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They're flying high

india Updated: Aug 15, 2011 22:47 IST

There are two ways to fly. Spend hundreds of hours in flight simulators and then in creaky turboprops learning to control the joystick. Or, down half a bottle of your favourite pick-me-up. The second option is ridiculously cheap. Which explains why it has now come to light that several pilots on Indian carriers are in various stages of inebriation when taking to the skies. Why blame our pilots for choosing this method of defying gravity? Anyway, Boeing and Airbus make planes that fly themselves, don't they? Oops, you just pressed the button to open the doors at 35,000 feet. Never mind, the onboard computer takes care of human transgressions. Under the influence or out of it.

Flying drunk is such a breeze. No signals, no overtaking, no oncoming traffic, no strolling pedestrians, and no cops. Makes you wonder why pilots bother to be sober at all. A man behind the wheel needs quite a bit of his faculties to get from the pub to his house in one piece. Commercial pilots, in sharp contradistinction, don't need their eyes, their ears, or even their hands. Staying awake is the toughest thing they need to do under the circumstances. If cars were as smart as jet planes, drivers could live it up every weekend without having to brave the breath analyser. Lurch out of the bar, get in the back seat and mumble "Home, Hic!" That is, if home is where you are headed. Those magnificent fellows at Volvo should be working on it.

Flying isn't what it used to be. Time was when you had to fly by the seat of your pants. Now you can put an airborne city block through its paces even if you've left your pants at the airport hotel room. With so much laying over, which pilot in his right mind would want to stay sober. Next time you ask the airhostess for a scotch within a scotch within a scotch, send one across to those blokes in the cockpit. They need their sleep too.