Of all the careers and lifestyles in the world, few offer the excitement of a commercial pilot. Every day is different; each day offers something new and exciting. Getting paid to fly, travel, and have adventures is one of the greatest lifestyles imaginable.
A pilot on a flight from New Delhi to Bangkok will start the day with a weather briefing and by filing a flight plan. For scheduled flights this is often done by automation or in advance, but the pilot is responsible for ensuring a flight plan is filed. This notifies air traffic control of an aircraft’s intended route, and allows them to issue a clearance. The pilot will be introduced to his/her crew, and they will be transported to the airport. Typically, such a flight will be conducted on the B-737 or A320. The pilot will do an external inspection, known as a “walk-around” in pilot terms to ensure the aircraft is airworthy. Modern airliners are truly a marvel, and the pre-flight inspection reminds every pilot of this. The aircraft, wings, jet engines, and every part are a sight to see.
Next, the pilots prepare cockpit for flight. They must ensure all aircraft instruments and systems are ready for flight. This also ensures the correct flight plan is loaded in the computer. As the passengers are loaded, the pilots do a final check of fuel, and weight and balance. Before push-back, the pilots receive an air traffic control clearance for their intended route. The pilots must also have planned for an alternate airport in the event it is impractical to land at their destination. After push-back and engine start, a clearance is issued and they will taxi to the active runway for take-off.
After another clearance, the pilots will taxi onto the runway and take-off. The jet engines will spool up, and unleash incredible power. In about 30 seconds, the aircraft will have reached a spear of about 150-160 knots, and the aircraft will be airborne. Several air traffic controllers will be contacted throughout the flight. The fire from 35,000 feet (or higher) is breathtaking. People aboard the aircraft can see their country side, the ocean, and features of every country they fly over. No other career gets paid to do and see this! The pilots and cabin crew also usually are provided with the meals served to first class passengers.
As they approach Bangkok, their destination, air traffic control will gradually bring them down from cruise altitude to the airport. As the aircraft descends, one can see the country side, and eventually the beaches and even palm trees. They will be “vectored” (given headings to fly) from air traffic control, and this keeps them away from other traffic as well as guides them towards their approach. The autopilot will fly the approach for the pilots, although they can “hand-fly” it. After touching down on the runway, the engines are put into reverse thrust, and the breaks engaged. The aircraft will exit the runway, and will be cleared to taxi to the gate.
Depending no upon their schedule, the crew will either prepare the aircraft, and continue flying, or will spend the night in a hotel, usually first class. They will continue with their schedule next day.
Flying isn’t just a fascinating science, but also provides an exciting lifestyle, which most people can only ever dream about. Airline employees also get the opportunity to travel to exotic destinations on their time off, either for free, or for next to nothing. A pilot offers one of the most exciting lifestyles that have ever existed for those willing to make the commitment.