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Can pilots go to the bathroom during a flight?

Pilot reveals what happens after you flush on a plane: ‘Grounds crew deserves a raise’

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December 28, 2022 1:37pm
December 28, 2022 1:38pm

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As if the recent wave of cancelled flights wasn’t crappy enough…

A pilot named Garrett has gone viral on TikTok after giving the scoop on what happens to the poop after you flush an airplane toilet.

“When your on an airplane and you gotta go, where does it go?,” said Garrett, 29, based in Dallas, Tex., in his trending No.2 tell-all, which stockpiled a massive 3.9 million views.

“Did you know that whenever you flush the toilet on an aircraft it actually doesn’t dump out into the population down below?,” he continued. “It goes through plumbing to the rear of the aircraft in the seal compartments, where the grounds crew at the destination will remove all that waste.”

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An airline pilot named Garrett is revealing the truth about what happens to poop after passengers flush an airplane toilet.

Contrary to popular belief, rather than fall from the plane and onto people's heads, the waste is stored in the aircraft's plumbing system until the plane lands.

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Captain Garrett said that a 747 aircraft can hold over 320 gallons of human waste during a flight.

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Garrett, who regales his over 483,800 social media followers with his piloting prowess and kooky aircraft facts, went on to reveal that a toilet on a Boeing 747 can be flushed over one thousand times and can hold more than 320 gallons of excrement.

His potty tea struck viral circulation amid the ongoing flight cancellation crisis that’s plagued travelers during the holiday season.

Southwest Airlines most notoriously canceled over 2,600 flights this week, owing to outdated scheduling systems and a deadly winter storm that coincided with heavy staffing issues.

And according to flight delay and cancellation statistics site FlightAware, a staggering 4,471 flights across a number of airlines have been canceled on Wednesday.

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Thousands of holiday travelers have been left stranded in airports after a number of airlines have arbitrarily cancelled flights.

Southwest Airlines has been called out for cancelling more than 2,600 flights due to the weather, staffing issues and an outdated scheduling system.

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According to flight delay and cancellation site FlightAware, over 4400 flights have been cancelled Wednesday.

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However, neither the crappy traveling circumstances nor the truth about airplane poop seem to be troubling the majority of pilot Garrett’s TikTok followers — mostly because they’re too mesmerized by the fly guy’s good looks.

“Sorry, I didn’t pay attention to anything you said, I was too busy admiring your beauty,” confessed one awestruck viewer.

“Yes, you can be my pilot anytime,” gushed another.

“What airline do you fly for… I suddenly feel like traveling,” a separate but equally saucy commenter penned.

Others, however, confessed to believing that mid-air waste was expelled from the plane and onto the unsuspecting public.

Social media watchers were too captivated by captain Garrett

“I always thought it goes down peoples heads,” said one spectator.

“Ok, now I know. I use think it does that down over the sea lol,” copped another.

“Then why did a brown glob fall into my sisters car through her sunroof?,” questioned a skeptic.

Meanwhile, one noted their newfound appreciation for airline staff: “Grounds crew deserves a raise.”

How Do Fighter Pilots Pee While Flying?

The key is to anticipate times when you’ll have a few minutes of straight and level flight.

As a fighter pilot, one of the most common questions I get is: How do you go to the bathroom in an F-16 or F-35? Let me start off by describing the cockpit.

A cockpit in a modern fighter is an engineering masterpiece. An incredible amount of effort goes into allowing us to interface with the aircraft. In fact, as pilots, we don’t say we’re climbing into the jet; rather, we call it strapping the jet on our back, because it feels like you and the aircraft become one entity. All the buttons and controls surround your body, allowing you to quickly react to an adversary.

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Data is displayed throughout our field-of-view starting in the helmet with true augmented reality, then extending to screens in front of us, and finally to an instrument console between our legs. We have an unprecedented amount of situational awareness, however, the tradeoff is there’s no room for a bathroom.

Now, typically in training, our flights are less than an hour and a half. As long as you don’t drink too much coffee before a flight, it’s generally not a problem. However, in combat, I’ve flown missions as long as 8 hours; crossing the Atlantic, I was airborne for over 10 hours. For these missions, I used what we as pilots affectionately call, piddle-packs.

Piddle-packs are the ultimate long road trip solution. They are specially shaped bags with absorbent beads in them. If we have to relieve ourselves, we’ll unzip the flight suit—which is designed to unzip from the top as well as the bottom—unroll the piddle pack, and then pee into it. Once done, we’ll seal the top, while the absorbent beads turn it into a gel that won’t leak during hard maneuvering.

While the concept is simple, it takes time to become proficient at it. Imagine driving a car while unwrapping a bag and peeing into it while staying in your lane and avoiding traffic. Now take that and amplify it in a 3-dimensional world while flying just under the speed of sound with an enemy that’s potentially trying to shoot you down.

