It’s my first visit to Austria’s capital and I wish I could have stayed longer, the purpose of the trip is still confidential, but I cannot wait until I finally get to share with you the exciting news of the secret project that I was in Vienna to shoot!

My manager Kirsty flew in from Los Angeles and me from Palermo. The first day we worked a 12 hours+ day, it was non-stop but I had so much fun that it was easy to forget that it was actually a working day and the twelve hours flew by in a flash. Later in the evening the whole team from the shoot had dinner and together we were over twenty people, twenty new friends in my life 🙂

My flight back to Palermo did not leave until later in the afternoon the following day, Kirsty was so sweet and changed her ticket to London from the morning to the afternoon so we could explore Vienna together.

We started the day with breakfast at our hotel, The Guest House @the_guesthouse_vienna – shortly after we indulged, upping our sugar intake by sampling the iconic Sacher Cake, from Cafe Sacher, a classic and a ‘must try’ when visiting Vienna.

I got super excited when Kirsty told me that she had been in contact with The Spanish Riding School (link) in Vienna and they offered to give us a private tour around the stables. We met ‘Kitty’ one of their 72 Lipizzaner Stallions. Did you know that Lipizzaner horses are dark gray at a young age and change to a lighter white coat the older they become. Only one in one hundred remains dark and it is said that those who remain dark in colour bring good luck to the stables. The school in Vienna was founded in 1572 and is the oldest of its kind, the training for the ‘master riders’ takes over 10 years! Thank you, Andrea Kerssenbrock and Markus Nowotny for taking the time to meet us and for showing us around!

I could have spent days in Vienna and still not have seen everything, I appreciate all of the tips which you sent to me about what I absolutely should not miss. Despite the pouring rain we still managed to fit lots in, but the next time I go back I will try to stay longer so that I can explore all that Vienna has to offer.

Charla Carter, @charlactr from the styling team (styling team from the secret mission Kirsty and I were on ;)) and Charlotte Neuwels @charlotteneuwels were so generous to let me borrow some of the outfits we ended up not using for the shoot so I could feel fashionable while strolling the streets of Vienna!

The first outfit is a body from School Rag @school_rag and imitation leather pants from @topshop

The second outfit is an absolute dream skirt from Elie Saab @eliesaabworld together with a white shirt from Caroll and an chic striped overcoat from Zara @zara.

Let me know if you have any questions about anything mentioned in this blog post and please leave a comment on what I should see on my next visit to Vienna!

Maria xo


Written by me

Edited by Kirsty Williams, you are the best!!


Find a local flight club where you live and ask if they can take you on a half an hour flight for you to see if it’s something you are one hundred percent determined and passionate about  `For once you’ve tasted flight you’ll forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been and there you will always long to return´

The Internet will be your best friend! Search and compare different schools, when I first decided that I wanted to become a pilot, I ´googled´ “How to become an airline pilot” I read tons of different forums and compared schools before I decided to go for one in my hometown, Gothenburg, Sweden. Three weeks later I went on one of their Recruitment days. I could have done more research before deciding, I was 24 at the time and I felt stressed about my age, (only to later find out that 24 is no age, I have met tons of pilots who decided for a career change later in life)  It’s never too late.

Get your Medical Class 1, you don’t want to start the whole process to later find out that you have limitations that prevent you from flying commercially.

Make a financial plan with your bank. To become a pilot is expensive and I wish there were less expensive ways to do it. My training from PPL, Multi-engine, Instrument rating, CPL, and Frozen ATPL cost me around 60k Euros (!) plus living expenses during the two and a half years it took me to complete everything (this is not including the 28k Euros that I paid for my Boeing 737 type rating) It’s shocking how expensive it is and I wish there was an easier way. I hate to see someone’s dream becoming a pilot hampered by economics.

HAVE FUN !!! I forgot to have fun, I pushed myself too much and from time to time I forgot to stop and thank my Lucky Star for getting so far. You should enjoy it, you will have the best job in the world!


Recommended links:


3025 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach, FL 33140


I had some time off work and needed a sunny vacation away to recharge my batteries and boost my vitamin D, The Palms Hotel and Spa, South Beach, Miami is the perfect place to do so.

Beach front acess, spa, swimming pool and its own garden, I couldn’t have asked for more. I met Alma from the hotel for Thursday beach yoga at 5.30pm and she showed me around making me feel the most welcome.

The view from my 12th floor penthouse was the most spectacular and I enjoyed having my morning coffee here looking out over the horizon.

I have only good things to say about The Palms and I can definitely see myself come back here and I can greatly recommend it to anyone visitsing South Beach Miami. For more information and reservation visits

xx Maria 

Making new friends 😉

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I really loved reading all your comments and questions following my first fashion blog from London last month – like any girl, I really do love clothes, its just with so much of my time either spent in my pilots uniform at 36,000ft or my bikini on my days off out on my SUP on the water, I don’t always get to show off my favourite fashion trends and personal style. I hope that you enjoy my London Fashion Blog Part 2 🙂

This first look was on the street in front of the beautiful pastil coloured terraced houses that we first shot on in the morning, we were dodging the rain showers by hiding in the car for 10 mins between different looks, good ol’ British Summer time!! I absolutely loved this look – the dungaree shorts, white top and mustard coloured jacket were all from @FreePeople and I paired them with the white sneakers from @frenchconnection – I love the jacket, its so soft and adds a really great pop of colour to the outfit.

London showed us its best side after lunch, between the rain showers (it is the UK after all haha), the sun was shining and it was nice and warm, and @kariskennedyphotography found some great locations for us to shoot around SW London. I loved this street in Kensington with the big Victoria stucco fronted houses and hotels. I went for more of an ‘evening look’ with these black skinny jeans and grey t-shirt, with the slogan `Never stop Dreaming` both from @FrenchConnection, paired with these gorgeous, but very high, black stiletto heels and matching black clutch bag from Diesel.

