qantas777
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Long Haul Pilots, How Do They Do It?

Wed Aug 12, 2009 9:47 pm

After traveling many long haul segments in Y and J, I just feel so awful after every flight. Whether it be in the new SQ 380 suite or coach, I just feel terrible; takes me days to recover.

So, question is, how the heck do pilots cope with the insane hours of flying? I know they have crew breaks etc, but I would lose my mind. And it only makes me think more when, say, after 15 hrs in flight, you fly into JFK airspace loaded with TSRA at peak hrs. !!!!

So, any pilots out there, care to tell how do you do it?

Thanks
 
mcdu
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RE: Long Haul Pilots, How Do They Do It?

Wed Aug 12, 2009 10:47 pm

Personally it takes a couple of days for me to recover from some of the longer segments. Especially the Asia trips seem to be the hardest. However, you ask how do the pilots cope with arrival task after the long hours airborne? That is where the augmented crew really helps in keeping everyone focused on the job at hand. Having one or two sets of eyes and ears helps aide the operating crew in keeping track of what needs to be accomplished. While fatigue is present, there is a bit of adrenaline that goes with even a normal approach and landing. That little boost seems to get you over the edge.

I have been in NRT and seen guys fall asleep soundly on the bus from the hotel to downtown Narita (about a 15minute ride in good traffic) only an hour arrive at the hotel. Once we just sent one of the pilots back on the bus as he was too sleepy to climb the hill to have dinner. If you spend any time at the layover hotels for pilots in Japan you will find based crews in the gyms at 0200. Exercise and hydrating is great for recovery. Also, avoiding alcohol will help but you won't find many takers on that method  Wink
 
SpeedBirdA380
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RE: Long Haul Pilots, How Do They Do It?

Thu Aug 13, 2009 11:37 am



Quoting Qantas777 (Thread starter):
So, question is, how the heck do pilots cope with the insane hours of flying?

I suppose it just depends on the person and how their body responds to travel and change. I am not a pilot (yet Big grin ) but I never really experience jetlag and I seem to adapt really well. I often fly from London to the far east and back on flights sometimes 13-14 hours long but apart from feeling a little tired it never really affects me that much.

Its just in your DNA I suppose. I have a friend who is super intelligent and the mathmatical sums he can do are mind boggling to me. I lose my mind trying to work out all those numbers! But on the other hand when he and I flew from LHR-SIN which is about a 12 hour flight in economy and no sleep we arrived in Singapore about 17.30 and that night I went out partying till the small hours. Then I was up at 8.00 the next morning for the buffet breakfast! - He could not believe that.

So its just who you are I suppose. Perhaps there is not much going on in my head so my brain uses less energy and needs less sleep.... Big grin
 
wilco737
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RE: Long Haul Pilots, How Do They Do It?

Thu Aug 13, 2009 12:29 pm

Well, it is tough indeed sometimes. Long days, long nights, not knowing where you are or what you do.
When I am on a trip I try to plan when to sleep and when exploring the City. It often doesn't work out as I want to. Usually the body tells you when it is really time to sleep,then you go to bed and sleep.
I call myself a Zombie sometimes,when Iam up for 24+ hours... That's how I feel.
When I get back home I try to get back to my home time ASAP... It usually takes 2 days. When I coma from far east it takes longer than coming from the US...

Wilco737
 
CosmicCruiser
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RE: Long Haul Pilots, How Do They Do It?

Thu Aug 13, 2009 12:30 pm



Quoting SpeedBirdA380 (Reply 2):
But on the other hand when he and I flew from LHR-SIN which is about a 12 hour flight in economy and no sleep we arrived in Singapore about 17.30 and that night I went out partying till the small hours. Then I was up at 8.00 the next morning for the buffet breakfast! - He could not believe that.

