Talk:1660: Captain Speaking

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Actually captain falling asleep wouldn't be unlikely or problem because there may still be two OTHER people in cabin. But yes, first method to find out where they are going would be to ask those other people in cabin. Next, you should be able to get something from the instruments in cabin - I suspect that modern planes DO have some sort of navigation map there. Failing that, asking tower for flight plan would be not only preferable to trying FlightAware, but you could likely do it without raising TOO much suspicious, pretending you just need some detail. And, yes: captain (or pilot in general) is only needed for pre-flight checks, take-off, landing - and if something unexpected happens, including some extremely bad weather. -- Hkmaly (talk) 14:53, 25 March 2016 (UTC)

Yeah it was badly phrased, pilots do fall asleep from time to time. Some long flights may even have two flight crews, so the pilots can get some shut-eye. It varies, but there is never only one person alone in the cabin as you say, if the co-pilot has to go to the toilet a flight attendant takes his place. As for positioning, older planes have instruments for that too, but they are far less sophisticated, might even require a map and a pencil :-) --Todor (talk) 15:59, 25 March 2016 (UTC)

Not entirely true; I've been on many short commercial flights (20-30 minutes) with one crew. The seat next to the pilot is often a passenger seat - when I sat there, the pilot gave me biscuits... Cosmogoblin (talk) 19:04, 25 March 2016 (UTC)

Just noting, the discussion shows up on main again. 16:00, 25 March 2016 (UTC)

On the main comic page, or on the wiki's main page? It doesn't show up on the wiki's main page for me (and never did). 14:59, 26 March 2016 (UTC)
Yes and it is supposed to show up at the bottom of every explanation to guide people to the discussion pages even though they are not used to using those on the regular Wikipedia. So it was probably as it should be already when the note was made on the release day. --Kynde (talk) 13:05, 28 March 2016 (UTC)

On one of the few flights I got to sit in first class, the flight attendant started to welcome us passengers. She said "Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to..." then stopped. I was sitting in 1B so she said to me, "can I see your ticket?" I gave it to her and she completed the announcement. After she finished, I said quietly "forgot our flight number and where we're going, right?" She kind of sheepishly nodded. :-) I don't blame her though. She doesn't care about the flight number or where we're headed, and with all the flights they have to make, I'd probably forget once in a while too. Gbisaga (talk) 19:16, 25 March 2016 (UTC)

Maybe we ought to split scenario 2 into two parts? One with the futuristic auto-pilot handling everything, and a second explanation where the co-pilot took off? It occurred to me if the sleeping captain would not wake from the extreme acceleration, the radio-chatter during pre-flight and other cabin noises, he would be sleeping very heavily indeed. This might also help explain why he awakes in such a confused state. --Todor (talk) 14:55, 26 March 2016 (UTC)

The whole Alex Caviel story reminds me of Irony of Fate. Well, of how it starts out, anyway. 14:59, 26 March 2016 (UTC)

On a Christmas Day flight in the late 1980s, I was on a Pan-Am Boeing 747 flight from New York to Munich. As we approached Europe, the captain started giving us status reports. After the first report when he stated our arrival time in Berlin, a good bit of the cabin was in shock, until the purser reassured everyone that we were indeed going to Munich. Subsequent flight status reports by the captain repeatedly gave our arrival time in Berlin, and were followed by the purser announcing that we were still going to Munich. We did land in Munich. TCMits (talk) 21:27, 15 January 2023 (UTC)

