View Full Version : looking for pilots to help with new book research

22nd Sep 2005, 16:33
I am publisher of a series of How To books that introduce new topics to complete beginners.

We are in the research stage for a book that would teach anyone what to do in an emergency aboard an airliner in the US (ie, how to read an AI, how to contact ATC, how to follow instructions to land the plane). Our reader research indicates that there would be a solid audience for such a book, though obviously it could only cover the very basics.

We are looking for a small set of airline pilots as experts we can contact during compilation of the new book. This would involve answering the occasional email and reviewing an early draft of the book for factual errors. In return, we would give full credit in the book and would provide you with a dozen free copies.

We are specifically looking for pilots with 737, 757 or A320 experience.

If you are willing to help, please reply to this post or send me a private message.

Laurence Holt
New York

Genghis the Engineer
22nd Sep 2005, 17:03
At risk of sounding difficult, wouldn't providing information to explain to the untrained how to fly an airliner just a little controversial in NY.


22nd Sep 2005, 17:11
The book will focus on bringing a plane under control and landing it. That's the very thing the 9/11 terrorists were not interested in learning.


Homo Ludens
22nd Sep 2005, 17:14
That's interesting. PM me for more info.

Capt Claret
22nd Sep 2005, 23:00
Once the novice has read the book, how are they going to get into the flight deck to put their new found knowledge to the test?

22nd Sep 2005, 23:35
In return, we would give full credit in the book and would provide you with a dozen free copies.

Is there no limit to your generosity? How much do you expect to make from the book?

And what next? How to perform open heart surgery? How to prevent nuclear reactor meltdown? How to 'drive' a submarine?

how to follow instructions to land the plane

Forgive my sense of humour failure, but even if this book is meant to be light-hearted, I find the idea demeaning to my own, and my colleagues' professionalism.

How about "how to write a 'how to' book, pay the contributing professionals nothing in return, and keep all the cash for yourself".

I suppose you never charge professional fees for your services eh? :rolleyes:

I've just had a look at your website. Confirms my fears.

Phil Hudson
23rd Sep 2005, 00:04
We are in the research stage for a book that would teach anyone what to do in an emergency aboard an airliner in the US (ie, how to read an AI, how to contact ATC, how to follow instructions to land the plane). Our reader research indicates that there would be a solid audience for such a book, though obviously it could only cover the very basics.

My advice is write a love story, public in general needs more than a few minuts to learn how to use the autopilot (reprogram the FMC) learn the different modes that the aircraft is in..
If both pilots should keel over and there is a pilot deadheading
onboard, no problem...
IF your purpose is to learn a no pilot to handfly a jet to a safe landing, FORGET IT sooner than later...
You are wasting your time...

Air Driven Generator
23rd Sep 2005, 00:15
There is a book written called

'Bluff your way on the Flight Deck'


23rd Sep 2005, 00:31
Now that's quite an amusing book..........:}

23rd Sep 2005, 01:41
Stikky Airline Pilot - Learn how to find the flightdeck, override the autopilot, talk to air traffic control and hand fly a CAT III ILS approach in one hour - guaranteed!

From your website.....

The Stikky approach:

Start with small pieces of knowledge and systematically build them into a comprehensive picture......(You know what they say about a little knowledge, don't you?)

Make the practice environment as similar as possible to the real world......(How? Pop-up cockpit?)

Organize the topic around readers' goals such as: Which way is north? - (In this case......How to fly a jet? (Do you know how hard governments all around the world are trying to prevent this sort of information getting into the wrong hands?))

Provide plenty of practice—80% of learning is really re-learning so we stage multiple opportunities to test and reinforce your knowledge - (A list of "disaster" scenarios? To, of course, be performed in the pop-up, real-world cockpit!)

Make it fun. - (This issue is not funny.)

And just to finish........

"The book will focus on bringing a plane under control and landing it. That's the very thing the 9/11 terrorists were not interested in learning."

Once an individual (terrorist or not) has an aircraft under control - they can pretty much do whatever they want with it - land it, or fly it into something!

I can't speak for every pilot and passenger on here, but do me a favour - and write about something else. Thanks.

Genghis the Engineer
23rd Sep 2005, 06:57
Looking at the current titles on your website...

