‘I’m a pilot and we don’t just take off and land’

Ever wondered what a pilot does on a long-haul flight? Luckily, one has just shared exactly what happens on an 18 hour flight.

Gary Baumgardner (@garybpilot) took to TikTok to debunk some myths about what pilots do on long-haul flights. He replied to one person who questioned whether pilots are just there to take off and land.

Gary said: “First off when you say we do nothing but take off and land, that’s not entirely accurate. Remember, everybody thinks we’re like Homer Simpson up there, there’s just like a big button, we push one button called the autopilot and we do nothing.

“Just remember, the autopilot is a tool the way a bat is a tool for a Major League Baseball player when he wants to hit a home run.

“If you’re flying along and a thunderstorm shows up, the autopilot cannot just automatically direct you out of that.

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@garybpilot #stitch with @Idris Ali Hope this helps lol #pilotlife #pilotsoftiktok #aviationlovers #crewlife ♬ original sound – Gary Baumgardner

“If air traffic control (ATC) tells you to climb or descend or turn, that just doesn’t happen with the autopilot, we have to do that.

“Not to mention there’s logs, ATC calls, system checks, all kinds of other things that we have to do and that’s just if we have nothing going on like an emergency.”

Although passengers might think pilots can let the autopilot run the plane, that isn’t the case. Pilots will have to manage the plane during a thunderstorm.

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Gary added: “We can sleep. I know for a fact if you have a flight that’s 18 hours long, you have four pilots and we actually have our own bunk beds up there and we sleep and we eat.

“If you don’t have bunks on the plane, they’ll reserve a first class seat you can sit down and lay in but most of those long international flights have their own crew rest bunks for us.”

A long-haul flight will usually have bunkbeds for the pilots and cabin crew to get some sleep as the team will work on shifts. In rare cases, first class seats might be used.

One TikTok user said: “Imagine just chilling in first class and you see your pilot chilling next to you.”

Recently, a flight attendant shared the food she always avoids before a long-haul flight.

Worried about reclining a plane seat? An etiquette expert has offered advice on when it’s acceptable to recline.

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