The view from the front of the bus: Ask the Pilot

Ask the Pilot

Ask the PilotCanberra
Australian Capital Territory
1 Feb 2017

The Australian Frequent Flyer discussion board is a joy to browse, to ask questions, to answer them, to just spend a quick moment and wake up hours later, thinking, “How time flies when you’re having fun!”

Perhaps my favourite thread on the whole site is one simply titled, “Ask the Pilot“. Currently, over a thousand pages long(!) it is where the regular members can quiz the several pilots who are also members about aspects of flight.

The discussion is wide-ranging, with topics such as odd noises heard in flight, pilot rosters, what is going on when the wings wobble, and how often do pilots and flight attendants have affairs?*

Ask the Pilot
The most regular and long-standing contributor goes by the handle “jb747”. An ex-fighter pilot, he transitioned to Qantas, flying Boeing 747 jumbo jets and then Airbus A380 superjumbos. This is serious flying!

Knowledgeable, thoughtful, entertaining and illuminating, he describes the work of an airline pilot from a very privileged position. He has a way of explaining technical concepts – a recent one was “rolling G stress” – so that we back-seat pilots can understand what is going on.

Ask the PilotHe flies off to Dubai, London, Los Angeles every few days, spending far more time in the air than most humans, and in between, he answers questions.

His biggest problem? Managing sleep. His body clock is eternally off-kilter, and although in theory, the airline gives him rest breaks aboard and between flights, the noises made by passengers, other crew members, hotel staff and guests jolt him awake far more frequently than he’d like.

His idea of the perfect holiday is at odds with most of us. One where no flying is involved!


* The surprising answer, according to one Qantas pilot, is not as often as you might think. Certainly not more than two or three times on a 14-hour transPacific flight, he says.

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