Flying

Moment of Decision

pretty cushy work most days, particularly at the major US carriers, with largely reliable aircraft, a fairly robust support network, and nearly universal procedures that keep everyone on roughly the same page. Most airline pilots, by temperament and long experience, are perfectly content with the atmosphere of ordered boredom that normally reigns on the flight deck. There are, indeed, very few situations that require the Sully-esque nerves of steel and lightning-quick reflexes with which our species is sometimes credited. These attributes are in fact actively discouraged thanks to a long and distinguished history of airline pilots creating emergencies out of benign situations through overly hasty action. There’s an idiosyncratic phrase in common usage at my airline: “Wind the clock!” It refers to old timepieces that needed daily winding, and the idea is that, in most situations, a captain should be calm and collected enough to reach into their flight kit, fetch their trusty gold pocket watch, and leisurely begin winding

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