I often get asked the question if I fly a certain route, or what my most flown destinations are. I am Based on the Mediterranean’s biggest island, Sicily, I fly mostly domestic flights within Italy. I know all of Rome Fiumicino’s arrivals by heart and the clearances even before they are given ´After Roma VOR fly heading 315 degrees reduce speed 230 kts´ ´speed already 230 turning left 315 degrees’! Ha-ha and if you have ever flown from Milan to Palermo it’s pretty likely that I was your pilot.
In total, I have flown to about 150 airports off the top of my head. I have 85 destinations in the Boeing 737 mostly in Europe, from Stockholm in the North to Tenerife in the South. During my training, I had around 50 pins that I flew in Cessna 152, 172, Piper 28, Diamond 20, 40 and the Gulfstream, GA7.
My favorite airport so far is Port Elizabeth in South Africa, Annie and I from flight training spent a couple of weeks flying in South Africa to build up our hours. Port Elizabeth has an amazing approach over the coastline at the same time it is rather challenging, having the nickname “The Windy City” definitely put our PPL (Private Pilot License) to the test. We had just passed our check ride and had little idea what we were doing when we decided to get on an Airbus 340 and fly to SA. It is not just the airport itself that put it on top of my list but the great memories I have of visiting this place twice during my Cessna “road trip” around the county back in 2010, I would love to go back sometime.
In Europe, not wanting to sound cheesy… BUT, it’s actually Palermo. For me, the VOR approach to runway 07 is just amazing! You fly a so-called DME ARC and as you turn left to intercept inbound radial 065 you have the island on your right-hand side and the runway in front of you the sunset in your back reflecting its red colors on the mountain adjacent to the airport, it is just magic! Not even after being based here for two and a half years and probably an after a couple of hundred landings on this runway, I still don’t tire of this view.
An airport that is still on my bucket list to land on is Gibraltar, often categorized as one of the world’s most risky runways because of the road that goes straight through the runway, before arrival they close the road, but after landing, people and cars can freely cross the runway again.
What is your favorite or your dream airport to land at?
Here are some pictures, a blast from the past – South Africa! (first picture Palermo though and it´s red sunsets reflections)
xx Maria
Written by me
Edited by Kirsty Williams

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Tropic Ocean Airways

1100 Lee Wagener Blvd

Fort Lauderdale, FL 33315, USA


It was my first time in a seaplane and a new obsession was born, combining my two favorite elements, Air, and Water!  

First of all, I would like to thank @flytropic for this flight experience, getting us airborne from the seaplane harbor in the middle of Miami and to Melany Rosales @pilotmelany for organizing everything! I can´t wait to see you at your Aviation event in Fort Lauderdale on November 11th this year, you rock girl! (link to event)

I met up with Melany (@pilotmelany) Kristina (@krisandreu) and Mariah (@mariah_on_fiyyaah) and together we drove to the seaplane harbor in Miami for our first ever seaplane adventure!

It was insane to feel the aircraft accelerating as we got airborne using the river as our runway, right next to all the big cruise ships boarding their passengers ready to leave Miami for the Caribbean.

It was definitely an experience I want to experience again and a big thumbs up to the super friendly pilots showing us Miami like we have never seen it before.




www.aviationclothing.com to read more about the Aviation event in November.


Written by: me

Edited by: Kirsty Williams (@kirstyrwilliams)


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!


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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!

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 🙂

Written by me

Edited by Kirsty Williams @kirstyrwilliams

Photos Emma Eleonora @emeleonora