The pilots control their aircraft in accordance with air traffic control. Every clearance gives the cockpit crew the go-ahead for the next activity, from taxiing to the runway to instructions regarding the flight route, which is based on current traffic loads and the current weather conditions.
Aircraft with jet engines cannot reverse. They are pulled away from the gate by pushback tractors and pushed to the taxiway, where they then head for the runway on their own. The pilots start up the engines during pushback.
There are at least two pilots in a SWISS cockpit. The captain is responsible for the entire flight and the crew. The first officer is his deputy. Both pilots are trained to control, assist, monitor and communicate by radio.
Checklists are all-important. Pilots use them for manoeuvres such as take-off and landing as standard, and as required in the event of technical problems. They work through the checklists from start to end, missing nothing, to ensure that all the settings are correct and nothing has been left out.
In order for an aircraft to take off, lift must be stronger than weight. Aerodynamics, total weight and weather conditions all affect the speed that is required for take-off.
In the airspace managed by air traffic control, the aircraft all travel at given heights. The cruising height is between nine and twelve kilometres. At these heights, there is less frictional resistance and weather phenomena such as turbulence are rare.
The pilots enter the route and cruising height in the flight management system. The autopilot supports the crew in particular when flying on instruments and when there are no visual orientation points.
The correct approach speed for a safe landing depends on the type of aircraft, its current weight, how the load is distributed and the meteorological conditions.
Becoming a pilot
The basic training is around 18 months. Trainee pilots then move to SWISS, where they undergo six months of practical training on a specific aircraft type. Those who successfully complete their training are then fully qualified professional pilots. On the Airbus A320, for instance.
Learning to fly with SWISS
As the airline of Switzerland, we connect Zurich and Geneva with Europe and the world. Come with us on a virtual journey and find out more about the fascinating world of flying with SWISS.Explore
Our staff are the face of SWISS. They work extremely hard every day to offer passengers an unbeatable travel experience – on the ground and in the air. Meet the people who help SWISS to reach new heights day after day.Explore
Between traditional and modern: as the airline of Switzerland, it is important to us to show our guests the multifaceted variety of Switzerland. Traditional Swiss hospitality is as much a part of this as our collaborations with top chefs, who transform top-quality products from their regions into innovative dishes.Explore
The advantages of travelling in SWISS First or SWISS Business can be enjoyed well before take off. Elegant SWISS Lounges are perfect for spending some time in, and hint at what awaits guests on board: unbeatable comfort combined with award-winning culinary delights and a standard of service that leaves nothing to be desired.Explore
SWISS applies the same priority to its technical maintenance and logistics as it does to guests: quality first. We work hard on the ground to ensure the SWISS fleet is always at peak performance and that the goods entrusted to us arrive safely.Explore
Creating memorable moments and being aware of our social responsibility: as the official airline partner, we are committed to the fields of culture, sports and social activities, both here in Switzerland and abroad.Explore