Day #3 of a 4 day
Position: Eastbound over the Great Plains of the Empire
Destination: Boston
Altitude: 37,000 feet
Passenger count: 150
Crew: 5
Hitchhikers: 3 ( 1 flight attendant and 2 pilots)

All seats, including fold down jumpseats, are full. Our A320 climbed to 33,000 feet in 20 minutes, then we burned the fuel load down until we could coax her to 37,000 feet. All is well in Captain Dave's world... Knock on wood. Boston weather is marginal, but we have alternate airport fuel and 20 minutes of uh-oh fuel. My co-pilot, a young hotshot, with cat-like reflexes and 20/15 vision, is the flying pilot. Two hitchhiking pilots are sitting behind me; one company B737 Captain (a friend of mine) and one co-pilot from another airline.

The riding co-pilot has never been inside an A320 flight deck before. She is duly impressed with all the Star Trek inspired magic. The 737 Captain, turning my crank, told her that the A320, an electric jet, is famous for inflight power failures, which would, of course, render the smoke and mirrors useless. This is total bravo sierra (BS). The Airbus Industries design is robust and reliable under the most difficult of flight conditions. Even if a Klingon warbird lasered the ten separate flight control computers, we still have the standby instruments, which have their own power source, totally independent of the whiz bang technology. That would be an airspeed indicator, altimeter, old time artificial horizon, and an electric compass with two needles that point to radio transmitters. During the Jurassic age, I flew freight through terrible weather on a daily basis with exactly those instruments and thought nothing of it.

Well, that's OK... I can talk trash as well as my Captain buddy. We still have two hours to trade aircraft related insults. Secretly, I love the B737, since I flew it for a decade. It is manufactured by the same folks that gave us the B17 and the B29. However, it is necessary to maintain the illusion of A320 superiority, if only for entertainment purposes. I remind him that we A320 pilots get hot food that is actually edible.

And on it goes as the sun sets behind us...

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