Who Really Flies the Plane? Captain, First Officer and Second Officer


The ᴄᴏᴘilot is the common term for the first officer. However, a ᴄᴏᴘilot is not a trainee. He or she is more or less equally responsible for flying as the captain is. The captain is the one who actually controls the aircraft; as such, he or she receives a bigger salary to go along with that authority. ᴄᴏᴘilots participate in decision-making and take part in just as ᴍᴀɴy takeoffs and landings as captains.

In truth, even though procedures may differ slightly from carrier to carrier, it’s not uncommon for the captain to give the ᴄᴏᴘilot control of the aircraft during emergencies or other unexpected circumstances so the captain may focus on communications, troubleshooting, coordinating the checklists, etc.

A ᴄᴏᴘilot becomes a captain when his or her seniority status permits it rather than because of talent or experience. Additionally, not every ᴄᴏᴘilot aspires to take comᴍᴀɴd straight away. A pilot may often have a better quality of life as a senior ᴄᴏᴘilot than as a junior captain, in terms of pay, aircraft assignment, schedule, and choice of destinations. Airline seniority bidding is a complicated process. As a result, ᴍᴀɴy of the ᴄᴏᴘilots at a particular airline are more senior and knowledgeable than ᴍᴀɴy captains.

The difference in experience levels between captains and ᴄᴏᴘilots tends to be more prominent in several regions of the world, especially areas of Asia. Compared to the normal new employee in Europe or Asia, the typical major airline new hire in the United States tends to have a lot more experience. However, this is not always the case, because the unprocessed numbers in a pilot’s logbook only tell part of the story and are not always indicative of ability or talent. No pilot, no matter how young or inexperienced, can achieve at that level because airline training is never simple. Additionally, once you’re in the cockpit, all tasks are always equally distributed, and even the least experienced ᴄᴏᴘilot is by all accounts a pilot who is qualified to operate the aircraft.

Captains often have four stripes on their sleeves and epaulets, while ᴄᴏᴘilots have three; this might vary from nation to country.

The second officer, also known as the flight engineer, worked out of a third cockpit position on older aircraft. In the past, navigators were also carried by aircraft, although the last one in this region was the vintage Howard Borden character from the first “Bob Newhart Show.”

Increased crews that work in shifts are present on long-distance flights. Two ᴄᴏᴘilots and a captain, two captains and a ᴄᴏᴘilot, or even two captains and two ᴄᴏᴘilots, could be present. Depending on the flight’s duration and the carrier, it varies. For instance, a ten-hour trip on my airline will have three pilots on board: two ᴄᴏᴘilots and a captain. A third of the flight will be free for each crew member. While the other two stay in the front, he or she retires to a bunk room or dedicated crew rest seat.

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Video resource: DutchPilotGirl

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