Rough Draft Pilot Overview

Pilots spend their time in the sky. The pilot, on his way to work stops at a coffee shop to pick up a tall dark cup. He is on his way to the airport where he go into operations to check the weather, mail, and prepare flight plans. The sky is clear and blue; it is a perfect day for flying.

An hour before departure time it is time for the cockpit crew to board the plane.  These are your pilots, the captain and the first officer. They will be flying passengers or cargo to their/its intended destination. Once on board the captain says hi to the flight attendants, then both pilots take their seats in the cockpit, where they fly the plane.  In the cockpit the captain sits on the left and the first officer sits in the right seat. Each has a list of responsibilities to complete. During an emergency, whether mechanical, medical, or weather related, the captain has the final say.

Passengers board the airplane through the jet way. If there are any unruly passengers on board the customer service agent will take care of the situation, unless it escalates to the point of police escort off the plane. “Most people realize they either have to calm themselves down…or get off the plane.” The pilots are powering up the engines and completing checklists while the flight attendants are giving the safety speech. Soon it is time for take-off.

 If this were a regional/(continental?) flight, there would be one captain, and one first officer. The captain will fly the first leg, on the way to the destination (or on longer flights halfway), and the first officer will fly the second leg, on the way back. If this were an international flight, there would be a relief captain, and relief first officer as part of the cockpit crew. On these 6-18 hour flights pilots hang out in the pilot’s lounge when they are resting.


After the tug crew and baggage guys have cleared the area, the captain is powering up the hydraulics.  Now it is time to push back from the gate, and wait for ATC (Air Traffic Control) to give taxi clearance. Once taxi clearance is given, then the captain taxis to the runway. (The captain always taxi’s.)

The pilots’ thrust the engine and take off. Since this is a Boeing airplane the pilots steer using a yoke. If this were an Airbus, the pilots would steer using a joystick, just like in a military airplane. Airbus and Boeing are both manufactured by companies located in the United States.

Smooth air is the best for flying. Prevailing winds help a flight go faster. Flying overseas to Europe will be shorter when the pilots catch the jet stream. The ride back will take half hour. If a storm approaches the pilots must fly 15-20 miles around it.

“We take enough fuel to get to the destination, an alternate route, and an hour after that.”

On descent the pilots reach a cruising altitude at 35,000 feet, where they must keep the airplane at until air traffic control clears them to land. 


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