Pilots and Co-pilots. Pilots and co-pilots are skilled, highly trained professionals who have been carefully selected for their ability to fly safely. They transport passengers and cargo. The pilot (called captain by the airlines) is in charge of the aeroplane, and supervises all other crew members. The co-pilot assists the captain in air-to-ground communications, monitoring flight and engine instruments, and in operating the aeroplane's controls.
Flight Engineers. Flight engineers are members of flight crews who make sure the mechanical and electrical devices aboard aeroplanes work properly. From their station in the cockpit, flight engineers assist the pilot and co-pilot in making pre-flight checks of instruments and equipment. After take off, flight engineers watch instruments and operate controls to regulate the performance of the engines, air conditioning, and other equipment. They also keep records of engine performance and fuel consumption.
Flight Attendants. Flight attendants (also called stewardesses and stewards) are aboard almost all commercial passenger aeroplanes to help make the passengers' flights safe, comfortable and enjoyable. Like other members of the crew, they are responsible to the captain. As passengers come aboard, flight attendants greet them, check their tickets, and assist them with their coats and small luggage. In addition, flight attendants use the public address system to instruct passengers in the use of emergency equipment and check to see that all passengers have their seat belt fastened. In the air, they answer questions about the flight and weather, distribute reading matter and pillows, and help care for small children. On many flights, they serve cocktails and precooked meals.
Air Traffic Controllers. Air traffic controllers are the guardians of the airways. They coordinate flights to prevent accidents and minimize delays in take offs and landings. Some regulate airport traffic; other regulate flights between airports. Airport traffic controllers work in a tower near the runway to keep track of aeroplanes that are on the ground and in the air nearby. They radio pilots to give them permission to taxi, take off, or land. After an aeroplane takes off, airport controllers notify air route controllers to take charge. Route controllers communicate with pilots by radio and use radar and other electronic equipment to help keep aeroplanes on course. They also warn pilots about nearby aeroplanes and other possible hazards. As the flight progresses, one air route controller after another takes charge until the aeroplanes have safely arrived at their destinations and airport traffic controllers are again in charge.
Airport Director. Airports are usually operated by a director or manager responsible either to the owners of the airport or to the local government authorities. He has been described as a "mixture of aviation expert, real estate operator, construction engineer, electronics wizard, management genius, and politician". He is involved in such activities as the following: making and enforcing airport rules and regulations; planning and supervising maintenance programs; negotiating leases with airport tenants, such as aircraft repair stations, terminal concessionaries, and airlines; surveying future needs of the airport and making recommendations; keeping records and making required reports; setting up the airport budget; promoting the use of the airport; training and supervising employees responsible to him.
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