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Airline pilots fly passengers and/or cargo on long or short-haul flights for leisure, business or commercial purposes.
The aircraft is typically operated by two pilots; one will be the captain who is the pilot in command, while the other will be the supporting first officer. The pilots will usually take turns to fly the plane to avoid fatigue, with one operating the controls while the other speaks to air traffic control and completes the paperwork. In some instances, such as long-haul flights, there may be three or four pilots on board so that the necessary breaks from flying can be taken.
The captain has the overall responsibility for the safe and efficient operation of the aircraft and the safety of crew and passengers.
Prior to the flight, pilots check flight plans, ensure that the aircraft's controls are operating efficiently and calculate the required fuel for the flight. They are also responsible for checking the weather conditions and briefing cabin crew.
The job of a pilot comes with heavy responsibility and personal commitment. Stringent training courses have to be passed followed by recurrent training every six months in order to maintain the relevant licence required for the job.
There is more to the role than just flying the plane, which has to be done safely and economically, and tasks can typically include:
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