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Actor / EntertainerI'm John Brenkus, host/creator of ESPN's Sport Science and my new podcast, The Brink of Midnight. AMA!

May 18th 2017 by JohnBrenkus_ • 75 Questions • 40 Points

Hello all! I got a lot of requests for an AMA in a recent post I made, so here it is! Here's the basic story, when I was about 5 years old my parents, 2 doctors, decided they wanted to sail offshore. So, they took lessons, bought a boat, and we took off! We lived on the boat for several years, sailing along the West Coast, until through some unfortunate events the boat sank out at sea. Feel free to ask any and all questions, and I will do my best to answer! Since a lot of it is from memory, it may be slightly off in timeframe, so forgive me.

https://imgur.com/XkAulos Here's a photo of our second boat, Ra, for proof.

Edit* Ok everyone, thank you so much for the questions! I have to take a break now, my fingers are getting sore! I appreciate all of your questions and comments.

Never stop exploring!

Gold?! Why thank you kind stranger! You made my day :D

Q:

Which episode of sports science surprised you the most after getting the results of a study?

A:

What do you do when you're cruising on a longer flight?

Are you allowed to listen to music when the plane's on autopilot?


Q:

As an adult now, would you do it again? Alone? With your parents? Your own family? What would you different?

A:

Love the segment we did about the collision time between ball and bay at the MLB level. Super interested to find out that you actually don't need to bonding on to the bat when connecting to the ball. You could, theoretically, let go of the bat .001 seconds before contact and the ball will travel just as far.


Q:

Talk to the other Pilot. Some guys have a newspaper.

No.

A:

Good question, now I probably wouldn't but i'm not really sure. I guess I would have to see what my child would be like and for that matter whoever I marry in the future. Not everyone can do boat life, and I wouldn't want to press that on my family. Alone, no way in hell, too dangerous and lonely. I'm a social guy, I wouldn't be able to handle it I don't think.


Q:

Hey John! I love watching your Sports Science segments, pre-ESPN (when they were half-hour shows) and now intertwined with current shows.

Which athlete has blown you away/most-impressed with his or her measureables in your years doing Sports Science?

A:

Do you think pilot should be able to show kids the inside of the cockpit? Because that is my all time great memory of flying and wish they would bring it back.


Q:

now I probably wouldn't

Just wait until you hit adult life and the alternative is sliding papers around your desk for 30 years.

A:

We've now been on for 10 years, so there are a lot of athletes to pick from. The segments on Larry Fitzgerald, Drew Brees, Klay Thompson, Ray Lewis, Marshawn Lynch, Julio Jones are some of my favorites. The segments where I get abused and somehow get back up are certainly the most memorable:)


Q:

Unfortunately we can't do it in the cruise anymore.

I love doing it on the ground.

If we're delayed we like getting all the kids up in a row to come talk to us, their parents love it too as it keeps they busy.

A:

Good point. I'm partial to camping, maybe I'll go off the grid out into the woods with my family or something like that.


Q:

Hey John, how's it going? I was just curious, what part of your new podcast are you most excited for? Also...Who would win in a fight, Ty Cobb or Ted Williams?

A:

Have you ever seen anything strange or unusual while flying at altitude?


Q:

I'm OPs mom and sailing was so awesome and you were so brace. What was your favorite part of sailing and living out at sea?

A:

Negative news sucks. It just does. The Brink of Midnight Podcast is super exciting because the mission is to spread positive energy! When you hear the stories about the moments that changed someone's life forever, you can't help but be inspired.

As for the fight between Cobb and Williams, I'm going with Williams...he's one of my heroes!


Q:

Flying over Portugal at night. Hundreds of flashing white lights, spanning miles and miles. It was like being in a stadium with thousands of camera flashes going off. I was completely transfixed, the other guy was completely not bothered.

Turns out Portugal has lots of wind turbines, the tops of which have a flashing white light on them.

A:

Can confirm, this is mom! My favorite part was probably living in Mexico, the people were amazing, surfing each day and all that lobster.. oh man the lobster. Can't think of a better time :)


Q:

John, I'm a huge fan of the show! Who has been your most favorite athlete to work with on an experiment? Thanks for your time today!

A:

Do you like your job?


Q:

Dude is that really your mom?

A:

So many athletes...hard to pick just one. I will tell you that my favorite type of athlete to work with are the guys who are my size. People always say, "the guys in the labs are genetic freaks". Yes, that's true in some cases, but the ones who impress me the most are the ones I can see eye to eye with...literally. Isaiah Thomas is amazing...check out the segment we did in him and look at his size relative to me! I'm 5'8.5''...but somehow he's able to play with guys over a foot taller than him!


Q:

Whenever we break out through the cloud ceiling and climb away, or conversely when we're in the descent and reach the layer and cloud surf for a bit before dropping through...I can't help but grin. Surfing those clouds at 300 knots is so cool.

A:

Yep! She saw the ama since it got so big.


Q:

Which sport produces the best athletes?

A:

What's the worst technical detail of the A320 in your opinion? What would you improve in that plane?


Q:

Ugh, you (and your mom ) are so frigging cool. Sorry about your dad being a barnacle though. :/

A:

Depends on how we are defining "athlete". If we are talking about the traditional definition that includes strength, speed, agility, coordination, etc. then I would say the NBAhas the highest percentage of amazing athletes. But, obviously, there are amazing athletes in every sport! I think a better question is "what's the most difficult sport to play"? The hardest spot to play (if you've never played it, is hockey. The hardest sport to be truly excellent at is golf.


