Actual Exchanges Between Airline Pilots and Control Towers… These Are Priceless

Below are actual exchanges between airline pilots and control towers — or at least, that’s what we’ve been told — and from what know about human nature, we tend to believe it.
1 Actual Exchanges Between Airline Pilots and Control Towers… These Are Priceless

3 Actual Exchanges Between Airline Pilots and Control Towers… These Are Priceless
2 Actual Exchanges Between Airline Pilots and Control Towers… These Are Priceless

Airline pilots describe their near-disasters on Reddit, and their passengers had no idea

FLYING is, in a sense, an act of blind faith.

1 Airline pilots describe their near-disasters on Reddit, and their passengers had no idea
Scary truth … Behind the cockpit doors, things can go a little awry.

When you board a plane, you are granting your complete trust to your pilot and airline.

2 Airline pilots describe their near-disasters on Reddit, and their passengers had no idea
Shoreham crash … The Hawker Hunter jet ploughed into a busy road during an airshow.

There have been many tragedies in the sky in recent years, from the Germanwings’ mass-murder suicide to MH370’s disappearance and the AirAsia QZ8501 crash. And even more recently, Saturday’s deadly explosion in Shoreham. But despite the heartbreak we feel, we still need to travel. So we pack our bags, assure ourselves “not this time”, turn the other cheek and trust that our pilot will get us safely from point A to point B.

But it appears the scary truth is, while we munched on our reheated stewed beef and went square-eyed over our tiny screens, there could have been so many more accidents.

In a stomach-churning discussion on Reddit, pilots have revealed just how close they have come, sometimes mere seconds, from disaster — and their passengers didn’t have a clue.

So from serious engine failure to nauseatingly low air pressure levels and quick-thinking pilots being forced to concoct makeshift oven mitts to touch hot controllers, this is our pick of the bunch.

Note: if you have a fear of flying, this isn’t for you.


A near miss

3 Airline pilots describe their near-disasters on Reddit, and their passengers had no idea
Keeping cool … Pilots need to be ready for anything.

One poster explained how their father, a former captain for Eastern Airlines, had just about reached take-off speeds when another jet taxied across the runway. By this stage, his plane was going too fast to stop, so he had to lift off early. He managed to clear the other plane by what felt like a whisker. But his passengers? They had no idea.

‘All the passengers noticed were their ears popping’

One commercial airline captain, flying an Embraer 175, described how the cabin pressure control channels failed on one occasion, causing a rapid loss of cabin air pressure — putting everyone’s consciousness at risk, including their own. When you are flying at 30,000 feet, you only have about 30 seconds before you start slipping. The pilot had to urgently start a steep emergency descent, at which point they flipped the pressurisation switch to manual, then back to automatic, which got it to the working channel. “Pretty sure all the passengers noticed were their ears popping,” they said. “It gave us about 80 seconds of a scare though.”

This pilot saved the day in not one, but two, sticky situations

4 Airline pilots describe their near-disasters on Reddit, and their passengers had no idea
Ready for takeoff? … Our feelings exactly.

A vintage biplane pilot, who took people on aerobatic rides, grappled with a number of problems. On one occasion, the engine exploded mid-flight forcing them to land in a field. But because they stayed calm and their passenger was foreign and unable to understand what was being said on the radio, it was just assumed that landing in a field was standard practice. Another time, there was a tyre blowout as the plane landed on its grass runway. This meant the plane stopped in about 50m instead of the usual 200m. But the passenger had no idea there was a problem until fire crews were called in to help push the aircraft back. “Most of the time, the passenger doesn’t know what normal is, so it’s no different for them when things go awry, assuming you get a safe landing out of it,” they said.

This air traffic controller faced a very dicey situation

5 Airline pilots describe their near-disasters on Reddit, and their passengers had no idea
Air disaster … Tragically, it seems some disasters can’t be helped.

An air traffic controller explained how they lost contact with a pilot, which can happen when they are on the wrong frequency or the radios go berzerk. The poster said it wasn’t uncommon, and it was usually easily rectified. But on this particular occasion, the drop-out happened at the worst possible moment. The pilot unknowingly ended up cruising on the wrong altitude when his flight plan actually had him on another. There were now about dozen planes in his path, coming head-on. “He ended up running one heck of a gauntlet through all these people as I was descending and climbing them to get them out of his way,” they wrote — and they were relieved nothing worse happened. That was until the pilot suddenly decided to change altitude, perhaps knowing instinctively he should have by now. Meaning all at once, all those planes that had moved out of his way were right back in his path. Now that’s the kind of stress nobody needs.