Well alot of that is because you're young, it was an exciting adventure and you dont do it for 2 weeks every month. Couple certain line dates from month to month and you may find yourself getting home from a 2 week trip, being home 5 days or less and doing it all over again. Consider as well on a line trip you're not at liberty to come, go, eat and sleep as if you're on this adventure. You know that there will be a short time for fun and time to eat and a time for sleep if you can do it. It all adds up.
 
SpeedBirdA380
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RE: Long Haul Pilots, How Do They Do It?

Thu Aug 13, 2009 1:39 pm



Quoting CosmicCruiser (Reply 4):
Well alot of that is because you're young, it was an exciting adventure and you dont do it for 2 weeks every month.

Very good point.

I guess the novelty starts to wear off and it takes more of a toll on your body the more often you do it and the older you get. Seeing as this is a thread about long-haul pilots and how do they do it I would like to ask a question about caffeine, and is how much a pilot can drink limited?

I know if I drink two or three cups of coffee I start to feel a little strange in the head and find it difficult to concentrate and I wondered if there are any rules or guidelines in place for pilots on how much caffeine they are allowed to drink on a flight?
 
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ManuCH
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RE: Long Haul Pilots, How Do They Do It?

Thu Aug 13, 2009 2:00 pm



Quoting CosmicCruiser (Reply 4):
Well alot of that is because you're young, it was an exciting adventure and you dont do it for 2 weeks every month.

It's funny, for me it was actually much harder to cope with jet lag when I was 15 than today (I'm 32). Back in those days, I would feel like a wreck for almost 5 days after flying from the US east coast back home to Europe. Probably it's not jet lag per se bothering me, but the absolute lack of sleep (somehow I can't sleep on a plane). The same happens to me even at home if for some reason I don't sleep at all for one night: it will take me days to recover.

I have found melatonin to work wonders for nighttime flights from the US to Europe. Now I only feel tired, but the "I feel sick" thing is gone.

I guess we're just all different. And yes, I also wonder how pilots manage all this. Is melatonin allowed for an airline pilot (as it's a dietary supplement after all), or is it banned?
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413X3
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RE: Long Haul Pilots, How Do They Do It?

Thu Aug 13, 2009 6:50 pm



Quoting CosmicCruiser (Reply 4):
Well alot of that is because you're young,

And also a passenger resting in the cabin reading a book or watching a movie is a little different than a pilot who deals with the stresses of flying for those 8-12 hrs
 
flymia
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RE: Long Haul Pilots, How Do They Do It?

Thu Aug 13, 2009 7:35 pm



Quoting 413X3 (Reply 7):
And also a passenger resting in the cabin reading a book or watching a movie is a little different than a pilot who deals with the stresses of flying for those 8-12 hrs

Well I am not sure how much stress there is at FL350 in the middle of the Atlantic besides for your HF radio reports, but it is definitely different.

I am not a pilot but to Europe I will get a bit of Jet Lag but coming back from Europe no jet lag at all, the flight feels like a normal afternoon flight in the day light.

I know pilots flying to Europe from the US will usually sleep for a few hours when they arrive and than spend the day out doing what ever they want come back into the hotel and try to go to sleep at a normal time. But Europe flying seems a lot easier on the body than going to Asia or the Pacific.
"It was just four of us on the flight deck, trying to do our job" (Captain Al Haynes)
 
413X3
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RE: Long Haul Pilots, How Do They Do It?

Thu Aug 13, 2009 8:11 pm

always watching the instruments and in the back of your head going through the what if possibilities, there are many examples of stress even if you are just cruising.
 
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Starlionblue
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RE: Long Haul Pilots, How Do They Do It?

Thu Aug 13, 2009 11:40 pm

I used to go back and forth between the US and Europe every couple of weeks. My simple rule was to try and get on the destination time as fast as possible, assuming I stayed longer than, say, a day or two. As opposed to a pilot, I had meetings all through the local working day so no off duty time there. Yech.

As mentioned above westbound is easier than eastbound.

