I have always wondered what pilots do while on long haul flights, apart from taking a rest?
I mean do they just sit there and talk do each other, or do they read and do things like that?
Pilot is sleeping and Co-pilot is working hard in order to take his promotion...
and pay cheque...
I think they can do whatever they want, but they have to take a look at the instruments just in case something happens.
I think that on long haul flights there are two crews on board. One takes off, goes to sleep, the other flies then goes to sleep while the first one lands (or something like that, I am sure someone will correct me).
As for what the "active" crew is doing, it's been a question of mine too. I know there's the pilot flying and the pilot not flying, who checks instruments and handles communication. But in the 45 minutes between NAT reports, who knows... chatting? Crossword puzzles?
Believe it or not, the active crew is busy. There's weather reports to check from all their alternates, programming in routes to their alternates, and a few other tasks. The cheif pilot over at UVA said in response to a post asking if her, and some of the other long haul pilots we have at UVA, get bored that if you find you have nothing to do, then there's something you're forgetting!!
Programming routes for alternates can be pretty time consuming as well! Planes flying long hauls generally have an ETOPS range (i.e. 180 minutes), meaning that they need various alternates along the route so that they are never more than 180 minutes (or whatever value the craft/crew is rated for). That means that they can have a whole range of airports that they need to be ready to "bail out" for at a moments notice!
A long (but GREAT) read is this story about a trans-atlantic flight in a 767 for American Airlines. This is really one amazing narration of those long trans-Atlantic flights!
One thing the pilots have n't to do any longer is entertain! When I was frequently flying with the family - (good old British Caledonian and their DC10's) - my daughter would go up to the flight deck on every flight to meet the crew and get her log book signed - of course dad had to take her which meant that after she got bored I got to stay and chat with the crew who were only too pleased to explain and demonstate the cockpit layout. I actually visited with a crew on a DH Comet 4B just before they went out of service.
Sadly in this day and age such things are no longer possble.
Thanks for the info,