‘They couldn’t touch the controls, they were using clothing as oven mitts’

One poster said their father retired as a pilot with 36,000 hours of flying — but not before facing an exceedingly nerve-racking moment. Taking off for a flight from Orlando to Boston in the US, he noticed there was abnormal amounts of hot air flushing into the cockpit. It appeared the mechanics on the ground hadn’t wired the engine valve shut like they were meant to. Instead, it was left wide open, with the maximum amount of hot air pouring straight in. He had to make an emergency landing in Jacksonville, but not before enduring a lot of discomfort. Unable to touch the controls because they had heated up so much, he and his co-pilot had to create makeshift oven mitts out of their clothes so they could steer the plane. By the time they hit the ground, they were totally drenched in their own sweat.

So why are passengers so often left in the dark in these incidents ? It seems it’s for our own benefit and peace of mind.

“Airline pilot here. Most of us would rather not saying anything about emergencies while in flight. However when it comes to a near disaster occurring, almost never,” reads one post.

But of course, it wasn’t all doom and gloom in the discussion. One pilot piped up, saying “in seven years and 6000 hours of commercial flying, nothing close to a disaster has ever happened”. To which he got the response: “now let’s all upvote this and get back to our lives which already contain enough fear.” Werd.

Twitter: @sopphie

Meet the inspiring pilot born without arms: 'I don't give up'

The 32-year-old, who was born with a rare non-genetic birth defect that left her without arms, has never let her disability hold her back. Growing up, Cox did it all, from swim lessons to girl scouts, modeling, tap dancing and Taekwondo — at the age of 14, she’d already earned a black belt.

1 Meet the inspiring pilot born without arms
Jessica Cox Motivational Services – Jessica Cox became certified as a pilot in 2008.

“I can’t believe how much I did growing up. Every single day after school there was something going on. I don’t know how my parents did it,” Cox told TODAY. “I was expected to learn to do things like everybody else in my own way, which worked out just fine.”

She even learned how to fly a plane with her feet.

Becoming a pilot wasn’t always a dream for Cox, but after going up in a single engine airplane with a fighter pilot several years ago, she was inspired to overcome her initial fears.

Jessica Cox in the cockpit
Jessica Cox in the cockpit

“Being up in the air put me on edge, but that quickly went away,” she said. “It still keeps me on edge, which I like.”

In 2008, after extensive training, she earned her Light Sport Pilot Certificate, and in 2011 she nabbed the Guinness World Record for the “First Armless Person in the World Ever to Have Obtained a Pilot’s License.”

Cox has now traveled to 20 countries on six continents to share her inspirational story. She believes anyone can excel, regardless of disability, with encouragement and support.

Jessica Cox surfing
Jessica Cox surfing

“I feel like my message is all the more important when I find out the stigmas that people with disabilities experience,” she said.

Cox doesn’t tour alone — she travels with her husband, Patrick, who has been by her side for three years. The two met at a Taekwondo class in 2010, where he was an instructor and a fourth-degree black belt. In 2014, after Patrick had transferred to a different school and begun to train Cox, she won the state championship title last year.

“That’s what I take pride in. The fact that I did it amongst other women my age, my height who didn’t have disabilities,” she said.

Jessica Cox driving
Jessica Cox driving

Not only is Cox the first person to fly a plane without arms, but she also holds the title of the first person without arms to receive a black belt in the American Taekwondo Association.

Cox said that while titles and awards are “the icing on top,” they’re not the driving force behind her career path. She takes pride in knowing that she inspires others to see past physical limitations that people tend to put on themselves.

“I do what I do because I love to do it,” she said “and I don’t give up.”

There Is Simply No Other Plane In The World Like Air Force One

There Is Simply No Other Plane In The World Like Air Force OneAir Force One, the call sign of whichever Air Force plane the President of the United States is flying on, has long been known for the security and comfort it provides its famous cargo.

But everything changed with Sept. 11, 2001. The crew realized the plane had weaknesses. It lacked features that would have let President George W. Bush address the nation.

The Presidential Airlift Group (PAG), in charge of Air Force One, stepped up its game, and managed to take Bush to Baghdad on a top-secret mission in the dark of night to serve Thanksgiving dinner to troops in 2003.

The National Geographic Channel took a behind-the-scenes look at the Flying White House in “Onboard Air Force One,” an in-depth look at the PAG, the cavernous hangar at Andrews Air Force Base (AFB) that Air Force One calls home, and everything the aircraft has to offer the president and his trusted advisers.


The Secret Pilot: 21 air travel truths revealed

Are all pilots rich? Can you get sucked down a toilet? And what is rule 240? Everything you wanted to know about air travel but were too afraid to ask.

The Secret Pilot- 21 air travel truths revealed1. Is it true that you get drunk quicker on a plane?

The myth is that a lack of oxygen on-board means alcohol will go to your head much faster in the air than it would on terra firma. However, research found that there are no notable differences between drinking on the runway and 12,000 feet up. The same applies whether you’re in the pub or the sky: six glasses of champagne before breakfast will get you a bit squiffy.

2. Why is there never a row ‘13’ on an aeroplane?

If you doff your cap to crows and avoid black cats, then you’ll appreciate this. Rather than spook superstitious flyers, airlines remove row 13 from their aircraft. Lufthansa also fly without row 17 to avoid unnerving Italian flyers who consider this number unlucky too. Alaska Airlines are one of the few who actually operate aircraft with a row 13. Why they do is a mystery.

