Category Archives: Pilots

Do Flight Attendants on US based airlines have a “cop” mentality?

Do flight attendants have a “cop” mentality? Probably.

Why?

  • -Because passengers think they are “above” the law.
  • -The rules don’t apply to them specifically.
  • -The seatbelt sign means nothing.
  • -TURBULENCE means nothing.
  • -Laptops arent considered “large” personal electronic devices.
  • -People pack bowling balls in suitcases, which become to heavy for them to lift, but assume they’re light for me to lift.
  • -People are too entitled.
  • -People think the airlines owe them everything.
  • -People expect everything for free.
  • -No one likes to be told what to do, even though they aren’t following FAA rules.
  • -Parents with children think children qualify as a disability, and expect everyone to cater to them because they have children.
  • -People use a wheelchair to get to and from the plane, but have 5 bags with them.

The list goes on and on, but until you start being a DECENT passenger, we’ll continue to have the “cop” mentality.

I have travelled on Emirates, Etihad, Cathay, British, Lufthansa, KLM, Jal, ANA and Air China and always found the attendants very pleasant under such a tasking enviornment however I recently flew on United to Mumbai and found the attitude of flight attandants quite obnoxious and high handed. They were seriously acting like police officers.

  • During boarding one FA sternly told the agent to move away from the Aisle eventhough I just saw him arriving and putting his bag.
  • Another lady with a small kid asked for help for putting her cabin bag and the FA responds “you should only bring cabin bags that you can lift, we cant help you with that”.
  • I got up during the flight and the washroom was occupied so I was waiting with another passenger. The FA told us to get back to our seats as congregating around washrooms was not allowed. I asked her can you let me know if the washroom gets vacant and she responded no I need to go back and use it when its empty… lol
  • One old Indian male with limited english was asking her something about the food. She kept asking him do you want A or do you want B instead of figuring out that they messed up his special meals.
  • I took an Ambien and was sleeping when they were apparently descending. Instead of tapping me to upright my chair, out of nowhere I hear a loud thud at the back of my head and saw the FA pushing my seat upright and then doing the same with another one and just going on. Im not exaggerating but it seriously gave me headache all day long. Maybe I was in deep sleep and the huge thud at the back of my head scared the …. out of me.

Its hard to describe their attitude and while the above things might seem petty, my overall impression was less than stellar. They had a very harsh and condescending manner of speaking with passengers like some cop who pulled you over for a traffic stop.

Since its my first time flying a US based airline Im just wondering if this is a standard practice for FA’s to behave like TSA?

if you’re an air hostess: Glamorous cabin crew and pilots show off perks of the job on Instagram

Flight crew across the globe have been uploading lavish pictures of their travels in a number of envy-inducing Instagram posts


These envy-inducing pictures show the glamorous lives of long haul flight crews who are paid to travel the world.

Air stewards and stewardesses have been uploading elaborate selfies to their Instagram accounts during their stop-overs at work.

And they’re full of sunbathing on the beach, sipping cocktails from coconuts and other boastful snaps guaranteed to make anyone jealous.

In one snap, an air hostess called Georgia Nielsen sips from a coconut on a beach in Brazil.

The Australian stewardess, who works for Emirates Airline, also poses with a beer on the beach in Cape Town, South Africa, and in one snap poses in front of the bridge in San Francisco.

(Photo: Instagram/georgia.nielsen)
Aeroflot hostess Victoria Tzuranova
(Photo: Instagram/georgia.nielsen)

She captioned the picture: “On Sunday in San Francisco, a US Navy SEAL took me cycling to sunny Sausalito in my six-inch heels where we sweatily sipped Prosecco.

“It was f****** awesome. That is legit how I spent my yesterday”

Another stewardess, known online as Patricia, posted a picture of a stunning beach in Alicante, Spain.

She also uploaded pictures of herself sightseeing in Prague, landing in Norway and posing on Brooklyn Bridge during one trip to New York.

Patricia also gave her followers a look at life behind the scenes of cabin crew members.

Shoulder goals 🌴🌴 with @seedheritage #seedheritage

A photo posted by Georgia Nielsen (@georgia.nielsen) on

Another stewardess, known online as Patricia, posted a picture of a stunning beach in Alicante, Spain.

She also uploaded pictures of herself sightseeing in Prague, landing in Norway and posing on Brooklyn Bridge during one trip to New York.

Patricia also gave her followers a look at life behind the scenes of cabin crew members.

Norwegian Airlines' Rainam

She posted snaps of herself seated on the plane, and plenty of selfies showing off her uniform.

The Norwegian Air worker also shared pictures of herself with other crew members, posing in the cabin and having fun on their days off.

Flight attendant Daniel Smith

Flight attendant Daniel Smith is also a male model

Another picture shows him wrapped up in a frosty field in Oslo, Norway, and another posing in a vest top in sunny Ibiza, Spain.

Daniel also posed with cabin crew in his uniform and boastfully uploaded a image of the words: “I need vitamin SEA.”

And one high-flying pilot uploaded a number of lavish snaps from the cockpit that show his travels across the globe.

The Brazil-based pilot, known online as Hudson Sa, took a number of incredible snaps from both the plane and on the ground.

One picture shows him flying above Sao Paolo with an incredible orange sunset in the background.

Another shows him relaxing on the beach in Noronha, Brazil, as in another picture he’s snorkeling in the area.

The pilot also uploaded a number selfies in his uniform and on the plane, amassing more than 2,500 followers in less than 6 weeks.

After taking a flight on Emirates, I never want to fly a domestic airline a

after-taking-a-flight-on-emirates-i-never-want-to-fly-a-domestic-airline-againI recently booked a flight from New York City to Milan for a quick getaway. Faced with the choice of flying Delta or Emirates, both of which had round-trip economy-class tickets for about $800, I quickly opted for the Middle Eastern airline.

Emirates, which is owned by Dubai’s government, has exploded onto the US market in the past several years. It is regularly rated one of the top airlines in the world, and I was psyched to experience it on the eight-hour flight.

The trip did not disappoint. I ate salmon and saffron risotto, drank complimentary (and surprisingly decent) wine, and watched a bunch of movies, including the recent Oscar winners “Birdman” and “Whiplash.”

Even before I boarded my flight from Milan to New York, I could tell this would be different from a flight on most domestic airlines. Any passenger — not just those in business class — could take a newspaper or magazine for the trip.

Even before I boarded my flight from Milan to New York, I could tell this would be different from a flight on most domestic airlines. Any passenger — not just those in business class — could take a newspaper or magazine for the trip.

Julie Zeveloff/Business Insider

Freshly poured mimosas were available upon boarding, but unfortunately for me, those were reserved for business-class travelers.

Freshly poured mimosas were available upon boarding, but unfortunately for me, those were reserved for business-class travelers.

Julie Zeveloff/Business Insider

The flowers hanging by the bathroom were a nice touch. They came down before takeoff.

The flowers hanging by the bathroom were a nice touch. They came down before takeoff.

Julie Zeveloff/Business Insider

Business class looked pretty cushy, with reclining seats, reading lamps, and big TV screens.

Business class looked pretty cushy, with reclining seats, reading lamps, and big TV screens.

Julie Zeveloff/Business Insider

But I wasn’t prepared to pony up several thousand dollars for an eight-hour flight, so I kept heading toward the back of the plane.

 But I wasn't prepared to pony up several thousand dollars for an eight-hour flight, so I kept heading toward the back of the plane.

Julie Zeveloff/Business Insider

At least the overhead bins were spacious, even in the rear.

At least the overhead bins were spacious, even in the rear.

Julie Zeveloff/Business Insider

My seat, 27K, was a window seat, and my row was full. Even so, I had plenty of room to wiggle my knees around. I’d hoped to fly on one of Emirates’ impressive new A380 planes, which have two decks and slightly larger economy seats. But it was hard to complain.

My seat, 27K, was a window seat, and my row was full. Even so, I had plenty of room to wiggle my knees around. I'd hoped to fly on one of Emirates' impressive new A380 planes, which have two decks and slightly larger economy seats. But it was hard to complain.

Julie Zeveloff/Business Insider

And one thing’s for sure … I lucked out with the view. That’s one very large airplane wing, with the Swiss Alps in the background!

And one thing's for sure ... I lucked out with the view. That's one very large airplane wing, with the Swiss Alps in the background!

Julie Zeveloff/Business Insider

Each seat came with a wrapped blanket and pillow …

Each seat came with a wrapped blanket and pillow ...

