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Are Pilots Better Drivers Than Non-Pilots?  
User currently offlinenitepilot79 From Turkey, joined May 2008, 257 posts, RR: 0
Posted (7 months 3 weeks 20 hours ago) and read 2813 times:

I realize that this is probably a silly question, but do pilots (on average) have better car driving skills than non-pilots? Aircraft to car is one HELL of a step down in terms of skills required for operation, so does it stand to reason that pilots, on average, are better drivers? It would be interesting to conduct a study.


En Buyuk Turkiye, Baska Buyuk Yok!
37 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlinelewis From Greece, joined Jul 1999, 3592 posts, RR: 5
Reply 1, posted (7 months 3 weeks 19 hours ago) and read 2670 times:

From the pilots I know and their driving/accident history, I would have to say no correlation at all. I know very good pilots who don't really have a good accident history with cars.

User currently offlineevomutant From United Kingdom, joined May 2006, 451 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (7 months 3 weeks 19 hours ago) and read 2642 times:

The standard of parking on display from my colleagues at work would suggest otherwise... 

User currently offlineRara From Germany, joined Jan 2007, 2011 posts, RR: 2
Reply 3, posted (7 months 3 weeks 19 hours ago) and read 2609 times:

I've driven with pilots a lot, and I can't say I've noticed any correlation.

Though there are some peculiarities. Usually they have a pretty good sense of direction, in particular with the cardinal directions. They seem to have a penchant for car manuals. Also they communicate more than other drivers, stating their intentions and requesting feedback.

Once I got in the car with a friend of mine who's a pilot. He started driving, on an empty town road. Suddenly he hit the brakes, with no obstacle to be seen. To my inquiring look, he simply said "brake check".



Samson was a biblical tough guy, but his dad Samsonite was even more of a hard case.
User currently offlineokie From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 2854 posts, RR: 3
Reply 4, posted (7 months 3 weeks 18 hours ago) and read 2575 times:

Every work day for many a year I spent time driving down the same road that ended at the FAA center in OKC.

Each day I would arrive at work wondering about the abilities of many a driver that was headed to the center. Since the FAA seems to do a pretty good job then I would say no correlation as far as traffic control is concerned.

Okie


User currently offlinetugger From United States of America, joined Apr 2006, 5262 posts, RR: 8
Reply 5, posted (7 months 3 weeks 18 hours ago) and read 2571 times:

The only thing I can reference is the fact that my pilot friend is very careful regarding anything that can affect his career. So driving after drinking is something he is very careful about (as in make sure a driver is available if needed or don't drink, etc.). I don't know what else driving-wise can affect a pilots license and career but I saw in another thread a comment that certain speeding tickets might also be an issue.

So I don't think necessarily they are "better" drivers but I do think they can have more on the line per se and so may be more aware of that and more careful in some aspects of driving.

Tugg

[Edited 2013-09-04 17:14:34]


I don’t know that I am unafraid to be myself, but it is hard to be somebody else. -W. Shatner
User currently offlinetype-rated From United States of America, joined Sep 1999, 4846 posts, RR: 19
Reply 6, posted (7 months 3 weeks 16 hours ago) and read 2535 times:

I think in some people the sheer precision required for flying crosses over to driving. After you have flown a plane over 300knts somehow driving a auto seems insignificant. But as we say in the aviation field, safety first! I haven't had any tickets since 1983 and the one before that was in 1972.


Fly North Central Airlines..The route of the Northliners!
User currently offlineAzoresLover From United States of America, joined Jun 2004, 750 posts, RR: 6
Reply 7, posted (7 months 3 weeks 7 hours ago) and read 2412 times:
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I had a buddy in the Air Force who was a C-141 pilot, and a very safe driver. He always did one thing that amused me when driving his car...he had a Camaro with automatic on the floor, with gears D, 2, and 1. As we'd be approaching a stop sign or red traffic light, he would yell "FLAPS!" and drop into 2nd...then as we neared a stop he'd yell "Spoilers!" and drop into 1st and come to a stop. He always described his driving as "flying" his car!


Those who want to do something will find a way; those who don't will find an excuse.
User currently offlinea321luke From United States of America, joined Aug 2013, 106 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (7 months 3 weeks 7 hours ago) and read 2405 times:

Interesting question. I wonder if they refer to roads and side-streets as runways and taxiways?

