Yea, let me start this off by most likely crushing a few people's expectations of what this will be. I'm a commercial pilot by the aviation definition of the word. I get monetarily compensated to fly. However, I'm a corporate pilot. So right there, I'll probably lose the interest of a few readers, and possibly pick up that of a few others.

I fly planes for an energy company here in the US. I'm also pretty young (mid twenties). I'm extremely lucky to be in what I consider a once-in-a-lifetime gig. I fly when I want, where I want, often for a few days at a time, and since I work in the business side of the company, I'm not just chauffeuring; I get to stay and play.

For now, I fly a single engine aircraft and a multi-engine turboprop. These are not jet aircraft. I have friends in the airlines who could maybe do an AMA for something concerning the 'big boy planes' or even corporate jets. For me, the jet flying won't be until next year, when the company buys one (or two? Hey boss?).

But hey, I'm definitely not opposed to a carrier commercial guy jumping in to hijack any questions that have to do with that side of the biz! In fact, I'd like it if a few of those guys did, as this will be more entertaining and educational all around. Also, I was never in the military. I went the civvy route. Military guys, you should jump in for some of those questions, too.

I'll answer what I can for as long as possible tonight. I won't give out any personal info, but I'll give my opinions and honest answers on anything pertaining to my corner of the wide, wide, world of aviation. Ask away, all.

"Man must rise above the Earth - to the top of the atmosphere and beyond - for only thus will he fully understand the world in which he lives." - Socrates


Edit: I'll keep up with this as long as possible guys. Getting a little tired!

Edit 2: Ok, I'm tired. Thank you guys and gals for the questions, I hope it was beneficial to a few people. I'm glad it worked out so well.

Deep_Rights out.

Comments: 3420 • Responses: 52  • Date: 

Garbowski1121 karma

Do you jerk the controls around to create "turbulence" when you're bored?

EDIT: The quotation marks moved.

Deep_Rights1912 karma

Ok, I'll be honest, I've "negative G'd" somebody. Pitching the plane up, then quickly down to give them a weightless feeling, or negative G load, then back up quickly to enforce a positive G load. It happened once.

Maybe thrice.

KeithSkud949 karma

Do cell phones really fuck up equipment during take-off/landing?

Deep_Rights1741 karma

Edit: let me clarify. This answer was typed in the midst of the AMA commotion, and I've received a lot of flak for it. My answer was meant as a joke, and I realize it did not come across as one.

People, in all honesty and seriousness, listen to your flight attendants. These people get paid to inform you of how to stay safe, and yes, cellphones can actually cause issues. I can't stress enough the fact that FA's are genuinely interested in your safety. Do not neglect that. Sorry all for the haphazardly placed joke.

Garbowski634 karma

Do you get discounts on SkyMall?

Deep_Rights1395 karma

I pay full price just like you for all my zombie lawn ornaments and doggie bed-ramps.

w1ndwak3r577 karma

Are you a member of the mile-high club?

Deep_Rights1047 karma

Who's asking? Did you see the card? 6', 175#, green eyes.

Dumbastia551 karma

  1. What's the closest you have ever come to crashing?

  2. What's the most common cause of plane crashes?

  3. What is your favorite plane to fly?

Deep_Rights974 karma

  1. Windshear on short final in hot Texas air when I was training in a Cessna a couple years ago. 50 feet off the ground, with not power in, wind hit us from the side, rolling the plane almost 45 degrees in less than a second. We lost all lift and were moved about 100 feet left of the runway. I corrected with attitude and power, and we recovered almost 15 feet from the ground. It would have been ugly. My instructor called me "Mav". I was a little proud.

  2. There are several common causes, but I think they differ for commercial and civilian aviation. Complacency is almost always involved.

  3. Of the planes I've flown, the Cirrus SR-22G is pretty neat. It's such a small plane, and you can dart around using the stick and rudder feeling fairly low to the ground. Something you can't do in the airlines.

demusdesign1028 karma

TIL I can correct all problems with attitude.

Deep_Rights1368 karma

Hell yes you can.

Edit: achievement unlocked, GOLD.

IcarusRisen51 karma

This. To dovetail with the first question, what's the biggest emergency you've faced?

Deep_Rights120 karma

Probably my answer to number 1 of the previous question. Although once, I was diverted to another airport because an airplane had just crashed at the one I was heading to.

freakoverdose545 karma

What kind of defenses do you have in the cockpit to ward of hijackers? Are there specific procedures you must follow if you were to ever encounter this?

