Interview 7: Detailed Notes

What is the hardest part about flying?

The hardest part about flying- he would say- “You do not have a normal schedule, so it is hard on your body.”  I asked, physical? He said physically, yes, it is hard on the body. I asked how do pilots make it less hard? He said they just have to get used to it. Deal with it. Its part of the job. He goes on to say that exercising helps a lot, and like everything else, eat healthy. That helps too. And sleep. Sleep when you can. (sleep deprivation is a huge part of the job) Your normal circadian cycle is out of whack. People generally do better when they wake up at the same time and they go to bed at the same time. That’s not how the job of a pilot goes. This is going to put stress on the body.

Stress on the body is another factor pilots deal with- that’s why there are augmented crews, 3 person crew on a European trip and a 4 person crew on an Asian trip- because you don’t want the same guy landing the plane that took off 17 hours ago.

I asked about hardships on the body just from being up so high in the sky:

said well its pressurized around 8-9000 feet. It would be like being on top of the canyons for 9 hours. There is less oxygen, that is why you get more tired, just by being up there. It is very dry. Sinuses dry out. He can’t wear his contacts anymore, his eyes are too red, (they dry out), wow I actually get what detailed notes are. People get dehydrated quicker. Pilots tend to get kidney stones- if they don’t drink enough water. Radiation exposure from the sun is higher- windows in the cockpit.

“Flight Length” LA to Sydney, Australia 15.5 – 16 hours, longest flight.

Ny to Tokyo up and over North Pole- 13 hours.

What do you like most about flying? I asked

The speed, he said. Sights you get to see that nobody else gets to see. Get to see a lot of different places in the world. Things are seen differently from the cockpit, it is a 360 degrees view, flying over everything. One time he said he was flying over to Europe, over the middle of the Atlantic and he saw Auras Borealis- “it looked like it was all around us” in the cabin you could only see one side of it.

It is fun to bring the power up, he said. A lot of power going into that airplane when you get it rollin. “That’s the other thing passengers don’t see- just how fast you are rolling down the runway before you take off.”

How do pilots prepare for a check ride? I asked.

They study the flight manual and they study flight operations manual- each about 1300 pages.

They review procedures they don’t normally do everyday that they’ll be expected to know on the check ride. “Refresh”

Lately, he said check rides themselves have been changes in the last 10 or 15 years or so, now they are not just checking to see what you know but checking to see how well you relate to the other pilot, because accidents have happened this way before. I mean pilots who have not gotten along have been in accidents BECASUE they haven’t gotten along- and you just gotta get along with the guy next to you.

“Going hundreds of miles and when one person stopping working with the other because they don’t get along..”

*This is where civilian pilots are much better, because they’ve always had to work with someone else.  vs. a single pilot fighter jet (military) they are used to flying that all by themselves.

I asked what else do you do to prepare. He said they, “Just keep their fingers crossed that everything goes well.”

Actual check ride you don’t know what’s going to happen- *unpredictability- I mean out of those manuals they could be tested on anything.

I asked what the most important thing for an outsider to know about pilots is– he said not JUST the training- the CONTINUOS training- its the continuous checks- the continuous medicals- you’ve got a medical every 6 months and a check ride every 9 months. If that doesn’t go well….”Someone on the outside probably doesn’t know how much continuous training you have to go through, to you know, keep your job. ”

Main point of check ride- safe- could screw up a couple things, but did you keep it safe- did you demonstrate safety- that’s what matters. end.


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