No matter how many times you fly, the plane cockpit remains a mystery zone. We asked an experienced commercial pilot to give us some inside details
1.From take-off to a safe height of 10,000 feet, pilots aren’t supposed to be disturbed. After we’ve crossed this climb, the lead cabin attendant calls on the intercom to check if all is well. Once communication is established, they can start service. Even pilots can ask for tea or coffee after the plane has reached top of the flight – generally after 20-25 minutes.
2. We are given meals according to the duration of the flight. Every crew member, including cabin crew, gets different meals so that in case of food poisoning, the entire crew shouldn’t fall sick together. Who would fly the plane if every one were to be grumbling in pain! Plus, we get full fledged meals which differ from the ones passengers get.
3. It’s a norm for the cabin crew to get in touch with the flying staff every half an hour. They can call or enter the cockpit.
4. Pilots don’t need to rest during short flights. But in long flights, we alternate i.e. one member rests while the other continues to fly. Just to make it more secure, cabin crew periodically ask the pilot in control if everything is in order. We also have ‘relief crews’ with whom we take shifts in flying.
5. Automation is a very sophisticated tool. The plane can manoeuvre itself with precision, even during emergencies. But it’s not like pilots can just sit back and relax. We still have to update the ATCs and maintain communication. Auto pilot is merely a machine to which we give instructions. We have the onus to check if instructions like altitude, direction, speed etc are being followed.