Tags: flying | air travel

10 Things Pilots Won't Tell You About Flying

pilots in the cockpit
(Viorel Dudau/Dreamstime.com)

By    |   Monday, 11 November 2019 10:57 AM

Flying can be tedious, especially when things aren't working in your favor. Delays, turbulence, and getting sick after traveling are just some annoyances passengers have to contend with. Then there are all the things that you are not being told. Several pilots recently spilled the beans to Reader's Digest about what they would never tell passengers. Here we list 10 of those points:

  1. Planes often get struck by lightning. It is a frightening thought, and knowing that most planes have been struck by lightning does nothing to ease a person's mind. However, airline pilot Charlotte explains that it is not as bad as it sounds and the plane will not fall out of the sky.
  2. Why you are asked to put your laptop away. There is a reason why pilots request that you put your laptop away — and it is not because of electronic interference. Patrick Smith compares laptops to a projectile that could easily hurt someone in severe weather conditions or emergencies.
  3. Updrafts are more concerning than turbulence. Updrafts don't show up on the radar at night but if a plane were to hit one, it would be like hurtling into a massive speed bump. It can be jarring and violent as everything gets tossed and thrown around the plane, says retired captain John Nance.
  4. Why you have to turn off your cell phone. The use of cellphones on a plane could interfere with readings in the cockpit. While landing, for example, the readings could tell pilots they are higher than they really are, explains retired pilot Jim Tilmon.
  5. Arrival times are manipulated. Airlines often adjust their flight arrival times to be longer than the flight really is in order to have a higher rate of on-time arrivals, an anonymous airline captain explains.
  6. Getting there on time is the priority. There is pressure for flights to increase their on-time performance, which means pilots are under pressure to not delay their flights anymore — even if there are several passengers running across the airport to make their flight, says commercial pilot Charlotte.
  7. Pressure to carry less fuel. Planes burn fuel by carrying extra fuel, which is why some airlines pressure pilots to carry less of it. At issue is if there are thunderstorms or delays and there is limited fuel left, says an unnamed captain at a popular airline.
  8. Pilots won't announce difficulties. If an engine fails, pilots will not announce this. They may downplay it or not say anything at all. The same applies to other difficulties they may encounter when flying, like zero visibility.
  9. Pilots are exhausted. Airlines allow pilots to work 16 hours straight, which is already exhausting, but Jack Stephan explains that they are often booked into questionable hotels where there is noise, bed bugs, and crime. This makes it nearly impossible to sleep.
  10. Pilots are hungry. A first officer on a regional carrier explains that many airlines do not give their pilots any time to eat, so sometimes they delay flights just to grab a meal.

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Flying can be tedious, especially when things aren't working in your favor. Several pilots recently spilled the beans to Reader's Digest about what they would never tell passengers.
flying, air travel
500
2019-57-11
Monday, 11 November 2019 10:57 AM
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