When I become President of the United States—the fact that one no longer need win the popular vote to get elected removes a major barrier between me and that office—I have decided what my first executive order will be:
Pilots need to simplify their destination weather reports.
Anyone who has flown has heard this speech, or some very similar variation of it:
“Uh, folks, we’re about 100 miles out and just, uh, beginning our initial descent. Weather in Des Moines, uh, winds out of the southeast at 19 miles per hour gusting to, uh, 25, visibility 2 miles, light scattered clouds, uh, moderate precipitation. Temperature, uh, 12 degrees Celsius, which is about 54 degrees, uh, Fahrenheit. We’ll be landing in, uh, fifteen minutes.”
This drives me insane.
Pilots, here’s the deal:
- No one on the plane cares about the clouds but you and your co-pilot.
- No one on the plane cares about the visibility but you and your co-pilot.
- No one on the plane cares about the wind speed and direction but you and your co-pilot.
- Anyone who knows enough about airplanes to understand what “Winds 19 miles per hour gusting to, uh, 25” means to an airplane also knows enough to wet themselves and start crying.
- No one but you and a couple of Canadians care about the temperature is in Celsius.
- If we really do want to know the temperature in Celsius, we’ll ask the Canadians, because besides knowing what Celsius is, they really do apologize when you step on their toes, and they look sincere doing it. In my book, that is a way more impressive skill than being able to fly an airplane.
- Using a four-syllable word when there is a perfectly good one-syllable synonym is a waste of time and natural resources. Surely the PA runs on electricity, and isn’t electricity generated by the engines? If all of you pilots said “rain” instead of “precipitation”, I bet your airline could reduce your fuel costs by six or seven cents a year.
- We know the plane is descending. We figured that out when you pushed on your little bendy steering wheel thing and shoved our stomachs up into our throats.
- We are not impressed that the plane can do the last hundred miles in fifteen minutes. We know your airplane is fast; we certainly didn’t buy a ticket because we enjoy spending one hundred and eighty minutes squeezed into a seat sized for the average preschooler.
- Please stop saying “uh” and pretending you don’t, uh, make this same speech, uh, eight times a day. If you really are having problems, practice in the, uh, mirror.
Please don’t get me wrong: All of us on your airplane are very glad that you have all these details about the weather right at your, uh, fingertips. You’d be a lousy pilot if you didn’t. However, all we really want to know about the weather is whether (heh) we should carry our coats under our arm or put them on before we get off your airplane.
According to my first Executive Order, your new speech will go like this: “Folks, we’re 15 minutes away from Des Moines, where it’s 54 degrees and rainy.”
Anyone who violates this executive order—talking about winds, using the word precipitation, saying “uh” too many times (I’ll allow four “uhs” per day in order to establish myself as a benevolent despot) will be punished by flying ten hours in economy class and then working two weeks at the desk where everyone comes to complain when their flight from Seattle to Toledo is cancelled because of a snowstorm in Nepal. And once you do get back in the cockpit, you will be confined to flying in and out of Newark for at least a month.
That is all.
© 2017 Aaron Gold