Real Answers from Real Pilots

March 2017 Schedule

(Patrick) #21

Hi Chris! I’m an aspiring pilot researching ground school. I heard, after flying into San Diego when I was 12, that it’s one of the most dangerous airports to fly into because you have to fly in between two buildings on the glide path. Is that true? Understand that I heard this from someone who was not a pilot.

(Allen ) #22

A local told me this when I was in San Diego last weekend, so it’s still being said. I would have asked this myself

(Patrick) #23

Interesting. By the way, how is your ankle?



I have heard this before and it is absolutely not true at all. The approach into San Diego does go past downtown on the left Balboa Park on the right and over a parking garage, but they are all well outside of the protected area. Because of the hill that Balboa Park sits on, the glide slope is 3.5 degrees as opposed to the normal 3 degrees, but that is not a big deal.

I believe that this myth started with a show called “World’s Most Dangerous Airports” that aired on one of the cable channels. It listed SAN as being dangerous because it is the busiest single runway airport in the world that is served by commercial aircraft. While that fact may be true, to correlate that to being dangerous is beyond absurd and is reflective of a production company that did not talk to any real airline pilots before putting their show out.


(Ethan Smitherman ) #25


If/when one makes it to a major, will it be possible to end most of your days at your home base, in order to be home with your family most days?




ALL trips end at your base (there is no "home"base except in baseball), even if that means a deadhead there as a passenger in the back (that’s the idea behind it being YOUR base). Now whether or not that base is where you live is a different matter. Many pilots commute and therefore have to take another flight (or 2) to get home. Where you live is YOUR choice and the airline has no responsibility to get you to your home, just your base.


(Ethan Smitherman ) #27

Sorry for the confusion. I was asking if there are daily trips that allow pilots to be back at home most nights. Instead of long 3 or 4 day trips.



That depends on the airline, the operation (aircraft) and your seniority. If you’re a Delta 787 pilot and that plane does Europe and Asia then no you won’t be home most nights. If you fly a 717 interisland like I do then sure. Provided you fly for an airline that does short trips, you’re on an airplane that flies those trips AND you have the seniority to get those trips. You could be home most nights.


(Ethan Smitherman ) #29

Thank you Adam. Your knowledge and advice is much appreciated.




Most major airlines have very few day trips, meaning that there will be several nights per month spent in hotels on the road. I am going to put this bluntly, if being home every night is a factor for you, I would recommend a career not in aviation as pilots by definition travel the world. The kind of schedule that Adam has is not the norm for the industry.