Quoting ManuCH (Reply 6):
I have found melatonin to work wonders for nighttime flights from the US to Europe. Now I only feel tired, but the "I feel sick" thing is gone.

Melatonin is indeed great for getting a tired body to relax enough to sleep at the wrong time.

Quoting FlyMIA (Reply 8):
But Europe flying seems a lot easier on the body than going to Asia or the Pacific.

If nothing else the distances and lags involved are much shorter. JFK-LHR is barely longer than JFK-LAX.
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
Jawed
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RE: Long Haul Pilots, How Do They Do It?

Fri Aug 14, 2009 2:37 am

I posted a question specifically about pilot's sleep problems:
Pilots: What If You Can't Fall Asleep? (by Jawed Aug 13 2009 in Civil Aviation)

(which I think is a complex problem in and of itself, as part of the heavy travel schedule)
 
CosmicCruiser
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RE: Long Haul Pilots, How Do They Do It?

Fri Aug 14, 2009 11:55 am



Quoting SpeedBirdA380 (Reply 5):
I guess the novelty starts to wear off and it takes more of a toll on your body the more often you do it and the older you get. Seeing as this is a thread about long-haul pilots and how do they do it I would like to ask a question about caffeine, and is how much a pilot can drink limited?

Correct. Over the years there's places I still enjoy going to and others I try NOT to go to. Then there's others that I like going to but you will get hammered either on the way or afterwards so I miss those. Sometimes it's unavoidable so you bite the bullet and fly. No limit on caffiene but I don't find that it does much for me. I'll have a couple of cups but the acid isn't that good for you in large amounts on an empty stomach. It's a Catch 22 really. The airlines can't economically build a trip, say around the world, that would allow you to be perfectly rested on each leg but not being a robot you just can't flip a switch and turn off either. Everyone finds their own way to cope.
 
vikkyvik
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RE: Long Haul Pilots, How Do They Do It?

Fri Aug 14, 2009 5:00 pm



Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 10):
If nothing else the distances and lags involved are much shorter. JFK-LHR is barely longer than JFK-LAX.

True, although you do go through 2 more time zones on JFK-LHR than you do on JFK-LAX.
I'm watching Jeopardy. The category is worst Madonna songs. "This one from 1987 is terrible".
 
GRZ-AIR
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RE: Long Haul Pilots, How Do They Do It?

Fri Aug 14, 2009 6:40 pm

I don't fly the big iron so no long haul for me but I do have experienced that the older I get the more exhausted I am after transcon flights...and yes I prefer Y class but it doesn't help.

When I was 14 I had no problems adjusting. No I need a week after a flight from the US to Europe...

G
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Starlionblue
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RE: Long Haul Pilots, How Do They Do It?

Fri Aug 14, 2009 11:17 pm



Quoting Vikkyvik (Reply 13):
Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 10):
If nothing else the distances and lags involved are much shorter. JFK-LHR is barely longer than JFK-LAX.

True, although you do go through 2 more time zones on JFK-LHR than you do on JFK-LAX.

Quite.
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Flighty
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RE: Long Haul Pilots, How Do They Do It?

Sat Aug 15, 2009 12:26 am



Quoting Qantas777 (Thread starter):

So, any pilots out there, care to tell how do you do it?

Speaking only as a frequent traveler, you get used to it. Eventually an aircraft is just as comfortable as your home sofa, or your office chair. Maybe flying makes you feel uneasy, but pilots probably feel nice and comfortable in the sky.

Pilots might ask us how we spend 40 to 50 hours per week working in the office.
 
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Starlionblue
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RE: Long Haul Pilots, How Do They Do It?

Sat Aug 15, 2009 2:18 am



Quoting Flighty (Reply 16):
Pilots might ask us how we spend 40 to 50 hours per week working in the office.

Or in my wife's case, 60-80.  Wink
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
babybus
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RE: Long Haul Pilots, How Do They Do It?

