Sign in to follow this  
Dillon

How boring is real world long haul flights???

Recommended Posts

After purchasing the SkySim MD11 I've been wondering and looking for testimonials from real world pilots about what it must be like. I own the PMDG 744 PAX/Cargo and from what I can tell one can at least can go somewhere to stretch out for a nap until their shift. Same thing with the 777 but the DC10/MD11 it seems to be another story (especially for the cargo boys). The cockpits aren't that big and I would imagine a flight from say KMEM to London's Heathrow is all one crew. Unlike a road trip, one only has the endless ocean to look at from 36,000ft for hours on end... Most of us who've flown long haul flights had the comfort of an in flight movie, music, or something else (reading for example). A Cargo pilot has none of that not even a prepared hot meal in some cases.I'm wondering what it's really like and how most real world pilots feel about it. I used to work at FedEx but never asked the MD11/DC10 pilots about this. I've flown jumpseat and I can tell you, you wouldn't want to sit in the cockpit for 8 hours (much less have to land after all that time) of a DC10/MD11. Maybe that's why FedEx pilots are among the most secure and highest paid pilots out there... So does anyone know where I can read some info on what it's like for these pilots. Like I said after owning the Sky Sim MD11 it's really apparent how hard this must be versus the roomy upper deck of a 744F...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Help AVSIM continue to serve you!
Please donate today!

"I've flown jumpseat and I can tell you, you wouldn't want to sit in the cockpit for 8 hours (much less have to land after all that time)"Maybe you, not me. Everyone is different. Avaition is my passion, and when a company pays you for doing something you truly love, you've got it made... How many people can say "I'am going to my hobby today" instead of "I'm going to work today"? When your work becomes your hobby, everyone wins.Lee

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I flew a lot of long hauls over the pacific in a KC-135 back in the 70's. If we did mid-air refueling, we stayed pretty busy, but many of those flights were to carry passengers and/or cargo from the US to Southeast Asia. This was before GPS, so we made position reports on HF radios and did regular checks of fuel usage and all of our systems. The pilots could head back to the latrine and stretch a little, but we were rarely out of the seat for more than 10 minutes. It could be pretty hypnotic after a while. We would sometimes drag out our flight manuals and try to stump each other on procedures. I only remember having trouble staying awake on long overnight flights, just before dawn.I would think it must be worse today - so much is automated. Nevertheless, it's a responsibility that every pilot I've known takes seriously. That makes it hard to be bored.Dale

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Don't forget the crew rest areas aft of the upper deck on a 744 with beds (OK, so the beds aren't exactly suited to us 6 footers). Once I was the only passenger in 1st class from Tokyo. The whole crew piled into 1st class and stripped off for their break. Higlight of my trip;)Cheers,Paulhttp://www.strontiumdog.plus.com/temp/avsim.gif

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The eternal question.....I'm shorthaul at the moment but am considering a change. I've been talking to loads of guys who used to fly longhaul, or indeed still do, and have asked them this very same question.The kind of answers I get are...1) Don't rush anything. On the ground, only program the first hour of your route. You'll have time to enter in the rest later.2) Eat slow, savour the delights of even a crew meal. Take each course gently, chew your food.3) Read the papers, I mean, digest, understand and comprehend every word (including adverts) and bring a bunch of papers with you). From the Daily Rant to the Torygraph - and everything inbetween.4) Bring a book - make it a good one ... and a spare just in case.5) Make comprehensive and detailed position reports/checks/fuel/system checks. Although in modern aircraft this is hard to do as everything is so well automated/laid out.6) If your other half is willing, go over manuals, look for "Useless Technical Fact of the day". Surprise each other with amazing details of your trustee steed. If he's not, keep schtumm, don't irritate the only guy you're going to spend time with for the next few days.7) If you have a heavy crew or relief pilot, plan your breaks carefully. Discuss the implications of burning out the heavy guy(s). Plot the agreed times on the progress chart/FMC.8) If you don't have a heavy crew (most east coast trips - based London), decide on a plan for controlled rest.All in all it sounds so very boring it becomes hard work again. On the upside, you only ever do 1 sector days and then when you get off you're usually somewhere nice (preferably hot with a beach). Now I love flying as much as the next pilot (I remortgaged my house and gave up my nice, safe, well paid job to do it and am not regretting a second) but I get bored going to Moscow, let alone Hong Kong.The upshot is some guys like it, others don't. Ones ability to sleep anywhere and anytime helps. As does how one copes with the chronic tiredness on return home (and indeed how wives, girlfriends, husbands and children cope with your chronic tiredness).Shorthaul's a job, longhaul's a lifestyle.Take your pick, at the end of the day you're still getting paid to fly cool aircraft about the place.Hope this helps,Ian

