"" Writer's Wanderings: The Plane Does Not Fly Itself

Tuesday, May 08, 2018

The Plane Does Not Fly Itself

Maybe it's because of all the crazy movies and shows over the years but too many people have the idea that once the plane is on autopilot, the pilot isn't flying the plane. Not the case according to a former pilot who has written a book, Cockpit Confidential, and has a website, AskThePilot.com. Patrick Smith says that the automation only does what the pilot tells it to do. So even though it may not be hands on the wheel, it is still pilot in control.

The autopilot was put into use mainly so that a pilot does not have to keep his hands on the "wheel" continually especially during long flights. If you've ever taken a long road trip and driven a long stretch, you can imagine what that would be like on a long overseas flight.

I found several very interesting questions and answers on Smith's website. For instance, the idea that the air in the cabin is seething with germs. The air in the cabin is mixed with fresh air from the outside and there are all sorts of filters it passes through. If you read his answer, it will calm your fears. He claims that the air is probably cleaner than what is in an office, movie theater or classroom.

When you look at a map you assume that the shortest distance between New York and Europe is a straight shot across the ocean. Not so. Smith points out the principle that early explorers were proving--the earth is round, not flat. Therefore the shortest distance between those two points takes a plane over Newfoundland, Labrador and Greenland before getting to Europe. It's simply shorter because of the curvature of the earth.

Lots of interesting questions and answers on the website. You might want to check them out before your next flight.

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...