Monday, December 3, 2007

Ask the pilot

"Ask the pilot" is an easily written, brilliant and extraordinarily knowledgeable book about modern aviation by Patrick Smith, an airline pilot, air travel columnist and author. More on Patrick Smith on his web site.
I'm not really a "two margerita flyer" so I didn't read this book because I'm afraid of flying. Even so now I feel more comfortable when in line for check in or for the security controls. Flying is a pleasure and Patrick re-discovers the poetry and charm of flying despite flying security has reach an extreme level.
More over in "Ask the pilot" you can find hundreds of tips and news. Follow some of my favorites:

  • is a great resource for airplanes informations and pictures. Just check out how many airline companies exist!
  • I'm wondering why Singapore Airlines is one of the best airlines in the world even if Singapore is smaller than Philadelphia metropolitan area. Read Patrick's book, it's a strategic position matter (the same rule applies to Emirates Airlines).
  • Which is the miles per passengers cost for a big company such as Lufthansa or Delta? It's about 10 cents. And what about a low cost company like Ryanair? Obviously it is lower (maybe 8 cents) but how does it come?
  • If you are thinking of buying a brand new airplane, you have to know that it cost some dozens or hundreds million's bucks! But if you switch to a used one, you probably cut a zero in the price! The Boeing 747-400, my favorite airplane even compared to the A380, is the most expensive (well right now A380 is the most expensive but the book comes in bookshops in 2003 and at that time A380 was not finished).
  • If you have ever been in a long route trip, you probably got in the line for using the toilet in the back of the plane and you sure looked through the windows of the back entrance door. There you probably read "Do not sit here" sticker and thought: "What happens if I do that? Does the door open?". Relax buddy, Patrick explains the sophisticated and very secure system that manages the door. It works even if you hang your coat to the big handle, but do not do that!
Finally, this is the New York Times Book Review:
Anyone remotely afraid of flying should read this book, as should anyone who appreciates good writing and the value of great information.

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