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A Day in the Life of an Airline Pilot

Posted on Mon, 28 Nov 2011 13:36:46 GMT

Roland Ondrus, one of our aviation news editors talks us through a day in the life of a real airline pilot.  If you're a keen aviation enthusiast, you will enjoy this article and if you're a dedicated flight simmer, you may enjoy it even more!  He talks through a flight step by step, discussing each of the main points of the flight.


I wake up early in the Morning at 05:00 am and drive over to the Operations Center. The wet conditions and mid-strong wind promise a challenging day of flying. The image on the radar screens at the airport show me that a strong low is coming in from the West. This means that definitely the first part of the flight to Rome Fiumicino (FCO)  will be affected by the weather. After closing the weather station, I take a 3 minute walk to the planning room where my co-pilot waits for me. Together we calculate that we need 5.9 tons of kersone including the holding reserve. The airplane is almost full ( 2 free seats) according to the documents received.


At 06:25, I  go outside and check the A319 for any possible damage, the position of the wheel pants and look at the tires. After the outside check is complete, I walk to the cockpit door and greet the passengers, this morning flight looks like a business flight, few tourists board the plane. The start procedure begins as soon as all passengers are boarded and the flight attendant says "Boarding is completed". We undock, push back and taxi down to runway 07, the ATC tells me "Taxi into position and hold", i stop the A319 with the wheels lined up with the middle lines of the runway. After holding 1 minute, I receive the clearance to start, the engines roar and we begin the vertical thrust process. We accelerate down the runway and lift the bird at 300km/h.


After a fairly turbulent 15 minute climb, we clear the clouds with a current speed of 580km/h. The co-pilot requests the Milano ATC for clearing us to cruising speed, after receiving the clearance, I accelerate the A319 to the cruising speed. Shortly after reaching the cruising altitude and the passengers enjoying their hated and loved airline food, we begin the preparations for landing.


The ATC in Fiumicino tells me that we are number 2 for landing and that we need to perform a short final because an A321 is right behind us. The co-pilot adjusts the flaps to landing position and I push the "gear down" button to get the bird ready for the landing. Shortly before dis-engaging the autopilot , I request a wind check from the ATC. The answer is slight crosswind coming in from the right. The machine tells me 300, I steer to the left, 200, I adjust the airspeed, 100, I check the monitors and position of the plane, 50, 40,30, 20, 10..Retard, Retard I touch down less gently, but safely. We exit the runway and wait for the ATC to give us the taxiway coordinates to the gate.

After Landing

We taxi to the gate in FCO, we dock next to a beautiful British Airways A320 to the right and a Boeing 737-300 with the livery of Lufthansa. I switch off the engines and move in front of the cockpit door to say goodbye to our guests. The cleanup starts immediately after the last passenger leaves the plane. During the cleanup, I enjoy a hot cup of coffee and prepare with the co-pilot for the flight back.

This article was written by Roland Ondrus, an aviation news editor for Fly Away Simulation.

Ian Stephens

About Ian Stephens

Ian Stephens is a Flight Simulation enthusiast with a keen interest in aviation and technology. He has been writing for Fly Away Simulation for over 9 years.

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Leave a Response
Larry GregoryTue, 29 Nov 2011 14:28:02 GMT

"Taxi into position and hold"? I believe that has been "Line up and Wait" for a while now.

Roland OndrusTue, 29 Nov 2011 15:30:15 GMT

In Greece the ATC said " Stop and Hold"... But to be honest I like the "Taxi into position and hold" more than " Line up and Wait.

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