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How Pilots Live

An Examination of the Lifestyle of Commercial Pilots

Simon Bennett

This book paints a detailed picture of the commercial pilot lifestyle, from the struggle to pay for training to time spent down route to thoughts of retirement. Once a glamorous occupation, commercial flying is today more of a job than a vocation with many pilots working the maximum permissible hours for increasingly meagre rewards under evermore stressful conditions. Pilots talk candidly about acute and chronic fatigue, short-notice roster changes that leave them insufficiently rested, noisy and poorly serviced down-route hotels, long daily commutes to work, indebtedness, fear of losing their pilot’s licence, industry volatility, dread of lay-off or redundancy, the quality and agendas of airline managers, the impact of these and other stressors on family life and where they think the aviation industry is going. Despite these privations pilots remain enthusiastic – a testament to their professionalism and love of flying.
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Chapter One: Introduction

Extract

CHAPTER ONE

Introduction

As a piece of applied science the aeroplane has a place alongside the wheel, gunpowder, the printing press and the steam engine as one of the great levers of change in world history.

— RENDALL, 1988: 7

We can pull and haul and push and lift and drive,We can print and plough and weave and heat and light,We can run and race and swim and fly and dive,We can see and hear and count and read and write …But remember, please, the Law by which we live,We are not built to comprehend a lie.We can neither love nor pity nor forgive –If you make a slip in handling us, you die!

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