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Question: What are the rules for pilots about restroom breaks? Can a pilot leave the cockpit to use the facilities?

-- submitted by reader Jess L., Indianapolis

Answer: There are very strict protocols for a pilot to use the lavatory during flight. This ensures that security considerations are mitigated while meeting the physiological needs of the pilots. Yes, pilots can leave the flight deck to use the lavatory.

Q: Dear Captain Cox, I once heard that personal conversation between pilots is very restricted in the cockpit during flight, is this true?

-- Mark Sikora, Denver

Answer: Yes, conversation below 10,000 feet is restricted to issues directly related to operating the airplane. No non-pertinent conversation is permitted by the FAA.

In recent years the National Transportation Safety Board has increasingly scrutinized crews involved in accidents or incidents for compliance with this rule.

Q: Now that people are no longer allowed in the cockpit during flight, do pilots miss the kids coming in to break the monotony, or was it always a bit of a burden?

-- Monica Pittsburgh

A: I always enjoyed seeing the look of wonder in kid's eyes when they first see the cockpit. It reminded me of when I was a kid. Kids were never a burden to me.

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