19 Surprising Things Pilots Do Onboard – There you are, at the airport, sitting in the departure lounge waiting for your flight. Then, you see them walk by in their crisp uniforms. Pilots – they’re the epitome of “cool”, and when you see those pictures on social media showing pilots taking epic selfies tens of thousands of feet in the air, then you’re really convinced, it’s hard to imagine what their life is really like, but it might be way different from what you think!.
1. Depending on their flight schedule, it can sometimes take pilots 3 or more days before they get back home. Seeing the world is cool and all, but imagine constantly being away from friends and family, that’s why a lot of them keep photos of their loved ones inside the lining of their hat.
2. Speaking of those hats, the uniforms are pretty sharp, but if you somehow managed to barge into the cockpit uninvited, well, you’d be breaking the law, so please don’t do that. But let’s imagine you get a glimpse of the cockpit. “Oooh, so many flashy buttons!”, you might also notice one of the pilots in a t-shirt and no hat! Hey, they don’t need the cap to fly, and they certainly wouldn’t wanna spill spaghetti sauce on that uniform! And that brings us to…
3. Pilots don’t eat the same meals as their passengers do. In fact, most of the time, the captain and co-pilot are required to eat completely different meals from each other too, it all comes down to the risk of food poisoning. Airlines can’t take the chance that both pilots will eat the same thing that wasn’t cooked or handled properly, so they came up with this preventive measure. You remember the movie “Airplane”, and what happened in that cockpit, right?, might have to engage the Otto Pilot.
19 Surprising Things Pilots Do Onboard
4. On that note, what happens if one of the pilots does get sick or needs emergency medical assistance? first, don’t forget that there’s usually more than one pilot, so the other can just take control. Also, crew members are trained to do first aid, and all planes are required by law to have a fully stocked emergency medical kit onboard. And if there’s a medical doctor on board among the passengers, the crew will gladly accept their assistance as well.
5. There’s no denying that pilots are like superheroes, but they’re also human, and they need to sleep! For long-haul flights on huge jets, there’s a secret room for them to catch some Zs. And get this: it’s usually located in the upper deck right above first class, crew members climb a small staircase to the sleeping chamber and grab a nap when they can. The pilots go separately, of course!.
6. If a pilot does need to leave the cockpit and get some rest, another crew member must enter. The rule is that there should always be two people in the cockpit. The same goes for bathroom breaks. What, didn’t think they do that either? of course, they do!.
7. It might surprise you to know that a lot of pilots prefer long-haul flights. And that’s because they typically just have one of those. So once they get it out of the way, they have more free time! Short-haul flights are annoying because a pilot can have a whole day full of them, but then again, they don’t have to deal with jet lag…
8. As a frequent traveler myself, I can’t imagine jet lag being a part of my day-to-day, so, what are the health risks associated with the job? well, this type of shift work has been linked to higher rates of heart disease. Pilots also must be careful about staying hydrated, which is a double-edged sword. If they drink too much, that means more bathroom breaks.
And a pilot generally tries to avoid leaving the cockpit as much as possible. But being dehydrated and sitting for long periods of time can also increase their risk of developing blood clots!
19 Surprising Things Pilots Do Onboard
9. But don’t worry – the pilot flying your plane is in tip-top shape, they have to do regular health checks once or twice a year. As for the thing about having 20/20 vision, it’s totally true. The FAA requires pilots to have just about perfect eyesight.
10. Back to those snazzy uniforms because they’re just so iconic, you ever wonder what the stripes on their epaulets really mean? if you see one stripe, you’re looking at a flight trainee. Two stripes are for engineer or second officer. Three stripes can be seen on the first officer. And the captain wears four stripes. So, now ya know!.
11. Have you ever wondered if pilots can listen to music in the cockpit?. They sure are, the headset they use has a double purpose feature of detecting radio communications and immediately silences the music. So, the FAA has no problem with putting on some tunes if it’s not distracting.