Julie Zeveloff/Business Insider

And a set of headphones and some brightly colored stickers.

And a set of headphones and some brightly colored stickers.

Julie Zeveloff/Business Insider

The stickers had a cool purpose: Passengers were instructed to put them on their seatbacks to let flight attendants know if they wanted to be woken up for food or shopping.

The stickers had a cool purpose: Passengers were instructed to put them on their seatbacks to let flight attendants know if they wanted to be woken up for food or shopping.

Julie Zeveloff/Business Insider

I made sure I would be awoken for dinner. I had heard good things about Emirates’ cuisine (Saveur’s experts have named its business-class in-flight fare the best two years in a row) and didn’t want to miss it.

I made sure I would be awoken for dinner. I had heard good things about Emirates' cuisine (Saveur's experts have named its business-class in-flight fare the best two years in a row) and didn't want to miss it.

Julie Zeveloff/Business Insider

Before we took off, a flight attendant came around with hot towels. In economy class!

Before we took off, a flight attendant came around with hot towels. In economy class!

Julie Zeveloff/Business Insider

She also handed each passenger a printed menu. In economy!

She also handed each passenger a printed menu. In economy!

Julie Zeveloff/Business Insider

After takeoff, I started browsing the complimentary issue of Italian fashion glossy Grazia, which I’d picked up at the newsstand. It almost immediately put me to sleep …

After takeoff, I started browsing the complimentary issue of Italian fashion glossy Grazia, which I'd picked up at the newsstand. It almost immediately put me to sleep ...

Julie Zeveloff/Business Insider

But I was awoken soon after when the drink cart rolled up. Unlike on most domestic airlines (even those that fly internationally), the booze was free. The white wine wasn’t half bad, and the flight attendant passed me a second bottle before I even had to ask for one. My seat neighbor collected mini bottles of Johnnie Walker Red Label as if it were going out of production.

But I was awoken soon after when the drink cart rolled up. Unlike on most domestic airlines (even those that fly internationally), the booze was free. The white wine wasn't half bad, and the flight attendant passed me a second bottle before I even had to ask for one. My seat neighbor collected mini bottles of Johnnie Walker Red Label as if it were going out of production.

Julie Zeveloff/Business Insider

Champagne was the only thing economy-class passengers had to pay for.

Champagne was the only thing economy-class passengers had to pay for.

Julie Zeveloff/Business Insider

The menu was printed in both English and Arabic. Normally I would avoid seafood on an airplane, but I decided to try the pan-fried salmon. How bad could it be?

The menu was printed in both English and Arabic. Normally I would avoid seafood on an airplane, but I decided to try the pan-fried salmon. How bad could it be?

Julie Zeveloff/Business Insider

It was actually excellent! The fish and risotto were both flavorful, no small feat for airplane food. The food was served hot, and the utensils were made of metal, not plastic.

It was actually excellent! The fish and risotto were both flavorful, no small feat for airplane food. The food was served hot, and the utensils were made of metal, not plastic.

Julie Zeveloff/Business Insider

Here’s a closer look at lunch.

Here's a closer look at lunch.

Julie Zeveloff/Business Insider

I was ready to take advantage of “Ice,” Emirates’ entertainment system. The airline review site Skytrax just ranked Emirates the best airline for in-flight entertainment, and I was pretty impressed with the selection.

I was ready to take advantage of "Ice," Emirates' entertainment system. The airline review site Skytrax just ranked Emirates the best airline for in-flight entertainment, and I was pretty impressed with the selection.

Julie Zeveloff/Business Insider

There were hundreds of movies to choose from, including recent Oscar winners like “Birdman,” “The Theory of Everything,” and “Whiplash.”

There were hundreds of movies to choose from, including recent Oscar winners like "Birdman," "The Theory of Everything," and "Whiplash."

Julie Zeveloff/Business Insider

There was also a program that let customers call one another’s seats. I was flying solo, so I didn’t try it out, but I could see kids having a field day making prank calls with it.

There was also a program that let customers call one another's seats. I was flying solo, so I didn't try it out, but I could see kids having a field day making prank calls with it.

Julie Zeveloff/Business Insider

The coolest part of Ice were the real-time cameras on the front and underbelly on the plane.

The coolest part of Ice were the real-time cameras on the front and underbelly on the plane.

Julie Zeveloff/Business Insider

I was thrilled to find a charger next to the infotainment system. It was compatible with all kinds of plugs.

I was thrilled to find a charger next to the infotainment system. It was compatible with all kinds of plugs.

Julie Zeveloff/Business Insider

Shortly before we landed, the flight attendants handed out our “snack” — “pizza margherita al pesto.” I had high expectations …

Shortly before we landed, the flight attendants handed out our "snack" — "pizza margherita al pesto." I had high expectations ...

Julie Zeveloff/Business Insider

… but it was a real letdown. The dough was soggy, and I didn’t taste any pesto at all. It was still better than most airplane food I’ve eaten, though, so I decided to give them a pass on the dish.

... but it was a real letdown. The dough was soggy, and I didn't taste any pesto at all. It was still better than most airplane food I've eaten, though, so I decided to give them a pass on the dish.

Julie Zeveloff/Business Insider

After eight hours, even a first-class suite couldn’t have enticed me to stay on the plane a minute longer. But I would definitely choose Emirates over any of the domestic airlines for my next international trip.

After eight hours, even a first-class suite couldn't have enticed me to stay on the plane a minute longer. But I would definitely choose Emirates over any of the domestic airlines for my next international trip.

Julie Zeveloff/Business Insider

Read the original article on INSIDER. Follow INSIDER on Facebook. Copyright 2016. Follow INSIDER on Twitter.

Flying Robots? DARPA Tests Robot Pilot Systems

Robot, take the wheel.

To deal with its longstanding pilot shortage, the US military is looking not at new recruitment drives, but at robots.

The Defense Advance Research Project Agency (DARPA) is currently deep into developing two types of robotic copilots, Defense News reports. And the robots won’t simply be able to operate planes’ flight systems – they’re also intended to be able to give advice to human pilots.

The Aircrew Labor In-Cockpit Automation System (ALIAS), the name of the robot copilot program, is intended to reduce the numbers of crew needed on manned aircraft, going first from two humans to one, but “then possibly down to zero,” Jean Charles-Lede, program manager of DARPA’s tactical technology program office, said, according to Defense One.

The ALIAS program is working toward delegating procedural tasks associated with flying to computers, which can often perform them better, according to the developers of the systems. Right now, ALIAS uses an open-interface software combined with a pilot-operated touchpad and speech recognition software, Scout.com reported. Pilots can speak or tap commands to the aircraft to perform some functions on its own.

ALIAS developers list things like checking engine status, altitude gauges, lights, switches and levers among those that computers can do more quickly and safely than humans.

Two contractors, Aurora Flight Sciences and Sikorksy, demonstrated their solutions in test flights in several types of aircraft in October. DARPA will select a single vendor for the final phase of the program.

Mark Cherry, president and CEO of Aurora Flight Sciences, said, “The ALIAS system is designed to be able to take out those dull mission requirements such as check lists and monitoring while providing a system status to the pilot. The pilot can concentrate on the broader mission at hand,” according to Scout.com.

Aurora’s system actually fits into the form of the copilot’s seat. It uses a robotic arm to physically fly the plane, leaving human pilots to take care of messier problem solving or troubleshooting tasks, Jessica Duda, Aurora’s ALIAS program manager, told Defense News.

The system is designed to operate much like a human would. Machine vision cameras take in information a human pilot would see, and ALIAS software uses that data to make flight decisions. “[W]e kind of work within the physical bounds of a human. We have eyes, like a human has eyes, we have the ability to interface with the controls as a human would … and we actually fit within the form factor of one of the seats,” Duda told Defense News.

Sikorsky’s system is more customizable and could eventually eliminate the need for any human pilot at all, Igor Cherepinsky, director of Sikorsky’s autonomy programs, told Defense News. The system offers options of having pilots in the cockpit, in the back of the plane, or not in the air at all, but controlling the machine remotely.

Sikorsky’s system physically moves the aircrafts controls, but uses small elements in instrument panels and floors, rather than a large arm, and thus leaves room for the option of a human copilot.

