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  • - The most important question.

  • Number one: Do you think pilots are cool?

  • - Yes.

  • - All right, we're gonna get along.

  • (TJ laughs)

  • (upbeat music)

  • - Hi, my name is TJ, and I'm nine years old.

  • - [Producer] TJ, have you ever met a pilot?

  • - I've been to Hawaii twice, but I've never seen a pilot.

  • - [Producer] Are you excited?

  • - Yes.

  • - Hi, I'm James, and I've been a pilot

  • since I was 17 years old.

  • I got my license when I was in high school.

  • I've always wanted to fly ever since I was a kid.

  • I'm an 80s kid, so watching the movie Top Gun,

  • as soon as I saw the planes in that movie,

  • I just decided that I wanted to start flying.

  • When I was a kid, I don't really know

  • how much I knew about airplanes.

  • I just knew that they flew, I didn't really know how.

  • But I knew that I wanted to learn how they flew.

  • Hi, I'm James, what's your name?

  • - TJ.

  • - TJ, nice to meet you.

  • - Nice to meet you, too.

  • - How do you think that airplanes actually fly?

  • - I think they fly because of the engine they have.

  • They have this race car steering wheel thing.

  • - (laughs) Oh yeah, okay.

  • - [TJ] Yeah, and then they pull it,

  • and then they just slowly drift up.

  • So when they go down, the wheels help it slow down

  • for the plane to land to that area.

  • - So when a plane is taking off, how do you think

  • the plane actually lifts off the ground?

  • Like, when birds fly, what do they use?

  • - They use their wings.

  • - Right, so what do you think a plane uses?

  • - Their wings.

  • - There you go, so wings combined with.

  • - Air.

  • - [James] And speed, right?

  • - Mm-hm.

  • - [James] So as a plane's going faster and faster,

  • it generates more and more lift with the wings,

  • and the air going over the wings,

  • it actually creates the lift that lets the plane take off.

  • - The first airplane to take off

  • was in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.

  • - Oh, oh, you know that already.

  • - [TJ] And then everyone was like,

  • "You know what, let's copy Kitty Hawk."

  • And they'll just fly planes everywhere.

  • - (laughs) December 17th 1903 is when they first flew.

  • Do you know how long they flew for?

  • - Three seconds.

  • (incorrect buzzer sound)

  • - Twelve second, close.

  • - Oh, and I read that airplanes,

  • like when they're flying from like Iceland

  • to like New Zealand, they need way more fuel.

  • - [James] They do, they do.

  • - [TJ] Because it's gonna be a really long flight.

  • - It is a long flight.

  • - Like 16 hours.

  • - Sixteen hours.

  • Do you know how long the longest flight ever was?

  • - A week.

  • - A week? (laughs) - Over a week.

  • The longest flight was about 19 hours.

  • - Nineteen hours?

  • - That's a long time to be on a plane, yeah.

  • - That's nothing!

  • - Nothing?

  • - That's nothing!

  • - Nineteen hours?

  • What would you do on a plane for 19 hours?

  • Would you watch a lot of movies?

  • - Or I'm just gonna get my papers and,

  • "Hey, can I sign your autograph, pilot?"

  • - (laughs) You could.

  • So how fast do you think planes

  • are flying when they're in the sky?

  • How fast do you think, like, commercial airlines fly?

  • - A hundred and thirty-five.

  • - A little more.

  • - A hundred forty.

  • - (laughs) It's about 500.

  • - Five hundred?

  • - Between 500, average 500-550 miles an hour

  • is about how fast planes fly when they're up in the sky.

  • - What if, like, the shortest flight

  • was like three seconds?

  • Like, Prospera to San Francisco,

  • like, ding, we're here.

  • - Yep, yep, so how high do you think the planes fly?

  • - Above 125, above clouds.

  • - A hundred twenty-five feet?

  • - Meters.

  • - Meters?

  • Oh, gosh, I don't know meters (laughs).

  • Most airlines fly between 30 to 40,000 feet, on average.

  • - I once had this dream that we were flying a plane,

  • and then we were above Seattle, but next door

  • was Beijing, China, it was so weird.

  • - Next door?

  • That's a quick flight to China.

  • Can you see yourself being a pilot?

  • Do you wanna fly planes?

  • - Kind of.

  • - Yeah you do, I know you do.

  • - Yeah, I do.

  • - [James] Have you ever been up in a smaller plane?

  • - I don't think so.

  • - No? - I don't think so.

  • - You should do it, it's fun.

  • What do you think the difference is

  • between the really big planes and the little ones?

  • - I think I can see the difference because of the wheels.

  • Like, the wheels are like, I'd say, like this tiny.

  • Yeah, and then, it's like bigger than you.

  • - Yeah, on the big planes.

  • - Yeah.

  • - Also, the engines, too, right?

  • So this one's got a propeller.

  • A lot of the smaller planes are propeller-driven,

  • whereas the big planes you fly are.

  • - Big engines.

  • - Jet engines, big jet engines, yep.

  • - I'd say, like, they're the size of like 300 meters.

  • - Three hundred meters?

  • You like meters, don't you?

  • - Yeah, I see this guy like having these two sticks

  • and then like, doing like, those signals.

  • - Yeah, the guy, that's the ramp agent.

  • So he basically tells you keep coming forward.

  • There's a bunch of different motions

  • that mean different things, like turn left, turn right,

  • and then the cross means stop.

  • So you know how there's a lot of traffic

  • in LA and the 405 and all that?

  • - [TJ] Yeah.

  • - How do you think traffic is organized in the sky?

  • How do you think we don't run into each other?

  • - I think it has something to do with like, the speed.

  • - [James] Okay.

  • - So, I think when another airplane goes by,

  • you have to slow down, and then it's like (squeaking noise).

  • - Yep, actually, when you're flying, it's actually

  • really hard to see other planes, 'cause the sky's so big.

  • Have you ever heard of air traffic control?

  • - No.

  • - No, okay, so it's these people at the airport.

  • So, have you ever seen those big towers

  • with the glass windows all around it?

  • Inside those glass towers, there's

  • a bunch of people with radios on.

  • We have radios as well.

  • And so we're talking back and forth,

  • we're letting the air traffic controllers

  • know where we are, and where we're going.

  • Okay, so when we're flying, you know,

  • we're really up high in the sky.

  • When you look out, you can't really see anything.

  • So how do you think we know where we're going?

  • - They use a GDP.

  • - GDP.

  • - (laughs) I mean, GDP, GPS!

  • - There you go, GPS, very cool.

  • What do you think pilots used before GPS?

  • Because GPS is relatively new.

  • - They used a map.

  • - There you go, a map, very good.

  • We used maps and also, this is a,

  • what's called a VFR chart.

  • - [TJ] Whoa.