For the past three months or so, I have been reading a book entitled Cockpit Confidential written by Patrick Smith. I made it a goal to finish it during the winter break, and grabbed the print copy from the public library downtown. It turned out to be a very good find. Smith is an airline pilot with a very interesting and valuable climb to the major airlines, and outlines it all in his book with a relatable personality and voice.
He started in a dodgy New England airline flying turboprops for $850 a month. He tells of his hilarious coworkers, one of which was known for leaving a binder entitled “How to Fly” next to his seat in full view of the passengers. During each flight, he would reach back to examine it bringing utter horror to his passengers’ faces for his own pleasure. Another would hang fuzzy dice in the hood on top of the magnetic compass. Many more hilarious stories are accounted for in Smith’s recollection of the regionals, and the book is worth a read purely for these chapters.
The good times and humor don’t stop once he gets to the major airlines either. My favorite tips given are how to pack a suitcase, which always included one packet of Ramen noodles (for hotel coffee machines alongside hot dogs), utensils, and other genius items. He lays out all the insider information that pilots and travelers would love to know in perfect balance between the two.
However, what I find the best aspect of this book to be is the easy-to-follow organization of it all. It almost makes it an almanac for aspiring pilots and frequent passengers alike. The chapters are labeled in order such as that of an actual trip-takeoff, landing, airport atmosphere. Each subtopic within the chapter gets its own bold-faced type and section. Smith answers each FAQ with a concise and well-written answer.
The book as a whole is just fantastic. I highly recommend it to anyone who has set foot on a plane before, especially pilots. After returning it to the library, I have a feeling I will have to pick up a copy to own.