“One can imagine, as these vehicles are now smart enough to plan their routes, avoid obstacles, and stick landings, you can pick missions that have that as their core competency,” said Cherepinsky. In the future, cargo, reconnaissance or even medical evacuation flights could be operated remotely by a human monitoring several self-flying aircraft, he said.

John Langford, Aurora’s chairman and CEO, told the Daily Mail, “It’s really about a spectrum of increasing autonomy and how humans and robots work together so that each can be doing the thing that it’s best at.”

“The robot carries in them the DNA of every flight hour in that system, every accident,” he said. “It’s like having a human pilot with 600,000 hours of experience.”

Using machines to fly planes, is, of course, nothing new. Commercial airline pilots routinely rely on autopilot systems. But Keith Hagy, the Air Line Pilots Association’s director of engineering and safety, points out that so far only humans are able to deal with the unpredictable.

“Those are the kind of abnormal situations when you really need a pilot on board with that judgment and experience and to make decisions,” Hagy told the Daily Mail.

[via sputniknews]

The most heroic airline pilots of all time

A China Eastern Airlines pilot has been labelled a hero, and presented with a cash reward, after his quick thinking avoided a runway collision that could have killed up to 439 people.

According to Chinese media, the pilot, named He Chao, was at the helm of an Airbus A320-200, preparing to take off from Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport. As his aircraft was accelerating down the runway, however, a second China Eastern Airlines plane – an Airbus A330-300 arriving from Beijing – entered its path. The pilot chose to continue to accelerate and performed a steep take-off, avoiding a collision by just 19 metres (62 feet). Reports suggest there were a total of 413 passengers and 26 crew on board the two planes.

The near-miss has been compared to the 1977 Tenerife Airport disaster, the deadliest aviation accident of all time, in which 583 people were killed after two Boeing 747s collided.

An investigation found that air traffic control was to blame, and while Mr He was rewarded for his actions with a cash bonus equivalent to around £360,000, two air traffic controllers had their licenses revoked.

Here we look back at other aviation near-misses.

1. The Jakarta incident – June 24, 1982

This British Airways flight from Heathrow to Auckland was passing over Jakarta when it ran into volcanic ash from the eruption of Mount Galunggung, resulting in the failure of all four engines. Naturally, there was concern in the cockpit, with the flight engineer exclaiming: “I don’t believe it – all four engines have failed!”

The captain, Eric Moody, tried to reassure passengers with the following statement: “Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain speaking. We have a small problem. All four engines have stopped. We are doing our damnedest to get them going again. I trust you are not in too much distress.”

Passengers reportedly scribbled notes to loved ones, while Moody calculated how far the plane might be able to glide before reaching sea level (91 miles he deduced). Luckily, at around 13,500 feet, the engines restarted successfully.

2. British Airways Flight 5390 – June 10, 1990

In this remarkable incident, on board a BA flight to Malaga with 81 passengers, a badly-fitted windscreen panel failed, sucking the captain, Tim Lancaster, halfway out of the cockpit. His head and torso were outdoors – at 17,300 feet and being battered by 300mph winds – while his legs remained inside, with flight attendants gripping him tightly. Co-pilot Alastair Atchison made an emergency descent, but – due to the sound of rushing air – could not hear air traffic control. He eventually landed safely in Southampton, where Lancaster was treated for frostbite, shock and a broken arm.

3. The miracle on the Hudson – January 15, 2009

Perhaps the best known incident of recent times, involving the most brilliantly monikered pilot. Chesley Sullenberger III, at the helm of US Airways Flight 1549, managed to land safely on the Hudson River after a flock of Canada geese disabled the aircraft. All 155 passengers survived; Sullenberger’s reward was a book deal with HarperCollins, and early retirement.

4. The Windsor incident – June 12, 1972

American Airlines Flight 96 from LA to New York ran into trouble soon after a stopover in Detroit, when the rear cargo door suddenly broke off. The subsequent explosive decompression saw part of the floor at the rear of the cabin give way, severing a control cable and disabling one of the engines. Captain Bryce McCormick, who initially believed the plane had suffered a mid-air collision, declared an emergency, while flight attendants took oxygen to passengers (masks did not deploy because the plane was below the 14,000ft limit). The plane returned to Detroit, and – despite being forced to land dangerously fast – McCormick touched down safely.

5. The Gimli Glider – July 23, 1983

While cruising at 41,000 feet, halfway through a flight from Montreal to Edmonton, Air Canada Flight 143 ran out of juice – due to, shockingly, a refuelling miscalculation caused by a recent switch to the metric system. The problem had not been spotted earlier because of an electronic fault on the aircraft’s instrument panel, and the plane lost all power. Luckily, Captain Bob Pearson was an experienced glider pilot, guiding the 767 to RCAF Station Gimli. The landing was hard and fast – Pearson had to brake so hard he blew two tyres, while the aircraft’s nose fell off, starting a small fire – but all 61 on board survived unharmed.

6. Aloha Flight 243 – April 28, 1988

In 1988, a 737, flown by Aloha Airlines with 90 people on board was en route to Honolulu, cruising at an altitude of 24,000 feet, when a small section of the roof ruptured. The resulting explosive decompression tore off a larger section of the roof, and a 57-year-old flight attendant called Clarabelle Lansing was swept from her seat and out of the hole in the aircraft. Fortunately, all other passengers were belted up, and the pilot – Robert Schornstheimer – managed to land 13 minutes later, avoiding further loss of life.

7. BA Flight 38 – January 17, 2008

Another recent case, BA Flight 38 was just two miles from Heathrow when its engines suddenly failed to respond to the crew’s demand for extra thrust. A build of ice crystals in its fuel lines had caused a restriction in the flow of fuel. The plane landed around 270 metres short of the runway, just beyond the A30. The plane was a write-off, but just one passenger suffered a serious injury. The pilot’s name? Ironically, John Coward.

8. Cathay Pacific Flight 780 – April 13, 2010

In a similar incident to BA Flight 38, this Cathay Pacific service from Surabaya Juanda International Airport in Indonesia suddenly lost the ability to change thrust as it neared Hong Kong, landing at almost twice the recommended speed. Pilots Malcolm Waters and David Hayhoe were given the Polaris Award – from the International Federation of Air Line Pilots’ Associations – for their heroism.

9. Saving a superjumbo – November 4, 2010

The captain of this Qantas flight – Richard Champion de Crespigny- was also given a Polaris Award. Engine number 2 exploded over Indonesia, damaging a wing and causing a fuel tank fire, forcing the plane, an A380 with 469 people on board, to make an emergency landing in Singapore. It blew four tyres when it landed, but no one was hurt.

BONUS: The Flybe captain whose arm fell off – February 12, 2014

We finish on a slightly comical note. Landing in gusty conditions is a minor inconvenience for any pilot. It’s a major hassle when your prosthetic arm has just fallen off. This is precisely what happened to one Flybe captain in 2014. Shortly before touchdown, “his prosthetic limb became detached from the yoke clamp, depriving him of control of the aircraft,” said an Air Accidents Investigation Branch report.

The captain considered getting the co-pilot to take control but concluded that, given the time available and the challenging conditions, his best course of action was to move his right hand from the power levers on to the yoke to regain control. Fortunately the incident ended happily, with the 46-year-old landing safely.

The report went on: “He did this, but with power still applied and possibly a gust affecting the aircraft, a normal touchdown was followed by a bounce, from which the aircraft landed heavily.”

Daily Telegraph UK

The 16 Airports That all Airline Pilots Love Flying to

By What makes the perfect landing? Beautiful scenery, jovial ground crew, and white-knuckle crosswinds that mean the autopilot stays off; according to the pilots we questioned, that’s the secret of job satisfaction.

1. Naples, Italy

“The views during descent and approach are breath-taking! I enjoy the challenges this airport brings due to the steeper than normal approaches to both runways. The approach to Runway 06 is also offset requiring a visual transition to line up with the runway centreline. Stepping out onto the ramp into the sunshine during the turnaround is always an added bonus!

 

 

“Closer to home, my absolute favourite is London Heathrow. On a clear day the views of the city approaching Runways 27L and 27R from the north are amazing. The air traffic controllers here are second to none, another reason I love flying into this airport. It always amazes me the outstanding job they do in precisely managing the heavy flow of traffic both into and out of here.” – Captain Sonya Bissett, Aer Lingus

2. Christchurch, New Zealand

“I love to fly into Christchurch as it has the most incredible landscape: it’s the ultimate scenic flight. Alps covered in snow, valleys filled with cerulean blue snow melt and patchwork fields covered in tiny white sheep-dots. After landing we’re always met with a friendly Kiwi smile and a subtle ribbing as to how we’re doing in the rugby or cricket.” – Captain Mark Goodwin, Qantas

3. Leeds Bradford, UK

“Returning to Leeds Bradford after the dry plains of Spain is always a treat. From the flight deck I can see the beautiful rolling hills of Yorkshire. What always surprises me is just how green the landscape is.

