By: AirTravellerPH Staff
What is it like being a commercial airline pilot and what are the realities behind it all? It is indeed a daunting task as one is in control of a man-made life-support object at 38,000ft with more than a hundred lives under his helm, but there are a lot of good things to note if you want to become a pilot. A post from the Facebook page Pinoy Aviators talks about the realities of being a flight deck crew.
SHORT HAUL PILOTS
Short haul pilots for low cost airlines typically start and finish their day at their allocated base. They do not tend to do night stops and therefore can expect to be back at home for the night. Technical problems or weather issues down route can of course have an impact on the operation which could result in an unscheduled night stop.
Short haul flights might last anywhere from 30 minutes to 3 hours. Medium haul is defined as 3-6 hours. There are usually two pilots on short haul flights, a First Officer and a Captain.
The roster is usually fixed with set days off, so you can plan in advance. The short haul rosters tend to be of a more stable nature than for long haul. A typical roster would be 5 days of work and then 3 or 4 days off. Some airlines have more favourable and stable rosters than others. Rosters usually alternate from week to week, for example you will be on an early shift pattern one week, then switch to a late shift pattern the next.
Depending on the duration of the flight, short haul pilots can expect to do between 2 and 6 flights a day. It involves doing a lot of take-offs and landings. Short sectors can be demanding due to the high workload placed on the flight crew.
Low cost carriers will tend to optimise the productivity of flight crew and therefore fly close to the maximum 900 hours allowed by the regulatory authorities.
As a low cost short haul pilot, you will operate to a range of destinations, often to smaller airfields that are less well equipped.
LONG HAUL PILOTS
A long haul flight is defined as having a flight time of more than 6 hours. Long haul pilots fly all over the world and can spend a lot of time away from home. Trips can last from a few days to over a week. The constant changing of time zones can be very fatiguing.
Long haul pilots will typically get more days off than short haul pilots due to the amount of time they spend away from home and thus the need to rest and adjust their body clocks.
To become a long haul pilot you would typically need to gain some experience as a short haul pilot. Long haul pilots might only get to land the aircraft a couple of times a month and therefore require a good degree of previous experience in the short haul sector.
There may be a number of pilots on long haul flights to allow the flight crew members to rest in the crew quarters on particularly long flights. Generally speaking, a long haul pilot can expect to be paid more than a short haul pilot.