Q:

It uses bleed air, or air drawn from the engines, for air conditioning/pressurisation.

I occasionally get a whiff of JET A1 fuel when we're starting the engines.

I'd prefer an electric air bleed system like the 787 has.

A:

Why thank you! She's pretty damn cool, best mom I could ever ask for.


Q:

Hey John, I love enjoy watching your segments.

Any idea if you'd ever be granted your own TV slot, I would love to watch it?

Any future athletes you'd love to have in studio?

What athlete impressed you the most with what they can do?

Is a hotdog a sandwich?

A:

Cheers. My dad was a captain on the A320 back in the day for Northwest. How did you get into flying? Former military or civilian trained?


Q:

I thought earlier in a post further up you said she was (deceased)?? Glad she is ok but that did that mean when you wrote it earlier?

A:

We do have periodic stand alone shows on espn (NFL combine, NBA combine, Plays of the year etc). But the segments get digested far more over the entire platform.

A hotdog is NOT a sandwich. It's a hotdog.


Q:

Civilian.

I hope he enjoys his retirement!

A:

Sorry, I probably wrote that wrong, I meant my mother's mom was deceased by that time.


Q:

I second this question.

A:

How did you get into flying commercially? Did you start in military or privately? And if the latter, how much does that cost? Thank you!


Q:

Did the boat sink while you were on it? Did you have to be rescued?

A:

There really aren't many...we brainstorm ideas that push the limits of what is possible but don't go into the impossible category. Just did a segment with Lonzo Ball that I wasn't sure he would be able to do...seemed impossible, but he was able to do it!


Q:

Privately.

A home remortgage and a significant percentage of my hairline.

A:

My mom and I were not on the boat, so what happened was that my dad wanted to sail from San Diego to Hawaii. My mom had a bad feeling about it, and wouldn't go, so he decided to solo it. My mom and I flew over while he tried to go solo. Something went wrong and the boat took on water, he had to ditch into a life raft and got rescued 12 hours or so later by a cargo ship. We were stuck in Hawaii for about a year while they worked to make enough to go home.


Q:

What are the chances you could do a sports science on what would be more difficult;

fighting a horse sized duck, or fighting 100 duck sized horses?

A:

Will there ever be a point in time where the braking right after touchdown doesn't scare the hell out of me?


Q:

holy shit that's a story

A:

Depends what weapons you have. If it's hand to hand (hoof, webbed foot) and the animals we focused on trying to kill you, I think 100 of anything would be tough to combat vs a single Animal.


Q:

I'd recommend watching some cockpit landing footage on youtube so you can get a look at what's going on during the landing roll, it might help with any concerns you have.

A:

Oh, I've got so many more too but I don't have photo proof for all of them unfortunately. Ran with the bulls in Spain at 15, climbed a mountain (I do have a pic of that one), got my scuba license as a kid and went scuba diving in Panama, checked out Morocco... So many adventures.


Q:

Like that one where the exaggerated yoke movements at slow speed make the pilot look like he is calmly wrestling a cobra on PCP? Yeah, that'll help.

A:

Sounds like you missed out on a lot of childhood things but also lived a fun and adventurous childhood!


Q:

But he was calm though

http://imgur.com/BUVNdb3

A:

Yes and yes, it was a mixed bag but I wouldn't trade it for anything. some of the best years of my life!


Q:

Hey! Thanks for doing this. I'm an instrument pilot myself working on a commercial license. Sometimes after a long day of training I feel like I never want to get in a plane again. What did you do throughout training to keep pushing yourself through?

Join us over at /r/flying if you haven't already.

A:

What hawaiian island did you live on? I thought this was a funny post to stumble across because I lived on a boat (docked in a harbor) in oahu for about a year. Boat life is definitely not for everyone, but it sure is memorable and fun.


Q:

I know the feeling chief.

I would be so down when I messed a lesson up. Pilots are predominately Type A personalities (So I'm told!) and we are ambitious, time pressured, tenancy for high blood pressure. We don't like messing stuff up. So when we inevitably do it sucks and we get annoyed with ourselves and hate flying.

There was a great bit of advice from PM/EMPANNAGE a few years ago on /r/flying to a student about hating flying and planes when you had a bad day. It happens to everyone.

Don't compare yourself to other people. We're all learning.

You just have to keep going. When the examiner said I'd passed the CPL the first thing I said to him was "Really?! Are you serious!!?" without any kind of mental filter being able to stop me. The relief is amazing.

And it's a feeling you'll be enjoying really soon. Just keep going and give that little bit more.

A:

I lived on Oahu! Right in Honolulu :D How funny.


Q:

How much sex is involved in your profession?

A:

Why'd you have to stay in Hawaii - didn't they have insurance on the boat? I mean, I just assumed "whoops, I sunk the boat" was just pops pulling off a classic insurance scam.


Q:

Allegedly a lot.

Aviation is a tiny industry and everyone knows each other. I have to be careful with my magnum dong.

A:

No insurance that I know of, pretty much everything we had went down with the boat so it was pretty devastating. We really didn't have any savings so that's why we had to stay there for a while, we were able to move back after about 8 months though.


