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Do Pilots Make Better Drivers?  
User currently offline808TWA From Canada, joined Jan 2006, 701 posts, RR: 20
Posted (5 years 4 months 1 week 6 days 23 hours ago) and read 4005 times:

Just out of sheer Friday boredom and genuine curiosity....

I was wondering if the talents of someone who is a qualified pilot and used to swift decision-making and multi-tasking, would in theory, be better behind the wheel of a land-based vehicle than say, a regular Joe Blow?

Any pilots care to comment? Any regular drivers care to comment? Anyone who has been driven by a qualified pilot care to comment?

(Mind you, the abilities of some drivers in the Toronto area, leads me to believe that a chimp would be better qualified than some people on the road).


Love is in the air, so practice safe flying
37 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineDavid L From United Kingdom, joined May 1999, 9523 posts, RR: 42
Reply 1, posted (5 years 4 months 1 week 6 days 22 hours ago) and read 3976 times:

Everything else being equal, I'd have thought an experienced driver would be the best bet. How many pilots that includes, I don't know. You're talking about a different scale, a different pace and different vehicle behaviour.

You're also talking about people who might be in a better position to get their car repaired while they're off flying.  duck 


User currently offlineCadet57 From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 9085 posts, RR: 31
Reply 2, posted (5 years 4 months 1 week 6 days 22 hours ago) and read 3972 times:

Im going to go with maybe. But also look at it this way, just like there are bad drivers. There are bad pilots.


Doors open, right hand side, next stop is Springfield.
User currently offlineMoose135 From United States of America, joined Oct 2004, 2301 posts, RR: 10
Reply 3, posted (5 years 4 months 1 week 6 days 22 hours ago) and read 3946 times:

They just think they're better drivers  Wink


KC-135 - Passing gas and taking names!
User currently offlineFLY2HMO From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 4, posted (5 years 4 months 1 week 6 days 22 hours ago) and read 3947 times:

Out of my group of 20+ pilot friends and acquaintances, I'd say only 5 of them are good drivers, two of us are excellent (me and my best friend). And I think it's only because us two are the only ones very interested in cars and enjoy driving just for shits and giggles. Everybody else just drives and has a car just because they have to. Me and my best friend are very good pilots, the rest of them, are decent pilots, and drive ok, but there are about 5 or so I don't enjoy driving or flying with at all   

And then some of them know an airplane's systems inside and out, yet they have no clue on how to properly change a tire. Go figure  

Also I know several who love to play daredevil in the plane yet when in their cars they drive worse than old ladies   

So yeah, I guess my point is: flying skills have little to nothing to do with driving skills.   

[Edited 2009-03-20 13:43:45]

User currently offlineZBBYLW From Canada, joined Nov 2006, 1983 posts, RR: 6
Reply 5, posted (5 years 4 months 1 week 6 days 22 hours ago) and read 3946 times:

Well I just kind of assumed they make "different" drivers. Instead of say stopping when stuff goes wrong - I find I try and drive out of the situations. So when something happens infront of me... instead of stomping on the breaks and hoping for the best, I just analyze whats in front of me and get my self out of that situation.


Keep the shinny side up!
User currently onlineBMI727 From United States of America, joined Feb 2009, 15719 posts, RR: 26
Reply 6, posted (5 years 4 months 1 week 6 days 22 hours ago) and read 3933 times:

Drivers seem to make good pilots.
Connie Kalitta, Eddie Rickenbacker, Colin McRae, and at least a few NASCAR drivers who fly their own planes. Probably the whole Need For Speed thing.



Why do Aerospace Engineering students have to turn things in on time?
User currently offlineFLY2HMO From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 7, posted (5 years 4 months 1 week 6 days 22 hours ago) and read 3933 times:



Quoting ZBBYLW (Reply 5):
I just analyze whats in front of me and get my self out of that situation.

I do that too, but I've been doing that way before since I was a pilot, but it only really works on freeways or other wide roads, depending on the situation of course...


User currently offline808TWA From Canada, joined Jan 2006, 701 posts, RR: 20
Reply 8, posted (5 years 4 months 1 week 6 days 22 hours ago) and read 3924 times:



Quoting David L (Reply 1):
in a better position to get their car repaired while they're off flying



Quoting Cadet57 (Reply 2):
There are bad pilots



Quoting Moose135 (Reply 3):
think they're better drivers

I was also kind of thinking that pilots may have an "invincibility complex" and therefore drive faster and take more risks than non-pilots and therefore end up being in, or causing more accidents?



