I Want To Fly A Helicopter, Not Look At A Bunch Of Crazy Dials

Top Headlines



Tips For Traveling With Young Children

Family vacations can be a time for bonding and building lasting memories, but when young children are involved, trips can also be stressful to plan and execute. Here are The Onion’s tips for traveling with kids

Tips For Cheaper Airfare

Whether the busy travel season, fuel prices, or airline collusion is to blame, airfare is currently very pricey, making traveling more difficult. The Onion walks you through some ways to reduce the cost of flying

Keeping Your Possessions Safe While Traveling

Traveling during the summer can be fun and exhilarating, but nothing ruins a trip like getting your possessions stolen. Whether you’re hiking, road-tripping, or relaxing at a resort, here are some tips for making sure your items are safe during your travels:

Parents Worried Children Old Enough To Remember Family Vacation

YOUNGSTOWN, OH—Fearing that their kids’ impressions of the experience could quite possibly remain with them for the rest of their lives, parents Joel and Bethany Weyandt told reporters Tuesday they are worried their children are old enough to remember the details of their recent family vacation.

Child Visiting Ellis Island Sees Where Grandparents Once Toured

ELLIS ISLAND, NY—Pausing to imagine the throngs of people who must have arrived with them that day back in 1994, 12-year-old Max Bertrand reportedly spent his visit to Ellis Island this afternoon walking around the same immigrant station his grandparents once toured.

Spring Break Safety Tips

Spring break is an opportunity for many college students to travel, party, and make memories with their friends, but it can also lead to problems if people aren’t careful.

People Apparently Been Using Rest Stop Barbecue Pit

GREENVILLE, SC—Scrutinizing the ashes of charcoal briquettes inside the weathered firebox, motorist Matt Palmeri reportedly deduced Thursday that people traveling southbound along Interstate 85 have apparently been using the rest stop’s barbec...

Florida Resort Allows Guests To Swim With Miami Dolphins

MIAMI—Describing it as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get up close to the majestic mammals, visitors to Paradise Cove Resort raved to reporters Thursday about the hotel’s new program that allows guests to swim with the Miami Dolphins.

Humble Ascetic Declines In-Flight Beverage Service

NEW YORK—Choosing to fast in an apparent attempt to reach an elevated plane of existence, humble ascetic Jonathan Weaver declined the complimentary snack and beverage service during his flight from New York to Atlanta, sources confirmed Wednesday.

Last-Minute Holiday Travel Tips

Whether you’re rerouting canceled flights or changing destinations on the fly, nothing can be more stressful during the holidays than making travel arrangements at the last minute.

New National Park Caters To Business Travelers

PAICINES, CA—Hoping to encourage more busy professionals to visit America’s scenic natural areas, the Department of Interior announced this week the opening of Pinnacles National Park Express, the first federally designated preserve geared spe...

Area Mom Raving About Phoenix Airport

AURORA, IL—Noting its impressive collection of shops, restaurants, and transit options during a phone call with her daughter, local mother Carol Wingfield expressed her admiration for Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport in the strongest terms, ...

Busch Gardens Unveils New 9,600-Mile-Long Endurance Coaster

TAMPA, FL—Marking a bold new direction in amusement ride innovation, representatives from Busch Gardens officially opened a 9,600-mile-long mega-coaster Thursday designed to push the limits of human endurance. According to park officials, the Stamin...

Dad Clarifies This Not A Food Stop

DENTON, TX—Stressing that they were there solely to purchase gasoline and use the bathroom if necessary, area dad Mike Whitcomb clarified while pulling into a travel plaza Thursday that this was not a food stop.

Planning The Perfect Road Trip

With summer fast approaching, many people are planning long car trips to visit tourist attractions, see old friends, or simply hit the open road.

Visit Home Referred To As Vacation By Parents

PINE BLUFF, AR—Telling their son he should take it easy because he deserves it, the parents of 26-year-old Austin, TX resident Jason Gibney referred to the time he spent visiting his family in Arkansas over the Easter weekend as a vacation, househol...

Pilot Tells Passengers He’s About To Try Something

SAN FRANCISCO—Midway through American Airlines flight 1544’s journey from San Francisco to Dallas Monday, pilot Mark Dams asked passengers to please remain seated and fasten their seat belts for a minute while he tries something real quick.

The Onion’s Tips For Traveling Over The Holidays

You never know when you’ll get stranded at an airport or train station, so make sure you don’t go hungry by packing two large burlap sacks full of steak meat and apples. Exchange knowing glances with the TSA agent. You’re one of the goo...

Germ-Free Haven!

Tired of trying to stay clean all the time? Try this completely germ-free dwelling in the heart of the Arctic Circle, where no germs can survive!

Under The Porch

Listen to the soothing sounds of conversations with people who don’t know you can hear them while sitting on an old tarp near some cinderblocks.

A Tent In The Backyard!

Why can’t I just camp out in the backyard? Come on, it’s warm enough! Jared could stay over and we won’t be too loud.

San Francisco: The City By The Bay

This one-of-a-kind place offers food, sites, and people specific to it. There are ways to get alcohol and beds to sleep in at night, and the weather may be favorable depending on when you visit.