Q:

What percentage of the time is the plane on autopilot? Is it different for trans-oceanic flights?

A:

Was living in hawaii nice?


Q:

Autopilot is a bad name for it.

What autopilot does it more like cruise control in a car.

It doesn't make decisions. It's not sentient. We give it information and it does what it's told.

Fly this heading, climbing at this rate in feet per minute, to this altitude, at this speed. Feed that information in, and then we monitor it to make sure it is doing what it is told. It doesn't always.

Unless they are complicated and thus busy and thus it would be a dick move by putting more pressure on the other Pilot who is monitoring me, I like to hand fly the departures and arrivals so for me, maybe from 5000ft at departure - 3000ft at the other end.

No.

A:

Unfortunately, not really. The circumstances surrounding being there made it hard, and it was tough to integrate. I got beat up a lot, called "howle" because I was white, and overall I just didn't like it. Beautiful place, but not for me.


Q:

The worst flight you've ever flown?

A:

What as the bad feeling? Storms?


Q:

In terms of what, weather, my performance, delays, failures?

A:

My mom describes it like this " I felt like my mom (deceased) was screaming at me not to go, so I listened." There was also an electrical storm as he went out that fried the boats wiring so he actually had to come back and let my mom fix it, as she was the electrics person.


Q:

The one that scores highest in all of the above. The one that made you think "I want to go home".

A:

Same thing happened to the Andrea Gale, one of the new crew took one look at it and noped out, said he had a bad feeling. Couple weeks later it sank in the perfect storm. I'm glad your pops made it home.


Q:

The downdraught event in this post.

https://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/6chejy/i_am_an_airline_pilot_flying_the_a320_across/dhundo3/

At the time I was thinking how to safely manage and get out of it.

It was once I parked up on the ground and thought back to it that I thought "shit that could have been really bad."

A:

Me too, sadly right after my dad was rescued we heard about another family that was missing and the "eperb", a locator beacon that sends a distress signal, was set off. We told the coast guard we would shelter them when they were found, but unfortunately the life raft was found with no people in it. It was a heavy blow, since that could have very easily been us.


Q:

That must really scary. What do you do in a situation like that? Is it a case of pointing the nose down and gaining speed to generate lift or is there more to it?

A:

What is your favourite memory from your time on the boat?


Q:

It was a case of just keep going until I got past the ridgeline in particular that was generating lots of mechanical turbulence and rotor zones.

Probably lost about 500ft over about two minutes then I got out of it and could climb again.

A:

The time a whale followed us for about 2 days, or the time we found ourselves in a giant pod of dolphins. Both stand out as the best times of my life.


Q:

Have you joined the mile high club?

A:

Follow up question, what is the worst thing to happen to you while on the boat? Thank you.


Q:

Ayyyyy lmao

A:

Hmm... two things stick out in my mind. First, we went to this island called Cedros. The thing about cedros, is that going through the passage in the middle of the island seems like it'd be ok, but it's a nightmare. the wind is crazy and it nearly tipped us over, I really thought we were going to die there. Once we got out, it was fine, but damn that place. Second, I had a lot of trouble getting my "sea legs" so I would puke a ton, the first month of each trip out was just un-fun. Couldn't eat, hard to sleep, just uncomfortable and sickly. So yeah, those two are the only ones I can think of.


Q:

Regarding post 9/11 security on flights, do you and your co-pilot feel 100% safe when flying?

A:

Well, that and when the boat sank.


Q:

No one is getting through that door.

In terms of airport security...the UK is probably a world leader. The Department for Transport take these things incredibly deadly seriously.

Could they do more without restricting even more of our liberties? I don't know.

It does make me laugh though that I'M FLYING THE AIRCRAFT and have access to the crash axe etc...but I can't be trusted to bring a Yoghurt through security for breakfast.

A:

Yeah, but I wasn't on it for that event so I don't count it.


Q:

What is your most awkward experience while flying?

A:

When you say giant pod of dolphins... do you mean 20? 100? I honestly just don't know what a giant pod would be, but it sounds fucking dope.


Q:

Back in basic training I had an instructor who would eat apples with his headset still on, the microphone of which was 'fully manually squelched' i.e. it was hot-miced, so I heard everything.

Trying to fly the aircraft properly while listening to what sounded like Orcs feasting on the flesh of the innocent took a lot of self discipline.

A:

It was so large I couldn't see open water that didn't have a dolphin in it. 2000+ maybe? Hard to tell honestly.


Q:

Was the instructor intentionally eating an apple in order to create a tense atmosphere as part of your training? Or did he just happen to have an apple with him that day?

A:

That's amazing. I can't even fathom something like that. I would have been awestruck by 5 dolphins.


Q:

Nah he was just an oddball.

A:

I almost couldn't believe what I was seeing, it was so amazing.


Q:

Why are you always asking me to "confirm RADAR-contact/identified" when checking in if I only answer with "BAW-XXX, Good morning"?

I ask because your initial "Identified/RADAR-contact" is valid, and transferred across ATC-units, until someone explicitly states "Identification/radar lost/terminated"... :-).

Cheers
ATC-DUDE.

A:

a whale followed us for about 2 days

can you speak more on that?


Q:

when checking in if I only answer with "BAW-XXX, Good morning"?

Not me.

Sounds like Nigel being awkward.

Thanks for the all the direct Tos and CPDLC instructions. We love it.

