Okay, so this is a
worst case scenario situation tutorial. Think horror movie level.
First of all, this is
in no way, shape or form a fool-proof plan for flying a plane successfully
Imagine being on a
plane and suddenly finding yourself without a pilot. It's an abnormal situation
and everyone reacts differently in emergency situations.
Pilots go through
years of live and simulation training and experience all sorts of flying
conditions – from normal to abnormal to bizarre.
But one day, there
might be a situation in which you have to step up to the plate and fly a plane.
Or, at least, attempt to fly one.
If you are able to
think of anything in this instance, think of the ANC method.
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Wired.com asked a
professional pilot to share a few tips. Mark Van Hoenacker, a Belgian-American,
works for British Airways as a Boeing 787 pilot.
Van Hoenacker is also
the author of Skyfaring: A Journey with a Pilot, which was published in 2015,
followed by How to Land a Plane in 2017.
These are a few of
his key points:
acronym: ANC. It stands for Aviate, Navigate, Communicate.
- This means you need to keep the plane safe
- Van Hoenacker says you need to use the
control wheel and the horizon displayed on the altitude indicator to level the
- Be sure to remain at the altitude you're at
once the pilot is no longer there. Then, try to keep the plane flying at a
consistent speed. Basically, try to stay aligned at a familiar altitude and
- Put on the headset, locate the
"transmit" button and press to talk. It basically works like a
walkie-talkie, so you need to press to be heard.
- As an identifier, use a flight number or the
aircraft registration to identify yourself when communicating with the
controller so that the person knows who and where you are. This information is
usually found in the cockpit.
- Ensure that the flight path is safe.
- Once you have established communication, get
the controller to help you navigate to a safe place to fly or land. Stay away
from mountains, of course, and ask about bad weather conditions. The controller
should alert you to any turns you need to make or "vectors", as they
call them, to stay on a horizontal path.
But, of course, it's
much more technical than this.
These are just the
bare basics you should know, like a module 1.0 of flying. To look into this
deeper, check out Wired.com for his technical tutorial on how to fly a plane.
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