Clean Happy Work Enviornment

How do you picture what’s behind the door while you are enjoying or enduring air travel as the case may be?

People generally seem to imagine the cockpit as a well designed, ergonomic, clean, comfortable, environment.  It ain’t. At least not in America.  Maybe in France or in one of those airbusters, but  not in the Boeing cockpit as it is fairly rustic. This doesn’t vary much from one airline to another.

Sharp corners are everywhere, dust is everywhere, things look clean only at first glance. Knobs and switches that get used a lot are usually really dirty. There is a special kind of crud that is part Mechanic hand grease, pilot booger and passenger lint that gets into every corner. And there are a lot of little corners. All of the knobs are designed for maximum finger traction and have little ridges. These couldn’t be more effective for gathering crud if they were designed for the purpose.


Airline Pilots are apparently sloppy people as a rule. Coffee, juice and Coke gets spilled and splashed all over everything. This provides a base layer for more lint and boogers. Pilots think nothing of sneezing all over the instrument panel and leaving snot everywhere. At night it doesn’t really show, but in intense daylight …….. everything shows.    I prefer to fly in the dark.

The sheepskin seat covers are great. Especially if nobody other than you ever sits in the seat. The problem is that on a hot day when someone else has been in the seat all day it gets kind of damp. I don’t find it invigorating to hop in and sit down on a dead sheep damp with somebody  else’s butt sweat.  Maybe I’m overly sensitive about this but it just isn’t my thing.

A good offset for the damp seat is the massive amount of paper they give us for each flight with the flight plan and weather printed on it. This makes a pretty good seat cover for the seat cover.

 The lint that collects in the cockpit changes color from Summer to Winter months. I think this is because passenger clothing is fuzzier during the winter.  Airplane boogers are even a different color in the winter too.

One of the very best things about the job is the view. It can also be one of the most challenging things about the job at sunrise and sunset since the only effective protection against intense sunlight at high altitude is a map or checklist card stuck in the window. 

There has been a subtle battle between aircraft design engineers, pilots, and the FAA (formerly the CAA) for the last eighty years or so in which the engineers try to provide an effective sun shade within government guidelines and the pilots find something else to use that actually works. Pilots are about a zillion thousand times more likely to get a bad case of exploding sunshine eyeball than anybody else. Engineers could just barely get people to the moon and back much less design an effective sun shade that isn’t illegal. The FAA has thier own ideas on how big a sun visor should be, but they all work in an office.

This is all nothing more than idle bitching, what I really wanted to tell you about is the view from my office. 

Twenty Miles Away

The windows are huge and I don’t have to lean over to see out. From about eight miles high the horizon is distinctly curved. A full moon is so bright I really do need sun glasses at night, and It’s easy to see five states as long as you aren’t in the middle of Texas.  It is also easy to see that a line of severe storms produces constant lightning.  On a clear night with a heavy undercast and no moon, leaning back in the seat I can see straight up.  Take it from me there are at least a zillion, zillion stars. 

2 or 3 States

The airlines are missing a huge opportunity to make money by not having an observation bubble in the top of the airplane and charging a dollar a minute to look outside.

Thank you all for your patience, I haven’t posted anything in a few weeks.  Enjoy the pictures.

 Happy landings.


4 Responses to “Clean Happy Work Enviornment”

  1. Hey Lucky,

    Glad to see you posting again. I really enjoy reading your posts and as a young aviator I find your information valuable. I see that you are somewhat of a photographer, what kind of camera do you use? Anyway I’d like to talk more about flying if you have time………my email is

    Fly safe,

  2. Is that lightening in the bottom shot? Really gorgeous. You should make your photos available as desktop backgrounds or screensavers or whatnot. Then everyone will download them and then their friends will all go where did you get that? and be all jealous.

    And this: “Pilots are about a zillion thousand times more likely to get a bad case of exploding sunshine eyeball than anybody else.”

    might be the most perfect sentence ever written.

  3. luckyjet1 Says:

    Nikon. Accept no substitute. It is a nearly worn out, noisy D-70.

    Yes, it is lightnin about 130 miles away at 33,000 feet. I delete a hell of a lot of pictures, but I take a few more than a hellofalot.

  4. This is really interesting, You’re a very skilled blogger. I have joined your rss feed and look forward to seeking more of your wonderful post. Also, I have shared your web site in my social networks!

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