Despite the seemingly adventurous lifestyle of a pilot, who gets to travel the world and have all kinds of thrilling experiences while being responsible for the passengers they carry or missions they go on, the reality is far less glamorous. For passenger plane pilots, it involves going to different airports flying for several hours and going to different planes depending on if a pilot is needed or not. The same goes for those who pilot private jets, only it involves far less passengers than public ones, and then for military pilots it is long hours of waiting for a mission to arrive. But even then, the missions aren’t always exciting depending on where one is sent.
Plus, recent advancements to the automatic pilot function that’s in almost every plane and the increased use of drones for military purposes has left many pilots with a lot of time on their hands in general. As a result, pilots have been getting bored more easily thus inclining them to take pictures of themselves (aka selfies) while flying. While this has made some pilots famous on social media websites, and is even used to promote the airlines they work for, it’s still not a good idea to shirk on the job!
25 “His selfies are getting ridiculous” - No Kidding!
Now here’s something that’s truly incredible: in this shot of a flight from Palm Islands off the coast of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, one of the pilots is leaning out the window of the plane to take a picture of himself. But this is just one of many similar photos taken by the pilot, who goes by the alias PilotGanso online though his real name is Daniel Centeno according to the Daily Mail. Brazilian in origin, he’s become pretty popular on social media. This is despite the fact that all his pictures are photoshopped, Daily Mail states.
24 “The most recent selfie from a glider” - No Steering
Now unlike regular planes, gliders don’t have internal engines. Instead, they rely on wind currents to fly which makes them easier to operate yet arguably more dangerous than a regular plane if one doesn’t know what they’re doing. For instance, considering that the pilot of this glider doesn’t have their hand on the steering-wheel while thrusting a selfie stick out the window with the camera or phone attached probably isn’t a good thing to do. This is not helped further by the expression of the passenger sitting behind the pilot, who doesn’t seem particularly happy since he isn’t smiling.
23 “Dozing for dollars” - Stay Awake!
Because of the long hours of flight that pilots are required to do each day, regardless of which plane they’re in charge of, they naturally get fatigued and start to doze off. While there are ways to keep oneself awake, there’s only so much a person can do before they just fall asleep on their own because their body tells them to. So in an account described on Air Facts Journal, the two pilots tried to pass the time by testing the Boeing Pilot Response which is a mechanism that wakes the pilots up when there’s no response from them.
22 “Blamed On Pilot Selfie” - Should’ve Paid Attention
Judging by the background, we can see that the female pilot was flying the plane when taking the picture. While it seems like she’s enjoying herself, it’s not great to do this kind of thing especially when passengers are involved. Fortunately, this plane doesn’t appear to have any passengers (though there could be one sitting directly behind the pilot) so it becomes a matter of risking her own safety. To exemplify how badly this can go, a private plane crashed in 2014 according to the STRC Transportation Blog which was blamed on the pilot who was distracted by taking selfies.
21 “Stunning Swedish Pilot” - Goofing Off in the Cockpit
Here, we not only have the pilots taking a selfie together but also some of the flight attendants managed to get in the shot as well. While this may seem kind of silly and even dangerous depending on if they’re flying or not (though the light coming in from the windows is so blinding that it’s hard to tell), it’s part of a collection of pictures taken by the blonde pilot whose name is Maria Pettersson. Originally from Sweden, she became a commercial airline pilot at a young age according to Scribol and popular on social media three years ago.
20 “Pictures from the cockpit” - Pretty but Risky
In a similar style to the previous one, we clearly see this picture was taken from the cockpit showing the setting sun in the distance and the city lights below. We also see one person sitting at the cockpit, who is either the pilot or the copilot. In fact, we don’t even know the position of the one taking the picture. But regardless, it makes us wonder if the photographer is supposed to be doing their job instead of taking pictures. Sure, it’s a nice picture though the plane might be landing soon judging by the closeness of the lights.
19 “Michelle-Gooris” - Might Want to Turn Around
Like Maria Pettersson, this young woman is another pilot who’s also become famous on social media. Only this woman’s Dutch and her name is Michelle Gooris. Apart from posting pictures of herself on various flying-related adventures, whether she's on duty or not, she also does a travel blog as well according to the Aviation Blog on AviationCV. While it’s clear from the landscape seen outside the windows that Gooris was firmly on the ground when she took this picture, it makes one wonder if she was about to take off or was in the process of parking the plane.
18 “High altitude solar” - Mile High Selfies
While renewable energies are just starting to become practical, such as solar energy and wind power, they’re still far from perfect. For this reason, a private experiment is being conducted by a Swiss engineer who built a solar-powered plane called the Solar Impulse which he hopes to fly around the world at some point. However, the plane depicted in the above picture is Solar Impulse 2, a secondary aircraft of the same model, which recently flew to China according to Le News. Though along the way, the pilot managed to take a selfie and post it online mid-flight.