3. Do planes still avoid the Bermuda triangle? (and did they ever?)

Legend has it that over 1,000 planes and ships disappeared while crossing the area betwixt Bermuda, Puerto Rico and Florida. So you’d forgive pilots if they preferred to give it a wide berth. But they don’t…and they never have. Planes have travelled across the mysterious zone for years and continue to do so despite the myths. It’s possibly worth the risk when the only other option is a 1,800 mile detour.

4. Is it true that all airplane toilets must be fitted with an ashtray, even though smoking on planes has been banned for nearly 15 years?

Yes. US government agency The FAA, says that all planes must have ashtrays on board, and this has been adopted by airlines worldwide to ensure flight safety. The rule came into effect after a discarded cigarette caused a passenger jet to crash in 1973. So even though smoking on airplanes has been illegal for almost two decades, they still provide ashtrays in case smokers cave in to their cravings and take the risk to light-up on-board.

5. Do cabin crew have to be within certain size and weight limits?

Cabin crew must be above 5’2” in order to reach the overhead compartments (usually about 6’ high) and manually deploy the evacuation slides in an emergency. At the other end of the scale, if you’re taller than 6’2” then you might have a little trouble folding yourself into the cramped galleys. As far as waistlines go, there are no strict rules, as long as you can serve a diet coke during turbulence.

6. Can lightning make a plane crash?

You’d think a big chunk of metal flying through a storm would be a likely target for lightning. Well, it is. Lightning strikes every commercial plane on average once a year. But don’t worry (!) the last plane to actually crash as a result was in 1967. Nowadays, airplanes have to successfully pass a number of rigorous lightning certification tests and most people only report slight turbulence if lightning strikes.

7. Would a plane explode if you fired a gun on-board?

If you’re Harrison Ford in Air Force One, then you’ll probably be fine. It depends on what gets hit. If a bullet goes through the side of the plane, it’s no biggie. Cabin pressure will compensate for any pressure leaking out of the hole. If a bullet goes through a window, that’s slightly more worrying. All the air rushes out the window, so it’ll take anything with it that’s not strapped in. If it hits the fuselage then there’s the potential for an explosion, and it’s probably a good idea to make a quick exit, which could be problematic.

8. Could you really get high on oxygen from emergency masks?

Brad Pitt seemed to think so in Fight Club. But then again, maybe we shouldn’t get our ‘scientific facts’ from a fictional character. The real answer is no. Whilst oxygen could technically make you feel a little more chilled, breathing 100% oxygen can actually be harmful. It’s a loss of oxygen that can make you feel ‘high’ so airlines provide emergency masks so that you stay alert if the cabin pressure suddenly drops.

9. Is it true that no-one is allowed to stand up while the pilot is in the toilet?

When the seatbelt sign lights up, all passengers must remain seated. Depsite what you may assume, it’s not because of unexpected turbulence – usually it’s when the pilot is making a break for the bathroom. The number one cabin crew member will guard the flight deck door to prevent anyone storming the cockpit. Just hope they don’t get engrossed in the sports section, or lock themselves in like this poor pilot.

10. Can mobile phones (or other electronic devices) really cause problems on a plane?

Your little iPad alone would not cause a flutter in a plane’s navigation systems. If everyone kept their mobile or electronic gadgets on then the combined interference from all these devices might be an issue. However, little is known about the real effects of staying switched on. So it’s more of a precaution. But it’s probably best to stick to the rules, just in case. It would be rather embarrassing to cause a plane crash.

11. Are the seats closest to the exits the safest in case of a crash?

Whilst the extra legroom is a luxury, sitting by the exit has no real impact on your chances of surviving a plane crash. Accidents involving aircraft happen for a number of different reasons, making it impossible to say that one seat is safer than any other. If the aircraft was to catch fire then being next to an exit might be handy, less so if the doors fly off and you get sucked out first. Simply knowing the location of your nearest exit is probably your safest bet.

12. Is it miles better in the Mile High Club?

What’s so good about being a member of the Mile High Club? One theory is that the brain gets less oxygen at higher altitudes, meaning that certain sensations are exaggerated. However, because the air is pressurised in the cabin to imitate being on the ground, being at altitude won’t affect you at all. So, it’s got nothing to do with science at least.

13. You’ve got a good chance of catching a cold on a plane

Does the recycled air on planes spread germs? The short answer is no. Aeroplanes are fitted with a High Efficiency Particle Air Filters (HEPA) system. This takes air from outside, mixes it with the recycled air and then filters it, capturing airborne germs and pumping clean air into the cabin. A complete air change occurs every two to four minutes. Don’t believe us?

