On the ground, there are days when winds are still, but are there always winds at flying altitude? And are they more consistent at altitude?
Typical wind patterns flow from west to east. How do airplanes react, and how do you compensate, while flying north-south or south-north routes?
When I see another airplane in flight outside my window, how close might it be?
On a recent trip from Chicago to Beijing, our captain said we would take a polar route. What is a polar route, and why didn’t our return flight also take a polar route?
While listening to the flight deck communications, I’ve heard the pilot use the term “APU.” What is this?
When I listen to ATC, I hear some pilots identify with their call sign and flight number followed by the word “heavy.” What does that mean?
Does air density change, and if so, how does that affect the plane’s lift? How do you compensate for flying in air of various densities and qualities?
Typically, within a minute or two after take-off, the pilots reduce the speed of the aircraft before accelerating again. What is the reasoning for that quick but short-lived deceleration?
How often are aircraft tires changed? Are they changed individually or in pairs?
If a flight is delayed, can the airplane be flown faster to make up for lost time?
Why do some runways criss-cross each other? How do intersecting runways affect takeoffs and landings?
When you are flying 35,000 feet high, what are the maximum miles that we can see on a clear day? What about 40,000? 30,000?
Does the co-pilot ever fly the plane, or is it only the captain who flies the plane?
How do pilots fly long flights across the oceans? Do the same pilots fly the entire trip between, for example, Newark and Hong Kong or Los Angeles and Sydney?
How has aviation changed since you started your career?
What are the chimes that we frequently hear during a flight?