A:

Woke up one morning to a huge spraying sound, looked behind us and there was a whale about 30 ft back. Not sure what type, but it seemed to like us and followed us for the next couple days. Stayed behind in exactly the same spot, I think it thought we were a whale too. It was so cute and amazing, kid me nearly exploded from the awesomeness.


Q:

You planning on doing a display flight in your 320 any time soon?! Think you mean CAP413, I should know, I just read it for lack of anything better to do in the cruise...

Would definitely second the thanks for ATC, although I'd love CPDLC and I can't imagine my fleet's going to get it any time soon!

A:

Ive heard that people are always surprised by how much whales stink. Did you get any funk off the fucker?

Also, did you ever hear it sing?


Q:

That's the bugger.

Remember 698 from ATPLs? Urgh.

Hopefully one day they will upgrade the dash to have working oleo struts!

A:

Maybe a little but nothing horrible, and unfortunately no I didn't hear it sing that I remember.


Q:

Are you flying right now? And if so, how's the wifi?

A:

Can u describe a daily routine out at sea? Is it mundane?


Q:

No. My airline doesn't have it :(

A lot of people don't realise that the antennae and stuff that have to be installed on the fuselage to accommodate passenger wifi and SATCOM phone calls and stuff have an aerodynamic drag penalty. Airliners with on-board wifi burn more fuel. Drag penalty plus the weight of the equipment installed inside the aircraft.

The smallest thing can cause a drag increase. We have a document called a CDL or configuration deviation list that specifies the drag and fuel penalty that we have to take into account should there be small components like rubber seals and stuff that are damaged or missing off the aircraft surface. It's surprising how much of an effect a small component actually has.

A:

Not really, there was a lot of maintenance to do, we had electronics so we could watch movies, play video games and listen to music. There was also fishing, swimming, and other fun stuff. Also, it was before internet was really popular (at least for us) so I had a much easier time relaxing and not being go go go.


Q:

If you were to introduce one thing to make your job easier, what would it be?

A:

A follow-up. Did you really swim in the middle of the ocean with all creatures down below? I'd be terrified if I had to.


Q:

That's a good question.

I'm not really sure to be honest.

A 3G connection so we can get weather and loadsheets and stuff on our tablet devices would be great.

A:

Oh yeah, usually nothing is around so it's pretty safe, you stay close to the boat and since everything thinks it's a big animal nothing comes close. I did start to get that "i'm being watched" feeling on occasion and would hop out.


Q:

Is it at all possible to come up and chill with the pilots mid flight anymore? If so, what's the best way to do it?

A:

Have you discussed this point of your childhood with your parents as an adult?

Maybe to see what they were thinking when they decided to up and live on a boat, since I'd guess that wasn't a spur of the moment idea. Did they plan it out with a child in mind? Why not let you in on it beforehand?


Q:

Unfortunately not.

A:

Yes, I've discussed it, they basically say that they thought it would be an interesting way to raise me and they wanted to live their dreams. With not telling me, I think they figured it would be easier to convince me once it was already in motion. I can't blame them, but sometimes I do feel like I didn't get a chance to really have a solid foundation in my childhood, but I think what I got instead was pretty worth it. I don't really know though, I'll have to talk about it with my mom sometime soon.


Q:

Is it true that the pilot and the copilot eat different meals before their flight? And is their something you will not eat because it gives you the swoons?

A:

Did you know about The Wild Thornberries? Did you ever feel like you were just like them?


Q:

Can't eat the same meal for food poisoning mitigation.

Me personally? I can't stand deep fried batter, like you'd get on fish in a fish and chip shop in the UK. It gives me a headache.

A:

I loved that show and totally!


Q:

How often does FiFi do something completely unexpected - and "rebooting" the computer is the only way to fix it?

A:

I have a few questions: What did your parents do for money? And how was it readjusting to land life?


Q:

The A320 is 30 years old. Hundreds of millions of flight hours. God knows how many thousands of pages of computer/electronics certification requirements it had to meet when it was designed.

The computers behind the scenes sometimes do play up and crap out. Not all the time. Not exceedingly rarely. I'll probably see something small and insignificant crap out in 1 in 30 flights?

Sometimes it fixes itself and the caution message disappears after a few seconds. Sometimes it requires us to do the full failure management procedure and get the QRH (quick reference handbook) out to see which circuit breaker needs to be reset. Other times it's a case of spending hours in the cruise looking in the complicated tech manuals for system architecture drawings and descriptions and trying to figure out what the hell a particular obscure caution message actually means.

But the crucial thing is, there are back up systems and computers. There's no single point of failure. It is so so safe and so well designed.

A:

They were doctors, so they traded work for food and money. It wasn't too hard adjusting back, I think being around people was the only tough part, you get used to being fairly isolated out on a boat so dealing with social settings became odd after a while out. It was fine though after a little bit.


Q:

I assume it's likely a requirement to have paper manuals on board because paper doesn't fail but do they provide electronic manuals loaded on a tablet so you can search for errors / messages quicker and easier? It seems silly to be flipping through pages looking for something rather than typing it into a search box.

A:

How did they earn while living on the boat? Like, stop at a place and exchange their services for goods then move on again? Or was there a regular hospital?


Q:

Yeah it's electronic. Search function works really well, I was impressed with it.

