« Freakonomics Radio

250. Why Does Everyone Hate Flying? And Other Questions Only a Pilot Can Answer

2016-06-02 | 🔗
Patrick Smith, the author of Cockpit Confidential, answers every question we can throw at him about what really happens up in the air. Just don't get him started on pilotless planes -- or whether the autopilot is actually doing the flying.
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
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I welcome the more ladies and gentlemen. This is your hosts Niemann on behalf of the entire crew year for Economics, radio, I'd like to thank you for choosing this punk. We know you have a choice of cod guests when you listen, and we want to thank you for choosing us. This episode number two hundred forty nine originating out of WMD studios in New York City. Our playing time today will be approximately forty five minutes. Our guest today is very talkative airline pilot, but image Patrick Smith, and he will answer my questions about fine, and yours is a treaty that pilots can see through a camera that's in the bathroom. Can the pilot really live faster and if so, what are they fly faster? Normally, the normal matter, of course, if there is anything that you had
even while on a flight that you couldn't explain its time now sit back and relax and enjoy the shoe feel freedom about cabin sentence. You hear the from W and Y see studios. This is frequent, comics, radio, the podcast that explores the hidden side of everything. Here's your host Stephen Dogma, It is nearly summertime, which probably means that you and just about everybody you know, will soon be getting on an airplane. It means that you and just about everybody, you know, will be racking up a lot of questions and even more complaint never underestimate the contempt people have airlines, people hate care
there is, then the airlines are out either still your money or get you killed or both. So as part of this, let me apologize advance for sounding frustrated. Patrick Smith is a pilot for a major. U S carrier, you won't say which one I live near boss. And I fly the Boeing seven. Fifty seven and seven sixty seven aircraft Andy's willing to tell you, everything he knows about airline travel, Psmith maintains a website called ask. The pilot that come in my book is called, fit confidential. Everything you need to know about air travel. His love for flying came early. When I was a kid, I used to stay up at night, Instead of doing my homework, reading airline timetables and looking at the root maps and all the countries and cities that these aeroplanes flew to and while Psmith gets the fact that most of us love to wines about airline travel, he doesn't see that way. It's still a very special thing and still an exciting thing in a lot of ways that people don't normally think about
there's so much bad information now there there are so many urban myths. Conspiracy theories and and all these ideas people have about the airlines and about flying so many of which are wrong, Gimme A for instance. What's stopping you still urban airline myth our work we start we can talk about the notion people have that flying is Pensive wanted, in fact it's cheaper than its ever been it it's absurdly cheap and a lot of ways. Young people especially have no memory of the fact that not all that long ago, only a certain fraction of the population could afford to fly at all, and now it's basically a form of of mass transit and that's good. That's the downside is that it its crowded, its noisy planes are folder babies crying, and then you don't get a three course meal and economy anymore. So it is good and bad given take, but flying is damn cheap when
just for inflation and even when you factory and all of those ancillary fees, that airlines, love and passengers hate airfares are about half of what they were thirty years ago. So flying is cheap it's mostly reliable about eighty five percent of flights get to where they're going on time, and then you ve got kind of the more romantic side of it in the idea that you can get on a wide body jet in New York City and fly to China in thirteen fourteen hours into something a hundred years ago would have been absolutely unimaginable. People. You can do that for a few pennies per mile up people dont often stop in a kind of meditate on that, because its corny but its it is. It is true and it's kind of exciting. It seems to me at least, that people love to hate on the airline industry and that its considered perfectly stand. To hate on the airline industry, but it is strange that we Don't hate on movies studios who make plenty a crappy movies, and we don't complain about our electrocuted
suppliers, which an electricity has gotten a lot more expensive in at least in many parts of the country relative to other costs than airline travel. What is it? Do you think that makes your industry such a target for just kind of low grade fever wiring of standard sort. I think part of it is fear the fact that that, on some level, people are afraid when they get on a plane, and then that is compounded by, let's be frank, the recalcitrance of airlines. Airlines don't like talk, they don't like to give out answers. If they dont have do they don't like to explain problem in a sometimes safety issues, they don't need to because You are going to stop flying, but they will continue to hate it. So I think that feeds into the contempt that people have. Where the flying experience, and also you locate, is uncomfortable. Most of the time
