Photo: CityBase Apartments

How Pilots Use the Seatbelt Sign to Send Secret Messages to the Crew

Maps + Infographics Airports + Flying
by Henry Miller Mar 9, 2018

For those of us who grew up wanting to be pilots, part of the appeal was just being able to use all the cool sky captain slang. Alas, no matter how many times I say, “roger, Roger”, nobody has offered me their keys to their airplane. Fortunately, CityBase Apartments has produced a guide to common slang and codewords used by pilots on airplanes. So now you can know what to expect when you overhear your flight attendant mentioning a “holding pattern” or a “ground stop”- a lot more time in a cramped plastic seat.

Interestingly, airplane crews even send secret messages through the “Fasten Your Seatbelt” signs. Depending on the number of flashes and dings, pilots can communicate to the flight attendants that there are some bumpy skies ahead (three dings), takeoff or landing is imminent (two dings), or even just that they would like a cup of coffee. Not a bad job perk.

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