My debut novel Flygirl is inspired by actual events I experienced as a professional pilot. The book highlights the important issue of fairness and diversity in aviation, and the effect that the actions of a few troubled, misguided people can have on a person’s career.
Yet, most of the pilots I flew with over the years were smart, competent, and supportive.
I spent four years flying corporate jets. On one trip in the Falcon 900, I flew with a captain we’ll call Roger—because that’s his name.
Roger and I arrived at our destination late, and had an early departure the next day. We didn’t have time to get the airplane thoroughly cleaned, as we had to race to the hotel, get a meal, and rest.
I noticed that the back of the airplane smelled more than typically foul. When I opened the door to the lav, the first thing I saw was feces stuck to the side of the aluminum bowl. After flushing several times while holding my nose, the, uh, problem was not solved.
Roger stood next to me, stone-faced as we reviewed the situation. He scratched his head. I hemmed and hawed. But our thoughtfulness did not solve the problem.
“Well, we can’t leave the airplane overnight in this condition,” Roger concluded.
“Ok. So. You’re the co-pilot.” Roger pursed his lips, satisfied with his solution.
“And?” I shrugged.
“Just use a plastic knife,” Roger suggested as he snagged some snacks to eat in the hotel room.
“Huh? Plastic knife? Why?” I called after him. I didn’t get it. Yet.
“Scrape the stuff off. C’mon, I’m tired. Let’s go already!”
And so I did.
So, next time you see one of those shiny corporate jets and think how glamorous it must be to fly them, remember the scrape I was in!