Heading home…

A photo posted by Flying Fox 🇬🇧✈️ (@flying_foxoir) on

 

 

“I also love going into Gibraltar. It has such a great approach as you sweep around the massive rock with a view of all the gigantic tankers moored out in the bay. It really is a truly epic arrival but no chance to take photos – for obvious safety reasons!” – Pilot Paul Fox, Monarch

4. Funchal, Madeira, Portugal

“Funchal is always exciting. The airport is on the stunning volcanic island of Madeira, rising out of the Atlantic in an archipelago of a few small islands. The runway is carved into the side of a mountain with a steep slope on one side and a 200ft drop into the sea on the other. Half of the runway is actually built on stilts as there was not enough land to build a runway of sufficient length.

 

 

“All approaches to Funchal are visual: pilots must use their high levels of training, judgement and flying skill to negotiate the curving approach to the runway. This is while managing the wind conditions that swirl around the mountain and cause quickly changing cross and tailwinds. Only certain pilots are certified to fly there.” – Captain Ally Wilcox, British Airways

5. Innsbruck, Austria

“Innsbruck Kranebitten Airport in Austria is my favourite airport. The views of the Alps that we get from the flight deck on most days are just amazing. “We get special training every year in the simulator for this airport as it’s especially challenging: the mountains that surround the airport; the possibility of heavy snow; strong winds that can come down the Brenner Pass causing quite bad turbulence; and a rather short runway. But that makes it even more rewarding flying there!” – Pilot Rob Kooyman, Monarch

6. Jersey, UK

“My favourite UK airport would be Jersey. It is technically interesting: it has a fairly short runway for a medium-sized jet aircraft which requires careful planning and landing distance calculations. When the doors are opened it is almost always warmer than mainland UK – it just shouts ‘holiday time’ at you.

“Further afield, my current favourite is Athens. We normally arrive onto the northerly runway 03L due to prevailing local winds. It’s a very early arrival and we watch the sun rise on the way in. After landing we are usually met by Stavros our local crazy Greek handler who has us all laughing with his latest escapades – often in rather too much detail…” – DB, European Freight operator

7. London Heathrow, UK

“I love arriving at London Heathrow. First officers, who sit on the right side of the cockpit, usually have the best views when landing. I love to see the Thames, and the old docklands once famed for their ‘forest of masts’, a reminder of London’s great maritime history that’s somehow particularly pleasing to contemplate from the flight deck of a modern-day vessel like a 747.

“Cape Town is also spectacular. After a long, quiet overnight journey across Europe and from one end of Africa to the other, there’s nothing quite like the sight of Table Mountain rising just as dawn breaks. From the air, looking out at one of the world’s most beautiful intersections of land and sea, it’s obvious why this city remains one of the most popular destinations for crew and customers alike. “It’s also handy for Diaz Beach, my favourite beach in the world, which is near the Cape of Good Hope. It’s at the bottom of a challenging set of steps, and it’s often too rough and cold to swim here, but it’s the perfect place to put on your headphones, catch some sun, and watch two oceans at work.” – Pilot Mark Vanhoenacker, British Airways

8. New York, USA

“JFK’s ‘Canarsie’ approach is my personal favourite. Named after the navigation aid (VOR) on which it is based, this approach is essentially a cloud break manoeuvre to runway 13L at Kennedy, designed to get you in position to complete the landing visually.

“Quite often given at short notice, this can be a challenging approach in a large aircraft, and a daunting one if the weather is poor. It is one of very few approaches in a large commercial aircraft where a pilot has the opportunity to switch all the automation off and fly the aircraft manually whilst remaining visual with the runway on a curved descent profile, often with a healthy tailwind until close to the runway.” – Captain Michael Landy, Aer Lingus

 

 

 

9. Hamilton Island, Whitsundays, Australia

“The approach to Hamilton takes you across beautiful island beaches and turquoise ocean vistas. Yachts are regularly in the vicinity and the airport is next to a marina. The surroundings, along with the demeanour of the staff, make you feel more relaxed as soon as you arrive. It makes you never want to leave!” – Captain Al Crawford, Qantas

Landing at Hamilton Island

Landing at Hamilton Island  Credit:alamy

 

 

 

10. Stavanger, Norway

“One of my favourite approaches is on to Runway 18 at Stavanger Sola Airport in Norway. On a clear day, flying down the coastline and then over the lakes as you approach the airport is absolutely stunning.” – First Officer Hannah Vaughan, British Airways

11. Gibraltar

“Gibraltar can be rather challenging with the limits on the wind as it rolls around the rock and can make it extremely turbulent on landing, but what I really like is the fact it’s also rather an old school approach. They have no landing aids at Gibraltar, so it’s back to basics: just the stick and rudder.

“No autopilot is used and it is hand flown visually; its great when landing onto the easterly runways and you come in low around the rock and pass the harbour for a touchdown on a very short runway. The main road into Gibraltar actually crosses the runway, so they stop the traffic and pedestrians.

“The easiest place to land is Faro on the Algarve. The flight is very straight forward, with very little radio talk. Portuguese air traffic control is very chilled: the minute you come into Portuguese airspace you’re cleared straight to final approach. Its ground crew are very relaxed too.” – Anonymous commercial pilot

12. Beijing, China

“When I started going to Beijing more than 20 years ago, all the aircraft cleaners (up to 20) stood on parade to meet the arrival. They stood at attention, to one side, all dressed in the same uniform, only breaking ranks to come on board once you had parked. It gave the impression to the crew and customers of being met by a guard of honour, and is something that will always remain with me.

“The other destination that stands out for me is Malė in the Maldives which still has the most fantastic views of coral atolls that you are likely to see anywhere in the world.” – Captain Geoff Leask, British Airways

The Maldives, as seen from above

The Maldives, as seen from above Credit:AP

13. Kittilä, Finland

“My home country Kittilä, in northern Finland, is at its best during the winter months when there is hardly any daylight and often freezing fog, which gives it a fairytale-like lighting when the lights reflect upwards and there is a lot of snow. You are met by friendly staff, and the passengers are like children playing with in the snow when exiting the plane. During the winter season you might even see Santa Claus with his reindeer.

Worldwide, my pick would be Hong Kong with the tiny islands popping up from the sea and the high green hills around the populated area. One would never think that there is so much unpopulated land around the city with skyscrapers and millions of inhabitants. I guess there is hardly an office with a better view…” – Captain Camilla Sommar, Finnair

14. Ilulissat, Greenland

“I recently flew to Ilulissat, a very remote coastal town in the Qaasuitsup municipality in western Greenland. With a population of only around 5,000 people and because of its location north of the Arctic Circle, it is one of the most peaceful places that I have ever been to.

 

 

“The nearby Ilulissat Icefjord is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with astonishing giant white icebergs coming off the most productive glacier in the northern hemisphere. You can’t help but be captured by the serenity of the place.” – Jonny Nicol, Founder and CEO of Stratajet

15. Innsbruck, Austria

“Innsbruck is one of the most challenging airports we fly to at British Airways; it requires extra simulator training as it is so technical. I love the challenge of a different style of approach, and the breath-taking views as you descend into the valley. It’s such a rewarding feeling when you land into such a beautiful corner of the earth.” – First Officer Katie Leask, British Airways

16. San Francisco, USA

“An amazing approach with spectacular and iconic views of the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz. It’s also a wonderful city to spend a few days in.

“I normally set off for a bike ride at first light, cycling over the Golden Gate Bridge, stopping for breakfast in Sausalito before heading out into the hills in the Marin Headlands. To get back across the bay at the end of the day it’s either the ferry or back up over the bridge depending on how much energy I have left.” – Senior First Officer Ian Palframan, British Airways

American Airlines flight attendant: ‘We count your drinks, it’s obvious when you’re drunk’

EVERYONE knows that famous flight scene in Bridemaids where Kristen Wiig’s character has a few too many shandies.

It’s easily done when you’re cramped in a small space for many hours, with limited options to keep you entertained.

