STUDENT LIFE UPDATE

The first months at school have been very intensive. We have lessons from 8 to 15 every day except weekends. Weekends are “off”, but that does not really mean off, because all available time is spent on studying. Not much (or any) time left for other things.

We are now almost done with all of the subjects for this semester. We are through Human Performance and Limitations, General Navigation, Principles of Flight and VFR & IFR communications. Before we start on the last one, Mass and Balance, we have had one week of self-study.

I went straight to Poland after our progress test on Friday. Long time no see, and it has been so, so nice to be here. Absolutely perfect with an environmental change. I really miss being here more often, Gdansk (and this apartment) has my heart. I do not want to go back yet.

My batteries are now fully charged and I’m ready to get started with Mass and Balance on Monday morning. So far so good and I am still a happy student!

MY FIRST TWO WEEKS AT SCHOOL

Wednesday last week was my first day at school. And I guess most of you know what that feels like. The first day was all about orientation, information, and uniform fitting. We ended the day with some relevant maths for aviation personnel. 

Thursday we had some more orientation, study methods and a safety course. This was also the first day in our uniforms. Friday we just uploaded our documents, medical and passport, and then we took some portraits to our student ID.

This Monday we started with the theory. Our first two classes are General Navigation and Human Performance and Limitations. So that’s what all my days basically have consisted of. We are finishing the whole theoretical part before we get to fly. Eat, sleep, read and repeat.

Next week we have our first progress tests, and I hope I´ll become best friends with the navigation part during the weekend.

From a permanent job, with a safe and sound everyday life to a completely new student life in an unknown city, with unknown people. It has been kind of weird, but I guess it takes some time to get used to this new life. Anyway, the last weeks have flown by.

After three weeks as an unemployed (haha), I am happy to make me some normal routines again though. Actually, I appreciate being back in Norway (for now), with no need for Google Translate in the grocery stores. 😀

All in all, it´s exciting to finally be a pilot student!

STEP TWO: FUNDING YOUR PILOT TRAINING

The second step from being a cabin crew to become a commercial pilot: funding.

The financial part of the education might be the first and most important factor to figure out. I know this is one of the main obstacles for many aspiring pilot students out there because pilot training is pretty expensive. 

In the Nordic countries, we are lucky to have different student loan organizations, like the Norwegian State Educational Loan Fund (Lånekassen) and The Swedish Board of Student Finance (CSN). These organizations allocate low-interest loans and grants for students attending government-approved schools. Most schools have some information about this solution in their web pages worth to check out. You can read more about pilot training and the Norwegian Lånekassen here.

Some schools have deals with selected banks to grant student private loans, some people finance the whole training from their own pocket, some work hard for years and save their money, and some people do their training at government-funded schools (or in the military).

As you see there are multiple ways to finance your training and most students end up combining several options. The most common being governmental support, bank loans, and own savings.

Unfortunately, the schools catching my interest abroad did not have approval from the Norwegian student loan organization, and that´s the main reason why I will do my pilot training in Norway. For me, it was essential to find a school where I would be able to finance the entire education upfront, to get the chance to finish on time and avoid involuntary breaks (due to financing) along the way. 

My best advice is to research a lot, and to ask people who has done this before. Everyone has a different story to tell and it may be helpful to hear the experiences of others.

THANK YOU NORWEGIAN

So this journey has come to an end. Last week I did my last flights as a cabin crew. I started my day where it all started in 2017, in SVG, flying six sectors between OSL and SVG. Landing (almost) on time on the sixth. Ended my last day in the best possible way, with a ride on the jumpseat in the cockpit on my positioning flight back to OSL. 

I’ll miss my fantastic colleagues, even though I think I´ll keep some of them forever. I’ll miss the daily interaction with the other crew members. I’ll miss working shifts, having days off in the middle of the week. I’ll for SURE miss my short but memorable visits to the cockpit. And I must admit, I’ll miss my standby tickets. Alot.

Thank you for all the conversations. Thank you for all advises in life. It has been a fairytale and I’ve learned so much not only about other people but most of all about myself. Thank you Norwegian.

I remember especially one thing from my cabin crew training. I told myself to never go back to the simulator at our training department as a cabin crew. And luckily I never had to do the recurrent training in the sim again. (It’s done every third year, and I should have done mine in January next year). By the time it was my turn, my goal was to have a plan on where, when and which flight school to attend. 