17 “Plane nearly ran out of fuel” - Those Darn Wheels
While two Algerian pilots were suspended for letting a kid briefly fly the plane, these two pilots from India got in trouble for a different reason. After taking off, they were heading from Kolkata all the way to Mumbai when they experienced some technical problems. First, the plane wasn’t ascending properly so they were forced to fly at a lower altitude. On top of that, they were running out of fuel more quickly than usual forcing them to land in Nagpur. It turned out that the pilots “Forgot to retract the landing gear after take-off” according to The Telegraph.
16 “Air Algérie pilots suspended” - Let a Kid Fly the Plane
In the country of Algeria, two commercial airline pilots who were flying from the capital city Algiers to Sétif were suspended last year. According to stuff.co.nz, they allowed a small boy into the cockpit (as shown above) where he proceeded to mess around with the controls and essentially control the plane for a short amount of time while it was flying. Fortunately, nothing bad happened and the plane landed safely. But a video of the incident was posted on social media, and the pilots got in trouble for it despite supervising the boy the whole time he was there.
15 Doing it for social media
At a glance, it seems like the copilot is taking a pointless selfie while the pilot is also looking at the camera thus implying neither are paying attention to the controls or the map that’s presumably on the iPad-looking device attached to the console. However, this picture was actually taken to promote the idea of becoming a pilot though this particular airline known as Small Planet Airlines via social media websites such as Twitter. Based in the country of Lithuania, it’s a subsidiary of a larger company that hasn't being doing well as of late hence the promotional stuff.
14 A selfie from a very long time ago
While the term “Selfie” is relatively new, the concept isn’t. At its core, a selfie is just a picture of oneself that’s either taken by someone else or the person-in-question. Therefore, any singular image of a person counts as a selfie whether it be in a profile format or as a close-up. Take this one, for instance, of a WWI pilot mid-flight. According to an article on Mashable, this pilot and many others would often take pictures of themselves during training flights in San Diego and San Antonio before heading off to the front.
13 “Sister taking a selfie” - Look, Ma! No Hands!
Moving forward to the present, we see a fighter pilot who appears to be in the middle of flying. But instead of concentrating on where they’re supposed to be flying, they’re taking a quick selfie instead. And if one looks carefully in the reflection of the glass visor over the pilot’s helmet we can see that she, the “Sister” the title is referring to, is holding a cellphone in front of her. Now it’s hard to tell whether she has one hand on the wheel while the other’s holding the phone, or if she’s got both hands on the phone.
12 “Hangin’ out of a heli” - Posing for a Selfie
While most selfies are harmless, there are quite a lot that are risky. Such is the case here, where a guy is hanging out of the side of a helicopter holding the camera out in front of him while another guy stands right behind them and the pilot is looking right at the camera instead of keeping his eyes on the direction the helicopter is heading. Although in context, the guy holding the camera does daredevil things on a daily basis and apparently in this picture he’s wearing a BASE Jumping Rig (a type of parachute) according to RedBull.com.
11 “heavily bored pilots” - Random Lines in the Sky
When looking up at the sky, one usually sees white streaks that have the density of clouds but don’t seem to move with the wind. These are known as Contrails, which are a type of cloud that’s actually exhaust trails left by various aircraft such as jet planes. But while most of them tend to be straight or diagonal depending on where the plane is going, the ones seen in this picture are all curved and trailing off in different directions. As the title implies, the photographer assumes the pilots who flew the planes that made these contrails were bored.
10 “How Eagle’s Nest Project Pilots spend a weekend” - Not Part of the Training
Now professional pilots taking selfies while flying is bad enough, but pilots-in-training? That’s not a great sign. According to jsenft on the VAF Forums, the two women pictured here are members of a program called the Eagle’s Nest Projects. Intended to train young pilots for a career in aviation, it involves teams of students building an aircraft together and then getting subsequent flying lessons as stated on the Eagle’s Nest Projects’ own website. So it kind of seems frivolous for would-be pilots to be taking selfies of themselves in the cockpit, though they’re not in the air.
9 “Bremont watch” - Check This Out, Guys!
Unlike the previous military pilot selfie, this guy is doing it to show off a watch he’s got on his wrist. But what makes this watch particularly special, as the title implies, is that it’s from the Bremont brand of watches. Originating from Britain, these watches are not only expensive (since they’re luxury-oriented) but they’re also handmade. According to BBC News, the company that makes these watches got started in 2007 making about “8,000 to 10,000 watches a year” which are assembled by workers in various workshops around Britain. With that said, though, the pilot’s clearly being a showoff.
