Watching the Nats game this evening, I see that Southwest Airlines is announcing that starting November 1 it will serve Milwaulkee. 

This got me idly wondering:  What kind of pilot preparation is necessary before a commercial carrier starts hauling passengers to a given city?  I mean, I know that what with all the computerization the planes can practically land themselves and that at a certain level one airport is the same as another, but are pilots required to do some practice runs to a new destination before they’re let loose with the paying customers?  You know, to familiarize themselves with the place?

I ask this in particular given that my own home hub (National Airport in Dee Cee) has a particularly tricky, sort of giant slalom glide slope for planes landing from the north.  A number of years ago I read an article in the Wall Street Journal about seat-of-the-pants landings at National that I must admit did not fill me with much of a sense of confidence.

(By the way, here’s a curiosity:  The airport is now o-fficially names Ronald Reagan National Airport.  As much as I love the Gipper, I’ve never been able to make myself adopt this modification, which went into effect about, what, five years ago or so.) 

Anyhoo, musing on this pilot training question brought to mind another of my old favorite YouTubes: