Allow me to show you my workplace—the cockpit at 40,000 feet. It’s a fascinating place to work and I get a lot of questions about it, at birthday parties or via social media. Using a series of cockpit videos, my colleagues and I are happy to explain how things work, whether it’s the autopilot or just how challenging it is to land on St. Maarten.
For many people, being an airline pilot is a magical job. After twenty years on the job, it still is for me. The act of manoeuvring passengers in a large cylinder through the sky and putting them down safely is a wonderful feeling. I started flying on a DC-10. Following that, I was a co-pilot on a Boeing 737 and then on a Boeing 747-400. Today I am captain of the Boeing 737. In addition to flying, I’m also responsible for the Flight Operations division.
Inside the cockpit
Very often, passengers ask if they can have a look inside the cockpit. Sadly we can’t let them. It’s not permitted for safety reasons. Safety comes first and foremost. It’s important that pilots are able to concentrate on their work without the distraction of visitors.
Having said that, we believe it’s important—and fun—to answer a number of the questions that we hear frequently. So we’ve made an exception to the rule under some strict conditions. A cameraman—who owns the website Jetstream TV and is an aviation lover—made the videos.
I made the first recordings together with First Officer Ernst Rensink and I’m very happy with the results. It allows us to give you a look behind the scenes into a KLM cockpit. These three videos show:
Autopilot in action
Crossing the Atlantic
Big plane, short runway
If you have a question about flying, don’t hesitate to let me know.