Working in summer: aircraft captain
“I Like Flying To Where There’s More Daylight”
As an aircraft captain, Peter Rix travels all over the world. That’s exactly what he likes about his job. In the warm season, he says, flying is especially nice. Not just for the passengers, but also for the crew.
By Ula Brunner
Chicago, Tokyo, Buenos Aires and San Diego in four weeks – for the aircraft captain Peter Rix such a stint is routine. The native of Nuremberg, born in 1970, exudes calm competence and reliability, which probably comes from his professional experience. He has been a pilot for twenty years, and he still likes to say: “It’s important for me to have a varied job. I like traveling, seeing the world and working with other people.”
Since 2002 he has been flying long distance for Lufthansa. The airline flies to more than 200 destinations worldwide. In summer, a few more are usually added: San Diego in California or Shenyang in northeastern China, where many German companies have their headquarters. Rix is looking forward to the new cities and the local activities they offer. The crew usually has a stay-over of 24 or 48 hours before the next flight.
Every month Rix has four to five flight operations, or rounds, as they are called in the jargon. He is often on the go; family and friends have to adjust to this. From his place of residence in Berlin he first travels to his place of work in Frankfurt am Main or Munich. From he goes on to the various destinations. As captain, Rix has the final responsibility on board, though he alternates with the co-pilot when flying. The routine makes it easier for him, as does the “excellent” cooperation of the entire crew. Still, his job is challenging – physically as well as psychologically. Jet lag gives trouble not only to passengers but also to the crew. In addition, the flights often start in the evening or at night.
That’s what Rix likes the summer: “We fly a lot at high northern latitudes. Outside, it’s bright in summer and that makes it easier to sit in the cockpit at night.” In general, flying in the warm season is less complicated in many ways: typical winter problems – delays due to snowfall or because the aircraft has to be de-iced – are eliminated.
Rix also appreciates that he hardly has to carry luggage when the temperature is warm: “That sounds trivial: but especially when you’re on the go for longer, you're happy when you don’t have to carry a heavy jacket”. And of course the sun has a positive effect on everyone – the team and the passengers.
High above the clouds, he still enjoys the view from his window after twenty years of work: “When we fly over eastern Greenland, which has mountains almost 3,000 meters high directly on the coast, I say to my crew: Look at that. You can get this view only in summer; in winter it’s dark down there. It still thrills me; it’s fascinating and beautiful.”
If someone is professionally in the air so much, doesn’t he prefer to keep his feet on the ground during his own holidays? Rix laughs: “No, I still always find some corner of the world where I haven’t been yet.” This summer, he says, he will visit a friend in Tallinn: “I like flying to where there’s more daylight. So in summer to the north, in the winter to the south. “