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Dillon:You've got to take the world of a pilot into perspective. First, remember that a real world pilot doesn't sit in front of a computer all by himself...he's got at least another person in the pit to talk to and in the case of commercial pilots, a cabin crew to pop in and bring meals, crack jokes and interact with. Not to mention needing to constantly stay alert to speak with ATC, watch for other aircraft and monitor the aircraft in cruise.From experience, take my typical day on a KEWR-KLAX trip on Continental. The trip paring says 5:55 minutes block-to-block in a B737-300. But that is only block time and does not include the time you get to the airport, check-in down in the crew room, get the flight paperwork, speak to the dispatchers, walk to the gate, setup the cockpit, have a briefing with the captain, have a briefing with the crew, do the walk around, interact with clearance and OPS and sit for 30 minutes while the plane is boarded. Only once the brakes are released for pushback does your 5:55 start ticking. In the mean time you've been at "work" for 1:30 not gettin' paid.Now, taxi out, enjoy the view of 17 tails a head of you at rush hour, make the announcement that you are number 18 for takeoff. 45 minutes later you sit the flight attendants down for takeoff, you've been at work for amost 2:00.30 minutes to to the Eliott STAR from RWY 04L and join the initial fix on J80 and you are on your way. Reach cruise, turn off the fasten seatbelt sign, make the obligitory announcement and settle in for the 5 hours you have remaning.If you have a great captain first comes the conversations on the latest bid packets, seniority, bases, lines you can hold with your seniority, bases you can hold with your seniority, current labor issues, what the union is doing about it. You ding the first class F/A to get some coffee, she brings it...after her service. Continuous handoffs with TRACON. Chaulk up about an hour. Next, the first class F/A tells you she's got some food available so she makes you a hodgepodge of leftover first class delicacies and you chow down for about 1/2 hour. More handoffs with TRACON, chaulk up about another hour.More banter, the pretty blonde who you've been eyeing since checkin, comes to the pit and sits on the jumpseat to eat her crewmeal. The captain breaks out into a tyrade of blonde jokes, you laugh your butts off and then start gossiping about the brunette working the galley position who the blonde thinks is a ######. Another hour goes by.You break out your latest copy of Flying magazine, go through the bid packet one more time, you and the captain banter about your wives and your mistresses, tell each other that you hate (or love) the hotel at the layover, look out the window, banter about the left EGT gauge being a little low...hour and a half goes by.IN RANGE, you radio OPS at let them know if you need any wheelchairs or anything else when you get to the airport. Start your descent, interact with ATC for the next 45 minutes, make your approach.Time to focus, turn on the sterile cockpit light, cycle the No Smoking sign as you decend thought 10,000. No unnecessary conversations as you take in the rapidfire commands from approach and tower. Sit the flight attendants for landing.Its your leg so you land the airplane. The captain tells you that you made a nice landing and you taxi the wreckage from fighting the 10 knt cross wind and slamming the aircraft down as close to centerline as possible, to the gate. Block...5:55 minutes.Doors open and you sit for 20 minutes while the passengers get off. 10 more minutes to get your bags, 15 minutes to walk out of the terminal, luckily the hotel van is waiting there for you. 20 minutes to get to the hotel. 15 minutes to check in, 5 minutes to walk to your room. 10 minutes to strip out of your uniform (which now has aquired that distinct airplane smell), 5 minutes to run downstairs and meet that pretty blonde at the bar....Tomorrow is another day. As you see, you are engaged for almost the whole time, there is always something to monitor, or someone with whom to interact. Yes, there are hours of bordom, epsecially on transatlantic or transpacific flight, but you do what you have to to make the time go by. I promise you though, any pilot will tell you that he's much rather be at 35,000 feet bored out his mind than in an office with lots of stuff to do. Unfortunately...I know this first hand.Hope this helps.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

