A Better Flight Plan
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This is your Captain Speaking

Several of you submitted questions for our pilot Q&A series and we are excited to start answering a few each month. If you would like to submit a question, send an email to blog@airlines.org.

Why do I have to put up my seat and tray table before takeoff? (Olivia M.)

Taxi, takeoff and landing are the most critical phases of flight, and the FAA requires that tray tables, food, beverages and passenger belongings, such as carry-on luggage or large electronics, be stowed during those times. In the unlikely event of an emergency evacuation, it is important to have the aisles clear of any hazards so that passengers can exit the plane quickly and efficiently.

Can young fliers visit the pilots in the cockpit before or after a flight? (Tressa M.)

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) prohibits visits to the cockpit during flight, but allows airlines to determine whether to allow cockpit visits while parked at the gate. Pilots generally enjoy visitors, especially kids who are interested in flying, but keep in mind that they may be busy conducting safety checks pre-flight or post-flight safety checks, so ask a flight attendant before visiting the cockpit.

What does the runway number for takeoff and landing mean? (Brad P.)

Runway numbers are based on their compass orientation and range from 01 (10°) to 36 (360°). Each end of the runway has a different number that is reciprocal based on the compass direction. The heading degree is rounded to the nearest 10, so a runway at 222° would become runway 22. If there are multiple runways at one airport and they are parallel, then they will be designated as left, right or center with an L, R or C respectively.

October Runway

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