timh4000
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Questions for pilots and FA's-

Fri Jan 18, 2019 2:28 pm

I'm not sure if this Is the right sub forum, so my apologies if it is not and needs to be moved.

For both, how far in advance are your schedules?

Do you tend to stay together in teams, or are you constantly rotated into different teams.

For FA's-- do you recognize passengers often?

For pilot's-- how often do you fly a particular plane? Say you are a 787 driver, and you get whatever tail number, are there little quirks with each one? Or do they all fly more or less identical?

For both, do you prefer shorter flights sometimes taking multiple trips a day, or the longer flights, trans-continental and longer?

For both-- What is your favorite and least favorite part of your profession?

For pilot's--favorite and least favorite aircraft and why?

Please don't feel you have to answer every question. Any will be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
 
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Starlionblue
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Re: Questions for pilots and FA's-

Fri Jan 18, 2019 11:48 pm

For both, how far in advance are your schedules?
- We get our roster on the 15th for the coming month (e.g. January 15th for February), but this varies by airline and even between pilots and FAs. I have friends at other airlines who get two months of roster in one go. Having said that, not everything is a complete surprise when you get your roster. E.g. if you have confirmed leave that month you will know at least that part of your roster in advance, or if you've put in a request for a particular layover you have an idea of how likely it is you will get it. Mastering the arcane intricacies of the roster/request/swap/leave systems takes much longer than learning to fly the aircraft. :D

Do you tend to stay together in teams, or are you constantly rotated into different teams.
- There are thousands of us so every trip is different. If we go, say, to London, it will most likely be the same flight crew back, but another cabin crew as they have different rosters. And on the next trip, it is all new faces. You will see particular crewmembers again, but not on a regular basis. Unless you fly often to a destination that has a small crew base, in which case you are likely to see the same guys often. Other variations are if you are yourself on a small base, or constantly request the same destination, you'll see the same faces more often.

For FA's-- do you recognize passengers often?

For pilot's-- how often do you fly a particular plane? Say you are a 787 driver, and you get whatever tail number, are there little quirks with each one? Or do they all fly more or less identical?
- Totally random. There are about 60 planes of "my" types in the fleet. I've flown a few many times and some never. The various A330s have differences because some are "enhanced" and some not, plus a variety of weight variants. There will be small differences in tray tables, microphone and such, but not enough to really make a difference. The A350s are all pretty much identical. You'll see small differences as minor enhancements and fixes are propagated through the fleet over months and years, but that normally doesn't really impact the day to day operation.

For both, do you prefer shorter flights sometimes taking multiple trips a day, or the longer flights, trans-continental and longer?
- This varies by pilot. Some prefer long haul. Some shorter. Some a mix. Longer trips are more "efficient" in terms of hours flown a day, so you get more time off in a block. Plus the rest rules will typically give you more days off after. On the other hand flying through the night for 10-14 hours is very fatiguing, and messes with your body clock. Personally I enjoy long haul, but not too long. ;) I'd rather do a 12-hour flight than a 15-hour one or a 9-hour one, but that depends more on the destination and the particular trip pattern than the exact block time.

For both-- What is your favorite and least favorite part of your profession?
- Most favourite: I don't know if I can point at one particular thing. That moment when a particular skill, e.g. flying an engine-out go-around in the sim, really "clicks" in your brain, is fantastic. I also enjoy the view. :)
- Least favourite: Trying to stay awake at 0300 when all your body wants to do is sleep.

For pilot's--favorite and least favorite aircraft and why?
- I've only flown the A330 and A350. I like the A350 because it is very comfortable, has a spacious cockpit, and a bunk! On the other hand I really enjoy using the A330 MCDU. The A350 MCDU has a more advanced interface but the A330 MCDU is more viscerally satisfying.
I think you'll find that in general, professional pilots like the aircraft that gives them a good roster, pay and lifestyle. We'd all happily fly a Seneca over a 777 if it paid better and gave us more time off. :D
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
Dalmd88
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Re: Questions for pilots and FA's-

Sat Jan 19, 2019 2:06 pm

For FA's-- do you recognize passengers often?

I'm not a FA, but my Mom was a very frequent flyer on a few routes before she retired. She would see the same cabin crews a lot. Being one of the Partners in the firm she usually flew F TPac. Once it was full so she had to book J. The lead FA came up to her after take off and called her by name and said, " I see you are not in F as usual, If the wine selection in J is not to your liking I can bring you something from the F selection." So yes, they notice.

Personally flying as a non rev I've flown up and back on a quick trip and gotten the same cabin crew and they usually comment on it.
 
VSMUT
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Re: Questions for pilots and FA's-

Sat Jan 19, 2019 7:29 pm

For most of these I've seen 3 different models employed by most airlines.

timh4000 wrote:
For both, how far in advance are your schedules?


Most common was 14 days or 1 month prior'ish. They would typically be released around the 1st or 14th in a month. Right now I'm assisting a startup with crew-shortages and an inexperienced ops department, so sometimes we get it only a day in advance - they are improving though, and are slowly beginning to release the roster a month in advance.


timh4000 wrote:
Do you tend to stay together in teams, or are you constantly rotated into different teams.


By far the most common is sticking together for a week, with a few exceptions.


timh4000 wrote:
For pilot's-- how often do you fly a particular plane? Say you are a 787 driver, and you get whatever tail number, are there little quirks with each one? Or do they all fly more or less identical?


At a single-plane startup with just 1 plane you fly the same aircraft on every flight :duck:

Most common was for airlines to swap planes between each flight when we return to the main maintenance base. It was really rare to fly one plane for an entire work-day.

One airline had a really poor model of basing the aircraft at the outstation, and using only one particular aircraft for each route. Maintenance would also be done at the base rather than the hub, with just one permanent engineer at each base.
Example: (Hub in Paris) Aircraft 1 would fly Warzaw-Paris-Warzaw every night, aircraft 2 would do Marseille-Lyon-Paris-Lyon-Marseille, aircraft 3 did Toulouse-Paris-Toulouse etc. If you had a poor engineer at the base (the guy in Warzaw was dreadful), that aircraft would just keep deteriorating and be a nightmare to fly. They couldn't combine the skills of several engineers, aircraft were always exposed to each engineers bad habits and getting spare parts from the central depot took ages :banghead:

Factory-new, all ATRs feel pretty much the same. As they age they start deteriorating. For the -72, the fuselages get bent in different ways, so they won't fly straight. The cables connecting the power levers slip a bit, so the PLs can end up being off by several centimeters. The stiffness of the control cables tend to vary from plane to plane. A well maintained or new plane has light and easy controls, while the worst are so stiff you to wrestle the yoke with 2 hands.


timh4000 wrote:
For both, do you prefer shorter flights sometimes taking multiple trips a day, or the longer flights, trans-continental and longer?


Long flights. Less work, and the destination is typically more interesting.


timh4000 wrote:
For both-- What is your favorite and least favorite part of your profession?


Favorite: Disconnecting the autopilot and visually hand-flying a steep approach in a mountainous valley.

Least: Irish management mentality. They all behave like effin' Michael O'Leary.


timh4000 wrote:
For pilot's--favorite and least favorite aircraft and why?


Super Decathlon > Piper Cub > Cessna 172 > Piper PA-28 > ATR-42 > ATR-72 > Piper Arrow > Piper Seneca

I like light and sporty aircraft that I can throw around and do fun stuff with.
 