> 5 minutes to run downstairs and meet that pretty>blonde at the bar....>Which goes to prove numerous rants, that I've made here, regarding being a prestigious flight simmer and impressing the blond at the bar. Obviously, the simmer will still be at home behind the desk! :-hahL.Adamson

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Funniest thing even from my armchair pilot perspective - the more I planned, prepped and flew the 767, 744 and even PSS777 on 8, 10, 12hr flights the more I got used to it. Mind you I do other stuff, checking in regularly.These flights just got more and more enjoyable and seemed shorter and shorter. My mind just naturally started to break them into geographical sections. You know you're a longhauler when 1000nm to go is 'almost there' :-lol , and after you land, you soon start missing the virtual sky. Even I can see how this really is a lifestyle in real life.Taking a break for short/medium now,and they just whiz by! :)regards,Markhttp://www.dreamfleet2000.com/a320/custbanner2.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"Obviously, the simmer will still be at home behind the desk!"Something told me when Dillon started this thread I would see your name pop up... :-roll

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

>Only once the brakes are released for pushback does your 5:55 start >ticking. In the mean time you've been at "work" for 1:30 not >gettin' paid.I beg your pardon? Did I hear correctly? I can understand that the companies don't pay you for driving to the airport but as soon as you start the pre-briefing of the crew, drive to the aircraft, do your walk-arounds... are you telling me that time isn't accounted for on a pilot's paycheck?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have jumpseated on several long haul flights (mostly 747's and 777's). Typically once you are two hours from the coast (atlantic or pacific) atc can no longer contact you over the radio, but instead you get most info over acars. So most of the time at this point headsets come off and books, magazines, dvd players, and laptops are brought out. These pilots have a passion for flying. However, watching the instruments on a modern automated aircraft for 8 hours gets old pretty quick.David

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

>>Only once the brakes are released for pushback does your>5:55 start >ticking. In the mean time you've been at "work">for 1:30 not >gettin' paid.>>I beg your pardon? Did I hear correctly? >I can understand that the companies don't pay you for driving>to the airport but as soon as you start the pre-briefing of>the crew, drive to the aircraft, do your walk-arounds... are>you telling me that time isn't accounted for on a pilot's>paycheck?>>That's correct, at most airlines you do not start getting paid until the aircraft starts moving. It's an hourly rate based on flying time, not on pre-flight, programming the FMS, etc.This is why a new-hire FO flying a CRJ might make $30 an hour, yet will earn only $25K a year that first year, if even that much! Visit these forums, where you will listen to the reality of the business:http://www.airlinepilotforums.com/Also their web site:http://airlinepilotcentral.com/Want to know what pilots are paid? Go here:http://www.willflyforfood.cc/airlinepilotpay/Example: At American airlines a first year MD-80 FO makes $35/Hr and is guaranteed 63 hours per month, or 73 hrs if on reserve. That works out to $26,460 per year in pay + whatever per diems work out to be.Airline pilots also earn a "per diem" or expense allowance for each hour they are away from home, at American Airlines that is $1.30 / hr for domestic and $2.00 / hr for international. Regards,http://www.dreamfleet2000.com/gfx/images/F...R_FORUM_LOU.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah, one of my friends who now flies for SkyWest Airlines makes $19 an hour flying the Brasilia. Fortunately, they have plenty of opportunities to get more than the guaranteed 72 hours a month, but I would hate to be supporting a family on that wage, with that few hours........

