Being a pilot and flying across the globe is a dream job for many people, but have you ever wondered what exactly a pilot’s schedule looks like?
What do they do other than flying? Are their schedules busy? Do they have social and personal lives?
In this article, we’ll tell you all about a pilot’s lifestyle and what they can do in their free time, so read along to find out!
First of all, what exactly does a pilot’s schedule look like?
As a pilot, your schedule is far from the typical 9 to 5 day job! One of the many perks of a career in aviation is that you get a flexible schedule that allows you to achieve a work-life balance and enjoy your time off-duty.
Typically, airline pilots fly an average of 100 hours a month and a maximum of 1000 hours per year. This is because pilots need to be in top shape and focused during their flights to ensure the safety of the passengers and the flight crew, so airlines require that all their pilots get ample rest between flights.
The more seniority you gain in your position, the more flexibility and control you have over your flying schedule. When you’re a senior pilot, you can choose your days off as well as the trips you want to fly, not to mention that you get even more days off than a junior pilot.
You may wonder then, what do pilots do other than flying?
As an airline pilot, you don’t just wake up, show up at the airport, get in the cockpit and fly away—it isn’t as simple as that. Pilots have other duties than just flying the plane, and such duties include:
Meeting the crew: The first step in preparing for a flight is meeting your flight crew, which includes the flight attendants, cabin crew, co-pilot, etc. During this meeting, you are introduced to one another and you go over the paperwork for the upcoming flight. Communication is key in the aviation profession, so it’s good to establish a friendly rapport between the crew members.
Pre-flight inspections: Before the plane takes off, a pilot must run inspections and check the plane for any potential problems that might affect the flight. This means checking that the aircraft’s systems and equipment are maintained and functioning properly. This is a crucial step in the preparation before take off as identifying issues earlier on makes it easier to troubleshoot them and ensure the safety of everyone on the plane.
Weather briefing: Pilots must check the weather conditions (of both the base and the destination city) prior to takeoff. Such information is vital for the nature of the flight because it determines whether it is safe or not to make the trip; pilots can even cancel flights or change the flight route if weather conditions are adverse or unstable.
Reviewing the flight plan: A flight plan outlines all of the flight’s details, such as the location of departure and the destination, the flight route, altitudes, the number of passengers, etc., and pilots must go over them before takeoff.
So what do pilots do when they’re off duty?
As we’ve mentioned, pilots have the advantage of getting flexible schedules, so you’ll find that you have quite some free time on your hands. Let’s take a look at some of the things you can do when you aren’t flying.
As required by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), pilots must have 10 hours of rest between each shift so they can be well-rested. A pilot must stay sharp and energized throughout a flight, so you can’t do your job on just a few hours of sleep.
Therefore, it is a must that you catch up on rest and recharge before each flight so you can perform your job well.
2. Keeping up with hobbies and activities
Contrary to what some might think, you can still keep up with your hobbies and perform activities when you’re a pilot. Maybe you like playing football at the sports club, or you enjoy swimming every other day, or there’s an event you would like to attend; you can do all of that and more, your flexible schedule does not get in the way of your personal interests.
3. Exploring new cities
If you have a long layover in a new city and have some time to kill between flights, then you can venture out and play tourist for the day! Because of your career, you have the fortune of visiting many cities all over the world, so take advantage of this opportunity.
Try that Italian pizza you’ve always wanted to try, or go visit the Eiffel Tower and do some shopping on the Champs-Élysées. Explore new places and get a taste of the culture!
4. Spending time with family and friends
Since you spend a lot of your time flying around the world, you can make use of your free time and spend it with your family and friends to catch up. Enjoy the time you get off of work to socialise and hang out with your loved ones.
You’re usually the one in the cockpit, but every once in a while maybe you just want to be on the other side and travel as a passenger. You get a lot of time off-duty, so you can visit and travel anywhere in the world with family members or a friend (or maybe just solo!).
So you can put your feet up and forget about your responsibilities as a pilot for a while and have some fun on your vacation!
Here are some other benefits pilots get to enjoy:
- Office with a view: Not everyone can say that they get to see magnificent views of the clouds, oceans, and cities out of their office window like you do.
- Salary and health benefits: You’re always advancing in your career as a pilot and with that comes pay raises and health insurance and benefits.
- Travel discounts for family and friends: Your loved ones can also get discounts and offers on flight tickets, so they can accompany you on trips around the world.
- Work stays at work: Your work ends when you leave the airport, so you can completely relax at home without worrying about work at all.
- Exciting routine: Your day is never dull as a pilot, it’s a career full of adventure!
Isn’t it just amazing being a pilot?
Finally, why do pilots get paid high salaries?
Pilots live life lavishly and they have a career that many people envy, but why do they get paid so much?
The main reason is that pilots are in high demand everywhere. The number of passengers is increasing significantly by the year and thousands of flights go out every month, sometimes flights are even cancelled because of a shortage in pilots.
Therefore, airlines continuously need to acquire more aircraft and they seek to recruit qualified and skilled pilots, so they offer highly competitive salaries to hire the best pilots out there.
Unlike regular jobs where employees get paid by the month, a pilot’s salary is calculated by the number of hours they fly. But don’t worry, airlines provide their pilots with a minimum number of hours to ensure that they get paid a rewarding salary each month. (Remember, you have a maximum of 1000 flight hours per year so you don’t overwork yourself!)
Also, pilots’ salaries are always on the rise; the more experience you get, the higher your salary is. When you’re a captain, your salary can reach over $300,000!
Being a pilot means having a marvelous job flying among the clouds, in addition to living an exciting lifestyle because of all of the benefits you get in your aviation career!
Does all of the above sound like a dream? With Eagle Air Academy, you can make your dream of taking to the skies come true! Start your career in aviation and register now on our website to get your pilot license!