Q: Does the co-pilot ever fly the plane, or is it only the captain who flies the plane?
A: The co-pilot (or first officer) and the captain share flying duties, alternating on every other flight between the roles of flying pilot and monitoring pilot to ensure we remain highly proficient and current at all times. The monitoring pilot assists the flying pilot by handling all communications with Air Traffic Control, completing checklists, entering data into the flight-management computers and making the passenger announcements you hear over the speaker. Regardless of who is actually flying the aircraft, all of our first officers and captains are highly trained, experienced and actively involved in the operation and safety of the flight. Much like the captain of a ship, the captain of the aircraft has full responsibility and authority for the safe conduct of the flight and final authority on how the flight is conducted.
Do you have a question for Captain Bowers? You can write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org