It dawned on me one evening. I remember it exactly, we were approaching Denver, the sun was pretty much set and the sky was turning beautiful colors for the second half of our flight from LAX to MKE. I had just used the lav for a potty break since there was no way my bladder could hold it for a 3.5 hour flight with "unlimited soda and water" to the crew. The flight attendants gave me a tray of warm chocolate cookies and milk to take into the cockpit for the captain and me to enjoy for the remainder of the flight. I sat back down in my chair and began to enjoy the warm cookies, cold milk not to mention the view.
It was really the cookie and pretty awesome ground speed in the high 500's knots that threw me over the edge. I couldn't wrap my head around the fact that the airplane delivering this experience was a machine. It was one of the first few times that I thought of the airplane as a machine. Its kinda strange to think about it this way. You may have your own airplane, or fly a fleet of airplanes but you get to know which is your favorite and least favorite. Each airplane even though the same model all fly incredibly different from the next. Its hard not to start thinking each airplane as its own person and having its own personality. Heck, in the EMB -170 a warning message that read " APM FAIL" - Corrective Action: "DO NOT TAKEOFF." I looked up what the "APM" was and by golly, it was called the airplane personality module. The airplane had a mother board in it giving it a personality! Holy smokes! Anyway, when push comes to shove, the airplane is a machine. It can take you across the country, keep you alive, allow you to use the washroom in it, keep a beverage hot or cold for you, bake a hot cookie, connect you to wifi, xm radio, or TV, cool you down or warm you up, all while keeping you on life support in the inhabitable conditions of lack of oxygen, extreme negative temperatures 6 miles above the earth all while hurling you along at 500-600 mph. If you think about it that way its pretty nuts. The airplane is a machine, but I'd like to think otherwise - Have you ever thought of your airplane as just a machine? - AL
Okay, so I have a bone to pick. This is against all $100 hamburger thrills but let's get real. Are airport restaurants legitimately good because of the food? I'd say most are not are not, in fact they are awful. Don't get me wrong, I love all airport fly-in restaurants just as much as the next guy but that doesn't mean they have good food. There is something very invigorating about pulling up to an eatery in your aircraft, hopping out, and drinking as much iced tea as you possibly can stand. Realizing you forgot you have to fly home and now your in a position where you have to pee every 15 minutes for the next few hours. The fly in airport restaurant is a dying breed. Its the excuse for many aviators to fly their airplane. Not many quality fly in restaurants exist any more. Being in Chicago, one of the country's food capitals, there are very few fly in restaurants. Its sad, incredibly sad. There are a few well known and popular places to fly in to and eat, but they are few and far between. Quite frankly, the aviator gets burnt out on going to the same place over and over again. How can we fix the business model, little do the restaurant owners know, they are an excuse, purpose, destination and hobby to fly in to. I think we need to continue to support these eateries, but it wouldn't hurt to have more options. Options that go beyond the frozen grilled hamburger patty, pickles, and iced tea. Maybe something a bit tastier, fresh food, fresh ingredients, new cuisine? I mean come on, we are pilots we are born to burn fossil fuel, and eat. I wouldn't be opposed if there was friendly competition in this important area of aviation. We'd get to see more destinations, have better excuses and eat more food. I am all for a new fly in restaurant, where is it at!?