A:

A little of both, in Mexico they would barter work for goods and when we came back to the US they would work locums at the local hospitals. We would usually come back to the same towns, like Newport OR, so they had a kind of standing agreement with the hospitals there and it always worked out ok.


Q:

What is your favourite plane to fly?

A:

How did you sink it?


Q:

Of the ones I've flown, the A320. I can fly 6 miles above the surface of the Earth at 600mph. Sick.

I'd love to fly a Tornado or Typhoon though.

A:

Dad tried to solo sail to Hawaii against my mom's wishes, ended up sinking it and having to be rescued. Not sure how it ended up sinking exactly since the story he tells about it doesn't sound right, but I never pushed the subject.


Q:

What sort of additional training would you have to do (if any) to fly newer gen aircraft like the A350 for example?

A:

Remember that comment when some guy thought your parents were running from something?


Q:

Airbus have this design philosophy where the cockpit and systems design is very similar across the fleet. No new type rating for every new model.

It would take about three weeks at most for me to get typed on the A350.

A:

Ha, yeah, it would be hilarious if they were, but I think they were just running from a boring life.


Q:

What's the best airline food you've eaten so far and what's the worst?

A:

cocaine


Q:

Emirates in economy. Morrocan Tagine chicken or something. Holy shit was delicious.

I had an egg salad sandwich once that I suspect dissolved most of my tastebuds. It was like eating vinegar from Brian Blessed's fupa.

A:

Maybe... Knowing him I wouldn't be surprised.


Q:

Have you ever encountered any inexplicable unidentified flying objects?

A:

What do you do now in life? Did real friendships derive from the time you lived on the boat?


Q:

Afraid not sorry.

A:

Now I'm a student, I mess around with crypto curriencies and have made decent money off of that, but my real passion is Biochemistry and i'm applying to the U of Minnesota to study it. Not sure what my career will be, but I know it'll be science-y! I don't have any friends from that time, I met a lot of people but always had to say goodbye and never kept in touch because of my age and the distance between us.


Q:

What has been your scariest experience?

A:

Best of luck with getting into the U! Currently studying biochemistry there and love it. Tons of opportunities to get involved in really cool research.


Q:

Getting caught in a downdraught on the downwind side of a Mountain in a light aircraft while in basic training. Full power, pitched up 10 degrees and still sinking. Not nice!

Learnt a good lesson that day about route planning and weather hazard avoidance, specifically this -

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foehn_wind

A:

Thanks! I'm super excited to hear back from them, hopefully they aren't full already.


Q:

I would like to know the current rules, after the Germanwings Flight 9525 Suicide.

Does your Airline enforce the 2 people cockpit rule? Because i read that "Lufthansa" wont enforce it anymore.

A:

Went to University of Minnesota - started in Biochemistry. Good luck! Let me know if you need help with Gen Chem 1 - it can be brutal


Q:

Yes.

The thing about the 2 person cockpit rule is you now have a scenario where somebody who may have just recently passed cabin crew training is now present in the flight deck with 1 Pilot.

Becoming an airline Pilot takes years.

Becoming a member of the cabin crew, and with all due respect because they work really hard and are there for your safety, they are really well trained and take it incredibly seriously, takes a few months.

Is this safer than leaving the lone Pilot?

That's the position of some of my colleagues. Are we introducing a less safe environment by allowing the cabin crew member onto the flight deck with one Pilot?

A:

Why thank you, I might just take you up on that :)


Q:

What is your 'at home schedule ' like? Do you feel like it's easy to get back into a sense of routine or are you back in the air too quickly to even bother worrying about it? I imagine long haul pilots just sleep for days when the get home.

A:

Sorry if it's off-topic, but could you elaborate on the crypto currencies comment?

Did you trade them like other currencies, like Forex? How did you get into that?


Q:

I'm short haul.

I might do 4 days on, 3 days off.

I'm young and don't have kids yet so I lounge about all day watching Silicon Valley.

It suits me. I'd hate a rigid 9 to 5.

A:

So I first heard about Bitcoin years ago, and it interested me. I kept an eye on it but never really explored it fully, until a few months back I really got into it. You trade it on several exchanges, like poloneix, kraken, or bitstamp, and it's sort of like Forex I believe. I'm still in the learning stages of it but with how much crypto currencies have grown recently I've done quite well, I got my mom into it as well and she's done amazingly. I would suggest the bitcoin subreddit for more info if you are interested.


Q:

If you weren't a pilot, what would you want to be doing with your life?

A:

This is such a random question, but what did you guys do with your garbage? I imagine you had packaging from food, etc.


Q:

Emergency medicine.

A:

There wasn't a ton, plastic wrap from food and that kind of stuff. There was a little cargo spot towards the back we would keep plastics and stuff not biodegradable, but anything that would break down we would just toss overboard. As long as it wouldn't hurt anything in the water, we chucked it. Good question though!


Q:

What's your take on the United Airline situation? I have heard media coverage and everyone with a Facebook account, but I've not heard directly from a pilot. Why does stuff like that happen?

A:

Didn't you have to go to school?


Q:

Airlines overbook seats because it's rare for everyone who's booked a ticket to actually show up.

We have to a procedure to recalculate the mass and balance and take off performance of the aircraft when the dispatcher gives us the final loadsheet after the gate closes...because pretty much every flight people don't turn up for whatever reason.