14. Can commercial jet doors be opened mid-flight?

There have been a handful of incidents in which passengers have had sleeping pill-induced moments of craziness and tried to open the doors mid-flight. Whilst they were usually wrestled to the ground by fellow passengers and attendants, there really was no need for concern. The doors used in commercial airliners are called ‘plug’ doors. Because the pressure seals the door, you would need the strength of 100 bodybuilders to open them. If you happen to get on a plane with 100 bodybuilders however, start worrying…

15. Can you get sucked down a plane toilet?

Related plane toilet rumours have it that you can get stuck to the loo seat, and even have your insides sucked out! In cult film Soul Plane a character sues the airline after being sucked into the toilet during a flight. However hard this is to believe, this is in fact fiction. It is technically impossible due to its shape and size of a modern aeroplane toilet. Much as you’d like to prove us wrong, don’t try this at home – it won’t work there either.

16. Are all pilots rich?

Not necessarily. According to a pilot from Jet Blue, it takes a long time to work up to a good salary. Starting out, you can only expect about £20,500, and working your way up to the top takes time and hard work. Gaining your own Commercial Pilot’s Licence will cost you £35-50,000. Airlines used to sponsor all pilots’ training, but these days this is usually on offer only for younger candidates. Pilots dislike the stigma that they are all rich, even if does give them a certain pulling power. The life of your average pilot is not glamorous: a lunch-hour at Luton and tea break at Teesside isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

17. Can I get an upgrade if I complain about my seat?

It is pure myth that a flight attendant can upgrade your ticket whilst you are actually seated, even if it’s on fire. We revealed the many tricks people will try to get an upgrade, but according to Heather Poole, author of Cruising Attitude, you won’t get it from a flight attendant. Your best bet is to enquire politely at the check-in desk before you board the plane. But don’t try to chat up the airline staff. You’ll only embarrass yourself.

18. Diet cola is difficult to pour at altitude

Yes, it it’s true. Fizz combined with altitude makes it harder to pour diet cola than any other drink. Apparently, in the time it takes to pour one, a flight attendant could serve three other passengers their drinks. So if you want to annoy the cabin crew, now you know what drink to ask for. Just be careful, these people are serving your food!

19. Do planes collide with birds on a regular basis?

Yes they do. And yes, poor birds. Although there have been some extreme cases, most of the time you won’t even notice. As with most things, a plane is most at risk at take-off and landing as they cruise at a good deal higher altitude than most birds. Some airports are in close proximity to large concentrations of birds, for example, JFK and Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge on Long Island, New York, but birds do their best to keep out of the way.

20. Why do you have to open the window blinds for take-off and landing?

This isn’t a requirement for all airlines: Captain John Cox explains that it is at their discretion. However, the reason why some airlines prefer to have the blinds open is because in the very, very unlikely event of an emergency, services can see inside the plane. The lights are dimmed so evacuating passengers’ eyes can adjust to the outside light.

And finally…

21. What is Rule 240?

Invoke ‘Rule 240’ and airlines will compensate you for any inconvenience they may have caused you. Or will they? Does Rule 240 really exist? Well, just by saying the words ‘Rule 240’ to your check-in staff won’t help. Not anymore anyway. It was a condition that the U.S Department of Transportation filed with most major airlines to ensure you were treated in the best possible way (how quaint!). Now however, every airline carrier has a different policy. These are called Conditions of Carriage which, if within Europe, must adhere to EU Law. Make sure you read these thoroughly before flying, and take a copy with you, so you can complain properly.


This post originally appear on skyscanner

Reader's Digest – 50 Secrets Your Pilot Won't Tell You

Reader’s Digest asked commercial airline pilots to share some of their secrets with their readers. From napping during flights, to safety issues, airline pilots responded, with Reader’s Digest compiling it all in a feature of 50 secrets  – 50 Secrets Your Pilot Won’t Tell You.

50 Secrets Your Pilot Won't Tell YouI’ve been struck by lightning twice.

Most pilots have. Airplanes are built to take it. You hear a big boom and see a big flash and that’s it. You’re not going to fall out of the sky.” —Pilot for a regional carrier, Charlotte, North Carolina

You may not be getting the airline you paid for.

You may go to an airline website and buy a ticket, pull up to its desk at the curb, and get onto an airplane that has a similar name painted on it, but half the time, you’re really on a regional airline. The regionals aren’t held to the same safety standards as the majors: Their pilots aren’t required to have as much training and experience, and the public doesn’t know that. —Captain at a major airline

If you’re a nervous flier, book a morning flight.

The heating of the ground later causes bumpier air, and it’s much more likely to thunderstorm in the afternoon. —Jerry Johnson, pilot, Los Angeles

The smoothest place to sit is often over or near the wing.

The bumpiest place to sit is in the back. A plane is like a seesaw. If you’re in the middle, you don’t move as much. —Patrick Smith, pilot and author of Cockpit Confidential

The general flow of air in any airplane is from front to back. So if you’re really concerned about breathing the freshest possible air or not getting too hot, sit as close to the front as you can. Planes are generally warmest in the back. —Tech pilot at a regional airline, Texas

There is no safest place to sit. In one accident, the people in the back are dead; in the next, it’s the people up front.John Nance, aviation safety analyst and retired airline captain, Seattle

People don’t understand why they can’t use their cell phones.

