2 answers

As a Pilot what is your daily work experience like and how do you get through the day?

Updated New Orleans, Louisiana

2 answers

Sean’s Answer

Updated
Depending upon what airline and where you are based your day to day life will vary greatly. Freight- I flew freight feeder for about a year, of that year I also was a training Captain, meaning I trained the new pilots who were coming to work there. Flying for a cargo feeder your morning starts about 5am with checking the weather, the aircraft, and then finally a dispatcher to be legally released to go fly. Next you will load up your cargo and possibly fuel if it was not done already. This can take anywhere from 20 minutes to over 2 hours. You will fly usually 1-3 short flights with a total flight time under 3 hours, offloading some or all of the cargo at your stops. Every stop also requires more paperwork. Next you will spend the day in a hotel at your last stop, returning to the airport anywhere from 3-4pm and repeat the process, except you are gathering cargo at your stops to bring back to your original destination, after the cargo is off and the plane is put away for the night, all of your paperwork from the day is finished and turned in, usually leaving around 530-7pm depending on the specific schedule. You repeat this schedule 4-5 times a week, sometimes a different schedule one of the days of the week. To get thru the day a good nap in the middle of the day is a must. Passenger airline- The schedules vary greatly, everything in the airline world is seniority based. If you just start at an airline your schedules will start out with reserve, this means you are a back up pilot who is on call. The time to be at the airplane vary from 2 hours to 12 hours and could be less or more depending upon the airlines specific rules. After you have been at the airline a while you will find yourself with a schedule of flights for the month, the flights can be locals, where you are back to your home base the same day, to flights that can be 4 or more days away from your home base. Most airlines will have your flight start and end at your home base, occasional they do not and they will book you as a passenger to get back to your home. (you get paid for this flight). During your 1-4 days of work you could just fly one flight that is short 30 min or over 4 hours, or multiple flights, up to 6 or more. There are many legal requirements on the length of the day you may work, and more specific, the number of hours you may fly in a day, these numbers vary depending upon the time you start working and the number of flights that day. The reward is ending up in some awesome locations that have many attractions or sites to see and food from many different regions.

Kevin’s Answer

Updated
I am a test pilot, so my day begins early in the morning with a large amount of preparation. The test flights begin months in advance with meetings and discussions about how we are going to conduct the flight test. We go over every detail of the design and expected test results. We then spend hours practicing in simulators and flying aircraft similar to the test aircraft. The day before the flight, I have to check and study the weather for the flight. I have to talk to the engineers and confer any updates that would affect the flight. We get together in briefings and go over the play by play details of every movement and test event we expect to execute. Once the entire team (test engineers, test pilots, and administration) is satisfied what we are doing is safe and effective, we then give a "go" decision for the next day. The next day starts early in the morning with final checks of the weather, systems analysis, areas we are to fly and crew readiness. Then we perform the pre-flight, aircraft systems checks and power up for take off. Typical flights last anywhere from 1 hour to 4 hours. In all, a test flight day may last up to 10 hours. There are many more items that go on. When we are not directly preparing for a flight, we are working with the engineers to calculate various speeds and parameters for the aircraft to fly in. In addition, we write reports, give analysis, design checklists and even have to give presentations on new systems. I hope this helps. Kevin