So airlines make more money by overbooking, banking on the statistical probabilities that they'll get away with it.

What happened to Dr Dao was extremely unacceptable. But you must understand that tickets and stuff are issues that have very little to do with the Pilots. On the ground it is the dispatcher and gate agent who run all these things. I read some criticism of the Captain of that flight and I couldn't understand it. Were people expecting him to go back and be a conflict resolution advisor? He would have been sat in the cockpit calculating take off performance and running through various procedures. It's not like he was sat watching down the aisle with Popcorn.

A:

Homeschooled by my mom mostly, so I did go to school :)


Q:

As a Gate Agent for multiple european airlines here in the US, I have 2 questions.

1) In Europe, are you allowed to board passengers while fuelers are hooked up or no? Each captain i get give me different answers on the legality of it and we differ to them.

2) What was your worst experience with a Pax gate crew?

A:

Did you notice a difference on school level when you returned to normal school aged 9? Were you homeschooled all the time?


Q:

Yes.

With very strict procedures. Aircraft doors open. Line of sight with the refueller. Ryanair, I think, make the F/O stand by the nose gear wheel well connected to the interphone with the ground handlers heatset to monitor the fuelling directly.

Not had much go wrong yet. Fingers crossed.

A:

Actually, I was a bit more advanced when I got back, I eventually was able to finish school a year early. My schooling was very...odd, so it's hard to say exactly. I moved a lot even after I got back and did all types of school, online, normal high school, college classes in the start of my junior year. So it's a little messy to say the least.


Q:

My dad wants to know: what happens to compass on the plane when you fly over Ecuador?

Silly question. I know.

A:

What'd you get a degree in? What do you do for a living now?


Q:

We don't use compasses.

Our navigation equipment uses really complicated gyroscopes that have frigging lasers in them (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ring_laser_gyroscope)

to detect and display pitch/roll/attitude/heading.

The aircraft corrects for magnetic variation and consequently nothing unusual happens.

The A320 does have an old school compass in it though as a last resort...good question.

The errors compasses are subject to would reverse as they act in the opposite direction in the southern hemisphere.

https://www.decodedscience.org/aircraft-acceleration-errors-the-magnetic-compass/4696

A:

Have my associates in science, working towards my BS in biochem. Right now I do the "wait for school to accept me" gig, but usually I'm a caretaker for disabled adults.


Q:

Did you see the 2012 movie "Flight"? Any grain of truth in that movie?

A:

Are you planning on going to medical school?


Q:

It made me laugh, particularly the dramatic sound effect of the engines spooling up when it nose dived towards the ground...after we see a shot of Denzel pulling the thrust levers to idle.

The drugs thing. No fucking way.

A:

Probably not, I work as a disabled adult caretaker but besides that I don't have much medical interest.


Q:

Do you think any pilots fly while hungover?

A:

You mean BOAT - schooled?


Q:

They would be doing themselves, their colleagues and passengers a serious disservice by doing so.

A:

Exactly ;)


Q:

Is being a pilot and knowing how things actually work make it frustrating to watch movies or shows that involve unrealistic plane scenes? For example what did you think of the movie flight with Denzel Washington? Edit: a word

A:

How was the privacy handled? Did you have your own room?


Q:

Haha God yes.

It made me laugh.

A:

There was a v-birth which is a little cabin up front, it had a curtain but besides that there wasnt much privacy. I was young though so I didn't really mind, you get used to it after a while.


Q:

I'm flying for the first time in my life on Wednesday in an A320.

I'm slightly nervous about it... Should I be? :)

A:

If a V-Birth is the little cabin up front, where is the C-Section on the boat?


Q:

Absolutely not.

It's incredibly reliable. Over engineered. Safe.

A:

More towards the middle ;)


Q:

Ok my question - Is it possible for a Commercial Pilot to forget to extend flaps before takeoff? For some reason I'm always worried someone will forget and I'll die! Can someone explain if this is possible ? Warning lights or audible reminder etc?

A:

Yeah you're a child but your parents are adults....in a presumably sexually active relationship.....trapped on a boat for months with a small kid and no bedroom...


Q:

No.

Flaps are in the checklists several times.

The A320 has a take off configuration warning that is loud and angry as fuck if the flaps and slats aren't set when take off thrust is applied.

A:

Loud music and a curtain, I would go to bed... They didn't... Now I need to take a shower, I feel dirty.


Q:

Do you fly a specific plane? Or just what happens to be free when you get to work? if specific, whats the flight number, id like to track you on flight tracker :D

A:

My dream is to do exactly what your parents did (minus the sinking part). Any advice/warnings?


Q:

Airlines like mine that have large fleets tailor certain aircraft, with certain seating configurations and equipment, to certain routes. It's all quite intricate and clever.

My base has about 30 A320s based here. The one I get allocated to for the day is random but sometimes dependent on the route. I don't know for sure but the aircraft are allocated weeks in advance, it's all done by the operations/rostering department. Really complicated. The software they use to manage it all is really niche and probably cost millions.

For example we fly to Charles De Gaulle and are always busy on that route so it's always an A320 with a denser seating configuration (i.e. more seats)

I'd rather not disclose my Airline sorry :( I'm sure they'd feel the same way haha.

