Pilots Hate La Guardia

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Photo: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Travel magazine Nowhere has an anonymous diary from the co-pilot of a commercial airline. Some of the details are surprising in ways you might expect ("Capt. and cute FA drinking duty free rum till about 0230. Capt ends up getting a blowjob from the FA"). Some them are surprising in a horrifying way ("The engine is using 8x as much oil as normal and is leaking out the bottom. Tell us to keep an eye on it"). And some of it is not surprising at all, like the pilot's feelings about La Guardia airport.


Oh LaGuardia, let me count the ways you suck. It is overcast. Not raining or storming. Just clouds. The inbound flight had to hold for 40 minutes. There are almost 50 planes waiting to take off. Takes us 15 minutes just to exit the ramp. Takes another hour to get to the runway. The taxiways are asphalt so the plane sinks every time we stop. 40% power on one engine won’t move the plane, so we have to gun it. Every plane is shaking every other plane trying to get going. They land on a crossing runway and with the IFR spacing restrictions, takeoffs happen half as often as normal.

The Whitestone climb-off 13 is a pain. At 400 feet, turn right to 180. At 2.5 miles from the VOR, turn left to 040; do not exceed 210 knots until you roll out on that heading. Climb to 5000. Don’t exceed 250 knots until 11000 feet. Fly north (the wrong way) to Canada. Turning south takes almost 15 minutes. Step climbs 1,000 feet at a time for 25 minutes until we are almost over DC. Our Jet Blue jumpseater has apparently eaten a dead cat’s ass before joining us ... A stinky cherry to top the shit-sundae that is always LGA.

This Is Your Copilot Speaking / Anonymous [Nowhere]