Airline Pilot Challenges

More than any other job in the airline industry, pilots are responsible for the very lives of travelers. Pilots must have a high degree of knowledge when it comes to weather patterns, navigation, and the operation of the many instruments in any aircraft’s cockpit.

In the event of an emergency, it is the pilot’s job to land the plane safely. Weather can change and equipment can malfunction, but it is the ultimate responsibility of the pilot to ensure a safe flight, so he or she must be prepared to handle rapidly changing situations.

Another challenging aspect of working as a pilot is the schedule. Like flight attendants, pilots must spend extended periods away from home. They also work long shifts while on duty.

A pilot based in Cleveland talks about his work schedule:

    I’m on call most of the time. That means for eighteen days a month I’m at the airline’s beck and call, so I really don’t have a set schedule. That’s one of the drawbacks. My typical flight day varies. Some days they say go to Boston and back and that’s my day. But we average four to six flights per day and twelve to fourteen hours on duty at a time. More typically I’ll report to work at 7am and I’ll fly to Boston and back, then to Indianapolis, on to Corpus Christi and back.


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