Ask a Pilot with Spencer: Lightning Spherical!

Ask a Pilot lightning round!

In our Ask a Pilot collection, pilot Spencer Marker solutions considered one of your aviation-related questions every week. See previous installments right here and submit your individual to

I’ve acquired a number of questions that don’t require a full article every to clarify. Listed below are a number of of them!

Query #1

Hey Spencer, why are passengers requested to place their bag underneath their seat even when they’re on the window?


Reply #1

Hey, Haley. Passengers are required to place their baggage all the way in which underneath the seat in entrance of you as a result of baggage current a visit hazard. When you’re sitting on the airplane on the gate and nothing is occurring, it looks like tripping over your bag is the very last thing that would occur. Nevertheless, if there’s a must evacuate, all passengers want easy accessibility to the aisles and to the exits, and placing your bag underneath your seat, placing your tray desk up and placing your seat upright are all methods we guarantee a transparent path to evacuate. Nevertheless, as soon as the flight has left the bottom and is in cruise, you’ll be able to put your bag behind your legs and revel in slightly additional legroom. Once you land nonetheless, put it again underneath the seat in entrance of you.

Underseat luggage (Credit: Consumer Reports)

Underseat baggage (Credit score: Client Reviews)


Query #2

Earlier than leaving the gate, the pilot said that we’d be slightly delayed due to last-minute paperwork. Is that this an actual rationalization or simply one thing he made as much as preserve us completely satisfied?

—Matthew L.

Reply #2

Hey, Matthew. I genuinely doubt the pilot would invent a paperwork story to clarify a delay. Our passengers deserve to listen to the reality about what’s going on and it’s our job to provide it to them straight.

That being mentioned, the “last-minute paperwork” your pilot could also be referring to may very well be quite a few issues as a result of our mates on the FAA certain do love their paperwork. Attainable explanations may very well be:

  • Ready on upkeep to complete making an entry into the plane’s logbook, which particulars each minor discrepancy with the airplane and what was achieved to appropriate it. It needs to be stuffed out correctly earlier than leaving.
  • It may be a change within the flight launch paperwork, which is required to be generated earlier than any plane can depart the gate. If one thing isn’t proper or maybe the climate has modified, pilots want an up to date launch.
  • You may be ready on the ultimate load closeout for the airplane, which is generated to estimate how a lot an airplane weighs utilizing assumed weights. The truth is, I wrote a earlier article about it. Generally airways make a pilot wait on the gate to guarantee that the airplane is loaded inside limits and is underneath its most weights.

Granted that is only a small listing of the issues a pilot may very well be ready on earlier than the door is closed and the airplane departs the gate.

No flight can leave the gate without paperwork (Credit:

No flight can depart the gate with out paperwork (Credit score:

Query #three

Hey Spencer, is it remotely attainable to open the outside doorways in flight?

—Sam J.

Reply #three

Hey, Sam. I get this query incessantly and to state it clearly: NO, the airplane doorways can’t be opened in flight.

This has to do with the way in which doorways are designed. Many plane make use of doorways are referred to as plug doorways. So referred to as as a result of they’re really bigger than the opening within the facet of the airplane. This manner, when the airplane is flying, this exit is definitely pressed into the body of the jet by the airplane’s pressurization. Different non-plug kind doorways additionally require related forces to open when pressurized. Moreover, each of those doorways make use of robust latches to make sure they keep firmly shut. Any would-be unhealthy guys would require superhuman power to drag towards that a lot air strain to open.

So hypothetically how a lot pressure would really be wanted? Let’s do the maths! (How enjoyable!) Most airplanes function with rather less than eight kilos per sq. inch (psi) of strain being outwardly exerted on the physique of the airplane, together with the door. Let’s say this door is 2.5 toes, or 30″ vast and 6.5 toes, or 78″ tall. This makes the full space of the door 2,340 sq. inches. Now multiply that occasions our  8psi cabin strain. For these of you following alongside, that’s over 18,700 kilos of pressure required to open the door. Even smaller exit doorways would nonetheless require many tons of strain. So to say it merely, opening a door in flight is just not attainable. Not even for Superman.

Thanks a lot to everybody for writing in. Please preserve these questions coming and drop us a line at to get your query featured in an upcoming Ask a Pilot column.




Spencer Marker

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