A:

Take good lessons for a long time before you do it, plan it out well in advance. Find a boat that's stable, not to damaged, and comfortable. Make sure to bring plenty of entertainment. One warning, everyone is sick for a while first going out, keep garbage bags nearby. Keep a life jacket on, always, you never know what might happen. Don't go alone, solo sailing is difficult to say the least and really lonely regardless.


Q:

The one I get allocated to for the day is random but sometimes dependent on the route.

But do you always make it back home in the evening or could you find out in the morning that you'll be spending the night in Paris, Frankfurt or Milan?

A:

Would I be able to bring a dog?


Q:

I know what I'm doing weeks in advance when the roster for the next month is published. There are/should be no on the day surprises.

A:

Actually, we had a german shepard named max that we tried to bring but he hated it so much we had to give him away. It was really sad since I had him since I was little, but the poor guy wouldn't eat or drink. I wouldn't recommend it, but some dogs do ok. Depends on the dog I guess.


Q:

During training, how did you feel about flying a plane for the first time ? And what's the hardest thing about flying ?

A:

Shit sorry to hear that man. We had to give away a dog when I was about 8 too, hard times. Thanks for the info, I'm guna start sailing lessons so early days yet but I've got a boat savings fund and I'm 100% guna do it. Might possibly have to drop you a message further down the line : )


Q:

Flying a light aircraft for the first time?

Exhilarated. Vindicated after spending so long studying and wanting to do it.

There are a lot of unusual pressures and stressors being an Airline Pilot. Fatigue. Having the threat of losing your medical hanging over you until you get closer to the end of your working life and you are financially secure.

Flying in Europe can be difficult. Somewhere very busy like Charles De Gaulle. Mixture of French and English on the radio is terrible for situational awareness. They bring you in high and fast above what your ideal descent profile would actually be. On a bad day it takes a fair amount of mental exertion to stay in the loop. And we have always got to stay in the loop.

Don't get me wrong, it's not dangerous or anything. But on a busy day with poor weather it can be a good mental work out.

A:

Please do! Good luck on the journey, I'm sure you will love it :)


Q:

What made you want to be a pilot?

A:

Do you still like eating fish? I'm assuming you had many during that "trip".


Q:

My local airport when I was a kid had a car park right by the boundary fence, right next to the runway threshold. I used to go and watch airliners land when I was about 4. I guess it just stuck with me, I've always wanted to do it.

A:

Yes, but you're right that it gets old quick, I can really only eat it for one meal and then I need something to eat something different.


Q:

Do you eat airline food?

A:

Honest question - where do you get your mail?


Q:

Yes.

It's not that bad. I have my favourites. Moussaka awwww yisssss.

A:

I think we had a family friend hold it for us and then we would get it when we came back after the 6-8 months, but i'll have to get back to you on that one since i'm not sure.


Q:

Thanks mate, just general curiosity, that's all.

A:

Of course! It's a good question, I never really thought about it.


Q:

how was social life? I imagine you guys made stops at some point. Did you meet new people while living this life?

A:

Totally! Met people everywhere, the best place was Mexico, lived there for a while and I met so many cool people and other kids. It was great, my only regret was having to say goodbye so often.


Q:

Communication was probably tough but I'm sure you learned the languages, right?

A:

Yep! Learned Spanish when we lived in Mexico, I got pretty decent at it too, although after we left I didn't really have any way to practice it so I lost it until years later when I took school classes in it. It came back pretty easily though.


Q:

might be unrelated, im kind of a fan of learning languages. So did you learn spanish just by listening, and mimicking and picked up eventually? or were you taught by someone who spoke spanish and english?

A:

Listening to other kids, asking my parents who knew both (though they werent the best at it so I had to figure it out on my own sometimes). It was a total immersion, so that really helped.


Q:

Did any family come to visit u guys?

A:

Not really, we traveled up and down the west coast and would usually be offshore by about 200 miles (if I'm remembering correctly) so visits were difficult lol. We would visit them when we got back to shore, since we would only spend about 6-8 months at a time out before coming back to restock.


Q:

How does crossing the border work doing this? Do you have to go through passport control at each harbor? Are harbors even set up for that? I mean you could have been coming from South America or Asia and smuggling all kinds of stuff.

A:

I don't remember ever having to give passports, but we did get stopped by the Mexican Feds one time. Besides that, I don't really remember, sorry :/


Q:

Would you rather have lived on the land during those years?

A:

No, I think I gained a lot more than I lost, I mean how many people get to grow up on a sailboat?


Q:

Is your nickname the Nard Dog?

A:

Re-di-di-dit-dit-doo


Q:

What are some of the most creepiest/chilling experiences you've faced in the open sea?

A:

I would say storms on the open sea are the hands down, most terrifying thing ever. Huge, macker waves, just such raw power it makes you feel tiny.


Q:

How did pooping work? I've always wondered.. is there a septic tank that you would have to replace when you docked, kinda like an RV or did it just get released into the ocean?

A:

Usually released into the ocean, or you could also just sit slightly off the deck and go right into the water. "Hang tooky" we called it, nothing better.


Q:

Why did y'all stop sailing? What did your parents move on to?

A:

Boat sank when Dad tried to foolishly solo sail from Cali to Hawaii, he was rescued but we were stuck in Hawaii for nearly a year and it wrecked my parents marriage. When we got back to Oregon they split and life got a little shitty for a while.


