MUMBAI- Indian YouTuber and renowned airline pilot Gaurav Taneja aka Flyingbeast, has shared his Point of View (POV) on X, formerly Twitter, about the Pilot deaths in India, possibly due to fatigue.
Gaurav Taneja POV on Pilot Deaths
He started the threads with, “Pilots deaths in India. Is Pilot fatigue risking passengers’ life?”
1) Irregular sleep patterns.
- Pilot schedules are generated by software rather than humans.
- Most professions have either day or night shifts, unlike aviation.
- Pilots might be assigned a ‘day flight’ followed by a ‘night flight’ the very next day.
- Regrettably, our internal body clock struggles to adapt to such swift changes.
2) Prolonged exposure to pressurized cabins.
Aircraft cabins are pressurized to around 8000 ft elevation, resulting in lower oxygen levels during extended periods. Coupled with heightened cognitive demands, the brain simultaneously processes information from approximately 20 instruments.
3) Red-Eye Flights OR Night Flying
- Red-eye flights occur within the “window of circadian low,” usually between 2 am and 6 am.
- During these hours, your body experiences the highest level of fatigue.
- Initially, DGCA permitted pilots to undertake two consecutive red-eye flights, but airlines successfully advocated for a change.
4) Minimum Rest Cycle
- The DGCA sets the minimum rest duration for pilots.
- It’s important to note that minimum rest is considered an exception rather than a standard practice.
- However, scheduling software is often designed to maximize duty hours while fitting the entire month within minimum rest periods.
5) Extensive Time Away from Home
- Pilots often spend extended periods, around 10-15 days each month, away from their homes during layovers.
- While younger pilots might find this appealing initially, it can result in significant physiological and emotional strain for those with families and children, ultimately impacting their overall quality of life.
6) Limited Social Life
- Pilots often lack a traditional weekend or holiday schedule, as scheduling software determines their days off rather than fixed days.
- Consequently, there’s no concept of typical weekends or celebrated holidays, such as Sundays, or festive occasions like Holi or Diwali.
- Arranging social events necessitates careful planning, as pilots are required to bid for their days off well in advance, with the uncertainty of whether their requests will be granted.
7) Pilots Pay
- Pilot salaries have remained relatively stagnant for the past fifteen years.
- Many pilots invest over 1 crore in their training, with a significant portion, around 35-40%, allocated towards paying off EMIs right after receiving their paychecks.
- Airlines have only recently returned to pre-COVID salary levels, let alone implementing any salary increments.
8) Food Standards
Due to numerous layovers and the demanding schedule of 3-4 flights per day, pilots often rely on cockpit food. This food is typically frozen and preserved to maintain its longevity.
The people who follow pilots on social media think their life is like heaven. Yes, they fly above the sky from where it seems they are in heaven, but they go through lots of difficulties to stay in the cockpit.
Gaurav Taneja highlighted some of these difficulties which each and every pilot faces in their career. There can be more difficulties than above mentioned points.
Recently, around three pilots, of which two Indian pilots, lost their life. Our condolences to them, and we thank Flying Beast for using his platform to share his thoughts about this serious problem.
I myself think that this is not just the situation for pilots; it is the same for Cabin crews, technicians and aircraft engineers, ground staff, and many more frontline aviation workers.
We wish that there will be an improvement in their work culture so they have a balanced life.
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