Deep_Rights1125 karma

My passengers are 99% of the time people I know personally (keep in mind, I'm a corporate guy), so if one of them try to hijack the plane I'll take action myself.

Astronautspiff524 karma

Do you wear aviator sun glasses?

Deep_Rights811 karma

Yes. Also Wayfarers.

haugisen504 karma

How accurate are flight simulators?

Deep_Rights738 karma

They're accurate for some things and horrible for others. We used a sim to practice multi-engine maneuvers when training, and it's nice to get the feel of the flows and controls. However, it's really nothing without the actual feeling of flying. The stuff that goes on in your inner ear that make you react certain ways is impossible to recreate in most sims.

haugisen259 karma

Could you elaborate on what's going on in your inner ear in the air?

Deep_Rights496 karma

Oh man, that's a big question. It would honestly be easier to Google, and it would be much more educational. I'm not at all dissing your question, but that's just a really broad field.

But basically, your body can really lie to you as far was what you feel vs. what is happening.

meriadocdog416 karma

Do you always remember to thank the mechanics that keep your plane airworthy? We don't get thanked enough :(

Deep_Rights456 karma

I love my mechanic. If your a mechanic, I love you too! I can't take apart these engines, and you're the guys that keep me alive.

normememaker338 karma

What do you consider the greatest piloting feat in commercial airline history?

Deep_Rights1047 karma

Obviously when Denzel had to fly a Maddog upside down!

But seriously, I think what Captain Sullenberger did with an airbus was absolutely amazing. Especially considering the fact that everyone lived. That's probably my favorite commercial story.

sneakatdatavibe333 karma


Deep_Rights261 karma

They landed with just the throttles, correct? That is seriously my second favorite story.

seamore555278 karma

Why can't they build a giant parachute so that when a plane starts to go down, the wings and fuel tanks disconnect and a HUUUUUGE parachute deploys and floats the fuselage safely down to the ground.


Deep_Rights396 karma

Google the Cirrus SR-22 "CAPS" system.

quasifandango273 karma

Do you drive fast and aggressive while in your car, then get out next to the plane where attractive attendants are awaiting you, or is that just in commercials?

Deep_Rights483 karma

Because I'm a corporate guy, I always fly right up to the plane.

quasifandango660 karma

You fly up to the plane? You take a plane to pilot another plane? That's way cooler than I could have even imagined.

Deep_Rights644 karma

Bahaha, yea I meant drive. Know what? I'm leaving it. I like your style.

shinra07262 karma

What's the biggest Myth/Misconception people have about pilots or the airline industry?

Deep_Rights1389 karma

That a lot of us are cocky. That's absolutely untrue.

All of us are cocky.

TimTheSauropod227 karma

Do you ever listen to "Danger Zone" while flying?

Deep_Rights294 karma

It comes on Sirius radio every now and then. I keep it on 70's and 80's rock, so I have a better chance of hearing it in the air.

SirSpaceLee222 karma

Have you ever had to deal with terrible/rude passengers or flight attendants?

Angry_Orc596 karma

Regional airline pilot here. I deal with rude pax and FA's sporadically, usually more so when aircraft maintenance is needed and/or bad weather arises. For the most part, day to day is pretty uneventful.

I did have an angry Aussie guy get in my face a few weeks ago at the gate after I had just arrived there. He had been on an earlier flight that cancelled due to weather, and he was pretty upset that he had waited 5 hours and still wasn't getting on a plane. He told me he wanted to get on our flight, but when I explained that it was already full from previously booked pax, he stepped in closer to me, like invasion-of-personal-territorial-bubble closer, and asked me if this was the kind of poor service I gave to all our passengers. At that point, I told him a gate agent could help him with any other questions, and he starts yelling at me and following me as I am walking away. The gate agent working the flight had been watching us, and she had called the airport police as a precaution(Later, she told me he had been picking fights with her all day). I hadn't walked 10 steps before an airport cop showed up and made the guy a better person. It was pretty uneventful, really. I was more bummed about meeting a mean Aussiethan traumatized. I thought everyone from Oz was so happy until that day...

Anyways, the most common rude passenger scenario I deal with, usually indirectly, is when they are unwilling to turn off their phones/laptops. The flight attendant usually gets them to turn it off, but if they don't, the FA will call the flight deck, we'll make a PA, and If they still won't comply, we might return to the gate.

