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My Pilot’s Nickname Is “Bottom Gun”

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Posted By: earlybird, 8/11/2019 1:10:32 PM

I have this strong suspicion that the airlines are lying to us every time they say, “We have some weather ahead.” “Some weather ahead” means…a rainstorm. There’s no need to turn back. Didn’t America invent the airplane? Haven’t we had 116 years to figure out how to fly through a rainstorm? Don’t they have guys at Boeing running weather algorithms on the aerodynamics of pushing through a Category 5 hurricane with military cargo planes because the fate of the Western world might depend on it? (Snip I would say about a third of those flights have been delayed, canceled (meaning I was supposed to take a previous

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Joe Bob on that fun thing known as “air travel”… (Or “maybe air travel"?)

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Reply 1 - Posted by: earlybird 8/11/2019 1:11:29 PM (No. 149154)
FTA: The late Herb Kelleher, founder of Southwest Airlines, whose pioneering use of the 737 was the subject of my obituary earlier this year, had a rule for his pilots: Wheels up on time, wheels down on time. You saw the turbulence coming and you flew through the turbulence. Of course, all the pilots he hired from the Navy and the Air Force would know that already because they had thousands of missions in horrendous weather with ridiculous landing situations. When the winds are 20 knots and the aircraft carrier is bobbing in 30-foot seas, you still keep the plane right-side up and get the f**king wheels down. They know how to do this.
7 people like this.

Reply 2 - Posted by: VinGoombatz 8/11/2019 1:22:30 PM (No. 149163)
Bring back the coach-and-four. As in horses.
1 person likes this.

Reply 3 - Posted by: F16 guy 8/11/2019 2:26:19 PM (No. 149197)
I only have 30+ years of flying experience (Navy, Air National Guard, commercial US airline), but we NEVER fly through thunderstorms. Rain showers are OK, and the cockpit radar display clearly delineates the difference. Turbulence can be foretasted, or not. You never know about whether its there or not. The best way to know is by listening to the aircraft ahead of you at the same altitude. The reasons for flight delays are numerous, and a late afternoon flight delay from PHX to ABQ with clear skies might have originated in Maine earlier that day or the night before. There are 87,000 flights per day in the USA. Delays, turbulence, and lousy food are realities in air travel. Give your crew the credit they deserve.
13 people like this.

Reply 4 - Posted by: Strike3 8/11/2019 2:38:26 PM (No. 149209)
JB eloquently describes one of the many reasons that I quit traveling by air. Normally when you have a bad experience with one company, you move on to the competition but what do you do when they all suck? In my long business career I have heard every lie and excuse that could be invented by man. I have been stuck in hellhole airports like Chicago and Philadelphia overnight. I have ended up in West Virginia when my ticket was purchased to northern Pennsylvania. They are especially adept at blaming every conceivable problem on the weather so they do not have to give you anything to compensate for your suffering. I agree on the comments about pilot quality and courage. I have flown on Coast Guard seaplanes in typhoons while the ocean one hundred feet below was nothing but white caps. I refuse to put up with this poor excuse for customer service and prefer four or two wheels now everywhere I go. I don't care if it takes longer. Nothing beats a fourteen hour trip by plane to cover three hundred miles.
5 people like this.