747Whale
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Re: Questions for pilots and FA's-

Sat Jan 19, 2019 10:01 pm

I typically get my schedule for the following month by mid-month prior. So for February, I know what I'm doing by mid-January. It's a bid system, meaning we get a schedule of all the options, and then turn in a form marked with our preference as to what we want to do the next month, ranked first to last. This is all put into a computer which assigns the following month based on seniority; the most senior get first choice, etc. If you're mid-seniority, you might not get your first choice unless no one wants it, but are likely to get your mid-range choices. Some pilots bid for specific lines, some just for the schedule they want. Some operations do it in blocks of trips, a few days here and there, some "out and back" meaning home each night, and some do it for a block of days during the month. Cargo operators tend to go for longer blocks, depending on the type of cargo, often times 17-20 days at a time for the long-haul operations.

Fires, I never know the schedule; I'm leaving some time, and coming back, and plan on 3, 6, or 10 months of not knowing anything day to day, until it's over. Check out of the hotel every morning, no idea where you'll be that night. Other jobs have their own unique elements, too. Schedules really depend on the job, and the employer. I lost track a long, long time ago of ending a day knowing could never have guessed or imagined how it was going to turn out, and a few simply grateful to be alive.

I like short domestic flights where I have more to do during the flight, and I like long flights where I have less, sometimes. I hate sitting, but that's part of the job on long flights.

I often fly a different aircraft each time I go fly, but that depends on the assignments. I've had a lot of assignments in which I stayed with the same airplane. On long flights, it may be that I fly it to a destination where another crew picks it up, and I take it when it gets back. That used to happen a lot on round-the-world schedules. I might land at Anchorage and go to the hotel. My next flight out of anchorage is on the same airplane, but it's been around the world since I last left it. Or it might be a different airframe. You get what your'e assigned.

Airplanes are not identical. That was brought home to me as a kid, when I started spraying (crop dusting). I stood with the owner one day when his son took the yellow airplane out. We had three, all identical makes and models. The son had 15,000 hours of spray time, and had flown the area and all of the airplanes for many years. He normally flew the blue airplane. Today he spent extra time at the runup before he departed. I asked the owner why. The owner replied "Because now he's in the yellow airplane. They're all different." In truth, they all appeared identical, but they all had a personality, all broke at the stall a little different, all had very subtle differences in the brakes, rigging, etc. We flew them to their limits; the limits wouldn't be the same. It may have been a bird strike one took in a wing, it may have been a hard landing somewhere in the past, but they all had their individual natures; the engines had different experiences and handling. I couldn't tell the difference at my age and experience level; they were just the same airplane in different colors. The boss, and. his experienced sons, could tell. It taught me an important lesson to treat every airplane, even if the same type, as a new airplane, every time I get in it, no matter how many times I've flown it. I still do that today.

Least favorite part of my profession; sitting and waiting, and listening to pilots whine. Ever heard the old joke, "what's the difference between a pilot and a jet engine?" The jet engine stops whining after the flight is over. Difference between God and a pilot? God doesn't think He's a pilot. You get the idea.

Favorite part of my profession? Too many to name. I like the smell of fuel, both avgas and kerosine. I like the acceleration of takeoff, but I like the precision of an approach to land. I like a night sky in the cockpit, and the way the aurora looks when beneath. I like a sunrise over the ocean, the way the water turns pink and gold and silver and blue. I like the way the earth's shadow forms a big black bowl that rises up behind and slowly envelops, with daylight on one side and stars on the other, a giant curved lid placed over the world as we race away from the sun. I do a lot of low flying, and I like the way the trees rush past. I love the smell of smoke in the cockpit. I like flying close to tall, mountainous terrain, and the challenge of delivering material precisely to a spot on the ground. I do a lot of flying during ongoing emergencies, and I like the tempo, the professionalism, the focus and teamwork to get the job done. It becomes all business. I like old airplanes, round engines. Because a big part of my career is also working on airplanes on the ground (and sometimes in flight), I love driving rivets, fitting metal, shrinking fabric, safety wire, troubleshooting, fixing, and sometimes the creativity that can go into that. I love the craftsmanship. I love the way Hong Kong smells when first opening the door (it smells like food). I love the smell of insecticide and fire retardant, and working with fiberglass. I like drawing sea monsters on oceanic plotting charts and more than anything else, I like taking off my socks after a trip, in the hotel, and feeling carpet instead of shoes. When I've been sitting, I love finally getting to work, and when I've been flying a lot, I love knowing I'm done. I love reaching V1 and knowing that no matter what may come, I'm going flying and that's where I'm going to deal with it. I love finishing a drop on a fire and hearing the air attack say "load and return."

I want that as my epitaph, and I want to be burned to ashes and dumped in the hopper of an air tanker, and dropped on a fire somewhere, when I'm finished with this life's assignment. I love the poetry, the symmetry.

Favorite airplane? Whatever I'm assigned to fly. All these decades later, I still revel in the fact that someone's paying me to fly, instead of me needing to pay to rent an airplane. Paying to rent always felt like a crime, like needing to pay to rent air to breathe. Now when I get in the cockpit, it's because I'm supposed to be there, which is how it always was, really. Having to pay for the privilege always felt to me more like prostitution. Still, someone's got to pay, and someone always does.

I like to look back at a bastardized disaster of a career that zig-zags all over the industry like a drunken bug, and thank God that I got to play along for a while, and give thanks more than anything for not having missed out on those opportunities, experiences, lessons, and life. My entire life is spelled out in terms of departures, destinations, missions, sorties, layovers, trips, and flights, and my life's journal is in the pages of a pile aging, decrepit logbooks that account for my whereabouts for the last few decades, and that mark me guilty for all the missed birthdays and life events that might have been mine had I been home to share them. Again, someone's always gotta pay.

Recognize faces? No. I scarcely recognize my own. I remember walking out the hotel door one morning and happening to glance in the mirror as I passed. I was startled to see an old, haggard, fat, balding, tired-eyed stranger in my room, one with bad teeth, a worse complexion, and a haunting look of someone from whom you shield kids and small dogs. I didn't even recognize my own. I don't think I'd remember a passenger any more than a box, and if the face, not the name, and if the name, not the date. Then again, I forget a lot of things: birthdays, address, which side of the street to drive on if I've been country hopping for a while. I once showed up for a flight in the dead of night with two different shoes. No idea how they got into my bag like that, but I had to wear them until we got to the first stop, where I bought more. I can't remember crew I flew with at prior jobs, names, faces, etc. Can't remember much of anything, let alone a passenger, except for a very few, and those I can't forget. Those include the dead eight year old on my stretcher as I flew him home to his family on a moonlit night. More than anything, I remember the way his small size only filled half the body bag. I remember the young man with cancer, being flown to treatment, and I remember thinking I'd gladly give him what time I had left, and spending the following weeks and months in quiet dispair over the unfairness of his short future. Those, I remember. I remember the bloodsoaked patient who took a chainsaw to the face, a young man who, as I closed the door, quietly asked through the oozing gauze if I could call his employer and let them know he'd be late that morning. Those stick with me. Those stand out. The rest, not so much.
 
