We recently put your pilot skills to the test in our Land Your Way Facebook game and revealed some of the lingo used in the flight deck. This time we spoke with Captain Doug Morris, a pilot and line indoctrination captain at Air Canada for nearly 18 years, to get the inside scoop on little-known facts related to pilot’s work environement.
1. Pilots may spend long periods of time away from home. To keep their loved ones close, they’ll often keep photos of their family or spouses in the inside lining of their hat.
2. You couldn’t buy a shrimp cocktail for the pilot before takeoff. As a food poisoning prevention measure, pilots are forbidden from eating shellfish while on duty.
3. Pilots aren’t allowed to share – food, that is. As a safety precaution, pilots order and eat different crew meals while on flight.
4. Music is an integral part of the flying experience for many passengers, but pilots fly music-free: radio communications are their soundtrack. As they jet across the skies, they’re hopping from one radio frequency to another listening to ground controllers synchronizing the movement of aircrafts.
5. When passing another “ship” at night, pilots may flash the landing lights or wing inspection lights to say hello.
6. Aspiring commerical pilots generally invest more than $70,000 in their education and clock an average of 4,000 hours of experience before they are hired by Air Canada.
7. Once their flight simulator training is complete, pilots move directly to piloting fully-loaded passenger airplanes. They are, however, accompagnied by line indoctrination pilots for their first few flights. After a second test by a supervisor pilot, they’re fully cleared to fly on their own.
8. Pilots are sent back into the simulator at least every eight months to renew their license; every six months for those who command the Boeing 777.
9. Pilots can fly only one type of aircraft at a time. Before acquiring a license to command a different model, they must go through 8 to 12 weeks of training. The process includes “ground school”, pre-simulator mockup flights and simulator training.
10. ”Where are you off to?” is the question you’d hear all the time if you stopped at the flight planning center at any time of the day. As you’d expect, pilots ask each other where they are flying to!
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