It was my second visit to Dijon, the city famous for its mustard, first time was in 2011 when Annie and I during our flight training flew a small two-seater Dimond 20 from Gothenburg, Sweden to Almeria in south of Spain. The DA20 have an endurance of around three hours, so we had to make quit some stops before making it to Spain, Dijon was one of them.

I had just finished my ppl and saw Breitlings jets parked in their hangar. To be back here feel totally surreal. Never would I, back 6 years ago have dreamed that I one day would get the opportunity to meet the team, nevertheless fly with them!! I have to pinch myself in the arm to to know that I’m not dreaming!

 


… I left Palermo early in the morning on the 30th of June boarding Alitalia flight AZ1774 to Rome. In Rome I had 50 minutes to get to my connection flight, final destination Zurich, where I met Emma @emeleonora, Maria @mariathepilot, and Malin @flymalin. An hour later the rest from the @breitling team landed and we took a train together to Dijon in France.

Well in Dijon the adventure could begin and it would come be two days of full schedule craziness, adrenaline, goosebumps and ‘time of my life, that I will never forget kind of days!’

Next morning we left the hotel 8 o’clock sharp! “If you work with watches, you’d better be on time” Andreas said when Maria, Malin, Emma and I arrived just on time and not the ten minutes early that normally is standard Scandinavian style.

Skydiving!! I get goosebumps and butterflies just thinking about it, the hundred of a seconds, when we let go and jumped out of the  airplane, 4000 meters up in the air! Free fall to 1500 meters! It all went by so fast and if I get the chance I would do it all over again without thinking twice.

 

Skydiving has always been on my bucket list! Something I’ve been nervous about trying, but excited at the same time. I still can’t believe I did this! It’s a dream come true and I am forever grateful for getting the chance to do this! Thank you Adrian for taking me safely through the skies (and some clouds oops) at 200 kilometers an hour. Visit swissboogie.ch for your skydiving experience.

When we landed back it was time for lunch and everyone else was already sitting down. Although everything looked delicious I did not dare to eat too much, we were registered to fly the jets after lunch and we all know what happened last time I flew aerobatics hahaha ooops There was one group before us to go on the jets and in the menatime we took a tour over Dijon in the MD 900 Explorer helicopter, before attending saftey briefing with the jet team. Their lead pilot, Jacques Bothelin `Speedy` briefed us about what to expect, how many g´s we were gonna go and in case of an emergancy event. I know I can do four g´s without a problem which is nothing compared to what these guys can do. Today we would do max 4 and I have to admit, after skydiving, helicopter flying and being adrenaline high all day, even four g´s gasve me tunnel vision in the first loop, but I did well for the remaining part of the flight and could not stop smiling or laughing!

This is why we fly, this is real flying! I thank my lucky star for all these opportunities I’ve been given! I still can’t believe just how lucky I am!

 

While writing this, aboard an Alitalia A319 from Zurich to Rome, I have the biggest smile, sitting on a Bravo seat between two guys who has no idea what I’m smiling at and I can’t understand what we’ve just experienced over the last couple of days, it is just too much to take in! Later that evening we ate dinner in the wine district Burgundy, idyllic vineyards and wine that would get any taste buds to explode. Everything, the whole event has been so well organized and I’ve been treated like a princess! Thousand, Thousands of Thanks to Breitling and a special thanks to Andreas and Fredrik from the Nordic team for inviting us. I’ll Never ever forget this! Rainy days when motivation is low, I’ll open my memories from these days and remind myself just how lucky I’m!

 

 

Photos taken by super talented @emeleonora Thank you for joining us on this event and taking such amazing photos and videos!

 

Thank you @kirstywilliams for correcting my grammar 🙂

Through my Instagram account @pilotmaria, I often times make it look like the sky is always blue, roses are red, and the sun is always shining. That has not always been the truth. Here is my honest journey about the pilot profession and how I came to fly 737 as my first commercial jet with 189 passengers on board.

 

 

Flying an airplane requires dedication, patience and sacrifice. During the time I studied to become pilot, I met no one and my social life took a hard hit. Today, I have a handful of close friends, who have always been there for me, even if it sometimes takes months or even years between seeing each other, we know we’re always there for each other. As a pilot you can be away days or even weeks depending on company schedule, long or short haul etc.

 

 

I took my final exam for my ATPL in April 2010 and I was ready to take the aviation market by storm! Nothing could stop me at this point. But there was nothing but echo, I sent out job applications to what felt like every airline company out there, for God’s sake I would even offer myself to work for free, only to get flying hours! It’s expensive to fly privately and after paying 60k Euro for my pilot training, it was not just the stress that I did not get a job but also the stress that the bank wanted to get back the money I took a loan out for. Even after flying commercially for three years the bank still takes 1500 euros from me every month to pay back what I owe them.

 

 

I was lucky, for me it took “only” two years to get a job. I have friends who it took over ten years before they got their first job as a pilot! And then September 11, 2001 happened… Boeing and Airbus orders were canceled and airlines had to furlough their employees. It was an incredibly difficult time for the aviation industry and it took years for things to normalize. Some might say the industry still may not be back to where it once was.

 

 

During the two years applying for pilot jobs, I committed  myself to staying current and focused in aviation… Networking was one thing, but I figured any foot in the aviation door was a step in the right direction… So I worked as airport security, TSA in my home country, Sweden for one year, and as a crew planner, where I handled administrative duties for another airline. Planned monthly schedules, holidays, and day off requests from pilots. Every week when we released the new schedule, my inbox filled with at least 200 emails from pilots who were not happy with the routes they received or times they worked. Quiet to myself, I used to think: “but you have a job as a pilot, stop complaining I would do what you do for nothing…” Never did I think I too one day would complain to someone else when I don’t get the days off I requested.