Also, do pilots tend to drive faster than non-pilots?

I don't think so.  



Planes, Trains, and Cars... Heaven :)
User currently offlineSuperfly From Thailand, joined May 2000, 39478 posts, RR: 75
Reply 9, posted (7 months 3 weeks 7 hours ago) and read 2390 times:

Quoting Rara (Reply 4):
Usually they have a pretty good sense of direction, in particular with the cardinal directions.

That's been my observation as well. I'd say pilots are better drivers. Not just commercial pilots. Those that fly their own private plane tend to be good drivers.

Quoting nitepilot79 (Thread starter):
Aircraft to car is one HELL of a step down in terms of skills required for operation

Those two skills were combined in to one car-plane that almost hit the market.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rzv4q5EEy1k

Pilots certainly have great taste in cars.





Ad from a 1967 Ford Thunderbird



Bring back the Concorde
User currently offlineoffloaded From United Kingdom, joined Apr 2009, 859 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (7 months 3 weeks 7 hours ago) and read 2385 times:

I had a pilot as a neighbour a while. He had a tennis ball on a string hung from the ceiling in his garage which he used to line up and use to park.


To no one will we sell, or deny, or delay, right or justice - Magna Carta, 1215
User currently offlinefalstaff From United States of America, joined Jun 2006, 5969 posts, RR: 27
Reply 11, posted (7 months 2 weeks 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 2252 times:
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Quoting offloaded (Reply 11):
I had a pilot as a neighbour a while. He had a tennis ball on a string hung from the ceiling in his garage which he used to line up and use to park.

When I was a kid my neighbor was at pilot at Hughes Air West (he eventually retired from NW) and he had the same thing. I used to a have a 72 Cadillac and it just barely fit in my garage so I used his old tennis ball thing. When the ball got to the center of the windshield I would stop the car. It worked like a charm.



My mug slaketh over on Falstaff N503
User currently offlineAesma From France, joined Nov 2009, 6122 posts, RR: 9
Reply 12, posted (7 months 2 weeks 6 days 21 hours ago) and read 2241 times:

What is the European car being compared ?

I'd say the most important thing for good driving is being aware of what's going on around you, something a lot of people are very bad at, and also necessary while flying, so pilots should be better at this.



New Technology is the name we give to stuff that doesn't work yet. Douglas Adams
User currently offlinetugger From United States of America, joined Apr 2006, 5262 posts, RR: 8
Reply 13, posted (7 months 2 weeks 6 days 20 hours ago) and read 2219 times:

Quoting Aesma (Reply 13):
What is the European car being compared ?

I think it was reference to Airbus, but we all know those pilots couldn't be better drivers as they just yank their joystick all day...  

Now maybe they are better at video games....      

Tugg
(Yes, I'm KIDDING, really, see the smiley's and winks?)



I don’t know that I am unafraid to be myself, but it is hard to be somebody else. -W. Shatner
User currently onlinejetblueguy22 From United States of America, joined Nov 2007, 2654 posts, RR: 4
Reply 14, posted (7 months 2 weeks 6 days 20 hours ago) and read 2213 times:
AIRLINERS.NET CREW
FORUM MODERATOR

Quoting evomutant (Reply 3):
The standard of parking on display from my colleagues at work would suggest otherwise... 

Completely agree. Parking at the airport by my school's flight operations is a joke. You'd think all those commercial pilots could park!

Quoting tugger (Reply 6):
The only thing I can reference is the fact that my pilot friend is very careful regarding anything that can affect his career.

I find that to be common with all of my pilot friends. One sip of beer and they are having someone else drive home. Is it extreme? Yeah probably. But it's better than getting in trouble with the law.

Quoting AzoresLover (Reply 8):
As we'd be approaching a stop sign or red traffic light, he would yell "FLAPS!" and drop into 2nd...then as we neared a stop he'd yell "Spoilers!" and drop into 1st and come to a stop.

   I may have to steal that!

Quoting a321luke (Reply 9):
Also, do pilots tend to drive faster than non-pilots?

