How many pilots have to be at the cockpit?

The importance of two pilots’ existence at the cockpit

Technically, the captain can fly the plane himself, but the existence of another pilot is vital. At the last years, suggestions appeared about having a single pilot on the flight deck in the target of saving money or to cover staff shortage. The work is shared at the flight among the captain and the co-pilot, everyone’s duties are known, but the captain has seniority and the responsibility of safety during the flight. Both of them get the same training about professional handling of emergency conditions. In case one of them cannot complete his duties for any reason, the other trained one takes responsibility for safety, take-off and, landing of the flight.


Emergency situations

For instance, an Etihad Airways captain got sick during the flight and got worse rapidly, and was announced to die after arriving at the nearest airport. An inexperienced staff member took over the controls and was guided by an air traffic controller to fly and land. In the case of Etihad the well-trained co-pilot who is known as the first officer, managed to control the airplane and land in a near airport. The passengers and the crew member of the Etihad flight were all safe and there weren’t any harm cases.

Because of similar cases, the existence of trained two pilots in the cockpit is very necessary and not a waste of money. So that there is no king of technology can be compared to trained humans to handle difficult situations. According to the Australian Transport Board health issues happen in about 34.000 flights, these emergency health issues differ from minor illnesses to serious problems. The Aviation Herald has also reported 16 incidents of pilot incapacitation between January and September 2017. Many other researchers approved that the existence of the co-pilot in critical situations is very effective. That the autopilot isn’t designed for land and take off.


The third pilot

Long haul flights must have two or three pilots on board. International flights may take a very long time and the safety of passengers and the flight is the most important thing. If the captain gets injured or gets sick due to many reasons and can’t fly the plane, the responsibility of the passengers and the plane is in the co-pilot’s hands. When three pilots get in one plane, one of them is the captain who flies the plane, the second is the co-pilot or the first officer. The third pilot is the flight engineer, his career is to check equipment, engines, and mechanical information during the flight.


Single pilot airplanes

There are some planes designed to be flown by one pilot. These include turboprop aircrafts such as the KingAir 250, Pilatus PC-12, Cessna Citation M2, and Embraer Phenom 300, among others. These are mostly owned or used for government and VIP duties. Similarly, it is not unusual to see smaller single-engine aircraft flown by single pilots. Nowadays most single-pilot airplanes are smaller and they cover shorter distances.


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