Stikky Trees: Learn to recognize at a glance
the 15 most common trees in the United States
—in just one hour, guaranteed

Stikky Stock Charts: Learn the 8 major
chart patterns used by professionals and
how to interpret them to trade smart
—in one hour, guaranteed.

Stikky Weight Management: In one hour,
learn to balance your energy intake and burn rate
to control your weight, optimize your health,
and look great.

Stikky Night Skies: Learn 6 constellations, 4 stars,
a planet, a galaxy, and how to navigate at night
—in one hour, guaranteed.

All worthwhile, uncontroversial, and saleable stuff - may I politely suggest that you stick to your strengths. (Heck, next I'm passing through the USA, I might try and buy a copy of the astronomy book myself).


Piltdown Man
23rd Sep 2005, 07:28
But you'll need the Book on "How to beat your way in to the cockpit, past the re-inforced, bullet-proof door in less time than fuel remaining using only a plastic knife and fork" published first.

23rd Sep 2005, 08:40
Wouldn't the pilots sttart knowing they're passing out and could press a future button that unlocks the door for emergency help.
anyway i think the book is sweet and anyways terrorists would actually buy the training books that pilots use from amazon or something.

23rd Sep 2005, 10:48
That's bloody crazy! An idiots guide to taking control of a multi million pound aircraft that's taken us years to learn to fly and then some to be experienced! Whats your next book? How to perform open heart surgery with a knife and a fork?.............Send us all a copy though lawrence could do with a laugh :confused:

23rd Sep 2005, 10:53
Pull on the stick and houses get smaller, push and the get bigger. Point the nose where you want to go by turning the wheel to left or right ( Preferably try only to do right turns as this simplifies things). To go faster and make more noise push the noise levers all the way forward (reverse of pulling them back). You will also go faster. To make less noise reverse the procedure, you will also end up going slower.

Try to avoid pulling on the stick and pulling the noise makers at the same time, all sort of unpleasentness might result making houses very big and very fast. This is known as dropping out of sky... Some pilots know it as a stall, but that is just jargon and should not be used at all.

To land do what all pro's do. Point the nose where you want to go pull the noise makers back and close your eyes, scream if feeling like it. Just before impact pull and drag down on the BIG lever located in the center instrument panel, and lord behold, the touchdown smoothers (AKA Landing gear) are now down. After impact activate "Thrusters" and aim for the nearest terminal as that is probably where the closest pub is as well.

Make sure you use words like "Niner" and "Fiver" to sound really cool the the radio, the little magic box behind the noise maker levers. To activate the device you need to push all sorts of buttons too numerous to mention here, so to be safe push and pull all buttons on every panel once or twice.

Deeper instructions to follow


P.S. I am looking for a place to hide now

The Invisible Cat
23rd Sep 2005, 12:09
One thunk 'twont take long before this thread gets merged with that one (http://www.pprune.org/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=186340&highlight=simulator+AND+fly)

23rd Sep 2005, 12:27
I dont really see a need for a book to cover how to do this. A simple double sided card like the passenger safety ones should suffice.

All you would need to do is to publish the number for international rescue 4 3 5 7# http://m06hostp.twc.state.tx.us/CLAIMS/images/keypad.gif H E L P# from the forward cabin attendent station which will conect you instantaly to International Rescue (toll free).

John Tracy should then be able trace the call to log onto the aircraft from Thunderbird 5 and open the cockpit door.


Thunderbird 5 is the key to International Rescue's communications. On board, John Tracy is often first to alert Reuters news and CNN (http://radans.net/jens/planestory.html) of an impending disaster.

The second side of the card should be sufficent to explain how to find the big red button in the cockpit to activate the autopilot, the big red button is sometimes hard to locate.


Once pressed, the day will be saved, as this will inflate the autopilot allowing controllers to guide the aircraft to the ground.


Fairly simple, should fit on two sides of A4.


23rd Sep 2005, 14:08
Firstly, let me say that our original question was certainly not intended to offend anyone, nor to imply that landing a jet aircraft is in any way trivial. If anyone is offended, please accept my apologies.

That said, the question is what advice to give to passengers who find themselves in an aircraft with no crew. This may be an unlikely scenario (though something close to it appears to have happened over Pennsylvania on 9/11) but it's clear from our research that a substantial number of people have thought about it and worried. Are professional pilots comfortable responding simply "there is nothing you can do"?

