I have been employed with Air Canada as a Relief Pilot on the 767 for just under two years and I must say that it is an excellent job. I really enjoy the position as a Relief Pilot and find it challenging even though I do not have the opportunities of a fully qualified Captain or First Officer. The working conditions are second to none and my co-workers are extremely professional and enjoyable to work with.
Initially when hired with Air Canada, I completed the New Hire Indoctrination program. This is a three-week course that outlines the companies Operations Manual as well as various other training programs including Crew Resource Management, Dangerous Goods Handling and Non-Aircraft Specific Emergency Training. After the three-week course I was given a week off and then I started my Boeing 767 Groundschool. As a Cruise Pilot we complete a full First Officer course, although we do not receive the First Officer Endorsement. The Groundschool was three weeks in length and consisted of Computer Based Training as well as approximately ten sessions in a Flight Training Device (FTD). The FTD is essentially a simulator that does not have motion. After completing the Groundschool I received another week off and then commenced the simulator training. This consisted of eight four-hour simulator sessions. At the completion of the simulator training we completed our flight test. Shortly after completing the PPC, I completed my line-indoctrination, which consisted of one flight to Zurich. I then completed my line check on a flight to Paris.
As a Cruise Relief Pilot, we relieve the Captain and First Officer of their duties while in the cruise portion of flight. We do not and are not permitted to fly the aircraft below 10,000 feet. Therefore, we do not complete any take-offs or landings. Normally our flights our nine to ten hours long. As a Relief Pilot, I occupy the jump seat for take-off and landing. All three of us (myself, the Captain and First Officer) will remain in the flight deck for the first half hour and the last half hour of the flight. If the flight is ten hours long, we will split the flight into three three-hour rest periods. I will occupy the Captain’s seat for three hours; the First Officer’s seat for three hours and the remaining three hours in the crew rest facility.
Our layovers at our destinations are normally only 24 hours, however we have some layovers that are as long as 72 hours. We normally work between nine and 12 days a month. This includes the time we are off when we are away from our base. I will log approximately 70-75 hours of flying time in a regular month.
In the short time I have been a Relief Pilot I have had the opportunity to fly to London, Seoul, Sao Paulo, Shanghai, Tel Aviv, Paris and Zurich just to list a few. The pilots I have flown with on the 767 at Air Canada are extremely professional, safe and crew oriented. I always feel like a valuable crew-member that is important to the operation. They always exhibit a high level of Crew Resource Management skills and make the job enjoyable. I have really enjoyed being a Cruise Pilot on the 767 with Air Canada and have amazing career opportunities to look forward to with the Airline.
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