NOT TO WORRY: I Will Be Talking You Through Landing This Plane

Rob Kutner
How Pants Work
Published in
3 min readAug 5, 2020


THIS plane.

Now Nancy, I know this is scary: You, the sole passenger conscious enough to attempt to land a 747, but with nothing more than 1 ¾ years of periodontal school training. Me, the only guy they could get on the phone because it’s a holiday weekend that also happens to be my ex’s with the kids (a.k.a., mine with Jose Cuervo). We’re going to do this, Nancy!

The first, and most essential secret to landing a plane: Breathe. They don’t tell you that in those fancy “academies de aviation,” do they? Fortunately, instead you’ve got me, valedictorian of the school of “sky smarts.”

Identify the pilot and co-pilot. Eliminate the possibility that one of them is just fake-sleeping, by announcing, “Guess I’ll just have to eat all these fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies ALL BY MYSELF!”

Next, take a good 10 minutes looking around the cockpit. Not to get your bearings. Just to be like, “Whew! If you’re an airline pilot, this is totally your office!” Ain’t the world a hoot?

Examine all the flight controls. Do you see a button that reads, “DROP PLANE SUDDENLY OUT OF SKY?” Do not push that one.

There should be an “INTERCOM” button for communicating with the passengers. You won’t need that. What are you going to do, rouse them out of their gas-leak stupor just to say, “Hey folks, this is your Captain from the Flight Deck, just wanted to let you know that you may never see the Grand Canyon again.”

On second thought, that would actually be pretty funny. Do that.

There should be some file folders or documents lying around. See if there’s one titled, “HOW TO LAND A PLANE.” No? Maybe it’s under a different title, like “PLANE-LANDING: HOW TO” or “LANDING PLANES MADE EASY” or “YOU WANT LAND PLANE REAL GOOD, CHIEF? ME BOOK THAT TELL YOU HOW.”

Did you forget to breathe, Nancy? Rookie mistake! NOOB! Oh how I wish I could be up there in that cockpit right now, administering a richly-deserved noogie.

Ever noticed that from 30,000 feet up, everyone below looks like ants? Which is also a reminder that, if you crash this plane, you will kill not only 39 passengers but potentially tens of thousands of ants.

Find the map screen. Does it show the nearest airport or landing strip? You’re on your own here, because my USA map is an orange-stained placemat that mostly focuses on Buffalo Wild Wings locations.

Along the wall there should be a compartment that says “In Case of Emergency, Break Glass.” Go ahead and break that sucker, because you are currently the Mayor of Emergencytown!

DAMNIT, NANCY, don’t forget to BREATHE! Think of this as EXACTLY like childbirth — except depending on how it goes, with potentially the exact opposite result.

Are you a betting woman? Because I think you and I are about to make a wager that will place your life and the lives of 39 passengers on the line. It’s $50 on next week’s Chiefs-Colts game.

Get your final affairs in order. Make contact with your loved ones and ensure that they know exactly how many hours of the night they have to spend in that spooky old house in order to inherit your millions.

See if you can locate a switch labelled AUTO-PILOT. Do not — and I cannot stress this enough — pull the switch, but then have it rip right out of the wall and into your hand, comically.

And finally, and most importantly of all, Nancy… Have you reached out to Jesus? This has nothing to do with Christianity — I just keep reading everywhere that he’s a highly experienced co-pilot.