Whether it is a long-haul flight like the Mumbai to Bangkok flights or a domestic flight, everyone has a way of passing their time while traveling. From reading books and drinking, to watching movies, the hobbies and interests can vary widely.
What about the pilots and airline crew however? What do they do during the long flying hours? There are certain rules that a pilot is expected to adhere to while in the cockpit. Contrary to the popular notion that pilots have their hands on the wheels throughout the flight, the plane is put on cruise control within minutes of taking off. Hence, there are a number of rules that they have to follow.
- Not flying the plane: It is a misconception that pilots always have their hands on the wheels. With high tech computer facilities and the advent of new technologies every day, planes can fly on their own without human intervention at all. They require the service of a pilot only during takeoff and landing. Though this can cause panic and anxiety amongst the flyers, the flight can cruise without any problem. But the pilots are expected to constantly gauge the weather, check for turbulence and be readily available in case of emergency. In most of the airlines like American airlines, they have a team of backup airmen and women.
- Read but not books: Depending on the airlines and duration of the flight, pilots are allowed to flip through newspapers but not books. The basic idea behind not allowing reading of books is the worry that the pilots may get swept away by the story and not pay constant attention to the flight. Many airlines insist on reading only flight related manuals and literature that can be educational.
- Taking controlled rests: One of the most dangerous and daunting liberties that the pilots have is their permission to take mid-air naps. But the pilot who is about to take a nap should verbally communicate it to the other pilot and makes sure he is awake. This ensures that we can put our worries to rest.
- Eating on-board: There is normally more than one crew members on-board. The two crew members are never given the same food. Even if one food is contaminated and one pilot falls ill, the other one can stay healthy and control the flight.
- Strict NO to drinking: There are a set of rules that every pilot is expected to follow, irrespective of the airlines. Every airline says a strict NO to drinking of any kind. It is not only a punishable offense but also a serious threat to the passengers.
Openness is the key to ensure the safety of passengers aboard the flight. It requires a serious and sincere effort on the part of pilots and the officials to ensure that everyone adheres to the rules and regulations conferred upon them. No doubt, each one is responsible for a safe flight.