It can be exciting if your flying from New York to Hong Kong and business class, but if you're going from Saint Louis to Denver in the back of a seven thirty seven year it sucks, but for all of the griping p do about being wedged in steerage in I was. Flight. Not long ago, I'm in economy, I've, gotta, Twelveth videos green with a hundred and something movies to pick from tv towards I've got a little coat hook? I've gotta, I wouldn't designers seed, but in a kind of an advanced sculpted economy see it was pretty comfortable and I think back to the nineteen seventeen. When I flew as a kid and you had a seat and remember those movies that you would watch on the bulkhead screen that we're all blurry and they would give you that the plastic air funds that you'd sticking your ear and caught the inside of your ear, because I think I've had jagged edges on it. People talk about. I was
going to be the way it used to be. Are you sure I mean? Do you really want to go back to that, and also to the fact that flying is more dangerous and more expensive Let's talk about safety for a few minutes Do you remember, I think, was July of two thousand thirteen. There was a fatal air crash on landing Asian Airlines flight to fourteen in San Francisco to remember that one, Patrick, absolutely sure due to passengers were one slash three was killed after on the runway, I think was hit by a fire truck or an ambulance right. So I just looked up some statistics at the time. So this was a couple years ago, the last it'll flight of a major Eu Us airline. Previous to that one was in November. Two thousand one. When children sixty five people were killed in the key American Airlines fight five. Eighty seven shortly after take off from JFK in New York, and then I calculated a number of people killed in: U S, traffic accidents since the last
major. U S! Airline crash last fatality was about four hundred and forty two thousand six hundred people, a number of: U S: newspapers, tv networks and so on. That did not feature. However, this fatal crash, I killed too, as I think, zero literally see. You're, a smart guy, you're, also airline pilot. You understand that people get upset about most events when they presented in a certain way button to blame For being scared, it's it's a strange thing to climb into a big metal tube and let a couple people fly across the country. It is, and I think on some level, everybody is afraid to fly and Maybe they have a reason to be, but we ve he neared out. You know what used to be Alderman common causes of accidents. First, you have improved technology, cockpit technology and proved airport infrastructure, and so on, better crew.
Training pilot training. And then you have the collaborative effort between airlines, regulators and pilot groups, and that will sound incestuous to some people, but it works. For example, a lot of carriers now have these self reporting programmes where pilots make a mistake. You write it up, you send it in you're, not punished, but that data is like did and analyze both by the airline and by the regulators, to look for Trans and and take pre emptive action to stop Things from happening- and it works very well we're much safer now than we used to be. You can do this statistic differently, but I've heard you know eight times nighttime. Ten times safer than we were thirty years ago, even with double the number of aeroplanes in the sky, go back to the nineteen, eighty five, for example- At one year there were twenty seven major airline disasters around the world that killed, I think, two thousand or so people twenty seven
and you had a among those, you had two of the deadliest air disasters in history happening within sixty days of each other great that was an unusually bad year, but we had years like that, all the time where you had multiple catastrophes globally each year. We see that anymore, but you almost wouldn't know that, because every time there's an incident its splashed across in all these different media platforms. Twenty four seven- and I think that gives people the idea that these things are happening more commonly than they are, and yet there are crashes. Every year or most years, at least in commercial flight, but particularly smaller region. Yet so can you talk for a couple minutes about the differences between in bigger planes or bigger airlines and smaller planes are small airlines, and why there is such a difference in safety. I don't think there is such a difference. Part of that is that the regional airline industry, regional airlines sector, the smaller contractor commuter jets that are so common
is now such a huge part of the industry in the EU more than half I'll, take off and landing are performed by these outsource contractor connection, express and so on, regional barriers. So if there's gonna be an accident in a lot of ways, it's quite flap major carrier regional carrier over the past ten fifteen As we have seen more accidents involving regional plans, then larger mainline planes that could be simply chance. The question Asking you know, are the big. Jets safer. The short answer there is no. This is similar when people ask me, which is the safest airline, which is the safest playing to fly on the answer, is it doesn't matter What about, however, the pool of pilots among big play? in sum and big airlines and regional jets, great question we keep hearing about,
pilot shortage. Really. This is something affecting the regional sector, not the main line sector and where it comes from the fact- For years and years and years, regional airline pilots were paid next to nothing. Four. Suddenly realising wait a minute, I'm gonna put two hundred thousand dollars into my training to make twenty grand a year as a regional airlines, CO pilot now and so fewer people getting into the business and the ranks for drawing up so which the regions that are having trouble attracting pilots, We are seeing salaries starting to go up. Some carriers are offering bonuses and that kind of thing what bout salaries among the big companies, including yours, for instance, you want to tell us. Your salary is certainly welcome to feed. Like I know down, but I will say that I do well. I do better than I ever expected to, and I'm in I have no complaints about my job. I love my job, but it took a long time to get to where I am I, when I started flying regional plans and ninety ninety, I was making eight hundred and fifty dollars a month gross pay in even
