It's okay to pretend to be a pilot

Pilot sticking out of cockpit

BOYS AND GIRLS, remember to ALWAYS tell the truth, unless it is a teeny weeny little white lie, such as “Yes, of course I know how to fly a 747.”

Pretending to be a pilot is OK.

How come?

Because flying planes is a relatively easy skill, unlike, say, teaching a male to (a) replace a toilet roll, (b) remember to avoid saying stupid things, (c) change a diaper, etc., all of which men can only master after a multi-year training course called Being Married.

Now before pilots (such as Grandpa) burn down my office, the advice above comes from ONE OF YOUR COLLEAGUES.

He wrote to comment on the recent news report about a pair of Air India pilots who parked flight attendants in the aircraft cockpit and went off for a nap.

One of the young women accidentally switched off the auto-pilot, so had to go to wake up a pilot for help.

I wonder how the conversation went?

“Erm, I pressed a few buttons, so now we are in a nosedive towards a primary school. Did I do something bad?”


The reader, who signed himself Pontius Pilot, said that while learning to fly an aircraft is extremely difficult, operating a modern passenger jet is not.

“They fly themselves. Most impressive is a button called Auto-Land that always gives you a perfect landing,” he said. “The truth is, pilots of 747s often let Auto-Land handle the landing even when they are in the cockpit.”


I once crashed a 747. I was having a go on a multi-million dollar Cathay Pacific 747 training simulator when I landed sideways on a shopping mall.

“I meant to do that,” I lied, but the instructor didn’t believe me. The evil, conniving @#$% never told me that real pilots just pressed Auto-Land and went back to reading the paper.



Pontius’ revelation got me thinking of a guy I knew who turned up at an airport in Africa for a flight.

Ground staff apologetically said the pilot had not turned up for work that morning. “Can you fly a plane?” they asked.

“No, of course not,” my friend replied, his eyebrows hitting the ceiling.

But now I realize he should have said “Sure,” and then got into the cockpit and Googled “How do you switch on Automatic pilot?”


However, let’s be sensible. You should never, never pretend to be a trained pilot unless the journey is a matter of life and death, such as when you need to see Manchester United on TV or something of that scale of earth-shattering importance.


Some of you will be shocked that I am condoning lying, and will claim to be people who Never Tell Lies.

If that's you, I have news for you. There is a new number one Most Common Lie in the world, and I bet it's a lie that you have told.

I have watched a zillion people download things from the Internet.

Not one of them has ever read the Terms and Conditions.

Not one of them has paused for a nanosecond before clicking the box that says “I have read the Terms and Conditions.”

We’re all guilty.

I bet even the Pope clicks straight through.


Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m in need of a holiday. Yes, I’m heading for the airport. Come with me if you like. If the pilot’s not there, I’ll see what I can do.


Drunk-planePlane near beach