Africa Asia Chinese History Editor's Blog Europe News World

Hero Pilot

Written by Daniel Otero

A pilots true grit


By: Daniel Otero



With the growth of aviation, international and cross country flying in China.  You are bound to have accidents, whether it happens on the ground or in midair.  There’s a possibility of an incident whether it’s big or small, 50,000 times to one.  It depends how frequently you fly!


Yes, a pilot’s job is exposed to bad weather, turbulence, human error and sometimes mechanical failure.  Other than dealing with hundreds of passengers, to and fro between cities: there’s different cultures, languages and continents.


The fact that once you get onto an airplane, you are placing all your faith on technology that is a little over 100 years old and the pilot, copilot and navigator.  The latter are the true fliers of the aircraft and all the credit should be given to them.


The hardest part about flying an aircraft is in the take off and landing.  But midair troubles have been known to happen…


From people trying to open the door during a flight, to a flock of birds flying into an engine or dealing with passengers that are less than rule oriented during a trip!


There’s one unique truth, a pilot’s job is tough and these individuals are usually responsible for the lives of 2 to 3 hundred people in one-single shot!


They have to fly in less than ideal weather, under pressure and stress to get there.  And more often than not, it’s done with very little sleep; especially when they are doing international flights!  Therefore, pilots and staff are less than ‘fresh’ when they have to deal with passengers.  Sometimes passengers are not so cooperative, rude or the customer can be downright angry for departing tardy to their destination.


Tough industry, indeed.


Take the recent incident of the copilot who was nearly sucked out of the cabin because of bad maintenance.


The steady hand of this pilot saved the day; which made for a sudden incident that could have turned into a tragedy very easily.  The pilot’s quick thinking saved the lives of not only his copilot, but hundreds flying with him!  Talk about coolness under pressure!


A real hero in my opinion and take note Chinese government, I hope he is honored for his heroic actions!


Because once a cabin window is busted open, you have an array of problems!  The airplane becomes depressurized, it starts to lose altitude and you’re losing air do to lack of Oxygen (O2).  Therefore, he needed [I guess] to first stabilize the plane, then deal with getting his copilot safely back inside and after, informing the senior steward or stewardess if all the passengers were okay!


Pilots require flying time and experience.  But more often than not, a pilot needs a steady hand and to think quick on their feet during these emergencies.


You can’t beat that and their excellent training!


Therefore, on your next flight from Beijing to a national or international destination, please do the following…


Listen to the pilot and stewardesses when they are giving you instructions, and read the plastic card in front of you.  I’ll give you details on the airplane, the model and often than not, procedures that will save your life!  Safe travels!

About the author

Daniel Otero

A New Yorker who has been living in China for the past 10 years. He's a freelance writer/journalist and ESL (English as a Second Language) teacher.

A former member of the military with extensive travel to 50 countries and has lived in six.

Lover of life, good food, travel, writing and dealing with social issues.