When I was a kid, my mother always had a subscription to Reader's Digest, so it was kind of a fixture in the house. Since I didn't get my own magazines until I was a teenager (Sixteen and Rolling Stone, naturally), if I was bored I'd pick up the Digest. I was especially fond of a feature called "Life in These United States," another composed of humorous letters from members of the military, as well as the various humor pages.
Although the magazine's November issue features a cover story that's no joke, it does make for some very entertaining reading. With a headline like, "50 secrets your pilot won't tell you," how could any airline passenger not flip it open?
Here are a few of the tidbits from my dear, old friend:
Pilots are often carrying less fuel than they feel comfortable with because of pressure from the airline. Carrying fuel burns fuel, which makes for a sticky situation when a thunderstorm slows down the flight.
A pilot will never tell passengers when one of the engines has failed. You'll likely never know the difference as most planes can fly with one engine down.
For the smoothest ride, sit over or near the wing; those in the back of the plane feel the most bumps.
Pilots definitely sleep in the air. Sometimes it’s just a ten-minute catnap, but it happens.