For most of us, long flights can be a bore. We can pass the time reading, enjoying snacks and beverages, watching movies or resting, all while the pilots work tirelessly to keep the aircraft in motion.
Here is a basic outline of what the pilots are required to do each and every flight while you make yourself comfortable for what’s ahead – and it requires much more than some flying skills.
Pilots are constantly managing the craft during weather changes and flight path diversions due to variations of atmospheric intensity, difficulty and type. This means they need to be able to adapt to any fluctuations that can occur – sometimes in a split second.
A pilot is also the primary legal authority responsible for personnel issues that may arise in-flight. And, ultimately, the pilot decides whether a passenger situation requires a flight diversion for safety reasons.
Much of a pilot’s work is extremely strategic, as they must deal with the complicated machines that planes truly are.
This means they must monitor dozens of gauges, from engine oil pressure to air conditioning ducts. Temperatures and pressures must be kept as exact as possible to ensure the comfort and security of everyone on board, as the pilot is ultimately liable for their safety.
One pilot monitors the systems while the other fills in the paperwork that is so detailed, an inspector should be able to recreate the exact flight path.
Downtime and rest
While pilots can eat in the cockpit, only one pilot eats at a time, while the other keeps everything else in check.
If everything is in order and running smoothly, there is time for a rest break.
Over a long-haul flight, there are reliever pilots who allow the main pilots to take the time to sleep and relax in the cabin space just above the cockpit.
Many passengers believe the pilots just kick back, read the paper and let the flight take its course.
However, the responsibility of taking this metal machine around the world is far greater than the average person would expect.
Would you like to be a pilot? How would you choose to spend your little amount of downtime?