Do Pilots sleep on long Flights
Long flights can be incredibly tiring and boring, especially for those who have to take flights frequently. Have you ever wondered how it is for the pilots? Well, the experience is almost the same as the passengers, only they’re at their workplace. But commercial pilot training enables them to manage.
What do pilots do on long haul flights? Most of us sleep, enjoy our favourite drinks, watch a movie or chat with a passenger.
This article lets you in on what the captains do during those long, boring flights.
Ensuring That Nothing Goes Wrong
Some people think that once the plane is airborne, the pilot leaves it on auto-pilot and just relaxes. While there’s some element of truth in that, it’s not what usually happens.
The real work is usually during take-off and landing.
Studies show that 49% of fatal accidents happen during the final descent and landing phases, while 14% happen during take-off and initial climb. When not taking off or landing, the state of the art technology in the cockpit makes things easy for pilots.
Before take-off, there’s a specific flight path. But changes can be made midair due to issues such as bad weather a head. Thunderstorms, for instance, are usually avoided by pilots.
Air traffic control usually provides weather reports. Most airlines have weather mapping technology that gives pilots detailed information on weather conditions. Also, other aircrafts on the same path usually relay weather reports. This way, pilots are able to detect and avoid turbulence.
Fuel usage is another important factor that needs monitoring. In most cases, the airplane carries enough fuel. In cases of a shortage, the pilot makes an emergency landing and refills. Other things that need close monitoring include the pressure of engine oil and passengers’ air conditioning systems.
As one pilot monitors the systems and ensures that they’re in good shape, one deals with paperwork. For example, any re-routing is clearly detailed.
How Pilots Rest During Flights
Do pilots sleep on long haul flights? Yes they do! However, all pilots can’t go to sleep at the same time. There must be at least one at the cockpit.
There are two types of rest for pilots: controlled rest and bunk rest. Controlled rest happens at the cockpit during the cruise phase. The pilot takes a nap, usually anything between 10 and 60 minutes. One study reveals that taking naps improves alertness and boosts performance during a flight.
Bunk rest or sleep, on the other hand, is where pilots sleep or relax in a ‘bunk space’ behind the flight deck. If an aircraft doesn’t have a bunk space, some passenger seats will be reserved for pilots. Pilots take turns resting on these bunk beds.
For most airlines, there are rules in place to ensure that everything runs smoothly as pilots rest. This includes limiting rest time to 40 minutes at most and giving the pilot who has just come from resting adequate time to regain full alertness.
Typically, pilots have their meals once all the passengers have been served. But crew members may crave edibles any time during the flat. So, food is always easily accessible. Again, one pilot needs to take control as the other eats.
Hopefully, this article piece has provided insights into what pilots do during those long, exhausting flights.