A private jet pilot has lifted the veil on his amazing life in a fascinating online Q&A.
The kite rose Reddit and started a thread titled ‘I’ve been a private jet pilot for 15 years – ask me anything!’
He explained that he has been a private pilot for about 15 years and is qualified to fly the Citation 500 series and the Embraer Legacy 500 aircraft, among others.
Then the questions came thick and fast.
An early question, from ‘kay_till’, was ‘What’s the craziest thing that’s happened on a private flight’?
A private jet pilot has lifted the veil on his amazing life in a fascinating online Q&A. The aviator took to Reddit and started a thread titled “I’ve been a private jet pilot for 15 years – ask me anything!” (file image)
The pilot, who goes by the name Legacy500Driver on Reddit, said: “Many people assume that the back of a private jet is a place of debauchery. Honestly, 99.9 percent of the time it’s boring. Every once in a while a person tries to light a cigarette, and I’ve found a small bottle of what I assume is cocaine, or an elite athlete is partying too hard in Vegas and throwing up.’
Has he ever seen a couple try to join the mile-high club (user ‘GaryV83_at_Work’)?
“Yes,” the pilot wrote. “I can only remember one time that I know, and they were very subtle about it, but I happened to turn around and she was on his lap and I quickly turned around.”
The pilot was asked if the Earth was round or flat – ‘definitely round’ came the answer (file image)
“Do you get tips from your customers?” asked ‘Emotional-Reaction49’.
Legacy500Driver wrote: ‘Charter pilots can usually expect some tips. One of my favorite passengers when I flew charters was a well-known Chicago Bears football player, now retired. I used to fly him to Vegas and he tipped $1,000 (£800) without fail.
“Other perks include things like accumulating hotel reward points. I stay at Marriott properties and have accumulated enough status and points that all my personal vacations are free. The same goes for rental cars. Not to mention a passenger going to a cool destination, I enjoy it because we usually stay around in case they want to get home early. So if they’re in Iceland for a week, so am I, and they pay for everything.’
‘User-no-relationship’ matched ‘how much do you make?’
Quite a lot, it seems.
The pilot wrote, ‘A pilot at my level can expect to make $250,000 – $350,000 (£200,000 – £240,000) based on a few factors like home base, schedule, etc…’
‘Massive-Particular51’, meanwhile, wanted to know the identity of the most famous person the pilot had ever flown.
Legacy500Driver declined to name names, but did reveal that it has flown with “a former president, someone who played Batman, an A-list couple with many children who have since divorced, a well-known country band that recently broke up, and several Oscar winners and nominees’.
Did you see anything up there that you couldn’t explain? This was a question from ‘Iamanediblefriend’.
“I was flying from Seattle to New York with someone once and as we got near Chicago he remembered his favorite steakhouse was there and asked if we could stop
Legacy500Driver wrote: ‘Yes. Most things eventually have an explanation, like us realizing it’s a weather balloon as we get closer. I once saw something metallic that I can’t really explain, but it also didn’t do anything unusual, like change direction quickly, which led me to the UAP assumption (unidentified aerial phenomena).’
“Have you ever fulfilled requests to move somewhere else in the middle of a flight?” was the question from ‘justelectricboogie’.
The pilot said, “I was flying from Seattle to New York with someone once and as we got close to Chicago he remembered his favorite steakhouse was there and asked if we could stop. Otherwise, we most often change destinations mid-flight based on the weather at the destination.”
Other questions centered around whether the Earth is round or flat – “definitely round… at 51,000 feet (private jets fly higher than commercial jets) you can see the subtle curvature of the Earth” – what the pilot does with his time on autopilot – “checking emails, listening to a podcast, handling paperwork, keeping an eye on things and scanning everything… and we have regular radio communication” – and whether a passenger ever did anything that made them fear for their safety.
He replied, “Rarely, maybe hungover or drinking a little too much on the flight, but create a little artificial turbulence so the drink would spill and they’ll stop.”
When asked for advice on overcoming a fear of turbulence, the pilot said, ‘Know that turbulence, while uncomfortable and can cause injury when not wearing a seatbelt, has rarely been the cause of an airplane crash. As in so extremely rare that I can’t think of a real crash caused by turbulence on top of my head.’
The pilot wrote, “One of my favorite passengers when I flew charters was a well-known Chicago Bears football player, now retired. I used to fly him to Vegas and tip him $1,000 (£800) without fail’ (file image)
A user asked if turbulence is less severe in a private jet than in a commercial jet.
The pilot said, ‘Generally less easy because we can fly higher. Airlines might get beat up at 35,000 and 38,000 feet, and we’re slippery at 45,000 feet. Very little weather ever reaches that high, with the exception of a massive thunderstorm and even then it’s so rare that it’s easy to fly around. Clear air turbulence can occur at all altitudes, but appears to decrease at that altitude. We experience the most turbulence on the take-off and arrival sections where we are now lined up with the planes.”
The pilot also revealed the cheapest way to fly in a private jet, explaining: “The jet is sold by the hour, not by seat, so if you find a cheaper single engine turboprop or a light jet and find enough friends to fill every seat and divide the cost, then you have about the lowest price you can get. Something like Phoenix to Vegas in a seven-seat jet for one night and back can cost $7,500. Divide that seven ways.
‘Some companies will also try to sell empty legs at a discount. Suppose they have a plane in LA that has to go to Vegas for its next flight, they might try to sell that flight dirt cheap because they have to move it anyway.”