12. Pilots mostly fly the plane through the autopilot. They always check it before take-off, and they really depend on it, along with the navigation and communication systems, at night, just imagine what they see when they look out the window that high up in the air. It’s either nothing but clouds or blue sky or complete blackness. Nope, it’s not like cruising down the highway in your car.
13. But it’s not as if they just get to kick back and relax while the computer does all the work. A pilot’s job is far from just grabbing the yoke and flying the plane. They need to monitor all the systems in the aircraft, from oil pressure to fuel levels and even temperature. They’re also monitoring the weather, talking to air traffic control, and even filling out paperwork in the form of an extremely detailed and handwritten flight plan!I imagine any pilot watching this video right now is probably thinking, “And that ain’t even the tip of the iceberg!”.
14. Here’s one you’ll probably regret knowing: “We’re flying through an air pocket”, actually means the plane is hitting some regular all turbulence. But since that word tends to strike fear among passengers, pilots came up with a clever replacement, but it’s really nothing to worry about, and pilots deal with it all the time. It’s like second nature to them.
19 Surprising Things Pilots Do Onboard
15. You ever wonder why the plane takes so long to land?,.Like, why are we doing circles around the airport?, don’t immediately panic and assume there’s something wrong with the aircraft. The pilot is simply waiting for the green light from air traffic control. Airports are busy places, so you’ve got planes landing and taking off left and right, and up and down. Runways are limited, so sometimes ya just must wait your turn, or they might have to burn extra fuel, but I’ll get into that later.
16. Ok, so what’s with those pictures all over social media? you know, the pilot hanging out the window and snapping a selfie? Are pilots allowed to do that? the real question is, is it even physically possible? well, if it’s a tiny little Cessna, then, yeah, they can probably grab a quick pic. But if you see a selfie of a commercial pilot hanging out the window of a jumbo jet, your Photoshop radar should be going nuts, that absolutely wouldn’t be possible because of the air pressure.
If a pilot were to open a window in the cockpit, he’d get sucked out in a second. Also, imagine yourself sticking your head out the window while going at over 250 miles per hour. Think that might blow the camera out of your hand? or blow you right out of the plane? even if a commercial pilot just wants to take a selfie in the cockpit, that’d be against the law. Regulations prohibit them from using phones or video while they’re operating the plane. They should be preoccupied with keeping the flight and everyone on board safe and comfortable, not getting a bunch of likes on their cool selfie.
17. I always wondered what pilots do when they finish a long-haul flight and land in another country. Where do they sleep? do they have to pay for that? the answer is surprising: most airlines provide them with a hotel room. The airline pays for everything a pilot needs while they’re waiting for their next flight. By the way, Pilots tend to be rather messy. Instead of putting their things away, they just pilot here and pilot it there. Yeah, that joke is so old it crumbles, so let’s simply move on…
18. Here’s another perk of the job: pilots get to fly for free!. Well, if there’s a seat available for them. But they need to pay extra if they want to upgrade the ticket. I imagine most of them are willing to settle for economy class if it means they get to save their money. Although, the flying coach is rough…“Oh, you want me to sleep while pretty much sitting up straight with my knees digging into the seat in front of me? sure! No problem!”
19. And finally, “they,” say a good pilot makes a perfectly smooth landing. I don’t know who the heck “they” are, but they’re right!, landing is probably the hardest and most dangerous part of a pilot’s job. They need to have their angle of descent, their speed, and the fuel levels just right in order to land an aircraft. And the larger the plane, the harder it is since they’re heavier, faster, and harder to bring to a stop.
By the way, a common phrase shared among general aviation pilots is “Any landing you can walk away from is a good landing”. It’s true and funny, and it sets the bar pretty low, so obviously the airlines hold their guys to a higher standard. So, nothing but respect to all the pilots out there.
What about you?, what other cool pilot facts did I miss? let me know down in the comments. 19 Surprising Things Pilots Do Onboard