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What Pilots Do During Their Downtime

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Pilots spend countless hours bringing their planes home safely. When a pilot is on active status, they may not see their families for several weeks. The demands and stress involved with air travel can be hectic, but pilots find time to rest and recharge before their next flights. Although few pilots are ready to jump on a plane for their vacation time, most spend their downtime connecting with the people they can’t contact when they’re working. Here are some of the ways pilots spend their time when they’re not in the air.

Spending Time at Home
Since so much of their time is spent traveling, pilots look forward to returning to home base. Pilots make 12 to 15 flights a month, but they usually stay in a hotel between flights and cannot go home. Returning home is a chance to connect with their family and friends they haven’t seen in some time. Stay at home vacations are preferred by pilots, and some use their earnings to finance swimming pools or make home renovations. Improving their property with remodeling projects and additions helps pilots create a welcoming, comfortable environment when they return to their families.

Going Hiking
Aviators regularly exercise to stay in shape for the demands of their job. Exercise and rest are crucial for staying alert during a lengthy flight. Many pilots enjoy low-impact activities such as hiking. Taking a hiking trail and enjoying the surrounding natural beauty allows pilots to decompress and concentrate on the moment rather than the stress from their profession. Compared to other outdoor activities, hiking is a low-risk activity. With the exception of avoiding wildlife and being cautious on rugged terrain, hikers seldom face ordinary trails. However, most pilots would not sign up for a hike that involves hazardous climbs or solo trips in an isolated area.

Playing Golf
Another activity pilots enjoy in their downtime is golf. When they play the sport without help from a golf cart, golfers may walk several miles during an 18-hole match. Some courses cover as much as 180 acres. The sport gives pilots exercise and allows them to relax and soak in the scenery.

Going Fishing
Pilots are in constant motion when they’re working, and during their off time, many like to slow things down. Some prefer the serenity of fly fishing in a trout stream, while others head out on a boat for deep-sea fishing. Fishing is an inexpensive activity and an excellent time to escape the madness of a demanding profession. The sport allows them to become lost in thoughts that do not involve flying.

Visiting Friends
When pilots are flying, they’re not allowed to speak on a mobile phone or send texts. They contact their families and friends when they land and check in to a hotel. After finishing their reports and studying plans for the next flights, many pilots reconnect with friends that live near the area of their hotel. The downtime between flights can last several days, and when they’re too far from home, a visit with old friends can make a pilot’s time off more bearable.

Volunteer Work
Since much of their lives are spent away from home, pilots rarely spend time in their hometowns. Volunteering allows them to help their local community and spend time with the residents they’ve missed. They often enlist their families to help them volunteer so the pilots will not miss out on spending quality time with their loved ones.

Catching Up on Sleep
Rest is vital when your profession requires you to protect the lives of several hundred people every flight. Pilots have unpredictable schedules. Without a routine, many aviators are exhausted by the time they’re able to go home. Catching up on sleep and establishing a routine sleep schedule allows pilots to recover and prepare for their next round of flights.
Flying large groups of passengers around the world is a great responsibility. Spending time relaxing during their downtime allows pilots to maintain their health and efficiency.

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