An anonymous American Airlines flight attendant has revealed how cabin crew keep in-flight boozing under control.

“When you think about it, being on board an aircraft is really one of the only situations in which it’s vaguely socially acceptable to day-drink by yourself,” she told MailOnline Travel.

“The majority of passengers who drink will have two. One when service commences and another one with a meal. Then there are always the ones who can knock back four. It’s easy to overdo it.”

Telling someone they’re drunk can be awkward, so sometimes flight attendants will “forget” orders.

Telling someone they’re drunk can be awkward, so sometimes flight attendants will “forget” orders.Source:istock

She said they use a “traffic light system” to monitor passengers. If you’re “green”, they’ll keep serving you, if you’re “yellow” they’ll slow you down.
When you’re “red” — glassy-eyed, unsteady and slurring — they’ll stop giving you grog.
“It’s a red flag if someone is getting up to use the lavatory more often than normal,” she said.
“Or when they start pulling seemingly sly tricks.
“People often think they can sneak in extra drinks by requesting them from a different flight attendant each time. Actually, you’re just drawing more attention to yourself.”

However, telling someone to stop can get awkward.
“It’s embarrassing for all involved,” she admitted.
“I quite often just pretend I haven’t noticed the passenger who’s waving me down for another drink until they give up. That or I just ‘forget’ their order.”

30 Pilots And Flight Attendants Confess The Best Kept Secrets You Don’t Know About Flying

I’ll answer the ones I know for sure, from 30 Pilots And Flight Attendants Confess The Best Kept Secrets You Don’t Know About Flying.

  1. The truth behind turning off electronics. True. The FAA and FCC have known for a while that modern electronic equipment poses no real threat to aircraft. The laws remain for bureaucratic reasons and to dissuade people from being distracted by their devices during safety briefings and the like.
  2. Pilots are sleeping most of the time. What I can say for sure is that on longer flights pilots are often required to sleep. There will be a relief crew onboard and when one crew is asleep in the rest area, the other is flying.
  3. How a pilot approaches landing. If the airplane is landing in bad weather, chances are the pilot wasn’t flying at all, but instead the autopilot. So don’t blame the pilot if the touchdown is stiff.
  4. Just because you’re flying with a big airline, doesn’t mean the pilots are experienced.
    [Terrible grammar in these.] Yes, many short legs are flown by regional airlines under the banner of a major airline. You can look on FlightAware to see the true operator of your flight.
  5. The true story behind those oxygen masks. Yes, there’s only about 15 minutes of oxygen per passenger. (Newer planes have more.) An emergency descent to a breathable altitude should only take about 5 minutes, though.
  6. The water in the lavatories is very dirty. Unsure.
  7. Regarding the food on the plane. Yes, the pilots are served different meals. Don’t know about stealing.
  8. The truth about flying with pets. Yeah, don’t fly with your pets unless you absolutely have to (like you’re moving across the country).
  9. What flight attendants really do after telling the plane to turn off their electronics. Believable.
  10. A trick for making more space for yourself. Unknown.
  11. Don’t drink water on a plane that didn’t come from a bottle. Unknown.
  12. On the importance of locking your bags. Sure, why not.
  13. The REAL reason the lights on the airplane dim when landing. Sounds reasonable.
  14. Lightning and the power of a pilot. Yes, lightning strikes aircraft all the time. They’re built to harmlessly conduct lightning away. The other part about pilot powers is a little exaggerated. Passengers and crew are by law required to follow the orders of a pilot, but I don’t think any fines he or she might write would hold up in court.
  15. Those lavatories unlock from the outside. True.
  16. A true story of a bomb threat. There are procedures for dealing with a bomb threat, even overwater. I don’t know about all of them but I do know they move passengers around some and make some radio calls.
  17. Tipping can go a long way. Never tried.
  18. SkyMall is one big rip-off. Well duh.
  19. How your checked bags are really treated. If you’ve watched the baggage handlers out the window you can see they are mostly just trying to load the plane as fast as possible before they take a lunch. I doubt they go out of their way to mistreat fragile bags but they’re not exactly giving anything white glove treatment.
  20. A flight attendant reveals just how dirty everything is. Unknown.
  21. A loophole so you never have to pay baggage fees. Yeah we’ve all done this.
  22. Most flights are also carrying human organs. Don’t know about “most” but some definitely do. Also coffins.
  23. Airports haven’t covered all of their security bases yet. This is practically a tautology. Nothing in life is perfectly secure.
  24. Planes without engines can glide for a really long time. The actual glide ratio is dependent on the type and weight of the aircraft but a 42-mile glide from 35k feet is ballpark reasonable. “It’s why most accidents happen landing or taking off” – that however is patently false. The reason takeoff and landing are more accident-prone is because risk is higher, safety margins are lower, and reaction times are more critical, not because of the benefits of a glide. Suffering a failure of all engines is exceptionally rare, no matter what phase of flight.
  25. The drinking water used for coffee and tea is FILTHY. No idea about this. But this whole list is coming down pretty hard on the water in airplanes.
  26. Why it’s always easier to just take the batteries out. Eh, sure, I suppose this happens.
  27. Planes have a hard time flying on hot days. Yes, hot days mean less dense air means fewer air molecules per unit volume to burn means lower engine power. I wouldn’t use the phrase “struggled” or “hard time” — the planes just have less engine power available and so they can carry less weight. Planes always take off with enough weight so that they can safely climb; there’s no “struggling.” Also the phrasing makes it seem like it’s the thin air that makes it hard to take off, but not directly; it’s the reduced thrust from the thin air that requires the weight reduction.
  28. Even the headphones that come wrapped up aren’t new. Believable, but who cares.
  29. The real reason there are still ashtrays in lavatories. Believable.
  30. How to tell from the ground if a plane is being hijacked. This is an old signal and almost certainly discontinued if it ever was used. There are many subtle ways that a pilot can signal something’s not quite right, by skipping unimportant steps after landing. Also, “wing flaps that slow the plane down” – the speedbrakes slow the plane down; the wing flaps provide lift at lower speeds.

“Now that you have learned these secrets about flying, don’t forget to share them with your friends!” You bet I will, Internet web page!

Do Pilots Hook Up With Flight Attendants? An Airline Pilot Answers

Do Pilots Hook Up With Flight Attendants An Airline Pilot AnswersBy – Paul Thompson:- My friend Mike* is a First Officer at a regional airline here in the U.S. He’s graciously agreed to answer some questions exclusively for Flight Club about being a pilot, as well as addressing some of the rumors that we hear as travelers about everything from sex to slowing your plane down on purpose.

Is it true that regional pilots intentionally fly slower to make more money, since you’re paid hourly?

Yes and no. We fly slower than we could be, but the little bit of extra money it makes us is an unintended consequence.

Over the last few years the speed at which we fly in cruise has been dialed way back in the interest of saving fuel. When fuel was cheap, nobody thought much of getting into cruise, setting the thrust levers at max, and getting where you’re going as quick as possible. As fuel costs started to increase, airlines started turning over every rock in search of fuel savings. Basic aerodynamics teaches us that the faster you go, the higher the amount of drag exists on the airframe. In fact, doubling the speed at which you’re flying actually will quadruple the amount of drag felt by the airplane. Long story short, flight planners realized that by going fast everywhere everyone was burning a ton more fuel only to arrive there a couple of minutes early. Especially on the shorter stage lengths that regional airlines tend to fly, you’re really not increasing your flight time by more than a couple minutes, yet you can save hundreds of pounds of fuel. If we’re on time or early, I like to fly at the speed that saves us the most amount of fuel. It is also a lot more advantageous to fly your planned speed so that the fuel burn that was calculated for our flight plan is accurate.

On top of cost savings, arriving to your destination with more fuel gives you more options if you can’t get straight into the airport. The fuel saved by flying more economically can mean the difference of one more turn in a hold vs. having to head to an alternate airport.

There are times when it makes sense to go fast though. Most of us fly frequently as passengers, we understand the need to arrive to your destination on time. On top of that, regional airlines are compensated for each flight they operate for their mainline partner, plus bonuses for completion factor and on time performance. If we are running a few minutes behind schedule, it makes sense to go fast to try to get back on time. Even just a few minutes can make the difference between someone making their connection vs having to spend the night in the airport.

I have flown with a few people who do fly slow everywhere they go because they think they’re padding their paychecks. But they tend to be the extreme minority…and to be honest, you can add more to the flight time by taxiing slow or taking the second turnoff on the runway instead of the first.