What I always have loved the most with London, is all its green spaces and cute city parks, where you can escape the city pace and relax for a while. We found this park in front of a church in South Kensington. I loved this maroon ‘boho-chic’ dress from @freepeople which I wore with my favourite biker boots from @diesel.
For my final look of the day I wanted to try a slightly more dressed up ’evening-wear look’ rather than going for a dress I found this perfect silk jumpsuit from Diesel that I also wore with the black leather stilettos from the previous look. You could wear the jumpsuit as a casual day outfit with some flat black brogues but I chose to put on my Bobbi Brown `Luxe Lip Color` in the color `Sunset Orange`( making this the perfect look for a night out.
I got to know London again and although I only stayed in the city for one day all my old memories came back and I’m already looking forward to coming back to the city again this fall.

Thank you  @kirstyrwilliams and @laurenshergs from @insanityhq for organizing this day and putting together new looks for my look book!

Thank You to:


xx Maria 

Written by me
Edited by Kirsty Williams


Thank you for all of your comments on my @instagram post ‘Fear of Flying’ on August 18th, you wrote a total of 376 comments and sent many direct messages too. I’m overwhelmed and grateful for all your engagement, thank you! I will try to answer as many as possible, if however you feel that I did not answer your question please visit my Instagram @pilotmaria where I answered more comments under this post:

I could write a book about this subject, I am passionate about helping others who don’t feel comfortable in an airplane, if my words can help, even only one of you, I will consider my efforts a success. I have so much I want to write in this blog post, but I had to narrow it down and decided to answer your most frequently asked questions, when time permits, I will write a ‘Fear of Flying 2.0’ blog post, where I will go into more depth regarding specific questions and topics, I do apologize that I couldn’t fit it all into this post.

I understand why some people are scared of flying, it’s like when I go to the doctors, I have no idea what they are doing, just the sight of blood can have me faint, but they have my deepest respect for the job that they do. Just as our passengers, some don’t understand or find it impossible that a 70 ton aircraft can fly in the sky, but they trust us to fly them safely from A to B just as I trust the doctors who do their job, treating me and thousands of other patients a year. We don’t understand everything and simply just have to trust that those who are trained and educated to a professional level, studying for years and sitting many exams, know exactly what he or she is doing. As a pilot, we have recurring training and checks throughout our career!

Turbulence is probably what most of you commented so we can start with that. I sometimes compare turbulence with driving on a gravel road. Sometimes we have flat new, smooth asphalt and sometimes we drive on a gravel road, where the car bumps around, it’s never dangerous, the road is always there and we know that the car won’t fault because of this surface. During my last flight, on a British Airways Boeing 747, I watched a documentary ‘Flying With Confidence’. One of their pilots, Captain Steve Allright, helps others with a fear of flying (great initiative and I’d love to visit one of his courses one day) he compares turbulence to the sea. Sometimes the sea is still and sometimes there are waves, just like air. The air we fly in is not always completely smooth, winds are moving back and forth in different directions, and that is what we call turbulence. Nothing worse than driving on a gravel road or by sailing in a boat on choppy waters at sea, it can be unpleasant, but it’s never dangerous.

@lutfiyegunes left a comment asking me about the fear that the aircraft will fall out of the sky or the wings will fall off. During my flight training, one of my instructors said something that has always stuck with me; `See it that the aircraft’s body is attached to the wings and not the wings to the body` – I hope this saying can offer you some comfort!

@lille_smule_le, @xavo wanted to know about different noises that occur during flight. It might feel uncomfortable to hear noises, when  you do not know where they come from. During the climb on take off, we fly with the engines on high power and as we reach our flight level the engines will spool down as we no longer need all that thrust for level flight. Other sounds are for example at landing when we extend flaps and landing gear. Sometimes during flight ATC (Air Traffic Controllers) might ask us to climb to a higher altitude or we might request another level for whatever reason – better winds, fuel and time efficiency, that is why you sometimes, even if we have been flying for hours you can hear the engines spool up and feel the aircraft climbing. Generally we save time and fuel the higher flight level we are at. As we burn fuel we get lighter and are able to climb to a higher altitude. I am trying to write this without getting into too many technical details, I’m hoping to keep it simple for you all 😉

@Steveschilds34 and @isabellbramstad asked about crosswind landings. All pilots are well trained for crosswind in addition every aircraft have a max crosswind component that we are allowed to land with, if the crosswind is more than that, we simply do not land. We wait for the wind to calm down or divert to another airfield. Wind and weather are no surprise, before every flight we check the weather at our destination and ensure we are aware of nearby airports and decide how much extra fuel we want to take with us and which airfield would be suitable as an alternate field.

@lxcostello I love your comment! ’’ I totally agree when we level off it feels like we start to sink, it’s an illusion the brain plays on us. After climbing for 30 minutes or so, it has become our new `normal` and our brain believes that it is a straight and level flight. As we level off, reduce thrust gives us an illusion that we start to sink. It takes only a few seconds until our brain get used to the ‘new normal’. What you do when you said you look out the window and confirm with what you see is a great idea when flying as a passenger, in the flight deck we have our instruments to confirm attitude with multiple back up systems.


It was impossible to answer all of your comments, but I hope you could still find this post helpful. Please visit my post on instagram (direct link) where I tried to respond to as many comments as possible and feel free to add comments, I’m still answering as much as I can.

Have a great week and lots of love!

XX Maria

Written by Maria Pettersson

Edited by Kirsty Williams @kirstyrwilliams Thank you so much! You are the best!