"you wouldn't make a good pilot"

I was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Slovakia after I graduated from college.  Upon my return to the US, Steve and I spent a lot of time together those first couple of weeks back.  At one point we were on his dad's boat on Lake Erie.  We were heading out to the islands and all the sudden all these bells and whistles went off. I was freaked out...Steve was cool.  He sprung into action, and after investigating things figured out what was wrong. 

During his investigation he swam around the boat and looked at the engine, played around with the RPMs, and lots of other things that I don't recall exactly.  Of course I was all nervous thinking the boat would blow up.  Steve looked at me and said "you would never make a good pilot."  Apparently, pilots don't freak out when they hear a bell chime...I guess that is a good thing.

I bring this story up because yesterday I pulled the car into the garage after work.  As I was walking inside I smelled burning.

"Steve, the car is burning!"  He came outside to investigate.  Of course I thought the car was going to blow up and the garage would catch on fire.  "Steve, be careful the car is going to blow up!"  "Joanna" he said, "the car is not going to blow up." 

He looked under the car, under the hood, ect.  He told me that I probably burned the clutch.  I took offense, as I have been driving a stick since he taught me in 1999.  He reassured me that it happens to the best of us.

Fast forward to this morning, to when I was driving into work.  I was on the highway going about 70mph, maybe 75, and I came upon brake lights, so I had to brake all the way down to 10mph.  The burning smell came back again. 

After a quick call to Steve, and then the repair shop, I took the car in.  New rotors and break pads are in order.  Lovely.

This whole car thing got me thinking:  how much do pilots push a plane to figure things out.  I can guarantee that if Steve were in the car this morning with the burning smell he would have been doing this and that, trying to test things out.  Meanwhile, I was just praying I would make it to the repair shop before the car caught on fire. 

Take bad brakes on an airplane, do pilots get a little message saying "your brakes are bad...repair now." Or, is it some sort of general warning light that goes off that requires further investigation.  During the "investigation" of a general warning light, would a pilot slam on the brakes just to test them out while taxing out to the runway?  I type this with a grin, as I am sure they really don't do that.  Right? But, I wonder how much "investigating" they do up there when something is out of sorts.  I wonder how much a pilot would push things just to test things out?  Oh, the things behind a cockpit door that we never know about.

I suppose it the nature of a pilot to push things and test things.  My nature? To pray things don't catch fire...hence, why I wouldn't make a good pilot. 


  1. You are funny I love it. Don't they test the breaks on the ground while taking off? Isn't that why they jerk you forward three to four times before take off? I don't know my husband flies helicopters with skids and pontoons no wheels though so I can't ask. But he sure likes to try things out maybe that's a prerequisite to being a pilot you have to test things out :0)


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