Q:

Oh no :(

A:

It all worked out in the end, it was better they split because my dad was starting to become more mentally ill and was turning into a bitter, nasty person. I actually haven't talked to him for almost 2 years because of his behavior.


Q:

Do you think his early mental illness was part of the reason he decided to live on a boat? (Like... was it a therapy for him or was he becoming paranoid and wanted to get away from people? Or something else?)

A:

Yes and no, I don't think he was really paranoid but he was slightly manic depressive and the manic side led to the desire to live such an extreme lifestyle. I think he liked being in charge of things, he is an ER doctor, so being captain was the ultimate thrill. He wanted to sail to some really hardcore spots, but my mom was always the voice of reason, she talked him out of a lot of very dangerous ideas.


Q:

Do you sail on your own now? If not, do you think you'll go back to it? I'm curious what changes you might have noticed in the past ten years regarding new systems and technology for sailors. Also, were you part of any communities of sailors on the west coast? My parents live aboard a 42' Tayana and are going through the Bahamas currently, seems like a lot of work but a really nice way to live.

A:

I don't sadly, I did a little bit of day sailing a dew years ago with my mom but it hasn't really been my thing oddly enough. I got my fill those years growing up, plus I get motion sick really bad now and school got in the way. I'd imagine the technology is just incredible now, I would love to see what a modern boat has under the hood so to speak. That's awesome that your parents are living the boat life, it is an amazing way to live and I hope one day i can do more day cruising in nice warm places like that.


Q:

Where was your "Time-out"? And was it still awesome?

A:

Well, there wasn't really a time out but one time my dad got a little mad with me and threw me overboard. I had a life jacket on and they got me right away, but I did my homework right then and there. Effective punishment if you ask me.


Q:

Where did you ride your bike?

A:

I didn't learn to ride a bike until I was about 10 or so lol


Q:

I've had quite a similiar experience: when I was 4, I sailed around the world with my parents and 7-year old sister for 13 months around the Atlantic Ocean. I'm 23 now, and the thing is, for me it was always very 'normal' for us that we've made the trip, but it has formed me into how I am today (I guess).

How do you feel about your years on the water, how thankfull are you towards your parents? Do you feel like you want to do this yourself when you have kids? Do you sail yourself? Sorry for the many questions, I don't come across someone with kinda similar experiences!

A:

Oh wow, that's so cool! I don't meet many people who lived like me either, we're a rare breed it seems :) The years out on the water were some of the best years of my life, I'm super thankful towards my parents, it would have never happened if they weren't so awesome. I don't sail myself now, school and work has gotten in the way, but hopefully I can do it again some day in a more relaxed manner. I like day sailing now, the offshore stuff I pretty much got out of my system lol


Q:

Any experience with rogue waves?

A:

No, nothing like that. Massive storms, but no rogue waves.


Q:

Did you ever come across any sharks? They're my favorite animal, but I've only been able to see/swim with them once in the wild. If so, what types?

A:

We accidentally swam near great whites in Guadalupe, didn't see them but the locals we're screaming at us when we swam in. It was terrifying once we realized what they were saying.


Q:

Did you guys mainly buy food or fish for food?

A:

A mix of both, we would stock up on non-perishables before heading out and then supplement with tuna that we would catch. You get sick of tuna though pretty fast, so one time we happened to pass another boat out in the middle of nowhere and we radio'd them to see if they wanted to trade anything. They were out of movies, and we wanted meat which they had! So we put the movies in a waterproof bag and tossed it to them as we passed each other, and they threw us the meat. It was an amazing moment and so funny.


Q:

This is my favorite part of the whole thread

A:

It's one of my favorite memories, just such a rare and special moment out in the middle of nowhere.


Q:

Are you me? My parents did the same thing but from age 9 to 12 for me. We have a 49' ketch that we sailed down the west coast to Panama from Seattle. I wonder if we met/crossed paths.. The cruising community is pretty small and it seems like the same time range. 2000-2003.

A:

Quite possibly! That would be amazing if we had, I do remember meeting a lot of boat kids while sailing, but we all went along our ways. Literal passing ships in the night.


Q:

You should write a book. What did you do daily if you were offshore for months on end? I'm guessing there was no internet so what was daily life like?

A:

I'm actually writing one! I have a lot of other stories to tell, some amazing and some terrible, but I've always wanted to write a book so I figured why not? Daily life depended on things like the weather and where we were, if it was calm or stormy. Usually it would just be taking turns steering, setting lines to catch fish, plotting the course for the day. I had school work to do, as I was homeschooled, and then we would make dinner and my dad or mom would read to me before bed. We also had wind generator and electronics, so I could watch movies, listen to music or even play video games! I had a PS1 at the time, it was awesome.


Q:

I would totally read that book

A:

Thanks! I'm still coming up with a title, but "Damn you Kafka" is one i'm partial to, so look for that!


Q:

In those years, were you introduced to the internet and did you have access? If not, how was turning back to shore on a world filled with it?

A:

No internet, didn't really have it until we stopped sailing and even then it was dial up so I never really used it. I got my first real taste of it around age 11 or 12, and by then I had very much readjusted to land life so it wasn't much different then other kids my age.


Q:

How often did you go back to land?

A:

Every 6-8 months, then leave again after a month or two.


Q:

How loaded is your family?

A:

Now, pretty loaded. Then, not so much. Boats are expensive yo, maintaining them more so. We ate ramen a lot.