It feels a bit scary to leave my comfort zone and my safe place, but it’s about time to move on. It’s now two weeks left until school starts, and I am both curious and very nervous about becoming a pilot student. But I can’t get what I want if I’m not willing to risk. Let´s get this done. 😅

STEP ONE: MEDICAL EXAMINATION

The first step from being a cabin crew to become a commercial pilot: the medical class 1 examination.

To operate as a commercial pilot an EASA Class 1 Medical Examination is one of the requirements. Just to make sure you’re fit to fly, and like everything else in the aviation industry safety is always the number one priority. This is also most likely one of the most important obstacles to pass before you do anything with your upcoming flying career.

My medical examination took place at Flymedisinsk Institutt in Oslo. By then, the only Aero Medical Centre in Norway (now it’s two).

I started it all with some paperwork, completing a form about previous medical history, current medicines, about hereditary diseases within the family etc. Remember to be honest about this part.

The tests are conducted by a number of examinators, specialists in each field, and in between these visits, it’s a lot of waiting.

When my paperwork was done, I delivered both blood- and a urine sample. They checked my vision, monitored my ECG, I did a lung function test, they tested my hearing ability and the last part was a physical/general health examination; for example, testing my balance, reaction time and mental state.

And finally, after almost 3 hours of testing (and waiting) at the AMC I got my medical certificate. Such a relief and from now on I have to renew my medical every year. Anyhow it’s quite nice to have my health checked once a year.

You can find the two AMC’s in Norway here,

and if you want to read about EASA’s requirements you can read more here.

A CABIN CREW DAY: HOUR BY HOUR

I know a lot of people dream about becoming flight attendants. From distance, it might look like we’re busy doing our makeup and exploring the world while at work. Let us just make it clear, I would never spend more time than necessary in an aircraft toilet, and I would never bring any personal belongings in there, not even my makeup.

The ground stops on the short-haul operation are about 20-30 minutes long, and that’s not enough time to explore anything. If you’re lucky you get a 5-minute break in the sun on the aircraft stairs. But in aviation time is money, so the turnarounds should be as short as possible. So, I just want to show you what a cabin crew day actually can look like. Expectations vs reality.

Today we started our day in Alta, northern Norway, and we’ve stayed in a hotel in the city center. I had a stroll in the shopping center to buy some breakfast in the morning before getting ready for work. (FYI, we’re always working either lates or earlies during our 5 days working block.)

11:00
Time to get ready. Doing my makeup and hair, as well as I put my compression socks and uniform on.

12:00
I meet the crew in the hotel reception and while waiting for our pick up, we do a pre-flight briefing. Flight times, weather reports and pax numbers. We also discuss both first aid and safety-related topics to refresh and share knowledge and experiences. 

13:00
We’re through the security and waiting for a delayed aircraft. Having one last breath of fresh air before we enter the metal tube.

14:00
At this time we’re airborne and on our way from ALF to OSL, starting our in-flight service. Offering our passengers to buy beverages and snacks. 

15:00
Still on our way to OSL, having a short break and eating some lunch. (Oatmeal with mashed banana is my favorite nowadays.) I also do a quick visit to the cockpit before it’s time to prepare the cabin for landing. 

16:00
Landed in OSL and having a break on the ground to wait for our next aircraft to arrive. Two of the crew members are done for the day, so we’re meeting up with the two new ones in the crew room.

17:00
At this time we’re in the passport control since our next destination is non-Schengen. When we arrive at the new aircraft, we check all of the emergency equipment and prepares the cabin for boarding. 

18:00
All our passengers are onboard, and we’re taxiing out for departure towards EDI.

19:00
We’ve finished our service and I’m ready to eat my dinner. Tagliatelle with vegetables on the menu tonight.

20:00
Boarding our last passengers of the day and getting ready for takeoff. Today’s last sector.

21:00
Slowly starting some preparations of the cabin for landing. Collecting waste and closing down our OBT´s. These late flights use to be very calm.

22:00
Landed in OSL, 20 minutes ahead of schedule. Usually, we do a quick cleaning after landing, but since this aircraft had was planned for a night-flight, we had cleaners to do it. 

23:00
Finally at the hotel after a long day. Bedtime 😴

Keep in mind that no two days are ever the same in the air. Even though I would say this day went by both smooth and easy. 

CROATIA

The last week of my vacation I and my friend decided to go road tripping in Croatia. Flying into Dubrovnik, driving north to Pula and flying home from there.

