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11 Important Details Pilots Notice While Flying As Passengers

February 24, 2020


Hey, why’s the plane shaking?! Relax, it’s just an air pocket! You’re lucky — there’s a pilot next
to you, flying as a passenger. They know much more about flights than you
do, so a bit of turbulence won’t make them move a muscle. But if they start worrying about ice on the
windows or sniffing the air for some reason, well, that’s when you should pay attention! 1. The Angle of Light
If the flight is during the day, an experienced pilot always pays attention to the angle between
the plane window and the light coming through. They know that any difference in this angle
means that the aircraft has suddenly changed direction. Weather conditions can prevent the plane from
following its normal route. Then it can take a roundabout way. The cockpit crew can also alter the course
because of an equipment malfunction. People aren’t usually informed about minor
problems to avoid panic, but a pilot flying as a passenger will realize that something’s
wrong just by watching the light angle. 2. Weird Smells
When a pilot is flying a plane, they can understand that everything’s going as it should just
by listening to the sounds the plane’s making. A bizarre, unfamiliar sound is an obvious
sign that something’s gone wrong. While flying in a passenger seat, they can’t
rely on their ears because the cabin is mostly soundproof. That’s why pilots pay attention to the second
most important sign of problems: the smell. No doors can prevent odors from traveling
around. Some smells, such as superheated bleed air,
fuel, or hydraulic fluid, are easily recognizable for a professional. And pilots know all too well that such scents
can hint that there are some problems with the fuel-storage systems or the engine. 3. Landing Routine
Pilots and flight attendants have to follow a strict and precise routine when it comes
to landing. Window shades open, seats and tray tables
put in an upright position, seat belts fastened, announcements made — experienced pilots
know the timing to the second. But what they pay attention to is something
different. When a plane is about to descend below 10,000
ft, the cockpit crew levels the plane. The pilot in a passenger seat can’t but imagine
this procedure and go through the checklist as well. If something goes wrong, they notice it immediately. 4. The Nearest Exit Location
Most frequent flyers don’t pay attention to the safety information presented by flight
attendants, including the location of emergency exits. Pilots fly way more than any regular traveler,
but they always check where those exits are, and how much time it would take them to get
to the closest one. They also try to count the steps or the number
of rows between them and the exit because, in case of an emergency, the place is likely
to be dark, filled with smoke, or even upside down. Unless a passenger has prepared before, they
won’t be able to find the exit, open the door, and escape. Well, if pilots pay attention to where the
nearest emergency exit is, maybe you should too? 5. Icing
Some passengers get paralyzed with fear at the first signs of turbulence, but pilots
don’t care about some bumpy road: turbulence is unlikely to cause an accident (if you’re
buckled, that is). What they DO worry about is ice. Before a plane takes off in cold weather,
it gets covered with chemicals preventing icing from building up on the aircraft’s surfaces
during the flight. Unfortunately, this substance works for a
limited time. During landing, the plane’s engines don’t
produce enough heat because their power drops. It can lead to the aircraft getting covered
with ice, which will prevent a smooth landing. Pilots always pay attention to how fast the
ice is forming on the windows, and how thick it is. 6. In-Flight Announcements
If you’re a regular passenger, it may sometimes seem to you that pilots and flight attendants
communicate in another language — so many secret codes they use. But a pilot flying in a passenger seat knows
all these phrases by heart. By listening to the crew interaction, they
can understand what’s happening during the flight, and whether something’s gone wrong. For example, when a pilot hears the cockpit
crew announcing, “We’re now flying through an air pocket,” they immediately realize that
the plane is about to be jostled up and down due to some turbulence. And for other passengers, “an air pocket”
sounds much less alarming than “turbulence.” By the way, speaking of turbulence, pilots
tend to shake their heads at passengers who exaggerate the danger. “The idea of a plane plummeting for hundreds
of feet is extremely far from reality,” they say. “Even during the roughest turbulence, the
aircraft rarely changes its altitude for more than 20 feet either way.” Another thing that gets them amused is how
passengers perceive take-offs and descents. They’re never as steep as it seems to a non-professional. The plane’s nose is usually 5 degrees down
and 20 degrees up at most. Anyway, let’s return to other things pilots
pay attention to. 7. Delay Messages
There’s probably no air passenger who has never experienced some kind of a delay. Most of us, mere travelers, don’t expect a
detailed explanation of why the flight hasn’t departed or arrived in time. Pilots, though, get frustrated when after
spending more than half an hour on a taxiway, they’re still in the dark about the reasons
for the delay. A vague announcement won’t lift their mood
either. Delays aren’t usually caused by some complicated
things. Pilots say that all passengers can understand
the reason for a delay and be more patient about it if they get everything explained
in time and in the right language. 8. The Number of Other Passengers and Their Distribution
Pilots are well aware of how important the passengers’ combined weight and their distribution
are for the plane’s balance. By the way, that’s the main reason why you
aren’t allowed to change your seat unless a flight attendant gives you the all-clear
— you can disturb the aircraft’s balance. So, when a pilot flies as a passenger, they
automatically check how other people are seated around the cabin. Not only pilots but also flight attendants
have some things they pay attention to while traveling off-duty. But cabin crew members mostly concentrate
on the details connected with their responsibilities. 9. “Ding” Sounds
The sounds you hear in the cabin during the flight have their own meaning. Flight attendants know each “ding’s” interpretation
by heart. – You can hear quite a handful of “dings”
when the seat belt sign gets turned on and off. – In most aircraft, a “boing” soon after take-off
indicates that the landing gear’s being retracted. – Three “dings” in a row mean more urgency
than just one. Hey, I gotta go, man! – A high-low ringtone alerts crew members
that their colleagues need them in another part of the plane. – Three low chimes inform about some serious
turbulence ahead. Crew members are supposed to put away meal
carts, take their seats, and fasten seat belts. 10. The Dirtiest Places on the Plane
What would you say when asked about the filthiest place on a plane? Nope, that’s not the toilet seat! It’s not even the bathroom. Flight attendants know that you should be
particularly careful with headrests, seat pockets, tray tables, and seat belts! Experiments showed that one-third of all seat
belts had yeast and mold on them. Most tray tables were covered with bacteria
and mold. Seat pockets were outright filthy: there was
mold and harmful bacteria on many samples. But headrests were the dirtiest of them all
— flight attendants simply don’t have time to change or disinfect them in-between flights. 11. Bathroom Location
Unlike the average passenger, flight attendants always know where the nearest bathroom is. And if they don’t, they find it out — such
information can come in handy at the most unexpected moment. Yep, that’s a three-dinger! Hey, if you learned something new today, then
give the video a like and share it with a friend! And here are some other videos I think you’ll
enjoy. Just click to the left or right, and stay
on the Bright Side of life!

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