Real Answers from Real Pilots

Airline Pilot Carry-On

This is more of a random question for the airline pilots on here, but what items do you pack for multi-day trips when on duty? Also, are there any particular items for everyday carry that pilots may carry while your average passenger may not?

P.S. As a little accessory note, do any pilots here actually use pilot watches with the special functions in-flight or can most functions on a pilot watch actually be done from equipment onboard the aircraft?

Christopher,

While I know it may be hard to believe, we airline pilots are just regular folk (although I know we seem like gods or superheroes :slight_smile: ). I pack what you’d expect anyone who was going traveling to pack. Toothbrush, toothpaste, shorts in the summer, hat and gloves in the winter, laptop, clean underwear, sneakers and workout gear. The only thing I carry that I’m pretty sure is unique to me is a back scratcher (yes I’m serious). I have dry skin and often get itchy and while I fly with some awesome FOs none are willing to help me out :slight_smile:

I can’t speak for others but I have a beautiful Breitling Navitimer which will perform ALL pilot E6-B functions (at least that’s what the manual says?). Thing is I’ve only used it for telling time and impressing friends :slight_smile:

Adam

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@Adam,

Thank you. I was curious because I always thought pilots had it worked out to a science with packing…at least that is how it sounded from Captain Sullenberger’s book. I do not travel by air often and I always wondered if pilots made a “checklist” for packing.

Haha. While you are not a superheroes or gods, I bet Zeus or the Flash would like flying better.

As for the watch, I have always wondered if anyone actually uses their E6B on the pilot watches. I’ve seen more pilots, even military pilots, flying with smartwatches like the Apple Watch and I was wondering if it was just a preference or if there is a real application in aviation outside of telling time.

Thanks again!

Christopher

Christopher,

I do not care for “pilot watches”, I feel that they are cluttered and offer features that will never be used by a pilot. I generally wear a Vacheron Constantin Overseas, it offers a very clean look and is easy to read,

Chris

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I have an Apple Watch, but I don’t use it for any pilot related duties. I
do like it though.

For clothing, I pack light. For food, I pack A LOT. I have a large travel
pro lunch bag. I meal prep on my off days. Saves me a lot of money, and I
stay on top of my fitness goals.

Tory

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Christopher,

Funny you mention smart watches because I just got a Samsung Gear S3 and yes I got it specifically to use as a pilot but not for what you think. The watch can receive calls without the phone so I can wear it paddling, hiking, cycling etc when I’m on call for Reserve (plus I have my music). The silent vibrating alarm works great when I’m taking my rest break in the bunk. Finally it’s awesome for multiple time zones so I know the time where I am and home. Very handy tool but I have no clue if it can figure a wind correction but that’s what FOs are for :slight_smile:

Adam

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Keeping with watches, did most of the interviewers at the airlines you applied to check to see if you had a wristwatch on during the interview? I heard some airline interviewers try to see that in keeping with the idea of punctuality and I wonder if that is an industry wide standard.

Christopher,

I ALWAYS wear a watch (I’m old) but I couldn’t tell you if anyone ever checked or noticed and I can tell you I have been on interview panels and have never looked. I do notice dirty shoes, wrinkled shirts and my FAVORITE, loosened ties! Oh yea and chewing gum, foul/inappropriate language, using the word “like” ("so LIKE there was this time I LIKE was flying…), not making eye contact…

Adam

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Phew…I’ve been working on phasing out the word “like” and other fillers. Interview skills and a good vocabulary are the ultimate accessories.

I had on a long sleeve shirt and jacket that covered my wrists, so they never knew if I had on a watch or not.

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:joy::rofl: Like the back scratcher you get in your Mai Thai?

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Noooo, actually a telescopic one I picked up in PEK. Works really well!

Adam

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Other than telling time, do you use your watch for any in-flight applications?

None at all. Even in little airplanes I did not. The “pilot watch” is really a myth perpetuated by watch manufactures as a means to sell watches.

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But John Travolta wears one?! :slight_smile:

Adam

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Right, the guy that has an SIC only type rating on his 707 and couldn’t answer when David Letterman asked him how much it weighed.

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That is what I thought. Well, at least the watch always makes the uniform look nicer!

At least a watch always adds to the uniform.

One last odd question: pencil or pen? I always see military pilots with one or the other. Is there a preference for commercial aviation?

Haha. I am sorry if this sounds stupid at this point. I’m just curious.

Pilot G-2 0.5 or 0.38 are my favorite.

Tory

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I was a Pilot G-2 guy but I recently switched to the UniBall Jetstream 0.5. Very smooth and looks cooler in my pocket.

Pencils are for people who make errors sooooo… :wink:

Adam

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