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Exactly. Pilots and Flight Attendants get paid for flight time only and that is the time that ACARS says your block time is. For instance, if you happen to be delayed at the gate for 5 hours with the door open, no one is getting paid. Its only when the door closes and the brakes are released that your paycheck starts ticking.Most airlines give an 80 hour per month guarantee which means you will get paid for 80 hours no matter how much you fly, up until 80 hours. If you go over 80 hours then you get paid for that time also. Most of the time, if you really need the money, you try to fly around 100-100 hours a month, but this is a LOT of flight time when you figure in how the schedules are built and the fact that means you will be flying multiple 4 day trips back-to-back with only a few hours off inbetween AND you can only fly 6 days in a row before the FAA says you MUST take a day off.ALSO you should remember you don't get paid for layovers either!!! You will get a per diem of about $1.50 per hour that you are away from your base and not flying. Many international trips have 40 hour layovers, which means you sit at the hotel for free until your return tripA typical two day trip pairing looks something like this:Day 1 Block TimeKEWR-KBOS :45KBOS-KEWR :45KEWR-KCLE 1:30KCLE-KMCO 2:00Block = 4:50Layover = 14:00Day 2KMCO-KEWR 2:30KEWR-KRIC 1:10KRIC-KEWR 1:25Block = 5:05From this lets say you get $65 per hour as a pilot on the 737-500 and $1.50 per layover hour9:55 flight hours over 2 days = Approx $65014:00 of layover = $21Total for two days work = $671.00As you see, only flight time is involved. But lets say you got delayed on the first day on the last leg for 5 hours due to snow. You got paid for 5 hours but worked 10, plus your layover is now cut short by 5 hours so you have only a 9 hour layover and just enough time to get to the hotel, get a quick nap and get back to the airport since you have to checkin in the crewroom 1:00 prior to your flight if you are a narrowbody pilot and 1:15 prior if you are a widebody pilot. You don't get paid for checking in, walking to your plane, doing a walk around, crew briefing, checklist or anything else until you can close the door and release the parking brakes.This is why you have to stick with it for 20 years until you are making $150 per hour as a senior captain. Until then you have to do like the rest of us and pack 15 pilots into a hotelroom "crashpad" (you can't afford your own apartment), drive a beat up 25 year old Honda Civic (if you can afford it) and eat as much leftovers from the plane as you can. When you first get out of flight school, that $17,000 a year salary means that the cleaning people are making more than you are!!!!Hey, but chicks dig the uniform right!!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

>"Obviously, the simmer will still be at home behind the>desk!">>Something told me when Dillon started this thread I would see>your name pop up... :-roll Yes, but I was nice this time...L.Adamson

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As with all jobs, besides doing the job to the best of your ability, it is also important to have a little fun now and then. Especially when the task at hand is a little tedious, as it can become during a long hauler.Here's how one flight crew had a little fun and at the same time earned some respect from their passengers on a transatlantic flight. I was not on the flight, but I can corroborate their story from what the crew involved told me on different occasions.About 5 hours into the flight the captain told the co-pilot,without explanation, to turn on the seatbelt and no smoking signs. Except for a questioning look, neither the co-pilot nor flight engineer argued the captain's decision. He then made an announcement over the PA that they had reports of moderate turbulence ahead and would everybody kindly take their seats. He then ordered the co-pilot to disengage the autopilot and he took command of his aircraft. For the next five minutes he mildy shook the yoke in his hands while dancing his feet on the rudder pedals. The FO and FE were laughing so hard that they were worried the first class passengers might hear them. The captain then turned his airplane back over to the autopilot and after ten minutes made the announcement that they were now clear of the turbulence. He admitted to his crew that he was simply bored and wanted to "shake" things up a little. "Besides" he told them, " now the passengers know we're awake up here and vigilantly looking out for their safety and comfort".This captain was also a company check pilot. So he knew nobody on the flight deck would turn him in for his antics.John M

