Three things no pilot wants you to know

Font Size:

What goes on behind that triple latched and deadlocked door at the front of the plane? Obviously being responsible for the safety of thousands of passengers is no easy job. It would be stressful to say the least. But with automation taking over much of a pilot’s job, what else goes on in the cockpit?

Kit Baker, a retired captain with Eastern Air Lines and Aloha Airlines, comes clean on what pilots do in the cockpit that they don’t want passengers to know.

Flying blind
What do pilots do they don’t want passengers to know about? Three things come to mind. First, flying west in the afternoon always requires maps … to cover the windshield to keep the sun out of the pilot’s eyes. That could be a little unnerving to passengers used to driving and the need to keep an eye on traffic but in an airplane – completely unnecessary at altitude.

Hands off the wheel
Second, in turbulence, there is no flurry of hands flying around the ‘controls’ to keep something horrible from happening. Mostly during turbulence, someone is looking at the radar and the other pilot will be talking to other airplanes on the radio to see when the annoyance, which is all that turbulence is, will end.

Turn out the lights
Thirdly, at night, the landing lights are turned off as soon as 10,000 feet is passed. I once had a passenger ask: “How do you see?”

My answer is: “See what?”

No lights at night above 10,000 feet is a little difficult for non-aviators to understand. Landing lights are only left on below 10,000 feet for collision avoidance.

Does any of this surprise you? If you could ask a pilot a question, what would it be?

If you enjoy our content, don’t keep it to yourself. Share our free eNews with your friends and encourage them to sign up.

Join YourLifeChoices today
and get this free eBook!

By joining YourLifeChoices you consent that you have read and agree to our Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy


What pilots really get up to on long-haul flights

It's hard enough to fly a plane, but how do the pilots really keep busy?

10 scary things you didn’t know about flying

If you don't already have a fear of flying, these facts will ensure that you develop on

What flight attendants wish they could tell you, but can't ...

If they could, here are some things the angels of the sky would like to say to you.

Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca is a voracious reader who loves words. You'll often find him spending time in galleries, writing, designing, painting, drawing, or photographing and documenting street art. He has a publishing and graphic design background and loves movies and music, but then, who doesn’t?



Total Comments: 18
  1. 0

    What do pilots do when the plane is flying on aour-pilot?

  2. 0

    Refresh their memberships in the Mile High Club ??

  3. 0

    keep a radio listening watch, scan the instrument panels and weather radar, with regard to the landing lights they are turned off which also retracts them to avoid them being ripped off by the high speed.

    • 0

      Before all the terrorists problems I flue to Perth Weston Australia from Melbourne, I flue with Anset one of the best airlines, the stewardess read that I was frightend of flying so she fetched me and we went into the cockpit. It was marvoules just a shame it’s not safe to still do that. That was many years ago now but I will never forget it . Thanks to all the piolets out there for getting us to our destinations safely.

    • 0

      Sorry got pilots spelt wrong

  4. 0

    Joy You got more that Pilots wrong
    Flue = Flew
    Weston Australia = Western Australia
    Anset = Ansett
    Marvoules = Marvellous Sheeeeeeez

    Oh and Returned Serviceman What is a aour-pilot ??????????????

  5. 0

    This is the quietest flight I have ever been on…We just ran out of fuel.

  6. 0

    I assume you mean feel better FOR that Rosret That vegetarian diet isn’t doing you any good is it ?

    Frightened of what Grumpy. I have held a Pilots license for 26 years.

  7. 0

    Oops sorry Grumpy I missed your point.

  8. 0

    my question: Are pilots really trained to fly the plane when the mystery black boxes and George fails
    Seems that there have been quite a few incidents when pilots forgot to actually fly the plane instead replied on faulty instrument with nasty results.



continue reading


Top 10 myths and facts about toothpaste

Toothpaste is such a usual part of our everyday lives that we rarely think about it. Like many mainstream products,...


How to make your rented house or unit feel more like home

When you're renting, it's easy to feel that the freedom to really put your stamp on a place is out...

Living in retirement

The emotional aspects of moving house in retirement

In his four years as a retirement coach, Jon Glass has been helping older Australians navigate the emotional facets of...


Small bedroom tips to maximise space and style

For many of us, house space is a fiercely contested commodity, and you need to squeeze the most out of...


Aussies much more willing to be vaccinated than Americans

The United States has had nearly as many COVID-19 cases as Australia has people. More than 400,000 have died of...


Goldie Hawn at 75: The Hollywood star's fashion and beauty evolution

Goldie Hawn, one of Hollywood's most beloved stars, is famous as much for her acting talents as she is for...


US still reels from the deadly consequences of 'alternative facts'

Jennifer S. Hunt, Australian National University Every four years on January 20, the US exercises a key tenet of democratic...


Tennis stars call Australian Open quarantine 'insane' and like prison

Entitled, pampered, whingers. Elite sports professionals victims of the greatest overreaction to COVID-19 in the world. Those are the poles...