Another common angry pax scenario that happens to me quite often is when someone mistakes me for a gate agent, usually asking me about delays or misconnecting flights on bad wx days/our plane breaks. This happens when I walk up to the gate and attempt to use the computer there to check my schedule for re-assignment/status of the broken plane/etc. Angry pax will approach with a very gate agent-y question about seating assignment, flight re-booking, etc and I will explain to them politely that I have no way of answering their question and that they need to find a gate agent. At this point in the conversation, I hope that they will just go find a gate agent to solve their crisis, but sometimes the pax thinks I am lying to them, and they will persist with complaining until I either walk away, or a gate agent miraculously appears.

I could probably avoid the gate scenarios a large portion of the time if I wanted to, but truthfully, I don't mind when passengers ask me questions, even if I can't answer them. Sometimes they ask basic stuff, like what gate they are departing from, or what time a flight departs/arrives, and that's stuff I know how to look up in the computer.

I do see crews that won't answer any questions at all; when a pax walks up, before they even finish talking, they will cut them off and tell them to find a gate agent. Personally, I don't like when I see that. Regardless of how many grumpy people you may encounter at the airport, I think everyone should remember that you have no idea what any given person's circumstances are. They might be going to a funeral. They might not have flown in 20 years and are unfamiliar with the whole process.

Anyways, if you guys want to hear about some grumpy flight attendants, I'll tell you about them too, but give me a day to get to a keyboard. This ipad is wearing me out! Hope this was informative/helpful!

Deep_Rights260 karma

Kudos to you for taking that one! I like hearing stories from the other realms of aviation.

Deep_Rights504 karma

One time, my brother got sick during some turbulence at 24,000 ft and kept asking if we could "just pull over". I ignored him.

I don't deal with flight attendants, but I bet an airline guy could take that question. I have a friend who's had to kick someone off the plane. Rather, he had to tell the stewardess, who then told the air marshal. No trip and no refund.

captainrex207 karma

What is something reassuring that you would say to someone who gets anxious about flying?

Deep_Rights452 karma

"I never fly unless I'm 100% comfortable with the conditions. I am today." Usually, if people know me, this is good enough to coax them onto an aircraft with me up front.

subtle-drunk191 karma

What is your favourite story to tell people about our job? Most interesting thing that happened to you while flying? Thanks for doing this AMA!

Deep_Rights633 karma

I don't really have a favorite story, but I have my favorites for different situations. My favorite "almost crashed" story, my favorite "weather was crap" story, my favorite "gorgeous skies and could see for miles" story. I know this doesn't really answer your question, but that's one of those things that's just hard to pinpoint.

If I had to narrow it down, one of the coolest things I've seen was on a trip to somewhere in Texas, ATC called up and told me to climb 1,000 feet asap for traffic behind me in 20 miles. It was an F-18 on the same route and altitude as me. So I chugged on up 1,000 feet higher, and looking down, I saw a Hornet come screaming by!

SelflessGaming152 karma

Pretty boring question, but how does autopilot work? Is it completely automated, or do you still need to do a lot, or can you just chill out? :)

Deep_Rights226 karma

Depends on the autopilot system, but most of them are very much automated, in which you have to simply switch numbers, knobs, and levers for altitude, speed, attitude, etc.

IcarusRisen149 karma

And have you ever masturbated while the plane was on autopilot?

Deep_Rights382 karma

I have not. There's still too much going on for me to do that. And commonly, I fly planes that do not have an enclosed cockpit. This would be public masturbation... I'm not into that.

msoetaert151 karma

How many crappy "Airplane" movie quotes get said to you?

Deep_Rights247 karma

I've gotten the Turkish prison line a couple times, and I'm thinking, "Of all the lines in all the movies, this is your 'go-to'?"

cobaltcollapse146 karma

do you call your privates the cockpit?

Deep_Rights492 karma

Negative. I call it The Kraken. Different story for a different day.

diablodow145 karma

I went to the university of North Dakota which as im sure you know has quite the aviation program, and I lived with 3 CFI's at once so I thought I would tell you my favorite joke.

How do you know your out to dinner with a pilot??

They will tell you..... five times.

Deep_Rights237 karma

Did I say I'm a pilot?