the regional Airlines captain in the mid nineties, I was making a thirty six thousand dollars a year. This after me, and my family put and in tens of thousands of dollars into my training, and I was just getting no return on their investment at all. They know it wasn't until I was in my forties that I finally made a six figure income, so it takes while to get to that level and for many pilots they never do, and this is another reason using fewer pilots getting into the business, because the regional sector, the lower paying regional sector, has gotten so big. It's no longer seen as just a stepping stone to a major carrier, when I was learning to fly. You did your training. You went to work for a regional for a couple of years and then you went on to a major that was the process. So now it's become more, tournament model yeah we're you're, not guaranteed at all essential to the major level right and then pilots are sitting back and thinking hey this, this might be as far as I ever get. This is a career, it's not a stepping stone, and so for that reason a few are willing to do it. But I thought
we could agree that the pilot as profession, including regional, and major airlines is not as financially attractive as it used to be correct. That is correct pilot. I'd make as much money as they used to make. So are you concerned that, as those areas have fallen relative at least two other occupations at the occupational will attract either fewer or less competent pilots over time. Haven't you heard Stephen that pilots are going to do so here soon we're all gonna be flying around and pilotless aircraft. Well that my hope no offense to you. I do know that autonomous cars are potential reality and I like the ramifications of that, because I think that driving in writing in cars is one of the single most dangerous things a given human or do on a regular basis. So talk to me
moment about why I shouldn't expect and fully demand all my planes be flown by robots and computers up a car is not an airplane to any to say that you don't either as a judge and I know it so easy to compare the two and you look at a drone anew extrapolate and we'll just make it bigger and put a hundred things. But when you look at the safety record have drowned and you think wait a minute must always when this comes up. The people advocating further pilotless play an idea are academics, researchers, scientists and so on and granted the work. These people do it's important. It's interesting its compelling, but the people you talking about this. Aren't people who necessarily have a good grasp of the opera national realities of commercial flank. I'm an airline pilots, I'm I'm an advocate. I am defending my profession and all of that, its inner, but that's not it. I mean personally don't care if, eventually pilotless planes are a reality, because I'll be long, deaden retired. Before then, I'm not saying it's something we can do justice.
It couldn't be living on cities on Mars, its within technological grasp, but that doesn't mean it affordable, practical or something that we really want. Then I think of all of the thousands of things that could go wrong on any commercial, frightened you We want to be dealing with those problems from a room thousands of miles away. I am astounded by how much faith people have in this idea. Among the challenges, never mind. The technological challenges, which are huge you'd, basically have to rebuild the entire civil aviation infrastructure from air traffic control to the way airports are laid out, hundreds of billions of dollars to make them like that happening, you'd still have to have pilots to fly the aeroplanes, just from a location? Let me give you a parallel scenario: let's pretend that we learned definitively tomorrow, that human doctors and there D agnostic abilities are really for crap and new. Maybe-
be that much of his prize to learn, because we know that diagnosing is really really hard and that, through a series of technological steps and inventions that there is a idle weathered some form of robot zation computerization, whatever that is basically a much better diagnostic model and that would require that our medical system would need to be rebuilt, maybe from scratch, with the promise and the idea that in the end it will be better and be worth it lets say that one could make a similar argument for aeroplanes. Tell me why you still wouldn't want to argue in favour of a pilot. This airplane fleet not arguing against the idea of it? I'm just reminded people of what an immense job would be and how expensive and how elaborate your tongue- so many years and so much research and so much technological advance before this could happen, you'll be getting it
pilotless commercial jack around the time of you'll be getting a doctor lists kidney transplant. It seems we have struck a nerve with our pilot friend, so coming up and economics, radio will programme a bit more on the topic, cockpit, automation where to begin on a Stephen. This is one of my favorites, slash least favoured things to talk about will also here some of your questions, how effective aviation security measures at stopping terrorism, and if you are in charge, what would you do differently and if you're flying soon, and you need to load up your mobile devices with listening material? Aren't you get yourself over the Itunes and subscribe to free economic radio? You can also find our entire archive on for economics that come along with transcripts for every
so does well. Music credits and more Patrick Smith is an airline pilot with website called asked the pilot not come in a book called cockpit confidential. He grew up your Boston, one of the things my friends and I used to do during junior high school was we would take the subway out Logan Airport in Boston, and we were back in those days. Of course, you could just walk through security without a ticket, and we would stake out the jet way on a flight and after all, the passengers were off. We would walk down the joy and approach, one of the pilot or flight,
tendons. Since I hey, is it ok? If we can look at the cockpit and almost always, the answer was sure come on and we would go up to the cockpit and and sit in the pilot chairs and and pretend we up in the air over the ocean somewhere. That was pretty big thrill, for seventh, greater and greater. I remember one time we spent an hour in the. Good of the Northwest Airlines Deasey Ten, that Logan Airport and action Nobody knew we were there. Finally, mechanic came along what the hell are. You kids doing what we just came on and wanted to take some pictures and look round and he was. But you know he basically said our. I just don't touch anything don't mess with anything and then left us their imagine that today, today, Smith is taking any and all questions about airline travel, including questions from for economics, radio listeners. Let's start with Scott Crosbie he's a surgical neurophysiologist from Houston. He says his wife is a nervous flyer and she hates turbulence in
He tries to tell her that it's not such a big deal. The way I try to rationalize this tour is to explain that the plane is not really moving very much whenever we feel turbulence, and she doesn't really believe me, I'm hoping shall believe and airline pilot, maybe we'll take it from the expert. Look even in pretty rough turbulence on airplane is displaced, only slightly from its position in space. Aeroplanes have what we call positive stability where, when their moved from their position in space, they by their nature want to return back there, so it run of the mill moderate. Please fasten your seatbelt turbulence, there's almost no displacement. Yet there are those case: we read about once or twice a year where an airplane had severe turbulence and does actually move hundreds of feet up or down. People are injured. There's damage inside the cabin, that's very rare at something, I have personally never experienced and most pilots most passengers will never.
Experience in a lifetime, but even in those cases, almost always the people who are hurt or people who did not have their seat belts on one may should have, and there is also something that I call p e, f or passenger embellishment factor, and this applies not just to turbulence but two. Bank angles and angles of climb and dissent. Very rarely, for example, does an airplane turn or back more than about the twenty or twenty five degrees. Yet people will swear that their plane was tipped the United Forty five degrees or ninety degrees. You name it in our climate. Very steep climb onto is seldom more than twenty degrees at the most and addressed sent is usually no more than five degrees, but again people will say we were descending it that sixty two there is no doubt absolutely
I mean I wish I could take you into an airplane and show you what sixty degrees of pitch would actually feel like an you'd be startled. Have you ever come close to a crash as a pilot close to a crash? I mean the closest call you can call it. That is something that happened to me back when I was, I think, nineteen years old, when I was just learning to fly to private pilot when I was involved near Miss over Nantucket Sound, because I was distracted by the by. Poor girl sitting next to me, go all the way back to the days when I was flying that for cedar to come up with anything that answers the question, and I think that underscores just how save commercial flying is I mean I've been flying commercially since ninety ninety and I'd I'd, nothing jumps out at me.
Kathy heard all Frank, California, I was wondering: is there anything that you had seen while on a flight that you couldn't explain, I think, reading between the lines I'm being asked, have I seen a UFO and the answer is no and I've heard people say Is it true that there's this tacit agreement among pilots that, if you see you, if you don't say anything that just makes me laugh out loud as if there's a tacit agreement among pilots about anything, I have seen a lot of cash? the things, though, that I can explain. Of the northern lights of the collar hurried desert, the rain forests of fur guy. And Brazil flying really gives you a sense of how small the world is, and you also see a lot of breathtaking things that leave a disturbing impression. For example, flying over some of the
Clark, hunting fires of over the Amazon, seeing the just miles long flame fronts gives you a sense of how much destruction and how much damage we're doing to the planet. You get it sense of that from the air high volumes TIM Wilson, I'm an analytics consultant based in Dublin Ohio right outside of Columbus, reasonably often I'll, be on a flight where were delayed, taking off by fifteen or thirty minutes for any number of reasons. But then, I would comes on apologize for the delay and tells us there here. She is expecting to be able to make up the time during the flight and a lot of times. We do. My question What's going on there. Can the pilot really fly faster?
