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Human Element Range Extender

Long long ago, when I was 23 years old and in my first year of law school, I flew to the beach for a weekend with another couple. Our female guest spent the day Sunday by the pool, drinking beer (or was it wine?). So as we flew back at around 9pm Sunday evening, at 8,000 feet and an hour out of Birmingham, the young lady announced that she positively desperately needed a pit stop. I tried to see if she could hold out for another hour, but the answer was clearly no. So we descended to an airport somewhere in Georgia and landed. There was no tower, no traffic, no one there, and no open building, so we just stopped right at the end of the runway and let her take care of her business in the grass. She hopped back in, and off we went to continue our journey home.

So getting into the real nitty gritty of flying in small planes, this brings us to the question of what to do when nature calls, since there is no bathroom on N881RJ. First off, it is useful to schedule legs of only two to three hours between stops on any trip. It’s nice to walk around, stretch your legs, buy some fuel, and yes, use the facilities. But for those times when you just gotta go, someone years ago invented what pilots call the “Human Element Range Extender”. Here’s a photo of one that is marketed today by online pilot shops under the clever name of “Little John” (forget the snide remarks concerning my name). It is a useful gadget to have in the plane and there have been times when I have needed one and used it. I’m sure I have one packed away with old aviation stuff, but I’m not sure where it has ended up, and I’ll be ordering one for the plane.

As for the ladies, someone cleverly invented an adapter that goes on the top of the bottle to make life a little easier for women, and it is called the “Lady J Adapter”. You go girl. I assume that “Lady J” means a ladies John, but it should have been named for my guest on that trip years ago, who required our unscheduled stop at the remote airfield in Georgia. Her name was Patsy, and if it was named for her, it would have been called the “Lady P” adapter, a far more appropriate name for the device.

And so what about privacy when using one of these range extenders? Well, there is none unless you just get under a blanket or something. Travel in small planes only with good friends. Put the women in the back seats. There’s no curtain, but there’s also no rear-view mirror. Best real advice: don’t drink anything for about an hour before the flight and until you only have an hour to go before landing.

And now that this is covered, we can go back to discussing the more interesting aspects of flying, which I promise to get into in the next installment.

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Reader Comments (3)

Makes me laugh....a few years ago i had to fly in a "puddle jumper" from Phx. to Yuma, AZ. I made the mistake of having a couple of BIG beers while waiting, not knowing the 17 seat plane scheduled for us had no restroom, the usual plane for the route was a 33 passenger with facilities. Of course the plane taxied around the runways for what seemed like an hour. I had to "go" before we even got off the ground. Luckily after we were airborn, no one was seated next to me and the plane was dark. Has to resort to the "barf bag" to take care of business, while "hiding" under my coat....Lesson Learned" !!!!!
My wife still laughs at me when we get on a small plane.

March 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDoug Smith

When you gotta go, you gotta go. Next time carry a H.E.R.E. with you.

March 10, 2013 | Registered CommenterJohn Samford

I can tell you that we did not find your old one on the boat. BTW, nice little airport right here on Hilton Head, if you need another short hop to dust off your IFR approach skills... some great restaurants here, too.

March 14, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSean

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