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ClipperYankee
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Re: Questions for pilots and FA's-

Sun Jan 20, 2019 12:30 am

Wow! Very poignant. Thank you for that. I love reading stuff like in the above replies.
Did any of you read Len Morgan's writings, before he retired? His was my favorite column in Flying magazine.
707/717/727/737-100,200,300,400,500,700,800/747-200,300,400/757-200,300/767-300,400
772/788&9/DC3/DC6/DC8/DC9/DC10/MD80s/L1011/A300/A319,320,321/A332&3/A343/A359/A388/
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GalaxyFlyer
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Re: Questions for pilots and FA's-

Sun Jan 20, 2019 12:46 am

I flew military (tactical fighters and heavy airlift), airline (5 years at EAL) and corporate (17 years total at a famous NY newspaper, a industrial gas company and a manufacturer). I can’t remember one airline trip, that meld into a blur; however I can remember darn every military and corporate trip for something unique in every one. Some were great layovers in great and no-so-great places, some were the crew, some were the passengers, some were getting attacked by Scuds, some were with emergencies of various severity, some were just fun memories.

Yes, I have all of Morgan’s books along with Ernie Gann’s.

GF
 
timh4000
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Re: Questions for pilots and FA's-

Sun Jan 20, 2019 1:48 am

Great replies folks,keep em coming. I've read some pilot and and FA blogs, and video vlogs.... but nothing beats getting answers straight from those who drive us and serve us in the skies. Whale, if you could expand as to what you are currently doing, I'm sure some on here may know, but I'm still new to all this, other than my passion for flying and all things aviation related.

What does seem to be common is those who've been flying for decades time and day or night all sort of blend in, unless you are a career regional, who enjoys the constant busy. What I also see among some is the enjoyment of challenging and unique approaches. Such as the old checkerboard hongkong. But theres others who would rather turn on the auto pilot on climb out and turn it off 15 seconds before touchdown. I'm sure they'd just as soon have auto land on every landing. Many of you enjoy the scenery which is certainly me, over 30 years, several dozen flights my nose is pressed against the glass still. Yet teens and younger adults close the shade and go on their whatever device. I don't even turn mine on when I'm in the air and I like tech gadgets, always have the best or near best phone on the market. So keep the answers coming folks, thanks a whole bunch.
 
747Whale
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Re: Questions for pilots and FA's-

Sun Jan 20, 2019 5:35 am

ClipperYankee wrote:
Wow! Very poignant. Thank you for that. I love reading stuff like in the above replies.
Did any of you read Len Morgan's writings, before he retired? His was my favorite column in Flying magazine.


I actually bought some of his books off his bookshelf, when he was getting rid of his collection. I followed Len Morgan for years, and Bax, and all the others.

timh4000 wrote:
But theres others who would rather turn on the auto pilot on climb out and turn it off 15 seconds before touchdown. I'm sure they'd just as soon have auto land on every landing.


I can't speak for others, but I usually hand fly up to about FL270 or so (27,000) and then let the autopilot have it for cruise, then somewhere on the descent I'll take it back, and do most approaches and nearly all landings hand-flown.
 
Chemist
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Re: Questions for pilots and FA's-

Sun Jan 20, 2019 6:46 am

If you want to read about aviation,, nothing is more funny or spectacular for stories than the classic "Fate is the Hunter" by Ernest Gann.
 
timh4000
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Re: Questions for pilots and FA's-

Sun Jan 20, 2019 9:38 am

timh4000 wrote:
But theres others who would rather turn on the auto pilot on climb out and turn it off 15 seconds before touchdown. I'm sure they'd just as soon have auto land on every landing.


I can't speak for others, but I usually hand fly up to about FL270 or so (27,000) and then let the autopilot have it for cruise, then somewhere on the descent I'll take it back, and do most approaches and nearly all landings hand-flown.[/quote]



I'm sure there is sometimes reasons for earlier or later for when a pilot engages or disengages the autopilot. I'm basing what I am seeing from countless hrs of cockpit videos I've watched since YouTube became really popular and has such a huge database or library I suppose one could say. And I've seen many who disengage after the 1000ft. Call out. Then others who are hand flying long before they drop the gear. Like wise on take off. I suppose in the less populated areas, say my home airport (ALB) and maybe at quieter times, say 1st flight out in the am. Vs. the busiest airports at their busiest times, it might make sense to keep the controls longer?? Or would a TCAS warning not make enough of a difference when you can just grab the controls and make the appropriate actions. I'm assuming the autopilot can be over ridden by simply grabbing the controls, similar to how cruise control in a car can be over ridden by stepping on the gas or brake?
 
747Whale
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Re: Questions for pilots and FA's-

Sun Jan 20, 2019 1:33 pm

The population is irrelevant and has no bearing on autopilot use.

TCAS is an alerting system, and while there are systems today which can respond to TCAS, the vast majority of equipment will require the pilot to disconnect the autopilot and maneuver to meet the demands of a resolution advisory (RA), which is simply stop climb, increase climb, etc, and an indication by how much. Resolution advisories are rare.

Autopilot operation is disconnected in some aircraft, and in others a maneuver button may be depressed allowing manual operation without disengaging the autopilot. The maneuver button simply deactivates the autopilot while depressed.

It's important to understand what the autopilot is, and is not. In all cases, the pilot is still flying the airplane. Whether he or she flies it through the control column, or through other controls, the pilot is still controlling the airplane. The purpose of the autopilot is several fold; most importantly it allows the crew more freedom to focus on tasks, rather than distraction at critical times.

I might pull back on a control column to pitch up and effect a climb. I might move a trim wheel or control wheel switch to do it electronically, or a longitudinal trim handle to move a valve to do the same thing. I might engage an autopilot and move a pitch trim wheel on the glareshield control panel to do the same thing. I light assign a particular altitude and climb rate to get there, or input the information through the flight management system to arrange arriving at an assigned altitude by a certain fix or position in space. Any one of these accomplishes the same outcome, but have different means of input control to make it happen. In each case, the pilot is selecting a particular method of control and using that.

When task saturation and workload is high, there are times that it's better managed through the use of the autopilot. Likewise during an approach, the use of autothrottles can be a useful aid in managing the approach, and a pilot using the automation to full effect can monitor progress while paying close attention to waypoints, altitudes, minimums, etc, and can enhance safety while managing the cockpit in the best way for the conditions or operation.

Yes, an autopilot can be overridden by brute force, but it's not usually the best way to manage the flight controls. It's disconnected by several means, most often using the electric trim switches or an autopilot disconnect switch or button on the control yoke. Autopilot use is an art.
 
timh4000
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Re: Questions for pilots and FA's-

Sun Jan 20, 2019 11:39 pm

I wasn't questioning the use or necessity of the autopilot system. Simply making an observation that some pilots seem to use it as soon or as much as possible and others do more hand flying. I get what you are saying that the use of it frees up pilots to do other essential tasks. In fact, NASA astronauts were trained to use the autopilot even when things were going wrong, so long as the autopilot was working and wasn't the problem. It was found during the Columbia break up that the astronauts had disengaged and reengaged the autopilot during the break up. It is believed, or was that the autopilot was superior to human skill. At least with the shuttle. Not sure how pilots feel about that with the latest commercial airliners.
 
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Starlionblue
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Re: Questions for pilots and FA's-

Sun Jan 20, 2019 11:40 pm

Adding an example to 747Whale's excellent post, in an Airbus the autopilot can be disconnected in four basic ways.
- By pressing the "instinctive disconnect button" on either stick. This is the only way you're supposed to do it.
- Pressing the pushbutton for the engaged autopilot on the FCU/ACP (glareshield).
- Moving the stick with enough force to "break" the lock.
- Automatic disconnection which can happen for various reasons, for example if high AoA protection activates on the A330, or if you go below MDA with FINAL APP mode engaged (on a non-precision approach).
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
747Whale
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Re: Questions for pilots and FA's-

Mon Jan 21, 2019 1:21 am

timh4000 wrote:
I wasn't questioning the use or necessity of the autopilot system. Simply making an observation that some pilots seem to use it as soon or as much as possible and others do more hand flying.


