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Flights grounded, Thai Airways pilot becomes Grab driver

Some pilots are spending more time on the ground these days due to the pandemic-induced travel restrictions. One Thai Airways pilot is using his time away from the air to get to know the traffic on the ground as a Grab driver.

“The sky is closed,” pilot Mahesak Wongpa wrote on Facebook in a post sharing his story about becoming a Grab driver. Wahesak says he needed to do something useful in his spare time. While driving a car for Grab makes less money than flying a plane, Mahesak says being a Grab driver has a “very high moral value.”

And he’s not the only one. Read HERE andHERE.

On his first day, he drove for 3 hours and picked up 5 customers, earning around 500 baht that day. He messed up a bit at first, going the wrong way and then needing to turn the car around (we’re glad to report he didn’t do the same thing when flying with Thai Airways!).

At first he was worried. Mahesak says he thought “What will people think of a pilot now working as a grab driver? Will people insult my driving? ” But now he says the experience has been rewarding and he’s been able to step out of his comfort zone.

“Don’t think too long. Step out of your comfort zone and do it.”

SOURCE: Facebook

This post was last modified on November 12, 2020 8:52 pm

Caitlin Ashworth

Caitlin Ashworth is a writer from the United States who has lived in Thailand since 2018. She graduated from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and media studies in 2016. She was a reporter for the Daily Hampshire Gazette In Massachusetts. She also interned at the Richmond Times-Dispatch in Virginia and Sarasota Herald-Tribune in Florida.

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  • Good for him.
    Thais has to accept that although they are very highly qualified in Thai terms, basically they are Grab drivers.
    If being a Grab river is too much for him, he could become a scavenger roaming the streets with a big box on wheels.
    Flying an aircraft is so easy now the pilot can sit back and let a computer take off and land the aircraft.

    • If flying is so easy why don't you give it a try. There are NO aircraft that are certified to take-off via computer, and although most modern commercial aircraft are CAT III Autoland capable very few airports can support it. There's only one in Thailand. Plus, the aircraft does extensive system self checks prior to the approach, if anything is amiss then it's time to hand fly it.

      • I have a friend who has over 25k hours on widebody public transport aircraft,he is also ex hm queen flying club,reckon he might know a thing or two about this.

        He informs me that most of the world's major airports ils's are indeed up to auto land standards the aircraft and crew are also cerified and current for auto land procedures.
        they do indeed sit there like a pair of monkeys and watch the thing land itself.

        most airlines standard operating procedures forbid hand flying in normal circumstances and it has been that way for many many years.

        Most take offs are semi automatic also,engage auto throttle press the toga button and away you go.

        If no auto land facility is available you just disconnect the autopilot at decision altitude and the plane lands itself anyway.

        That's why it's called Glide slope.

        Visual,circle to land,localiser back courses,and non precision approaches (pilot interpred let downs using raw data)went out in the 1970's.

        You do not require one hours flying experience to know any of this.

        Get yourself a copy of Microsoft flight sim and you can easily find it all out for yourself.

        • "If no auto land facility is available you just disconnect the autopilot at decision altitude and the plane lands itself anyway." Think about what you just said, "disconnect the autopilot" how is the airplane going to land itself?

          Also, "engage auto throttle", auto throttle controls only the thrust of the engines, it doesn't fly the departure. Even when flying the departure, which isn't engaged until well after take-off, on auto-pilot it only fly's what is input into it with regards to heading and altitude. Even with a Standard Instrument Departure (SID) the pilot still fly's it either by hand or auto-pilot manual input, the auto-pilot does not have autonomous control of the aircraft.

          "Visual,circle to land,localiser back courses,and non precision approaches (pilot interpred let downs using raw data)went out in the 1970’s." A quick look at approach plates on google shows these approaches still in effect and are taught and tested on in Instrument courses.

          I would love to see your friends logbook, 25,000+ hours in wide-body aircraft. Next to impossible. I personally have 15,000+ hours in all types since 1971, I'm a CFII, ATP and A&P and I don't have a single hour flying Microsoft Sim.

          • Quite a few CX A scalers have 25k plus hours mainly on l1011's and 744s.
            FAA ATP driver of your level of knowledge should know that.

          • Well could you find your way driving for Grab?
            You would not have a bank of instruments in front of you and a co pilot . . .
            Plus you would not have an airport tower warning you of upcoming hazards.

      • Well I did very well on the flight simulators on a computer.
        Seemed easy. No reverse. No left and right indicators. No handbrake. No horns to use.
        No gears to change. No wing mirrors to check.
        An automatic pilot to fly straight and level. A pilot can fly without using the steering wheel. And there are two pilots to fly the aircraft!
        If piloting is so hard, and pilots are so good, how did one become lost while driving a Grab car?
        I could have been a pilot, but I never really wanted to bother.

        • Add to add insult to injury he was lost in his home town!
          I would not trust him to fly a kite.
          Then to seal the deal the deal you go to the press and air it to the world.
          Perhaps all Thais aircraft being recycled into beer cans is not such a bad idea after all.
          What an absolute plank.

  • Absolutely correct,he does not have hal to do all the work for him anymore,that's why he got lost on day one.
    Will also have to board brief and disembark the pax himself from now on.
    500 baht for a couple of hours driving does not sound to bad to me.

  • Good luck to him .He has not sit on his backside feeling sorry for himself but took a positive step to make the best out of a bad situation

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