From my experience they tend to drive just a tad faster. Which surprises me when you have airspeeds you are supposed to hit. There is a stretch of highway from the airport to the University by my school. Cops sit there all the time. You'd be shocked at how many pilots they grab on the way back to campus. Whenever my CFI and I would come back to the airport from the east he would look for cops sitting catching speeders so he wouldn't get a ticket on the way home!

I don't think there is a direct correlation. I know pilots I'm terrified to get into a vehicle with. But on the other side I know some who are the safest drivers on the road. I think it does help you're driving because you are wired to scan more and be alert of your surroundings. I have a couple habits I've taken over from flying. When I got my drivers license I had 35 hours in an airplane. I used two feet when driving, one for the brake and one for the throttle. The driving examiner didn't like that. I also tend to have one hand on the steering wheel and one on the gear shift the whole time even though I drive an automatic. It's just a habit.
Pat



You push down on that yoke, the houses get bigger, you pull back on the yoke, the houses get bigger- Ken Foltz
User currently offlinecptkrell From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 3220 posts, RR: 13
Reply 15, posted (7 months 2 weeks 6 days 13 hours ago) and read 2145 times:

Hmmm...If I used myself as an example, I can only say I've never crashed an airplane. As for cars...it's getting late and I don't feel like counting. all best...jack


all best; jack
User currently offlinestratosphere From United States of America, joined Sep 2007, 1647 posts, RR: 4
Reply 16, posted (7 months 2 weeks 6 days 12 hours ago) and read 2141 times:

A friend of my dads was the # 3 pilot in seniority at Trans Caribbean and was merged into American Airlines and he retired I think in 1985 my dad said he was the worst driver and could not even drive a stick shift.

[Edited 2013-09-05 21:40:18]


NWA THE TRUE EVIL EMPIRE
User currently offlineSuperfly From Thailand, joined May 2000, 39478 posts, RR: 75
Reply 17, posted (7 months 2 weeks 6 days 12 hours ago) and read 2128 times:

Quoting Aesma (Reply 12):
What is the European car being compared ?

That is a Rolls Royce Silver Shadow they're comparing to. You can see it in the first caption to the left.

Quoting jetblueguy22 (Reply 14):
Is it extreme? Yeah probably. But it's better than getting in trouble with the law.

Even worse, losing the best job in the world.
I would be the same way if I was a commercial pilot.

Quoting stratosphere (Reply 16):
A friend of my dads was the # 3 pilot in seniority at Trans Caribbean

I have a 1:500 scale DC-8 of that airline.



Bring back the Concorde
User currently offlineklmd11l From New Zealand, joined Dec 2007, 121 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (7 months 2 weeks 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 2027 times:

Judging by the way they keep the nose gear exactly on the yellow line while taxiing, I'd say they're better than average drivers.



Quoting type-rated (Reply 6):
I think in some people the sheer precision required for flying crosses over to driving. After you have flown a plane over 300knts somehow driving a auto seems insignificant.

  



KLM MD-11...The Ultimate Flying Machine!
User currently onlinejetblueguy22 From United States of America, joined Nov 2007, 2654 posts, RR: 4
Reply 19, posted (7 months 2 weeks 5 days 14 hours ago) and read 1969 times:
AIRLINERS.NET CREW
FORUM MODERATOR

Quoting klmd11l (Reply 18):
Judging by the way they keep the nose gear exactly on the yellow line while taxiing, I'd say they're better than average drivers.

I can't speak for commercial airliners, but in the general aviation world it is a lot tougher to follow that line than in a car. Sure you get it down. But she doesn't always want to go straight!
Pat



You push down on that yoke, the houses get bigger, you pull back on the yoke, the houses get bigger- Ken Foltz
User currently offlinePPVRA From Brazil, joined Nov 2004, 8876 posts, RR: 40
Reply 20, posted (7 months 2 weeks 5 days 13 hours ago) and read 1961 times:

They would probably tell you they can cross-check the speedometer and the fuel gauge faster than you can blink, then eyes back on the road  


"If goods do not cross borders, soldiers will" - Frederic Bastiat
User currently offlineB777LRF From Luxembourg, joined Nov 2008, 1215 posts, RR: 3
Reply 21, posted (7 months 2 weeks 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 1933 times:

Quoting klmd11l (Reply 18):
Judging by the way they keep the nose gear exactly on the yellow line while taxiing, I'd say they're better than average drivers.