Use of the autopilot is required in some cases is mandated by regulation or procedure, and in many cases by a company policy. The autopilot is a tool. For autoland operations in very low visibility situations, it's a requirement.

Good cockpit resource management, and good crew resource management dictates using the all the tools available as effectively as possible to ensure the safest flight possible, which includes a thorough understanding and application of all aircraft systems, including the multiple autopilots.

timh4000 wrote:
I get what you are saying that the use of it frees up pilots to do other essential tasks.


To some degree. In straight and level cruise at altitude, the mere act of maintaining altitude, airspeed, and heading and the constant corrections required to do so can be very tedious and on a long flight, tiring, and distracts from navigation, communication, looking for traffic, fuel calculations, weather monitoring and updating, and all the other tasks in flight. Use of the autopilot during that period, in turn, reduces fatigue and task saturation which has a benefit not only in cruise, but during the descent, approach, and landing, further enhancing safety. It may enable both crewmembers to more fully focus on setting up the approach and the briefing and on calculations. In an emergency it is an aid in flying the aircraft while emergency procedures are run, checklists read and executed, communications made, diversions calculated, and so forth. In an arrival and approach, it's another tool to meet crossing altitudes, speeds, and to precisely calculate and execute turn points, intercepts, etc, and to reduce overshoot, course excursions or deviations, and so on.

timh4000 wrote:
It is believed, or was that the autopilot was superior to human skill. At least with the shuttle. Not sure how pilots feel about that with the latest commercial airliners.


The question of superiority is typically expressed in connection with a fundamental lack of understanding of the concept and use of the autopilot, and I think one of the biggest contributors to that misunderstanding is the name given: autopilot. It implies an inaccurate concept, and the name automatic pilot is more of a sales catchphrase than a correct rendering of what the autopilot does. In some aircraft, it's referred to as an AFCS, or aircraft flight control system, because autopilot purports something that it is not. It's not an automated pilot.

The question as to whether the autopilot is superior to the pilot is much like asking if the car is superior to the driver, the hammer superior to the carpenter, or the arrow superior to the bow. It's non-sequitor, an inappropriate comparison or question.

The flaps aren't superior to the pilot. They're a flight control, a tool. The landing gear isn't superior to the pilot, even though it does what the pilot cannot do; the pilot can't run along under the aircraft and hold it up, so he uses a part of the aircraft to do that function at the appropriate time. Fuel pumps aren't superior to the pilot, though they're used a great deal; the pilot can't bucket fuel around or feed the engine, so he engages the pumps. In many aircraft the pumps are operated with automation for multiple reasons. The autopilot is one more system, and like drugs prescribed by a doctor, can be used for good or for harm. Garbage in, garbage out. A rifle is a precision tool, but misuse can cause great harm, and so can an autopilot.

Being out of step with the autopilot caused the loss of control and subsequent vertical descent of a China Airlines 747SP over the pacific. Flight 006 departed controlled flight following an engine failure, but not until the captain disconnected the autopilot; the autopilot was unable to manage the engine failure, used it's full available control authority, and rolled over and dove nose down to the vertical (straight down), rotating, and lost 30,000. It was recovered below 10,000, with structural damage, large pieces of the horizontal stab gone, and a permanent 3" increase in aircraft dihedral (wings bent up from recovering from a vertical dive). The airframe had to be scrapped. This wasn't an autopilot being superior, nor a pilot being inferior: it's an example of the potential complication of using automation. It can do as much harm as it can good if used incorrectly. It's a tool in the toolbox to be used, and neither a substitute for a pilot, nor superior to one. The autopilot is only as good as the person using it, monitoring it, verifying it, programming it, etc.

There are certain vertical modes, for example, in some aircraft, which do exactly as told; a vertical speed mode, for example, can stall the airplane, and has, or fly it into the ground. The autopilot does what its' been directed to do. Inattentive pilots have overflown a destination on autopilot. Famously a Learjet carrying golfer Payne Stewart climbed to altitude and flew until it ran out of fuel, on autopilot, with the crew and passengers unconscious for lack of pressurization and oxygen. An F-16 followed it all the way down until it impacted the ground in a cornfield. several hours later. The autopilot is a tool for use, but the question of superiority is the wrong question.

A function tied to the automation is the flight director, something used in virtually all turbojet and modern transport category aircraft. It can be used with or without the autopilot, but provides precise guidance for the pilot when hand flying or when using various autopilot functions. The flight director is an excellent tool which can lend accuracy and smoothness to a flight operation as it provides cues for pitch and roll control. It's possible to follow a flight director to destruction, or to a precise, accurate approach. One must know when to follow it, and when to shut it off or ignore it and "fly through" the director. Further, the director only does what the pilot has tasked it to do. It selected for level flight, that's what it does, nothing more. If selected for a navigational course, that's what it does, and nothing more.

I've done a lot of oceanic crossings in old classics that just didn't keep up on autothrottles to maintain a constant mach number, which is a principle of north atlantic crossings. Consequently, I spent the entire flight jockeying the thrust levers and tweaking them to maintain .84 M1, or whatever my speed of the day was. The autothrottles are great when they work well, much like the cruise control to which you alluded, but with far more importance, especially in an approach, or managing a climb or descent.

I found that when I first began flying large airplanes, that. had autopilots (some of the large airplanes I initially flew had none), my tendency was to revert to hand flying at the drop of a hat. A bit off on the approach? Disconnect and hand fly. The real challenge for me was learning to not only use the autopilot and automation, but to use it effectively. Proper use of automation is an important skill, and it's an art. There are many pilots who make full use of automation in it's many forms, including aircraft flight control systems, rightfully so. It's still mandatory that a pilot be able to hand fly and should be able to hand fly to full proficiency.

An ongoing argument regarding increasing sophistication of such systems is the reduction in proficiency, given over reliance on those systems in some cases. Overconfidence in selecting a navigation waypoint during an approach to Cali, Colombia, AA965 impacted a hillside killing all but four. The chief contributing factor was the crew's selection of a waypoint that had already been passed. The aircraft began a large arc navigating to that waypoint, or what the pilots thought was that waypoint, and on the way experienced a ground proximity warning, attempted to disconnect automation, and outfly terrain. It was too late. There were numerous elements of that mishap, automation being part of the big picture.

Perhaps the best known and most often used example in modern times has been the loss of Eastern 401 in the Florida Everglades. Arriving Miami, the crew had a landing gear indication problem, and held at 1,500' to troubleshoot. The captain, first officer, and flight engineer became engrossed in attempting to identify the problem, during which no one noticed that the autopilot disconnected, and the flight began a drift down to the swamp. 101 dead, including the crew.

Automation is a tool to be used, but on it's own is neither superior, nor inferior. It's another tool in the toolbox. In many aircraft the autopilot is so integrally placed in the systems that it's use is possible, but outside the normal operation of the aircraft. Autopilots are found today in small single engine piston engine airplanes up to the most sophisticated, and yet there are a lot of aircraft that could use them but don't have them. For better or worse, they're useful and very often valuable tools for numerous reasons. They are not superior to the pilot, and not inferior. With a pressurization loss, an automated descent to a lower altitude might be a life saving technique should the crew lose consciousness. An incorrect selection could have the opposite effect, and autopilots have been known to run away. This principle is the same whether it's in a small Cirrus, or the space shuttle. A tool to be used, but just another tool in the toolbox.
 
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Starlionblue
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Re: Questions for pilots and FA's-

Mon Jan 21, 2019 2:37 am

I am often asked: "You guys just use the autopilot, right"? It is very hard to give a short counter as to why the question itself is wrong because it implies an autopilot is an on/off thing. Within autoflight (of which the autopilot is one piece of enabling kit), there are several levels of automation that can be employed. Just to name some basic examples:
- Fully managed. Flight Management System runs everything.
- Partly managed. Flight Management Systems runs some parameters, e.g. lateral navigation, while vertical navigation is selected by the pilot directly.
- Fully selected. Both lateral and vertical navigation are selected by the pilot.
- Partly manual. E.g. hand flown with autothrust.
- Fully manual. Hand flown with manual thrust.
- Fully manual on "raw data". Hand flown with manual thrust and flight director off.
Which level of automation should be used? The "appropriate" level, depending on the traffic situation, system status, urgency, fatigue level, etc...

"Autopilot" is indeed a problematic moniker. On Airbus, the system as a whole is known as "Auto Flight", consisting of Flight Management, Flight Guidance and Flight Envelope. The kit enabling autoflight consists of Flight Management Computers, Autopilots, Autothrust and Flight Director. Autoflight takes inputs from a variety of sensors, plus the pilots, and gives outputs to flight controls and instruments.



Side note: The China Airlines 747SP was repaired over two months and put back into service. It was still flying into the 2000s. I read somewhere that it the frame was permanently bent after the incident. https://www.planespotters.net/airframe/ ... s/d5rNSQ0d
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
timh4000
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Re: Questions for pilots and FA's-

Mon Jan 21, 2019 1:22 pm

Just to be clear, and I thank 747whale for his informative replies, I'm in no disagreement. Autopilot is as good or useful as the pilot operating it. My statement about the autopilot being superior was meant only for the shuttle, which astronauts were trained to allow it to continue to bring the stricken shuttle down if it was properly working. The thought being at the speeds they travelled and the precision needed to bring it to the runway the autopilot was better able to. But, that was a completely different set of conditions. I only asked if pilots of airliners felt the autopilot in their aircraft were able to fly more precisely as well. One can only imagine how hard the pilots had to work during the 1st transatlantic crossing in 1919.

Anyway, I totally understand what you guys are saying about autopilot being a tool, one of numerous to fly an aircraft and it is only as good as the pilot operating the system is.
 
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Starlionblue
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Re: Questions for pilots and FA's-

Mon Jan 21, 2019 1:29 pm

timh4000 wrote:
Just to be clear, and I thank 747whale for his informative replies, I'm in no disagreement. Autopilot is as good or useful as the pilot operating it. My statement about the autopilot being superior was meant only for the shuttle, which astronauts were trained to allow it to continue to bring the stricken shuttle down if it was properly working. The thought being at the speeds they travelled and the precision needed to bring it to the runway the autopilot was better able to. But, that was a completely different set of conditions. I only asked if pilots of airliners felt the autopilot in their aircraft were able to fly more precisely as well. One can only imagine how hard the pilots had to work during the 1st transatlantic crossing in 1919.

Anyway, I totally understand what you guys are saying about autopilot being a tool, one of numerous to fly an aircraft and it is only as good as the pilot operating the system is.


George flies more precisely, as in it more exactly follows guidance. However, it has an important limitation: It can only follow the instruction set it has been given, which may be incorrect, and it cannot make decisions based on analysis of a rapidly shifting situations and so on.

Example: You're doing an autoland and another aircraft strays into the protected area. This can affect ILS guidance. The autopilot will happily continue to follow guidance that is now erroneous, potentially leading you off centerline and glideslope. Which is why in cat I or better conditions you have to be very careful with an autoland. A human pilot, on the other hand, will most likely quickly notice the issue and just stop following the erroneous guidance.

Autopilots are very good at a limited range of things, but they cannot think "outside the box". Hence the successful partnership of autopilot and fleshbag pilot.
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
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Re: Questions for pilots and FA's-

Tue Jan 22, 2019 3:33 am

Passengers recognize me sometimes and I recognize them while working as part of a cabin crew.
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timh4000
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Re: Questions for pilots and FA's-

Sun Jan 27, 2019 9:05 pm

I just thought of another question. How often do pilots fly in the cabin not on duty? I often see pilots in uniform is that a requirement? For various reasons I am assuming. To get home after whatever assignments. A change in schedule... the reasons why are probably endless. So on top of the however many hours spent in the cockpit, how often on average do you guys fly in the main cabin. And... I guess it was a series of questions lol, but of the topic, what is it like for a pilot to ride in the cabin when you know everything that the guys and gals up front are doing?
 
johns624
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Re: Questions for pilots and FA's-

Sun Jan 27, 2019 10:00 pm

My brother doesn't like deadheading in the cabin. Some of it is due to the seats and also that he doesn't want other passengers to talk to him all the time and ask the same questions that he's heard for 30+ years. Luckily, it doesn't happen that regularly.
 
747Whale
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Re: Questions for pilots and FA's-

Sun Jan 27, 2019 10:11 pm

If I'm not working, I'm not in the cockpit. I do travel in uniform; if I'm operating when I get there, or if I just came from operating a flight. If repositioning in many locations, especially south America or Africa, I'll travel in uniform. Otherwise, I prefer not. For those jumpseating, meeting standards of grooming and dress is required.
 
timh4000
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Re: Questions for pilots and FA's-

Mon Jan 28, 2019 12:21 pm

How often would you guys say you have to "deadhead "? And riding in the cabin can you sit back and just relax, or are you thinking about what the pilots are doing?
 
747Whale
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Re: Questions for pilots and FA's-

Mon Jan 28, 2019 7:19 pm

I deadhead when required; sometimes just twice a month. Other times I do more deadheading than I do flying.

I know what the pilots are doing up front when I'm riding in back, but the beauty is, I don't care.
 
timh4000
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Re: Questions for pilots and FA's-

Mon Jan 28, 2019 11:47 pm

So it's safe to say most commercial pilots spend more time riding than the average passenger, with exception to this forum which has numerous frequent business travelers or those gifted financially to just get on a plane for the fun of it and travel all over weekly or more.
 
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Re: Questions for pilots and FA's-

Tue Jan 29, 2019 1:01 am

Not really. In my 30+ years of commercial aviation, I deadheaded/positioned about once every 4 months at the very most. Luckly, we got full pay and credit for the positioning so it was used only if it was necessary as a last resort. Airlines who don't have to pay pilots to deadhead will, obviously, used it more since it doesn't cost them anything to move pilots around the system.
If we weren't all crazy we'd all go insane!
 
747Whale
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Re: Questions for pilots and FA's-

Tue Jan 29, 2019 1:17 am

I have no idea what the average passenger does; I just move where I need to move. For example, I was just assigned a flight that will do two international legs, where I'll leave the airplane and airline back to take another flight. The second flight will bring me back to where I started, so I won't commercial. A few days ago, I moved an airplane and flew commercial back here. In a week, I have a series of hops, and somewhere in the middle will be at least one commercial leg, though it may change, too.

What "average passengers" are doing during that time, I have no idea; I've never asked anyone what their business is or why they're traveling, mostly as it's none of my business, and I'm not interested.
 
Woodreau
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Re: Questions for pilots and FA's-

Tue Jan 29, 2019 2:26 am

timh4000 wrote:
I just thought of another question. How often do pilots fly in the cabin not on duty? I often see pilots in uniform is that a requirement? For various reasons I am assuming. To get home after whatever assignments. A change in schedule... the reasons why are probably endless. So on top of the however many hours spent in the cockpit, how often on average do you guys fly in the main cabin. And... I guess it was a series of questions lol, but of the topic, what is it like for a pilot to ride in the cabin when you know everything that the guys and gals up front are doing?


When you see a pilot in uniform in the cabin, you don’t know whether he is on duty “deadheading” or off duty “jumpseating”
A pilot can deadhead and jumpseat both in or out of uniform.

The difference between deadheading and jumpseating is that when deadheading, the airline is blocking a seat from a revenue passenger to make sure the crewmember is on board a flight. A deadheading crewmember is on duty and flying as a passenger in the cabin does not count for rest.

A crewmember jumpseating is off duty and is onboard strictly to get themselves from one point to another. There is no reserved seat for that crewmember. Although some airlines will allow jumpseating crewmembers to reserve a seat in the flight deck or a flight attendant jumpseat. Some airlines like FedEx you have to make a reservation in order to jumpseat. As soon as you make a reservation, the seat is yours (it is rare that you are bumped out of that seat) and you are issued a showtime to report with the operating crew.

Just because a crewmember is a pilot doesn’t mean he knows what the pilots are doing up front. He or she might not be qualified to operate the aircraft they are deadheading on.

At my airline, as a reserve pilot, I deadhead frequently and collect frequent flyer miles/points/credits/whatever when the airline deadheads me on another airline to get me where it needs me to go. As a line pilot with a set schedule, not so much.
Bonus animus sit, ab experientia. Quod salvatum fuerit de malis usu venit judicium.
 
timh4000
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Re: Questions for pilots and FA's-

Tue Jan 29, 2019 11:06 am

747Whale wrote:
I have no idea what the average passenger does; I just move where I need to move. For example, I was just assigned a flight that will do two international legs, where I'll leave the airplane and airline back to take another flight. The second flight will bring me back to where I started, so I won't commercial. A few days ago, I moved an airplane and flew commercial back here. In a week, I have a series of hops, and somewhere in the middle will be at least one commercial leg, though it may change, too.

What "average passengers" are doing during that time, I have no idea; I've never asked anyone what their business is or why they're traveling, mostly as it's none of my business, and I'm not interested.

I'm simply referring to the fact that pilots fly more often when not in the cockpit than most people
 
747Whale
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Re: Questions for pilots and FA's-

Tue Jan 29, 2019 12:07 pm

Some do.

Given that our career is flying, it's not really surprising, though, that we spent more time around aircraft than most.

I suspect that lawyers probably spend more time in courtrooms than most people, and emergency room doctors spend more time in the ER, but I may be wrong.
 
BoeingGuy
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Re: Questions for pilots and FA's-

Tue Jan 29, 2019 9:35 pm

747Whale wrote:
Some do.

Given that our career is flying, it's not really surprising, though, that we spent more time around aircraft than most.

I suspect that lawyers probably spend more time in courtrooms than most people, and emergency room doctors spend more time in the ER, but I may be wrong.


I think it was stating that he believes pilots spend more time in airplanes even when NOT flying. Obviously a pilot spends more time in airplanes when they are doing their primary job.
 
timh4000
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Re: Questions for pilots and FA's-

Tue Jan 29, 2019 9:38 pm

Yep, that's pretty much it. And I sort of expected as much, just wondering how much more, and if they think about what the pilots are doing or can they turn it off and just enjoy the ride.
 
johns624
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Re: Questions for pilots and FA's-

Tue Jan 29, 2019 11:20 pm

As others have stated, it usually doesn't happen that often. It sounds like irregular route freighters do it more but if you work for a legacy, it doesn't happen that often. It's usually if you're on reserve and have to relieve somebody mid-trip. From what I've seen and heard, they don't care what's happening up in the cockpit because as others have said, they don't care, may not be qualified on that aircraft and they can't do anything, anyways.
 
747Whale
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Re: Questions for pilots and FA's-

Wed Jan 30, 2019 12:49 am

BoeingGuy wrote:
I think it was stating that he believes pilots spend more time in airplanes even when NOT flying. Obviously a pilot spends more time in airplanes when they are doing their primary job.


Yes. I know.

We get to work, we go home from work, and unlike the guy in the office on third and main, we take the flight to get there and the flight to get home, so yes, obviously we spend a lot of time in the airplane, not only operating, but riding. That's pretty much a given.
 
FlyHossD
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Re: Questions for pilots and FA's-

Wed Jan 30, 2019 3:46 am

timh4000 wrote:
I'm not sure if this Is the right sub forum, so my apologies if it is not and needs to be moved.

For pilot's-- how often do you fly a particular plane? Say you are a 787 driver, and you get whatever tail number, are there little quirks with each one? Or do they all fly more or less identical?

When I was flying 737s, we had a fleet of over 300. But there was one 737-800 that I seemed to fly often and though it was one of our older -800s, it was always good to me and so it became my favorite in the fleet. I can't explain why I flew it as often as I did. And no, they don't all fly the same, that's especially true the older they get.

For both, do you prefer shorter flights sometimes taking multiple trips a day, or the longer flights, trans-continental and longer?

I retired from 757s/767s, but to be frank, I preferred a couple of legs a day in the 757 over a long haul flight on a 767 - sitting that long was often monotonous.

For both-- What is your favorite and least favorite part of your profession?

The favorite part was the challenge of it all; the least favorite part was how misinformed many within the company were about the job. It's one thing that customers don't understand, it's another when corporate compatriots don't.

My statements do not represent my former employer or my current employer and are my opinions only.
 
timh4000
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Re: Questions for pilots and FA's-

Wed Jan 30, 2019 5:51 pm

Thanks, flyhossD, not sure why some felt the need to answer in almost disdain. I'm not a pilot nor do I have a job associated with the aviation industry. So, I appreciate your answers. Its obvious within the industry, among pilots even that their answers aren't THE Answer even though they think it is... although I've been flying a lot as of late, mostly due to treatment, typically I fly maybe twice a year, not twice a month. Most of which are regional flights. Which has helped spur an even greater interest in aviation. In fact I'm flying later this evening. Again, thank you for your answers.
 
Woodreau
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Re: Questions for pilots and FA's-

Wed Jan 30, 2019 10:06 pm

timh4000 wrote:
I'm not sure if this Is the right sub forum, so my apologies if it is not and needs to be moved.

For both, how far in advance are your schedules?

Do you tend to stay together in teams, or are you constantly rotated into different teams.

For FA's-- do you recognize passengers often?

For pilot's-- how often do you fly a particular plane? Say you are a 787 driver, and you get whatever tail number, are there little quirks with each one? Or do they all fly more or less identical?

For both, do you prefer shorter flights sometimes taking multiple trips a day, or the longer flights, trans-continental and longer?

For both-- What is your favorite and least favorite part of your profession?

For pilot's--favorite and least favorite aircraft and why?

Please don't feel you have to answer every question. Any will be greatly appreciated. Thanks.