Do main-line pilots treat you with equal respect as peers (since they likely started as a regional pilot too) or do they look down on you?

One of the best thing about this industry is the camaraderie. One of the absolute best perks of the job is that almost any airline pilot in the country can go to the airport and ride for free/cheap on the jumpseat of almost any other US airline. This certainly increases your exposure to pilots who work at other airlines. This is a very unique industry that nobody will understand unless they’ve been there. One of my coworkers likened it to the life of a carnie. We’re in a different city every night and we give people rides.

As a result, most of us look out for each other, even if they work for a competing company. Unfortunately aviation is not immune from the general guideline that 10% of the people on this planet are idiots. One day after giving a 737 pilot a ride home to HSV [Huntsville, Alabama], he stopped me on the jetway and told me that he hoped I would become unemployed by next year. Some people are just unhappy in life and feel the need to take it out on others. But all in all, we get along. Look at two pilots as they pass one another in the terminal. Usually we’ll exchange a nod. Its not a greeting, so much as it is a shared understanding of how crazy this job can be sometimes…basically a “yeah….me too.”

Do pilots hook up with flight attendants as often as people think?

I can honestly say that if this has happened on any crew I have been a part of, it has been very well disguised. I can’t think of a single time in which I’ve noticed anyone in my crew head back to a hotel room together. There are some couples that are dating and bid to fly together, but I’ve never seen a random hookup.

What’s the dumbest thing you’ve seen a passenger do on one of your flights?

People are usually pretty behaved on flights, its in the terminal where you see the real crazy stuff. But as for stuff that happens on a regular basis, I’d have to say passengers conduct relating to their carry on bags that is the most facepalm worthy. I understand that everyone loves their things, but in most cases it physically will not fit in our overhead bin. Even if it does, when the flight attendant says you need to leave it on the jetway, she isn’t just being mean. For weight and balance reasons the FAA is the one that dictates what can and cannot be brought into the cabin. She’s just doing her job. Of all the flights I’ve ridden on where I have gate checked my bag, I have run into exactly two problems, both caused by a crew tag with confusing instructions. Take your valuables out, put a tag on it, and I promise it will be waiting for you when you get to your destination. Now go sit down, there are 40 people behind you waiting to board.

Do you have a favorite plane to fly as a pilot? What makes it your favorite?

Every pilot has a favorite airplane. For some its the airplane that has the best takeoff and climb performance, for some its just air conditioning that works and left over first class meals. In their simplest form, airplanes are tools. What I’m looking to accomplish will decide which plane I would consider a favorite.

DA20 Katana pic by Alec Wilson on Flickr.
DA20 Katana pic by Alec Wilson on Flickr.

If I was going up in a general aviation airplane just to fly for pleasure, I’d probably pick the Diamond DA20 Katana. It’s light, it’s maneuverable, and it has a very large windshield through which I can admire the view.

Cirrus SR-20 pic by Alec Wilson on Flickr
Cirrus SR-20 pic by Alec Wilson on Flickr

If I’m flying GA but actually looking to get somewhere, I’d say my favorite is the Cirrus SR-20. That airplane is the only GA aircraft I’ve ever sat in that I’ve actually found comfortable. Combine that comfort with lots of workload reducing tools and a significant amount of speed, you have the perfect cross country machine.

But for most pilots, their all time favorite airplane to fly will be a jet. So far in my career I’ve only flown one, the Canadair Regional Jet. Performance wise the CRJ is actually a rather anemic jet, yet it still stands head and shoulders above any other plane I’ve flown. I think what I love about it the most is that the things you can do in a jet are really impressive. The increased technology and training we get to see at an airline allows you to fly in some pretty challenging conditions. Doing laps around the pattern in a Katana is fun, but breaking out at 100ft above the ground on a Cat 2 ILS is a pretty awesome experience.

How about as a passenger, what’s your favorite plane & why?

You can’t beat the 747. The A380 may be bigger and a more comfortable ride, but the 747 was the first big passenger aircraft… and is much better looking. One of my favorite aviation memories is being able to ride in the upper deck of a Northwest Airlines 747-200. Between the business class service I was fortunate enough to enjoy and the fact that there were only twelve seats up there, you felt like you were on your very own private jet. It was easy to forget that there were 300+ poor bastards crammed in like sardines down below. Combine comfort with the sheer beauty and size of it, the 747 has to be my favorite airplane to fly on as a passenger. I hope that someday I’ll be able to make it my favorite to fly as a pilot as well.

Top photo: Virgin America flight attendants. [Getty Images]

Via –jalopnik

10 All-Time Great Pilots

All-Time Great Pilots
Jimmy Doolittle had a doctorate in aeronautical engineering. (NASM)

By Patricia Trenner for AIR & SPACE MAGAZINE WHEN WE ASSEMBLED THE FOLLOWING LISTS OF GREAT PILOTS (and the list of milestone flights that follows), we faced the same dilemma that Von Hardesty, a National Air and Space Museum aeronautics curator, faced as author of Great Aviators and Epic Flights (Hugh Lauter Levin Associates, Inc., 2003). “If you mention Jean Mermoz,” Hardesty writes in the introduction, “Why not Henry Guillaumet, who crashed and survived a six-day ordeal in the Andes? If you cover the crossing of the English Channel by Louis Blériot, why not the transcontinental aerial trek of Cal Rodgers? When the chapter outline was shown to one curator, he remarked, ‘The problem is who to omit!’ Such an observation genuinely haunted all of us who designed and worked on this book.”

Amen, we say.

1. James H. Doolittle

At age 15, Doolittle built a glider, jumped off a cliff, and crashed. Undaunted, he hauled the pieces home, stuck them back together, and returned to the cliff. After his second plunge, there was nothing left to salvage. In 1922, Lieutenant Doolittle made a solo crossing of the continental United States in a de Havilland DH-4 in under 24 hours. The Army sent him back to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where in 1925 he earned a doctorate in aeronautical engineering. Two years later, he climbed to 10,000 feet in a Curtiss Hawk, pushed the stick forward until he saw red (negative Gs make blood pool in the head), and performed the first outside loop. In 1929, aided by Paul Kollsman’s altimeter and Elmer Sperry’s artificial horizon and directional gyro, he flew from takeoff to landing while referring only to instruments. “Aviation has perhaps taken its greatest single step in safety,” declared the New York Times.

He next took up air racing and collected the major trophies: the Schneider in 1925 with a Curtiss seaplane, the Bendix in 1931 with the Laird Super Solution, and the Thompson in 1932 in one of the treacherous Gee Bees, when he also set the world’s landplane speed record. With this triumph, he observed: “I have yet to hear of anyone engaged in this work dying of old age,” and retired from racing.

In 1942 Doolittle was sent off to train crews for a mysterious mission. He ended up leading the entire effort. On April 18, 1942, 15 North American B-25s staggered off a carrier and bombed Tokyo. Most ditched off the Chinese coast or crashed; other crew members had bailed out, including Doolittle. Though he was crushed by what he called his “failure,” Doolittle was awarded the title Brigadier General and a Congressional Medal of Honor, which, he confided to General Henry “Hap” Arnold, he would spend the rest of his life earning.

2. Noel Wien

Thanks to Noel Wien, Alaska has a higher ratio of aircraft and pilots to residents than any other state. In the 1920s, almost single-handedly, Wien introduced the airplane to Alaska, and over some 50 years, aircraft became virtually the primary mode of transport in the vast and thinly populated state, which is twice the size of Texas and infinitely less hospitable in climate and geography.

Wien, a native of Minnesota, arrived in Anchorage in June 1924 at age 25 with his first aircraft, an open-cockpit Standard J-1 biplane. Being the only flier in Alaska that summer and the next, and with little competition for a number of years thereafter, just about every flight he made was a first, starting with a flight from Anchorage over the Alaskan Range to Fairbanks. Wien was the first in Alaska and Canada to fly north of the Arctic Circle, and made the first commercial flight between Fairbanks and Nome. He was first to fly the Arctic Coast commercially, the first to fly from North America to Siberia via the Bering Strait, and ultimately the first to fly a year-round service, throughout the vicious winters. All this with sketchy maps, no radio, and virtually no paved landing strips.