and if so, why don't they fly faster normally, so that the route is kind of shorter? Is the normal matter of course. Well, we can sometimes fly faster, but not as fast as we want. There are air traffic control constraints, of course, and and fuel constraints flying across the ocean. For example, you have to hit target fuel values at various ways, as you go along and if you start to fall behind those target values, that's a problem and in a worst case scenario, you could end up having to divert so we can speed up a little. And this is actually more effective on long haul flights than on short haul going across the. Can we could fly at the maybe mock eight two. Instead of mock eight zero usually, though it's less about flying faster than it is about getting short cuts from air traffic control. This does lead me to another question, which is why don't airplanes go faster? Generally, it's no faster to fly to California now than it was thirty. Maybe even fifty years ago,
is that the heavy the average Jed today actually flies a little bit more slowly than it did in nineteen. Sixty five butterflies more efficiently there is a kind of a conundrum here where the faster you go, the more energy you need breaking. The sound barrier isn't just a matter of just pouring on wasn't going faster. There are all kinds of aerodynamic complications that come into play: plazas seduces, a lot of fuel cell. No planes aren't faster, but there are more efficient and they are better there much safer than they used to be much more efficient, much cleaner, much more sophisticated. I try to look at it that way. I my name is common Webster from Irvine California, in unit city, my favorite professor, was Edwin Hutchings from University of California, San Diego and Ireland for him, telling me that ninety eight percent of all? U S commercial aircraft flights,
there was one air with regard to pilot procedure. Yet flight remains one of the safest ways for us to travel, and that is due in part to the resiliency in the protocols for Pilot CO, pilot and air Control Tower interaction. Is this true? Well, this is gonna sound more ominous than it is, but mistakes are made on every flight. How could that not be? The case I mean flight, no matter how routine is subject to really thousands of human inputs and fortunately the the errors made tend to be very small and are easily corrected. The resilience protocols, as the collar put it is there to make sure The bigger and and potentially hazardous errors don't go unchecked. The checklists, the system's redundancies built into the air laughter and just the overall cockpit discipline is a big part of that. To give you an example, I was flying to Europe not long ago.
And we were given an altimeter setting during the descent and in my head I mixed up Miller bars with inches and just for a moment I dialed in the wrong altimeter setting which caused mine and the captains altimeter to differ slightly, but this was caught a minute or two later by the checklist, though, we ran during the descent, perfect example, and even if it is I've been caught. It wouldn't have been anything particularly dangerous, but just one of those sorts of things that happened hey for economics. My name is seek. I am a student in the wake of Texas. My question for the airline pilot is this:
Why is there no kids sitting on an airplane they can be at the back of the plane, is separated by a thick curtain and Bernie parents with young children. They could sit back there and at least spare most of the other passengers with their children's noise. Let's make this happen trust trust, music. You don't wanna go here. I recently did a blog post on asked the pilot dot com about whether or not a little children should be prohibited from business when first class and Oh my god, the response. I got some of the letters, some of the hate mail I got. I was ready to ask her FBI protection. The almost violently angry letters. I got from all the moms and dad's out there. Who thought the idea was just insane kids class. Your family section. Maybe that is an idea worth looking into something.
