Pilot's Life is not all glamour

Patrick Smith of Salon explains what items live in his black pilot bag, and the answer is more mundane than you think. Paper, reading material to alleviate long periods of boredom, calculator, etc. No mention of manga Cup of Noodle comics though.

Ask the pilot | Salon Technology On Saturday, Jan. 6, the aviation world was rocked by tragic news. Momofuku Ando died of a heart attack in Japan at age 96. Ando was the inventor of instant ramen noodles.
To understand why this is important, let's begin with a public inventory of a pilot's black leather flight case. Namely, my black leather flight case. I'm often asked what it is that pilots lug around in their mysterious bags, and this is your chance to find out

and according to Mr. Smith, the most important item: ramen noodles...

Finally, and most critically, five packets of Maruchan-brand instant ramen (assorted flavors).

If you fail to grasp why ramen noodles would be an imperative part of my repertoire, you've never been a very hungry and very broke pilot checking into a motel at midnight for an eight-hour layover. There are tastier things to eat, but ramen is cheap, it never goes bad, and its rapid cookability ensures you're rested in time for that 6:30 wakeup call.

The cellophane brick variety is preferable to the kind in Styrofoam cups because it's easier to pack and impervious to damage. Directions: 1) Rinse out the filter basket assembly of your hotel room coffee maker; 2) crush noodle brick into the carafe; 3) partially fill coffee maker with water, and switch on; 4) once carafe is full, wait three minutes; 5) drain carefully, add flavor packet, turn on Comedy Central and enjoy.

Don't overfill, and always be sure the filter basket is clean, as coffee-flavored ramen is even worse than “Creamy Chicken.” Remember to carry a plastic fork (to replace the metal one stolen by the TSA), or you'll be forced to eat with your hands, or by holding two pencils in the shape of chopsticks. (If need be, you will do it, because you're that hungry, and you will feel ashamed about it the next day, when you're exhausted again and wondering if maybe you should have joined a troupe of traveling mimes instead of giving your life to the airlines.)

For a touch of the exotic -- in other words, marginally less pathetic -- spice up your snack with the addition of Huy Fong Foods-brand chili garlic hot sauce, available at most grocery stores. It's the one with the rooster on the bottle. It's true that upscale supermarkets often stock an extensive selection of art ramen, but if you're a commuter pilot making 14 grand a year, it's strictly the five-for-a-dollar brands.

The late Momofuku Ando developed his noodles in the late 1940s during food shortages in postwar Japan. Two years ago, the company he founded, Nissin Food Products, introduced a vacuum-packed ramen for the benefit of Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi on board the U.S. space shuttle Discovery. No word if Nissin ever thought about targeting airline workers, but I can attest to the product's easy adaptability to a life aloft.

Tags: , /, /

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Seth A. published on January 19, 2007 10:02 AM.

Slumber was the previous entry in this blog.

If Only is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.


Powered by Movable Type 4.37