Airplane as Pig Sty

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Anyone who has ever flown a long cross-country in an airplane knows that the cabin turns into a disorganized mess of charts, water bottles, headsets and snack sacks. Why is that? Give us a good reason and we'll send you a hat.

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Comments (32)

Aviate, navigate, communicate. Only then decorate.

Posted by: DAVID PAGE | November 1, 2009 11:46 PM    Report this comment

I noticed in your video that everything you need is close at hand.
In true pilot-y style you've quite responsibly reduced your in-flight workload by not needing to strain and rummage about. What use is anything if it's stowed (albeit neatly)?
It may not be pretty, but it's clearly testament to your piloting prowess! ;p

Posted by: Courtney Webber | November 2, 2009 5:20 AM    Report this comment

Presumably mine is a case of old-world ignorance, but what are the bandages across your faces ?

I was looking to see bowls of soup among the litter that you were complaining of. They would have explained why your moustaches needed to be tied back.

Are they devices to stop you snoring if the long voyage gets the better of you ?

Posted by: R L S Butler | November 2, 2009 6:26 AM    Report this comment

C'mon guys, ever hear of "FLIGHT ATTENDANTS"?...sheeeesh

Posted by: tom drumm | November 2, 2009 6:37 AM    Report this comment

In a pigsty you are very likely to find pigs.

Posted by: leonard nolden | November 2, 2009 7:26 AM    Report this comment

Top ten reasons why your cockpit gets filthy:

1. Forgot to bring a garbage sack.

2. ATC keeps interrupting clean up duties.

3. Doesn't want to waste money paid for janatorial service.

4. Makes a mess purposely because disorder confuses the terrorists.

5. Having too much fun flying to notice garbage.

6. Cleaning would jinx the 190 knot groundspeed indication.

7. Thinks cleaning is beneath a pilot's dignity.

8. Pilot would fall over without garbage pile to prop him up.

9. Last time got stuck under instrument panel reaching for errant cheetoh.

10. Started to clean up, kinked O2 hose, got hypoxic then filmed video asking why cockpit is filthy.

Posted by: Mark Sletten | November 2, 2009 8:20 AM    Report this comment

Flying airplanes is a dirty job. That is why they have a garbage compartment, sorry, baggage compartment.

Posted by: Gordon Young | November 2, 2009 8:26 AM    Report this comment

I ferry ag airplanes to South America mostly, and with very litte room available, everything has to be in place or else.
But having an autopilot would help to be able to go on cleaning duty. (my bungee cord around the stick is only good for if there is no turbulence)

Posted by: Ignacio Aguero | November 2, 2009 8:40 AM    Report this comment

Entropy, it is the natural and inevitable descent from order to chaos.

Posted by: Richard Montague | November 2, 2009 10:07 AM    Report this comment

Those are clearly 'respect bands' (like a black band across a police badge when an officer is killed). A fellow reporter's wife made him shave his. RIP

That or supplemental oxygen.

Posted by: Steven Long | November 2, 2009 10:13 AM    Report this comment

A good cross-country flight is measured by the amount of junk that falls out of the plane when you open the door.

Posted by: Dana Files | November 2, 2009 10:23 AM    Report this comment

Those are clearly 'respect bands' (like a black band across a police badge when an officer is killed). A fellow reporter's wife made him shave his. RIP

That or supplemental oxygen

Posted by: Paul Bertorelli | November 2, 2009 12:01 PM    Report this comment

When I fly alone, I make it a point to keep things reasonably tidy by only cluttering up the passenger seat (not the floor), and even then minimally--no trash (plastic trash bag for that). When I fly with others, I try to get them to also maintain a little order on a continuous basis, because it's a lot easier to keep it neat than to make it neat later in flight. Things can get "cluttery" enough with supplemental O2 lines and headset cords and other stuff running here and there, and it makes it harder when one is the only pilot aboard, to play both pilot and trash collector.

After some 2200 hours in the air, I have kept things relatively neat on all flights, whether solo or full of passengers and whether I'm the only pilot or everyone aboard is--it just isn't that hard.