Akin to the old smoking non smoking section, but don't underestimate the hostility that comes It's going anywhere near the idea of restricting kids on plant. My name is John. I'm an alignment of engineer working on some german cars and I live in California in Silicon Valley. How often do get to fly the plane manually and do you like giving control to computer assuming that you got into fine because you enjoy doing, do still enjoy fine manually or is it like a chore race you're just guy with a nice white shirt and a couple of stripes and a fancy had to sit up their play embargo on your Iphone? I assume rate you don't actually do anything begin on a Stephen. This is one of my slash least favoured things to talk about. Cockpit, automation, what it is capable and what it is not capable of is maybe the most misunderstood thing than all of commercial aviation people have a very exaggerated sense of what the auto pilot
does and what the pilots role is in interacting with that automation. The Ottawa. What is not flying the airplane. The crew is flying the airplane through the automation. We still have to tell it what to do. Do I need to do it and how to do it how I mean, for example, just one example of a thousand setting up programming if you will on automatic, climb or descend there are six seven different ways. You can do that depending what you need in the circumstances, and I think p It would be very surprised at how busy cockpit, becomes to the point of tasks adulation even with of the automation I've been running. Meanwhile, it's true that there is less hand flying that is below hands on the control will steering almost than there were the sooner in the nineteen forties or whenever, but that's ok with me, I mean I can imagine the tedium a flying all the way across the ocean and having to have my hands on the steering, call him the whole time so. Pilots,
come to rely on a different skill set, but I think it's wrong to say that one skill set is more important than the other and a certain mastery of both is needed, but and you will fly that mean whatever. That means exactly. I still take off and land Meyer Plan, all the time by hand, a hundred per cent of all because our manual by hand and then more than ninety nine percent of all landings are made me. Newly by hand by either the captain or the first officer My name is safe Antonia and I'm from Cape Town in South Africa. I want to know. Is it true that pilots can see you through a camera? That's in the bathroom to check if you up to any funny business? No look before earlier this absurd question. Can I say that Cape town is one of my favorite cities in the world and then not saying a lot, because I'm not a cities person when I travel look I've
We have better things to do than to watch passengers go to the bathroom now, there's there's no truth whatsoever to that. Just do your business, hey pilot, I'm down Polly and I'd, say security journalist in now been Estrella how effective aviation security measures at stopping terrorism and, if you range What would you do differently? Essentially, the real nuts and bolts of airport security is something that goes on off stage backstage if you well, it's it's the joy. Above intelligence of FBI law enforcement, Interpol, whoever you know, people all working together to break up plots before they get to the airport? The security that we see on the concourse is important, but much of what we have in place.
Now I think, is just irrational and and wastes huge amounts of time and money. The vague irony here is that the success of the nine eleven attacks really had nothing to do with airport security. I think conventional wisdom holds that the attacks succeed it, because the hijackers took advantage of loopholes and airport security, and then that wasn't the case. What they really did was take advantage of loopholes in our mindset. That is our expectations of what a hijacking was and how it was going to unfold. It wasn't about weapons. I mean the weapons that the guys, box cutters knives whatever they were, it wasn't relevant. They could have used anything. It was all about the element of surprise. Now we ve just had the breast bombings and there's talk. Now, if you know, should we move the security check points out to the curb or out to the sidewalk, because these bombs, in the Czech, an area which is more or less open to the public and it I was waiting for this
conversation to happen, and it was. It was discouraging to hear because it's just its irrational and it's just giving it to fear because moving the checkpoints to the curb. All that really does is moved the perimeter from one spot to another. That totally meaningless to a potential attacker? All it does is moved the so called soft target from one. Position to another. One is just as convenient: it really does nothing to enhance security. You talked about passenger profiling, is it mean of pre flight security rather than on site screening. What do you think would work best most efficiently to do job well, while not wasting so many billions of personnel hours. I think the most him One thing we could do is stop looking at every single person who flies is a potential terrorist. Just an unsustainable approach in a country, Where nine hundred million people fly every year, we have to come up with something better I'm talking about a system that takes a channel
all number of data points and construct a profile that way? I wish, meanwhile, though, that if they would get away from its preoccupation with little pointy objects and whether you have three ounces or three point: six ounces of two thousand, and so on that passing on men usages drags the whole system down it's a waste of resources, a waste of time, a waste of money also, I think We need to remember that, even with all of the emphasis on terrorism and security today that we used to see bombings and hijackings and report attacks so much more frequently than we do now. Go back to the nineteen. Sixteen all the way through the nineteen eighties, and you know, then you had bombings airport attire. Lockerbie AIR India you to hear that the Tita be way, bombings and hijackings, and so on. This doesn't happened? Anymore were much safer now and whether that, in spite of because of the way we do. Our security is something we can argue about.
