A while back I got asked if I could write down a typical day on a private jet, but as you can imagine there is no such thing a typical day in Aviation. Nevertheless I’ll try to make an impression of a typical day on a private jet. (The dates are changed so tomorrow is not actually tomorrow etc.)
As a pilot on a private jet the day actually starts the day before they fly by checking the destination. Operations send us a so-called “flight order” with basic information about the airport and the times for that flight. Tomorrow’s flight is from London to Ibiza with 5 passengers. The expected flight time is about 2 hours and 25 minutes at 1330Z (UTC-0). So now you know that a flight is going to happen tomorrow, this is where you open the weather app and see how the weather is going to be tomorrow in Ibiza. I go to sleep and set my alarm for 0830 local London time (UTC – 0)
0830 Alarm goes off and I’m trying to get out of bed but as I always find difficulties to get out I snooze my alarm for about 10 to 15 minutes and open my WhatsApp and text my girlfriend. Its the first thing I do on a day and the last thing I do before I go to sleep. Thereafter taking a shower, getting dressed, brushing my teeth and checking my Instagram during this procedure.
0930 If time allows I’m always going for breakfast at that time. Its almost an unwritten rule in our company that we will be at breakfast at 0930 not even depending on the time zone we are in at that moment. We meet with the crew (Captain and Flight attendant) where we open the day with a normal question as “How did you sleep?” It might sound strange but a question like this is quite important, for example if the captain would answer: “I slept terrible and I’m tired” you know you have to keep an extra eye out. That’s why safe flights already start with a good hotel/bed.
1030 Breakfast is done, and walk back to your room, you get dressed into uniform and prepare your suitcase for departure. We meet up in the lobby at 1115 and the ride towards the airport is about 15 minutes as well by taxi. After we check out in the hotel we grab a taxi that brings us. And often in the time between you download the flight papers so you don’t have to rush it.
1120 Getting into the taxi towards the airport. Here I have 15 to 20 minutes to post on Instagram so now you know when I find time to post.
1140 Arriving on the airport and ask the lady at the desk if I could print out some documents for the flight, she points out the crew lounge where 2 computers with printers are located. You check if all the documents are there and print them. When they are getting out of the printer you check all the documents, things like Notams (if airports are closed etc), Weather, Mass and balance, Fuel, Airport, iPads uploading the route etc etc etc.
1200 One and a half hour before the flights departure. We go to customs like a normal passenger does as well and passport check. When this is done we go towards the aircraft by shuttle from the handling agent that supports us that day. It very close from the handling agent.
1205 Opening up the aircraft and prepare the flight inside and outside. We have to do a walk around of the aircraft, load our own luggage, take off all the covers, then inside we make sure everything is checked.
1230 The fuel truck arrived, depending on the airport this can sometimes take a long time. In Lisbon I once waited for fuel for 2.5 hours. So that’s why we are early on the airport because you don’t want to delay a flight. Today the truck is nicely on time and we have 1 hour before departure.
1245 Fuelling is completed and the truck is disconnected from the aircraft. Now we can start the APU (auxiliary power unit) to startup the cockpit and the pilots can start programming the plane computers. This procedure takes about 20 to 30 minutes.
1300 The captain leaves you alone so he can pick up the passengers at the handling agent.
1315 Everything is done and I always make one quick (extra) walk around just to be sure. Than I receive a text that the passengers are arriving and the luggage is coming. Because we fly private jets we have to take the luggage from the handling agents and put it in the back of the plane yourself. It usually takes about 5 minutes so that’s not to bad.
1320 Passengers are arriving towards the aircraft. We (flight attendant and me) welcome the passengers standing outside the plane. I try to welcome them in their language but if I don’t know the information about them or its a mixed group I always do it in English.
I’ll run through the flight a bit because I’ll write a more detailed blog about the stages of flight soon.
1325 Everyone is sitting, the doors are closed and we can start up the engines.
1330 Taxiing out towards the runway, lining up and take off.
1350 Now we are on cruise level and talk with towers and fill in the paperwork etc.
1530 Preparing the decent into Ibiza including briefing etc.
1600 Landing on the sunny island Ibiza, Spain.
1610 Shut down the engines, passengers are getting out and then I run to the back to give the luggage to the new handling agent in Ibiza. The luggage and passengers are in the car and I get outside to wave them goodbye. The captain joins them to make sure everything runs fine trough customs.
1630 Captain comes back, does the rest of the paperwork and I switch down the aircraft and put the covers back up. Then the flight attendant cleans the aircraft. After a bit, the handling agent picks us up to the terminal.
1715 We received a hotel for tonight and we are in the taxi towards the hotel. I try to respond to all comments I have on the photo I posted that morning.
1730 We are in the hotel, checking in and go directly to the room to get dressed in normal clothing because we still need to eat something.
1745 (UTC) so 1845 local time in Ibiza Meeting with the crew in the lobby to go for some food. Mostly one of use says something like today I feel like eating a Pasta and the rest agrees on that and then we look for some Italian food. In this case, we are in Spain so I want paella….
1800 We found a restaurant and have a relaxed dinner, talking about the flight if anything special happened and talk about the flight of tomorrow if we received one. Of course you talk about home and more but most important is the flights.
1900 Walking back to the hotel and try to find the nearest Ice-cream shop because well its 20 degrees outside and I’m addicted to it.
1930 Back in the hotel, taking a shower and FaceTime or Skype the home front as it is now 2030 local time. Thereafter I write a blog or watch a series or sit outside depending on the time of the year and always try to prepare for bed around 2230 local time
2130 Preparing for bed, brushing teeth, checking the flights of tomorrow etc.
2200 = 2300 local time Go to sleep and tomorrow the whole thing starts over again.
This is mostly how a day on a private jet goes but it happens as well that we have 5 flights a day and a maximum duty of 18 hours so it really depends on the day and the company and if you fly for an owner or a charter company.
I hope you found it interesting to read, if you have any questions regarding this day at work please let me know in the comment section below.