The key is to anticipate times when you’ll have a few minutes of straight and level flight. While in Afghanistan, I would typically use the time it took to travel to the tanker. This allowed me to finish up before I got to the tanker, refuel, and then gather situational awareness while I was returning to the fight.

Because it’s a task-saturating event and difficult to maintain formation or answer radio calls, we’ll use the brevity term “racehorse” to let our wingmen know we’re busy for the next few minutes. This allows them to pick up the slack and minimize extraneous talking until we’re done.

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Since I’ve been in the Air Force, a number of devices have been developed to make the process easier—particularly for women. I’ve never flown with any of them, but they usually involve an undergarment with a jockstrap that is attached to a vacuum. When the pilot needs to pee, they turn on the vacuum and relieve themselves without having to unzip. While the process is simpler, for me, the upfront preparation, along with the added weight and complexity of a vacuum, have made the cost greater than the benefit.

As for your follow-up question, how do you go number 2? The answer is, you don’t.

Justin Lee is an active duty U.S. Air Force F-35 Joint Strike Fighter pilot. Lee has earned four Air Medals over the span of more than 400 hours of combat flight time throughout his eight+ years at the stick of the F-16 Fighting Falcon and F-35, and now he’s bringing his unique insight to the audio world with his incredible new podcast, “The Professionals Playbook.”

This article first appeared on Sandboxx News.

Image: U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Jeffrey Allen / Released

Southwest flight attendant alleges 2 pilots livestreamed video from inside plane bathroom

The airline said it does not place cameras in the bathrooms of its planes, and attorneys for the pilots denied in court that they engaged in livestreaming from any plane’s restrooms.

Southwest pilots accused of secretly filming from hidden bathroom camera

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Oct. 26, 2019, 8:27 PM UTC / Updated Oct. 26, 2019, 10:59 PM UTC

A flight attendant for Southwest Airlines is alleging in a lawsuit that two pilots streamed live video from inside an airplane bathroom to an iPad in the cockpit.

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Renee Steinaker, of Maricopa County, Arizona, claims in her lawsuit against Southwest and the two pilots that she discovered a livestream from a plane’s restroom in February 2017 during a flight from Pittsburgh to Phoenix.

The suit, filed in October 2018 in federal court for the District of Arizona and amended in June, alleges that Steinaker’s privacy was invaded by the hidden camera, she endured emotional distress after learning of the livestream, and her managers retaliated against her when she reported the video to the airline.

Southwest said it will vigorously defend the lawsuit.

«When the incident happened two years ago, we investigated the allegations and addressed the situation with the crew involved,» the company said through a spokesperson Saturday. «We can confirm from our investigation that there was never a camera in the lavatory; the incident was an inappropriate attempt at humor which the company did not condone.»

According to Steinaker’s suit, the pilot of the plane, Capt. Terry Graham, asked Steinaker to come into the cockpit so he could use the bathroom. Per the airline company’s policy, two employees have to be in the cockpit at all times.

When the pilot left, Steinaker saw «an iPad mounted to the windshield left of the captain’s seat» and noticed that it was showing a livestream of the bathroom, the suit states. When the pilot entered the bathroom, his image came up on the screen.

The co-pilot, Ryan Russell, could see the iPad from where he was sitting, according to the lawsuit.

Steinaker confronted the co-pilot about the video, and he allegedly told her that cameras were in the bathrooms on the plane but were hidden «so that no one would ever find it.» He also alleged that the cameras were a new security measure and that they had been installed in many Southwest planes, Steinaker’s lawsuit claims.

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Steinaker did not believe the co-pilot and took a picture of the iPad so she could report the incident. When the pilot returned to the cockpit and realized she saw the iPad, he allegedly tried to hide it from her.

The lawsuit claims Steinaker «became physically ill at the recognition» that the pilots had «watched and possibly recorded her disrobing and using the toilet.» She was also concerned for the «passengers including children who had utilized the lavatory,» it states.

After the plane landed in Phoenix, Steinaker reported the incident to Southwest and was told that it would be investigated but that no disciplinary action was taken against the pilot and co-pilot. They continue to fly for the airline company, according to the suit.

«As a result of the invasion of her privacy, Plaintiff Renee Steinaker has been damaged,» the suit states. «She was unable to work for several days, sought counseling and continues to have physical, emotional and mental injuries as a result of the incident.»

An attorney representing both the pilot and co-pilot did not immediately return a request for comment.

In court, attorneys for the pilots have denied that the two engaged in livestreaming the lavatory, Arizona Central reported. Court filings also deny that the two violated any airline policy or protocol.

Since reporting the incident, Steinaker alleges that she has been «stalked and monitored» by Southwest managers and has been subjected to an increased number of performance audits.

Southwest Airlines denied it places cameras in the bathrooms of its plane.

«The safety and security of our Employees and Customers is Southwest’s uncompromising priority. As such, Southwest does not place cameras in the lavatories of our aircraft,» the airline said in a statement.

Minyvonne Burke is a senior breaking news reporter for NBC News.

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