CorduroyMagic142 karma

If you had your own plane, what would you name it?

What would your dream plane look like, inside and out?

What's the most difficult type of customer/passenger?

Did you always want to be a pilot? If you weren't a pilot, what would you do?

Deep_Rights429 karma

In high school, all my friends decided to name their cars. So I thought all day and night to come up with a cool name for mine. In the morning, we got together to discuss. They came up with "Lazer", "Beast", "Rhino", and "Destroyer". I had settled on "Madeline". So I'll stick with Madeline.

My dream plane would look like a Phenom 300. For what I'd like to do, and for what I'd need, that's absolutely perfect.

Different colors though.

The most difficult passenger is one who doesn't want to fly, but they want to let you know that. Sometimes, I'd rather carry boxes than people. Lookin' at you, FedEx.

I used to want to be a Navy SEAL. In college, I decided I wanted to fly. This was literally 50% due to the fact that chicks dig planes, and 50% due to the fact that a friend's dad (Southwest captain) told me he doesn't work a day in his life. He plays.

ConfusedAndHungry33 karma

I'm curious...for someone like your friend's dad (captain for Southwest), what is the most feasible route to becoming a big commercial pilot like that?

Air force experience? Is the industry extremely tough these days to work for a big airline like that flying the big planes?

Deep_Rights50 karma

If you can stomach taking out a large loan, then go to one of the flight school that will get you through quickly with your ratings. Then, it's on to either the instructing side until you can hop onto a regional carrier or the corporate side until you can hop onto a regional or major. It's a game of numbers, the numbers here being pilot in command (PIC) hours and jet time.

OnlyDeathAwaits128 karma

How long did you to become a corporate pilot after college?

Also, have you or will you ever fly a 747?

Deep_Rights186 karma

Six months. Keep in mind, I had been flying for 3 years prior to that. I'm still a pretty low-hour pilot, and I was in the right place at the right time. The wait time for a job like mine is generally longer.

911brad63 karma

Did you pay out of pocket for all your time and ratings? Is it possible to get hired to fly anything without a college degree? I'm a PPL/ASEL who works full time as a firefighter. I've only got around 25 hours PIC time with one year of time since getting my ticket. I'm in a flying club, building hours in the club 172 (at $70 an hour wet BTW) working toward my IFR and hopefully commercial ticket. When I retire from firefighting in 15 years I'm hoping to find any kind of paid gig flying. I'll tow banners, gliders and sling sky divers. I'd really like to maybe ferry aircraft for a broker or something. Any advice for me to steer my future retirement career that direction? Thanks!

Deep_Rights101 karma

I paid out of pocket, and let me tell you, that HURT. But I got all my ratings farily quickly (I started with my private license only, and I ended with commercial, instrument, instructor, the works). For banner towing and sky divers, I'm fairly certain you can get the gig without a college degree. Airline or corporate work would be a very slim chance, unfortunately. It's all about the regulations.

sfdgshgfhs111 karma

I'm a teenager considering a career as a pilot. As someone who finds flying to be a passion, I'm worried turning it into a job is the quicket way to make me hate it. With an industry that terrible starting pay (~20,000), 16 hour duties, and being forced to sleep in crashpads and eat shitty food, I'm worried I shouldn't make it a career. Flying is something that I immensely enjoy and is a great passion of mine. Should I look for alternatives in the corporate sector? Are the terrible conditions and pay worth the reward of flying? Thanks. I'd like to get in the corporate sector but I imagine it's hard without prior commercial or military experience.

Deep_Rights131 karma

The corporate sector and the military sector are both great ways to get into what is otherwise a grueling start to a career.

I have a friend who's father flew for Southwest for 30+ years, but he started in corporate jobs flying rich guys around. He liked that but wanted to get to the big airlines, and after a couple of years, he went straight into Southwest. If you go from a corporate job to the airlines, the pay increase is huge. If you start in the airlines, it's hard to stay afloat for a while.

I can't really comment on the military side of things.

msnt620 karma

I can answer any military pilot questions if people have them.

Deep_Rights96 karma

Up vote this for visibility!

ReverendPoopyPants103 karma


Deep_Rights266 karma

My company pays for everything I do when I'm anywhere away from home. That's a pretty good perk!

Lethophobia94 karma

One of the pilots on PSA flight 182 (1978 crash in San Diego) had enough time to say just before the crash "Ma, Love you"...what do you think you would say if you knew you were going to crash. Morbid I know but it's reddit.

