Pilots

The best known pilots are the commercial pilots who fly for the airlines. Responsible, skilled professionals, they are among the highest paid workers in the country. The typical pilot flight deck crew includes the captain, who is the pilot in command, and the copilot, or first officer. In larger aircraft, there may be a third member of the crew, called the flight engineer, or second officer. The captain of a flight is in complete command of the crew, the aircraft, and the passengers or cargo while they are in flight. In the air, the captain also has the force of law. The aircraft may hold 30 people or 300 or more or be completely loaded with freight, depending on the airline and type of operations. The plane may be fitted with either turbojet, turboprop (which are propellers driven by jet engines), or reciprocating propeller engines. An aircraft may operate near the speed of sound and at altitudes as high as 40,000 feet.


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