Love is in the air, so practice safe flying
User currently offline808TWA From Canada, joined Jan 2006, 701 posts, RR: 20
Reply 9, posted (5 years 4 months 1 week 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 3924 times:



Quoting BMI727 (Reply 6):
Colin McRae

Sadly, he didn't do too well with the whole pilot thing  tombstone 



Love is in the air, so practice safe flying
User currently offlineMCOflyer From United States of America, joined Jun 2006, 8664 posts, RR: 15
Reply 10, posted (5 years 4 months 1 week 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 3921 times:

I think truck drivers make better drivers. They know the roads like the back of their hands and actually respect other drivers.

KH



Never be afraid to stand up for who you are.
User currently offlineCadet57 From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 9085 posts, RR: 31
Reply 11, posted (5 years 4 months 1 week 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 3914 times:



Quoting MCOflyer (Reply 10):

Lol! Like the trucker that almost drove me into a guardrail last week doing 75-80? Or the ones that cut you off as if they dont have 53 feet of steel dragging behind them?



Doors open, right hand side, next stop is Springfield.
User currently offlineFLY2HMO From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 12, posted (5 years 4 months 1 week 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 3904 times:



Quoting MCOflyer (Reply 10):
I think truck drivers make better drivers.

Ehm... about that...  bitelip 

Just because they know the roads like the back of their hands doesn't mean they won't swerve in and out of their lanes, take 2 hours to pass other trucks, not pull over so you can pass when they're doing 5mph up a steep hill in a single lane rd, etc...


User currently offlineCadet57 From United States of America, joined Jul 2005, 9085 posts, RR: 31
Reply 13, posted (5 years 4 months 1 week 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 3904 times:



Quoting FLY2HMO (Reply 12):
take 2 hours to pass other trucks

Trust me, thats not usually the drivers fault. My summer job is at a liquor distributor, and when the trucks are loaded down, passing isnt an option.



Doors open, right hand side, next stop is Springfield.
User currently offlineDavid L From United Kingdom, joined May 1999, 9523 posts, RR: 42
Reply 14, posted (5 years 4 months 1 week 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 3902 times:



Quoting 808TWA (Reply 8):
I was also kind of thinking that pilots may have an "invincibility complex" and therefore drive faster and take more risks than non-pilots and therefore end up being in, or causing more accidents?

Hmm... modern commercial pilots aren't really supposed to fall into that category. "There are old pilots and there are bold pilots... etc.". I think we'd have to distinguish commercial pilots from leisure pilots.

Quoting 808TWA (Reply 9):
Sadly, he didn't do too well with the whole pilot thing

Nor the whole licence thing.  Sad


User currently offlineFLY2HMO From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 15, posted (5 years 4 months 1 week 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 3884 times:



Quoting Cadet57 (Reply 13):
Trust me, thats not usually the drivers fault.

Oh I know, but if they know they are heavy, and they have a long line of cars waiting behind them, and they know it's gonna take them forever, then they should know too that:

Quoting Cadet57 (Reply 13):
passing isnt an option.

I see it all too often between PHX and TUS on I-10. That stretch always has a ridiculous amount of traffic, and trucks especially.


User currently offlineRj111 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 16, posted (5 years 4 months 1 week 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 3885 times:

Depends how you define a good pilot. Someone who can control the physical nature of an aircraft, or someone who can make the key decisions associtated with commanding an aircraft.

The former go hand in hand with driving a car. The latter may be a whole different ball game.


User currently onlineMir From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 21529 posts, RR: 55
Reply 17, posted (5 years 4 months 1 week 6 days 20 hours ago) and read 3828 times:



Quoting BMI727 (Reply 6):
Drivers seem to make good pilots.
Connie Kalitta, Eddie Rickenbacker, Colin McRae, and at least a few NASCAR drivers who fly their own planes. Probably the whole Need For Speed thing.

Or it could be that they have money. A lot of rich people have their own planes. That makes them pilots, but it doesn't necessarily make them good pilots.

I'm not saying that the people you mentioned are dangerous in the skies - they could be very good - but there are people out there who buy more airplane than they can handle just because they have the money to.

Quoting Cadet57 (Reply 13):
Trust me, thats not usually the drivers fault. My summer job is at a liquor distributor, and when the trucks are loaded down, passing isnt an option.

I understand that weight is an issue. But if the drivers know passing isn't an option, why do they try it? If they're loaded down, they should know not to attempt a pass when there are cars behind them. That, or the truck being passed should slow down a little so as to make the process faster. It's maddening when you're stuck behind two trucks, waiting for one of them to pass the other at a relative speed of 1mph. I've had truckers cut me off a few times, but those are isolated incidents, and I'm not going to hold it against the general trucker community - the moving roadblock happens far too often to be just a few bad apples.

