View Full Version : Do pilots make good drivers?

19th Sep 2005, 20:39
The rumour goes, that airline pilots ( in particular ) make very poor drivers ? Is this true ?

19th Sep 2005, 20:46
I'm a much safer/slower driver after 4 years of attending other peoples accidents as an EMS pilot:sad:

19th Sep 2005, 20:55
I think my driving is made better by my flying in that I look and think further ahead, and am more situationally aware than others (especially my girlfriend). I guess I get the high speed bug out of my system while at work so it isn't coming out while driving. I also have made it through the 18-25 yr old period so maligned by insurers without even a scratch on my car.

19th Sep 2005, 21:09
I became a better driver after my PPL. Again as above, I think further ahead and my situational awareness is better.

(I just have to keep remembering to stay off the centreline :uhoh: )

tall and tasty
19th Sep 2005, 21:37
Well hate to say it but my ex was probably and still is one of the worst dirvers I have ever had the pleasure of being in the car with. He flies commercial jets

He has a friend who flies and is in the police force and his driving is pretty diabolical too

But saying that I do have some good friends who drive and fly and they are good at both regardless of whether they fly fixed or roto.


19th Sep 2005, 21:46
My car insurance premium dramatically reduced (much to my surprise) the day I was able to list Airline Pilot as my occupation.

I can only assume this is because the insurance companies view pilots as low risk, so I guess the rumour is false.

19th Sep 2005, 21:51
Insurance companies would see pilots as being fit and mentally disciplined, fussy about drinking when driving etc etc

Little do they know! :p

19th Sep 2005, 21:57
Some pilots even make good pilots!

19th Sep 2005, 23:15
Some of my best friends are airline pilots.....I agree that they are the worst drivers I've ever ridden with......mostly with my eyes closed no less. They can't seem to understand that a car does not have wings:eek:

Atlas Shrugged
19th Sep 2005, 23:47
I just have to keep remembering to stay off the centreline I have to keep reminding myself to stop flaring in the driveway or adding a little backstick when turning!

20th Sep 2005, 00:56
I hope no insurance office reads this. :eek: Still, I don't fly but driving's a lot more peaceful since I turned off the terrain avoidance warning.

I'm supposed to be on the ground, ya daffy 'puter!

20th Sep 2005, 00:58
Believe it or not but post WW2 there were many pilots who were not licenced to drive a motor vehicle.

Many of the post WW2 pilots had flown British aircraft with those terrible air operated wheel brake systems. With the advent of powerful hydraulic brake systems old habits persisted and led to a generation of pilots who knew nought about feathering brakes off/on. Their poor passengers' necks had a hard time whilst taxying.

Ever had the unfortunate experience of being driven in a car by one of those now old and bolds? They were the same in a car!!

20th Sep 2005, 01:22
I got my PPL before my driving licence ... passed my FHT 1st time, driving test 2nd time ... :confused:

20th Sep 2005, 01:40
Interesting subject.

My own experience with pilot friends - and I mean people who earn their living flying as opposed to the occasional private pilot - is that, yes, they think ahead, but that at the same time they're taking in and reacting to all the extraneous stuff which, when driving, is far more abundant than when flying, i.e. people stepping off sidewalks, cars ahead braking, bicycles in the road, traffic lights about to change. And it makes for an uncomfortable passenger ride.

My read on it is that on the flight deck they're so superbly tuned in to anything abnormal, ready to take avoiding action, that when it comes to the old lady stepping off the kerb to wait for the green, it seems as great a threat as another aircraft on a collision course.

20th Sep 2005, 03:21
Yeah......what makes me laugh is I have a friend in the US, who has just gotten a job flying a CRJ for Comair.......

He's 23......so he can fly a jet, but in the US, he can't hire a car until he's 25!

What kind of insane logic is that?

I Love This Show
20th Sep 2005, 03:24
Obviously, to answer all questions regarding any ability of a pilot...

We're fantastic - just ask us :}

West Coast
20th Sep 2005, 04:16
Professional pilots drive less as a general rule than someone who slugs it out daily on the roads. I'm flying about half the month, not driving. That has to be factored in somehow.

20th Sep 2005, 06:11
The few times I have been a passenger in a pilot friend's car has been scary. I was glad to step out of the car!

20th Sep 2005, 07:11
A very interesting topic indeed.

I think that pilots should make good drivers because let's face it, flying is more like driving than say flower arranging or counselling the accused.

We are more at home in a transport environment which means we, especially those line pilots, are used to working efficiently in a large system where a hold-up can affect hundreds of people. This means you are less likely to see a pilot holding up traffic (a bug-bear of mine).

I think that pilots, generally speaking, have excess capacity for the task when it comes to driving, the only thing I can see counting against us is the chance of complacency creeping in behind the wheel.

ps: a good driver is a safe driver and anyone who believes their skill level permits them to break laws is missing the point of driving which is making it safely from A to B.

20th Sep 2005, 07:19
I generally found FJ pilots were nutters behind the wheel, especially after happy hour. Improved a bit if they had a Nav with them. Things did get better after the drink driving laws came in though.......

20th Sep 2005, 07:51
I know a lot of RAF pilots find that if they put their occupation as 'Commisioned Officer' rather than pilot they get their car insurance cheaper so presumably the insurance companies have found that pilots are a higher risk than the others (and it's perfectly valid, that's what the pay is for).

As to the actual driving styles what I've noticed is that the pilots tend to go closer to the limits (of adhesion particularly) more of the time so if something out of their control goes wrong (granny pulls out in front of them without looking) they have less margin for error.

20th Sep 2005, 08:21
If you want to become a better driver, then get on a bike and do a rider training course!

if everyone was forced to go through rider training, im sure the road toll will be more than halved

21st Sep 2005, 04:26
"When you fly the Apache you can drive with assurance on the highway, too, with these fantastic accessories!"


21st Sep 2005, 04:41
My Ex drives like Miss Daisy, if he goes thru a speed trsp, the Police would get his number alright...his chassis/VIN number!

Funny thing is tho, when I added him to my insurance, despite him being older than me, my insurance went up 150 just because he was an airline pilot!


21st Sep 2005, 05:11
Can plank- and angry palm-tree-drivers actually mix? My time in the Blue Line mob they were chalk and cheese.
And give the strike knucks half a chance they wouldn't need to be wheels-up to get yers.