I have a “solution” to the _pilot-and-cockpit_ problem


David Davis

No, I’m serious.

There are two ways it could be done. The first one costs nothing whatever. The second one’s installation costs are nugatory when measured against the astonishing insurance payouts and other colateral reputational damage done by a suicide-crash.

The first solution is for each pilot to have a “wee bottle”.

Being nearly 101 years old, I carry one in the car; it is especially useful when I get caught short in the winter, because I refuse to wear big coats, hats, gloves, scarfs, all that stuff that people seem happy to go out in, as I prefer light clothing through not being out in the open for more than a minute or two at a time even in winter or a hurricane like today. A “wee bottle” is a washed -out and empty plastic 2-pint milk supermarket-type bottle, with a _wide mouth_, AND A FUNCTIONING , non-leaking SCREW CAP_ so you can get your dick into it comfortably without spillage, and which can even be used sitting slightly oddly in the driving seat in a quiet side-road without attracting too much attention. If viewed by a sudden-pedestrian, you grin sheepishly and say “sorry, I’m an old man, and I got caught short! Haha!” And they grin back and walk on with their dog etc.

Pilots could carry one – or several – each. Expensive, sterile ones, costing at least 28p a bottle, would be suppliable free to crews by the airline itself. I’m sure that regular flight crews know each other well enough to get out their willies and piss into a bottle in front of each other, and would rather do that than die terribly. I expect spacemen have known this for decades.

My second solution is to retro-modify the internal partitions of all passenger planes so that a small toilet, no bigger than needed for standing up and turning round in, is installed inside the cockpit area. I expect this would cost about £100,000 per plane. This is cheaper than the likely future insurance and penal payout to the family of one dead passenger, on one flight, on one plane. It doesn’t even need drainage to the outside; how often can a pilot piss or shit in even a 24-hour flight? Five and one respectively? The holding capacity for three men needs to be max-2-gallons of fluid and about three pounds of solids. The ground-crew can suck this out in ten seconds with a Large “Henry”, replacing it with a big shot of sterile juice of some sort. Google “Henry”. Any insurance firm on seeing my post will demand this solution immediately, I bet you all 2p. What the hell do they do with the normal passengers’ toilets anyway? They must already have the kit.

There will be no lockable door on this toilet.

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12 comments

  • This is a solution if the problem is that pilots and co-pilots do not, or can no longer, trust each other. I wonder, tho, if this was the problem on the recently crashed German airplane. Or was the issue that someone not fit to fly was flying the airplane? The co-pilot himself should ideally have recused himself from flying; or his doctor should have told him he shouldn’t. The doctor who prescribed his medicine (which was what, by the way? Curious minds would like to know) also bears some responsibility, surely. Was the pilot taking anti-depression drugs? If so, what kind?

  • I too have given this much thought. The simplest and cheapest method would be to employ an additional crew member; a burly cockpit Marshall (flying expertise a bonus though not required), whose sole job is to sit in the cockpit and keep himself entertained as best he can. Therefore, at least 2 crew are inside the cockpit at any given time.

    • Out of about, say, two billion people of “no ethnicity, political affiliation or religion” (this will be in particular a requirement for actively excluding certain examples of all three of these traits from acceptance) there must be enough of the following people:-

      Oldish, rather portly and imposing males of grave appearance mellowed with the patina of age and wisdom, and with good firearms training and successful lives of positive achievement and personal satisfaction. Ideally they don’t need the money either. Then some of these could be encouraged or incentivised in some appropriate way to do nothing but every so often fly as supernumeraries, with their two weapons.

      These fellows would have one or two smallish firearms, shooting either slow, large-calibre flatnosed but dum-dummed rounds (say about 0.5″) for “stopping a man totally” without piercing the plane; or also some long big high-propellant cartridges with semi-armour-piercing (.303 or more), to get through any lock that Boeing or Airbus could design.

