CHILLING

Asleep in the Cockpit

It is a scary thought, but the pair of pilots flying your plane may be struggling to stay awake while in the air. The tragic plane crash in Buffalo that killed 50 people has turned a spotlight on the harsh existence of many pilots, who endure long hours and low pay. The New York Times reports that the life of a commuter pilot is especially difficult, as many must fly multiple flights, sneaking in a nap whenever the opportunity presents itself. Some are so pressed for time they don't even have time to eat, literally spending all day in their plane. Pilots flying shorter routes, who have less experience, often fly at lower altitudes, making navigation more of a challenge due to harsh weather. Some businesses have even taken advantage of the underpaid and exhausted pilots by renting "crash pads:" A bare-bones apartment near major airports.