Deep_Rights128 karma

I've thought about this before, and honestly, I've never come up with a good answer. I think it would just be spur of the moment, whatever my truest feelings were at that time.

stengebt84 karma

How often does something go wrong that would concern passengers if they actually knew about it?

Deep_Rights140 karma

Rarely. If a passenger knew what was going on and understood what the reason was behind it, they'd be calm about it.

college_student6972 karma

Two part: What do you do once you reach the destination? Is the pay enough to be your full time job?

Deep_Rights220 karma

I do anything required of me by the company. This often includes golfing, speaking at conventions, taking people to dinner, snowboarding, or hanging around the hotel and working out.

Yep, it's my full time job. Because I'm sort of a 'utility player' in the company, I get more than what a strict corporate pilot would make.

polpetina74 karma

I'm still not sure I understand exactly what your job is... you fly a plane, and shmooze....? Why does this position exist?

Deep_Rights156 karma

Because people need pilots and people need a good people-person. I happen to be a bit of both. Also, I do work in the office. A bit of a utility player.

nyran2071 karma

Have you ever used the plane to pick up chicks?

Deep_Rights228 karma

Once. I got my current girlfriend that way. So far, I'm batting a thousand with that line.

jamiesonmundy60 karma

had any celebrity or big name clients?

Deep_Rights510 karma

Only myself.

lurky_mclurkenson54 karma

  1. When you fly on passenger flights, are you critical of the quality of the flight?

  2. As a pilot, what are your opinions of TSA screening procedures for passenger flights?

  3. Where is you favorite place to fly into in US (or international if you ever do that)?

Deep_Rights139 karma

  1. I trust those guys. Generally, wing-watching from the seats won't do anything but worry you, so I have a drink and relax.

  2. Anytime I fly on an airline, I get the 'naked x-ray thing' done to me. Every time. I don't mind; I have nothing to hide, and if some guy has to see me naked to get me on my flight, that's ok. But I know this is not the common thought, and I understand that as well.

  3. My favorite airport is Denver, CO. The scenery and the landscape is breathtaking (I'm a mountain type of guy).

Sheehan753 karma

Can you explain a little bit more on why you get to fly whenever and wherever you want?

Deep_Rights111 karma

I work in the business side of the energy company I'm with. This means I can more or less make my own schedule, so I take clients out and do the 'fun stuff' when I travel. This isn't a normal thing for corporate pilots, and it has more to do with the fact that I'm multi-faceted in the business I'm in.

TheKolbrin48 karma

What would it take to hire you away from your current company, given the same working conditions?

Deep_Rights190 karma

A pool of money deep enough for me to dive into like Scrooge McDuck.

Seriously, I'm way too loyal to my company. I love everything about it and everyone here. There's no chance I'm leaving.

Hanzi77739 karma

What is the last thing you bought on Amazon?

Deep_Rights126 karma

Carbon arrows for my recurve bow.

Tipnipdip34 karma

What are some things we should look out for while flying? (I.e. different patterns of turbulence or swaying)

Okayletsrock126 karma

Don't answer this one. Ignorance is bliss.

a_s_h_e_n188 karma

If the flight crew isn't telling me we're about to crash, then everything is fine and I refuse to believe anything else.

Deep_Rights190 karma

This guy gets it.

rudeluv31 karma

Is turbulence worse in planes smaller than commercial jets?

Can you use your cellphone all the time?

Deep_Rights46 karma

Definitely, and nope not usually.

Baron_Tartarus17 karma

What is something from flying that maybe as a passenger would freak me out to experience, but as a pilot isn't a worry at all? Wings wobbling a bit freaks me out some, turbulence obviously, and landing to me is the scariest part cause i'm afraid the plane is going to bounce when it touches down and flip sideways. Can you dispel any of these fears?

Deep_Rights71 karma

The only way to dispel those fears is to trust the pilots you're flying with. Turbulence, wings moving, and landing are all things we deal with on a daily basis. It's a lot like hitting a bump in the road in your car, or pulling into the garage when you get home. Remember that we do this every day. The only reason people are frightened is because you cannot control it yourself.

Exodia2882 karma

This was literally 50% due to the fact that chicks dig planes

so...... has being a pilot made the women swoon for you?

Deep_Rights4 karma

It helps that I'm good looking.