For most on board, long-haul flights are endured with a sleep mask, a few movies or TV shows… but for the pilots flying the plane, it’s a whole different story.
Despite common opinion, pilots have a lot more to do in the skies after switching to autopilot, and one pilot took to TikTok to set the record straight.
In response to a confused TikToker who asked: “What the hell do pilots do on an 18 hour flight, like from Singapore to New York, 18 hours, all they have to do is take off and land », replied the airline.Gary Baumgardner said
Sharing with his 240,700 followers, the pilot, based at LAX, said it wasn’t “quite accurate” to say they were just taking off and landing.
Dispelling any confusion, the Airline pilot spoke to MailOnline.
Contrary to popular belief, pilots have plenty to do on their long-haul flights other than push the autopilot button and one pilot has taken to TikTok to set the record straight.
The pilot said he wanted to clear up some misconceptions and revealed to thousands of followers what pilots actually do in the sky.
Speaking in the viral video, after finishing a nearly 18-hour shift, Gary said he wanted to “clear up” some misconceptions.
He said: ‘EEveryone thinks we’re like Homer Simpson up there and it’s like a big button that we push. A button stays there, call it autopilot and we don’t do anything.
But Gary explained: “TAutopilot is a tool in the same way a bat is a tool for a Major League Baseball player when he wants to hit a home run.
For example, the pilot explained that if he flies during a thunderstorm, the autopilot cannot automatically get you out of it.
He added: “If ATC (Air Traffic Control) asks you to climb, descend or turn, that just doesn’t happen on autopilot, we have to do it. »
According to Gary, they have to fill out logs, respond to ATC calls and do “all sorts of other things” like performing system checks.
“And that’s just if we don’t have anything abnormal or urgent,” he added.
Gary told MailOnline that pilots would only be given breaks when there were at least three pilots on board and that they would usually last between 2 and 3 hours.
Another common misconception is how pilots sleep, but the pilot quickly clarified this and told his followers that pilots can sleep.
He explained: “I know for a fact that if you have an 18-hour flight you have four pilots and we actually have our own beds and bunk beds up there and we sleep and eat.”
On an 18-hour flight, he explained, pilots might eat breakfast, dinner and lunch — but perhaps not in the right order because of the time difference.
According to the pilot, most international flights have “rest berths” in which the crew can sleep, but for those who don’t, he said: “They will reserve a first class seat in which you can sit down and lie down so you can I can rest.
Since its publication, the TikTok has garnered nearly four million views and received thousands of comments from intrigued users.
After much confusion in the comments section, Gary confirmed to MailOnline that there are always two pilots at the controls and that they will only be allowed breaks when “you have at least three pilots”.
He explained: “Breaks vary depending on the number of crew members and the length of the flight, but generally last 2 to 3 hours.”
According to Gary, many things help pass the time on an 18-hour plane shift, and they may even be assigned a first-class seat to rest.
Gary revealed that he actually preferred longer flights because it was “more efficient with your time and your pay”.
He added: “Flying a 6-hour flight to Hawaii is more enjoyable than taking 3 flights of 2 hours each. However, not all pilots think this way and many prefer shorter flights.
One person wrote: “It’s incredibly hard work,” while another added: “Thank you for protecting us.” »
A former flight attendant commented: “I’m glad you explained that because people were angry that the pilots were asleep. »
Meanwhile, another added: “Imagine relaxing in first class and seeing your pilot relaxing next to you.