      The very fact of them quietly strolling, up and down the plane, from time to time, would certainly deter any hijacker (everyone is scanned, now, remember) from attempting even a thought of a thought of some act. The knowledge that they could get through a cockpit door in any case whether the pilot(s) will(s) this or not, would render armoured doors un-necessary. They could also “profile” certain passengers of various specific kinds, asking them pointedly every half hour or so, specially if they are trying to sleep…”Are you all right, sir? Everything OK…?”

      Then we wouldn’t need to supply wee-bottles, or install loos in the cockpits.

      The other solution is to give all passengers Martin-Baker ejectors. But then very few people will be able to afford to fly.

  • None of the proffered solutions are really useful.

    If anyone on the flight deck has a mind for murder suicide then he will just start with the other non-suicide person on the flight deck. Wait till the pilot opens the door of the newly installed bog and stab to the heart or take another piss bottle and brain the pilot while he has his back turned using another such bottle. Presumably he will turn his back for privacy. And as for burly costumed thugs–what if he is the one who wants to hurl himself into eternity in the blink of an eye?

    Perhaps they pilots could be given shooters as the ICBM launch duos were. Two keys needed to launch and both men armed to kill the other if one went mad( great scenario for a claustrophobic thriller–two men, one gone mad shoot it out with the entire world in the balance). But it still comes down to the hope the “sane” bloke shoots first and best.

  • I am fellow middle aged man David. But even when I was young I had problems with 12 or 24 shifts when there was no toilet (and no way to get out of the place I was guarding without setting off alarms) – however, as you say, there are solutions to these problems.

    These days it is the cold that gets to me. A few hours standing outside in the cold (and wind, and rain) and certain things must be done.

  • The point about anti depressant drugs is interesting – I have often been told that the use of such powerful chemicals, in the end, does more harm than good.

    I do not have an opinion on the matter myself, because I do not know enough about the matter, but I do know that every mass shooting in the United States has been by a person or persons who have been using powerful medical chemicals.

    • Julie near Chicago

      Well, I do have an opinion. I have suffered from what is called “clinical depression” since at least the age of 20, some 62 years ago, and it is a debilitating condition that I won’t even try to describe.

      Finally, 20 years ago, having tried mainstream psychotherapy (“talk therapy”) with a few different therapists, I came to conclusion that “this has got to stop” and saw a psychiatrist, that is a medical doctor specializing in psychological disorders of various kinds. He prescribed Prozac, to be accompanied by weekly sessions with another psychotherapist.

      The results were astonishing. Life became worth living again. The horrid state which some of us feel as a physical malaise disappeared. Once again I was not uniformly a pain to live with, and my marriage of 30 years took a distinct turn for the better.

      The problem with Prozac is that eventually the body acclimatizes itself and the effectiveness of the drug wears off. One then stops taking it for awhile. This happened, and after a year or two (I forget exactly) I resumed taking it, but this time it didn’t help.

      At that point the psychiatrist started trying some of the other anti-depressants, but none of them did much good and some made my chronic insomnia even worse. The exception was the first one I ever took, back in the late ’70’s, prescribed by my family doc at the time as a possible help for a thyroid problem. That was the tricyclic Elavil, pretty new on the market, and I had no idea it was an anti-depressant. Don’t know whether the doc did or not. Anyway, after I’d been taking it for awhile I noticed that I was much less irritable, didn’t take things so personally, got along better with my husband, and so forth. At the time I was still under the gad-awful belief that depression is the result of “mistaken premises.” I had always since childhood believed that I needed to become a better person, and I thought I had finally managed to improve myself somehow. Good grief!

      (Here I should note that while Elavil was and is very effective, it is also a muscle relaxant — an anticholinergic — which results in three side-effects: sleepiness, really welcome in my case, after the years of frightening insomnia; a very sluggish internal sewage system; and a metabolism that stores every dam calorie you eat as fat.)

      Time went on, the doc disappeared from my life, so did the Elavil, and things returned to the way they are for people with untreated depression.

      And there things rested for another 15 or more years.

      But about 8 years or so ago, my first psychiatrist had retired and the new one said, “Let’s try Effexor, which is new on the market here [I have very little use for the FDA, but that’s another story] but has become popular in Europe. It has almost nothing in the way of noticeable side-effects in the vast majority of people. It may work well for you.”