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well the cockpits aren't that small (once you sit there). your room is really matching that of first class so you can be rather comfy (unlike in some of the smaller jets and regionals). again usually the visual spacing is misleading. once you sit in, you will be amazed how much space there really is. i thought the same till i began flying and started poking around cockpits.. and then you can walk around the galley or whereever. as for it being boring.. it is boring. but is it more boring than staying a cubicle for 8 hours? hardly. so you find stuff to do.. handling airspace changes, eating, reading stuff, just looking out (it never gets old), spending a few hours panicking over that oddly performing gauge and so forth... i fly delta often (as passenger) and the crew usually assembles on the galley outside the cockpit. It's hilarious because they look like they are on vacation or something. but it really depends on the people. some love the solitude and don't crack a word during the entire flight. it's their cockpit, it's their time with themselves so to speak. and if all fails, remember, your mortgage, car, insurance bills are due in 4 days. do you love sitting in a cockpit for 10 hours now? of course you do! you love it!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

>That's correct, at most airlines you do not start getting paid >until the aircraft starts moving. It's an hourly rate based on >flying time, not on pre-flight, programming the FMS, etc.Wow. Thank you for teaching me something new.And if I may comment as someone who has just simulated experience: What a rip off!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"That's correct, at most airlines you do not start getting paid >until the aircraft starts moving. It's an hourly rate based on >flying time"Now I'm starting to understand why airlines like Jet Blue hold people on the taxiway for hours at a time before takeoff. Pulling back to the gate looses money (who cares about passenger discomfort)...Actually I hope the 'Passenger Bill of Rights' thing catches on...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As to that story above about the captain and the seat belt signs and the simulated turbulence, I recall the following:I was on the bridge of a cruise ship leaving New York Harbor about 10 years ago, with my friend who was the captain.On this cruise we had a whole bunch of travel agents on board, and based on our departure time, the captain knew that most of them were at the early seating dinner, after we had dropped off the pilot and were well out of New York.He looked at me and said, in his inimitable German accent."We got a whole bunch of travel agents on board, all cruising for free, and all they ever do is complain, complain, complain. We can never make them happy"."They're having dinner right now, so I'll show them".With that, he turned to the helmsman and said:"Hard a port and hard a starboard"The man took the wheel and turned it all the way to the left then all the way to the right.Not as dramatic as one might compare to on an airplane, but the roll that 21,000 ton ship did was enough to make my friend's point! :-lolBTW, this particular captain was the "model" after which the character "Merrill Stubing" was based on the hit TV show "The Love Boat". Both were of German heritage, both balding, and both ladies men.Sadly, they toned Merrill down on the show, as my friend was not only a great captain, but a character unlike any other. I so miss sailing with him since his retirement.The stories I could tell!What a ladies man he was!! ;)Regards,http://www.dreamfleet2000.com/gfx/images/F...R_FORUM_LOU.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Mike,I can't quite tell how up to date your story is. I'm not doubting your recollections, I hear many similar stories from the Captains I fly with but it's really not like that now, at least not in my airline.>You've got to take the world of a pilot into perspective. >First, remember that a real world pilot doesn't sit in front>of a computer all by himself...he's got at least another>person in the pit to talk to and in the case of commercial>pilots, a cabin crew to pop in and bring meals, crack jokes>and interact with. Few of our cabin crew will willingly come in the flight deck, the girls are afraid they'll be accused of trying to sleep with us by their "friends", others, (particularly the older ones) don't like coming in as it reminds them they're not in charge. Many of the blokes that come in are either gay and mince in trying to flirt with us or aren't gay and want to get back to the cabin with the girls. Some of the girls (who have had "experiences" with one pilot or another) feel cheated and assume "all pilots are the same" and we get the cold shoulder. This happens a lot on the bus to the aircraft, it's not uncommon to be ignored by 2 or more members of the cabin