Who’s flying this thing? Airline pilots are revealing their scariest and most unusualexperiences in an aviation safety newsletter.
The anonymous confessions include a pilot admitting that on one passenger flight there was no-one flying the plane and another who discovered a stowaway hiding in the toilet. The stories were submitted to Callback, the official newsletter of the Aviation Safety Reporting System.
When a pilot flying a Boeing 757 left his seat to use the toilet, he returned to find the 1st officer passing him.
He said: "We passed each other as he let me in and exited to use the facility himself. I knew instantly that nobody was 'flying' the plane - of course, the autopilot was on and we were in level flight - and I quickly jumped into my seat."
On the flight where a stowaway was found, staff were rushing pax onto the aircraft without checking boarding passes to make their departure time when a stowaway made their way onboard and hid in the toilet. The man had just been released from a drug detox facility. He was kept at the back of the plane as the plane continued to its destination.
In another incident upon landing, a pilot said: "My left shoe fell off while applying left rudder. The shoe landed in front of the left rudder pedal and heel brake. The right crosswind started to pivot the aircraft to the right, and I discovered the shoe blocked access to the left rudder pedal and brake."
He added that he was unable to prevent the aircraft from turning right into the wind and it departed the runway to the right onto a level grass area.
The pilot said: "I finally kicked the shoe free of the pedals and braked to a stop with one shoe off, one shoe on."