      Eight years later, I am still taking venlafaxine, which is the psychotropic in Effexor. It has made a great difference. I still have mild bouts of depression, chiefly when I am hungry or very tired (insomnia still a big problem, although I do take alprazolam and, lately, melatonin for it; I think the combination is helping), but I am in so much better shape in terms of the endogenous depression.

      (“Clinical” or “endogenous” depression is the term for a depression that is the result of one’s particular body chemistry, rather than being specifically a response to outside factors — “situational depression” — such as losing a loved one, or the near-term emotional results of some sort of trauma physical or emotional, or indeed many events that are wanted and welcome but still stressful. Moving to a new house is notoriously one of these, however happy-making the event; it can put a great strain on a marriage, and sometimes marriages end because of it.)

      I’m perfectly ready to believe that SOME doctors over-prescribe or mis-prescribe anti-depressants (and other psychotropics), but the present craze for trashing the very idea to me smacks of the usual Luddist-like reaction to technology that we see in other fields.

      In short, anti-depressants in themselves are a godsend, and the fact that they can be misused or carelessly used no more indicts them as Dreadful than are guns, which can also be misused or carelessly used. Or combines, or straight razors, or lawnmowers, or kitchen knives.

      Or alar. Or electricity, microwave ovens, cell-phones, red meat, any meat, eggs, any animal products, etc. etc. etc.

      Never forget that there is a LOT of money in the various forms of the anti-technology “industries.” I wish I had as much money as Greenpeace!

      • Julie near Chicago

        Another thing. Let’s not get the cart before the horse. If — IF — it is true that most of the “mass shootings” (in the U.S. at least) have been done by people who once used “powerful medical chemicals,” might that not indicate that the people were unstable psychologically to begin with, which is WHY they were on these chemicals to begin with? And have I not heard of cases where the use of psychotropics were said to have ended years before, perhaps as much as a decade?

        Also, what about mass shootings (murders) not in the U.S.? Was Beslan the result of the effects of psychotropics? How about Che’s adventures with the rifle? So forth.

        Why do we restrict the condemnation of psychotropics to mass murders committed with a firearm? What about bombings? McVeigh, the Unabomber, so forth. Maybe they were or had been on pschoactive meds also, but according to reporter Jayna Davis (if memory serves) and I believe subsequent investigations, McVeigh was helped along by certain jihadi organizations. There is also the worst school mass-murder in American history, the bombing of Bath Elementary School in Michigan in 1927. See

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bath_School_disaster

        My antennae are really, really, really set a-quiver by this knee-jerk maligning of pschotropics, and of anti-depressants in particular. It is so reminiscent of the knee-jerk responses to school and other mass shootings by the Brady Bunch, the gun-grabbers. Ooooh, X committed mass murder using a gun! Therefore guns EVIL!!! BAN GUNS!!!!

        Also, I do question the statement that all the shootings have been committed by people who “are” or once were on psychotropics. I would like to see the data that supposedly supports this, and I would like to see the arguments (if any) based on that data. (If there are no arguments, “the data speak for themselves” –unless “data” is a group noun, of course– then what we have is mere correlation, which famously is not indicative of causation.

        I don’t mean to malign anyone who worries about this or who questions the use of psychotropics, or about whether they have anything to do with mass murders. It is a legitimate question in and of itself.

        I only mean to argue for the defense, in the face of strong lobbies against them in, at least, the popular press (including the Wonderful World-Wide Web, right across the political spectrum).

  • Pilots have choices David. They use a plastic device called a Little John (and Lady J – which sports a extra wide opening). Another relief system readily available is the Restop Travel Toilet. This device solidifies the urine within disposable plastic bags. Costs are cheap at about £9 for the coloured non-spill John and £6 for a Restop packet.

    Much easier to use and far better than a clear glass bottle David and if you do happen to drop it before you can get the top back on…. well the words trouser and pong, you know what I mean?