crew. If they do talk to us it's only to tell us how they should be paid more and how they should work less, oh and can we make the flight late so they can get some overtime payment or another. Our cabin crew don't fly as much as we do and senior cabin crew members earn comfortably more than me, part of the reason they think they are second in command. Rant over :-), the upshot being that crack jokes and interact with is not always quite the response you can get from cabin crew. (I'm talking worst case here, some of them are fine)>Not to mention needing to constantly stay>alert to speak with ATC, watch for other aircraft and monitor>the aircraft in cruise.It may be different in the states but here in Europe, as you head East, things get quite sparse, once you get towards Copenhagen or past the numerous Rhine Radar frequencies, one frequency covers an awful lot of track miles, and you'll usually get direct to the next airspace boundary. That's a lot of flying in a straight line with no one talking to you. A modern aircraft doesn't need much monitoring, if it's unhappy it will 'bing' at you. I'm not advocating *not* monitoring it, I'm just saying they're designed not to *need* much monitoring.>From experience, take my typical day on a KEWR-KLAX trip on>Continental. The trip paring says 5:55 minutes block-to-block>in a B737-300. But that is only block time and does not>include the time you get to the airport, check-in down in the>crew room, get the flight paperwork, speak to the dispatchers,>walk to the gate, setup the cockpit, have a briefing with the>captain, have a briefing with the crew, do the walk around,>interact with clearance and OPS and sit for 30 minutes while>the plane is boarded. Only once the brakes are released for>pushback does your 5:55 start ticking. In the mean time>you've been at "work" for 1:30 not gettin' paid.We get paid duty time which does cover checking in, brief, bus to aircraft, walk around etc. It's nothing compared to flight pay but it's a nod to the fact we are at work. As I recall it's taxed differently to flight pay as well so it really isn't worth much.>Now, taxi out, enjoy the view of 17 tails a head of you at>rush hour, make the announcement that you are number 18 for>takeoff. 45 minutes later you sit the flight attendants down>for takeoff, you've been at work for amost 2:00.Your delays only start once you push back :-) We can sit for hours at the gate waiting for (in no particular order):Slot time restrictionsAirport congestionOff blocks times being updatedPush back crewsCul de sac logistics/no stand guidancePassengersOnly then can we push back, then we join the queue...>If you have a great captain first comes the conversations on>the latest bid packets, seniority, bases, lines you can hold>with your seniority, bases you can hold with your seniority,>current labor issues, what the union is doing about it. Most Captains I fly with are like this, top blokes, however there are some odd balls out there and they can take the edge off a trip.>You>ding the first class F/A to get some coffee, she brings>it...after her service. Continuous handoffs with TRACON.>Chaulk up about an hour. We'd get very short shrift dinging them for a coffee, they usually ask us before they do the service but we rarely get what we ask for and it's not worth arguing with them. On short sectors we often ask for our crew meals early on as well, sometimes we get it sometimes not and they bring the food in as we descend through FL80, not very helpful.>Next, the first class F/A tells you she's got some food>available so she makes you a hodgepodge of leftover first>class delicacies and you chow down for about 1/2 hour. More>handoffs with TRACON, chaulk up about another hour.Sometimes true, we return cater and on the way out they're often worried about being short on the way back so it's less likely ex-base but more likely on the return. Again, it depends on the level of flight crew hatred in the front galley, I've had some lovely meal trays put together by some of the girls and I've been told point blank that these trays are for the passengers and not us (only to go back for a jimmy later on and find the cabin crew tucking into them).>More banter, the pretty blonde who you've been eyeing since>checkin, comes to the pit and sits on the jumpseat to eat her>crewmeal. The captain breaks out into a tyrade of blonde>jokes, you laugh your butts off and then start gossiping about>the brunette working the galley position who the blonde thinks>is a ######. Another hour goes by.:-) oh for flying in the 50's (sigh) I enjoyed Catch Me If You Can. As previously mentioned most cabin crew won't come up the front for fear of being gossiped about by their friends, they certainly won't come up to eat their meals. Tyrades of blond jokes are followed by employment tribunals for sexual harassment, crew talk is infinitely more personal and intimate than your usual office water cooler chat but make no mistake, if the girls think they can get time off work and some free money from your inappropriate behaviour, they *will* take offense to anything and everything you say. They certainly wouldn't make comments about their "friends" down the back for fear of the reprisals if we tell.