Flight training at Alaska Airlines – not for sissies

Last night was Aviation Geek Night at the Alaska Airlines training center in Seattle.  A dozen folks who follow Alaska Airlines on Twitter (http://twitter.com/alaskaair) were invited to experience what it’s like to pilot a $30 million dollar aircraft and get some Flight Attendant safety training.

We didn’t get any face time with these guys:

Alaska Airlines bad guys

But flight attendant instructors Megan, Claudia, and Clinton assured us that real flight attendants were well trained in how to defend themselves – and passengers – against bad guys.

We did get to practice putting out an on-board fire and learned how to open and set aside the 40 pound window exit.

Alaska Air exit door

Then we each had a chance to slide down the emergency chute.

Alaska Air emergency chute

All skills I’m glad I’ve practiced and, of course, hope I’ll never get to use.

At the end of the night, I did get a chance to sit in the captain’s seat of the flight simulator.  Capt. Bill Morgan calmly and gently guided me and co-pilot Kenji_Onozawa through a landing at Reagan National Airport and Seattle-Tacoma Int’l Airport.  Good thing Kenji was cool and capable.  Because it turns out, I was too short to reach the brakes on the airplane and, once on the ground, I got nauseous guiding the plane to the gate.

Still, they let me graduate with a newly minted Certificate of Geekiness, which I will be carrying with me next time I fly.

Alaska Airlines certificate of geekiness