It's much much smaller safety question for years. You guys were telling us that our iphones could take down a plain of their left on in our pockets, even dormant, and finally, we were told that, apparently are phones can't take down a plane. So what was that? Process lake from the pilots perspective. What side were you on and why did it take so long to get to where we are now? I don't know I really do Now there were so many conflicting stories and conflicting reports about what a phone might be able to do what it can do, what it can do, what it has done anything evidence of phones, interfering with certain systems in accidents in the past. That really happen. We don't know. I estimate that maybe fifty percent of all self whether inadvertently or otherwise are left on, instead of being in the proverbial off position, also known as off. I think if
That was really a recipe for any sort of disaster. We'd know about it. By now now you can have your fallen on, but is only for airplane robot. On summer you fly and Emirates. You can use your cell phone and my colleague just the way you anyway, it's still kind of a tangle of of policy and regulation that I don't quite understand, but I remain what did some of the rules really don't have anything to do with electronic interfere? for example. Why can I have my laptop on my lab during the call for a land? I think I know the answer that one cassettes, a heavy sucker and if it flies through somewhere it'll hit me or someone else in the back of his neck. Her that's my answer, the edge of my Macbook air- is very sharp and I dont want that getting me in the neck at two hundred and fifty miles an hour. That's just me, though I wasn't even thinking about the cap. It just adjusting about a bad bruise now you got me really scared, because I do try to hide. My laptop under my blanket often see how often I can get away with that. I won't turn you when you fly
As a passenger. Now, do you break any rules like I? Do you keep your laptop and you see do not fully unreclaimed your see. Do you follow everything that you told to do? Are you a little bit more free willing, but I've the rules I have to? I have to set a good example. One thing I don't do so much anymore is pay close attention to the passenger safety briefings. I used to make it applied make eye contact with the flight attendant or make it look like. I was really focused on that. Bag, video showing out of work, the seat belt and so on? Eventually, I I did that if airlines aren't going and regulators aren't gonna make the effort to streamline those damn presentations that I'm gonna start paying attention. I meant
has not fun, though I live in Minneapolis Minnesota, where I'm a few weeks away from graduating from medical school, and I was on a flight once were a pilot played his harmonica several times during the flight. I'm just wondering why that doesn't happen. More often, are pilots encouraged or discouraged to do creative things like that thinks. So you are pilots to play music for the bad news. Is that it I do know several piloted bring guitars. They don't play them over the Pierre, but they bring them on their layovers guy. I don't play any instrument, but I'd be happy to play. Some of my records for you over the pr? If you really want you here, who's gonna do and then the clash in the jazz butcher. The answer is: no. Pilots are not discouraged from being and trigger or creative, maybe from being annoying. You know it's interesting. We began this conversation with me kind of saying. I sympathise with the fact that your industries, unfairly assailed and people complain about this net I've been doing is asking you exactly those same complain and questions aside
although I do have another one for you, which is this magic? What can you say about the leadership class of airlines. Does it draw from the highest quality pool that the industry deserves, or is there something about the airline industry that makes it less attractive or less viable or for the best executives, while the airline industry in this country in whole is a lot more stable than it used to be used to be very cyclical. It was either buster boom boom. Group sees and then then record profits and the more bankruptcies? I think that the people on the top of figured out how to stabilize that, I think we're going to. A much longer run of profit and stability now than we had in the past. Having said that, what the american carriers need is visionary I need a Richard Branson afraid he lay. Eridu member Freddy, now who's Freddy later he was a Brit. Eventually is needed by the queen
He started on airline called Laker Airways back in the seventies, and they were the first kind of low cost, long haul, no frills airline it or not- notable ride, but at the time a cheap and and kind of a fun ride him. He was a celebrity, but somebody who loves me airline business who grew up with it. Somebody like on trip from Panam who would sit in his office looking at a globe. Unjust would pick citys, you know with his finger and say that's where we're flying next. Is it true that really happened? I've heard that have happened, I don't overnight, dead, but but he certainly was a romantic and visionary and then that only takes you so far. If you're gonna run an airline which, of course is a corporation, but that element that Spirit is missing from the: U S: airline industry. Today I was listening. In an interview with with TIM Clark, the guy from Emirates- and he was talking about when he was a kid- he loved your plans and then he went to work as a gate age
