Travel Tips June 13, 2018
The 6 Things Pilots Notice When They Fly That As Passengers That You Don’t
For most of us, flying is somewhat mysterious. From all the buttons and dials in a cockpit to the real reason you have to put your tray table up for landing, regular passengers tend to be a bit in the dark about the workings of an airplane.
When pilots fly as passengers, however, they notice things that we never would. This
Quora thread asked real pilots what sticks out them when they’re riding in the cabin and the answers are pretty fascinating.
1. Ice accumulation
You might be worried about sudden turbulence, but the pilot seated next to you is probably more concerned about ice accumulation. When ice builds up on the winds or body of the plane, it can make a landing bumpy or even lead to dangerous situations mid-flight. While all planes are coated in a special substance that is meant to prevent such accumulation, turning down the engines to land decreases the temperature of the aircraft and could lead to ice buildup in a matter of minutes.
2. Strange smells and sounds
Pilots are trained to be familiar with all the routine sounds of a flight, so when they hear an unfamiliar knocking, whistling or alarm sound, they pay attention.
Even more significantly, pilots will definitely notice any suspicious smells in the cabin. The passenger area of a plane is pretty insulated when it comes to sound, but smells tend to move more freely. Pilots will be able to tell if the smell of fuel or hydraulic fluid is wafting around the cabin.
3. How the sunlight looks
While you might be admiring the view from your window seat, pilots are likely to notice angle of the light coming into the cabin. Sudden changes in course can usually be detected by paying attention to abrupt shifts in the angle of the sun.
4. How the flight attendants are behaving
If the flight attendants are calmly chatting with each other or passengers, chances are everything is proceeding as normal and that turbulence you’re experiencing is nothing to worry about. However, a pilot is more likely to notice a series of chimes summoning the flight attendants to the front of the plane, or if any attendants have disappeared into the cockpit. While it’s usually nothing to worry about, the pilots could need to communicate a change of course or other situation.
5. Emergency exits and row numbers
Pilots know how important it is to listen to safety briefings and be aware of the emergency exit locations. Some pilots actually count the number of rows between themselves and the nearest emergency exit. This way, they can feel their way to the exit in the event the plane is filled with smoke or is underwater.
6. The landing routine
It might seem crazy, but many pilots can predict the landing announcement within a few seconds. By feeling a minute shift in the angle of the plane and mentally going through the standard landing checklist, pilots can predict the "ding" and announcement that the plane is going in for landing within 4 or 5 seconds.
Are you a pilot? What do you notice on a plane that other people might not? And just in case you’re curious, here’s
what actually happens if someone dies on a plane.