Majority of British Air Travelers Surveyed ‘Don’t Trust’ Female Pilots

Aeroplane
Flickr/Vox Efx

Fifty-one percent of British air travelers “don’t trust” female pilots, citing their inability to handle pressure, according to a poll conducted by U.K.-based travel site sunshine.co.uk and reported by The Daily Mail.

Twenty-six percent of respondents said the pilot’s gender was irrelevant while 14 percent were less likely to trust a male pilot. Respondents who did not trust a man heading the cockpit, cited their “hot headedness” and ability to be easily distracted as reasons for their distrust.One possible reason for the unease about female pilots: their relative rareness. Ten percent of respondents said their previous crews had been exclusively male. And the Huffington Post points out a 2010 FAA report that notes of the 266,000 commercial pilots in America, only about 8,715 were female.

Pilot Fired After Rough Landing

rough landing
Arrow712/Flickr


Forget where your seat is located, how much legroom you have or the race to claim overhead storage space. These are all parts of flying that some passengers are better at coping with than others. One element of flight that all passengers share is landing. Usually, the aircraft glides in for a smooth landing or seems to hop or skip a bit as it touches down. But what if it hits the runway so hard that the plane’s nose gear collapses? That’s exactly what happened during the rough landing of a Southwest Airlines flight.

The result: Captain fired.

On Southwest Airlines flight 345 last July, a veteran captain and 13-year pilot took over the controls of the Boeing 737 as it approached the runway.Southwest policy calls for the aircraft’s main wheels under the wings to touch down first, reports Bloomberg. In this case, the front landing gear touched down first, snapped off and damaged the aircraft. Nine passengers were injured. Traffic at New York’s LaGuardia airport was disrupted for hours.

The incident is still under investigation.

NTSB: Capt. Took Command Seconds Before 'Nose' Landing

Now Is A Good Time To Become A Pilot

If you’ve ever wanted to become a pilot, now is a good time to follow through on that desire. According to USA Today, airlines are now preparing to face a pilot shortage that will leave the industry needing almost half a million new pilots by 2032.

Three of the biggest factors behind this swelling need for pilots are expanding fleets for many airlines, more complex laws enacted regarding pilot safety, and approaching retirement for many pilots. The increase in pilot demand is greater than previously reported by Boeing and the fact that flight school loans can sometimes reach $100,000 isn’t helping to narrow the gap between pilot supply and demand.

So if becoming a pilot has always been a dream of yours, now is a good time to realize that dream –- the travel industry needs you.

Flight Attendants Sit In For 40-Minute Pilot Break

Two Air India pilots have come under fire after they took a 40-minute break from the cockpit and asked flight attendants to sit in for them. Their stunt almost ended in disaster when one of the flight attendants accidentally turned off autopilot, endangering the lives of the 166 passengers on board, The Mumbai Mirror is reporting.

According to the news outlet, the plane was 30 minutes into a flight from Bangkok to Delhi when First Officer Ravindra Nath asked a flight attendant to occupy his seat while he excused himself for a bathroom break. A few minutes later, co-pilot Captain B K Soni also decided to leave the cockpit, and asked another flight attendant to keep an eye on things. According to reports, the co-pilot spent a few minutes teaching the two flight attendants how to operate the aircraft (phew!) before leaving to take a nap in a business class seat.

It seems First Officer Nath emerged from the bathroom and decided to join Captain Soni for a snooze – that is, until one of the flight attendants accidentally switched off autopilot. The two wingmen jumped up and ran back to the cockpit to regain control, but their devious antics didn’t go unnoticed. A senior cabin crewmember who witnessed the dramatic events brought the incident to the attention of the airline’s management, and all four parties involved were de-rostered and later suspended pending an investigation.

[Photo credit: Flickr user Naddsy]

Cockpit Chronicles: The iPad Flight Bag Is Finally Here (Video)

The long awaited, previously announced iPad Electronic Flight Bag (EFB) has finally been approved for most of our airplanes at the company. In fact, we’re the first U.S. airline to receive FAA approval for the use of the iPad as a replacement for all of our paper Jeppesen approach plates.

The process started in 2007 when we were allowed to use laptops to hold our company manuals. This meant we could leave three to four manuals at home that weighed about ten pounds. When the iPad came on the scene, we were allowed to use it as an alternative to the laptop. That left only our “Jepps,” two to three large manuals that weighed even more than the company books, for us to lug around.

Some airlines went a different route, investing in a built-in laptop solution called a Class II EFB that included Jepp support. This 2009 cockpit video by Gadling shows how Virgin America deployed that solution.

Later, our company worked with Jeppesen and the FAA to offer an iPad that would be provided to every pilot and a RAM mount that stays in the aircraft. In addition, the company also provided us with a Hypermac backup battery that’s capable of extending the life of the iPad for an additional 24 hours.

Since both pilots will be carrying an iPad, coupled with the extended batteries, the FAA feels this is as redundant as the regular manuals.

A few weeks ago we saw our first mounts in our MD-80, so I felt a video tour might explain how the setup works and just what it replaces.

So far American has approval for the 777, 737, MD-80 and is just awaiting approval for the 757/767 fleet. Hopefully, this will be just in time for my return to that airplane, as once you use this setup, you won’t want to go back to the paper.

To get that approval, American had to have the iPad tested in a hypobaric chamber to simulate how the device would handle during a rapid decompression. They also had to arrange for mount testing with the FAA, which is ironic since our manuals weigh far more than the iPad and aren’t secured in place. Many takeoffs have resulted in a book or two sliding off the side table and onto the floor.

Next up on the list are the reams of dot matrix printed paperwork we take with us on the flights that I covered in a previous video. Once that is accomplished, and weather is incorporated into the iPad, we can finally claim to be flying in the seemingly mythical “paperless cockpit” that has long been the goal since sometime just after the Wright Brothers took to the air and discovered how difficult it was to fold up their maps in the open cockpit.

[Photo/Video credit: Kent Wien]

Related: “Cockpit Chronicles: Paper Makes an Airplane Fly”

Cockpit Chronicles” takes you along on some of Kent’s trips as a captain co-pilot on the MD-80 757 and 767 based in New York. Have any questions for Kent? Check out the “Cockpit Chronicles” Facebook page or follow Kent on Twitter @veryjr.