Wien got so good, writes author Ira Harkey in Pioneer Bush Pilot: The Story of Noel Wien, he could land the Standard in a mere 300 feet. Surveyor Sam O. White said: “I don’t belive there was ever anyone around here who could get everything out of an aiplane like Noel Wien did. It was like the wings were attached to his own shoulders.”

Wien’s flights broke other records as well. In 1927 he noted, “the last boat leaving in October didn’t mean isolation from the States until the first boat next June. For the first time ever, Nome got mail and fresh foods for Thanksgiving. Everybody looked forward to getting Christmas mail and foods, but they were disappointed—I was down on a lake in a blizzard Christmas Day.”

Wien flew everything and everybody to everywhere: bodies to burial sites, tourists to stunning views, gold dust from prospectors to market, sick folks to hospitals, trappers and dogs to hunting grounds. He lost an eye to infection in 1946, but he was able to hold on to his medical certificate and continued flying commercially until 1955. Wien stopped counting flight hours at 11,600.

3. Robert A. Hoover

After his Spitfire was shot down by a Focke-Wulf 190 over the Mediterranean in 1944, Hoover was captured and spent 16 months in the Stalag Luft 1 prison in Barth, Germany. He eventually escaped, appropriated an Fw 190 (which, of course, he had never piloted), and flew to safety in Holland. After the war Hoover signed up to serve as an Army Air Forces test pilot, flying captured German and Japanese aircraft. He became buddies with Chuck Yeager; Hoover was Yeager’s backup pilot in the Bell X-1 program, and he flew chase in a Lockheed P-80 when Yeager first exceeded Mach 1.

Hoover moved on to North American Aviation, where he testflew the T-28 Trojan, FJ-2 Fury, AJ-1 Savage, F-86 Sabre, and F-100 Super Sabre, and in the mid-1950s he began flying North American aircraft, both civil and military, at airshows. Jimmy Doolittle called Hoover “the greatest stick-and-rudder man who ever lived.”

Hoover is best known for the “energy management” routine he flew in a Shrike Commander, a twin-engine business aircraft. This fluid demonstration ends with Hoover shutting down both engines and executing a loop and an eight-point hesitation slow roll as he heads back to the runway. He touches down on one tire, then the other, and coasts precisely to the runway center.

Despite the numerous awards accorded him, Hoover remains humble enough to laugh at himself. He notes in his autobiography, Forever Flying, that in the 1950s, after showing off his Bugatti racer to the neighborhood kids, he asked, “Well, what do you think?” One youngster’s reply: “I think you’ve got the biggest nose I’ve ever seen.”

4. Charles A. Lindbergh

The young man who would give aviation its biggest boost since the Wright brothers got his start in aviation as a wingwalker, barnstormer, and parachutist. His proficiency in the latter art paid off when he had to bail out of a trainer during his Army stint and another three times while flying the Chicago-St. Louis mail run for the Robertson Air Corporation.

Any collection of photos of Lindbergh can easily be divided into pre-Atlantic crossing and post. There are many broad smiles before he flew solo nonstop from New York to Paris in May 1927; not many thereafter. Lindbergh was assaulted by the media and besieged by the adulation of the entire United States. By 1929, when Lindbergh was surveying cross-country routes for Transcontinental Air Transport and posing with movie stars to publicize the airline, the smile had vanished.

Lindbergh made his greatest survey flight in 1931 for Pan Am, when he and his wife and radio operator/navigator Anne Morrow set out in a Lockheed Sirius on floats to establish the shortest air route from New York to China via Churchill in Canada, Nome, Petropavlosk, Tokyo, and Nanking. Two years later the pair scoped out north and south Atlantic cities for operational facilities on Pan Am’s transatlantic routes. This round-the-Atlantic flight in the Sirius encompassed landings in Greenland, Iceland, Sweden, Russia, Denmark, Scotland, Portugal, the Canary Islands, Brazil, and Puerto Rico.

In 1944, Lindbergh tested the Vought F4U Corsair in the field—the Solomon Islands in the South Pacific—and flew several missions with the U.S. Marines, downing a Japanese Zero. In New Guinea, he demonstrated to Army Air Forces pilots a fuel-saving technique that extended the range of the Lockheed P-38 from 575 to 750 miles. Charles Lindbergh’s flight to Paris was just the beginning of his career.

His daughter Reeve revealed Lindbergh’s method and his mastery when she recalled flying with him in an Aeronca Champion whose engine had quit: “He was persuading and willing and coaxing that airplane into doing what he wanted it to do, leaning it like a bobsled right down where it could safely land. He could feel its every movement as though it were his own body. My father wasn’t flying the airplane, he was being the airplane. That’s how he always done it.”

5. Charles E. Yeager

As a young Army Air Forces pilot in training, Yeager had to overcome airsickness before he went on to down 12 German fighters, including a Messerschmitt 262, the first jet fighter. After the war, still in the AAF, he trained as a test pilot at Wright Field in Dayton, Ohio, where he got to fly the United States’ first jet fighter, the Bell P-59, which he took on a joyride, flying low over the main street of his West Virginia hometown.

Yeager then went to Muroc Field in California, where Larry Bell introduced him and fellow test pilot Bob Hoover to the Bell XS-1. In his autobiography, Yeager, he says that Bell, in assuring them that a deadstick landing would be a piece of cake, bragged that “[W]ithout fuel aboard, she handles like a bird.”

“A live bird or a dead one?” Hoover asked.

In Yeager’s hands, the bullet-shaped XS-1 performed as advertised, and on October 14, 1947, ignoring the pain of two cracked ribs, he reached Mach 1.07 and lived to tell about it. The X-1 was not designed to take off under its own power; it was air-dropped from a mothership. In January 1949, Yeager fired up the X-1’s four rockets on the runway. “There was no ride ever in the world like that one!” he later wrote. The aircraft accelerated so rapidly that when the landing gear was retracted, an actuating rod snapped and the wing flaps blew off.

He also managed to fly the Douglas X-3, Northrop X-4, and Bell X-5, as well as the prototype for the Boeing B-47 swept-wing jet bomber. The Bell X-1A nearly ate him for breakfast one December day in 1953. Yeager thought he could coax the X-1A to Mach 2.3 and bust Scott Crossfield’s Mach 2 record, achieved in the Douglas D-558-II Skyrocket. At 80,000 feet and Mach 2.4, the nose yawed, a wing rose, and the X-1A went berserk “in what pilots call going divergent in all three axes,” Yeager wrote. “I called it hell.” He was able to recover at 25,000 feet.

Yeager was sent to Okinawa in 1954 to test a Soviet MiG-15 that a North Korean had used to defect. When he stopped test-flying that year, he had logged 10,000 hours in 180 types of military aircraft.

6. Scott Crossfield

When Navy fighter pilot and flight instructor Scott Crossfield heard about the Bell Experimental Sonic XS-1 under construction in 1947, he wrote to its manufacturer proposing that he be named its first test pilot; he offered to fly it for free. Bell did not reply, but no matter: In 1950 Crossfield was hired by the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics and sent to Edwards Air Force Base in California to fly the world’s hottest X-planes, including the X-1, the tail-less Northrop X-4, the Douglas D-558-I Skystreak and D-558-II Skyrocket, the Convair XF-92A (which he pronounced “under-powered, under- geared, underbraked, and overweight”), and the Bell X-5. He made 100 rocket-plane flights in all. On November 20, 1953, he took the D-558-II to Mach 2.04, becoming the first pilot to fly at twice the speed of sound.

He gained a reputation as a pilot whose flights were jinxed: On his first X-4 flight, he lost both engines; in the Skyrocket, he flamed out; the windshield iced over in the X-1. After a deadstick landing in a North American F-100, he lost hydraulic pressure and the Super Sabre slammed into a hangar wall. Forever after, Chuck Yeager crowed, “The sonic wall was mine; the hangar wall was Crossfield’s.”

