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Why I love flying

Hey there,

I just decided to start trying blogging. As with every new activity it will certainly be a steep learning curve. Let me first introduce myself. I am a 29 year old airline Captain flying the Airbus A320 through the busy European skies. My motivation for starting blogging is to tell about my daily life, while conveying my total love for my lifestyle, so I will start with summarizing why I am in love with flight.

I feel absolutely privileged to be in the best job in the world. I could never imagine working in a “normal” 9 to 5 office job. Flying is existing in so many ways. First it’s the sheer and stunning beauty of nature seen from the sky. It gives you a feeling of humility to look down to our planet from height and realize how small and unimportant the problems most humans face are actually. You don’t see any borders from the sky and as you are working with so many different persons from so many different cultural background you realize that all humans are equally important and nationality or the amount of money somebody owns doesn’t actually mean anything at all.

It still fills me with awe to see that an airplane carrying 180 people and weighting up to 77 tons is able to lift to sky fly at an enormous height and speed. Just little more than 100 years ago anybody who would propose that we would be sitting in giant metal tubes traveling trough the sky at around 850kmh at 11000m of height, while complaining about the quality of the coffee served, in just 100 years would be called a madmen. Humanity has seen an enormous development in just the last few years.

An other aspect that is fascinating to me is the great amount of team work involved. I guess most people boarding and airplane don’t actually realize the amount of coordination involved in every turnaround. My role as a Captain is to supervise and to coordinate all activities. My, in my opinion most important task when talking about safety, is to be what I call a “last line of defense”. While we have well trained people working around airplanes everybody is still a human and makes mistakes. It is my job to make sure these mistakes are caught before they cause any serious consequences. My job is also to say “no” when anybody is putting an unreasonable or high-risk request on my which would jeopardize the passengers and crew who are entrusted to me. I have to be able to deal with pressure put on me from various parties and to make sure the outcome is safe. At the same time I need to be tactful and respectful of my crew and I will do everything I can to support them – I am a trying to be a “leader” not a “boss”. If somebody is not happy with something, I will find a solution even if it means inconvenience to me. I really feel grateful for this responsibility and while it can be stressful in one way it is also an enormous challenge. And I enjoy finding solution to complex problems.

Last but not least the technical side is extremely interesting. Our “FCOM” (short for Flight Crew Operating Manual) is more than six thousands pages long and this only includes the technical aspects (how systems work, our “procedures”, i.e. how we do our work in normal and abnormal situations). A modern airliner is extremely complex and a lot of computers are constantly exchanging, calculating and submitting information to various other systems. While modern airplanes are extremely automated a good pilot will still know how the systems work in detail and will be able to take the correct action in case parts fail.

I hope you enjoyed reading my first post – I will try to put some more posts on this blog about the activities I do while on and off duty. At this present moment I am in a hotel in Oslo, resting before flying again tomorrow morning.

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