There seem to be two objections to attempting to tell passengers what to do in such a scenario in the above thread (leaving aside the amusing suggestions, for which we are grateful):
1. It can't be done.
2. It shouldn't be done.

For (2), I'm afraid, the cat is out of the bag. Microsoft Flight Simulator will give you far more than we are intending to and dozens of books on Amazon do the same. Even if all these were to be banned tomorrow, someone seriously bent on evil would find a source of information if they tried hard enough.

(1) is more interesting. Let me ask this: would it not be possible, with help from ATC, to reprogram the autopilot and autothrottle to perform an ILS landing? Certainly the autopilot is rather more complex than a car's cruise control, but so complex that a computer programmer (there's a good chance that one is on board) couldn't solve it?

If the answer to the above is Yes, then there is at least one way to save the lives of everyone on board. But not if everyone panics and doesn't even take control of the airplane and contact ATC.

Our book is intended to give a passenger sufficient confidence to at least sit in the pilot's seat, put the aircraft into straight-and-level flight, and seek help.

Again, we solicit your help in reviewing our draft. You'll see from our other titles that we are not a publisher of whimsical ('bluff your way') books. If there truly is nothing useful to be done in such a situation, we will shelve the project.


Genghis the Engineer
23rd Sep 2005, 20:12
Plead guilty as charged M'lud.



24th Sep 2005, 21:49
For someone who has never flown a complex aircraft the book would be a complete waste of time.

Even if they had the book on board and had someone to read it to them ("NO!!! Not THAT button, THAT button!") it'd be damn near impossible.

If you want proof find a sympathetic organisation with a complex simulator and take a guinea pig along.

24th Sep 2005, 22:45
Well I knew "For Dummies" would get around to it eventually. Not knocking them, they were invaluable when I was first getting into computers.

"Flying a Civil Airliner for Dummies" - hot off the presses.

What page was that on? Come on, quick.

aerobat 1971
24th Sep 2005, 23:59
Without wishing to offend anyone, I'm a PPL Student, and a long time devotee of MS Flight Simulator (it was better than nothing until I could afford to take lessons).

I'm not under any illusions - it would take a minor miracle for me to sucessfully land a modern jetliner without any training. Whilst the basic controls are not a problem, the electronic / computer systems are so far beyond anything I have knowledge of that they'd be incomprehsible to me. The guys who fly these aircraft take many hours of training in various aircraft and simulators before they qualify.

Know how to land an airplane in one hour from a book - forget it - it won't happen, it's not possible. Leave it to the people who understand it!



B Sousa
25th Sep 2005, 00:14
This Thread is rasing the flags somewhere no doubt.
Suggest you consult with some of the major Airlines, see if they cooperate.
Maybe even contact www.tsa.gov

25th Sep 2005, 01:05
How do you land an Illyushin?


Anyone notice anything a bit weird here?


25th Sep 2005, 01:07
Stikky Night Skies: Learn 6 constellations, 4 stars,
a planet, a galaxy, and how to navigate at night
—in one hour, guaranteed.

Stikky Internet Forum Post: Post a rather obscure request on an Aviation forum;
Cop random abuse and ribbing
- for many hours, guaranteed

25th Sep 2005, 02:01
Microsoft Flight Simulator will give you far more than we are intending to and dozens of books on Amazon do the same.
Then why are you bothering?

25th Sep 2005, 02:27
Good question Bluey. ;)

"How do you land an Illyushin?"

With the new Stikky Guide!! :E

25th Sep 2005, 03:08
The stuff films are made of.
pilots are not some kind of sacred bretheren(R.A.F. and C.A.A. excepted), we are merely professionals that have endured at least a 'degree' standard of training, not dissimilar to those within the practice of medicine. We know our machines, we have to, to ensure your, and everyone on boards' safety.
I do not belittle your idea. When I was wee, I used to think; what am I going to do when the pilots cant.
In this world of information, it is not hard, as you mentioned, to 'fly' a 747 where and when you want. That is very much still a computer game scenario.
The idea you have, I believe, is to provide the general public with an idea of what to do in the event that you believe the flight crew have become incapacitated.(your odds of winning the lottery are better).
The danger here I think, by publishing a book of such a nature, you imply the possibility of the circumstance occuring and therefore empower the reader to think that they are best equipped to deal with the problem.
What problem?


Where is the radio console?
Where is he a/p disconnect?
What is an MCP?
The list is endless and varies from aircraft to aircraft.
In the event of a crewless aircraft, and lets not forget cabin crew, many of whom have more than a passing interest in aircraft, what are the chances of of having to put Joe Bloggs in the pilots chair?
Sorry, missed one: Which one is the Captains' chair?
In my opinion, bad idea. The level and type of expertise would vary wildly from pilot to pilot as a/c type.Then you would have to write the helicopter version.
Good thinking Batman, best left to Hollywood.

25th Sep 2005, 07:40
it not be possible, with help from ATC, to reprogram the autopilot and autothrottle to perform an ILS landing?

Absolutely. Even as part of the sign off on my air/ground certificate, I learned how to use all the equipment in most aircraft. Now, nearly ready for my FISO validation, I reckon I could teach anyone to fly anything!

Disclaimer: I am joking.

25th Sep 2005, 08:05
IMHO - a punter with your book in his / her sweaty little hands lands the airliner, any airliner I presume, or are you writing a book for every one? = Utter bollox.

Amongst the show stoppers are: variation in kit, time constraints, complexity of task and only the one chance to get it right. Once you have found your your way up front through the security door of course having fought off the other have-a-go nutters

Being open minded however I will help you write it immediately after you tell me how the self-test went on your best seller - "DIY Lobotomies for the over 15s" :yuk:

Got to go now cos I have to finish the nuclear power station by lunch time.:ok:

25th Sep 2005, 09:15
Strange??? There seem to ashtrays in the arm rests.

The guy in the right seat has apparently gone to the toilet, The guy on the left is reading the how to fly guide. the right column is pointed ahead and the left is turning right. AI indicates staright and level flight, and the radar has gone orange.

All perfectly normal to me:E :E

25th Sep 2005, 12:11
You win a goldfish!

25th Sep 2005, 12:31
Oh......was it Laurence or a mod who removed the Stikky website address from the original posting?

Doesn't take a genius to work out what the address is though. :E

Conan the Librarian
25th Sep 2005, 13:10
Tinpis, that must be either an optical Ilyushin or maybe the track rod end has failed

26th Sep 2005, 00:19
How many free copies was it again?:E :}

26th Sep 2005, 00:28
A glorious dozen free copies for those who help.....

but...it dozen make any sense to write this book!!

(I'll get my coat!):}

26th Sep 2005, 01:13
Assuming: [list=1] The cabin crew can open the door They have decided that you are the best qualified person to have a go -- BIG assumption
There is still sufficient fuel remaining after the previous items have been accomplished You are familiar with the FMS and MCP -- don't know where your readers are going to get the practice No failures come up that preclude use of the autopilot Autoland is available It's a nice VFR day at destination with no nasty weather to dodge[/list=1] there's a faint chance which is much improved with a pilots license and instrument rating.

If ICAO and/or the national authorities ever mandated pinchhitter training for cabin crew, the basics for each aircraft type could be covered over something like a week along with some hours in the simulator -- very, very unlikely as Helios is the first complete flight crew incapacitation accident where a non-pilot remained conscious. That would be a thick book for the students. There is in fact a weekend B-737 simulator familiarisation course done over a weekend -- it does come with a thick book.

Tell you what -- how about you talk the authorities into a volunteer pinchhitter flight crew program? Accepted recruits from the pilot population would get those weeks of simulator training and annual refreshers. No shortage of volunteers I can promise you that;)

28th Sep 2005, 22:11

I think your getting your answer mate! Best advice is forget 'having a go', seek advice from the cabin crew (chances are it will be stay seated and shut up), offer your services if required (not likely.) In the very very remote chance all flight crew are incapacitated the only person with a slither of hope is someone who has been through flight training (by this I mean a multi engine IR.) Hey at least you'll save a bob or two on the print costs.........Tailwinds :ok:

Cabin doors 2 manual
3rd Oct 2005, 16:29

You are getting an answer from this forum but not the true answer you are looking for.

Many of the pilots who post here have problems with their egos and are hell bent on claiming that they, and only they, can fly airliners like they were bred for the task. These pilots quickly forget that they gained their airliner type rating with very few hours of actual training.

The many total hours required to become a commercial pilot is not because the task is so difficult but that the pilots are trained to a high level - a level much higher than is required to land an airliner just once.

Of course a beginner/novice can fly an airline very little training. The controls are easy and with someone talking you through the process, a simple divert to land can take less than an hour.

How do I know this? I'm a ground instructor on airline simulators and on weekends there is a never ending stream of people with zero flying experience (i.e. Red Letter Days) wanting to see if they can land an airline themselves from the identical scenario you originally stated.

Forget asking here, even new wannabe pilots are told its impossible to fly a plane!

Get yourself to your nearest airline simulator, book an hour in one of the classic airlines and be surprised how easy these aircraft are to fly and land.

Good luck with the book.

3rd Oct 2005, 16:37
*prepares sausages to cook on incoming flames....*

3rd Oct 2005, 16:50
I can imagine the scenario:

"Let me through, I read the book!"

"Oi! Get to the back of the queue - I read it first!"

"Oi! THAT's not the end of the queue - it's WAY back there, we ALL read the book!"

"DAD, DAD! That man's trying to push in! You got me that book for my birthday!"

"Oi, mate! My kid gets first go - or else! RIGHT?"


3rd Oct 2005, 18:42
I flew many years in Asia with professional, well-trained and educated (superior uni degrees) First Officers, and in my opinion, until they had more than 500 hours, and preferably 1000 hours in jet transports, they could not guarantee a safe landing. Sure you can get someone in a sim to do it (done it many times with people who had never flown even a Cessna 172) but the real world has winds, limited runway lengths and widths, trees, buildings, people and stuff around every ILS, so the catastrophe waiting if the landing goes awry would suggest that the authorities would want the airplane somewhere else. And things do go wrong. Certain things have to be done before others or else the potential hero will have to know how to fly a go-around, a manoeuvre even harder than a landing to do safely.
I enjoyed watching the A320 landing with the gear offset 90 degrees and chuckled with the commentary about how tough it was and how good the pilot had to be. But consider if the nosegear was offset only 10 degrees instead of the 90? Now that would test the pilot skill, and that is only a taste of the problems the novice would face (in other words finding the right frequency, or the right switch, or recovering from having moved the wrong one, would present a host of problems and would make a successful recovery highly unlikely).
I wonder what the legal ramifications are with such a book? What if someone was to try to fly the airplane and fail; would his next of kin (and all the others who had kin on board) have a case against the author?

Instead of this book, I would recommend that you write a book suporting the FAA's Circle Of Safety program. That program teaches the passenger about the decision-making procedures and the pressures under which a real pilot works, and can actually make the passenger a part of the success of the flight, instead of part of the problem.

3rd Oct 2005, 20:22
Let him write his book.

The chances of two pilots being incapacitated, the flight deck door open, no other pilot on board etc are pretty remote. Then you need to have someone who has read the book when all the other conditions occur.

If it makes a passenger happy that he thinks he can land an aircraft in an emergency, then let him have that bit of security. After all, it ain't gonna happen!

Cabin doors 2 manual
4th Oct 2005, 09:32
It’s a good job doctors do not have the same views as pilots here.

Most of us have learnt basic first aid, some how to use a de-fibulator, the Heimlich maneuver etc. If the doctors went around saying "its best left to the professionals as a you could kill someone if performed incorrectly..."

There are plenty of books on First Aid and saving lives etc

Very sad day when we think no one can even attempt to try and do our jobs to some degree especially in an emergency. Pilots must accept that to be a commercial pilot is one of the easiest professional jobs to qualify for, it is only public perception (and some pilots here) that it’s incredibly difficult - Hence the drop in pilots wages, paying for your own training and working conditions.

After all, you can be qualified to fly an airline after 250 hours in say 18 months with no degree required. The average degree with A-Levels takes 5 years which is now required for other ‘professional’ jobs.

(Flood gates open...)

4th Oct 2005, 11:47
Not qualified to comment on the aviation side but......

It would be the psychology of the punter that bought the book in the first place that would worry me..... I can just imagine him rocking back and forth in seat 24a mumbling.."Die you bugger, die" whilst clasping the book in his sweaty expectant mitt.