Fri Sep 25, 2009 2:00 pm

I was talking to a BA FA at Easter and she was saying that although she's been flying for like 30 years she still finds LHR-OZ a killer.

It takes her a week to get over it. From arriving in Singapore to a week after getting home she doesn't know where she is.

I feel sorry for the pilots. Unlike the pax who can close the blind and pretend it's night, the crew have to suffer the disorientating effects of very short nights and very long days.  boggled 
and with that..cabin crew, seats for landing please.
 
Viscount724
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RE: Long Haul Pilots, How Do They Do It?

Mon Sep 28, 2009 1:06 am



Quoting Vikkyvik (Reply 13):
Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 10):
If nothing else the distances and lags involved are much shorter. JFK-LHR is barely longer than JFK-LAX.

True, although you do go through 2 more time zones on JFK-LHR than you do on JFK-LAX.

On that point, I've always found it strange that time zones seem narrower going westbound from Europe than eastbound. For example, it's roughly the same distance from AMS to JFK as to DXB/AUH but the time difference is 6 hours to the U.S. east coast but only 2 hours to DXB/AUH. And the time difference from AMS to places like SIN/BKK/JKT is 6 hours, the same as to JFK, although those Asian points are much further east than JFK is west.
 
PGNCS
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RE: Long Haul Pilots, How Do They Do It?

Mon Sep 28, 2009 1:36 am



Quoting CosmicCruiser (Reply 12):
It's a Catch 22 really. The airlines can't economically build a trip, say around the world, that would allow you to be perfectly rested on each leg but not being a robot you just can't flip a switch and turn off either. Everyone finds their own way to cope.

You make several good points, and everyone does develop their own coping strategies. Some people never really develop a system that lets them enjoy the long haul flying. I did it for several years, and hated every second of it. I kept telling myself that I would get used to it, but while I developed several coping strategies, they were far from foolproof, so I came back to domestic flying. I lost weight, feel better, am home more often, and actually enjoy flying again. I will never again willfully fly long haul.

Quoting Flighty (Reply 16):
Speaking only as a frequent traveler, you get used to it. Eventually an aircraft is just as comfortable as your home sofa, or your office chair. Maybe flying makes you feel uneasy, but pilots probably feel nice and comfortable in the sky.

Everyone is different; there are many of us who hate long range flying. No aircraft is as comfortable as the most uncomfortable chair in my house.
 
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Starlionblue
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RE: Long Haul Pilots, How Do They Do It?

Mon Sep 28, 2009 1:42 am



Quoting Viscount724 (Reply 19):
On that point, I've always found it strange that time zones seem narrower going westbound from Europe than eastbound. For example, it's roughly the same distance from AMS to JFK as to DXB/AUH but the time difference is 6 hours to the U.S. east coast but only 2 hours to DXB/AUH. And the time difference from AMS to places like SIN/BKK/JKT is 6 hours, the same as to JFK, although those Asian points are much further east than JFK is west.

I think there are a few factors at work:
- Latitude: LHR is much further north than JFK. Time zones are narrower further north.
- Conventions. The Central European time zone is VERY wide in order to make it convenient to trade. Purely longitude wise, Amsterdam should probably be on British Standard Time.
- DBX is much further south than JFK, and SIN even more so. This adds to the flight time without adding time zones.
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
CosmicCruiser
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RE: Long Haul Pilots, How Do They Do It?

Mon Sep 28, 2009 2:20 am



Quoting PGNCS (Reply 20):
No aircraft is as comfortable as the most uncomfortable chair in my house.

Ha! so true!! I got in at 3am this morn and my butt is still sore! Almost 10 hrs FRA-MEM!!
 
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Aaron747
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RE: Long Haul Pilots, How Do They Do It?

Mon Sep 28, 2009 6:42 am



Quoting CosmicCruiser (Reply 22):

Ha! so true!! I got in at 3am this morn and my butt is still sore! Almost 10 hrs FRA-MEM!!