FlyDubai crash and more
This comic may be in reference to the FlyDubai crash that happened on March 19th, 2016. The flight crew was supposedly severely fatigued. The aircraft that crashed also happened to be a Boeing aircraft similar to the one pictured. FlyDubai is a low cost carrier and they have been stretching their pilots as far as they can, and they apparently found the breaking point. In the US I know we have very strict duty periods for our pilots see FAR §121.473 (see below "Part 121 link"). So I wouldn't worry about flying in the US.
As for each line of text after:
The flight number is probably written down somewhere in the pilots flight notes, so i wouldn't be too hard for them to figure that out. After all they could end up doing multiple flights a day, it could be easy to forget the flight number normally. In Glass cockpits i would imagine the flight number is in the system.
The line about FlightAware, is in reference to the Website/App that shows all aircraft IFR flight plans (unless they pay to hide it). Thus a commercial airliner would show up on the site. It is odd that they would even need FlightAware, because in any aircraft that is new enough to have WiFi there would be a glass cockpit. Glass cockpits are set up before each flight to have the whole route programmed into the system. Which would be generally the same information as on FlightAware, since FlightAware gets the same flight plan that the pilots file with Air traffic Control. The only reason it's not exactly the same is because the pilots could put whatever they want into the flight computer, and may be planning to ask ATC to cut some corners later-on in the flight (which is normal).
Also on a side note: every Commercial Airline flight must be able to fly IFR (also in FAR Part 121 somewhere), which means the aircraft probably has GPS and at a minimum Radio Navigation systems (RNAV). This means that the pilots should always be able to find out where they are, but not where they are going. Also the pilot could just ask ATC or the Dispatcher who is assigned that flight#.
In regards to capability of Autopilots, each aircraft can have a different level of auto pilot from one that can only hold a heading to one that can fly pretty much every minute of the flight. Auto pilots on some of the larger newer planes have an auto land feature usable on CATIII(a,b,c) approaches. However Auto pilots cant talk to ATC or avoid inclement weather (to my knowledge).
Part 121 link:
AJ (Airline Employee/Private pilot (not an expert)) 3/25/16 2005Z (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)
Yes the 777 is able to land on autopilot. Father was a 777 pilot and landed in foggy conditions with autopilot when he himself could not see the runway until the wheels touched. sidenote, I believe there is auto throttle for takeoff. (talk) (please sign your comments with ~~~~)
Yeah as AJ mentioned but was somewhat vague about is that even the old 737's have the auto-land system (might have been retro-fitted to conform with newer regulations?), however not every airport support this system, meaning you can't land there on auto-pilot. Also since the auto-pilot, no matter how good, can't handle unforeseen incidents, you still very much need a human pilot. The comic suggests the auto-pilot handles just about everything including events not directly related to flight, which is not the case as of today. --Todor (talk) 14:15, 26 March 2016 (UTC)
Huge comments like the above are why I added a "add topic" button to the discussion template. Mikemk (talk) 07:01, 26 March 2016 (UTC)
I have made such a topic for this, and also moved the comment on 777 down beloe instead on in the mid of this huge comment. I also moved the comment below again down from being posted at the top after Mikemk's comment here above. Hope it will make it possible to read the comments as they are in order of posting.--Kynde (talk) 13:37, 26 March 2016 (UTC)

Maybe the captain is in a fugue state?

Would explain the pilot's confused state, but someone would still have to take-off the plane anyway. It can't do so by itself. --Todor (talk) 23:26, 26 March 2016 (UTC)

Fugue states frequently end suddenly, apropos of nothing, and leave the victim unaware of what has happened for the past while, sometimes years. Maybe he wasn't a pilot before?
4U9525 - Does Munroe have bad timing or bad taste?

Is it just coincidence that this comic was published one year and one day after co-pilot Andreas Lubitz deliberately crashed 4U9525 killing 150 people?

I think Randall Munroe is usually to aware of such things to excuse this as just a mishap. This seems to be a tasteless joke on the lines of: "Lol, maybe the pilot was just hung over. Rofl" 15:53, 26 March 2016 (UTC)
I think you're reaching more than a bit there. The idea of someone being in charge of a plane who doesn't know how to fly it is a common enough theme in pop culture that such a reference does not necessarily have anything to do with that sad event.
I do not think Randall published this on account of the anniversary of that event, but I do think it is relevant so it could be put up in the examples under the trivia. Because as opposed to what has been claimed, then for that particular plane the pilot - who did intentionally crash the plane - was left alone in the cockpit and was thus able to lock out the other pilot. The security that should enable them to keep out terrorist then helped him keep out the crew until he had finished his deed. But obviously the pilot in this comic has not evil intentions, but one might fear he will not be able to land the plane, but not crash it on purpose. --Kynde (talk) 12:41, 28 March 2016 (UTC)

I'm pretty sure you have to punch the flight number in the plane's onboard computer prior to takeoff. Might be wrong though 19:36, 27 March 2016 (UTC)

A Boeing 787 can easily fly an entire flight (except takeoff) on autopilot. I think this comic is making fun of the job of modern airline pilot, assuming they just take a nap right after takeoff, with no concern about the progress of the flight until they land. This comic seems to have one of these pilots who has stuck to the tradition of updating the passengers on flight status, even though he really has no idea what that status is. Hubbard (talk) 01:53, 31 March 2016 (UTC)


Thumbs up for the possible causes, good read. Sadly the pilot falling asleep is a regular problem on flights...

Two comments.... my brief stint in aircraft software lead me to understand (at least for the aircraft I was working on) that you could drug a pilot, load him aboard an aircraft, and as long as the route was properly loaded into the flight systems you could wake the pilot mid flight and the plane would let him know in moments where the plane was, what its destination was, and have at hand all the radio frequencies, charts, etc needed for safely landing at the destination - that's probably not how it is for all aircraft. Second, this reminded me somewhat of Varig Flight 254 where the pilots took a wrong turn and found themselves over a jungle and short on fuel 17:54, 9 April 2016 (UTC)