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A Day in the Life of an Airline Pilot

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Airline pilots and flight attendants have some of the most unique work schedules and responsibilities. As a result, many find these professions fascinating, both as a potential career path and for having a general understanding of what's going on behind the scenes on a flight. Here is a typical schedule for many airline pilots.
Getting Ready for a Shift
There are legal requirements for how much rest flight crew members need in relation to how long they've flown. Because of this, pilots often need to be ready to spend the night at their destination in a hotel booked by the airline. For long flights, this can mean they'll spend several days or weeks in a city, so they'll need to be prepared for more than just their day of work. Pilots usually become masters at packing efficiently, as they often only bring a small suitcase and a small bag to keep with them in the cockpit. Many times they put some food in this bag, because while eating out is fun for a week or so, it gets old for those who have to eat at airports regularly. In addition to the unusual eating situations, even if they fly domestically, so much traveling between time zones and odd eating schedules can cause problems such as digestion issues, so they may want to pack a supplement such as Morning Complete to help with this.
Pre-Flight Preparation
Long before your flight is scheduled to take off, pilots and flight attendants meet to discuss the flight plan and get to know each other. After that, pilots will review the maintenance records for the plane they'll be flying. This allows them to look for any sections that need to be double checked before takeoff or monitored closely during the flight. They also look over weather reports and the flight plan to see if there is a possibility of inclement weather or turbulent areas they need to be prepared for. Once they sign off on that, the pilots and the rest of the crew perform safety checks and prepare the plane for takeoff. As passengers are arriving, pilots program the flight management system (FMS). This can take a long time, but it's very important that they do this with accuracy and attention to detail so that the flight will go as smoothly as possible. Once they complete this and go over their pre-flight checklist one more time, it's time for takeoff.
During the Flight
There are quite a few technical responsibilities that pilots have once in the air, but they're also tasked with keeping in communication with air traffic control, the rest of the flight crew, and the passengers. The pilots update each group regularly and listen for any instructions from air traffic control. They also need to actively monitor the instruments and programs, create radio and satellite reports, and update any navigational systems as needed. During long flights, pilots usually have bunks where they can get some sleep while a backup crew takes over. This not only makes the extended period of time in the air more bearable, but it allows them to get the rest they need to stay alert and ready to respond to any unexpected events. During the rest of their shift, they're allowed to take breaks to walk around to get some coffee and often enjoy chatting with their copilots and taking in the bird's-eye view that they get to enjoy every day of work.
After Landing
Once the pilot's guide the plane to a safe landing, it's their job to welcome the passengers to their new destination and remind them that they need to stay seated until the plane has stopped completely. After the passengers have disembarked and the pilots have shut down the plane, it's off to another meeting with the crew, and then, if they don't have any more flights for the day, they get to head to their hotel for some much-needed down time.
Working as a pilot brings many responsibilities, but it also comes with adventure and the chance to travel the world, making it an incredibly rewarding profession.

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