Don't be fooled any folks - if you've spent time up front or in a sim, you know rather well that crew seating isn't anywhere near as comfortable as it looks - now imagine four to six hours planted in those things  Sad
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wilco737
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RE: Long Haul Pilots, How Do They Do It?

Mon Sep 28, 2009 7:42 am



Quoting Aaron747 (Reply 23):
on't be fooled any folks - if you've spent time up front or in a sim, you know rather well that crew seating isn't anywhere near as comfortable as it looks - now imagine four to six hours planted in those things  

Yeah, the seats are old, worn out and far from comfortable. Pretty much every seat in modern cars is more comfortable...

wilco737
 
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DocLightning
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RE: Long Haul Pilots, How Do They Do It?

Mon Sep 28, 2009 5:08 pm



Quoting ManuCH (Reply 6):

I guess we're just all different. And yes, I also wonder how pilots manage all this. Is melatonin allowed for an airline pilot (as it's a dietary supplement after all), or is it banned?

I don't see how you could enforce a ban. If you test my urine for melatonin metabolites, I'll have it. So will any mammal.
-Doc Lightning-

"The sky calls to us. If we do not destroy ourselves, we will one day venture to the stars."
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lowrider
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RE: Long Haul Pilots, How Do They Do It?

Mon Sep 28, 2009 5:34 pm



Quoting Babybus (Reply 18):
the crew have to suffer the disorientating effects of very short nights and very long days

Or very long nights and short days, depending on which way you are flying. I have, however, come to loath the sunrise when we are flying eastbound. It is not some gradual lightening of the sky and kalaidiscope of colors, but rather closer to a 500 watt bulb a foot away with a dimmer that goes very quickly from off to full on. It always seems to be harder to get to sleep when we arrive after sunrise.

Quoting Aaron747 (Reply 23):
now imagine four to six hours planted in those things

With a flight engineer, you can be there up to 12 hours.

When I first got started, long haul was all I wanted to do. Now that I have done it for a few years, I can see that I won't want to do it forever. In an ideal world, I would find a job with 2 to 3 legs a day with the longest being about 5 hours.
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Starlionblue
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RE: Long Haul Pilots, How Do They Do It?

Mon Sep 28, 2009 11:36 pm



Quoting ManuCH (Reply 6):
Is melatonin allowed for an airline pilot (as it's a dietary supplement after all), or is it banned?

Melatonin is a pretty weak "drug" as such things go. I'm not an medical expert but I would think coffee has just as much effect in the opposite direction. So I doubt it is banned. Also as DocLightning says a test would be rather inconclusive.
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
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DocLightning
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RE: Long Haul Pilots, How Do They Do It?

Mon Sep 28, 2009 11:54 pm



Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 27):

Melatonin is a pretty weak "drug" as such things go. I'm not an medical expert but I would think coffee has just as much effect in the opposite direction. So I doubt it is banned. Also as DocLightning says a test would be rather inconclusive.

It's OT, but I'll do it. It's "banned" in several countries, including Australia, but possession is permitted; sale is not. So nobody is going to threaten your pilot's license because you have it and nobody can prove that you're taking it.

Melatonin does decrease sleep latency in healthy sleepers, but doesn't do much else. In children and adolescents with ADHD, melatonin improves sleep quality and quantity, but not school performance or behavior (I just did a literature review). But there is no evidence that melatonin causes any sort of cognitive inhibition. So it might make you fall asleep more quickly if the setting is right (you're in that nice, quiet, overhead bunk), but it can't make you keel over asleep at the wheel in the middle of an emergency.
-Doc Lightning-

"The sky calls to us. If we do not destroy ourselves, we will one day venture to the stars."
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300below4L
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RE: Long Haul Pilots, How Do They Do It?

