Becoming a member of the cabin crew requires much more than a pretty face. Comprehensive training, a cool head and a big heart all figure into the makeup of the glamorous jet setting crew.
Words: Captain Lim Khoy Hing
In January 15, 2009, Captain Sully successfully touched down on the Hudson River after an unfortunate bird strike event. He was praised in the media for the way he handled the landing, but the other quiet hero of the day was Flight Attendant Doreen Welsh who efficiently evacuated the cabin, instructing passengers to jump over the seats in order to move forward. She was so focused on guiding her 150 passengers to safety that she failed to notice a large cut on her leg.
Flight attendants have sometimes been called ‘trolley dollies’ – a term coined at an earlier era, in reference to how the cabin crew served drinks and other refreshments from a trolley. In the early days of aviation, the job of a flight stewardess (the preferred terminology now is ‘flight attendant’ or ‘cabin crew’) was an enviable one, as it allowed these sophisticated and fashionable women to fly around the globe and stay at topnotch hotels in exotic places while visiting wonderful attractions beyond the reach of regular folks. People perceived this career to be a dream vocation.
Captain Lim Khoy Hing explores the strange effects of dry cabin air.
A guest once wrote to me for tips on overcoming the problems caused by dry air. He asked if the air in the cabin could be the reason his nose often bled while flying.
Air inside an airplane can indeed be very dry. Cabin air has a very low relative humidity of around 10 per cent. Compare this value to the Earth’s desert regions where humidity is around 20 to 25 per cent. However, if you are in a tropical region, for example, in Singapore, the average relative humidity is about 85 per cent.
In the dry environment of the cabin, evaporation of moisture from the skin can be as high as eight ounces of water per hour! According to some medical sources, those with very sensitive skin may find that the delicate sinus inside the nose tends to dry out fairly quickly. This may cause the nose to bleed.
Dehydration may also be the cause of cracked lips, as well as a burning sensation in the eyes, headaches and lethargy. Less obvious consequences of dehydration include inducing stress on the body, reducing mucus production and lowering the body’s immune system.
I want to seek an expert and veteran's advice on Aviation. My son is 15 years old and has shown a keen interest in this industry. He has recorded all the Air Crash Investigation series and is able to quote the errors made by the pilots and what should have been the right procedure.
He has read your book (Life in the Skies) many times and aspires to be a commercial pilot like yourself. He has constantly shown much interest in becoming a commercial pilot.
However, in terms of vision he has high astigmatism, nevertheless his grades in school are commendable.
Would like to seek your advice on the career path of achieving this with the following questions below :
1. Would the astigmatism issue pose a problem to becoming a pilot.
2. Is there a college that I could enroll him after his PT3
3. Is there a good and reputable flying school I could enroll him.
4. Is it true that we have excess pilots in the country and the waiting list is a long queue?
Thanking you in advance and appreciate the guidance.
If you like what you read, more stories are found in my book LIFE IN THE SKIES (Preview here) and you can purchase a copy here. To check for any latest updates or postings, you can follow my Twitter at @CaptKHLim or Facebook here