-Mir



7 billion, one nation, imagination...it's a beautiful day
User currently offlineMCOflyer From United States of America, joined Jun 2006, 8664 posts, RR: 15
Reply 18, posted (5 years 4 months 1 week 6 days 20 hours ago) and read 3821 times:

I'd like to clarify something only a few would know. Schneider National (the orange trucks) is always underweight and is governed at 62.5mph. Swift is governed at 62. Werner is governed at 65mph, and most of the carriers are between 60-65mph. So their is no excuse for them to be in the passing lane unless they are coming out of a rest stop. Owner ops will are not governed; those are the ones you are describing or drivers who lease trucks from the companies.

KH



Never be afraid to stand up for who you are.
User currently offlineTb727 From United States of America, joined Jun 2005, 1576 posts, RR: 9
Reply 19, posted (5 years 4 months 1 week 6 days 18 hours ago) and read 3745 times:



Quoting BMI727 (Reply 6):
Drivers seem to make good pilots.
Connie Kalitta, Eddie Rickenbacker, Colin McRae, and at least a few NASCAR drivers who fly their own planes. Probably the whole Need For Speed thing.

I've pulled gear for Connie Kalitta, he does his own thing but he got us there! I've flown with his nephew and current Top Fuel driver Doug Kalitta in 5 different types of airplanes plenty of times and he is honestly one of the best sticks I have ever flown with, typed in the Learjet at age 21 and that is no easy plane to fly, he was also a DC-8 Captain for Connie. He's super smooth and efficient in the way he operates the airplane.

Quoting MCOflyer (Reply 10):
I think truck drivers make better drivers. They know the roads like the back of their hands and actually respect other drivers.

We got a guy that used to be a truck driver and now he flies, I don't like getting in the car with him, lol. He flies just fine though!



Too lazy to work, too scared to steal!
User currently offlineTugger From United States of America, joined Apr 2006, 5428 posts, RR: 8
Reply 20, posted (5 years 4 months 1 week 6 days 18 hours ago) and read 3723 times:



Quoting 808TWA (Thread starter):
Just out of sheer Friday boredom and genuine curiosity....

How about the inverse:
"Do better drivers makes better pilots?"

To phrase it properly: Of those who are pilots, the ones that are good drivers, are they better pilots?"

Tugg



I don’t know that I am unafraid to be myself, but it is hard to be somebody else. -W. Shatner
User currently offlineZkpilot From New Zealand, joined Mar 2006, 4805 posts, RR: 9
Reply 21, posted (5 years 4 months 1 week 6 days 13 hours ago) and read 3637 times:

Most pilots have an inherent high level of spatial awareness (its quite important to have as a pilot). It helps a lot on the road also. Pilots are used to scanning instruments quickly and then keeping their eyes outside the aircraft...many other drivers become fixated on things like their speed...hence why car makers like BMW and Mercedes etc are developing Head Up Displays.
Quick reactions/reflexes, and used to dealing with far higher speeds.
The biggest differences become aparent however when trying to multi-task.
I don't have a link, but there was a university study done using brain scans and monitoring things like eye-position and driving accuracy on various subjects.. In many countries of course using a cellphone whilst driving is now banned... this study however did come up with one anomoly...they found that the only group of people who were reasonably consistant in their ability to use a cellphone and drive at the same time were in fact pilots! They theorised that this was due to pilots being used to flying aircraft, reading maps, taking notes, and using radios often all at the same time. Partly due to training as well..ie being forced to change your habits to safely operate an aircraft.



56 types. 38 countries. 24 airlines.
User currently offline57AZ From United States of America, joined Nov 2004, 2550 posts, RR: 2
Reply 22, posted (5 years 4 months 1 week 6 days 12 hours ago) and read 3618 times:



Quoting Mir (Reply 17):
But if the drivers know passing isn't an option, why do they try it? If they're loaded down, they should know not to attempt a pass when there are cars behind them.

Reason is that they have to keep the momentum to avoid unnecessary loss of time and fuel burn. There's also the matter of Hours of Service. Unlike the average motorist, once that truck starts moving they have to keep their rigs moving as much as possible at the maximum safe or legal limit. That can be a challenge in mountains or other extreme conditions. Speed governed trucks only require that the operator work as efficiently as possible. If that means overtaking a slower truck by one or two mph, so be it.