for an airline in the UK, and just he was so infatuated by the business and then that carries over. Into his inner being able to put this outstanding airline together and in a man do U S, carriers, I think call for banking and then just any of of a number of different industries and install those people at the top, and they probably a lot for the most part, do a good job from the fiscal point of view, but there's just there's something missing that could help make the american airline industry what it used to be. We don't have any global airlines anymore, United is maybe the closest thing truly global, U S carrier we fly overseas and basically feed passengers into our code share partners, and they take everybody there, the rest of the way around the world we don't have. British Airways, we don't have an air France, we don't have a Lufthansa Emirates. Somebody with a truly global press
The way we had once with PAN Am and in our geography is part of that, but I think more. That is just what our airlines want to be. We had the minute you said share partners, I got very uncertainties them. I saw two very quick questions to finish up with as pilot with a major airline. How does it work for you getting ticket to go anywhere. You want you fly freeze at a discount. Does it work on just your airliner? All others has at work I don't know if I want to answer this evening, because surely it is actually it's complicated. It's as complicated as the engineering, the the aeronautical engineering dispute. Why we're fine slower people say all your pilot ye can fly for free in all airline employees are entitled to more or less the same flight benefits generally. You can ride on your own carrier if their space, I e stand by for nothing or next to nothing on some international routes. You pay some of the taxes as pilots. We also
of what are called jump seat, privileges where we can ride in the cockpit sofa other, at least thus airlines, but now unravelling as we call it non revenue is unpredictable out of employees when they go on trips, just buy tickets to everybody else does because you don't want to have to deal with flying standby. Can be very nerve racking. I could tell you by the time I was stuck in Paris for three days. To get to Cairo and ended up losing my deposit, honour and egyptian vacation and final question where you find to next as passenger as a passenger ha, well. I have my a to do list of countries. I've got the baton, is back, Damn Bolivia and so on. The list goes on and on, I think I have to get two hundred countries that was Patrick Psmith Airline pilot. We have more questions for him he can be found at
ask the pilot dot com, try to answer all of my may. Also. Anybody who has a question feel free to ask away and coming up next time on for economics, radio, have you ever noticed. It can't drive a few blocks without seeing another mattress store, here's asleep peace that is really cause. There's some action firm on the other side of the street was I'm document. Different mattress firm. Now, I'm seeing on the next black yeah, Why are there so many mattress stores in America pretty much every single strip mall that I've been or drive pass desk restore here's another managers, does that rigour, Are there so many micro stones than America? Tell you why, next time on, for example,
friggin, I'm a radio was produced by W and my c studios and W productions. This episode was produced at thirty five thousand feet by Christopher Worth. Our staff also includes Burma, Gunjay Jake, how it merit Jacob Grey
results, key cache of a high level, Alison Hockenberry, an Caroline English. Please subscribe to this pod cast on Itunes and maybe tell a few friends about it. Thanks for listening, hey, they're, Stephen Dublin, again one more thing, if you like for economics, radio, I think you'll also like the latest episode of people, I mostly admire the pod cast hosted by my freedom expressing co author, Steve Levin. Here's what it sounds like a guest today Sue bird. She collects championships she's for W Nba championships, five euro, the best about championships to end she ate championships for internet Basketball federation, world cups in four olympic gold medals. I'd like to talk about the economics of professional basketball, so the average player in the NBA made eight point three million dollars into that nineteen, and
in the W Nba the average with eighty thousand is frustrating just now. I think. Actually, if you look at twenty twenty our minimum is now higher, but we all put in the same amount of work. So is it hard to swallow, knowing that somebody else's work is being rewarded at times by I live in reality. I understand business and economics. Some people look at us as like charity. They go will will help them out like an it in a terrible what sense, not unlike this business, vestment way and we think do look at us as an investment immediately. Its talked about how we don't make money- and it's like fifty years ago in the nba- did either, but people are willing to make that investment get behind it and growing people. I mostly admire you, can find
on your favorite podcast up either Stephen dubbing again one more thing: if you liked the episode you just heard, we think you like something else in the friggin hammocks radio network. Look for this interview on the new podcast people. I mostly admire with host Steve, let my guest today Sue bird. She collects championships she's for W Nba championships, five euro, the best while championships to end she ate championships for
International Basketball Federation World CUPS in four Olympic Gold medal, I would think that, in order to be the player you are, you would have to be a person who actually gets better under pressure rather than worth. Well. Obviously, there are people who are known for heading big. Shots are known for playing while in big gains that exists for sure, but I think we kind of frame it the wrong way. It's not that you're gonna make nine at it it's that you might make three at a ten, but somebody else's making zero it's on whose most successful. It's like who's, the most successful The least successful that is people mostly admire you can find it on your favorite podcast app subscribe now, so that you don't miss single episode,
Transcript generated on 2021-01-25.