|by Jason Steele|
Spurred by a renewed interest in aviation and their desire to promote the features of their latest aircraft, Southwest Airlines is now offering their customers the chance of a lifetime; to be a professional pilot for the day. According to their spokesman, they have been telling people that their new aircraft are so easy to fly, that even a child could do it. To put their money where their mouth is, they are now going to give customers ages 12 and up the opportunity to fly one of their aircraft on an actual revenue flight.
How This Will Work
For the price of a regular ticket, Southwest customers can select an additional flight training option that will include a half hour orientation on the fundamentals of aviation and the operation of their aircraft. Essentially, they will learn how to enter the destination into the flight computer and turn the engines on. Next, all they have to do is steer the plane towards the runway, and shove the throttles forward when given clearance for takeoff. According to the company pilot in charge of the program, it is really that simple. They will also receive their own copy of “The Dummies Guide To The Boeing 737.”
Obviously the issue of security needed to be addressed before the FAA and the TSA would permit this unique program to begin. The TSA’s main concern was that “pilot for a day” customers be given a thorough body cavity search before being allowed to operate the commercial aircraft. The FAA wanted Boeing to adapt the cockpit information system to receive programing from the in-flight entertainment system in order to alleviate the inevitable fatigue that results from operating such highly automated aircraft.
What’s In It For Southwest
By substituting a passenger for the co-pilot, Southwest is planning on realizing substantial labor savings. In the past, co-pilots were selected from a pool of experienced regional airline captains. The downside was that these people actually expected to be paid for work that others would gladly do for free. Also, by moving a passenger from the cabin to the cockpit, an additional seat is opened up for sale.
How To Participate
Interest has been overwhelming since the announcement of this program on April 1st. If this sounds like something you might be interested in, I urge you to contact Southwest immediately in order to secure the co-pilot seat on a flight of your choice.