sebastian thoma

Air Traffic Controller. Pilot. Aviation Enthusiast.

Air Traffic Controller 

  • based at Area Control Center Bremen (EDWW)
  • responsible for the airspace of Berlin (DEP/ARR EDDT & EDDB)

Private Pilot

  • EASA-PPL SEP, NVFR, GLID, ULA, FAA validation
  • FI (rp) LAPL-only, CRI
  • in training for CPL (IR), MEP
  • 550+ hrs flown in Europe, USA & Australia
  • various types: A210, C150, C152, C172, C182, DA20, DO27, DR40, M20J, MOR2, PA18, P28A, P28B, P28R, PA38, SUBA 

Aviation Photographer

  • planespotter with multiple trips around the world, every year
  • journalist & aviation expert for many print magazines and online platforms

The Beginning

 

It all started when I was about 12 years old and my father, who used to fly helicopters for the german air force, bought the "Microsoft Flight Simulator 95". That was not only the first computer game which I ever played, but also introduced myself into the fascination of aviation. In the following years, I learned a lot about flying and always bought the newest flight simulator with add-ons like the Boeing 737 or the Airbus A320. I also started simulating air traffic control on the online platform IVAO (International Virtual Aviation Organization). 

 

With the age of 15, virtual aviation was not enough anymore. My biggest wish for the future was to become an air traffic controller or a pilot for Lufthansa in real life. My dad took me to a glider site in my hometown Celle, where I started flight training some weeks after. 

 

Aircraft and Flight Engineering 

 

During my last year in school I had internships at the control tower in Hanover (EDDV) and the air traffic control center in Bremen (EDDW). Being only 17 years old when i finished school, I started studying Aircraft and Flight Engineering at the University of Applied Sciences Osnabrueck. Having completed two semesters including my private pilot license, I applied for the German ANSP DFS and also Lufthansa. I got lucky twice and got two job offers. 

 

The big question: ATCO or pilot for Lufthansa?


On the one hand, I preferred Lufthansa a lot over being air traffic controller after the flying experience I made, on the other hand the airline business was experiencing a very hard time with all the upcoming low-lost carriers as well as rising oil-prices. Lufthansa-trainees were waiting for years until they would get their type-rating and would then be flying for Eurowings only under really bad contracts compared to what I was promissed when leaving school. It was proberbly the hardest decision of my life, saying "NO" to the Lufthansa flight training, but I decided to go for the ATC-training and dont regret anything today.

 

...or maybe both?


Air Traffic Control is a very challenging job and it is a lot of fun at the same time. Nevertheless I still have that dream to fly a jet one day. With all my experience on SEP-aircraft, I started a modular ATPL-course in 2018, looking forward to combine the two jobs; ATC and flying. That is also where the idea of "ATCpilot" came from...