Reply 5 - Posted by: DVC 8/11/2019 2:49:18 PM (No. 149215)
Some of this is just foolishness, some is real. Like the fuel balance case. The fuel in the wings has to be reasonably close to the same amount to keep the aircraft from tilting due to the imbalance. If somebody screwed up and added too much to one side, it has to be pumped over to the other side, and that takes time. As to weather....most of the problem has nothing to do with FLYING through it, it has to do with airport parallel runways. In clear weather, close together parallel runways can be used safely with aircraft closer to each other, because the pilots can see to keep clear of other aircraft. In weather where visibility is gone, the aircraft can still fly, but since they can't see another aircraft to avoid it, the air traffic controllers have to space the aircraft out more, and often parallel runways cannot be used, so the airport rate of landing aircraft is cut in half immediately. Add in longer trailing spacing and it is more like to 1/3 of what can be handled in clear weather for some airports. And regardless of how much this guy thinks we have advanced, a thunderstorm can literally tear an aircraft apart, so you don't just go busting through them intentionally. You have to go around. And even if the aircraft was structurally safe in the thunderstorm, the passengers would be bouncing around and scared to death in severe turbulence. Not scaring the hell out of the passengers is an important airline goal. Dumb, uninformed, misinformed article overall. He gets in some nice digs, and some airlines no doubt deserve them, and I have no doubt that many non-weather related events are blamed on the weather to CYA for crummy airlines. But mostly, weather is still in charge, and slows down everything in air transportation.
3 people like this.

Reply 6 - Posted by: Penny Spencer 8/11/2019 2:50:43 PM (No. 149217)
This is a very enjoyable read, but I don't agree with Joe Bob. I prefer that the airlines don't, ''Beat me up, twirl me around, give me that weightless feeling when the bottom drops out..." thank you very much. Been there, done that a few times in the past and I didn't like it. I'd rather be late and unruffled than on time and traumatized. More importantly, I want the plane to land where it's supposed to, not in the middle of a jungle or several yards short of the runway! #3 has it right. Thunderstorms are bad news for planes and are best avoided.
3 people like this.

Reply 7 - Posted by: Vesicant 8/11/2019 3:17:56 PM (No. 149231)
Sure, weather could affect fuselages and airport runways, but the real problem is the complaints the airline would get from the self-important scaredy cats who get jostled by a little turbulence. And yes, I've been through "drop 200 feet instantaneously" incidents, and those aren't what I'm talking about.
2 people like this.

Reply 8 - Posted by: red1066 8/11/2019 3:46:31 PM (No. 149242)
When I first started traveling by air I thought the whole process was an adventure. Now after over 35 years of that adventure, I'm just tired of the whole process. My company recently wanted me to go to Syracuse NY for business. I said ok, I'll drive up. It should take about six hours to do so. My boss said, " Don't drive, it's too far. Take a plane". Before I could argue that about the cost of flying versus driving they had issued me a plane ticket to fly from Baltimore to Syracuse. Trouble was, it wasn't a non stop flight. First I flew to Philly. An 18 min flight that flew at tree top level. Once in Philly I sat around for 2.5 hours before the flight 50 min to Syracuse. Coming back was even longer. I left Syracuse at 11am, and arrived in Baltimore after 7pm. The process is just too exhausting anymore.
4 people like this.

Reply 9 - Posted by: czechlist 8/11/2019 5:06:04 PM (No. 149277)
I took my first flight in 1968. Dallas Love to LAX on Delta. Everyone was clean, well dressed and polite. Now passengers are rude, crude and too often reek. Flying has become an unbearable experience for me. When I retired I donated my miles to make a wish. I don't care to ever fly again.
4 people like this.

Reply 10 - Posted by: Chris Jr. 8/11/2019 6:39:59 PM (No. 149331)
A humorous article & a pleasant read - Thank you, earlybird... :)
0 people like this.

Reply 11 - Posted by: thewarden 8/11/2019 8:04:55 PM (No. 149384)
Well, I hate flying. I just don’t like the sensation, turbulence, and being crammed into a tube with strangers. Yuck. Took my first flight across the US in 1970 when I was 6, when people dressed for air travel (mom made me wear a dress), and behaved themselves. We had full meals! I’ve flown all over. But now, I prefer to drive. I was to take a short 1.5 hour flight on SWA upstate this Friday to meet my husband on his way back from a driving trip so we can visit family nearby. Thank God office issues changed his plans and now we will drive the 9 hours together—and I am SO relieved. I admire pilots—what a responsibility! I hate weather, though...and flying now, too. It’s just too much these days.
2 people like this.

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