I'm not a neat freak by any means--my car collects more trash than my airplane to the regular consternation of my better half--but it's a whole lot more critical to be neat in the airplane. Junk which gets under things like rudder pedals or blocks stick movement just can't be allowed. The worst my airplane gets is lots of dog hair in the back seat--seems as if Molly (Golden Retriever) sheds more in the airplane than anywhere else.

So the obvious question has to be: Are you guys always wearing your cannulas, and if this is a recurring problem which you just can't handle, are you sure you turned on the O2 bottle? Or is there something in there other than O2? :)


Posted by: Cary Alburn | November 2, 2009 12:45 PM    Report this comment

Most likely reason for the messy cabin is that you don't have your wife along. I have a clean freak wife that continually puts everythng away or throughs it out.
Solution to your messy cabin problem is to take your wife next time.

Posted by: John Leeds | November 2, 2009 12:51 PM    Report this comment

The reason the cockpit gets filthy is we leave our wife at home.

Posted by: Jim Bruchas | November 2, 2009 2:52 PM    Report this comment

Maybe AVWeb has done too good a job finding above-and-beyond FBOs, and these gentlemen have found one that will happily siphon out all the dreck for them when they touch down?

Posted by: Andrew Brooks | November 2, 2009 3:55 PM    Report this comment

Wings Whiplash solved this dilemma back in the days of barnstorming. He postulated that the earth sucks and therefore as long as your aircraft stayed on the ground the items in the cockpit tended to stay in their assigned places. As you gain altitude the "earth suction" decreased and therefore things in the cockpit tended to migrate to other locations.

Posted by: Pete Christensen | November 2, 2009 4:30 PM    Report this comment

It's just like doing a long cross country in a car. One place or another ends up as a collection spot for things that don't make it back to there home. Cary Alburn above has a potential solution. Bring someone along for in house maintenance or take turns.

Posted by: Josh McLauchlan | November 2, 2009 5:35 PM    Report this comment

I'm a commercial pilot. My work is seasonal in northern Canada in single engine bush planes. I also contribute monthly articles to aviation publications here. One article last year dealt with this cockpit clutter problem and how I deal with it. I use a FISHERMAN's vest. The many pockets accommodate everything needed for a full day of flying. The cell phone, camera, pens, glasses, notebooks, spare batteries, lunch, snacks, aspirin, trash, hand-held GPS, they all have a home which is conveniently on my chest, making access a breeze. No need to fight getting into your jeans pockets. Works for me!

Posted by: Barry Richards | November 2, 2009 10:32 PM    Report this comment

So, the answer is: Paul forgot his Fisherman's vest at home with his wife and thus there was no place to put the necessities for a cross country trip and no one to follow behind him to pick-up.

Posted by: John Leeds | November 2, 2009 10:42 PM    Report this comment

Well, there was the time we flew our un-pressurized plane a little higher than normal, and a bag of potato chips literally exploded!

But seriously, I think it any long trip is inevitably going to make a mess. Our older airplanes do not have any cupholders, so we'll start there. Then too, the cost to STC, 337, and TSO all our favorite gadgets into the panel is prohibitive, so we've got our portable GPS and antenna, an intercom, maybe a hand-held transceiver and/or satellite radio, a sectional, an electronic E6B, and so forth lightly velcroed or even sitting loose somewhere, when the light to moderate turbulence begins, not to mention perhaps our lunch, a flashlight or two, survival water, spare batteries for everything, bladder relief kit, and cockpit escape tools, all of which if we cannot reach from our seats, may be less than useful.

Posted by: Bruce Liddel | November 3, 2009 10:43 AM    Report this comment

While I might forget the odd empty water bottle and pick it up again the next day, it seems some sort of mystical creatures; perhaps garden gnomes, or gremlins, I'm not sure, make it their duty to leave assorted junk in my seat back pockets while I'm not looking...

Posted by: Louis Rousseau | November 3, 2009 11:40 AM    Report this comment

Messy cabin likely the result of a series of outside loops, followed by a few hammerhead stalls, then a barrel roll. Upon righting the aircraft to straight & level flight, and discovering that the O2 bottle was actually nitros oxide, explains why the maps are stuck to the headliner, and the uncontrolled laughter during the aerobatic segment of the flight...

