How Many Days Off Pilot Get – [ The Unique Pilot Schedules ]

SOUTHAFRICAPPL- How Many Days off Does A Pilot Get The Unique Pilot Schedules

Pilot Schedule – How Many Days Off Do Pilots Get?

Many people wonder, “How much time do airline pilots have to rest?” I wondered the same thing when I started my pilot training. The answer is different for each pilot and depends on factors like the airline they work for and the kind of flying they do, like long trips or short ones.

In general, airline pilots get more days off compared to many regular jobs. Most pilots typically have at least ten days off every month, which might be surprising considering pilot jobs are seen as well-paying and demanding.

During busy times, like holidays, pilots usually get even more time off, averaging around 12 days off in a month. In quieter periods, this can extend to as many as 14 days. These days off are usually spread throughout the month, so they don’t get a whole block of, say, 12 days all at once.

It’s important to remember that the number of days off can also depend on the type of flight. For example, a short 2-day trip might not legally require any days off, especially if there aren’t many timezone changes. But a longer 4-day journey with different time zones and jet lag might need several days off afterward.

How many days off a pilot gets also varies based on their roster pattern. Some pilots have a fixed schedule, while others have a more flexible or random roster, which can affect the number of days they spend at home. So, it’s not a one-size-fits-all answer. Learn about how to getting an airline job.


How Many Days Off Do Airline Pilots Get? – Different Roster Patterns

Some pilots have a fixed schedule, while others have a more flexible or random roster, which can affect the number of days they spend at home. So, it’s not a one-size-fits-all answer.

Typical Commercial Pilot Schedule – Fixed Pattern Rosters

Some commercial pilots have a set schedule. For example, they might work for five days and then get four days off before starting the cycle again. Or it could be six days of work, followed by five days off, then five days of work again, and finally, four days off. Short-haul pilots, who usually fly shorter trips, often follow these kinds of schedules.

Typical Commercial Pilot Schedule – Random Pattern Rosters

Other pilots, especially those who fly long distances, don’t have a fixed schedule. They have a more flexible timetable. These pilots might not know when they will be working and might spend a lot of time away from home. Long-haul pilots, who fly far from their base, often have this type of schedule.

 How Often Are Airline Pilots Home?

How often a pilot is at home depends on the airline they work for and the kind of flights they do.

For some short-haul airlines, pilots usually come back home each night because they only fly to nearby places and don’t stay overnight. However, some short-haul airlines, including the one I work for, have trips that last for more than one day. This means pilots might be away from home for two or more days, and sometimes up to five days. During these trips, pilots might visit and stay in different countries.

So it means how much time an airline pilot spends at home can be very different. It depends on the rules of their airline and the type of flying they do. Short-haul pilots often have more regular schedules that let them come home frequently. Long-haul pilots might spend longer times away from home because they fly internationally.

How Many Days Off An Airline Pilots Gets Depends On Seniority In Some Airlines

Airline pilots have time off from work, and the amount of time off they get depends on how long they’ve been working for the airline. The longer they’ve been with the airline, the more time off they can have.

The interesting part is that experienced pilots can choose the days they want to have off. They do this by asking for specific days off and even the flights they want to work on.

For example, a senior pilot might want to work only during the day so they can be at home every night. Airlines usually say yes to these requests. But it’s important to balance the needs of pilots who like to travel and those who prefer to be at home. So, most pilots usually get the days off they request.

Typical Commercial Pilot Schedule – The Legal Limits

SOUTHAFRICAPPL - Typical Commercial Pilot Schedule - The Legal Limits with full schedule of how many days off pilot get

Now, let’s talk about the legal limits for pilot schedules. Each country has its aviation authority, like the FAA in the U.S. or the CAA in the UK. They set rules for how much a pilot can fly.

In the UK, for example, pilots can fly a maximum of 100 hours in 28 days or 55 hours in 7 consecutive days. In a year, they can’t exceed 900 hours. It may seem like not a lot, but these hours only include actual flight time. They don’t count all the work pilots do before and after the flight, like briefings, setting up the plane, and dealing with any delays.

In the U.S., the longest duty period for two-pilot crews is 14 hours, with a maximum of 10 hours of actual flight time. So, there’s about 4 hours in that duty period when pilots aren’t flying.

Short-haul flights can lead to very short workdays. For instance, a short-haul flight might involve a 30-minute flight to the destination, 45 minutes there, and 30 minutes back. When you add all the briefing and preparations, it sums up to around 4 hours of work.

However, some duties can be as long as 12 or even more than 13 hours, especially for long-haul flights. The length of your duty day can also depend on the type of aircraft you’re flying.

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