Tag: pilot

How the pandemic has killed the glamour of being a pilot

Travelling with a plan of how to pass the time is key to combating this. Many crew members bring iPads pre-loaded with Netflix series, others pack fitness equipment to get some physical activity in the limited floor space. I’ve been quite impressed with what can be achieved with a few resistance bands. Whatever way we choose to spend the time in the room, the call to head back to the airport is the normally the highlight of the trip.

It is not just how we spend our time down route which has changed. Though the volume of flights has fallen due to a lack of passenger demand, the need for the rapid transport of time-critical goods is still as great as ever. Temperature-sensitive vaccines, fresh foodstuffs and high-value goods all need moving large distances from supplier to market in a limited time window and nothing does this job better than an airliner.

As a result of this demand, many flights are operating with empty cabins but full cargo holds. On some flights, we will even use the overhead lockers and passenger seats to carry additional cargo.

With the absence of passengers, there is often no need for cabin crew, leaving us pilots with a strangely quiet aircraft. In these situations, we have to make a few changes to how we configure the aircraft, mainly focused on reducing the risk of a fire in the cabin. Electricity is removed from the galley equipment, entertainment screens are powered down, and lights are turned off. It all makes for quite an eerie cabin, particularly in the middle of the night.

Surprisingly, this has been quite a pleasant novelty. Flying with the flight deck door open is a refreshing change and cooking our own meals and making our own hot drinks has provided some much-needed humour at times.

However, until this week’s government announcement, things seemed to be improving. Airports were noticeably busier, and the previously trimmed down route network was starting to expand again. Passengers were returning to flying, despite being stifled by quarantine restrictions. It showed that, if they can, people still want to travel.

A recent study by the T.H. Chan School of Public Health at Harvard University found that the risk of exposure to Covid-19 during air travel is extremely low. The combination of advanced air ventilation and filtration, the use of facemasks, and diligent cabin cleaning results in a lower risk than a trip to the supermarket. Since the beginning of March, I have done over 30 flights and have not had any Covid-related health issues.

Despite this, and quite understandably, passengers are still nervous. For most of them it could be their first flight for months and it is our responsibility to put their minds at ease. I always enjoy chatting with passengers, often about our current location or to ease a fear of flying. People thrive off a human connection.

More often than not, it is the fear of the unknown which worries people, be it turbulence

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Wife of Brit pilot carried daughter, one, into hotel lobby sobbing ‘he’s killed my child’ – World News

The wife of a British pilot carried her motionless one-year-old daughter from the lift into the foyer of a luxury hotel sobbing that her husband had “killed my child – he hit her”, a court was told.

Hong Kong Airlines captain Mohamed Barakat, 41, faces up to 20 years in a Kazakhstan jail if convicted of murdering their child named Sophia.

But his wife told the court how she was “threatened” with being made a murder suspect if she refused to testify against her “wonderful” British husband.

Barakat – who denies murder – claims he is not getting a fair trial in Kazakhstan.

Hotel security chief Madi Alimkhanov told the Almaty court that he had seen Barakat’s wife Madina, 22, carrying her British child who he believed to be dead.

Madina and Mohamed on their wedding day

The couple on holiday

“When I approached the reception, I saw a crying woman in whose arms was a child,” he said.

“The child was all blue, the eyes were closed.”

“The woman shouted: ‘He killed my child, he hit her’.”

Security then went to the room where the pilot was in the bathroom “screaming”.

When police entered the room soon afterwards, Barakat “was lying on his back…with his underpants on and looking away”, said Alimkhanov.

He “behaved aggressively, cursing in English.

“He was later taken away by police.”

The child’s head was banged against the walls and doors of his suite, claims the indictment.

Another hotel employee Miyat Yerkinov, a security shift supervisor, said he saw Madina “crying very loudly”.

“She said the girl had been killed, and that her husband could commit suicide”.

He told how he detained Barakat who had approached him with a piece of wood in his hotel room.

“I grabbed his right hand, swept it round, put him down on the floor and folded his arms back,” he said.

He used sticky tape to secure his hands before police arrived.


Alimkhanov’s testimony appeared to contradict Kazakh law enforcement allegations that Barakat had beaten his wife during a row which led to the British child’s death.

“She did not seem to have bruises or abrasions on her face, her clothes were not torn,” he said.

Madina and Barakat’s legal team have argued that Sophia’s death was “essentially an accident”, and suggested the evidence against the pilot was “fabricated” and riddled with errors.

An attempt by the defence to change the judge in the trial, Bakhytkhan Bakirbayev, failed.

Barakat has been held in custody in Kazakhstan for 11 months since his arrest at the five star Intercontinental Hotel in Almaty where Sophia died.

In an earlier hearing he told the court: “I completely reject the (murder) indictment.”

Forensic experts established the child suffered multiple injuries and had no chance of survival in their eighth floor room, a remote session of the court hearing was told.

Her skull was fractured and her brain “crushed”, it was reported.

Madina earlier told the

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