I’ve only been around aviation for a few years, but in that brief span I have come to appreciate the roll of coffee in the business. Nearly everyone at the airport capable of hopping in the left seat of an aircraft drinks the stuff, and for good reason. It keeps your mind sharp, and gives you a little extra energy f0r those long sleepy flights at altitude baking in the sun.
That being said, from what I have seen, the way you a person takes their coffee says a lot about them. Here’s a short list I’ve compiled highlighting this silly observation…
1. The Rookie
-This is that classic low-time pilot who has just started flying, and has low experience in the airport environment. He’s unfamiliar with the FBO, and doesn’t want to be rude to others. In comes his instructor lesson after lesson, who immediately darts to the coffee maker and pours a cup, asking if he’d like one. The student has already had a cup, but doesn’t want to be impolite. So he says sure and proceeds to dump cream and sugar until the cup is mostly full, and adds a dash of coffee for color. This also applies when he goes for his check ride and the examiner prompts him with the same thing. As his career progresses, he will learn to change this habit.
2. The Flight Instructor
As previously mentioned, this guy has it figured out. As an instructor, he works long hours for low pay, and sometimes juggles another job as well. He’ll take his coffee black, and as often as possible please.
3. The corporate pilot/airline pilot
This is the guy who rarely shows face at the FBO. He just comes in to seize some free snacks, and to pick up passengers. He’s also a smart pilot. Faced with a future filled with hours in the sky and a readily accessible bathroom in the back of his aircraft, he opts to fill up a thermos with a fresh pot of strong black coffee. Proceeding to grab a couple of complimentary cookies for good measure (I’m sure he bought enough fuel), he collects his passengers and heads out the door.
I know a passenger isn’t a pilot but I could not resist. So speaking of this alien to the airport environment, the classic drink of choice is a cappuccino if available or whatever the student pilot is having. The pre-flight excitement of riding on a private charter or plane in general has them too jittery to begin with, but they’d like a drink so the best choice is this low-caffeine alternative.
These are all just an opinion of mine, but I actually have noticed this in my four years as a pilot in several different airports. It was all in good fun, and if you disagree with me please leave a comment below!