Tue Sep 29, 2009 12:47 am

Obviously this is a little stray off the pilot/crew thread focus, but I use Xanax on long-haul flights to assist with sleep. Everyone's body is different, but some passengers (especially A.netters) may find it helps kill a few hours on an overnight flight. And with me, I find myself having an easier time adjusting to local time.
Crew, please stick to the coffee  Smile
 
CX Flyboy
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RE: Long Haul Pilots, How Do They Do It?

Tue Sep 29, 2009 1:45 pm

I find coffee does not do much for me. In flight the best thing to battle falling asleep is conversation with the person next to you. Even if it is one of those people where effort is required to have a conversation I try anyway. If it is 4am and no-one is saying a word, thats when I fall asleep quickly, especially if we are over the ocean with no radio chatter. The other thing people tend to do which is one of the perils of longhaul is that they eat....and eat. When you are tired it could be the only thing which keeps you from nodding off, even if you are not hungry.

What works the best is when we have two HKG based crew with two overseas based crew. Both pairs of pilots will prefer to do different parts of the flight as they can sleep closer to their body clock time. Each person gets good sleep and you can actually end a longhaul feeling quite fresh if it works well.

There are other factors too of course like turbulence which can either rock you to sleep gently or bash your head against the ceiling of your bunk. The bunks themselves make a difference too. Some planes have nicer bunk areas than others and are more condusive to sleep. Our 777-300ERs have fantastic bunks!!
 
CosmicCruiser
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RE: Long Haul Pilots, How Do They Do It?

Tue Sep 29, 2009 2:10 pm



Quoting CX flyboy (Reply 30):
The bunks themselves make a difference too.

True on all counts but the bunks can be good or bad for sure. Some of ours have poor ventilation and become stuffy to me. I can't last more than and hour or so in them. Most all get hard after a while too.
 
borism
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RE: Long Haul Pilots, How Do They Do It?

Tue Sep 29, 2009 6:41 pm

How many legs did you guys have to do for the flying novelty to wear out?

Often if you're flying even the same route (which many probably don't) you might be on a totally different routing and in case of ULH even over different countries every flight. There's different ATC, different terrain/water, different weather, perhaps even different faults on ECAM  Smile

Probably all this won't get me going over 24h, but certainly up to 24h - so enough to do even longest ULH flight EWR-SIN. Considering that it sometimes goes over North Pole, how can anyone get bored of it?  Smile

(not trying to be judgmental, just sincerely trying to understand)
 
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Starlionblue
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RE: Long Haul Pilots, How Do They Do It?

Wed Sep 30, 2009 3:19 am

One trick that special forces use to stay awake while doing long surveillance is the following. Grab a candy bar. Every time you feel like you are falling asleep, take a tiny bite and chew on the piece as long as possible.

Quoting Borism (Reply 32):
Probably all this won't get me going over 24h, but certainly up to 24h - so enough to do even longest ULH flight EWR-SIN. Considering that it sometimes goes over North Pole, how can anyone get bored of it?

24 h is not the issue. It's the rest and then go again, probably in the wrong timezone so your body doesn't want to sleep.

As for getting bored, any job becomes routine after a while. When I used to travel every week people thought it was cool, even glamorous to be in different places all the time. While I certainly liked it more than going to the same office every day, there wasn't a lot of glamour involved after a week or three...
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
lowrider
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RE: Long Haul Pilots, How Do They Do It?

Wed Sep 30, 2009 3:30 am



Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 33):
One trick that special forces use to stay awake

I will have to try that on the upcoming trip. By the 4th or 5th day things can get really challenging...
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Starlionblue
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RE: Long Haul Pilots, How Do They Do It?

Wed Sep 30, 2009 4:46 am

I would love to have some first hand accounts on the method's efficacy!
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
CX Flyboy
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RE: Long Haul Pilots, How Do They Do It?