SeaWorld To Discontinue Great White Shark Ride

ORLANDO, FL—Citing flagging popularity and recurrent technical problems over the attraction’s 10-year run, SeaWorld Orlando announced that it will permanently shutter its great white shark ride, officials for the theme park announced Tuesday.

Everyone On Flight Annoyed By Screaming Kid Rock

LOS ANGELES—Passengers on flight 657 from Detroit to Los Angeles confirmed Wednesday that the trip was repeatedly disrupted by the noisy and obnoxious behavior of an annoying Kid Rock seated in the fifth row.

STD Had Awesome Time On Spring Break

PANAMA CITY, FL—Following a weeklong vacation in Florida, local sexually transmitted disease gonorrhea announced it had an awesome time during this year’s spring break.

Albany Bucket Museum

Learn about the history of buckets with a self-guided tour through the museum's four fascinating exhibits, then sit down and watch the hourly documentary about buckets and their role in winning America's independence.


Let’s go! Come on, it’ll be fun. Have you ever been to the Lucky Star Lanes? They turn on a bunch of neon lights and play disco music after 9!
End Of Section
  • More News
Up Next
TV Listings
Just Like Everything Else!: Fox 8 p.m. EDT/7 p.m. ABC Pete's wife is still on him about building that darn shed, these kids are going to be the death of Sheila and Dave, and the hot next-door neighbor is up in EVERYBODY'S business! Sunday nights on ABC couldn't be any more familiar!

Special Coverage


Election 2016



I Want To Fly A Helicopter, Not Look At A Bunch Of Crazy Dials

Okay, so since time began, man has dreamed of flight, right? I know I have. I've always wanted to swoop between the mountains and hang suspended high above the earth and all that jazz. So naturally, I decided to try my hand at flying a helicopter. But here's the problem: Everyone makes such a damn big deal out of operating one. I want to fly a helicopter, not look at a bunch of crazy dials.

You know what man has not dreamed of since time immemorial? Keeping an eye on his H-over-G indicator. Cavemen did not look to the hawks in the heavens and wonder about their approximate yaw angle, whatever the hell that is. Old Orville and Wilbur sure as hell didn't dream about zeroing the VOR needle for bearing correction—I'll tell you that for free. So why in hell is some instructor screaming at the top of his lungs for me to look down at the console when I'm in the middle of trying to avoid crashing into a barn?! Something tells me there's no barn-missing meter down there!

A helicopter has about 40 different instruments. I suppose there's a chance that I'll be curious about a couple of them someday, but for now, they're just getting in the way of the view. In fact, all that blinky-blinky nonsense seems downright dangerous.

In the Bell Jet Ranger, I had to sit on a couple of extra cushions, because otherwise, the airspeed indicator and the artificial horizon were right in front of my face! Isn't it more important for me to see the real horizon? For one thing, it'd help me figure out the damn helicopter speed—one thing they don't have a dial for!

Half of these dials don't even mean anything. What's "ROTOR ANGLE/ATTACK" supposed to stand for? Am I really expected to know what the "COLLECTIVE DEG INCL" is at all times? You can tell me all the scary stories you want, but I doubt old Icarus fell to his death by ignoring his "MANIFOLD PRESS/TEMP IN/HG." All those dials just jump around like crazy, with no rhyme or reason.

And if "LBS FUEL PAYLOAD L/R" is supposed to be some sort of gas gauge, it should read "E" to "F" instead of displaying a bunch of arbitrary numbers that go all jangle-dangle when I'm having fun with the stick. And when's the last time anyone ran out of gas, anyway? Everyone knows that there's always a few gallons left, even when the needle's pegged.

Hey, if it would make everyone feel better, I guess I could choose one meter and look at it whenever there's nothing to do. We'll compromise: I choose a go-to meter; you bite your tongue. Having a hot-read meter wouldn't be so bad, anyway, so long as it didn't interfere with the serious business of flying around and swooping.

But I wouldn't want to let it get in the way of just plain hovering. Because I don't want to be futzing with some meter when I'm trying to do the hovering-around-in-the-air thing I love.

Come on, there's a lot to look at when you're flying. Things are spinning around and coming right at you, and the helicopter seems to have a mind of its own. And then there's the crazy-ass instructor, hollering and grabbing at things and telling you everything except how to deal with the telephone poles that keep popping up right in front of you. I can't wait to go solo. It's hard to soar with the eagles when you're scratching with the chickens!

Seriously, how important could all those dials be? It seems like any problem would come with a lot of smoke, which I'd smell, or a loud explosion or shrieking metal sound, which I'd hear. Or by a bunch of landscape right in front of my field of vision. If any of that happened, it'd be too late anyway.

Flying a copter isn't for the faint of heart. Those loud warning buzzers that start up 30 seconds into your flight will drive you crazy. Sometimes, you get so turned around, you can barely say which way's up.

Given how hard it all is to start with, I really don't see why they have to go and complicate things more with a bunch of dials, buttons, lights, and levers. The next guy can futz with those things all he wants; I, for one, am ready to fly.

Travel Video