The Tale of the Pilot

Stewardess: Captain, we have a passenger on board who’d like to visit the cabin. Would that be OK?

Pilot: Sure, I’d be happy to talk to him.

Passenger: Hi Captain, I’m on my way home from a Flight Simulator convention.

Pilot: Flight Simulator, it’s a great game. I encourage people who want to become pilots to play it.

Passenger: Several of my fellow pilots and I have been concerned about the way you’re flying the plane.

Pilot: Really, in what way?

Passenger: For one, we don’t like your altitude. If you went lower, you’d catch more of a tailwind and we could arrive a half-hour sooner.

Pilot: Well, I guess that could be true, but the air is choppier down there, and I don’t want passengers to be bumped around. Plus, lower altitudes are preferred for smaller planes with limited communication, and I don’t want to risk a collision. And there are a few other problems that would take a while to go into. I promise you, this is the way to go.

Passenger: Oh, you are so mistaken, Captain! You see, I’ve been simulating this flight on my laptop, and I haven’t experienced any of those problems.

Pilot: Did you say “simulate”?

Passenger: Oh yes, Flight Simulator offers a perfect recreation of our exact flying conditions.

Pilot: Yes, I’m familiar with the game. While Flight Simulator is useful for some things, there are other important things it ignores. Flying a real plane involves greater complexity. What I’m doing is straight out of the flight manual. I’ve been flying this way for many years. I have several pilot friends who fly this route, and they all do so in the same way. If I was flying wrong, I wouldn’t still be employed as a pilot. In fact, my colleagues and airline have been pretty happy with my performance. They’ve even asked me to help train new pilots. So, if you don’t mind, I’m quite comfortable with the way I’m doing things.

Passenger: Haven’t you ever read Moneyball? Just because things have been done the same in the past doesn’t mean it’s the best way! Here’s my laptop. Look at how much better time we’re making! You’re wasting time! Are you going to lower this plane or not!?

Pilot: What? Well, ah…Good grief! You’re flying at 1,000 feet, man! You’re not going to be making better time when you crash into a building! Are you over Iowa? You’re not even flying in the right direction! Yeah, I’ve read Moneyball—and liked it—but Billy Beane doesn’t send his players out on the field with their pants on their heads and shirts on their legs in hopes of gaining some extra wins. I don’t have time for this. You haven’t even bothered to become acquainted with the basics of flying, how am I supposed to begin to explain what’s wrong with what you’re suggesting? I don’t have time to teach you how to fly. If I did what you’re asking, I’d be fired; not for doing something different, but for doing something reckless. I think it’s time you returned to your seat.

Passenger: How dare you! I’m offering you perfectly good suggestions and you won’t even discuss this with me! You are blinded by your arrogance!

Pilot: Good suggestions?…Arrogance?..I’m not discussing this with you. Holy crap! Are you kidding me? OK, that’s enough. Here’s how we’re going to end this “conversation.” Sir, being a pilot is a great job. You get to set a flexible schedule, meet a lot of great people, travel the world, and the money isn’t bad. If you think I’m not good at what I’m doing then I suggest you become a pilot, because if you’re right, there’s a huge opportunity for someone like you. That’s all I have to say to you. Stewardess, please escort this man to his seat. I’ve got a plane to fly.

Passenger (to passengers): Excuse me! May I have your attention! The pilot of this plane is flying unreasonably slow. I even proved this to him using my laptop game. And what thanks do I get? I was removed from the cockpit. When you’re all late, you’ll know whom to blame.

Pilot (to passengers): I’ve turned off the fasten-seat-belt sign, please feel free to move about the cabin. Our beverage service will start in a moment, and those of you wishing to watch the in-flight movie should request headphones from the stewardess. This flight is smooth today, and we should be arriving to the gate at our scheduled arrival time. Thank you for flying with me today.

7 Responses “The Tale of the Pilot”

  1. Ernie says:

    I am missing something? Is this a satire of something? Just curious.

  2. Kyle S says:

    So who’s the passenger, MGL or Richard Justice? 🙂

  3. K-Funk says:


  4. charlie says:

    im confused…

  5. Goo says:

    The difference being that Dusty Baker would be the one flying at 1,000 feet and endangering his passengers’ arms — er, lives. And the sabermetrician would be saying, “Fly higher! I don’t care that you think this is faster! I really don’t want to die!!!” But other than flip-flopping the people involved, good analogy.

  6. John Beamer says:

    Goo — I honest don’t think Dusty Baker would have a clue about tail wind and altitude …

  7. Joe says:

    Moral of the story, do research.