'About to land, but #selfie first': Instagram-addicted pilots defy cockpit rules
The temptation of flying high in social media inspires dozens of cockpit crewmembers to shoot and post stunning aerial views and selfies, while on duty. They do so despite it being against the rules, and even at critical moments of takeoff and landing.
Instagram has been monitored for six months by Quartz reporters, who surfed the social network for pictures with hashtags like #pilotlife, #pilotsview or #cockpitview. They found hundreds of examples.
Some of the sky-high images have garnered hundreds of likes and followers.
Social media popularity, however, comes at a price of violating safety rules, adopted in the US and in Europe. These bar airline pilots from using electronic devices for personal reasons while on duty in the cockpit.
There’s also an even stricter requirement of a so-called "sterile cockpit" – a ban on doing anything unrelated to operating the plane - while the aircraft is in the process of takeoff or landing at altitudes below 10,000 ft (3,000 m).
Landing photos are however in abundance online.
“About to land this plane but first, #lmtas [let me take a selfie],” read caption to a photo posted by Gary Baumgardner, @garybpilot on Instagram.
However later, responding to a request by Quartz, he wrote that all of his pictures were taken on the ground. Like many other pilots contacted by the online media source he chose to delete his account.
Some US pilots addressed the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), when it was considering the rules on the use of electronic devices in the cockpit, and said that gadgets were actually only contributing to flight safety, as they helped the crew cope with boredom and consequently loss of concentration.
The FAA remained unconvinced and banned all use of electronic devices by pilots in the cockpit in February 2014.
A photo posted by ⭐ Karim Nafatni GostRidr ⭐ (@knxposures) on Oct 10, 2014 at 2:55pm PDT
Final approach into Las Vegas. Landing on runway 25L. pic.twitter.com/IALs8wlKvr
— Julian Hall (@TigerJools) April 5, 2014
A photo posted by Johan Farid Khairuddin (@jfkjohan) on Sep 9, 2014 at 10:30pm PDT
— SkymanA380 (@si_65) May 21, 2014
A photo posted by ⭐ Karim Nafatni GostRidr ⭐ (@knxposures) on May 5, 2014 at 10:51am PDT
— Airbus Pilot (@pilot_airbus) August 5, 2014
— Stephen D (@StephenEamonn) December 7, 2014