A commercial airline pilot addresses layperson questions/concerns about flying in this debut informational guide.
Diaz, a Florida-based airline captain with nearly 30 years’ experience, is often hit up for his professional opinions while out at dinner parties. “This book was inspired by the fact that a lot of people, especially in social gatherings, when they know I am an airline pilot, ask me different kinds of questions,” he says. In this slim book, Diaz seeks to cover an array of such FAQs, including an overview of the aerodynamics of how an airplane can take off, stay aloft, and land and descriptions of the many training, safety, and warning processes and procedures performed by airline crews. He touches on details large and small, including, for example, how cabin air flow must cut off while engines are being started—“There is nothing you can do to get air, even though the outlet is fully open. Just be patient until the engines are started”—and how turbulence is simply “the equivalent to choppy or rough waters.” He dedicates a chapter to flying in winter, underscoring the necessity and importance of de-icing wings and heating windshields, and concludes with a reference guide to industry abbreviations and definitions. As in those in-flight pilot announcements, Diaz offers a voice of soothing authority that should particularly please white-knucklers overly stressed about flying. His accessible narrative poses Q-and-A’s in eye-catching subheadings, with answers conveyed in a pleasant, nonpatronizing tone. Diaz doesn’t delve into larger and looming issues facing the airline industry: the ongoing threat of terrorism, rogue pilots, and the industry’s overall challenges regarding its technical infrastructure and financial health. Still, this helpful guide breaks down and demystifies many of the practical aspects of the miracle of flight.
Reassuring primer that confidently takes flight.