The bus operator I worked for had their Van Hools set to max out at 70 mph. When we ran Tucson to LA trips, we'd run the coaches up to the governed speed and set the cruise controls to maintain it. If we didn't, that would mean cutting the 10 hour driving time limit close. We would frequently pass tractors and at night, we would usually overtake everything else on the highway. One thing that made passing the tractors easier was that their speed would remain almost consistent. Also, most of the professional operators would make minor adjustments to accommodate an overtaking rig or bus if needed.

Getting back to pilots, it depends on the individual. I am the Training Department Manager for a street railway and have to oversee all of the operating staff. One of our newest Motormen is a Embry Riddle grad and works as a professional pilot. He's very consistent in his operating practices and has done very well in training. Having been in regular service for a few weeks now, he is continuing to do very well and none of my staff have seen any potential problems. I believe that in his case, his aviation training does in fact make him safer than most other drivers.



"When a man runs on railroads over half of his lifetime he is fit for nothing else-and at times he don't know that."
User currently offlineRGElectra80 From United States of America, joined Dec 2008, 361 posts, RR: 0
Reply 23, posted (5 years 4 months 1 week 6 days 5 hours ago) and read 3579 times:



Quoting BMI727 (Reply 6):
Drivers seem to make good pilots.
Connie Kalitta, Eddie Rickenbacker, Colin McRae, and at least a few NASCAR drivers who fly their own planes. Probably the whole Need For Speed thing.

IIRC McRae died while piloting his chopper and the subsequent investigation found nothing wrong with the chopper but that rather it was McRae's mistake that caused the fatal accident. And his documentation was expired to boot. Flying yourself to your death doesn't really make you a good pilot IMHO.



Feel free to check out my Flight Diary: flightdiary.net/alenart
User currently offlineWESTERN737800 From United States of America, joined Feb 2008, 693 posts, RR: 2
Reply 24, posted (5 years 4 months 1 week 6 days 4 hours ago) and read 3560 times:



Quoting MCOflyer (Reply 10):
I think truck drivers make better drivers. They know the roads like the back of their hands and actually respect other drivers.

Agreed. I've got to know a few truck drivers over the years. After talking to them, I realized it takes them more time to get 80,000 pounds stopped, so they got to plan ahead more than the average driver. After sitting in the big rigs and looking at the trailer through the mirrors I started giving the big rigs more room when I'm driving around them.
As far as pilots being better drivers, I think most pilots with Comm, inst, and multi ratings tend to be better drivers. I say this because they are flying bigger, faster airplanes with more going on and those pilots usually need to plan ahead more. I've drove with some inexperienced pilots, and it seems like they're usually the ones that are the ones that irritate me the most as drivers. I think the instrument rating helps (or least it helped me) my instrument instructor always was telling me to keep everything smooth and stabilized espically with people in the back. Of course everyone is a little different, but know I've become a better driver because of my flying experience.



Bring back Western Airlines!
25 BMI727 : I never heard the final results of the investigation. I'm pretty sure that Eddie Rickenbacker was a good stick.
26 LHRjc : When flying you have to adhere to a certain set of regulations and can't step outside of them. When on the road you can. So in that respect it's very
27 Post contains links Don81603 : I personally notice a big difference getting out of the truck, and into my SUV. I start slowing down WAY too soon, and I tend to take corners as if I
28 Tugger : Unless they are messing around with you. I've had that happen many times when driving on the US I-8. I see a long straight stretch, two lanes, and tw
29 BMI727 : I have to respect truck drivers. They do a pretty difficult job. What really bugs me is RVs. I have spent a lot of time on the highways wishing I cou
30 ShyFlyer : While I agree with you on points 1 & 2, I don't on point 3. You may not like RVs, but for many people, flying or staying in hotels holds no special p
31 MCOflyer : I do the same with my car and it makes my passengers laugh. However, I do prefer the view from a semi knowing whats ahead of me. Back to the topic, I
32 Don81603 : While this may be true, most RVers are retired folks who have worked for the better part of their lives. This is when they finally have the chance to
33 FLY2HMO : Oversteer? I don't see how a pilot would do that. Like I said earlier, how a person flies has nothing to do with how they drive. I've witnessed many
34 Don81603 : In some cases, so would I, but kinda hard to experience Hoover Dam, or the Grand Canyon, St. Louis Arch etc from an aircraft
35 Aero145 : What’s the wheelbase of a B747? Surely longer than one of a semi and your car combined.
36 BMI727 : This demographic has enough trouble driving their cars at over 30mph, let alone an RV.
37 Don81603 : You go that right... the young drive too fast, and the old drive to slow. I firmly believe, anyone born before the internal combustion engine was inv
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