Here’s my take on piloting an aircraft: your first goal is to get into the air without dying. Then your next goal is to have as much fun in the air as possible, be it a smooth flight to another destination, watching your friend turn green as you practice stalling out a plane, whatever you need to do. Then your final goal is to return to terra firma without dying. Take a note of something: takeoffs and landings are the most critical points in a flight, and while I’m kind-of joking about the whole “not dying” part, I’m also kind-of not. A typical Boeing 737 pilot is clocking in just over $200,000 a year doing their job, and if you ever wanted a look in at why, here you go.
The man at the controls is Artur Kielak, and today he’s not going to have an easy time landing this 737. Kielak is a fan of the 737’s severe conditions stability, and on this touchdown he’s going to use every last ounce of that stability in landing. He’s got crosswinds that probably have a few passengers gripping their armrests with the force of a frightened jungle cat (if they aren’t using up airsickness bags), gusting winds on top of that, and he still has to thrash the controls around. For the uninitiated, it might look like he’s mimicking a 12-year-old’s wild flight fantasy, but in realty he’s busting his hind end to make sure the landing goes off without a hitch.
In today’s world, the pilot is now little more than a voice during the flight reminding you that the “fasten seat belt” light is on and some guy saying “thank you” as you disembark. But remember, if you ever wondered how a pilot truly earns their pay…it’s usually one landing a month that counts.