These are the rules pilots have to stick to when they're flying a plane

Greg Evans
Friday 28 July 2017 12:30
Picture:(Getty Images/Vetta)

Whenever you get on to a plane, you and everyone else on board are putting their lives in the pilot's hands.

Although you can't see them, you trust that she or he is doing their job professionally and responsibly.

While you do your best to whittle away the time, you would hope that the pilots have have 100 per cent of their attention focused on the job, and their steady hands are on the wheel at all times.

That couldn't be further from the truth though, as they often switch on autopilot within minutes of the initial ascent.

If that's alarming, you'll be assured to learn that this allows pilots to frequently monitor turbulence, safety, conversations between various radio towers and generally focus on other important factors during the flight.

They also have to monitor the weather radar to see what conditions are ahead of them, fill in paperwork, alter altitudes and flight paths as instructed by air traffic controllers.

These may seem like normal rules for a job of that nature but here are a few more unusual ones that you might not be aware of.

Reading a newspaper only

During a bit of downtime on the flight, pilots are allowed to catch-up on some reading but only if it is a newspaper.

This depends on the airline, but pilots are typically only allowed newspapers as their short articles are less likely to be distracting when compared to books or novels.

According to The Sun, some pilots prefer to read flight procedures, the aircraft manual or any other information related to their jobs.

The aforementioned report states that the American company Delta, prevents their pilots from doing anything in the cockpit that isn't associated with the aircraft.


Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto(Getty Images/iStockphoto)

It seems a cliche to say, but most airline food is not very appetising.

However, like the rest of us, pilots have to consume those meals but with one exception.

Neither pilot is allowed to have the same meal, just in case one proves to be contaminated and causes sickness.

This is done in order to make sure that at least one pilot is perfectly healthy for the rest of the trip and can land the plane safely.

Avoid conversations

This is only during crucial stages of the flight but pilots must refrain from any non-essential conversations.

The rule only applies before the plane passes 10,000 feet on take off and after it passes below 10,000 feet on the approach.

This is called the 'Sterile Cockpit Rule', and was introduced in 1974 following a crash in America where the pilots were deemed to have had 'non-pertinent' conversations prior to the crash.

In addition, no other members of the flight crew can talk to the pilots, nor can the pilots relay any messages to the passengers.

No use of personal devices

It might come as no surprise but some pilots can't resist capturing the incredible views that they see out of their windows on a daily basis.

Just search #pilotsofinstagram and you'll see tonnes of amazing pictures taken from the seat of a cockpit.

For commercial pilots, though, this is illegal.

The Federal Aviation Administration in America ruled in February 2014 that any wireless communication device should be banned from the cockpit and can only be used in exceptional circumstances.

This rule also extends to tablets, e-readers, gaming systems and mp3 players.


Picture: Getty Images/iStockphoto(Getty Images/iStockphoto)

This will probably be the most shocking rule of them all, especially at 40,000 ft, but pilots are allowed to get some shut-eye during a flight.

You might be asking 'why?' but this rule is in place to make flights safer for everyone.

It is mandatory for pilots in the US to only work eight hours before taking a rest.

On long haul flights there are extra members on board to take over when it's time for one of their colleagues to take a kip.

However, they aren't allowed to fall into a deep sleep as this could easily effect their alertness and reactions when they wake up.

HT Telegraph The Sun Quartz Federal Aviation Administration in America

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