Lanzarote Grapevine Issue 2 - Page 120

Issue 2 | The Lanzarote Grapevine 2014 Flying for most of us is a pretty routine activity. We take air travel in our stride as like ants we scurry across the world atlas exploring, holidaying and visiting. FLY ME. NO THANKS Few of us give more than a passing thought to what goes on on the flight deck. However, a little knowledge of what goes on in the aircrews minds might sex up our flight a little. All pilots know the importance of fuel. The only time you have too much of it is when you are on fire. As an article of faith the co-pilot might remind his first pilot colleague that when one engine fails on a twin-engine aeroplane you always have enough power left to get you to the scene of the crash. Pilots are a highly professional bunch. Their motto could easily be, ‘Never trade luck for skill.’ If every car driver took that advice on board the likelihood of being involved in an accident would be dramatically reduced. Most pilots are aware that the difference between pilots and Air Traffic Control is easily explained. If the pilot messes up the pilot dies. If Air Traffic Control mess up the pilot dies. The more pragmatic aircrew know that flying the aircraft is far more important than radioing their plight to ATC. They are incapable of understanding the difficulty and equally incapable of doing anything about it. by Mike Walsh Most of us have experienced the occasional bumpy ride as the plane’s wheels hit the tarmac. This means Captain Kangaroo hasn’t been paying full attention. A clear signal that the landing gear is still in the fuselage is when it takes full power to get the aeroplane to the terminal. On alighting the choice is yours; you either use the non-existent steps or the chute provided. Pilots can be very self-effacing: They know that airspeed, altitude, and brains are essential for a safely completed flight. You need at least two of them. I have never been fond of helicopter rides though it is a myth that they plunge to the ground if something falls off. They can sort of whirlygig glide to terra firma. This might explain the remark of those who pilot these contraptions: ‘If something hasn’t broken on your helicopter it’s about to.’ Even pilots of fixed wing aircraft are wary of helicopters. They have been heard to surmise: “If the wings are travelling faster than the fuselage it is probably a helicopter and therefore unsafe.” The three expressions you least want to hear from your pilot are: “Why is he doing that?”, “Where are we?,” and “Oh shit!.” For complete peace of mind when flying I suggest you remember the bottom line: “Mankind has a perfect record in aviation. It has never left one up there.”