Qantas pilots are less than delighted with guidelines in a 23-page guidebook issued last week, instructing them how to wear their new uniforms and laying down the law on pilot grooming.
Pilots must start wearing the new uniforms (which were unveiled in April) from this Thursday.
The Sydney Moring Herald is citing a survey of almost 1300 pilots by the Australian and International Pilots Association, which found most pilots were critical of symbolic parts of the uniform, including new hats supposed to evoke the grand old days of flying boats. Pilots say it’s 2016, not the 1940s. Some say the new look resembles a costume rather than a uniform.
Also contentious are the regulations governing moustaches. Moustaches have been identified with flying since early days of aviation. Squadron leaders in the Battle of Britain grew them.
Qantas regulations, however, forbid grander types of moustache. Splendid moustaches, like those sported by cricketer Merv Hughes and the late bandit Mark ‘Chopper’ Reed, are strictly banned on the Qantas flight deck. While trim moustaches are permitted, “long moustaches such as handlebar, horseshoe (or ‘trucker’) and similar styles are unacceptable,” the guidelines state. “The outline of the upper lip shall clearly be visible.”
Hair length “that falls onto eyebrows or shirt collar” is deemed unacceptable. Beards are banned outright – they can obstruct oxygen masks – and sideburns should not extend below the earlobe.
While in uniform and in view of the public, pilots must not chew gum, drink alcohol or smoke.
“Wearing visible facial jewellery including the piercing of noses, eyebrows, tongues and mouths is not acceptable when in uniform,” the guidelines state.
Written by Peter Needham