The busy pilot’s guide to being kind to yourself

The busy pilot’s guide to being kind to yourself

We know that pilot’s face many challenges with their busy schedules. Dealing with jet lag, irregular hours and shifting routines are just some of the factors that can increase your levels of stress and tiredness. It’s really important that you focus on your physical and mental wellbeing so that you are well equipped to meet these challenges. Here are some tips to help you be kinder to yourself every day.

 

Look after your body

Being a pilot can be very demanding on your body, with the high levels of concentration required and coping with the changing time zones. It’s important to take the time to listen to your body and give it what it needs.

It can be difficult to get into a regular exercise routine that fits in with your schedule. Some people find that taking up yoga or learning some exercises with resistance bands really help. These are activities that you can practice for 15 minutes a day and can be done wherever you are, whether at home, in a gym or even in a hotel room.

Maintaining a healthy diet as a pilot isn’t easy. Forward planning and making the right choices about which foods you eat can make a huge difference to how you feel. If you eat well, you’ll find that your mood and energy levels improve. This is really important for long distance flying and maintaining concentration.

We also have a guide to help you deal with jet lag.

 

Look after your mind

It can be difficult to maintain your mental wellbeing if you’re often tired and/or stressed. Relaxation techniques or meditation might help you deal with this and ensure that you’re ready to face whatever challenges the working day holds.

There are lots of meditation apps available that can guide you through the process if you’re new to meditation and it only takes a few minutes each day. This can easily be done just before bed or when you wake up in the mornings. This can also add a bit of regular routine to your day.

If you don’t fancy giving meditation a go but still want to make more of an effort to look after your mental wellbeing, why not try writing down your thoughts to organise them better and better understand what you’re feeling and why.

 

Take a moment to look at your achievements

With a busy schedule, it can sometimes be difficult to get some perspective on what you’ve achieved. Whether these are professional or personal achievements, it’s important to take a step back and reflect on how far you’ve come. You’ll then be able to face the future and your goals with more positivity.

 

Prioritise your relationships

It can be difficult to work away from home for long periods of time and this can take a toll on your relationships. In fact, the divorce rate amongst some pilot groups is as high as 75%.

Find a little time each day to focus on these relationships. When you’re away, perhaps make a regular time to call home. When you are home, make sure you make the most of that time with your friends and family. The small things can make a big difference.

 

Be generous

Studies have shown that giving gifts is better than receiving them in terms of our own happiness. When you give something to someone, areas in your brain that are associated with social connection, trust and pleasure are activated. Scientists believe that endorphins are also released when you display altruistic behaviour.

So if you feel that you’re in need a bit of a boost, why not try giving someone an unexpected gift, just ‘because’. This can also help strengthen your relationships, as mentioned in the point above. Or maybe donate to your favourite charity.

 

Have fun

No matter how busy you are, you should still be able to find a little time in your day to do something you enjoy. It could be something as simple as watching an episode of your favourite TV show, or calling a friend, or spending some time with your kids. You might just want to kick back with a book and a glass of wine for a bit of me time.

A great way to de-stress and give yourself a boost of energy, is to find something that makes you laugh. Laughter really is the best medicine. It has been proven to boost your immune system and even help you deal with stress. It’s a great way to inject a bit more positivity into your mindset.

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Heathrow plans extra 25,000 flights a year

Heathrow plans extra 25,000 flights a year

Heathrow has announced that an extra 25,000 flights a year could come through the airport before the third runway is built.

An eight-week consultation over Heathrow’s operations and airspace is part of a nationwide review of UK capacity by National Air Traffic Services (Nats).

Heathrow’s proposal involves planes coming into land on both runways at the same time during busy periods in order to maximise capacity. This would accommodate another 68 flights a day but would mean lifting the current cap of 500,000 flights a year.

It would also mean an increase in noise pollution for those who live near the airport. Local residents currently get a break every day as the direction of flight is alternated. However, some parts of London, such as the south-east might get some respite from the noise.

John Stewart, from Hacan, the Heathrow noise reduction campaigning group, said: “Although the third runway will clearly bring many losers, one long-lasting impact of these proposed changes is that a break from aircraft noise would be guaranteed to many more people than who currently enjoy it, as Heathrow would make the biggest changes to its flight paths since opening in 1946.”

The airport is also to start planning routes for flights for when the third runway opens, which is expected to happen in the next decade.

Heathrow’s executive director for expansion, Emma Gilthorpe, said: “We are committed to delivering expansion responsibly and we encourage everyone to have their say and take part.”

She added: “It is crucial that our plans maximise the benefits of expansion across the country, including for the communities closest to us.”

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Toby Richardson: What to Expect From Your First Solo Flight

Toby Richardson: What to Expect From Your First Solo Flight

Your first solo flight. It’s a hot topic among new student pilots.

I found myself being quizzed by a few of the newer students when I was doing my training and thought it might be worth writing about the experience.

A first solo flight can seem intimidating to beginners, but it is a flight you will always remember. The process will be along the same lines for most students getting their private license. Even if you’re going all the way to your commercial pilot licence, a first solo is pretty much the same for everyone.

I had a bit of a mess around with my class 1 aviation medical, which was issued over a month late. It wasn’t the end of the world, though it heightened the anticipation for my “big day”.

Requirements for student pilots to go solo in Australia can be found on the CASA website

 

Dual Check Before Your First Solo Flight

The very next morning after receiving my medical, I booked in my dual check so an instructor could send me solo.

Dual checks are a simple enough process where your instructor sits in while you do an hour of circuits.

I performed some flapless landings; glide approaches; go-arounds and the usual tricks. After some minor critiquing and basic advice, we came into land.

I don’t know what on earth gave me this impression, but I was under the firm belief that we’d go inside and sort out some paperwork. I’d then be able to enjoy a quick cup of tea before going out for my very first solo flight.

