So – who’s the pilot anyway?

I need to share something with my friends in the press.
Some education apparently is needed.

Years ago, reporters used to specialize and had knowledge of specific fields.

Mine was aviation and medial reporting.

I owned a plane at that time.

Today, local reporters (and more than a few national ones) seem not to know much about passenger planes other than how cramped the seats are.

Case in point…

Problems with airplanes have been in the news a lot lately.

crew-01-sizedWhy does an organization that supposedly cares about getting the facts correct keep leaving the impression the co-pilot on the plane is some sort of person in training?

Last week everyone got all crazy when the captain of a Delta flight was locked out of the cockpit.

Heaven forbid – the copilot had to land the plane in Las Vegas.

So what?
It’s perfectly normal for the co-pilot to fly the plane.

In fact, in many cases he or she may have more experience than the Captain.

A copilot, or more properly the First Officer, is fully qualified to operate the aircraft.

They are fully trained and can have more flight hours and years of experience than the Captain.

He or she shares flying duties with the captain.

app_briefing_checklist-sizedFor example, in a trip with 4 stops, the First Officer usually alternates with the Captain taking turns taking off, flying and landing.

If there’s a flight from Honolulu to Las Vegas, the Captain will usually fly one way and First Officer the other.

So why the different titles if both the Captain and First Officer do the same thing equally well?

Somebody has to be in charge and responsible.
There has to be a boss to make the final decisions and take the heat if something goes wrong.

That’s why the Captain makes more money.

It’s a common thing during emergencies or some situations that the captain gives the co-pilot the responsibility to fly the plane while the captain can give attention to communications, troubleshooting, coordinating the checklists.

Finally, if co-pilots are so good why aren’t they Captains?

They will – some day.

Right now seniority rules everything.

It’s not uncommon to find a crew where the co-pilot is older and more experienced than the captain.

FlightAware_LAS_STAR_CRESO-THREE-sizedThe biggest problem that Delta First Officer faced without the Captain was the workload.

There’s the the usual things involved in finding the airport, following controller instructions, lining up for an often complicated and precise approach, doing the necessary checklists and handling the controls.

Add to that working the radios and move a lot of switches and levers normally handled by the other person – who wasn’t there.

There’s very few shortcuts so you suck it up and get it done.


Obviously not.

Remember there two pilots in the nose of that plane.
Both superbly trained, experienced and part of a team.

To my reporter ex-colleagues…
Stop freaking out.

You’re making me grumpy.

Meet the honey

Want a boyfriend but you’re too lazy to get one?

Don’t want a boyfriend but you’re tired of people asking when you’ll settle down?

Real invisibleLucky you – there’s a new service on the Internet.

The Invisible Boyfriend.
They have girlfriends too.

Got your interest?

You sign up for $25 a month and various people will text you pretending they’re your boyfriend (or girlfriend).
You can now wave around your cell phone saying, “See! I got texts! I am loved!”

This is either genius or a sad comment on the world today.

I’m leaning toward number 2.

Invisible-Boyfriend-1-sizedYou tell the company the name of the supposed boyfriend (or girlfriend).
I sorta like Xwzyski.

Then how they look and stuff they should like.

That’s it.

This flies out to any one of hundreds of freelancers who are getting a few pennies to send you a text that matches your specific expectations and fantasies.


Every text to you comes from someone different playing the part of Xwzyski.

You never know who actually wrote it.
Could be another lady or an old coot like me.

You can get 100 a month and that’s a lot of mushy stuff from other people all trying to be what you said you wanted.

And since it changes depending on who is writing the text each time there can never be, you know, an actual conversation.

This is really weird.

I’m really having problems getting my head around it.

Some people have gotten attached to their mystery person at the other end.

I heard of a guy once that was in love with his toaster.

And there are people who married their dog.
That I can see.

My wife once said if the dog I had at the time was human I’d probably marry her.
True, except I wouldn’t be happy with a wife that bites and poops on the rug.

A guy in Japan married his computer.
I won’t get into blow up dolls or other things you find in little stores down a dark alley.

The whole idea of this Invisible Boyfriend is to fake out your friends and relatives so they stopping bugging you to settle down.

Actually, I find telling them to mind their own business works well.
And it’s a lot cheaper.

Take the money you save and buy a good toaster.

It’s all kinda sad.

Enough to make you grumpy.

Ring a ding

I was visiting that repository of all wisdom and knowledge over the weekend.
gore-youre-welcome-sizeThe Internet.

No one calls it the World Wide Web except Al Gore.
But then he invented it.

Dial phoneAnyway, there was a picture of a dial phone.

Remember them?

I still have one – somewhere in a box in the garage.

It’s part of my stuff.
Those are the things men need around them, just in case.

Given enough time I can probably pull just about any wonderful thing from a box – somewhere in the garage.

And to think the wife wants me to throw those out.
Perish the thought.

Anyway, I started to ponder some stuff.

If you’re over 50 then there was most likely one these phones in your house when you were a kid.
Only one.

Probably close to where everybody was always hanging out.

You had to use it in front of your parents to speak to your friends.

That’s why teenagers back then mumbled.
Everybody got frustrated because it was hard to overhear what you were saying.

That’s when your mother started nagging at the dinner table about how you need to speak up.

And you had like 5 minutes before someone started yelling at you to get off the phone.

Party-LIne2-sizedPeople on the party line were probably listening.
I did that as a kid but never heard much of interest.

We did stupid things like call random numbers and ask the person, “Is your water running?”


“Well you better catch it before it gets away.”

God were we stupid.

And you actually had to actually remember everyone’s phone number.

I remember 39-137.
I have no idea who it belong to back then.

Since cell phones weren’t invented yet, there was probably more than once your friend was going to be late meeting you, but couldn’t let you know because you were out waiting for them already.

Crappy-picture-sizedThen when you took a picture you had to wait to finish the roll of film and send it off somewhere to be developed before you could see it days later.

And then half of them would turn out to be junk.

And if you liked music videos, you just had to sit and wait until MTV happened to play it.

It was easy to tell when the batteries were dying on your Walkman because the music started to get weirdly slow.

TV-Guide-1975-sizedYou had to buy an actual magazine to find out what was on TV.

If there was nothing good on channels 2-13, there was simply nothing.

You couldn’t settle arguments by Googling to prove you were right.

Who says things were better in the good ‘ol days?

I’m still grumpy though.