Wed Sep 30, 2009 4:58 am

For those die-hard people who really want the answer, give yourself a longhaul pilot's roster for a few weeks. Tonight, at 3am, sit infront of your computer watching the Flightsim autopilot do it's thing in the cruise. Sit there for 6 hours (You can't fall asleep). After that, sleep on your floor for 6 hours then at 3pm you have 'arrived' at your destination. Have 24hrs off then at 3pm try to sleep for 6 hours. At 9pm sit in front of your computer again for 6 hours then do the landing into somewhere with stormy weather. Give yourself 48hrs off then do it all again....and again...and again.
 
wilco737
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RE: Long Haul Pilots, How Do They Do It?

Wed Sep 30, 2009 7:36 am



Quoting CX flyboy (Reply 36):

Excellent. I couldn't have said it any better... 3:30am in a hotel room, cannot sleep anymore, 6 hours time differfence to my hometown.
And don't forget the sometimes horrible food you get... Not really being able to strech your legs during the flight....

wilco737
 
borism
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RE: Long Haul Pilots, How Do They Do It?

Wed Sep 30, 2009 8:04 am

I'll try it some time Big grin

Real Pilots don't read: usually I leave my Flightsim on A/P and go to sleep to land in the morning (sometimes just to find my plane in an ocean or mountains) Big grin
 
lowrider
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RE: Long Haul Pilots, How Do They Do It?

Wed Sep 30, 2009 12:40 pm



Quoting CX flyboy (Reply 36):
Give yourself 48hrs off then do it all again....and again...and again.

For the freight pilots version only allow yourself 12 to 24 hours off, then repeat.
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wilco737
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RE: Long Haul Pilots, How Do They Do It?

Wed Sep 30, 2009 1:53 pm



Quoting Lowrider (Reply 39):
For the freight pilots version only allow yourself 12 to 24 hours off, then repeat.

I am a freighter pilot myself and we sometimes have 24 hours off, sometimes 4 days. Depends. I had 3 days off in SEA, DEL this months. 18 hours in KJA and 48 hours in CAN. And next month 4 days in UIO. So it is different. Depends on how many flights go there.

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RE: Long Haul Pilots, How Do They Do It?

Wed Sep 30, 2009 2:10 pm



Quoting WILCO737 (Reply 40):
Quoting Lowrider (Reply 39):
For the freight pilots version only allow yourself 12 to 24 hours off, then repeat.

I am a freighter pilot myself and we sometimes have 24 hours off, sometimes 4 days. Depends. I had 3 days off in SEA, DEL this months. 18 hours in KJA and 48 hours in CAN. And next month 4 days in UIO. So it is different. Depends on how many flights go there.

wilco737

For layovers after a longhaul we get around 24hrs as a minimum. Most are around 24-48hrs with a few trips longer. When we get home however we normally have to have 3 days off unless the crew are on 'compact' rosters where they basically do 4 longhaul sectors before getting a bunch of days off.
 
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RE: Long Haul Pilots, How Do They Do It?

Sat Oct 03, 2009 8:15 pm



Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 35):
I would love to have some first hand accounts on the method's efficacy

On two consecutive flights I tried a Hershey Bar (with almonds) on the first, and spearmint gum on the second. I found that both helped slightly, but there was no significant difference between the two. Granted it is a small sample size, but it will take a while for me to accumulate a sizable number of trials.
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RE: Long Haul Pilots, How Do They Do It?

Sat Oct 03, 2009 11:33 pm



Quoting Flighty (Reply 16):
Pilots might ask us how we spend 40 to 50 hours per week working in the office.

Its probably a damned sight less taxing than spending 92 hours a week with dirt caked to your every moving part, sun and wind burned and carrying your home on your back. Oh to live the life on the office worker!

Thank heavens for small mercies  Wink
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RE: Long Haul Pilots, How Do They Do It?

Sun Oct 04, 2009 5:58 am

Thanks Lowrider. I do think that the method is both based on the continual addition of sugar, and on the act of chewing actively.
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saab2000
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RE: Long Haul Pilots, How Do They Do It?

