Eoin O Malley
What are your main tasks / responsibilities as an airline pilot?
Conduct a flight in a safe manner to the destination taking into account:
-Weight and centre of gravity of the aircraft.
-Passenger profile and the cargo profile. i.e. passengers with special needs and cargo with dangerous goods.
-Current weather and forecast weather conditions en-route and at the destination.
-Current and forecast weather conditions between the destination and the alternate/alternates airport.
-Current meteorological/Airport reports regarding significant dangers.
-Familiarisation with all airport arrival and departure procedure charts as well as the en-route charts.
-Management of the crew on board ensuring a safe and pleasant journey for everyone.
-Operate the aircraft with strict adherence with the airlines Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)
On top of the above Pilots are always current with all company safety procedures. Every 6 months we are in an Aircraft Simulator and we are put through many scenarios including Engine Failures, Fire, Smoke, Electrical and Hydraulic Failures. We are thought to cope with all these eventualities and are ready if the occasion arises.
How do you use mathematics within your job?
Mathematics are used when calculating the aircraft maximum weight and centre of gravity for take off and landing taking into account: -Passenger and cargo weight, -Fuel on board, -Aircraft empty weight and centre of gravity -Airport runway available length -Airport weather Mathematics are used when deciding on how much fuel to take taking into account: -The weather -The Alternates available -The Dry Weight of the Aircraft -The cost of the fuel at the origin and destination. Mathematics are used when carrying out en-route fuel checks. Mathematics are used in deciding what height you fly at and at what point you descend.
What type of mathematics for you use to solve problems?
There is no complicated maths used just a lot of adding subtracting dividing and multiplying. Some simple trigonometry is also used.
What aspects of the mathematics curriculum or mathematics courses have proven most useful to you?
Arithmetic and Trigonometry
What is your education to date?
Leaving Certificate 1991
Diploma in Electronic Engineering 1994
Airport Transport Pilots License (Commercial) 2009
What advice would you give to someone considering your job?
I would initially advise completing education in a different field. Something that you can fall back on should things not work out for you in the aviation industry. After Pilot qualification it is sometimes difficult to secure your first job. Also I have seen guys that completed the course or half completed the course only to find flying wasn’t for them for many reasons. The course isn’t overly difficult but there are a lot of hoops to jump through and costs before being qualified.
What do you find most interesting in your job and what do you find are the main challenges?
Daily we fly to a small number of destinations but I find there are so many variables to take into account that I find it both interesting and challenging. The biggest challenge is the weather. On a good weather/stable day it can be a pleasant day out but in adverse weather it is a challenge and you have a lot of responsibility for the comfort and safety for all onboard.