Turns out, that’s not how it works.

As I was taxiing back to the ramp area, the instructor asked me to stop so that he could jump out. That’s when I realised I was on my own.

 

Sending It: Your First Solo Flight

I wasn’t afraid, but there was certainly a great amount of trepidation. Ultimately it came down to excitement and I knew I had to get on with it.

I took my time to go through all my run up checks once more. I made my first solo radio call announcing that I was taxiing, and even that basic feat was exciting.

Sitting at the hold point and waiting for other traffic to land was exciting. I waited patiently, knowing that I would commit myself as soon as I entered and backtracked the runway.

“Whiskey Oscar Juliet is entering and backtracking runway two five for circuits”

Almost there…

“Compass and DG aligned”, saying out loud to nobody.

 

Now or never.

 

“Throttle in, airspeed coming alive, temperatures and pressures in the green” I said once more to no one.

Rotate speed. I knew this was the moment I would become a real pilot. Or die…

And then it happens, that sweet, juicy moment when you’re flying a plane all by yourself and you’re in the sky.

 

I concentrated only on flying until I was at 300 feet, ran through a take-off safety checklist quickly and then took a very brief moment to take in my surroundings.

I’ll admit, a “F… Yeah!” loudly found it’s way out of my mouth and I was now loving every second of it.

From then on, it was a process of going through my usual checklists and clearing turns. I focused on balancing my concentration between instruments and the outside, while keeping a listening watch on the radio.

 

Downwind…

 

Base…

 

Final…

 

 

To me – though I’m sure it differs from pilot to pilot – it was a matter of consciously not overthinking it. I was holding a slight amount of drift against the small crosswind and heading straight for the centreline. The threshold was maintaining its location in my viewpoint and I kept checking my airspeed.

I rounded out a little early, knowing that if I was going to be too low when rounding out, that nobody would point it out. I guess I was subconsciously compensating.

What a ride. I rolled through, cleared the runway and went through the after landing checks.

 

After the Flight

I was feeling pretty buzzed when I taxied back and my instructor and some mates met me out at the hangar. It was cool to finally be a part of the club.

I conducted all my training up to that point, in a Cessna 172. I’m too tall for a 152 and have never flown one, so I felt pretty cool about doing my first solo flight in a 172, while all my mates were still in baby planes.

 

Final Tips

There’s no real secret about what to do in your first solo. My only bit of advice would be to turn the intercom on, even though there’s no one else to talk to.

By having it on, you’ll be able to hear your own voice when going through your checklists aloud. It’s a bit disconcerting to hear your own voice normally, and then for it to disappear as soon as you’re flying alone. Speaking your way through your checklists are an important way of keeping the environment similar to what you’re used to when flying dual.

So there it is: It’s exciting, intimidating and one hell of a rush.

 

About the Author

Toby holds a commercial pilot license and is a perpetual thrill seeker.

If you can’t find him riding a motorbike through the Atacama Desert on a magazine article assignment, he’ll be on a tropical beach writing articles to pay for his “beautifully self-indulgent lifestyle” that he likes to brag about.

 

You can find more chronicles of his adventures over on his blog Travelling Minimalist

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Norwegian launches pilot recruitment drive in Ireland

Norwegian launches pilot recruitment drive in Ireland

Norwegian has launched a recruitment drive to try and double the amount of flight crew operating out of Dublin. This is to enable the transatlantic expansion the airline has already announced, increasing the number of services operating between Ireland and the US and Canada.

The airline is looking to recruit 40 Captains and First Officers who hold a Boeing 737 operational certificate. Norwegian has recently announced an expanded summer schedule for 2019, which includes 40 transatlantic departures a week from Ireland to destinations in the US and Canada. The airline also operates services to other European cities from Dublin, such as Stockholm, Helsinki, Copenhagen and Oslo.

From the end of March 2019, there will be a daily service to Canada, flying between Dublin and Hamilton – Toronto. There will also be a daily service flying to Providence, Rhode Island and services to New York Stewart International Airport will fly five times per week from Shannon.

Helga Bollmann Leknes, Norwegian’s Chief Human Resources Officer, said: “Norwegian offers pilots a rewarding career with a diverse route network which spans both long haul and short haul destinations flying the latest Boeing 737 MAX aircraft. We look forward to welcoming qualified pilots who want to work for an airline that recognises the vital contribution that they make to our business during this continued phase of expansion in Ireland.”

Image: Norwegian

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World fleet set to double in next 20 years

World fleet set to double in next 20 years

Boeing released its latest Commercial Market Outlook at the Farnborough International Airshow last week. The report, which looks to provide an industry forecast for the next 20 years, projects that the global in-service fleet will double by 2037 as air travel continues to become a bigger part of our lives.

The report shows that the commercial aviation industry is booming and, according to the report, will continue to grow over the next 20 years. It’s a great time to be part of the industry. Boeing’s forecast is used across the industry to inform business strategy.

This year, Boeing has reported on both the demand for jets and the services required to operate them to provide a “holistic view”.

With more people travelling by air than ever, the commercial sector has continued to grow, with airlines generating more than $30bn of profit last year.

In the foreword to the report, Randy Tinseth, Boeing vice president of commercial marketing, commented: “Together our analysis projects a global demand for $15 trillion worth of commercial airplanes and services, a truly massive market, in the next two decades.”

The report states: “Robust demand is expected the next 20 years as strong economic growth, growing middle classes, increasing consumer spending on services, and evolving airline business models bring more value to passengers and support the long-term outlook.”

The report predicts that in the next 20 years, the industry will require more than 42,000 new planes, the majority of these being in the single-aisle category. The freighter market is also benefiting from improvements in world trade.

 

See the full report here.

Image: Boeing

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