Private Pilot Window Seat — Flying Commercial

Let’s Go to the Upper Left Corner 

To be a licensed pilot and fly on the airlines feels odd.  After all, you can check the weather, look up the flight plan on Flight Aware, and plot it all out — but you have no control — at all, which is probably best. Okay, you can’t fly the plane but you can get a window seat! For this flight, the window will reveal the earth between Texas and Oregon. 
In late February 2014, we traveled to Oregon with sister and brother-in-law. My wife and I had been there a couple years prior, and were stunned by it’s beauty, so much so, we returned with family.  

pnw 2014_4
Them — peering into the vastness

We found the Pacific Northwest to be a rather magical place. From Portland, for instance, you can quickly be on the coast, in the mountains, before waterfalls — the beauty is rather obsurd.

Unabashed Aviation Geekery 

To the airlines we go! Our flight was direct with no delays.  Of course, I geeked out and found our flight plan on Flight Aware, and loaded it into ForeFlight. Alright, If you are blessed with aviation geekness disorder too:

The flight plan:

screen shot of flight plan to portland from sky vector

I’m not sure why, but my wife was perfectly happy with me in the window seat. There I was, camera in hand, window seat in my face — perfect.  You don’t have to be on many passenger flights before you realize that sleeping is the preferred activity by many airline riders. I have yet to sleep on a plane. Sure, If the circumstances were extenuating, I would sleep. Thus far, the circumstances have been — whatever the opposite of extenuating is. Therefore, by the window is where you’ll find me, alert and enthusiastic. I snap a few pictures and stand by for passing aircraft, magical clouds, and interesting terrain below. There is simply too much to miss. 

It Ain’t the Flying 

Perhaps the lack of enthusiasm for passenger travel has more to do with the level of general happiness people feel. Folks don’t board and airline and become someone else. If they hate their life on the ground, they are gonna feel similarly at thirty thousand feet.    I find it invigorating to see an oncoming jet pass with minimum separation — closing speed of nearly 1000 miles per hour. WOW! I couldn’t be happier, guffawing as if it were my first flight. The ever unique sky and vast terrain of our bejweled country, guarantees some of the most tremendous artwork a person could hope to experience. 

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Near Salt Lake City, Utah

It Wasn’t as Bad as All That 

We did experience an unexpected change of plans for our return flight. A cancellation! The gnashing, flailing, and wanton confusion that ensued was beyond recompense. The company for which I worked immediately announced their unabated collapse, many reported missing pets, and everyone in our party broke out in an insatiable rash. Never having experienced a flight cancellation, I could only rely on the tales of others. This was as bad as that, possibly worse. Someone may have even died. It was a flight cancellation after all. To be clear, and episode of not going. An unusual snow even in Dallas was the culprit.  

Oh, most certainly the foible was not much of an event at all. There were groans from all around the waiting area, and the unforeseen change of plans sent a throng of humanity into a, not so single-file line to the ticket counter. We stayed an extra night in a place we were enjoying and flew home the next morning. Did I get the window seat? I honestly can’t remember, which means probably not. 

Rules of Conduct for General Aviation Pilots on Airlines
Pilots get the window seat
All window shades should be up (open) unless otherwise instructed by GA pilot
GA pilots should be allowed to listen in on ATC chatter
Any Pilots aboard get the first shot at restroom
Announcements should include acknowledgement of any GA pilot aboard
(Q&A optional)
GA pilot should be included in any flight crew briefings and updates
GA pilot on board will pinch-hit if needed in the cockpit


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  1. Pingback: A Flight to the Mountains – Sky Review

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