Except, we don't. Keeping the nose-wheel right on the centre-line will mean you get a rather uncomfortable ride from driving over all the imbedded lights. Captains tend to taxi slightly to the left of centre, Effo's slightly to the right.



From receips and radials over straight pipes to big fans - been there, done that, got the hearing defects to prove
User currently offlinebristolflyer From United Kingdom, joined May 2004, 2273 posts, RR: 0
Reply 22, posted (7 months 2 weeks 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 1857 times:

Quoting type-rated (Reply 6):
After you have flown a plane over 300knts somehow driving a auto seems insignificant.

Therein lies the problem...if you're all psyched up to fly the plane, you finish the flight then get in your car then you probably aren't concentrating as much as you could. There's some statistic that says something like 80% of car crashes happen very close to home - people start to relax and take things for granted when they're nearing home.

So my conjecture is that whilst pilots are probably better drivers due to their inherent abilities I would say they're probably more accident prone because they're often so exhausted (physically and mentally) from flying.



Fortune favours the brave
User currently offlineneutrino From Singapore, joined May 2012, 588 posts, RR: 0
Reply 23, posted (7 months 2 weeks 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 1852 times:

  Based on the totally irrelevant empirical evidence of a single example, no!
A colleague from my airforce days of long ago who went on to become a QFI (qualified flying instructor) took his driving test seven times over an almost 3 year period and flunked them all. (Most us non-pilots averaged 2.5 times within six months to get a licence) He finally gave up and only rode a bike.



Potestatem obscuri lateris nescitis
User currently offlineSuperfly From Thailand, joined May 2000, 39478 posts, RR: 75
Reply 24, posted (7 months 2 weeks 4 days 9 hours ago) and read 1794 times:

Quoting neutrino (Reply 23):
A colleague from my airforce days of long ago who went on to become a QFI (qualified flying instructor) took his driving test seven times over an almost 3 year period and flunked them all.

Written or driving? I remember my written test and too many of the questions dealt with blood alcohol levels. He probably could have been a great driver, just that he probably breaks the rules a bit.  
Those test do not tell the whole story.
Here is an example of a great driver but would probably fail a proper driver's test.
Although he isn't a pilot and do not condone what this man did, I must say this is incredible that he pulled this off without killing anyone.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rQiPAyCVyWM



Bring back the Concorde
25 Post contains images ManuCH : I'm "only" a private pilot, but I have asked myself this very same question lately. I'm definitely very bad at parking (and this seems to be consisten
26 Post contains images NWADC9 : Highways are victor airways; side streets are SIDs/STARs
27 type-rated : Nope, when I drive I use the same concentration I used to fly the aircraft. Not having any accidents/tickets at all in 31 years proves that. But your
28 sccutler : I like to think I am a reasonably good pilot, and I am told by colleagues and check airmen that my skills are good, my judgment sound. My mechanical s
29 tb727 : My dad has always referred to shopping malls as "VOR's for women" since my mom always gave directions by where something was in relation to a store o
30 neutrino : He passed his written test on his first attempt...with flying (pun) colors. He just could not understand why all the various testers failed to endors
31 TWAL1011727 : He obviously didn't care about the life of the automatic transmission. Manually downshifting an auto trans increases the internal pressures and adds
32 Post contains images Luxair : I can't speak in general but a good friend ( Hello Roger ) of mine who is a senior Captain at a well known dutch airline is an excellent Pilot however
33 klmd11l : Not all of you, I've seen dozens of planes taxiing on the center-line.
34 Post contains images sturmovik : That one made me laugh, sitting at work. Gotta remember this.. When faced with a yellow light, does he slam the throttle and call V1 as well?
35 DeltaMD90 : Define "better." I'm sure, on average, pilots have better hand eye coordination than the rest of the population as a whole so may be better in that re
36 Post contains images TWA772LR : Me and my dad were driving to work the other day and almost got t-boned by a pilots girlfriend driving him to the airport. I don't know why he wasn't
37 YYZatcboy : This is a meaningless statistic. As a percentage of total driving time most people drive to work and shopping/visiting locals. So yeah most accidents
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