Well, what can happen is 12 people will decide to call someone just before landing, and I can get a false reading on my instruments saying that we are higher than we really are.—J
Jim Tilmon, retired American Airlines pilot, Phoenix

We don’t make you stow your laptop because we’re worried about electronic interference. It’s about having a projectile on your lap. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to get hit in the head by a MacBook going 200 miles per hour. And we’re not trying to ruin your fun by making you take off your headphones. We just want you to be able to hear us if there’s an emergency. —Patrick Smith

Some FAA rules don’t make sense to us either.

Like the fact that when we’re at 39,000 feet going 400 miles an hour, in a plane that could hit turbulence at any minute, (flight attendants) can walk around and serve hot coffee and Chateaubriand. But when we’re on the ground on a flat piece of asphalt going five to ten miles an hour, they’ve got to be buckled in like they’re at NASCAR.—Jack Stephan, US Airways captain based in Annapolis, Maryland, who has been flying since 1984

It’s updrafts, not turbulence, we really worry about.

A plane flies into a massive updraft, which you can’t see on the radar at night, and it’s like hitting a giant speed bump at 500 miles an hour. It throws everything up in the air and then down very violently. That’s not the same as turbulence, which bounces everyone around for a while. —John Nance, aviation safety analyst and retired airline captain, Seattle

Pilots find it perplexing that so many people are afraid of turbulence. It’s all but impossible for turbulence to cause a crash. We avoid turbulence not because we’re afraid the wing is going to fall off but because it’s
annoying. —Patrick Smith

Being on time is more important than getting everyone there.

The Department of Transportation has put such an emphasis on on-time performance that we pretty much aren’t allowed to delay a flight anymore, even if there are 20 people on a connecting flight that’s coming in just a little late. —Commercial pilot, Charlotte, North Carolina

No, it’s not your imagination: Airlines really have adjusted their flight arrival times so they can have a better record of on-time arrivals. So they might say a flight takes two hours when it really takes an hour and 45 minutes.—AirTran Airways captain, Atlanta

I’m constantly under pressure to carry less fuel than I’m comfortable with.

Airlines are always looking at the bottom line, and you burn fuel carrying fuel. Sometimes if you carry just enough fuel and you hit thunderstorms or delays, then suddenly you’re running out of gas and you have to go to an alternate airport. —Captain at a major airline

You’ll never hear, “One of our engines just failed.”

What they’ll say instead: “One of our engines is indicating improperly.” (Or more likely, they’ll say nothing, and you’ll never know the difference. Most planes fly fine with one engine down.)You’ll also never hear, “Well, folks, the visibility out there is zero.” Instead they’ll say: “There’s some fog in the Washington area.”

There’s no such thing as a water landing.

 It’s called crashing into the ocean. —Pilot, South Carolina

The truth is, we’re exhausted.

Our work rules allow us to be on duty 16 hours without a break. That’s many more hours than a truck driver. And unlike a truck driver, who can pull over at the next rest stop, we can’t pull over at the next cloud.—Captain at a major airline

Do pilots sleep in (the cockpit)? Definitely. Sometimes it’s just a ten-minute catnap, but it happens. —John Greaves, airline accident lawyer and former airline captain, Los Angeles

When you get on that airplane at 7 a.m., you want your pilot to be rested and ready. But the hotels they put us in now are so bad that there are many nights when I toss and turn. They’re in bad neighborhoods, they’re loud, they’ve got bedbugs, and there have been stabbings in the parking lot. —Jack Stephan

Sometimes the airline won’t give us lunch breaks or even time to eat. We have to delay flights just so we can get food. —First officer on a regional carrier

Most people get sick after traveling not because of what they breathe but because of what they touch.

Always assume that the tray table and the button to push the seat back have not been wiped down, though we do wipe down the lavatory. —Patrick Smith

It’s one thing if the pilot puts the seat belt sign on for the passengers…

But if he tells the flight attendants to sit down, you’d better listen. That means there’s some serious turbulence ahead. —John Greaves

Driving is WAY scarier than flying a plane.

People always ask, “What’s the scariest thing that’s ever happened to you?” I tell them it was a van ride from the Los Angeles airport to the hotel, and I’m not kidding. —Jack Stephan

Most of the time, how you land is a good indicator of a pilot’s skill.

So if you want to say something nice to a pilot as you’re getting off the plane, say ‘Nice landing.’ We do appreciate that. Joe D’Eon, a pilot at a major airline who produces a podcast at

The two worst airports for us: Reagan National in Washington, D.C., and John Wayne in Orange County, California.

