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100 votes

Why is being a commercial pilot stressful?

The stress comes from everything about the job that isn't actually flying the plane. Dealing with crew scheduling is the #1 cause of stress. If your phone rings with that special ringtone you ...
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75 votes

Can a passenger realistically replace suddenly incapacitated pilots?

I guess this is a secret dream of many of you here: You sit on a scheduled flight, and hear in the PA system: "Both our pilots just passed out. Any volunteers to take over their duties?" Won't happen....
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69 votes

How do fighter pilots manage food, drink & toilet?

Life Strapped to the Rocket Food and Drink Fighter pilots do not have any problem taking food and drinks on flights. The biggest concern is to prevent foreign object damage (FOD) from items like ...
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65 votes

Do pilots really wear "pilot's watches"?

High end mechanical pilots watches are very little use in the cockpit whether you are in a commercial airplane or a cessna 152. I love watches and I've searched for years for a watch that was a) very ...
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  • 49.5k
65 votes
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Why does flying not have any age restrictions like driving does?

Short answer: the US government agreed with you 3 years after her record flight. In the FAA reauthorization act of 1996, the following clause was added to 49 U.S. Code § 44724 - Manipulation of ...
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  • 3,551
64 votes
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How does a pilot tell passengers to prepare for severe turbulence without causing panic?

Turbulence is reported on a scale of light, moderate, severe, and extreme. The full definitions are available in the FAA Aeronautical Information Manual. As experienced in the cabin, For Light ...
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  • 41.9k
61 votes

Can a passenger realistically replace suddenly incapacitated pilots?

Actually, this theory has been tested a few times in simulators and small aircrafts with little twists here and there. Take a look at this video: Amateur Trying to Land Airbus A320 from 2500 Altitude ...
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54 votes

Can a passenger realistically replace suddenly incapacitated pilots?

Mythbusters tested this. They each tried once without guidance and failed miserably. Then they had a veteran ATC assist them and they both landed successfully. So the experiment was tainted just a ...
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51 votes
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How do pilots manage to remember ATC instructions?

It depends. Some instructions are really simple and with a little practice, are very easy to remember. ...
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50 votes
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Why are pilots deemed unfit to fly after emergency ejection?

Ejection Seats are not a free ticket out. They are incredibly violent and rough on your body. This newspaper article has a more chilling quote from an interview: About one in three will get a ...
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50 votes

What is your responsibility when a distraught pilot is on frequency?

On frequency, if control is responding to the distressed aircraft you should stay quiet and let them work the problem. This would not be a great time to ask for flight following or traffic advisories ...
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  • 96k
47 votes
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How do airlines replace a pilot at the last minute if they're unable to fly?

The airplanes can't depart without the minimum crew, which means 2 pilots, or 3 if there is a Flight Engineer. The airlines have "Reserve" and "Ready Reserve" types of duty to ...
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45 votes
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Has any prior accident been caused by a psychologically unstable and/or suicidal crew member?

Confirmed (or Highly Probable) LAM Mozambique Airlines Flight 470: A report from the government of Mozambique states that the captain deliberately crashed an Embraer 190 in Namibia on November 29, ...
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45 votes
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Do pilots have their own in-flight entertainment?

I am not aware of any legal requirements, but rules may differ according to the country of jurisdiction. Generally it is up to the company that a pilot works for to establish their own rules to ...
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43 votes
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Is there an official record of the pilot with the most logged flight time?

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia John Edward "Ed" Long, Jr John Edward "Ed" Long, Jr. (1915–July 18, 1999) was an American pilot who is in the Guinness Book of Records for the most flight time ...
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42 votes

Why pilots would leave the cockpit in a short flight?

The cockpit of some airliners lacks a lavatory. Cockpit layout from AviationKnowledge.wikidot This is discussed in Skybrary: Flight Deck Security Locked Door Flight Safety Issues ... ...
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42 votes

Do pilots really wear "pilot's watches"?

Disclosure: I am both a watch enthusiast and a Pilot but on any note... The answer to your question is generally no, but that varies by personal taste as well as personal choice. There are lots of ...
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  • 96k
42 votes

Why is being a commercial pilot stressful?

The amount, types, duration, and severity of pilot stressors vary widely. The individual airline, union involvement, scheduled versus non-scheduled, international or domestic, type of equipment, ...
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41 votes
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What can airline pilots do if they are no longer in the position to fly, career-wise?

When I worked in the design department of an aircraft company, I had two types of coworkers: Those with and those without a pilot's license. You could easily spot the difference. In aircraft-related ...
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41 votes
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Why does an airplane captain sit in the left seat?

There are several reasons, mostly historical, or theories behind this: After World War I, most airplanes had rotary engines with left turning tendencies because it followed the torque of the engine. ...
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40 votes
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Has someone with no experience at all ever taken off in a plane? Could they?

The Aviation Safety Network has an article listing 11 airplanes that crashed after being stolen by a non-pilot. The most recent was the Horizon Air Dash 8 that was stolen by a ground service agent in ...
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  • 69.7k
39 votes

Why can't airline pilots listen to music while flying?

I don't know where he gets that. Regulation wise there's nothing stopping an airline pilot from listening to music as long as he/she can hear ambient sounds or communications and modern headsets make ...
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  • 104k
38 votes

What's the point of writing on a cockpit window?

If you use a grease pencil, it rubs off easily from glass So you can save paper, not have to look down or hunt for the info, it won't fall on the floor, and if it's written in the center of the ...
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  • 16.4k
38 votes
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What is your responsibility when a distraught pilot is on frequency?

Do not respond to irrelevant chatter on aviation frequencies. There are already way too many people who think it is ok to chit chat and joke on the radio while they are flying. Not only does this ...
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38 votes

How did pilots avoid thunderstorms and related weather before “reliable” airborne weather radar was introduced on airliners?

They looked out the window! If you are talking about a developing thunderstorm, especially during the day, they can be quite easy to see in front of you provided decent visibility. Here is some good ...
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  • 96k
38 votes
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How long does it take to train a commercial pilot to fly a fighter jet?

fly it or fight it? There is a major difference. A few days studying the systems and maybe a few hours in a simulator and/or a two seater with an instructor and he could probably fly the aircraft and ...
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  • 14.9k
37 votes
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Have pilots encountered a UFO, and what to do if you have?

Pilots do encounter UFOs all the time. I just want to emphasize that UFO means "Unidentified Flying Object" - something which is flying, and which the pilot cannot identify. It does not mean an alien ...
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  • 10.5k
37 votes
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Why is the position of the pilots' head (eyes) so important?

The correct seating position is important to ensure A consistent viewpoint, which results in the final approach and flare always looking the same to the pilot. This is important when hand-flying the ...
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  • 44.5k
36 votes

Do pilots really wear "pilot's watches"?

Watches in today's cockpits really aren't a tool the way they were in the past. We aren't using our wristwatch as a chronograph to manage dead reckoning the way that was required before such modern ...
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  • 1,715
35 votes

How do pilots travel from remote private airports after landing?

You do whatever you can. Sometimes you call a taxi/Uber, sometimes you walk, sometimes you pack a small folding bicycle into your plane, and sometimes you borrow the airport car. Many small airports ...
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