Despite the many thrills at Edwards in the Golden Age of X-Planes, Crossfield was seduced by an aircraft on the North American drawing board. In 1955, he quit the NACA and signed on with the manufacturer, where he found his calling with the sinister-looking X-15. Crossfield made the first eight flights of the X-15, learning its idiosyncrasies, and logged another six after NASA and Air Force pilots joined the program. On flight number 4, the fuselage buckled right behind the cockpit on landing, but he had his closest call on the ground, while testing the XLR-99 engine in June 1960. “I put the throttle in the stowed position and pressed the reset switch,” Crossfield wrote in his autobiography Always Another Dawn. “It was like pushing the plunger on a dynamite detonator. X-15 number three blew up with incredible force.” Fire engines rushed to extinguish the blaze, and Crossfield was extracted from the cockpit. “The only casualty was the crease in my trousers,” he told reporters. “The firemen got them wet when they sprayed the airplane with water.” You sure it was the firemen? a reporter asked. Yes, he was sure, he aid. “I pictured the headline: ‘Space Ship Explodes; Pilot Wets Pants.’ ”

7. Erich Hartmann

Unlike the rest of the pilots in “Ten Great,” Erich Hartmann flew only one aircraft type, and did almost all his flying during World War II. But his downing a mindboggling 352 enemy aircraft and earning the title of the Greatest Ace of All Time, No Kidding, places him on this list fair and square.

Hartmann’s mother taught him to fly gliders in his teens. He enlisted in the Luftwaffe in 1940, and his profiency at gunnery school marked him as a rising star. When he arrived on the Eastern Front at age 20, he was nicknamed Bubi (boy) by fellow pilots, and took to the Messerschmitt Me 109 like a duck to water. Hartmann’s winning technique was to fly so close to the enemy that he couldn’t miss. In November 1942 he scored his first victory, and within a year had downed 148 aircraft. The number of medals and awards seemed to keep pace with the number of fallen aircraft, which reached 301 in August 1944.

His superiors deemed him too valuable an asset to remain in combat (he was forced down 16 times) and called him back to test the Messerschmitt Me 262. But Hartmann was dedicated to fighting the Soviets and finagled a reassignment to the front. He was made a group commander and downed another 51 aircraft before Germany surrendered. In less than three years, he had flown 825 combat sorties.

Hartmann spent 10 years in a Russian prison. Three years after his release in 1955, he was commanding West Germany’s first all-jet fighter wing. He remained with the air force for another 15 years.

8. Anthony W. LeVier

Along with the P-38, the U-2, and the SR-71, Tony LeVier was one of Lockheed’s most prized legends. LeVier cut his teeth on air racing and placed second in the 1939 Thompson Trophy Race. The next year he was hired as a test pilot by General Motors; then he moved to Lockheed.

LeVier flight-tested the P-38 Lightning to the ragged edges of its envelope and was sent to England to teach Eighth Air Force pilots how to get the most out of it. On one harrowing flight, in a 60-degree dive at over 500 mph initiated at 35,000 feet, the airplane started to nose over; LeVier hauled back on the stick, trying to maintain dive angle. What saved him were dive-recovery flaps that engineers had just installed to prevent this very problem. At 13,000 feet, LeVier slowly regained control. “My strain gauges were set for 100 percent of limit load,” he reported in Test Pilots by Richard Hallion, “and they were all over 100 and all the red warning lights were on when I finally got out of the dive.”

Next up: the XP-80A, the nation’s first operational jet fighter. In 1945, by which time he was Lockheed’s chief test pilot, an XP-80’s turbine disintegrated and took the tail off the airplane. LeVier bailed out and crushed two vertebrae upon landing, an injury that grounded him for six months. He later called it “the most horrifying experience of my whole flying career.”

After World War II ended, LeVier worked with the model 75 Saturn and XR60-1 Constitution transports, and on the side bought a P-38 and got back into air racing. In 1946 he again placed second in the Thompson race. LeVier was the first to fly the XF-90, the YF-94 Starfire, the XF-104 Starfighter, and the U-2. (In Kelly: More Than My Share of It All, Lockheed designer Kelly Johnson recounts that when LeVier first saw the F-104, he asked, “Where are the wings?”—a question a great many others at least wondered about.) In 1950 he piloted the first Lockheed aircraft to surpass Mach 1, an F-90, which he dove at an angle of 60 degrees to reach 900 mph. When LeVier retired in 1974, he had made the first flights of 20 aircraft, had flown some 240 types of aircraft, and had survived eight crashes and a mid-air collision.

9. Jean Mermoz

In January 1921, on his third try, Jean Mermoz got his pilot’s license. Three years later, he signed up as a pilot with Lignes Aeriennes Latécoère, and set out to attain the goal of aircraft designer Pierre Latécoère: to create an airmail line linking Europe with Africa and South America.

In 1926, Mermoz had engine trouble over the Mauritanian desert and made an emergency landing. He was captured by nomadic Moors and held prisoner until a ransom was paid—a common practice and one of the many torments on the Latécoère airmail routes, which linked Toulouse to Barcelona, Casablanca, and Dakar. Mermoz was lucky—five Latécoère pilots were killed by Moors. Other hazards: the hostile Sahara, impenetrable Andes, and 150-mph winds that roiled over the southern Argentine coast.

In 1927, Lignes Aeriennes Latécoère became Compagnie Général Aéropostale, and Mermoz took charge of the South American routes. He made Aéropostale’s first South American night flight in April 1928 from Natal in Brazil to Buenos Aires in Argentina, along a route unmarked by any sort of beacon. After he showed the way, mail delivery was no longer restricted to daylight-only operations.

Mermoz next tackled shortening the Argentina-to-Chile route; pilots had to make a thousand-mile detour to get around the Andes. With mechanic Alexandre Collenot, Mermoz set out in a Latécoère 25 monoplane and found an updraft that carried them through a mountain pass, but a downdraft smashed the aircraft onto a plateau at 12,000 feet. After determining that they could not hike out, Mermoz cleared a crude path to the edge of the precipice and removed from the aircraft anything that wasn’t bolted down. He and Collenot strapped themselves in, and Mermoz got the airplane rolling down the path. In effect, they dove off the mountain, and Mermoz pointed the nose straight down, hoping to gain flying speed. Again, luck was with him. And in July 1929, with the acquisition of Potez 25 open-cockpit biplanes that had a much higher ceiling than the Laté 25, Mermoz and Henry Guillaumet opened a scheduled route between Buenos Aires and Santiago.

In early 1930, Aéropostale looked to bridge the Atlantic. Mermoz, in a new Latécoère 28 float-equipped monoplane, took off on May 12 from St. Louis, Senegal, with a navigator, a radio operator, and a load of mail. As night fell, they flew into a series of waterspouts that rose into stormy clouds. In Wind, Sand and Stars, published in 1940, fellow Aéropostale pilot Antoine de Saint-Exupéry wrote: “Through these uninhabited ruins Mermoz made his way, gliding slantwise from one channel of light to the next, flying for four hours through these corridors of moonlight. And this spectacle was so overwhelming that only after he had got through the Black Hole did Mermoz awaken to the fact that he had not been afraid….”

Mermoz flew 1,900 miles in 19.5 hours, and landed in the Natal harbor the next morning. “Pioneering thus, Mermoz had cleared the desert, the mountains, the night, and the sea,” Saint-Exupéry wrote. “He had been forced down more than once…. And each time that he got safely home, it was but to start out again.”

The U.S. press called Mermoz “France’s Lindbergh.” On December 7, 1936, Mermoz departed Africa in a fourengine seaplane, bound for Brazil, on the weekly mail run. It was his 28th Atlantic crossing. Neither he nor his crew were seen again.

10. Jacqueline Auriol

The daughter-in-law of Vincent Auriol, president of France from 1947 to 1954, Jacqueline Auriol learned to fly so she could escape the stuffy protocol of the Palais Elysée. Her mentor, instructor Raymond Guillaume, imbued her with a passion for aerobatics. After the crash of a Scan 30 amphibian in which she was a passenger, she faced 22 surgeries to put her face back together; yet, her first words in the ambulance rushing her to the hospital were “Will it be long before I can fly again?”

When Auriol recovered, she earned a helicopter rating, and in 1950, she became the first woman pilot admitted to France’s military Flight Test Centre. In 1951, Auriol and U.S. pilot Jacqueline Cochran began swapping speed records: Auriol broke Cochran’s record, set in a P-51 Mustang, by flying a Vampire jet at 508 mph. She set a new record in 1952 in a Sud-Est Mistral, again in 1953 in a Dassault Mystére IV, and in 1955 she reclaimed the record from Cochran in a Mystére IV N. For the last three of these flights, she was awarded the Harmon Trophy for the greatest aeronautical feat of the year—in 1952, at Cochran’s request. In 1962, Auriol reclaimed the record from Cochran in a Dassault Mirage IIIC; Cochran promptly took it back with a Lockheed TF-104G. The following year, Auriol topped her in a Mirage IIIR at 1,266 mph.

[Via airspacemag]