You’re flying by the seat of your pants trying to get in and out of those airports. John Wayne is especially bad because the rich folks who live near the airport don’t like jet noise, so they have this noise abatement procedure where you basically have to turn the plane into a ballistic missile as soon as you’re airborne.
 —Pilot, South Carolina

At some airports with really short runways, you’re not going to have a smooth landing no matter how good we are: John Wayne Airport; Jackson Hole, Wyoming; Chicago Midway; and Reagan National. —Joe D’Eon

Remember: Bad weather exists BETWEEN cities, too

This happens all the time: We’ll be in Pittsburgh going to Philly, and there will be a weather delay. The weather in Pittsburgh is beautiful. Then I’ll hear passengers saying, ‘You know, I just called my friend in Philly, and it’s beautiful there too,’ like there’s some kind of conspiracy or something. But in the airspace between Pittsburgh and Philly there’s a huge thunderstorm. —Jack Stephan

Is traveling with a baby in your lap safe? No.

It’s extremely dangerous. If there’s any impact or deceleration, there’s a good chance you’re going to lose hold of your kid, and he becomes a projectile. But the government’s logic is that if we made you buy an expensive seat for your baby, you’d just drive, and you’re more likely to be injured driving than flying. —Patrick Smith

Passengers: PLEASE be more mindful of yourself and others.

Most of you wouldn’t consider going down the highway at 60 miles an hour without your seat belt fastened. But when we’re hurtling through the air at 500 miles an hour and we turn off the seat belt sign, half of you take your seat belts off. But if we hit a little air pocket, your head will be on the ceiling. —Captain at a major airline

If you’re going to recline your seat, for God’s sake, please check behind you first. You have no idea how many laptops are broken every year by boorish passengers who slam their seat back with total disregard to what’s going on behind them. —John Nance

Whatever you pay to fly, we pay more.

Please don’t complain to me about your lost bags or the rotten service or that the airline did this or that. My retirement was taken to help subsidize your $39 airfare. —Pilot, South Carolina

I know pilots who spend a quarter million on their education and training, then that first year as a pilot, they qualify for food stamps. —Furloughed first officer, Texas

We miss the peanuts too. —US Airways pilot, South Carolina

We don’t wear our hats in the cockpit, by the way

On TV and in the comics, you always see these pilots with their hats on, and they have their headsets on over the hat, and that always makes us laugh. —Joe D’Eon

There’s a good reason for everything we ask you to do.

We ask you to put up the window shade so the flight attendants can see outside in an emergency, to assess if one side is better for an evacuation. It also lets light into the cabin if it goes dark and helps passengers get oriented if the plane flips or rolls over. —Patrick Smith

We hear some dumb things.

Here’s a news flash: We’re not sitting in the cockpit listening to the ball game. Sometimes we can ask the controllers to go to their break room to check the score. But when I fly to Pittsburgh on a Sunday afternoon, the passengers send the flight attendants up at least ten times to ask us the Steelers score.
 —Commercial pilot, Charlotte, North Carolina

I am so tired of hearing ‘Oh my God, you’re a girl pilot.’ When you see a black pilot, do you say ‘Oh my God, you’re a black pilot’? —Pilot for a regional carrier

People tend to think the airplane is just flying itself. Trust me, that’s not true. It can fly by itself sometimes. But you’ve always got your hands on the controls waiting for it to mess up. And it does mess up. —Pilot, South Carolina

Those buddy passes they give us?

I give them only to my enemies now. Sure, you can get a $1,000 airfare to Seattle for $100. But since you have to fly standby, it will take you three months to get back because you can’t get a seat. —Pilot, South Carolina

Some insider advice:

I always tell my kids to travel in sturdy shoes. If you have to evacuate and your flip-flops fall off, there you are standing on the hot tarmac or in the weeds in your bare feet. —Joe D’Eon

Cold on the airplane? Tell your flight attendant. We’re in a constant battle with them over the temperature. They’re moving all the time, up and down the aisles, so they are always calling and saying, ‘Turn up the air.’ But most passengers I know are freezing. —Captain at a major carrier

Here’s the truth about airline jobs:

You don’t have as much time off as your neighbors think you have, you don’t make as much money as your relatives think you make, and you don’t have as many girlfriends as your wife thinks you have. Still, I can’t believe they pay me to do this. —Commercial pilot, Charlotte, North Carolina

Finally, some airline lingo:

Blue juice: The water in the lavatory toilet. “There’s no blue juice in the lav.”
Crotch watch: The required check to make sure all passengers have their seat belts fastened. Also: “groin scan.”
Crumb crunchers: Kids. “We’ve got a lot of crumb crunchers on this flight.”
Deadheading: When an airline employee flies as a passenger for company business.
Gate lice: The people who gather around the gate right before boarding so they can be first on the plane. “Oh, the gate lice are thick today.”
George: Autopilot. “I’ll let George take over.”
Landing lips: Female passengers put on their “landing lips” when they use their lipstick just before landing.
Pax: Passengers.
Spinners: Passengers who get on late and don’t have a seat assignment, so they spin around looking for a seat.
Two-for-once special: The plane touches down on landing, bounces up, then touches down again.
Working the village: Working in coach.

