If, like me, you’re a nervous flyer, you’ll understand the anxiety that comes from the mystery sounds and processes during a flight.
An Easyjet pilot has reassuringly busted a lot of myths and put the extreme assumptions of aviophobics to bed.
The Liverpool Echo interviewed Chris Foster to explain everything from what happens if you leave your phone on, to the dangers of turbulence.
Speaking about what happens if you accidentally left your mobile or ipad on during take off, Chris said:
In reality, nothing to be concerned about. Aircraft control systems are so sophisticated now, that they wouldn’t cause any interference
The regulations date back many years to when we didn’t even have things like ipads. The laws are starting to be relaxed – you can now use your devices in flight safety mode – and I think we’ll see more changes over the next few years.
I distinctly remember a terrifying moment when I saw a young girl just playing with the door while we a million feet above the ground, over the sea.
Chris has soothed my anxiety massively when he said the is ‘absolutely not’ any way the door can open whilst in the air.
Apparently the aircraft is pressurized and the doors are what we call ‘plug doors’, which prevents them from being opened until the pressure is released’.
The scariest thing when on a plane, is when you hit a bout of turbulence and you suddenly think everyone is going to die.
The first time I experienced turbulence, I started preparing what to say in my final voicemail to my loved ones.
You’ll be pleased to know that ‘the chance of turbulence bringing down an aircraft is incredibly remote’.
Turbulence causes discomfort, much like driving down a road with lots of potholes does, but it’s not dangerous or unsafe. An aircraft is built to withstand several times the force of turbulence you’re ever likely to experience.
A plane’s engine could fail, but that’s an extremely remote possibility because the amount of care and attention that goes into maintaining an engine is incredible.
Most pilots are unlikely to ever experience a technical fault with their aircraft in their entire flying career, let alone an engine failure.
This bit isn’t worrying, just a bit annoying. When I’m in the middle of trying to fall asleep on the tray table so that I’m unconscious for the flight, the attendant tells me to put it in the upright position.
The reason for this according to the 50-year-old pilot is:
We plan for every eventuality and if we had to abandon take off for some reason – which again, is very unlikely – a tray table could cause a passenger injury if it was left open. And why do you have to have your window shutter open?
If we had to evacuate the aircraft it’s important that the cabin crew can make sure there are no hazards outside. Keeping the shutters open gives them that visibility.
Chris also spoke about when the lights sometimes go off before take off, explaining that it allows their eyes to adjust to the outside light in case they need to abort the take off.
It turns out as well that planes are built to withstand lightning and they have numerous tools to avoid bad weather so that’s pretty unlikely.
There is always that moment, when you’re far from take off or landing, that the pilot turns on the seat belt light. Nothing shits me up more and I’m the first one to tighten my belt and the people’s around me with the assumption that the pilot fucking knows something I don’t.
It’s just us being cautious – we might have been told another aircraft has experienced turbulence ahead for example. Our primary concern is everyone’s safety, so if there’s a risk we will put the light on, but sometimes by the time we get there the turbulence has gone.
You’ve all heard the statistics about how many people die in car crashed compared to a plane.
Chris has ‘hand on heart’ never been scared on a flight and he’s been flying since the age of 16.