Passing Time

Evening all,

My question today is about what happens in the cockpit. How do you guys keep yourself busy up there? You guys are human and I’m sure you talk amongst each other about whatever comes to your mind but on a coast to coast or even international flight (by this I’m referring to crossing an ocean) where the flight time exceeds 5 hours, there’s only so much you can talk about. How do you guys pass time before you start setting up for an arrival?

That kind of goes into my next question about cell phones. What is the policy on using cell phones while flying?

Kind regards,


We are allowed to read in the cockpit and many pilots do. There are no electronics permitted in the cockpit at anytime, so watching movies or using the internet is strictly forbidden (and would be a really bad idea anyways). You will find that the flights aren’t as boring as you might think. The perception that there is a big red easy button in the cockpit is not an accurate one. Even on the international flights there are things such as position reports to keep you busy.

Cell phones are strictly banned in all phases of flight, although they don’t work above a few thousand feet anyways.



You be surprised how chatty people get in the cockpit. As Chris said reading is probably the #1 activity, followed by crosswords, Sudoku etc. Along with that as Chris said you’d be surprised there’s actually plenty to do. I just landed in ICN (Incheon S. Korea) about 2 hrs ago. It was an almost 11 hr flight. First off when the flight time is over 8 hrs you must have an augmented crew (at least 1 additional pilot) to allow for required rest breaks for all 3 pilots. On this flight the breaks were about 3hrs each so that breaks up the flight some. We also had 2 meals (I had the oxtail soup, shrimp salad and curry chicken for my first meal and a tuna sandwich for my second). Every fix over the ocean we’re required to send a position report to the company and check our fuel, winds etc. and since we weren’t on a “route”, we had to plot our position at every fix as well. We make SelCal checks to make sure we can be contacted quickly if need be. We’re also constantly monitoring our flight path for weather (this time of year the Pacific gets some NICE typhoons and there are often storms embedded in the cloud layers). Then of course you need to prepare and brief for the arrival. Asia has many different rules than we have in the US (airspeeds, transition levels). They also often have a variety of different arrivals for different runways and you often don’t know exactly what to expect so you need to prepare for a few of them.

Put that all together and you’re lucky if you have time to read the latest issue of People :slight_smile:



You say no electronics in the cockpit whatsoever. Does that include I-pads. I have ForeFlight that I use now and I think it’s the best aviation app out there today. You can also put books on it and read on it, which I do. Do you guys still use paper charts in 2016?

Well, I meant no unapproved electronics, we do use the iPad for our terminal charts and weather planning software. Other than that one approved device there are no electronics allowed.


Ok… haha. That’s makes more sense. I was starting to think maybe the airlines were stuck in the dark ages.

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We actually do carry paper Jepps as a back up. You never know what might happen…

At Hawaiian we’re still “testing” our tablets. While I appreciate the convenience (auto updates) and the considerable weight shedding, I still dig my paper Jepps in my leather binders. Yes I’m old :slight_smile: