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Cockpit Confidential: Everything You Need to Know About Air Travel: Questions, Answers, and Reflections | [Patrick Smith]

Cockpit Confidential: Everything You Need to Know About Air Travel: Questions, Answers, and Reflections

For millions of people, travel by air is a confounding, uncomfortable, and even fearful experience. Patrick Smith, airline pilot and author of the Web's popular "Ask the Pilot" feature, separates fact from fallacy and tells you everything you need to know. Cockpit Confidential covers not only the nuts and bolts of flying, but also the grand theater of air travel, from airport architecture to inflight service to the excitement of travel abroad. It's a thoughtful, funny, at times deeply personal look into the strange and misunderstood world of commercial flying.
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Publisher's Summary

For millions of people, travel by air is a confounding, uncomfortable, and even fearful experience. Patrick Smith, airline pilot and author of the Web's popular "Ask the Pilot" column, separates fact from fallacy and tells you everything you need to know:

  • How planes fly, and a revealing look at the men and women who fly them
  • Straight talk on turbulence, pilot training, and safety
  • The real story on congestion, delays, and the dysfunction of the modern airport
  • The myths and misconceptions of cabin air and cockpit automation
  • Terrorism in perspective, and a provocative look at security
  • Airfares, seating woes, and the pitfalls of airline customer service
  • The colors and cultures of the airlines we love to hate

Cockpit Confidential covers not only the nuts and bolts of flying, but also the grand theater of air travel, from airport architecture to inflight service to the excitement of travel abroad. It's a thoughtful, funny, at times deeply personal look into the strange and misunderstood world of commercial flying.

©2013 Patrick Smith (P)2013 Tantor

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (133 )
5 star
 (51)
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3 star
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2 star
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3.9 (118 )
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Story
4.1 (114 )
5 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Simon Balmain, Australia 02-01-14
    Simon Balmain, Australia 02-01-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
    8
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    "Stuck on the runway"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    This book is as boring as the narrator was who read it. If this book was the black-box flight recorder, you wouldn't recover it to find out what went wrong. Just leave it.


    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    elmodawg 09-16-14
    elmodawg 09-16-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "what a pompous fop!"
    What was most disappointing about Patrick Smith’s story?

    it's not a story. it's a compilation of smug, condescending, snarky, vague answers to questions from his website.


    You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

    you'll keep listening to it simply to hear how much more obnoxious he can actually get.


    Any additional comments?

    i've listened to lots of books, but I have never written a review before. this book is so over the top, i had to: the author is such a self-important, self-righteous, sanctimonious, condescending know-it-all it is really hard to believe a professional editor allowed this tripe to be published...it must be utterly unbearable to be locked in a cockpit with this guy on a trans-oceanic flight. i pity the first officers who have to fly with him. it's been a long time since i have paid good money to be talked down to while i actually thought i was going to be entertained. from his faux-authoritative comments about global warming, his morally superior preaching about his environmentally friendly lifestyle, and how annoyed he gets by children, to his snobbish descriptions of his worldly travels, he comes off as an effeminate, snippy, fussbudget. you might think it's a book about flying and airplanes, but it's not. it' an exercise in listing to this blowhard spout off about how stupid the flying public is, how much more he knows about flying than you do, all the things he dislikes about america and americans, and what a smart guy he is. there's also a lot of bloviating in there about how politically correct he is, and how much better -- just in general -- he is than you. his attempts a humor fall flat almost every time.i am a pilot, too, and grew up in the aviation industry. just about all the pilots i have ever met are good guys (most of them are ex-military...this author never says either way, but I'd bet anyone with an attitude this haughty and annoying was NOT), so i was really surprised at what a jerk this guy is. every paragraph drips with contempt for the flying public (if not the reader). to his credit, the reader does a great job translating all the snooty condescension from print to voice.in all, a bitter disappointment. an uncreative and lazy work at best.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Andy Westport, CT, United States 07-28-13
    Andy Westport, CT, United States 07-28-13 Member Since 2010
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    "air travel 101"

    Sadly, not much here. A mile wide and an inch deep. Patrick Smith has good intentions here, but chooses no to go into depth on anything, except his commentary on airplane logos and paint jobs.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ray Price Cincinnati, Ohio 09-19-13
    Ray Price Cincinnati, Ohio 09-19-13 Member Since 2008

    A trivial man

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    150
    16
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    "I want my time back!"
    Any additional comments?

    A petulant, whiny author with a self serving agenda, who took time from flying around on his high horse to write an almost unreadable book. Kudos, to the narrator for breathing at least a little life into this otherwise benighted tome.

    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lombroso 08-27-15
    Lombroso 08-27-15

    Criminologist

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    "For Frequent Flyers and Novices - Wonderfully Done"
    If you could sum up Cockpit Confidential in three words, what would they be?

    Entertaining, funny, and full of behind the scenes flying information


    What does David Drummond bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    I love the reader of this book. Drumond is the same reader also read the books by John Dos Pasos. I love his tone and inflection when he reads.


    Any additional comments?

    This book is great for ANY passenger on a commercial airline. I put up over 100,000 miles a year flying in the U.S. and abroad. I thought I knew most things about the airlines, crew, and planes, but this book gave me much information, and dispelled some erroneous myths that I had about flying. From basic information about the stripes that distinguish a captain from the first officer (which I knew) to basic physics of flying and the maneuvers in an emergency situation, he explains it all. And he does it with humor when necessary, and seriousness if called for. He weaves his personal biography throughout the book into a delightful narrative. By the end of the book, you feel like you know the author personally

    Ignore the negative reviews. Some of the reviews here take the author and reader of the audiobook too seriously. The author pokes fun at himself at times as when he describes his first commercial pilots position, and has hilarious descriptions of flying as when he describes the conversation in the cockpit after the nose of the plane gets struck by lightening. Pilot, "What was that?" First officer, "I dunno." The author also has a lot of factual information useful to anyone who flys in a commercial airliner; including those who are afraid to fly. After listening to this book, any noise you ear that may have frightened you, or fear scenario that you may have in your mind will be explained away as normal or easily handled by the crew, training, and capacity of the plane. It is one of the best audio books that I have encountered. I am nearing the end, and wish it were much longer. I hope Smith writes another book!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brian 06-03-15
    Brian 06-03-15 Member Since 2014
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    "Couldn't stop listening!"

    Very informative. Some of the stories were just outstanding. and the way he tells of the most notorious airplane crashes was told very well with a lot of information you didn't hear in the media

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lance Singapore 05-05-15
    Lance Singapore 05-05-15 Member Since 2014
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    6
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    "Thirty years' questions answered in a week!"

    I'm a very frequent international and occasional US domestic flyer and I really liked this book. It answered so many questions that have been around in my mind for years. The narrator was pretty good - nice voice to listen to and just the right level of smugness for an airline pilot :-)

    Very cool that it also answered a lot of safety questions and gave balanced views, in my view, on most subjects.

    I can't give the story a 5 star rating as there isn't really one, but the chapter on the Tenerife disaster was compelling listening.

    This is one of my best Audible purchases.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Emily Portland, OR, United States 04-06-15
    Emily Portland, OR, United States 04-06-15 Member Since 2014

    Estate planning lawyer and mom to two boys. My older son liked audiobooks as an infant, and I've listened to a lot since then.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "My least favorite Audible title"

    This was one of the worst Audible titles I’ve encountered, if not the worst. The narrator has what sounds like an artificial/robot voice and was impossible for me to listen to for any length of time. And the content was anecdotal and not very interesting. The topic had promise but it appeared to be a bunch of columns stitched together.

    I was expecting to like it since I'm very interested in the topic and choose to watch or read items about flight and the aviation industry. But I was very disappointed in this one.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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  • neil
    EDINBURGH, United Kingdom
    7/20/15
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Interesting very American"
    What did you like best about Cockpit Confidential? What did you like least?

    The insight to US air operations. Didn't exclude the rest of the world, but was not as comprehensive outside the states.


    Would you be willing to try another book from Patrick Smith? Why or why not?

    No, one hit wonder...


    Did David Drummond do a good job differentiating each of the characters? How?

    Blegh. They all melted together after a while.


    Did Cockpit Confidential inspire you to do anything?

    No.


    Any additional comments?

    Worth a listen at least once. Second time should wait a year or two.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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