SJS Press April 2010

It is generally thought that the most important equipment used in a cockpit is the array of instruments and controls available to the pilot. Contrary to this belief is that the most pressing equipment of value consists of the cockpit cup holder and the cherished trash bag. The Press explains.

It could be said that all an airplane requires is a set of wings, a tail, and landing gear. Give the controls of a sophisticated cockpit over to a pilot and all is well right? Not so. A few missing items can bring a high level of distraction and discomfort which may render an aircraft unfit for flight. The cupholder is a cockpit must. It holds the lifeblood of coffee, coke, or water for the pilots at the helm. Without it, pilots face hours of distraction trying to fly with one hand while holding their cup with the other. However sufferable this may be, the absence of a cockpit trash bag could prove a worse condition.

CockpitTrashThe trash bag, in all its glory, gives incentive to all pilots to make and contain their garbage. Without it, trash turns the cockpit into a stye that could only make a pig jealous. It may also prevent the development of trash throughout the workday. One pilot states, "My favorite part of the job is dumping stuff into that bag. It never gets old." Another exclaims, "It's definitely one of the better perks that come with flying shiny jets."

Unfortunately, planet Earth's landmasses have all been explored and countries' borders have long been established. Without new trash piles, there won't be anymore land to go around. The good news is that observing the actions of airline pilots, The Press is able to promote several ways of creating garbage. This leads to what we call waste maximization.

JeppWasteThe first method of waste maximization is never to recycle, especially paper. Jepp charts are an exceptionally good waste maker. Throw all flight planning paperwork, flight handbook revisions, and USA Todays in the bag. The next method is to always order food to go when coming in and out of airports. Try to stick with styrofoam containers. Most Chinese places and employee cafeterias offer this trash making amenity. If you can, ask for a bag to carry it in. Grab lots of napkins along with plastic utensils.FullBag Get a fork, a spoon, and a knife even if you are only going to use one of them. When choosing a coffee joint, we recommend Dunkin' Donuts for its massive styrofoam cups. If you end up resorting to Starbucks, follow the steps in the Waste Making Guide at the bottom of this page to increase your trash making potential. Finally, we suggest flying in the Northeast part of the country as the city folk don't need lessons in trash production. You'll admire their abilities as you see these travelers board your plane with five different newspapers and six magazines. All that for a one hour flight. Better yet, they love to leave all of those papers, magazines, and other garbage right on the seats and floor so it can be gathered into one heaping pile of waste bliss.

So this Earth Day, The Press asks you to take time to be a good steward of your cockpit and stuff your trash bags full. You will feel a mighty sense of accomplishment. The next time you find yourself piloting the skies of America always remember to make waste!


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