What is the funniest mistake anyone in YOUR profession ever made? If you’re an educator maybe it was the mispronunciation of a student’s name. Or, if you work in a restaurant when someone filled the sugar bowls with salt by mistake. Well, pilots sometimes make mistakes, too. And, you might not believe what some of those are until you consider PILOT FAUX PAS & CESSNA 208 TRAINING.
“Sometimes truth is funnier than fiction,” Jason Wolcott, Vice President of TURBINE TRAINING in Manhattan, Kansas, shared, a chuckle in his voice. “For example,” he continued, “there are the exploits of the pilot we refer to as ol’ ‘Wrong Way Willie’!”
Jason is referring to the pilot of an AirAsia X flight on March 10, 2015 who “turned the wrong way” when he left Sydney, Australia and was supposed to be headed for Kuala Lumpur. Instead, the pilot inadvertently set a course for an unknown destination some 6800 miles off course.
“That was pretty funny,” Dale Wolcott, TURBINE TRAINING’S President agreed, “but I think the cock-pit free-for-all has to top it.
Here’s what happened. An Air Hostess on an Air India flight accused the pilot of groping her during the pre-flight instructions. She shared this tidbit with the chief flight attendant, who took such umbrage with the situation that he burst into the cock-pit and started duking it out with the pilot. What ensued was a ten minute brawl that included the pilot, co-pilot, flight attendant and chief flight attendant that flowed out into the aisles and was witnessed by the one hundred plus passengers.
“Let us not forget,” Jason added, “the 2011 Air Canada flight from Toronto to Zurich that nearly crashed into the planet Venus.”
The first officer involved was taking a little nap (which is not only allowed but encouraged on transcontinental flights) was awaken by the announcement in his headphones that there was a U.S. military aircraft in the vicinity. Rousing himself up, but not being fully awake, he saw a bright light that, to him, appeared that the military craft was about to collide with them, knocking them out of the air. With a rapier like reaction, he thrust the stick forward and sent the jet into a 400 ft. nose-dive that sent passengers flying all over the fuselage! Looking over for a well-deserved “congratulations” from the pilot, he instead he got the ol’ stink eye! The light that he so heroically avoided was not the military plane, but the planet Venus!
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(To learn more about this topic, research “Funny Pilot Faux Pas”)