Day 1: Dubrovnik Airport – Mlini Riviera

Landing in DBV. First of all: a very nice place for spotters.

We got our car, found our Air BnB and drove to explore the Mlini Riviera.

A couple of hours at the beach, and later on dinner in the Old Town of Dubrovnik. Followed by a drive up to Mount Srd, to see the sunset.

Day 2: Mlini – Promanja (Makarska Riviera)

Left the Mlini Riviera in the morning and drove to Makarska. Driving through a part of Bosnia and Herzegovina on the way. Luckily no queues at the borders.

Stayed in a small place called Promanja. We found a quite crowded beach, so we bought ourselves some floaties, so we could escape the shore. Floating around and snorkeling the rest of the day. Crystal clear water 😍

Ate dinner and finished right in time for a sunset swim on the beach. Well spent evening.

Day 3: Promanja-Trogir.

Left Promanja in the morning, drove straight to Omis for breakfast, and then further to Trogir, a few minutes north of Split.

Once again, we found a beach and spent the day at the sea with our floaties.

In the evening we took a stroll in a beautiful Trogir, watched yachts and ate dinner in the marina.

Day 4: Trogir-Vis Island-Trogir

Drove to Split to catch the ferry to Vis in the morning. We spent the whole day in Komiza, before we headed back to the mainland. A very nice island, not as touristy as the other places we have visited. Tasted the gelato of my life in Vis (hot tip from me)!

We had our dinner when we got back to Trogir, at a really cute restaurant in the middle of the old town.

Day 5: Trogir-Zadar.

First stop in Krka National Park to see the waterfalls. Actually a little dissappointed, as the park was very crowded. We might have been a little late, but we got to see what we came for. On the way back to the car we also got a refreshing shower of rain. After this little excursion, we drove further to Zadar.

In Zadar we spent the afternoon at the beach. For dinner we went to Nin, a cosy little town nearby. Had a delicious black dough pizza at Mad Duck. Highly recommended.

Day 6: Zadar-Pula.

The longest drive on our roadtrip. Drove through some mountains and the temperature dropped from 35° to 13° during our drive. As we were getting closer to the coast, the temperatures fortunately rose again.

Spent our last day at a small beach in Pula. Floating around in the waves and chilled out on the cliffs. Watched the sunset from the beach, before dinner and a stroll in Pula city centre in the evening. AND a gelato (of course).

GDANSK GUIDE

Either for shopping, food, beaches or history Gdansk is a good choice. Amongst Scandinavians Gdansk is a very well liked city as it’s so close and a weekend here can be decently affordable.

How to get to Gdansk Old Town from the airport?
I either get picked up by my boyfriend or I book an Uber to get home. An Uber from the airport to Old Town will cost you about 45PLN/100NOK/10EUR and take about 20 minutes. Depends on the traffic of course.

Where to stay?
IBB Hotel Dlugi Targ. A modern and clean hotel in the heart of Old Town. Cheap and good location.

Invest Comfort/BraBank is a nice alternative too. Here you can book short-term apartments for a nice price. Prices depends on season. The location is a little more “off” than the hotel mentioned, but still a maximum 3 minute walk to the restaurants.

What to do?
Museum of the Second World War. A good experience and a lot of important history. The building itself is quite modern and cool. The museum also arranges guided boat trips to Westerplatte. And if you’re into history it might be interesting to visit Stutthof, a concentration camp from WWII.

Visit one of Tricity´s beaches. If the weather permits, for sure. In my opinion Brzezno Beach is the nicest beach close to the city. Not that busy, but still alive. Stegna Beach is very nice too, and not touristy at all, but thats close to Stutthof and Sztutowo.

Oliwa Park, the most beautiful park in Gdansk. Beautiful flora and a lovely place for a refreshing walk.

Sopot Molo. If you go to Sopot you might want to take a walk at the molo. During the most busy summer months you need to pay 8PLN/18NOK/1.7EUR to visit the pier. And please keep in mind that Sopot during summer is crowded. Sopot is also known for their big spas and beaches.

Where to eat?
First of all. For breakfast, go to Cafe Libertas. Cute little cafe and the best breakfast spot in Gdansk.

If you want some tasty vegan/vegetarian food you should try Manna 68. A small and cosy restaurant with a lot of interesting dishes on the menu.