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The Navy's last flying aircraft carrier

Off the California coast lies the sunken wreckage of the U.S. Navy's last flying aircraft carrier -- USS Macon (ZRS-5). The Macon served as a launch and takeoff platform for biplanes. FILE -- Flying over New York Harbor, circa Summer 1933. The southern end of Manhattan Island is visible in the lower left center. U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph.
Off the California coast lies the sunken wreckage of the U.S. Navy’s last flying aircraft carrier — USS Macon (ZRS-5). The Macon served as a launch and takeoff platform for biplanes.
FILE — Flying over New York Harbor, circa Summer 1933. The southern end of Manhattan Island is visible in the lower left center. U.S. Naval History and Heritage Command Photograph.

(CNN)Off the California coast lies the sunken wreckage of the U.S. Navy’s last flying aircraft carrier.

The idea that the Navy had flying aircraft carriers is probably new to a lot of people. Imagine a nearly 800-foot “blimp” where five military airplanes can land and take off in midair.

Last week, a team of oceanographers got a close look at the airship USS Macon. More than 1,400 feet under the sea, robots from the exploration ship E/V Nautilus examined the Macon with cameras and other equipment.

The Macon — technically not a blimp, but a rigid airship — crashed into the water off Point Sur during a storm in 1935, killing two of its 83 crewmen. Outfitted with four deployable Sparrowhawk biplanes, it was the last of its kind in the U.S. military.

The crash spelled the end of the U.S. military’s flying aircraft carrier program.

Nonetheless, magnificent floating airships have “remained in the collective consciousness partially because of the popularity of sci-fi and things like the ‘steam punk’ revival,” said aviation archaeologist Megan Lickliter-Mundon, who took part in the underwater mission from the surface.

“When we first got down to the site — about 900 meters away — I can’t really describe the excitement of watching the screen and waiting to see what’s going to come out of the blue at you.”

Soon the wreckage came into view, including parts of the airplanes. “It looked like two tubes — one was pointing down and one was up. And I said, ‘What is that?’ Soon it became obvious the tubes were remnants of a wing, wreckage from an airplane engine and a propeller.”

“I was shocked — really, kind of saddened” that there was so much damage, she said.

The airship’s “biplane No. 1” is the most intact, she said. The U.S. Navy emblem is still legible on it.

The wreckage was first discovered in 1990, when experts were able to photograph it for the first time. In 2006, another expedition got a look at it. Last week’s mission gathered even more images that will allow scientists to evaluate its deterioration. They’re hoping to create a 3-D model of the wreckage site.

Lickliter-Mundon and other aviation archaeologists want to know more about the Macon’s hangar system.

When a plane would approach, a trapeze would lower from a hangar inside the belly of the airship, said aviation historian Dan Grossman of The plane would fly to a metal bar hanging down from the trapeze and attach to it by a hook on top of the plane. The plane would then be raised into a T-shaped hole in the belly of the airship. Then, inside, a crane would move the plane to its storage place.

Sadly, the Macon will remain on the ocean floor forever, Lickliter-Mundon said. Trying to safely bring what’s left of it to the surface would be too expensive and time-consuming.

It’s hard to know how these kinds of aircraft would have performed if the Navy hadn’t shut down the program. Some people wonder if they could have changed history.

“There are a lot of people who argue that these kinds of airships might have been able to warn the Navy about the Japanese fleet that attacked Pearl Harbor,” said Grossman. “Instead of it being a surprise attack, America would have been able to take appropriate defensive measures.”

What about the future? Will the U.S. ever consider new airborne aircraft carriers? The Pentagon apparently isn’t ruling it out.

Last year, the Pentagon’s research arm asked for ideas about carriers that would launch and recover unmanned aerial systems — aka drones.

This post originally appear on CNN….

American Airlines Dreamliner Repaired After Hailstorm

An American Airlines jet pummeled in a hailstorm last month is back in the air Monday after undergoing extensive repairs in North Texas.

The Boeing 787 Dreamliner was headed to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport on July 27 when its nose cone was heavily dented over China, and the pilots were able to return the plane to Beijing safely.x

Along with the dented nose cone, several panels were replaced along with the cover for a landing light that was smashed by the storm.

The plane is one of nine Boeing 787 Dreamliners in the current American Airlines fleet, with four more still to be delivered this year.

Airline officials say the fuselage of the revolutionary aircraft, which is made of carbon fiber, was not damaged by the hail, and they are confident the plane is now as good as new.

The plane flew from D/FW to Chicago Monday morning with no problems. Mechanics there inspected the plane one more time before it was allowed to continue to Tokyo.

Is Emirates the Best Airline to Work for as a Flight Attendant?