>You break out your latest copy of Flying magazine, go through>the bid packet one more time, you and the captain banter about>your wives and your mistresses, tell each other that you hate>(or love) the hotel at the layover, look out the window,>banter about the left EGT gauge being a little low...hour and>a half goes by.Very true, if the Captain's a nice bloke (and most are) you get involved in all kinds of surreal conversations about life, the universe and the finer points of bidding.>IN RANGE, you radio OPS at let them know if you need any>wheelchairs or anything else when you get to the airport. >Start your descent, interact with ATC for the next 45 minutes,>make your approach.Our ops automatically do that for each flight, we have no requirement to tell them such information, of course, the chances of them actually turning up with the wheelchair is pretty slim even if you *do* call them and tell them. Sometimes we give them the return fuel figures so they can prepare the loadsheet and start refueling sharpish when we get on the ground, it also gives us a heads up for the stand.>Time to focus, turn on the sterile cockpit light, cycle the No>Smoking sign as you decend thought 10,000. No unnecessary>conversations as you take in the rapidfire commands from>approach and tower. Sit the flight attendants for landing.We don't have a sterile cockpit light, technically we shouldn't make non operational conversation below FL100 but depending on workload and the Captain it's not uncommon to finish off whatever conversation (or crossword or SuDoku) you were having as you go down.>Its your leg so you land the airplane. The captain tells you>that you made a nice landing and you taxi the wreckage from>fighting the 10 knt cross wind and slamming the aircraft down>as close to centerline as possible, to the gate. Block...5:55>minutes.... and as soon as the seat belt lights go off the girls come in reporting how bad the landing was and how the girls down the back all feel sick and their backs hurt (they're just trying to get out of doing the return leg).>Doors open and you sit for 20 minutes while the passengers get>off. 10 more minutes to get your bags, 15 minutes to walk out>of the terminal, luckily the hotel van is waiting there for>you. 20 minutes to get to the hotel. 15 minutes to check in,At which point the senior cabin crew member will try and take your (FO) room. Some Captains don't let them, some stay out of it. Either way, the FO ends up in a very awkward situation with some jumped up little megalomaniac with 6 weeks training, getting paid more than you and trying to take all the perks of being second in command. My experience is to check in slightly before them and get the hotels checkin staff to write your room number by your name as soon as you turn up. This only works if the senior cabin crew member gets there after you and I've seen some run to the desk.>5 minutes to walk to your room. 10 minutes to strip out of>your uniform (which now has aquired that distinct airplane>smell), 5 minutes to run downstairs and meet that pretty>blonde at the bar....We always ask the girls if they want to come out for a quick beer, very rarely happens, they'll often have their own room partys, which we sometimes get invited to, but more often than not they'll all go straight to bed. I cannot recall how many romantic candlelit dinners for two I've had in some romantic city around Europe ... with a 40 year old + married man.>Tomorrow is another day.For you, the cabin crew have a stand over day while you're on minimum rest (sigh) but they still won't come out.>I promise you though, any pilot will tell you that he's much>rather be at 35,000 feet bored out his mind than in an office>with lots of stuff to do. Unfortunately...I know this first>hand.Absolutely agree, I would never trade my position back for an office job.I hope you don't think I've contradicting your recollections Mike and I'm not trying to put a downer on the industry, just trying to give the negative side of flying. I wouldn't change it for the world but make no mistake, it's as frustrating and marred by incompetence and politics as any other industry. The image of pretty blond young cabin crew draping themselves over flight crew is long long past. The closest I've come to being propositioned is when a male crew member in the front galley decided he liked the Captain and I and every time we went back to stretch our legs he would take photos of us with his camera phone, curiously we both only went back once....Hope this provides a balancing force on the otherwise rosy view of flying for a living, :-)Take care all,Ian

