate delicious food and I chose to be a horny cow for an hour!

 

Hopefully you were able to see my Instagram live in the gym. If you missed it you can find it all on my Facebook page. Facebook.com/Jonnythepilot

 

Selfie of the week…

IMG_1166

It was a pleasure to meet twitter follower Pete @Rightpeg on one of my flights this week who had been away to watch N.Ireland win their football match. ⚽️

I finished my week with a walk back in time in the magnificent city of Bologna but more of that next week.

See you then…