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In Uncategorized

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Interview with a pilot

On 25, Feb 2018 | In Uncategorized | By admin

Interview with John, a pilot at Turkish airlines


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. first 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 daytrip. 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 on board.

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.       


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In codesign

By admin

Design Probes

On 07, Oct 2017 | In codesign, making | By admin

During the Air[craft] workshop I invited three participants to explore a range of design probes as stimuli to stir reflections and stimulate imaginative thinking. The probes were designed with a certain level of unfinished element that creates room for reflection on sense of self. A variety of materials and forms has been explored to give participants options to freely choose the ones that speak to them most. 


A certain level of unfinished element leaves space for participants to add their reflections.

The ambiguity in the form of the probes supports imaginative thinking.

The handcrafted nature of design probes was an asset that participants valued, fostering a relationship of trust.

The design probes introduced during the Air[craft] Workshop


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In codesign

By admin

The Air[craft] Workshop

On 07, Oct 2017 | In codesign, making | By admin

Where is your sense of self grounded during the transition from one place to another? What is your relationship with a familiar situation that is changing? How do the dynamics shift from one place to the other? What brings you comfort? 

The research is a part of a broader study on digital jewellery and sense of self. Drawing from my experiences of travelling back to Greece for short breaks and reflecting on my sense of self in two different places (UK and Greece), I noticed changes in each different place and significantly the dynamics of these adjustments occurring during the journey itself. The research was framed to understand and investigate both if/how this context is experienced by others and if/where there are opportunities for digital jewellery to support fluctuations and changes to sense of self during such journeys.

 To add depth to my explorations of digital jewellery and my experience of being between two countries I found people that share similar experiences with me in order to triangulate and validate the context of the research. The participants were three female interaction design researchers born in different places in the world, but who currently lived and worked in the UK and periodically (approx. 2 – 3 times per year) travelled back to their home of origin for short breaks. I recruited these women firstly because they had the experience of living in two different places and travelling between them and secondly to enable a particular level of discourse around the potentials of digital technology in relation to the resulting digital jewellery developed within the study.

I identified that micro-transitions represent a particular context that people are going through, where digital jewellery can have its place and be rich and meaningful to them, as it combines the long history of jewellery to accompany life-transitions and the potential of digital technologies to open new ways of connecting the self with real-time data.

The liminal spaces of planes and airports became the setting the Air[craft] Workshop to gain insights into the lived experience of the participants and investigate if and how digital jewellery can play a role in supporting their sense of self.

The workshop was set up at the Aviation Academy in Newcastle, near the Newcastle airport on a stationary aeroplane. The workshop took the form of a theatre performance where I acted as a flight assistant and invited participants to explore a range of open-ended crafted probes as stimuli to stir reflections and stimulate imaginative thinking. The aim of the workshop was to explore if others experience similar situations and identify opportunities for digital jewellery to support a sense of self in the context. 

Announcements during the flight helped participants to explore the probes and their meaning and reflect on notions of home, relationships with their body and others. The probes, designed for each participant, introduce a range of materials. Read more for about the Design Probes here. 

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