Blog Profile / Cockpit Conversation

Filed Under:Transportation / Commercial Aviation
Posts on Regator:366
Posts / Week:0.9
Archived Since:April 25, 2008

Blog Post Archive

Pilots and Birds

Pilots have sort of a love-hate relationship with birds. Some learned to fly out of a desire to be like the birds. I came grudgingly to appreciate avian skills while I was a student pilot learning to judge winds and momentum in the flare. Show More Summary

Why Helicopters Work That Way

I've never studied helicopter aerodynamics, but I witnessed a helicopter crash once, and the event was consistent with the theory that it's principally the integrity of the tail rotor that prevents the helicopter from behaving the way...Show More Summary

Logbook Strategy

I finally got my logbook up-to-date, every flight entered, every page totalled, grand total calculated. Each line represents one flight, and includes the date, aircraft type, aircraft registration, point of origin, destination, crew, and duration of the flight. Show More Summary

Partial Research is Funnier than None

At 1:35:14 of the movie The Bourne Identity, there's an airplane. It's not important to the plot, just a brief scene to show that Important Serious Guy is going to Paris. It only merited a second glance because Important Serious GuyShow More Summary

The Wrong Trousers

On my first job with a uniform, I was required to wear black pants and a white pilot shirt. That's a pretty standard outfit, and a lot of companies just leave it to the pilot to obtain those articles of clothing. That first company didn't pay much, so I just wore whatever black pants kind of fit me at the second-hand store. Show More Summary

Oxygen Exchange

I work in an unpressurized aircraft at altitudes where the atmospheric pressure is low enough that oxygen is required. Between 10,000' and F180 (about 18,000') I wear a nasal cannula: an arrangement of tubes, including two blowing oxygen up my up my nostrils. Show More Summary


I was away working last weekend, so I wasn't really thinking of Thanksgiving as a holiday. I usually work right through October, so a proper Thanksgiving celebration only happens by chance. Sometimes a little late, like the one I had this year. Show More Summary

Extra-Vehicular Activities

I was trying to find a clip of the coffee-ordering scene from the movie Pushing Tin. In the film it's a demonstration of how many pieces of data on different aircraft that an experienced controller can hold in his or her head simultaneously. Show More Summary

Runner's High

This story starts about five years ago when I first realized that combining my fondness for running, maps, and cool watches in one technological device was possible and affordable, even if it did barely fit on my wrist. I bought a Garmin Forerunner 305. Show More Summary

You Won't Believe What This KLM Flight Attendant Said

I hate those headlines, but I was feeling uninspired. There's a human factors exercise known as the "Five Hazardous Attitudes," where pilots evaluate their tendency towards different safety ways of neglecting the safest route. It occurred to me today that airline passengers suffer from exactly the same tendencies. Show More Summary

I See Fourteen Lights

There might be fog or mist present when I depart tomorrow from an uncontrolled aerodrome. The minimum allowable visibility for my departure is half a statute mile, so I need to be able to determine how far I can see along the runway, without a tower, a flight service specialist or an electronic runway visual range (RVR) measurement. Show More Summary


I finally updated my personal logbook, sitting down with a small stack of journey logs, a calculator and a sunset/sunrise time database, to make entries for about two and a half years worth of flights. I've never got that far behind before. Show More Summary

Why I Love My Director of Maintenance

I'm afraid I have to be much vaguer than I would like to be, due to the company rule forbidding operational information on social media, but I want to share the DoM's awesomeness. The first part of the story is probably familiar to all pilots and aircraft repair personnel. Show More Summary

Delicious Donair

Tower passed me to the centre frequency just in time for me to hear, "We have the delicious donair in sight." I could see the question marks over my non-pilot co-worker's head before she asked, "Is that a restaurant?" While I have been...Show More Summary

That Horrible Moment When ...

... you land at some little GA airport in the afternoon, because it happened to have a runway long enough, and it was equidistant from the various places you thought you might be asked to go the next day, and then you get a phone call at o-dark-hundred, and during flight planning you ask yourself, "Does the aerodrome have lighting?" It did. Show More Summary

Birds on a Schedule

A NOTAM (at some point it stood for NOTice to Airmen, but I think it's just a word now) is a bulletin advising pilots of non-meteorological hazards to aviation: e.g. runway closures, unlighted towers, air traffic control frequency outages, amended procedures, unserviceable navigation equipment or the presence of a nuisance bear at the airport. Show More Summary

Snark Redirect

My airport authority sent out a useless little memo "urging" everyone to play safely while at no point apologizing for or even mentioning the horrendous poorly-documented mess airport construction has made of the movement areas. My fangs...Show More Summary

"My Frequency" Confession

When flying IFR, a pilot "reads back" that is repeats back all the instructions we receive from air traffic control, to demonstrate that we have heard and accept the instruction, and to give the controller a chance to notice if we have heard incorrectly, or if the controller misspoke. Show More Summary

Beating Popular Wisdom

On Saturday, sixteen-year-old Autumn Veatch was on board a Beech Bonanza, a zippy little single engine airplane, with her step-grandparents. Autumn must have been a passenger, as one must be seventeen to pilot an airplane like that in the United States. Show More Summary

Stowaway Cat

Here is one of the many reasons why there is not an exhaustive list of things to check on preflight inspection. You just walk around that airplane and poke bits of it until you're satisfied that it is airworthy. You'd think that would have included spotting a cat in a translucent wing, but apparently not. Show More Summary

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