1 Is Emirates the Best Airline to Work for as a Flight Attendant
Photo via Flickr/Brussels Airport

Emirates offers a lot of perks to its cabin staff. Some of these extras are things that other airlines would not even dream of giving their most senior flight attendants. At the same time, the carrier, which is the largest in the Middle East, demands more of its in-flight employees than almost any other carrier in the world.

Year after year, Emirates is ranked as one of the world’s best airlines. It’s not a surprise that people want to work for such a highly regarded company. According to Gulf News, last year the Dubai-based carrierhired more than 5,000 new flight attendants. That seems like quite a lot, but getting a cabin staff job with Emirates is not easy. The airlineclaims to get about 500 new applications every day. That is more than 180,000 per year.

International Talent

Very few of these flight attendants are from Dubai. The most common nationality for Emirates cabin staff is British.

So what draws people to the airline? Maybe some want to work for a brand that is known for its upscale, glamorous image. Many, however, are probably in it, at least partially, for the perks.

A Jet-Set Life

Emirates seems quite generous when it comes to giving extras to its employees. Even the newest flight attendants get a deal that would make the most senior cabin staff at a U.S. legacy carrier envious. Emirates attendants have their accommodations paid for. They are whisked to and from work in private cars. Their base salary is tax free and they get 30 days of annual leave (and free tickets to go wherever they choose during their break).

This “pampering” is not a new phenomenon. Way back in 2008, the Wall Street Journal did a story on the charmed life of Emirates flight attendants. The paperhighlighted perks like totally free living arrangements, 50 percent discounts at local restaurants and health clubs, and generous housing allowances for crew members who had families. Of course, all these extras came at a slight cost: Emirates employees’ salaries were (and still are) lower overall than those of U.S.-based legacy carriers.

Is Emirates the Best Airline to Work for as a Flight Attendant
Photo via Flickr/Bill Holler

Judging by the number of applicants who are still trying to get into an Emirates uniform, it seems that many think it is worth trading the extra income for a glamorous jet-set lifestyle that would not be possible at other airlines.

A Tough Job to Get

The airline is looking for a very specific type of flight attendant. Image is very important to Emirates. Part of the application process involves submitting photographs, and an entire day of orientation for new hires is dedicated to makeup, grooming and uniform appearance.

Two Emirates attendants, in an interview with the Huffington Post, said there is actually a manual with rules that cover lipstick shades, makeup application and even nail styles and nail polish colors.

While they don’t have to fret over finding the correct shade of lipstick to match their hat, male flight attendants are also held to rigorous image standards. They have to undergo the same training in skincare, uniform appearance and hair care as their female counterparts.

Trouble in Flight Attendant Paradise?

Earlier this year, there were rumblings amongst flight attendants about shortened layovers and longer-than-acceptable flight hours. Some insiders told the WSJ that Emirates was holding employee roundtables where cabin crew could air their grievances to management. One of the biggest concerns: having annual leaves shortened last year. Also, crewmembers that had been promoted to the premium classes were forced to cover for shortages by returning to economy class. They saw this as a demotion.

Emirates is hiring a lot of new flight attendants. Is the airline really expanding that fast? It is hard to tell, and Emirates has never released turnover numbers, so no one knows how many crewmembers have quit in the last year.

Compared to other airlines, Emirates offers an amazing number of perks. However, there is a tradeoff with more stringent rules about appearance and conduct. In a way, Emirates attendants are still paying for their jet set lifestyle, but with effort, not with money.


The post Is Emirates the Best Airline to Work for as a Flight Attendant? appeared first on travelpulse..

Drag races take over the runway at BC's Sechelt Airport

On any given day Sechelt Airport, on British Columbia’s Sunshine Coast, is a typical local aerodrome found in many small towns across the country. Small private planes come and go but overall a quiet place where, at times, Canada Geese can be seen feeding on grass along the runway edges. However, on several occasions each year, the mild mannered aerodrome unleashes its wild side. Screaming engines and clouds of burning rubber fill the air as members of the Sunshine Coast Drag Racing Association (SCDRA) take over the runway to compete head to head for local glory in their street cars or high octane hot rods.

Photos & Post by Andy Clark for The Globe and Mail

1 Drag races take over the runway at BC's Sechelt Airport

2 Drag races take over the runway at BC's Sechelt Airport 3 Drag races take over the runway at BC's Sechelt Airport 4 Drag races take over the runway at BC's Sechelt Airport 5 Drag races take over the runway at BC's Sechelt Airport 6 Drag races take over the runway at BC's Sechelt Airport 7 Drag races take over the runway at BC's Sechelt Airport 8 Drag races take over the runway at BC's Sechelt Airport 9 Drag races take over the runway at BC's Sechelt Airport 10 Drag races take over the runway at BC's Sechelt Airport 11 Drag races take over the runway at BC's Sechelt Airport 12 Drag races take over the runway at BC's Sechelt Airport


Thee post originally appear The Globe and Mail ….. on Follow The Globe and Mail on Twitter: @GlobeBC