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ian there's only one thing I can say to this eye opening post you wrote, At least some of us have jobs we love while others were smart enough to have hobbies.It's a shame no matter what job it is burocrasy is alway prevalent which in many cases takes the fun out of it. As a side note, I always thought until recently being a pilot was a sure in for the girls (I used to kick myself for not going for it full bore). Everything is a potential sexual harassment case these days unless your a 'Star' of some sort. Glade I got married...Anyway Ian what you wrote above is so on point for where society is today. I kinda thought what Mike wrote above was a little rosy to say the least.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

>"That's correct, at most airlines you do not start getting>paid >until the aircraft starts moving. It's an hourly rate>based on >flying time">>Now I'm starting to understand why airlines like Jet Blue hold>people on the taxiway for hours at a time before takeoff. >Pulling back to the gate looses money (who cares about>passenger discomfort)...>They probably do that to officially stay on time.The flight is considered on time when it leaves the gate within 15 minutes of its scheduled departure time. Nevermind it took another 45 mins to actually takeoff. Regards.Ernie.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ian:The airline I'm referring to is Continental Airlines. I don't know what its like there in Europe or for which airine you are referring, but your flight attendants are boring and I wouldn't want to fly with them.Everything I recounted is current with all the Majors here in the US (Delta, American, United, Northwest, Continental), I can't speak for Airines like Southwest which I hear treats their pilots like Gods and we were always jealous of their leather flight jackets!I would seem that your airline treats you well and pays you for time you aren't flying! WOW! Don't let the ALPA pilots hear about that or there will be serious contract negotiations coming down the pipe!Now, back to the flight attendants...BORING! I could tell you stories (I'm saving most of them until my son turns 18 so he will think that I'm cool again) but I think that Tom A will immediately ban me from the forum. The good thing here is that the F/As don't really care and thank god many of them still want to marry a pilot (or at least have one as a boyfriend....even the married ones!)Case in point, true story. We had the last leg on the third day of a four day trip into KMIA. Two of the F/As lived there so they invited us out for a night of debauchery and partying. Well, checkin was at 8am and you know 8 hour, bottle to throttle, but we ended up drinking until 5 am and the flight attendants, well, lets just say I stay in contact with them until this day ;-). The captain passed out in the ladies room (yes ladies room). We had enough time to stagger back to the hotel, S, S & S, and get to the airport. Apparently, I still smelled of alcohol even though I was pretty sober by then. The gate agent must have smelled me said he wanted to talk to me on the jetway...luckily passenegers pulled him away and by the time he popped his head in to give us our final paperwork he forgot all about it (whew)On the way home it was a light load, after the F/As did their service two of them came in and fell asleep in the pit, the other one fell asleep on the rear galley jumpseat. The Cap and I took turns sleeping and throwing up into the airsickness bag. We also strapped on the oxygen mask for quick huffs of O2.We made it back to Newark, tired, but none the worse for wear and since we had only one leg back to KEWR we expected to block in and go home and get some sleep. ALAS, the entire crew got drafted to do an Orlando turn because another crew was out of position. Yikes! SO, for the next 8 hours, we slept, vomited, flew. The moral of the story? Always carry a bottle of strawberry massage oil in your flight bag. You can leave your charts at home, but never forget your massage oil! :-)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this