Real Answers from Real Pilots

Are there still planes with more than 2 pilots?

or did those fully disappear?


While there are very few planes still flying that require 3 pilots (actually its 3 crew, 2 pilots 1 Flight Engineer). Any flight over 8hrs requires a Relief Officer and those over 12 require 2. While only 2 we’ll be flying at any 1 time there are required breaks for trips of those lengths.


There are a few airplanes left flying that have three pilot crews, but they are almost all gone.

I follow a United 787 pilot on instagram and I know on some of his flights there are 4 pilot. All are in the cockpit for take off and landings. This is a simulator but read the caption

Yes, that is a four person crew, but that is required for length of flight reasons, not crew complement requirements. The 787 can easily fly with two pilots and does on many flights, the extra pilots are added when the length of flight exceeds certain criteria. Contrast this to the 727 or L-1011 that requires three pilots for all flights because they have flight engineer positions.

Yeah I figured that. He also posted pictures of the pilot beds in which that flight was from Denver to Tokyo. From what I can tell he flys long haul flights. He is always overseas