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'Daddy what do you do?' 'I'm a pilot'

The one common factor of confusion for the 14 pilots of the Danish Pilot Service, and indeed for the hundreds of pilots all over the globe, is their job title. It shouldn’t be.

‘What type of plane do you fly?’ is the inevitable question, but in truth the maritime world has had and used pilots, and the term, for thousands of years. The Romans and the Greeks knew the value of local knowledge and would use fishermen to guide them into their home ports or through treacherous channels. They were called pilots from the Greek word for the blade of an oar and its ability to guide the vessel, not the tip of a propellor blade.

The first pilots on airplanes only had sight to navigate by when coming in to land. For the maritime pilots it has always been in what you can’t see that makes their jobs vital.

In the short video we follow pilot Dick Danielsen in training and tutor Jens Pauli Joensen out onto a tanker. They are both former Maersk captains, but there is a slight role reversal. At one point in their careers Jens was Dick’s junior, but not today. Dick has to perform hours of piloting under a qualified watchful eye before flying solo.

Credits:

Richard Lightbody