Posted by: Jim Shaw | November 4, 2009 6:14 AM    Report this comment

I've never really given a messy cabin much thought.
I stow everything not needed at hand before a flight and I give my right seat passenger any airway charts I might need. Being a person that hates clutter I remove any trash from the plane at all fuel stops and after every flight. We did have an interesting comment from a line guy in Billings Montana last summer. Three of us had been flying in the lower flight levels on oxygen so the tubes were hanging down when we taxied in. His comment when we opened the door was " Are you guys doing surgery in there."
All flying is good mess or no mess. Us pilots are the luckiest people in the world!

Posted by: Brian Bailey | November 4, 2009 7:28 AM    Report this comment

It's the "Universal Trash Law" - stuff expands to fill the available space.

Posted by: Pat Healy | November 4, 2009 7:47 AM    Report this comment

I have been considering sound proofing my plane and a good cheap material would be USA TODAY NEWS PAPERS(the unread versions).

Posted by: tom drumm | November 4, 2009 9:56 AM    Report this comment

It clearly has to do with slipping the surely bounds of Earth. It is based on Einsteins theroies on gravity having less an influence the further one is from the mass (Earth). All one has to do is take a look at the Space Station or any other spaceflight to see the cabin and cockpit become Dempsy-Dumpsters. The prime example was the Russia Spacestation Mir, after over a decade that place was such a hazard that those Americas that flew in it were scared to death. Instead of cleaning it, they let it burn up in the atmosphere. So the equation for how trashed a cockpit can become is: Altitude x Flighttime x Crewmembers / Volume = Junk per sq foot (A x F x C) / V = J. An example would be 14,000 x 4 x 2/160 = 700 grams per cubic foot which consumes about 250 lbs of useful load per crewmember (baggage included)...just ask NASA why they take so much time to bring back more than they sent.

Posted by: Chuck West | November 4, 2009 10:16 AM    Report this comment

Why? I'll tell you why - because my wife wasn't one of your passengers. As well as all of us, as pilots, learn the rule of "keep things where you are going to need them," when the answer to that commandment is "noplace" (because you are done with whatever it is) then stuff will go anyplace.

Posted by: ANTHONY NASR | November 5, 2009 8:03 PM    Report this comment

Ever try to go through your flight bag and take stuff out? Ever leave something in the trunk of you car only to find out that you really need that particular piece of gear at 8500 feet over western Penn? Renter pilots in particular tend to carry everything and anything they found themselves wishing they had on one flight or another. This makes pilots pack rats (a.k.a. pigs) by nature. I see the charts slung across the headliner in that plane. You guys are one step ahead of me with my charts tucked alongside a seat.

There's stuff you will need. If you can get at it in flight without inducing an usual attitude, what's the problem?

My wife is a clean freak, and has regularly put stuff in their proper place (out of sight) and promptly forgot where it was. She hasn't flown with me for years.

Posted by: Jerry Plante | November 9, 2009 9:03 AM    Report this comment

Because pigs might fly ... after all!

Posted by: Dirk Meinecke | November 10, 2009 6:24 AM    Report this comment

Steering the question in another direction let me recount a situation in which I was thrilled the cockpit was a pig sty. I was flying back to Leesburg VA from North Haven CN in my Dads PA-28 which he leases back to AV-ED flight school. With 40 minutes more to go I was faced with a dilema. Realizing I had forgotten my inflight urinal in my truck at JYO and not having 40 minutes of bladder time available I was faced with canceling IFR and landing at Lancaster for some more than necessary defueling or attempt to make it knowing that was nearly impossible (5 hour fuel supply 3 hour bladder). That's when I remembered RENTERS are PIGS. I reached into the rear pocket of the right seat and found an empty pony size pop bottle. Not the ideal vessel but at the time more than adequate. Thank god for the pig sty.

Posted by: Stephen Bradish | November 10, 2009 11:43 AM    Report this comment

Why are the cabins messy? Because geniuses are rarely tidy.

Posted by: Mike Moffitt | November 18, 2009 3:29 PM    Report this comment

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