Interview with a pilot
On 25, Mar 2018 | In inspiration | By admin
The interview opens up themes related to personal experiences of transition between home and a destination.
NK: My work is about understanding transitions when for example you move from one place to another. My focus is on flight experiences and I am trying to design for the moments/periods when people are on transition. What it means in a emotional level, what it means when you travel home. I want to listen your perspective as a pilot. I am working at the moment with passengers. Firsty, I want to ask you how do you feel when you are passenger on a flight and when you a co-pilot. Is there any difference on how you feel about the travel?
John: First, it’s a job. When I fly as a pilot as a job, the first important thing is since we are two people in the small cockpit. First thing I have in my mind is how is the captain, how his relationship will be with me on this whole flight, cause our job is the same. We take off and we land. Most of the time the weather is nice. It is the same regular job. But the attitude of the captain affects also your attitude and your phycology during the flight. So, if he is like a friend everything goes perfect and I had fun, talking, chatting and making jokes. That makes your job more fun, entertaining. And if he is like an asshole, like an old soldier, captain, military pilot and wants to try as a general next to you and you are like a soldier and he gives you orders lots of things, then it sucks. I just want to think that this is going to end soon. So, I am flying as a pilot to other countries and living in hotels it is like one day trip. We are not staying at the hotels for more than 2 nights and most of the times it is just one night.
As a passenger, since I am on the planes all the time as a job, the time is just for me to stay alone with myself without internet or other social networks. I am reading books most of the time, listening to music. I am trying to use that time effectively.
You know nowadays airlines provide internet onboard.
John: They have it on long flights only. The US flights for example.
How do you feel about that? Do you think it is a good idea? Do you think it is necessary?
John: If I had the chance, probably I connect and I use that time searching or listening or doing bullshit stuff on Facebook or whatever. But normally when I am at home since I have everything, PlayStation, internet, laptop, TV, cable, whatever. I don’t find myself to read books. The only time I do is when I am flying as a passenger in the aeroplane. It is my personal time to read books or while I am waiting for the aeroplane in the waiting room I do that too.
When do you feel your journey starts? At the airport? when are you taking off?
John: It starts at the airport I think. There a lot of things to do. Check in, Go to Gate, Wait for it, Going to the line, Take your seat…
Is it any point fun for you in these regularities? Something that excites you?
John: Yes, the landing phase.
How do you feel when you travel from a place to Turkey? When Turkey is either the arrival or the destination? Is it the same for you when you travel from London to Turkey? or London to New York? When Turkey is part of your journey?
John: I think always vacation starts from leaving Turkey and coming back to Turkey. It feels set to come back to Turkey, but when it is for the job purposes since it is going to end. I think always vacation starts from leaving Turkey and it ends coming back to Turkey. It feels set to come back to Turkey, but when it is for the job purposes since it is going to end when I am back to Turkey, it is fun. So, it depends if it a job travelling or it is vacation travelling.
When do you feel connected? in your journey with your life in Turkey, your friends? How does technology in the cockpit affect you? Does technology in the cockpit help you to feel more connected?
John: No. In our aircraft, we don’t have internet up in the air and also as far as I know, even if the aircraft has internet the employees, cockpit and cabin crew they are not allowed to use the internet. Only passengers can use it.
Is it because they want to stay focused?
John: Yes. Exactly. It has to be a focused job.
Me: So, do you feel disconnected?
John: Yeah, yeah, yes
How does this make you feel?
John: When the bombs were exploded in Istanbul, we just heard the news when you landed. After 5, 6 hours later.
Is it always bad to be disconnected?
John: In a way it is good. Because in the place I am living, always, nowadays, bad things are happening and political issues and the terrorist attacks. Also when I connected to the network, I am not checking the news all the time, since it is bad. It is good to do your job without any interruption. We are not like in the office when you write something and somebody call you and disturbs you. You are always focused on your job. My girlfriend at the time got jealous, because sometimes when I had a few hours to spend in another country before my next flight, I didn’t switch on my phone. I wanted to be in the place and not be connected to the social media.
I read online that when you are 240km away from land the radars fade out and your plane “disappears” from the monitor until another radar tracks you. Is it something you are aware of?
John: No. In my situation, we are travelling most of the time in Europe, we have radar everywhere. But when we go to some eastern countries, Iran, Iraq, there are places that they don’t have radars. So we are by ourselves.
So, how do you feel during these moments?
John: You feel like you have to be more focused on where you are and more focused on the charts especially if it is night and IMC conditions, it means instruments Meteorological Conditions, that means you are in the cloud, you don’t see anything else. You need to be more focused if you are on the safe altitude and safe distance with the object. You need to be more alert when you don’t have radars. But if there is a radar they give you, they send the altitude, do this, do that. But when there is no radar you need to be stricter on the procedures of the charts.
How do you get the information?
John: In the cockpit.
Do you believe in the magic of flight? Is there something magical for you while flying?
John: No. It’s technical. I am engineer (laughing)
(Laughing) Is it more magical as a passenger?
John: Since I know all the stuff, no. Before that, when I didn’t know how aeroplanes fly, not magic, but it was a mystery.