35 Secrets your pilot won’t tell you

We asked 17 pilots from across the country to give us straight answers about maddening safety rules, inexplicable delays, the air and attitudes up there—and what really happens behind the cockpit door. What they told us will change the way you fly.

Here are just a few from the list:

  • “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, a pilot at a major airline
  • “Regional airlines 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.
  • “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, airline accident lawyer and former airline captain, Los Angeles
  • “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
  • “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
  • “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.” -Patrick Smith
  • “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
  • “Remember this before you complain about the cost of a ticket: Fares today are about the same as they were in the 1980s.” -Patrick Smith

More here

On a long airplane flight

Girl on airplaneA Congressman was seated next to a little girl on an airplane so he turned to her and said, “Do you want to talk? Flights go quicker if you strike up a conversation with your fellow passenger.”

The little girl, who had just started to read her book, replied to the total stranger, “What would you want to talk about?”

“Oh, I don’t know,” said the congressman. “How about global warming, universal health care, or stimulus packages?” he asked smugly.

“OK,” she said. “Those could be interesting topics but let me ask you a question first. A horse, a cow, and a deer all eat the same stuff – grass. Yet a deer excretes little pellets, while a cow turns out a flat patty, but a horse produces clumps. Why do you suppose that is?”

The legislator, visibly surprised by the little girl’s intelligence, thinks about it and says, “Hmmm, I have no idea”.

To which the little girl replies, “Do you really feel qualified to discuss global warming, universal health care, or the economy, when you don’t know shit?” And then she went back to reading her book.

Thanks Donnie Mac

Murphy’s Law for frequent flyers

Phuket Air1. No flight ever leaves on time unless you are running late and need the delay to make the flight.

2. If you are running late for a flight, it will depart from the farthest gate within the terminal.

3. If you arrive very early for a flight, it inevitably will be delayed.

4. Flights never leave from Gate #1 at any terminal in the world.

5. If you must work on your flight, you will experience turbulence as soon as you touch pen to paper.

6. If you are assigned a middle seat, you can determine who has the seats on the aisle and the window while you are still in the boarding area. Just look for the two largest passengers.

7. Only passengers seated in window seats ever have to get up to go to the lavatory.

8. The crying baby on board your flight is always seated next to you.

9. The best-looking woman on your flight is never seated next to you.

10. The less carry-on luggage space available on an aircraft, the more carry-on luggage passengers will bring aboard.


A pilot and airport security

Body scannerIn the pilots words…

My name is Michael Roberts, and I am a pilot for ExpressJet Airlines, Inc., based in Houston (that is, I still am for the time being). This morning as I attempted to pass through the security line for my commute to work I was denied access to the secured area of the terminal building at Memphis International Airport.

I have passed through the same line roughly once per week for the past four and a half years without incident. Today, however, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agents at this checkpoint were using one of the new Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT) systems that are currently being deployed at airports across the nation. These are the controversial devices featured by the media in recent months, albeit sparingly, which enable screeners to see beneath people’s clothing to an extremely graphic and intrusive level of detail (virtual strip searching). Travelers refusing this indignity may instead be physically frisked by a government security agent until the agent is satisfied to release them on their way in what is being touted as an “alternative option” to AIT.

Here is his version of the incident….

… and remember, He’s THE PILOT!  If he wanted to do harm to a plane full of passengers it wouldn’t be that hard.


Road Trip 2010 – Summary

Our nine day road trip is history. 

Jonco on Charlotte
Charlotte cruises along the highway in Louisiana headed home.

  • Trip time: 9 Days and 8 Nights
  • Total Mileage: 2,779 –  Average per day: 309 miles
  • Rain:  None
  • States we traveled in:  Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, Arkansas
  • Hotels: Days Inn (OK), Country Inn (TX), Days Inn (TX) Commodore (TX), Key West Inn (MS), Comfort Inn (TN).  Nightly rates ranged from $59 to $79
  • Best places we ateCattlemen’s Steakhouse in Oklahoma City, Bubba’s Burger Shack in Houston, The Oasis in Austin, and The Commissary in Memphis..
  • Road Trip 2010 – On the road again

    The I’m Getting Too Old For This Tour continues.  We’re nearing the end of the tour as we’re heading home.  We left Bay St. Louis Mississippi this morning and ended the day in Memphis Tennessee.  Total mileage today 390. 

    Shdow rider

    When we got to Memphis we headed for The Commissary in Germantown (a suburb of Memphis) for the best BBQ ribs and chicken.  Absolutely delicious!  It took us a while to find the place, but the quest was worth it.


    Tomorrow we head out on the final leg of our journey –  the 300 miles from Memphis to St. Louis.

    Road Trip 2010 – WWII Museum to Bourbon Street

    The I Can Not Believe It Hasn’t Rained Yet Tour continues…

    German air raid bunkerThis morning started at 8 am for breakfast at the Waffle House.  Then we were off to New Orleans and the World War II Museum. It’s also known as the D-Day Museum.  I’m not a big history buff but I really like this museum.  I was here about 10 years ago and took a brief tour of it them.  It’s been expanded since then and will undergo another expansion in the next couple of years.

    They’ve added a really good movie in the theater across the street.  If you ever go here, make sure you see the movie too.

    After staying longer than we anticipated we headed to Bourbon Street and Pat O’Brien’s for a light lunch of alligator bites and chicken wings.  We had planned to go to Mandina’s, but the timing just didn’t work out.

    Pat obriens Beer house NO baby

    Bourbon street

    After our late lunch and some brief shopping we got caught in some rush hour traffic getting out of town.  We headed down highway 90 from Bay St. Louis through Biloxi, Gulfport and into Ocean Springs where we met Mike’s niece and her husband.  They led us to Aunt Jenny’s, a local favorite, where we dined on fried chicken, catfish and shrimp.  We also had some fried green tomatoes and fried pickles.  We then headed back to our hotel in Bay St. Louis –  arriving at 10:45.  Another long day!

    Tomorrow we’re off at 8 am heading for home.  We plan to stop at the Commissary in Memphis Tennessee for BBQ and spend the night there.

    Road Trip 2010 – From Galveston to Bay St. Louis

    The 12 Hours and Sore in the Saddle Tour continues…

    Sunrise galveston
    Dawn’s crack as seen at 7:15 this morning from our balcony in Galveston.

    We were up at the crack of dawn and on the road by 8 am.  We took the ferry from Galveston Island to Bolivar Peninsula and then over through Beaumont, Lafayette, Morgan City, New Orleans and ended up in Bay St. Louis Mississippi a little after 8 pm.

    Place of Remembrance
    Statue galveston
    In memory of the victims lost at sea during the Galveston hurricane of September 8, 1900, Galveston artist David Moore created this sculpture to commemorate the one hundredth anniversary of the hurricane that claimed 90 children and 10 nuns at St. Mary’s Orphan Asylum in Galveston.

    Today was a long day on the road – 12 hours covering 421 miles, but the weather was pretty good.  It wasn’t too hot for most of the trip.  The sun was setting as we went through New Orleans.  Bay St. Louis is about an hour beyond New Orleans.

    Tomorrow we’re heading into New Orleans to visit the World War II Museum and Bourbon Street.  We’ll hopefully be out of there before rush hour.  We’re going to meet up with Mike’s niece for dinner tomorrow night.