As per version of Scott Beale Aviation, that a pilot’s life is rewarding and intensive. It requires lot of dedication and training. But a day’s work can be varied for a pilot; a he or she may have to fly a long range international flight or a short domestic flight.
A pilot is only certified to fly one aircraft at a time, which means that flying assignments are aircraft specific.
It should be noted that new pilots are the lowest on the totem pole and so they may have to start out on reserve which means that they will fill in if a pilot is unable to come to duty or if new flights are required. They will be on call for around 20 days per month. Reserve pilots will need to be readily available and fly on short notice.
But there are some terms which need to be understood:
Flight time vs. duty time:
Just because a pilot spends time on the job, it does not simply mean that the whole time he or she is on the flight deck controlling an aircraft. Actually, pilots may end up clocking for up to 118 hours. This time, when they are actually in control is known as stick time.
- Pilots will also have to undergo other time consuming practices before and after a flight like filing in flight plans, filing post flight reports, doing weather assessments and performing pre-flight checks on the aircraft just to ensure that each flight is operating on maximum level of safety. As such a duty day can extend up to and even past 14 hours (especially in cases of weather disruptions).
- Pilots will also have to ensure that they revise equipment manuals and brush up on operating procedures.
- They will also have to participate in rigorous recurrent training and qualification.
Getting the required amount of rest should be a focus for all major airline pilots since pilots work throughout the year, round the clock. So, adjusting to time zones and ensuring adequate rests can be a challenge to pilots- both before and after a long day of duty of flying overseas or operating at night.
Types of Pilots:
- Short Haul Pilots: Their days typically start off and finished at their allocated base and they don’t generally do night stops so they can go back home for the night (barring any disruptions which can result in an unscheduled night stop). Short haul flights last from 30 minutes to 3 hours, whereas medium haul is around 3-6 hours.
- Long Haul Pilots: Scott Beale Aviation says that flights of more than 6 hours are defined as such. Long haul pilots have to fly all over the world and as such have to spend a lot of time away from home. But they will also get more days off than short haul pilots.
Pilots have a very specific skill set for which they are paid handsomely but it involves a lot of time, dedication, and experience to master. The job may be risky but it is a job which offers social standing and prestige.