We recently caught up with Per Benker, a former pilot who kindly shared what he used to do on an average day when he was a pilot, challenges he faced and his hopes for the future of aviation.
Why did you choose to pursue a career in the Aviation industry?
That was my childhood dream.
What has been a highlight of your career so far?
The privilege to fly.
Have you faced any challenges throughout your career?
The biggest challenge has been to combine a pilot career and having a family.
Give us an overview of what you do on an average day in your role?
As a pilot you don’t have any regular hours. It’s swing shift all the time. A “normal” day starts about one hour (long haul 1,5 hours) before depature, meeting with the rest of the cockpit crew members evaluating the overall weather situation (enroute weather) and the present and forecasted weather situation at the destination and the destination alternate(s) and the enroute alternates (the latter only if required). After that you order the required amount of fuel to be carried. The third thing you do is to gather the entire flight crew and go through the flight concerning the expected flight conditions that is needed for the planning of the inflight service.
During flight you will receive continuous updates how everyone is experiencing the flight, and after the flight, before going to the hotel or home, there will be a short debriefing of the entire flight crew – what went well, what didn’t work out so well and what went really bad. Just in order to make things better the next time. The problem is, especially in large airlines, is that you very rarely fly together with the same crew for a very long time. Therefore it’s essential that things are done mostly the same way all the time.
What’s the best thing about working in Aviation?
One day is not like the other.
What are your goals and plans for the future?
To be a present grandfather.
What are your hopes for the future of the Aviation industry?
That it will persist and expand. I really feel sorry for old colleagues being laid off due to the pandemic. I’m convinced it will do so in spite of the climate challenge. I believe that the aviation industry is well ahead of all other sectors in cutting CO2 emission.
What is one thing you would like to have known before starting your career?
Can I really do it?
What kind of skills/characteristics do you feel you need to have in order to do your job – do you think these will change in the future?
First of all you need to be a calm person with an ability to analyze problems.
Who is your role model?
My father, who also was a pilot.
Can you give 3 tips for someone who wants to join the Aviation industry:
- To work within the aviation industry it’s not just a job, it’s a lifestyle.
- If you already have a family, think twice before committing yourself to this way of life.
- Always think “Safety first”.