I guess I never really answered your original questions:
So if you want another data point:

I usually find out my schedule on the 25th day of the previous month. So for February, I finally got my schedule on January 25, and now I'm trying to mess around with it to get a better schedule...

At my airline, they do not keep the cockpit crews and the cabin crews together. The flight attendants do their own thing. Sometimes during the course of a day, I will fly with 3 sets of different flight attendants. This is because the airline is less restricted in their ability to schedule flight attendants. The only limit our flight attendants have is 16 hours on duty. The airline can use and abuse the flight attendants, the airline can't abuse the cockpit crew as much. Even if we all get off the plane at the end of the day at the layover, the flight attendants go to one hotel, the pilots to another. Never shall the twain meet. At the regional airline, the whole crew stayed together throughout the whole 4-day trip. So that was nice, being able to get to know your flight attendants.

The smaller the fleet, the better chances you'll get to fly a particular plane I guess. I haven't really kept track, I just get in the plane, make sure the tail number matches the release and the logbook and that it is airworthy and off we go. The only plane I really dislike are the 320NEOs. With the NEOs, there is a better than 50/50 chance of getting the magnetic chip light and oh, it's time for special permit ferry back to the maintenance base for the weekly engine change....

Flying wise, I prefer 1 leg a day - which is pretty common, and one leg back to base to go home, which is also pretty common. I cannot fathom how I was able to put up with 9-leg days when I first started flying at the regional airline in this career.

Favorite part of the profession - when it's time to go home, you leave work at work, you never bring it home. There are no e-mails to check, no phone calls asking you to look at this report, etc...
Least favorite part - going back to work?

favorite aircraft - the one that I'm taking back to base to go home? - liberty turns are authorized. (sorry Navy joke)
least favorite aircraft - the one that I need to take time to check the MELs - the worst one was when I got an airplane with 16 MELs - all 16 burnt out cockpit light bulbs, no big deal right? Well it was okay flying all day - until after sunset, then I realized that the MELs weren't such a minor deal when you have a standard 6-pack instrument panel, and the lights bulbs that didn't work were the ones that illuminated the instruments, so I had no way to see the instruments except for the FO holding the flashlight illuminating the instrument panel for me - the FOs instrument panel lights were also all MEL'ed...
Bonus animus sit, ab experientia. Quod salvatum fuerit de malis usu venit judicium.
 
timh4000
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Re: Questions for pilots and FA's-

Wed Jan 30, 2019 11:27 pm

Wow, 9 leg days.... American eagle operated by Piedmont that I'm taking every couple of weeks has4 or 5 flights a day from Alb-phl and back. Gate to gate is typically an hr and 10-20 minutes. Usually around 40 in the air. The quickest has been 36 minutes in the air. So.... I'm thinking those are 12 hr days? Basically no real breaks.... or am I off on the whole leg thing? Whatever it is it sounds like a lot. But I guess that's how most start out? I m thinking most pilots don't jump from f.s. into 777 to wondrous locations.... kinda like most jobs you have to work your way through. Although some have said they prefer the busy. IF... I was a pilot I think 1 or 2 a say would be plenty lol. I think more than 3 or 4 I wouldn't be able to keep my head straight. I do watch a lot of cockpit videos and it does seem typically veteran pilots get the big planes 9+hr flights up to the max. Unless someone really hates those flights and prefers the constant busy. I can see that. I probably would prefer to work my way up to no more than 2 flights a day. Just me though. To each their own.
 
timh4000
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Re: Questions for pilots and FA's-

Wed Jan 30, 2019 11:29 pm

Another time related ? What is a typical work week hr wise, as in 45... 50. What are the limits?
 
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Re: Questions for pilots and FA's-

Thu Jan 31, 2019 2:28 am

timh4000 wrote:
For both, how far in advance are your schedules?


20th of the month prior, sometimes a day or two before but it's not required to be out before then. Our schedule becomes changable, meaning we can try to drop trips or trade trips with other pilots on the 24th of the month prior. To compound matters, I am a reserve pilot so while I know what days I am working, I don't know what flights I am working until somewhere between 5 days and 2 hours before the first flight departs. For the days I am on reserve, I have a period of 12 hours a day where I have to be responsible to answer a call from scheduling. If they call me I have two hours between the time I am called and when I need to be at the airport. Then depending on how many days left on my work block (usually between 3 and 6 days but I usually have 4 on/3 off) I can get assigned a trip that may bring me back home that same night or a couple days later.

Do you tend to stay together in teams, or are you constantly rotated into different teams.


At my airline we usually with have the same pilots and flight attendants on the same trip, though not always. Trips get split up for a variety of reasons, from training to people taking vacation to sick calls, and I have had days were on four flights I've changed flight attendants twice and even had to change first officers!

For pilot's-- how often do you fly a particular plane? Say you are a 787 driver, and you get whatever tail number, are there little quirks with each one? Or do they all fly more or less identical?


There's about 320 planes in our fleet that I'm qualified to fly. There are tails I've never touched in over 2 years, there are tails I seem to be unable to avoid. Certain tails are dedicated to certain mainline partners (I fly for a regional) and certain bases only fly for certain partners. When I was based in a smaller domicile where we only flew for one partner, I would fly the same tail number every few weeks. The last plane I flew I hadn't touched in about 23 months. Quick look at my logbook shows the most flown tail was 36 times, average probably 4-5, with plenty of planes I've only flown once or twice. They generally all fly the same, the only major quirks being which way and how much aileron or rudder trim they need to maintain straight and coordinated flight. A few are known troublemakers, either due to breaking more frequently or just being bad luck.

For both, do you prefer shorter flights sometimes taking multiple trips a day, or the longer flights, trans-continental and longer?


My ideal day is 3 legs or less, with flights less than 2 hours gate to gate. Most I've done is 6 legs in one day, all under 1 hour, but that's just too much work. Flights over 3 hours just get boring for me.

For both-- What is your favorite and least favorite part of your profession?


Hard to pick, honestly. Favorite part for me is the fact that, once we block in and leave the plane, I don't have to think about work. I've had "normal" jobs where working late and having to think about work while off the clock was the norm, and that always drove me nuts. Least favorite, well, depends on the day honestly. Biggest complaint lately is just the frequency of reroutes I've been getting lately as well as the tiresomeness of delays and irregular operations constantly, but most of that has to do with winter weather so it will be gone soon.

For pilot's--favorite and least favorite aircraft and why?


My least favorite plane is the broken or delayed one that is making me late either getting to the hotel or going home. My favorite is the one that replaces my least favorite.

What does seem to be common is those who've been flying for decades time and day or night all sort of blend in, unless you are a career regional, who enjoys the constant busy. What I also see among some is the enjoyment of challenging and unique approaches. Such as the old checkerboard hongkong. But theres others who would rather turn on the auto pilot on climb out and turn it off 15 seconds before touchdown. I'm sure they'd just as soon have auto land on every landing.


Honestly depends more on my mood that day than anything else. A few challenging approaches now and then is fine, but quite frankly, the best part of the job for me is the ease of "boring" approaches and the low workload that comes from using automation. Some days I'll hand fly it as high as the company lets me and turn it off quite far out on approach, but especially in busier environments, I keep the autopilot on as long as possible not because I don't want to hand fly, but because leaving it on allows me to better deal with the higher workload and traffic of a busy terminal environment.

