Pilot - A Dream Job?
The job of a pilot is difficult and risky, but prestigious. Airline pilots often travel thousands of kilometers and can find themselves in a different time and climate zones every day. They see all parts of the world and get to know new people almost all the time. But a pilot also faces problems. They often suffer from jet lag and can become tired when flying through different time zones. They spend many days away from home and their families.
Although many people think it is a real dream job pilots must be responsible people because they have the lives of up to a few hundred passengers in their hands. They have to have hundreds of hours of training before they can do their job. Pilots must remain calm in dangerous situations and always have to make the right decisions. They need to see and hear perfectly. About 60 % of all pilots fly commercial airplanes, the rest fly cargo and private planes, as well as air force planes.
There are many things that a pilot must do before he or she flies a plane. They must check out weather conditions on the flight path and around the landing area. They also have to check flight plans, fill in forms and do a lot of paperwork. Before takeoff pilots brief their crew and do a complete check of the airplane to see if everything works the way it should. Pilots must calculate how much fuel they have to take with them.
In most cases there are two or three pilots in the cockpit. The captain is responsible for the flight. He is always in the left seat of the cockpit. The co-pilot sits next to him and assists him. Some planes have a flight engineer as a third person in the cockpit.
Although the autopilot almost always takes over flying the plane once it is in the air, a pilot and his crew must remain alert during the whole flight. They must have contact with the ground stations at all times and report strange or unusual things.
After landing safely pilots and crew may get a few days of rest if they are on a long distance flight, or they may have to fly back to where they came from after a short pause. On average pilots spend about 70 to 100 hours a month in the air.
Many people believe that pilots earn a lot of money. While that is true for larger airlines, smaller budget airlines cannot afford to pay their pilots that much. In today’s world airlines are competing fiercely for their shares of the market. Pilots may lose their jobs if airlines decide to cut costs.
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- afford = have enough money
- alert = watchful, awake; to be prepared
- although = while
- assist = help
- brief = inform; to give instructions
- budget airlines = airlines that can fly with less costs than other bigger airlines; tickets are usually cheaper, but pilots and crew do not get paid so much
- calculate = work out
- calm = cool, quiet, not chaotic
- commercial airplane = an airplane that you fly for an airline; it transports passengers from one city to another
- compete = fight
- complete = total
- crew = the people who work on an airplane
- cut = reduce, lower
- decide = choose
- decision = choice you make after you think about something
- face = to be confronted with, deal with
- fiercely = brutally, intensely
- flight path = route
- form = document
- fuel = kerosene that a plane uses to fly
- ground station = the place on the ground that controls the flight and gives instructions to the pilot
- jet lag = when you get tired after you have been flying for a very long time
- long distance = to travel over thousands of kilometers, usually from one continent to another
- on average = normally, usually
- paperwork = writing papers and reports of your flight; it’s not really interesting but it has to be done
- passenger = a person on a plane
- pause = break
- prestigious = if people admire you and think very highly of you and your job
- remain = stay
- responsible = to have the job of looking after someone or something
- share = part
- suffer = to be ill
- take over = control
- takeoff = when an airplane starts