Take off with captain Samy


Today, long-time Austrian Airlines Boeing 777 captain Manfred Samhaber tells us about his impressive pilot career and takes us on his personal journey.

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Ladies and Gentlemen,

A warm welcome from the cockpit. My name is Manfred Samhaber, and I am your captain on this flight.

In a few minutes, we will be given the go-ahead to start the engines. I hope you have already made yourselves comfortable and are enjoying your time on board.

I wish you a pleasant flight!


Nickname Samy, 64 years old, born in Trindorf.

He was trained as a commercial pilot during his time in the army.

Was present at the founding of Lauda Air.

1982 - 1985 First Officer on Falcon 20 and Learjet at Niki Lauda.

1985 - 1988 First Officer and Captain on B737.

1988 - 1996 Captain on B767.

1996 - 2022 Captain on B777.

First of all, why did you become a pilot?

I grew up in Trindorf, Upper Austria, right next to runway 08 of Linz Hörsching Airport. Due to the proximity to the airport and the daily take-offs and landings of aircraft, the desire to become a pilot was virtually a given.

Within the framework of the Austrian Armed Forces, it was then also possible for me to complete my training as a professional pilot and to realize my career aspirations.

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Approximately how many flights, takeoffs, and landings have you completed?

Since I have been flying long haul since 1988 - 34 years - I have logged more flight hours compared to takeoffs and landings. A total of 22.300 flight hours, of which 17.600 are long haul and 5.521 are flights, takeoffs and landings.

How has a pilot's job changed over the decades?

A lot has changed since the late 80s and early 90s. During that time, flights over eleven hours were still performed with two pilots. The EASA Flight Duty Regulations have led to major improvements in this regard.

Today, many long-haul flights are operated with three pilots, both for the benefit of the crews and to improve safety. Locked cockpit doors have been standard since 9/11, but initially, locking the doors took a lot of getting used to.

EFBs (Electronic Flight Bags), FMCs (Flight Management Computers) and digital flight planning systems have made work much more managable.

Wich airport has a difficult landing approach?
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Hong Kong's old airport - Kai Tak - was always a challenge because of the weather, obstacles and approach procedure.

Did you have celebrities on board and if so who?
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Apart from Niki Lauda, with whom I was regularly on the road, many F1 racing drivers such as Gerhard Berger, Nelson Piquet, Keke Rosberg, the Austrian President Heinz Fischer, the Chancellors Vranitzky and Faymann, various celebrities such as Antonio Banderas, Katie Perry, Brigitte Nielsen, Thomas Gottschalk, Christoph Waltz and sports greats such as Franz Klammer, Hermann Maier, etc.

Your highlights ...


Surprise on the farewell flight to Mauritius. There, the entire crew and accompanying friends welcomed me in Austrian costume - the ladies in a dirndl, the men in lederhosen - for dinner.

I was the only one in T-shirt and shorts. 😊


My "Around the World"-flight to Ushuaia and of course the nonstop flight from Vienna to Sydney.


This flight will remain in my memory forever because of the unique crew, the beautiful destination and the many "magic moments" during the rotation and on the flight home from Mauritius to Vienna. The crew came up with a lot of ideas and surprised me again and again. My last tour of the 64-meter Boeing 777-200 was indescribable - our guests showed their appreciation with standing ovations. One passenger even left me some very personal lines he had written down on an air sickness bag. It is very nice to be able to associate this moment, which is so final for me, with so many happy memories.

Austrian Airlines as an employer?

For me, Austrian is the best employer, and that is why I have never had any aspirations to work elsewhere. The Austrian brand combines tradition with modernity and is still unmistakable.

Simply "The charming way to fly" and it makes you proud to be a member of this great Austrian family.


Ladies and Gentlemen,

we will shortly begin our descent towards retirement. I bid you farewell and wish you a wonderful onward journey. It was an honor to welcome you aboard Austrian Airlines.

Goodbye from the cockpit. Your captain Samy. 😊

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