Going on a Flight
Hi ladies and gentlemen.
To better understand what goes on during a flight, and what lessons we can learn from the cockpit discipline, I am going to take you on a flight……
I want you to imagine this scenario………….
Imagine that all of us are in the aircraft now. The aircraft is on the ground on the tarmac preparing for departure.
You are amongst the last few groups of people to board the flight. You look around you and see that all the seats are almost occupied. You could see people still boarding the aircraft, rushing with their many and some heavy hand luggage. You notice some passengers looking anxious, some relieved as soon as they find their seats, whereas the majority looking nonchalant as they take their seats. You also notice the flight attendants walking up and down the aisles…..helping some of the passengers to their seats and to stow their hand carried baggage. You hear people talking, some loudly and some whispering.
The flight attendant in charge then comes up with the announcement, welcoming people on board and then followed by the safety announcements. Most passengers take safety for granted and therefore do not pay particular attention to the safety video being shown. A good majority of people do not realise the importance of this safety announcement. My advise is to pay heed to the safety announcement the next time you are on a flight, what to do during an emergency and the location of all the emergency exits. This knowledge could safe your life.
Everyone is waiting patiently for the aircraft to depart. You look out the window and see activities still going on, on the ground and after a while all the ground activities stopped.
The doors are closed now and the aircraft starts the pushback. You look at your watch and said quietly……..”not bad, we are right on time.” You feel that it would be a good flight……..or so you think!!!!!
The aircraft is taxiing now…….and soon after it stopped on the taxiway. You thought that this is normal as what had happened on all your previous flights. After a while, you look out the window to see if there are any other aircrafts passing by……however you do not see any.
The aircraft has been stationary at the same place for quite a while now. You look around at the passengers and could see some anxious faces.
Then a few minutes later, the captain comes up with an announcement stating that they just discovered some aircraft defect that needed to be fixed before the aircraft could depart. He also mentions that they would have to return to the gate and have the engineers work on the defect. The captain goes on to say that the engineers would require between 30 to 45 minutes to work on the problem and that all passengers are to remain on board so that the delay could be minimized.
While waiting for the defect to be rectified, the flight attendants served a round of juice to all the passengers. Some 45 minutes later, the captain makes another announcement stating that the defect has been fixed and that they should be ready for departure as soon as the engineers finish their paperwork.
10 minutes later the aircraft departs………….
Once airborne everyone sigh, a sigh of relief.
The aircraft is safely in cruise. You thought of catching a movie or two and also to have your meal early so you could catch some sleep.
10 minutes before the descent, the captain comes up over the public address once again to provide an update on the flight as well as the weather at destination.
The captain says that “we can expect light to moderate turbulence during the descent due to the thunderstorm activities around the airport area.” The captain also mentioned to expect some delays to our arrival and we have to fly in circles (holding) for about 10 to 15 minutes as it is raining heavily at our destination airport and traffic is building up fast and we have to join the queue for the landing.
The aircraft is on its final approach to land now. You look around you. You could see some worried and anxious look on some of the faces. This is expected, as the turbulence that you are experiencing is quite bad and made worse with the lightning and thunder outside the aircraft.
Because of the severe weather, it is quite a challenge for the aircraft to maintain its flight path on the approach. You could hear the engines spooling up and down…..noisy at times and at times quiet and the aircraft being thrown around in the cloudy sky.
The aircraft is getting lower and lower and you could see some lights on the ground, in between the clouds. It is just a matter of time before we arrive. Just as you thought the aircraft is about to touch down on the runway..….all of a sudden you hear this loud roar of the jet engines. At the same time, you could feel a sensation of the aircraft nose pitching up suddenly at a high angle……throwing you into your seat. This is made worse by the turbulence, thunder and lightning outside.
What goes on in your mind then? What sort of questions would you be asking yourselves? Perhaps some of those questions are as follows:
1)What is happening?
2)What is going on in the cockpit?
3)Are we safe?
4)Do the pilots know what they are doing?
Be rest assured that you are safe and the pilots DO know what they are doing because they have been trained to handle such situations and worse.
However, not many of us know what is going on in the cockpit. After 9/11 cockpit visits are no longer allowed. What we know is based on how Hollywood portrays in their movies and also perhaps from the air crash investigation series.
So, what can we learn from this cockpit discipline and training?
A lot………and a lot of them can be used in our daily life as well as in our work, no matter what discipline we are in.
All the posts in this blog will explain and provide answers to the questions above, and much more. From time to time I will post more articles on the lessons learned from the cockpit discipline.
Posted by Azharuddin Osman