Sun Oct 04, 2009 11:23 am

For the life of me I can't figure out how a pilot on an RJ does it! 14 hour days scheduled. Extended to 16 hours. Start at 4 AM on day one and have a 24 hour layover somewhere in the middle of a 4-day trip and end with a delay on the final day to finish at 2 AM. And sometimes they do 6 (or more) legs in a day!

Food? Airlines provide food? Relief pilots? Ha!!!

How do they ever do it?

Just kidding folks. But it's not only long haul pilots who have fatigue to deal with. Every pilot is pushed to the limits.
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RE: Long Haul Pilots, How Do They Do It?

Sun Oct 04, 2009 1:46 pm



Quoting Saab2000 (Reply 45):
For the life of me I can't figure out how a pilot on an RJ does it! 14 hour days scheduled. Extended to 16 hours. Start at 4 AM on day one and have a 24 hour layover somewhere in the middle of a 4-day trip and end with a delay on the final day to finish at 2 AM. And sometimes they do 6 (or more) legs in a day!

Food? Airlines provide food? Relief pilots? Ha!!!

How do they ever do it?

Just kidding folks. But it's not only long haul pilots who have fatigue to deal with. Every pilot is pushed to the limits.

I would venture to say that there is every possibility that those RJ pilots you talk about work harder than a long-haul pilot. With longhaul it is the jetlag and boredom which gets you but some trips you do with great people and you are never bored or sleepy, even at 3am...besides you spend half the flight sleeping and if you can get a good 4-5hrs sleep on the plane the rest is not so bad. Those regional pilots sometimes contend with 6 sectors in and out of the same storm system and deal with ATC frustrations. No thanks!
 
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RE: Long Haul Pilots, How Do They Do It?

Sun Oct 04, 2009 2:16 pm

I'll throw in a few stories of my own. Here's the schedule in residency:

M:6A-6P
T:6A-6P
W:6A- (overnight)
Th: (overnight)-10A
F:6A-6P
Sa: off
Su: 8A-(overnight) (we got to "sleep in" when we had to work weekends)
M: (overnight)-10A
T:6A-6P
W:6A-6P

So you're getting the idea. 12 hour days every day, but every 4 days is a 27-28 hour day with an overnight call (on which you typically don't sleep because you're running around delivering babies, admitting patients, putting in IV's, etc.). So not only are you working completely nutty hours, but every 4 days, your body clock gets a wrench in the gears. (Why this practice is not completely outlawed is beyond me, but I think it explains why air crashes are so rare and medical errors are so common.)

One morning in the NICU, I was signing out after having been on call (we call that being post-call) and I fell asleep. *IN MID-SENTENCE.* Just...face *bonk!* onto the table. Happened another morning after I'd been on the regular floors all night. We were sitting around on the sofas in our on-call room and I fell asleep while my medical student, who I'm supposed to be evaluating, was presenting a patient. Just dropped my pen and my clip-board on the ground and keeled right over into my own lap.

So yes, I know a thing or two about fatigue, and I only had to do that for 3 years. I have no idea how you pilots keep it up for your entire careers.
-Doc Lightning-

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Starlionblue
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RE: Long Haul Pilots, How Do They Do It?

Sun Oct 04, 2009 11:24 pm

When I was in the army I fell asleep while walking a few times. I remember walking, and the next thing I knew I was lying on the ground. Didn't want to get up either.
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RE: Long Haul Pilots, How Do They Do It?

Mon Oct 05, 2009 1:20 am



Quoting DocLightning (Reply 47):
So yes, I know a thing or two about fatigue, and I only had to do that for 3 years. I have no idea how you pilots keep it up for your entire careers.

It is worse for the medical sector than for pilots. I don't know how doctors/nurse rosters can be legal given the work required from them; potentially difficult and intricate procedures being done on someone critical towards the end of a 28hr shift?! Flying has all sorts of rules regarding rest and work time. I take it the medical sector has something similar but is incredibly relaxed?

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