In the immediate aftermath of a missing airliner, attention will fall onto the professionals operating the aircraft. With that in mind, who is the EgyptAir flight MS804 pilot? Details are sketchy at this point, but the airline did make an effort to quickly release some basic details about the people flying the plane. Update: On Thursday morning, Egyptian aviation officials confirmed with the Associated Press that the EgyptAir plane has crashed. The officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity with AP, said the "possibility that the plane crashed has been confirmed," since flight MS804 never arrived at any of the airports. The officials told AP they will now be searching for debris from the plane.
Out of the 10 crew members confirmed by EgyptAir to be on board the Airbus A320-232, the pilot is responsible for every soul on board the aircraft. EgyptAir has yet to release a name or photograph of the pilot, but they did mention that the pilot had logged in a total of 6,275 hours in the cockpit, and specifically 2,101 hours on the A320 series aircraft. The copilot on board had logged 2,766 hours of flight time, according to another EgyptAir tweet.
Particularly for commercial travelers, 6,275 hours may seem like quite a lot of time in the air to some. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), for example, requires that commercial pilots log at least 1,500 hours before they are hired by an American carrier.
The simple reality is that 6,275 hours breaks down to less than a year in flight; that's approximately the same number of hours in 261 days. But when compared to the FAA's required 1,500 hours, the flight MS804 pilot has significantly more experience than they would need before getting hired by a stateside airline.
For the moment, EgyptAir has not yet released any additional information about the pilot, copilot, or if there was another individual in the cockpit as well. An earlier report on the airline's Twitter handle mentioned that there were seven crew members on board, as well as three security officers employed by the airline.
The A320 has apparently disappeared from radar contact over the Mediterranean Sea, reportedly just after entering into Egyptian airspace. The airline is reporting that the last known altitude of the plane was 37,000 feet, at exactly 45 minutes before the aircraft was scheduled to land at Cairo International Airport.
As of press time, no further information about the identity of any of the 66 people on board has been made public. EgyptAir has reportedly set up a response center in Cairo to be on hand for families and loved ones of the travelers on board. The A320 plane that suddenly disappeared was manufactured in 2003, according to EgyptAir.