Thursday, March 24th, 2011 11:16:25

Turbulent Times Require Experienced Pilot

This week, for more than an hour, I experienced a turbulent airplane ride. It was not fun. Normally, the pilots are able to chart a new course and fly through the rough air pretty rapidly, but on Monday, there was just no clear path, so my fellow passengers and I had to endure the bumpy ride. Normally an indifferent flyer, I ended up turning up the airflow and hoping that the bouncing would stop before I had to reach for the bag in the pocket in front of me.

I hoped that the pilot was very experienced — and was reminded of a conversation that I had had Saturday night with a commercial pilot who used to fly off aircraft carriers for the U.S. Marine Corps.

When I asked if it was hard to land on the narrow, tiny runway bobbing around in the middle of the ocean, he replied that he had practiced so much prior to his initial landing that he remembers looking out at the carrier and thinking it was larger than the target area he had been practicing with.