Katja Kasperek flies big jets

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  2. Luedenscheid

Created: 01/27/2023, 07:00 a.m

Von: Fabian Paffendorf


Katja Kasperek in the cockpit of an Airbus A320. Ever since she was allowed to inspect an aircraft of this type at the age of eleven, she has been fascinated by the technology. © Kasperek

Today here, tomorrow there – but Katja Kasperek still has no time for jetlag. Born in Lüdenscheid, she has fulfilled her dream and is one of the few women in the world who are allowed to fly an Airbus A320 and a Boeing 757.

Lüdenscheid – It was a long and rocky road to master before the 33-year-old Katja Kasperek was able to take her place in the cockpit in the male domain of aviation. And the career aspirations were clear early on. “When I was eleven, my godmother, who works for Lufthansa, took me to Frankfurt Airport with her. For example, I was able to take a closer look at an Airbus there – and I was lastingly impressed,” says Katja Kasperek.

The look behind the scenes of a working day at the airport laid the foundation for a fascination that has lasted to this day. “As a little girl, there was of course the wish to stroll through the airport in one of those beautiful uniforms at first, but little by little it turned into the dream of sitting in the cockpit of an airplane to steer such a machine.” , says Kasperek. After graduating from high school in 2009, what followed was an application for admission to the Lufthansa flight school, the European Flight Academy.

The woman from Lüdenscheid applied in the traditional way – but did not pass the admission to pilot training. Time to get a Plan B out of the drawer: So the Lüdenscheid native enrolled at the University of Heidelberg to study law. Some time passed, but not the dream of flying. In a roundabout way, Katja Kasperek says, she then found out that there was a private flight school in Nuremberg where her wish for training was to be fulfilled.

Credit taken for training

“The next hurdle was that the training was quite expensive. At that time it cost around 65,000 euros. So I had to take out a loan where my parents stood surety for me at the bank,” the 33-year-old looks back. But before you could actually get behind the wheel of a single-engine fan gun for the first time, there were numerous hours of theory and simulator training. “The training included 14 theoretical subjects and an exam that had to be passed before the practical training,” explains Kasperek. And right in the middle of the training – the flight school went bankrupt. “I then completed my training at another school in Mülheim an der Ruhr,” says Katja Kasperek.

However, the pilot’s license at that time was by no means a guarantee that you could also take up a job as a pilot. “The economic crisis intervened, it was difficult to get a job. And that’s why she initially ended up with the ground staff at Cologne Airport. It was only in 2017 that she took off for the first time with a passenger plane. “I got a job at Air Hamburg through an acquaintance, where I was able to fly a Beechcraft King Air 200 as a freelancer.” During this time, however, she continued to diligently send applications to various airlines in order to find permanent employment. It then worked with Niki Lauda’s airline, Fly Niki.

The joy of finally being able to fly the beloved Airbus A320 did not last too long, however, because the airline went bankrupt at the end of 2017. “In 2018 I’m with the Germania airline. And it went bankrupt in 2019. So it was time to look for a job again,” says Kasperek. She continued to fly passenger planes – with SAS Scandinavian Airlines, based in London. The corona pandemic came in 2020. And with it the extensive shutdown of passenger air traffic.

Corona time awakened the idea of ​​a professional reorientation

“For more than 18 months I received a kind of short-time work allowance, sat at home and didn’t know how to continue. As unstable as the job was, I then decided to turn my back on aviation and applied to the Federal Police,” says Kasperek. In the end, however, the young woman was not able to complete the planned change of course, because a job above the clouds tempted her, from which she expected a certain degree of stability.

In 2021 Katja Kasperek became a freighter pilot on a Boeing 757 operated by DHL Air UK. Due to the consequences of Brexit, the DHL airline was then divided into different companies, so that the woman from Lüdenscheid has been flying for DHL Austria since July 2022. Since then, it has regularly transported 28 tons of parcels across Europe’s airspace. “Now I hope that I’ll still have the same employer in 25 years’ time,” says Katja Kasperek.

In 2017, the 33-year-old was able to fly an Airbus herself for the first time.  Today she steers a Boeing 757 for DHL Austria.
In 2017, the 33-year-old was able to fly an Airbus herself for the first time. Today she steers a Boeing 757 for DHL Austria. © Kasperek

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