You have been a passenger on that flight before. The odds are that the persons’ professional tone of voice in charge of that private jet’s safety is humorous and reassuring. For the vast majority of passengers worldwide, though, a pilot’s life remains a real mystery. What are your private jet pilots laughing about?
Fly commercially, and most likely, you won’t even cross paths with these men and women proudly wearing stripes on their shoulders. It’s not the case that they prefer a hermit’s approach to life. More often than not, the nature of what private pilots do takes much of their time and focus.
Think of weather reports, fuel checks, air traffic control, performance stats. It’s enough to make anyone’s head spin. Their job is often underappreciated by those that judge a pilot solely for the quality of the landing. On the other hand, it’s also deeply admired by those that define courage as a defining trait. Ask anyone that has landed on any given stormy evening, and you’ll get enough head nods in agreement.
Nevertheless, behind the cool sunglasses and the impeccable uniform, a question poses. What do these men and women chat about when the door locks behind their back? Is it a mundane world between the yoke and the cabin, or is there more to it than meets the imagination?
What does a Private Jet Pilot Do?
As you may have already guessed, there is much to a pilot’s job. Private jet pilots go through intense training and frequent simulator checks. Their knowledge regarding several complex technical areas must be constantly up-to-date, with the latest procedures always in mind.
It’s their job to keep the safety of the aircraft, passengers and crew as absolute priorities. With a workload that can go from incredibly dull to insane in seconds, it’s still a career that is deeply shrouded in mystery.
While you sat comfortably in the cabin, how many times has the question gone through your mind while you looked at that bulletproof door?
“What do these pilots chat about?”
Today, we will take you for a peek beyond closed doors as we share what a private jet pilot talk about throughout their day. Will the mystery remain after you’ve finished reading the next few lines?
Schedule, Schedule, Schedule
Whether you are a pilot or a private flight attendant, your schedule is everything and means nothing. It dictates your life for the foreseeable future. Nothing surprising there, you could while lifting an eyebrow. But the truth is universal to all of those that make a career out of flying:
A schedule means nothing.
It’s a mere indication that tells your alarm to go off on the first day of duty. From there onwards, the wheel of fortune is spinning. Commercial pilots and flights attendants know they can’t trust a published schedule. Extensive delays happen, weather changes. Technical issues arise. Crew issues can turn everything upside down – relax, not everything! The number of reasons is endless and can easily compete with your child’s ideal Christmas presents list.
Private jet companies and crew are subject to an even higher degree of flexibility than commercial ones to meet their client’s schedules. It means that most conversations occur around last-minute changes. Frequently about that cancelled commitment, the postponed family lunch or how a holiday can’t arrive fast enough.
Did Anyone Mention Holiday Time?
Ask what a private jet pilot’s biggest desire on any given day is, and most likely, it will involve a long-due holiday of some sort. Holidays are also a frequent topic of conversation amongst the crew. Don’t be too surprised if you overhear someone sharing detailed information about a secret restaurant in the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro.
Passengers usually claim they travel frequently, but rest assured, such a concept is pointless when speaking to crew members. Private jet companies can place their crew across several locations of the world in any given week. They can easily be having early breakfast in London, lunch in Moscow and land in time for an afternoon swim in any Helsinki’s hotel heated pool. The next week? A roll of the dice! And by that, we may mean Vegas, surely.
The mere mention of the word holiday usually results in a conversation focused on an endless catalogue of exotic locations. Expect fabulous hotels, great deals for the money and the type of recommendations you can’t ignore. Want to eat off a street vendor’s cart in Cambodia? Do so at your own risk!
The Private Jet Pilot and the Company
Like any employee in any line of work, pilots love to chat about their employers. You’ll have a hard time finding a private jet pilot that dislikes their job. These professionals are amongst some of the most privileged and proud of all. Not necessarily because their career comes with exceptional perks, but mostly because they get to see the world from above through a big(ger) window than the vast majority of us.
Changes to procedures, holiday policy, pay rises, hiring and acquisitions are reason enough for big debates. Most pilots take a personal interest in their beloved companies’ destiny. With some being shareholders, it’s only expectable. Therefore, speaking about the company comes naturally.