 

 

I have to pinch my arm and think back on the days when I sat in the office and dreamed of sitting where the pilots sat. The world’s most beautiful office, 38,000 feet a coffee in my hand and the whole world at my feet.

It’s a perfect job and I could not imagine myself doing anything else, but for those who dream of becoming a pilot and believe that you will explore the whole world and have screaming girls, like Leonardo DiCaprio in ‘Catch me if you can’ after you as soon as you put the stripes on, you’ll have to think again. It’s not like that anymore and you will have to work hard for it! Most of the times when you land for a layover you are too tired to do anything. The 12 hours you have in Bogota, New York or any other dream destination you will most likely go back to your hotel room and sleep, order room service and watch tv.

 


The trips I make, the movies I share on Instagram are not filmed during a 24 hour layover in a paradise resort. Most trips I do, I do on my free time. It is thanks to Instagram and my social channels I can afford to do so, not thanks to free airline tickets and a juicy pilot salary. The pilot salary for the company I work for is definitely not bad, but I’m a contracted pilot which means I’m not employed by the company but rather hired for a service. They give me a salary every month and from that salary I have to put away money for my pension, pay healthcare, insurance, loss of license and everything from my own meals aboard to my uniform. I wouldn’t change a thing, I’m quite okay taking my own responsibility but it might not be something that suits everyone.

 

 

I hope my story inspires you because even though it takes a lot of work, I wouldn’t change it for anything– let’s be honest though, pilots are the best people at complaining. You will always find someone saying “it’s not what it used to be” and although that might be true since things change, at the end of the day, it’s still the best gig around in my opinion and I just want to share that with you and bring more positivity to aviation. While of course I would never share anything that could jeopardize safety, I want to show you all what’s behind that secret door that nowadays has to be closed, locked and bullet proof. It´s not a secret how you start an engine, you can learn that from a computer game. And I hope for some of you that are scared of flying that it might help to see someone being healthy, positive and happy about their job, aviation has already had too many hits, it’s about time we show why it’s the safest way to go from A to B and never the less the prettiest way – that view from 38.000 feet.

xx Maria

 

Thank you Dustin @aircrewlife and Emilie @emiliepix for inspiration, feedback and correcting my grammar 😉 

@bobbyksa @pete_ohara @tonyedgar @flymalin @mariathepilot @pilotmaria

 

xx Maria

 

For many it´s the lifestyle and a fancy uniform that might appeal, for me it was the travel and the chance to explore our world, and the view, the view is amazing!

I’ve always been the typical; “see the world without thinking too much about tomorrow’s worries, I´ll deal with that some other time”

It was 2010 and I just came home from a six month backpacking trip in South America, back then I lived in Oslo, Norway and shared an apartment with my friend Anna. It was December, gray, slush and darkness was everyday life and all I wanted to do was to continue traveling and seeing new places. What job can I have to do this forever? Pilot!! It struck me. Pilots are the ones who always take me to my destinations, they have to see lots of new places all the time, traveling is basically their job!

Aviation has always fascinated me, and without deliberately doing so, my dad introduced me to my avgeek heart. He used to tell me why airplane lift their nose, why and how they can fly, that my first flight ever was a 20-minute trip around my home town Gothenburg, Sweden and the Captain was a woman. Without knowing, all these little occasions had a huge impact in my future career choice.

When the thought of me being a pilots struck me it was like taking a heavy stone from my chest, put it aside and make reality of my dream!

The first thing I did was to Google “How to become a pilot” I found a school in Gothenburg, where I from no experience at all I could start with my PPL and finish as a commercial pilot. Three weeks later I went on their recruitment day! The rest you know 🙂  Read more about my journey here:  “My route to the right hand seat”

 

Thanks for reading!

 

Lots of Love

Maria

Growing up my two best friends were twins and my niece and nephew are twins, I seem to have been around twins my whole life and I always wanted to have my own identical sister that could do things for me that I didn’t feel like doing and vice versa. I have a sister, Sandra she is three years older than I am and she didn’t really feel like doing all the things her little sister asked her to do, neither are we that alike that we could get away with it, presenting we are twins.

Since starting Instagram and having my best friend and soul sister on Instagram as @mariathepilot people constantly keep mixing us up. Maria is @mariathepilot and I am @pilotmaria, we are both have blond hair, we´re Swedish with the same profession. We are airline pilots and our personalities are fairly similar. I understand why people who don´t know us, keep getting us mixed up. I keep getting emails and messages asking if I have any travel tips for Tenerife. I don’t live in Tenerife and when I go there I am a tourist as anyone else hahaha Maria lives there, and I live in Sicily. 

I don’t mind at all that people thinking that I am Maria. She is beautiful, smart and an amazing person, if anything I take it as a great compliment!! 🙂Sometimes, when ground staff at airports we both fly to come over and show pictures of Maria asking if it’s me, I simply answer no and smile, not telling them that it is two of us, neither showing them my account. It cracks me up every time, to see how confused they get, I know it’s mean of me, but it makes me giggle every time, I simply can’t resist!

So finally I got myself a twin sister who can cover for me, Maria, fancy an early shift at work for me tomorrow 🙂To confuse it even further we have our third soul sister @flymalin  she is Swedish and an airline pilot too! I love you both to bits and couldn’t imagine a life without you! Best friends forever!! Together we are ThePilotGirls, the “Swedish Flight Mafia”

 

 

x Maria, the other Maria, pilotmaria 

@flymalin @mariathepilot @pilotmaria