One more vegan/vegetarian restaurant to recommend is Vegan Port. (Close to Galeria Baltycka).

For Gdansk´ best pasta go to Glowne Miatso Italian. This restaurant has a good atmosphere, delicious food, but a small venue. It might be necessary to pre book a table.

If you crave anything Mexcian, Pueblo is the place to go. The food is tasty and the atmosphere and the venue is very Mexican. It is always full, so you should pre book a table.

I have only tried one of the burgers at Rednek, but that´s the one. The veggie burger with sweet potato fries and a add-on pineapple on top. OMG, so good!

Ryz in Oliwa. They offer very good thai food. Combine it with a walk in the Oliwa park.

Last but not least. Slony Spichlerz. Kind of a food court, with several restaurants to choose from. A very cool place. Highly recommended.

(I also would like to add Yummy! into my little guide. Here you´ll get the craziest milkshakes (or actually freakshakes), insane pancakes and a real sugar rush. A friendly warning: a visit here will triple your daily calorie intake.)

Anyway, this city has thousands of restaurants and I have only tried a few.

Shopping?
Forum Gdansk is the mall closest to Old Town. You´ll actually find what you need here. Stores like Zara, Massimo Dutti, Oysho, H&M, Max Mara, Sephora, Douglas and so on.

If you want more, you can have a ride with the tram to another mall called Galeria Baltycka. I think one way is about 3PLN/7NOK/0.7EUR. Or you can book an Uber, and pay approx. 17PLN/38NOK/4EUR. Kind of the same stores as in Forum.

And as that wasn´t enough, it is a new, huge mall in Gdynia called Riviera. Actually Tricity´s biggest shopping centre. By car from Old Town Gdansk, you´ll be there in approx. 25 minutes. To avoid completely chaos, I would reccommend to go to Riviera in one of the week days. (If you decide to go to Riviera/Gdynia, you have to grab a lunch at Pasta Miasta!!)

Keep in mind that in Poland all stores are closed on Sundays.

Thats all for now. We doesn´t feel 100% done with the exploring of this city yet, so I might add some more in the future.

WHAT IS IN IN MY FLIGHT ATTENDANT BAG

Have you ever wondered what a flight attendant bring in his/her bag? I will show you some things I personally need during a day at work.

All the accessories listed below, I carry in this FlightCrew5 Crew Cooler from Travelpro. This little (or actually quite big) bag really holds a lot. I use the front and the top pockets for my accessories and the big cooler compartment for food.

First and most important. Up to date licenses is mandatory to bring to work. Medical, CCA, ID-cards for the airport, passport etc. I also need to bring an electronic or paper version of my roster.

Anti bacterial wipes and gel. To stay clear of all the bacterias onboard.

My hands, and gets super dry while flying so I always make sure to have a good hand lotion in my bag. I also have a face mist in my bag to keep my face fresh and radiant throughout the day.

A mini pharmacy. Nasal spray, allergy medicines, sore throat lozenges and painkillers. Nice to have, just in case.

To count 189 passengers in a hurry it is essential to have a click counter nearby.

I do always bring an apron, flat shoes and a seal scissor. Even if we are flying non-service flights.

Announcement booklet & hi-vis vest.

An extra long charging cord and a power bank for my iPhone and/or iPad.

The one and only lip balm, some lip glosses and lip sticks are must haves during a long day. These are my favorites.

Last but not least: body mist, deo spray and perfume.

That was about it. Let me know if you have any questions!
x Frida.

FROM CABIN TO COCKPIT

My name is Frida, I am a 22 year old girl and I am born and raised in Norway. I love spending time in the nature, I love to travel and I am very fascinated by the aviation industry.

I have now worked as a flight attendant for 2 years. Already before I started as a FA, my dream and goal was to become a pilot. During the last two years I have used my days in the cabin to soak up as much advices and information as possible, to learn more about being and becoming a pilot.

Even though cabin life is slightly different from the pilot life behind a closed door, I feel I have some kind of understanding of how the aviation world looks like.

«Every fairytale has an end» and this will be my last summer in the cabin. In August I start my pilot training.

I started this blog to share my journey from being a flight attendant to become an airline pilot. I want to be visible for the next generation of pilots and I hope I can inspire other future pilot students with my story. This blog will easily give you a little of everything; the everyday life as a FA, travel tips and later on the pilot student life.

You can follow my journey on Instagram aswell, @fridajakobsen.