Nevertheless, you’ll rarely overhear a crew member speak poorly about their employer. Unless you’re sitting at a table and sharing a few drinks, that is. And they’re off, with no unfamiliar hears around them. Even then, it’s not guaranteed.
What happens in the aircraft stays in the aircraft!
What does a private jet pilot do when bored and has exhausted some of the most relevant topics throughout the duty day? You’ve guessed it – chat about other crew.
This much you’ve always known. Secretly, but inherent knowledge. Whether it’s the private flight attendant with an obvious – secret, so don’t tell anyone – crush on the young first officer or a colleague who is always moody in the early hours of the day, the small fuselage is where many echoes about private life find a place to travel.
We are not by suggesting that private jet crew are any more into gossip than people from any other line of work. The specifics of the job make personal relationships tighter than most jobs out there. You get to know the people you fly with, what moves them, what triggers them, and what they excel in: the good and the bad.
Flying is not only about getting an aircraft in the air. It is much about the personal connection between the people that have chosen this demanding line of work. We can witness this attitude through their dedication to each other and towards the people they welcome on board. Or through an endless pit of silence, given the occasion.
You’ve guessed it. Most of the words exchanged inside a flight deck are related to the technical aspects of the flight. With so many areas to cover in what often seems like a smooth, hassle-free flight, passengers may be oblivious to all the work that goes beyond the door.
A good hour or more has already taken place before the first passenger steps on board. Until that point, a detailed pre-flight brief and a series of safety checks have taken place. Along with all the documentation carried – praise tablets for that one – a visual verification of the aircraft’s surfaces occurs before every flight.
The same is valid for all the aircraft systems, including both the areas of responsibility by a private jet pilot and the flight attendants alike. These cover anything from the simplest of areas: seatbelt buckles working to engine fire extinguishers.
Each take-off and landing is preceded by a quick brief and checklist, and a careful overview of the airfield’s specifics. And yet, these are only a minor sample of the technical aspects discussed amongst pilots to ensure you safely get from A to B.
In many ways, you’ve guessed it. Most of the chat that takes place inside the flight deck is of technical nature, with the occasional break to focus on any other topics in this list.
Endless Hobbies of a Private Jet Pilot
What does a private jet pilot do for fun, you may ask? Hobbies are a massive topic of conversation in the flight deck. If we have to generalize – and for good humour’s sake only, please – let’s divide pilots into two separate categories according to their age range.
More senior pilots tend to love golf. If a poll took place in most private jet companies, it would only split those that still play golf from those that tried it but won’t make much of it – yet! The stressful nature of the job is often compensated by physical activities that invite relaxation. If they’re any good at golfing, that is.
Younger pilots tend to focus on sports that are higher in octanes. Think paddle, surfing, jogging. Again, the nature of the job forces these professionals to spend countless hours sitting down, adding very little to their excellent health.
A discussion focused on several sports and hobbies takes place as you read these lines, somewhere out there above the clouds, that we can assure.
Their Overview of the World
Although moved by a passion for flight and shaped by their jobs’ challenges and nature, private jet pilots are the same as everyone else, with the occasional positive twist. Sit down with any of them, and you’ll be carried across the sky to visit several locations through their eyes.
Most of the time, you’ll find humorous and open people that realize the deep value of personal relationships. The nature of their jobs often reflects sacrifices made on behalf of their families and themselves. When asked, they’ll happily talk about them in further detail.
They tend to attract sheer admiration – as they should. These are the people who make a daily pledge on behalf of everyone’s safety and moved by what is frequently a childhood dream. Their conversations are nothing ever short of interesting, amusing, and inspiring.
Perhaps the next time you step onboard a private jet, you’ll be awarded the privilege of getting to know a little more about these dedicated professionals that help us navigate the sky every day. If it’s your first time, we have a few suggestions regarding Jetiquette – Private Jet Etiquette in order to make you feel even more comfortable.
Whatever you do, don’t mention the word holidays!