8 “‘When the Pilot wants to take a selfie’” - Smile!
In a similar nature to Pettersson’s selfie, we see the two pilots and several flight attendants posing for a picture together in the cockpit. Also, it’s unclear whether they’re on the ground or in the air due to the blinding light coming in from the windows. But like the Small Planet Airlines picture, this one’s also meant to promote a commercial airline. Known as Etihad Airways, it is based in the United Arab Emirates and one of its most popular airlines. Last year, though, it was on a list of airlines that didn’t allow laptops onboard according to NBC News.
7 “Flying” - In a Blimp
At a glance, this picture seems like it was taken by two pilots flying a small plane. In actuality, they’re flying a blimp. In particular, a Zeppelin NT according to Flickr. These are the modern equivalent to zeppelins used in the Twentieth century, such as the LZ 129 Hindenburg whose disaster ended the use of such airships for many decades. Fortunately, the Zeppelin NT airships are a lot safer than those earlier versions and are used for a variety of things. Whether these pilots are doing an aerial tour or flying a commercial blimp, they probably shouldn’t be doing this.
6 “Five-Year-Old” - Adorable Copilot Replacement
In another instance where a child is brought into the cockpit, we see a little boy sitting the copilot’s chair though whether the plane is flying or not is debatable. Apart from the pilot who’s gesturing at the buttons above him, and probably explaining what they do to the kid, there’s also another man in uniform standing nearby who is presumably the real copilot. Thus, we can easily deduce that the person taking the picture is the parent of the kid (or at least we’d like to hope so given the negative implications if the kid wasn’t traveling with someone).
5 “Sebuyau chopper mishap” - Storms and Screwups
Near the town of Sebuyau, Malaysia, last year, Just Read Online reported a helicopter had crashed into the Batang Lupar River whose remnants are shown in the above picture. The cause of this was investigated, and the authorities came to the conclusion that two factors led to the crash. One was the weather, as Malaysia does get pretty stormy during the summer which was the case at the time of the incident according to Just Read Online. Then the second reason was the pilot, who may not have known the area well enough and didn’t get the right training beforehand.
4 “Pilot’s spectacular photos” - Kind of Distracted
When pilots aren’t taking selfies or making mistakes that potentially endanger the lives of their passengers, some of them also take pictures of the night sky as seen from above. For instance, this particular photo titled “The Milky Way over Brazil” was taken by a pilot named Van Heijst. According to CNN Travel, he wanted to “Capture an aviator's feeling of wonder” which is presumably represented by the Milky Way galaxy itself hanging above the bright lights of the city below. While this is certainly a pretty picture quality-wise, it does imply Heijst was somewhat distracted from his work.
3 “An in-air refuel” - Pikachu’s Military Adventure
Now here’s something that’s truly bizarre! Judging by the size of the plane and the tubes coming down from the wings offscreen, it is implied that this takes place during an aerial refueling session where fighter jets will fly up to a larger plane that has fuel tubes hanging from it. This allows the jets to refuel in the air instead of heading back to the base. But the weird aspect about this scene is the random Pikachu mascot inside the larger plane. Representing the flagship character of the Pokémon franchise, it’s unclear how it got in there or why.
2 “F-14 Cockpit Selfie” - Got Some Reading To Do
Of the various fighter pilot selfies we’ve seen thus far, this one takes the cake. During a jet maneuver that involves spinning, as indicated by the disoriented view outside the window, this pilot is looking down at a magazine with neither of his hands on the steering-wheel. While this may seem dangerous and reckless, it was actually faked. In an article posted on The Aviation Geek Club’s website, it explains this picture was done with the help of another pilot who was actually flying the plane while the guy in this picture was only pretending to read the magazine.
1 “Vaping pilots” - Up in Smoke
While it’s pretty clear that smoking of any kind is not allowed on a plane, there are some who chose to ignore this rule. Early this year, for instance, a copilot was caught vaping in the cockpit after an unsuccessful attempt at covering it up. According to Fox News, he and the pilot were flying Air China while the copilot himself was vaping and attempted to shut off the fan so the smoke wouldn’t circulate. Unfortunately, he turned off the whole system causing oxygen levels to rapidly deplete forcing the plane to sharply drop in altitude before reaching its destination.
Resources: i.redd.it, imgur.com, mashable.com, vansairforce.com, stuff.co.nz, scribol.com, dailymail.co.uk, airfactsjournal.com, bbc.com, aviationcv.com, nbcnews.com, justreadonline.com, telegraph.co.uk, cnn.com, theaviationgeekclub.com, foxnews.com