Pilot's Have a Say! with Captain Skywalker
A. Captain Skywalker
Q. Pilot Ranking ( Student, SO,FO,SFO,Captain,Pilot,Military,etc)
A. First Officer (Ex Cabin-Crew)
Q. Airline (current e.g. Qantas, Lufthansa)
A. Various European Airlines (Four airlines to date!)
Q.Aircraft types flown (Airbus, Boeing, helicopter,Seaplane ...)
Airbus A318/19/20/21, Dash 8 Q400 - Plus many light aircraft (Cessna, Piper, Socata etc)
Q. How many years have you been flying?
A. 11 (Since my first lesson)
Q. At what age did you first fly solo?
Q. How many hours have you flown to date?
A. 1200 as pilot. 5,500 as Cabin Crew.
10 Questions you've always wanted to ask a Pilot
Q1. At what age did you decide to become a Pilot and why?
A. I wanted to be a pilot for as long as I can remember. Always follow your dreams!
Q2. What do you like the most about flying an aircraft?
A. Flying the aircraft is just one of many responsibilities a pilot has. I find this career very rewarding. The highlight of my day may vary - flying into a new and scenic airport, or interacting with our onboard guests.
Q3. Is it hard to fly an aircraft? Do you need lots of practice?
A. It is not difficult to fly an airplane but requires certain skills - most of which can be learned. All pilots are continuously training and learning in order to stay proficient. This career is a way of life.
Q4. How often do you fly? (commercial or private) What do you do if you are not flying?
A. Commercial flying rosters vary from airline to airline. Normally a pilot would fly about 80 hours per month. Depending on whether you do short or long haul - this could be anywhere between 8 - 18 days work per month. Definitely enough time off to really enjoy life on the ground too.
Q5. How do you prepare for your next flight? (e.g.time before take off/aircraft inspection/ route/weather maps)
A. Preparation begins at home - getting adequate rest and packing your suitcase! We normally arrive at the airport between 2-3 hours before the flight. In commercial aviation all of the weather, flight plans, crew and passengers lists, cargo manifests are prepared for the pilots and presented to them in a "Briefing Pack". We spend time together reviewing all of this information and we make decisions about how much fuel to bring, and if any revisions need to be made to the route or loading etc. We meet the cabin crew team, and have a group briefing. It is very much a one-team approach between the pilots and cabin crew. Once on the aircraft, we are normally very busy before departure. A final external inspection is carried out by one of the pilots, flight plans are loaded into the computers, fuel and cargo is loaded, passengers are boarded, ATC clearances are received, calculations need to be made for our takeoff performance and the final weather checked once more.
Q6. Do you have a favourite airport/runway/landing and why?
A. Yes - London City Airport is a truly spectacular airport to fly into - Due to its location in the heart of London. It actually quite challenging and requires special pilot training. It's an iconic airport, and a privilege to be able to fly there.
Q7. Have your ever flown an aircraft with your family onboard?Does it feel any different? (e.g children, partner, parents)
A. Yes - I have flown a light aircraft with my wife in the seat next to me. It is wonderful to share my passion for aviation with her.
Q8. Do you have a funny flight story or special flight experience you can share?
A. Every flight is special for me. I met my wife on a flight to Tangier - which was probably the most special flight I have been on.
Q9. Is there an aircraft "secret" you can share?
A. Do you ever wonder where all the fuel for the flight is kept? Airplane fuel tanks are almost always in the wings! Yes, the wings are hollow, and contain massive tanks. Some airliners also have tanks in the tail, and fuel is pumped around like ballast on a boat - to balance the weight correctly.
Q10. What is the hardest part about flying? (e.g fatigue, leaving family, take off etc)
A.Being away from family is probably the hardest part - But the great thing about this job, is that you can often take your family with you. Your family get to see the world with you! This career is life changing for the whole family.
Do you think a child should own a flight logbook? If yes why?
Yes! My little girl has a Simply for Flying logbook, and it's a fantastic way to remember all of her trips. I once met an elderly passenger who presented me with a logbook that he had been filling in since he was a child. It was simply wonderful to look through these pages and see all of these wonderful memories on paper.
Ready to be the next Pilot?
If you could inspire the next generation what would you tell them?
Always follow your dreams - It sometimes seems like a mountain to climb when you first set out. Take it one step at a time, and don't forget to enjoy the journey.