Many of you enjoy the scenery which is certainly me, over 30 years, several dozen flights my nose is pressed against the glass still.


Best office view anywhere, IMO.

How often would you guys say you have to "deadhead "? And riding in the cabin can you sit back and just relax, or are you thinking about what the pilots are doing?


Varies by the month, but for January about 1/3 of the hours I credited at work were spent on deadhead flights sitting in the back. That doesn't include the 1100nm flight I make each way commuting from my home to where I'm based every week.

Another time related ? What is a typical work week hr wise, as in 45... 50. What are the limits?


Well, aside from the FAR part 117 legal limits, my typical work week on reserve is four days a week with each day being on call for 12 hours a day. I can, if you combine the time I am on call plus the time I work, be on duty up to 16 hours in a day. A more normal day of just regular line flying averages 9 hours of duty (from when I report to the airport to when I leave to go home or to the hotel) and about 4-5 hours of flight time.
 
USAirKid
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Re: Questions for pilots and FA's-

Thu Jan 31, 2019 6:11 am

One thing I'm curious about is for different planes of the same model handling differently, I get how that happens with the old classic fly by cable planes, but does it also happen with the newer fly by wire airplanes?
 
747Whale
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Re: Questions for pilots and FA's-

Thu Jan 31, 2019 7:43 am

When you say "handling differently," what do you mean?
 
timh4000
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Re: Questions for pilots and FA's-

Thu Jan 31, 2019 7:11 pm

A question I am assuming that could be equated with automobiles. Obviously different cars handle differently, by design. When I was in the USAF, stationed in L.A. they had a motor pool of a dozen or so of at the time late 80's Chevy celebrity's. I dont know how many of them I drove, but at least several of them. They have for the most part similar characteristics of the car. But at least minor little handling differences within each car. Some had touchier brakes, slightly stiffer steering, suspensions etc etc. So those of us wonder if the same applies to the planes, or to the degree. And there were a couple of the cars I remember I liked and a couple I didnt l like. But a 757 or whatever is a seriously more advanced piece of machinery with an entirely different job and maintenance. So how much can be equated to pilots when it comes to the plane(s) they are rated to fly and or have flown. It's our mere curiosity of our love of aviation. And plenty of us can look back and think and probably wish we had become pilots. But then, the reality of that job vs. A more typical job.... so maybe it's not as great as we think or maybe greater than we even think. Obviously any pilot or would be pilot has to be able to handle the physical and mental issues of air travel. Ppl who suffer motion sickness, probably not a hood job for them. Ppl who have a hard time adjusting to time and environment changes etc etc. The times I have flown somewhat frequently I know in those regards physically at least I would be fine. Mentally, over the course of a long period, say years, idk. That's th ed nearly daily travel done by pilots. But back to the question of how planes differ in handling is simply that. And how often you guys get or recognize the same ones.
 
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MD80
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Re: Questions for pilots and FA's-

Fri Feb 01, 2019 1:10 am

timh4000 wrote:
I often see pilots in uniform is that a requirement?


My employer requires, that a crew member has to wear full uniform on a positioning flight as long as the next duty starts on the same day. When commuting, you don´t need to wear your uniform. I think, it really depends on each company which guidelines must be followed.
Dedicated to the MD-80, MD-90, MD-95, and DC-9: www.MD-80.com
 
timh4000
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Re: Questions for pilots and FA's-

Fri Feb 01, 2019 12:09 pm

What had spurred this particular question of uniforms is a pilot who I've recognized dead heading a few times from PHL-ALB with the numerous flights I've taken on that trip since July. And I've seen a few others randomly on other flights. Not having been a somewhat frequent flyer since the 80's and while I enjoyed flying as much then as I do now, I didn't pay as much attention to things as I do now. Back then, I was just always happy to get on a plane. And I miss those days when it was a much less hassle to fly, and you could smoke on the plane let alone inside the airport. 2 hrs before airborne, then if it's a longer flight especially I'm definitely jonesing. And for those who know of my cancer dx, it's nothing related to smoking. And surprisingly the cancer docs don't give me nearly the hard time about it as most reg docs do. I m not advocating it, I'm just a lifelong smoker, it is what it is. I'm hooked. I've had a few go arounds with quitting, longest was 10 months. Post surgery when I'll be laid up for a cpl weeks in hospital recovery I'm gonna see if I can stay smoke free afterwords.
 
timh4000
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Re: Questions for pilots and FA's-

Fri Feb 01, 2019 12:19 pm

What had spurred this particular question of uniforms is a pilot who I've recognized dead heading a few times from PHL-ALB with the numerous flights I've taken on that trip since July. And I've seen a few others randomly on other flights. Not having been a somewhat frequent flyer since the 80's and while I enjoyed flying as much then as I do now, I didn't pay as much attention to things as I do now. Back then, I was just always happy to get on a plane. And I miss those days when it was a much less hassle to fly, and you could smoke on the plane let alone inside the airport. 2 hrs before airborne, then if it's a longer flight especially I'm definitely jonesing. And for those who know of my cancer dx, it's nothing related to smoking. And surprisingly the cancer docs don't give me nearly the hard time about it as most reg docs do. I m not advocating it, I'm just a lifelong smoker, it is what it is. I'm hooked. I've had a few go arounds with quitting, longest was 10 months. Post surgery when I'll be laid up for a cpl weeks in hospital recovery I'm gonna see if I can stay smoke free afterwords.
 
timh4000
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Posts: 111
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Re: Questions for pilots and FA's-

Sat Feb 02, 2019 9:14 pm

Questions about "airspeed "
I'm aware that ground speed and airspeed are not the same. I was reading just recently that a 787 had broken the transatlantic time by a subsonic airliner. Due to a 200mph tailwind its ground speed at times was close to 800mph. So obviously its wind speed was not 800mph. What is the typical airspeed at say 40,000ft in a normal cruise mode? I'm sure theres many numerous variables, but just in the cockpit the wind speed indicator will typically be???

When and what exactly would an over speed be? I am assuming it is altitude related. Thicker air at 4k then 40k of course. I'm assuming at the lower altitudes the engines wouldn't be able to get a subsonic modern airliner to 0.85? But fast enough for an over speed. So, if any pilot would care to explain the differences and things like over speed please.
 
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AirKevin
Posts: 231
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Re: Questions for pilots and FA's-

Sat Feb 02, 2019 10:01 pm

timh4000 wrote:
What is the typical airspeed at say 40,000ft in a normal cruise mode? I'm sure theres many numerous variables, but just in the cockpit the wind speed indicator will typically be???

Are you asking about airspeed or wind speed. They're two completely different things. In any event, I would think it would be difficult to give an accurate answer on the wind speed since there's no telling what the weather is going to do.
Captain Kevin
 
GalaxyFlyer
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Re: Questions for pilots and FA's-

Sat Feb 02, 2019 10:52 pm

M.85 at F400 with standard atmosphere temp of -56C is 488 knots TAS or 561mph and an indicated of about 260 knots. We do everything in knots including ground speed. At 4,000’, M.85 would require an indicated of 528 knots, well in excess of Vmo in most, if not all, transport category airplanes. Add or subject winds to make the ground speed.


GF
 
timh4000
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Re: Questions for pilots and FA's-

Sun Feb 03, 2019 11:19 am

The indicated speed is what I'm referring to the most. Woud that be equatable to the plane experiencing the same aerodynamic forces at sea level? Also, you referred to the Vmo, which Is where over speed comes in. ?

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