Captain Faraz Sheikh ( Instagram A/c: flightcopilot ) is an Airbus A320 pilot from Switzerland since 12 years. He achieved his dream to become a pilot since the age of 6 and went through several challenges; but he ultimately achieved his goal He was born in London and raised in Nairobi, Kenya, and shared a lot of life long memories with his father who worked for the US embassy; but unfortunately lost his father in an incident. The family moved back to London, and he almost given up on his dreams of becoming a pilot. But with great support from his family he regained his energy and focus to pursue his goal again, and now he is a captain flying over the Swiss Alps.
Q.) Is pilot life a challenging life?
Captain Faraz : Pilot life can be challenging like any other career out there, but if it is something you truly want to do, then you adapt accordingly. In terms of the job, yes there are easy and tough days. In order to be an airline pilot, we get trained every 6 months in a flight simulator to be able to always be ready for serious challenges in the real world. Apart from aviation’s challenges, when you see the sun rising from 39,000 feet whilst the world beneath you still sleeps is a sight you will never get tired of. The constellation of stars in the night sky, the glow of the moon at times, the lit up cities you overfly and to see other aircraft crossing you with only 1000 feet clearance makes you realize how magical flying truly is. If there are challenges in this life as a pilot, then it’s great for me considering those experiences.
Q.) How is the life of a pilot different from other professions?
Captain Faraz : A Pilot’s life is not your everyday office work week where you work from 7 am to 6 pm. You have the same office with the same view, but as a pilot, you get to experience new destinations, different skies with a different crew all the time. We are constantly learning new things and staying up to date with new technological changes. As a pilot you have to work with your crew as a team, we have to overcome various challenges and problems to ensure we operate safely. Working in a metal tube that accelerates at 39000 feet above the earth at speeds greater than 600 km/h is not an ordinary work environment. We know when things go wrong, and many times the outcome can be catastrophic with loss of lives. With this in mind we never guess or assume in aviation, we have to be sure of things because sometimes we might have just one shot at solving a problem. Safety is key and this is what passengers pay for and trust you will accomplish. As a pilot, you are that last resort to solve any problems that may arise and solve them to achieve a safe outcome.
Q.) Is it true that sometimes traveling becomes a kind of barrier in a pilot’s life?
Captain Faraz : This is not the case for me at all as I work in a short haul operation which means I’m always home. I have plenty of days off, so my work life balance is actually great. I know this can be perhaps more challenging when it comes to pilots who fly long hauls. In such operations, you could easily be away from home for almost a week and you have jet lag also to deal with. However many out there are doing it and manage to still create a good work-life balance.
Q.) Don’t you think flying in the sky and living a life on land is a difficult task to manage?
Captain Faraz : Some people may see it as a challenge, however those who decide to become pilots are aware of it and choose to accept such challenges. Sometimes after a week off, you actually miss work and want to be back in the air again. The hardest challenge is the fact that all your friends and family might be working regular jobs where weekends are when most events are planned. This means sometimes you miss out on such events as you may be flying on a weekend, that’s part of life as a pilot, and we accept it for the rewards and benefits we get from our job flying. Aviation is an all year round industry.
Q.) Any advice for our young aspirants who want to become pilots?
Captain Faraz : I will tell all my future aviators and pilots to never give up on this dream, and journey in becoming pilots. It’s a career that rewards very well compared to many others and has way more benefits than disadvantages. Flying is not just a career goal for some, it’s a dream and passion that many want to pursue because it’s in their blood. It is indeed a challenging career to get into in terms of how much you will have to work including the high costs associated with training, but if you can do it then go for it wholeheartedly.
By: Rida Khan (Aviation Author)
Instagram A/c : aviationauthor.ridakhan