    With regard to the horror of being murdered in the Alps, well, words do fail when it comes to that. The BBC have repeatedly told us that an act of terror can be ruled out, yet if the dead could speak, they’d say that before the final darkness came they felt and heard a great deal of terror.

    Lufthansa are at fault I’d say but they can’t afford to admit it. They caused me to start thinking things through when senior staff started leaping up and down desperately trying to defend their operation; even before the plane had been found. It wasn’t an act of terror they insisted but said how they feared that a terrible accident had occurred.

    The European dream of peace and love ever-after would be over for sure if yet another case of a Muslim terror attack had taken place within Europe so soon after Paris. So the words were not uttered, even though everybody outside the media suspected, and expected, it to be so.

    The killer had about 600 flying hours in his log-book. This is nothing and for a man with his dodgy history he ought not to have been flying an aircraft with tiny children aboard. The captain intended waiting for his toilet break until after the plane was back on the ground. However, it seems that his terrorist co-pilot talked him into leaving the cock-pit. Any excuse to get him out of the way. What a shame that was.

    Everyone knows that passenger jets are brim-full of safety equipment. For instance, in the event of an imminent, or even a pending crash, all doors are automatically unlocked to give passengers the chance to scramble or swim clear. This also happens if the cabin suffers a rapid de-pressurisation. So why wasn’t a window knocked out at 11 or 12 thousand feet? I do believe that the cock-pit door is also wired up in the same way. It might just have been possible to recover from such a rapid descent. So easy to say of course but the pilot will have been out of his mind and not even thinking about other options by that time. I fear that I’d be in a state of total panic. All those passengers relying on me to do something and so bring an end to their terror. God in heaven, what a terrible ending to be forced to endure.

    Fools worry about death, the wise worry about dying.

    We must wait of course for the appropriate authority to tell us precisely what they think happened in the Alps and why 149 totally innocent people had to die in that most horrific fashion; if I believe them or not will be another matter. Above all else, the EU dream be must be allowed to continue… mustn’t it Mr Cameron?

    Meanwhile, at home in jolly old England, the police and cps are eagerly rounding up more long- dead Englishmen so that they can be charged with child molestation. It’s important that the score is kept equal after all. Muslims 1 – Christians 1, so the narrative must be seen to run.

    With regard to doing something about the ‘problem’ of safety in the air. There isn’t a problem. How many times has this type of pilot lunacy occurred? Safer in the air than in your car.

    • Julie, and readers,
      This and this and this hardly qualify as “knee-jerk reaction”, imho.

  • Sunday Times reports today that lawyers for the relatives of the innocents murdered by Andreas Lubitz, are preparing a case of negligence against Lufthansa… and rightly so I say.

    This, even before we’ve been told ‘precisely’ what happened that day in the air and on the ground.

    Was something else heard on the cockpit recording moments before the plane hit the rocks? Perhaps something that the EU’s dreamers decided we’d no right to know.

    For me at least, the question hangs in the air just like the nagging feeling I have about the motives of our ex-government to constantly hunt for white pedophiles.

    Enoch Powell’s being investigated now I hear. The current crop of easy-living bastards better tread extremely carefully with that one however.

  • There can be no absolute solution because no matter who is in the cockpit, including an air marshal, there can be no guarantee that of the people in the cockpit none will turn violent and engineer a situation where they are in control of the cockpit.. This could be by brute force (suppose and armed air marshal went rogue) or a pilot has brought a weapon on with him (I wonder how strictly they are checked before boarding?) or one of the ground crew has secreted a weapon for one of the crew, whether the pilots or the cabin staff, to find? Or how about a member of the crew taking a hypodermic filled with anaesthetic onto the plane or some form of knock out potion which could be surreptitiously put in a cup of coffee one of the pilots is drinking?

    In principle a it would be possible for cockpit door to be controlled from the ground after being informed of a problem by someone authorised to do so on the plane. But that would introduce the problems of both hacking from outside and within a plane and of kidnappers taking an authorised person hostage and forcing them to contact the ground to open the cockpit door.

    Even if planes were flown without human pilots using artificial intelligence systems the problems of hacking would apply.

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