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34 things your airplane pilot won’t tell you

34 things your airplane pilot won’t tell you
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We asked pilots from around the world to give us straight answers about maddening safety rules, inexplicable delays, the air and attitudes up there, and what really happens behind the cockpit door. What they told us will change the way you fly.

I’ve been struck by lightning twice

I’ve been struck by lightning twice
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Most pilots have. Airplanes are built to take it. You hear a big boom and see a big flash and that’s it. You’re not going to fall out of the sky. – Airplane pilot for a regional US carrier

You may not be getting the airline you paid for

You may not be getting the airline you paid for
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You may go to an airline website and buy a ticket, pull up to its desk at the kerb and get onto an airplane that has a similar name painted on it, but half the time you’re really on a regional airline. The regionals aren’t held to the same safety standards as the majors: their pilots aren’t required to have as much training and experience, and the public doesn’t know that. – Captain at a major US airline.

If you’re a nervous flier, book a morning flight

If you’re a nervous flier, book a morning flight
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The heating of the ground later causes bumpier air, and it’s much more likely to thunderstorm in the afternoon. – Jerry Johnson, LA pilot. Don’t miss these 5 ways to make long-haul flights more bearable.

The smoothest place to sit is often over or near the wing

The smoothest place to sit is often over or near the wing
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The bumpiest place to sit is in the back. A plane is like a seesaw. If you’re in the middle, you don’t move as much. – Patrick Smith, airplane pilot and author of Cockpit Confidential. Learn more about how seat comfort will evolve in the future of flight.

Sit in the back if you’re always cold

Sit in the back if you’re always cold
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The general flow of air in any airplane is from front to back. So if you’re really concerned about breathing the freshest possible air or not getting too hot, sit as close to the front as you can. Planes are generally warmest in the back. – Tech pilot at a regional US airline.

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There’s a reason you can’t use your phone

There’s a reason you can’t use your phone
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Well, what can happen is 12 people will decide to call someone just before landing, and I can get a false reading on my instruments saying that we are higher than we really are. – Jim Tilmon, retired American Airlines pilot. Here are 10 more things you should never do on an airplane.

Listen when I tell you to put your laptop away

Listen when I tell you to put your laptop away

We don’t make you stow your laptop because we’re worried about electronic interference. It’s about having a projectile on your lap. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to get hit in the head by a MacBook going 200 miles per hour. And we’re not trying to ruin your fun by making you take off your headphones. We just want you to be able to hear us if there’s an emergency. – Patrick Smith. Here are 7 useful tips for keeping your personal items safe while travelling.

Turbulence is not the problem

Turbulence is not the problem
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Pilots find it perplexing that so many people are afraid of turbulence. It’s all but impossible for turbulence to cause a crash. We avoid turbulence not because we’re afraid the wing is going to fall off but because it’s annoying. – Patrick Smith.

It’s updrafts we really worry about

It’s updrafts we really worry about
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A plane flies into a massive updraft, which you can’t see on the radar at night, and it’s like hitting a giant speed bump at 500 miles an hour. It throws everything up in the air and then down very violently. That’s not the same as turbulence, which bounces everyone around for a while. – John Nance, aviation safety analyst and retired airline captain. If the worst were to occur, however, here’s how to survive a plane crash.

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Please be advised that due to the current lockdown in the Philippines, Reader’s Digest magazine May issue will not be available at its regular on-sale date to our subscribers or through our retail channels in that region. We hope to have the issues available in early June, but this is dependent on when the lockdown restrictions are lifted. We sincerely apologise for this inconvenience. Thank you and stay safe!
– The Reader’s Digest team