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Ask The Pilot

flyer89

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The 737 is actually quite good! In the Sim of course, while it’s not often practiced, if there’s time, I like to try it from a downwind position usually about 6000ft and I’ve always made the runway. Of course I’ve never done it at altitude all the way to a landing but you don’t fall like a rock like what most people think happens. It actually takes too long!!!
There is a Cathay 747 checkie on Instagram who posts (mostly) educational videos. Recently he posted a video of a captain doing his last sim before retirement and flew under a bridge and then performed a deadstick landing. Looked like fun!

EDIT: The video is also on YouTube...

 

D747

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Can a pilot request a sim at any time, if the sim is available, if he or she wants to try something new or different or brush up on SOPs?
 

jb747

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Can a pilot request a sim at any time, if the sim is available, if he or she wants to try something new or different or brush up on SOPs?
In a very restricted way. You can ask for access to the sim during a period when it’s not otherwise booked or in maintenance, which generally means about 3am. Motion will not be turned on, nor will there be any instructor support. There are also restrictions on when it can be done with regard to your own sim timing...i.e. you aren’t allowed to go in to practice for an upcoming ‘real’ sim.

I’ve only ever asked for it twice, both times so I could take a friend for a ‘fly’. The second occasion wasn’t long after QF30, so I was still flavour of the month, and they gave us an instructor, and motion.
 

lastrow

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All of the airliners have broadly similar glide characteristics. About 3.5 miles per thousand feet, until you start to configure.
If you were at say 35000 feet and did not configure, on the basis of 3.5 miles per thousand feet you could cover almost 90 miles before reaching an uncomfortable 10000 feet. This might be enough to get you to a runway of some sort. I guess the elephant in the room is a headwind. Whilst that might give a bit more lift it would impede forward progress, possibly greatly. Would it be a better strategy to put the wind behind you, thus trading lift for miles.-
 

jb747

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If you were at say 35000 feet and did not configure, on the basis of 3.5 miles per thousand feet you could cover almost 90 miles before reaching an uncomfortable 10000 feet. This might be enough to get you to a runway of some sort. I guess the elephant in the room is a headwind. Whilst that might give a bit more lift it would impede forward progress, possibly greatly. Would it be a better strategy to put the wind behind you, thus trading lift for miles.-
Why would that give you more lift? You would fly at exactly the same IAS, irrespective of wind (not quite true, but close enough for this discussion). The time taken will be exactly the same, no matter which way you're pointed, although the act of turning will cost you quite a bit of height and distance. The ground speed will differ depending upon your heading.

Putting the wind behind you only helps if there is a runway in that direction.
 

La Mouette

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Was on Sundays 9 June QF1 SYD-SIN A380 service. Our boarding was delayed by about 30 minutes due to a failure of the hydraulics on one of the catering trucks. When we boarded the temperature inside the cabin was unusually high due to a failed APU.
So I was on the 10 June return QF2 on VH-OQD. Long delays in SIN in the heat loading an extra 33 tonnes of fuel due to the weather. Both pilots in LHR and SIN expressed surprise at the failed APU.

My questions are: do you really not know about existing maintenance issues like this on an aircraft, and how long do they keep flying with known issues?
 

jb747

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So I was on the 10 June return QF2 on VH-OQD. Long delays in SIN in the heat loading an extra 33 tonnes of fuel due to the weather.
33 tonnes should not take long. Fuelling is normally happening right throughout passenger loading, so unless they took extra, after the completion of the initial loading, it should not have added to the time.

Both pilots in LHR and SIN expressed surprise at the failed APU.
APUs don't fail (or probably more correctly, aren't available) all that often, but it's certainly often enough (across all types) for it to unworthy of surprise. I generally saw it a couple of times a year. It will probably be commented on to the passengers though, as it has quite a few implications for the start and loading. The APU can be u/s in a number of different ways. The engine itself may have issues, in which case it's simply unavailable. But, air from the APU or one/both generators may be separately out of service. So, you might be able to get electrics from it, but not air, and vice versa.

My questions are: do you really not know about existing maintenance issues like this on an aircraft, and how long do they keep flying with known issues.
When do you think we should learn about them? The information may be available with the flight plan (but an unreliable form), and it will be available in the tech log, which you'd see about 40 minutes prior to departure. If I was really interested, there was an MEL listing available online, but apart from knowing it existed, I never felt the need to look.

All aircraft come with a huge 'book' of allowed faults. Everything listed will come with maintenance and crew procedures, and it will also specify an allowed timeframe before it must be fixed. On any given day, all aircraft will have at least a couple of MELs in their log. Ten would be a lot. Most are trivial. A few are time consuming. MELs come from the manufacturers, and the timings they contain can be reduced by airlines, but they cannot be increased. The times vary from a single flight, through 1, 3, 10 days. Any items that go beyond that are trivial, and often relate to options that aren't even on all of the aircraft.
 
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ChrisGibbs

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Way too many years ago now QF9 was MEL-SIN-LHR and served by a 744. It was during the Northern Hemisphere winter. As the aircraft was being loaded the PIC gave a PA to say that one of the auto throttle computers had failed. Albeit we could have taken off with fault he elected to replace the unit in Melbourne as it would have been a PITA (my words) to subsequent crews on the SIN-LHR-SIN sectors. I'm not sure if that translates to when you have a failure of this type that you would have to take on additional fuel or less freight to compensate.
 

jb747

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Way too many years ago now QF9 was MEL-SIN-LHR and served by a 744. It was during the Northern Hemisphere winter. As the aircraft was being loaded the PIC gave a PA to say that one of the auto throttle computers had failed. Albeit we could have taken off with fault he elected to replace the unit in Melbourne as it would have been a PITA (my words) to subsequent crews on the SIN-LHR-SIN sectors. I'm not sure if that translates to when you have a failure of this type that you would have to take on additional fuel or less freight to compensate.
It means that all thrust settings for the entire night are manual, so someone has to keep an eye on the power/speed at all times. It's one step along the way to converting -400 back into a Classic. In itself not so bad on a short leg, but 12 hours, starting at a body clock time of about 2am makes it the first hole in the cheese. Not a huge issue, but one you'd rather not have.

But, more importantly, loss of autothrottle degrades your low vis capability. You'll only have Cat II available at best, which can be an issue going to London in winter.

Any time the engineers want to apply an MEL, the pilots should consider when it's likely to be fixed, and what operational problems it's likely to involve in the interim. Failure to consider that, and just taking an MEL so that you can get going can have quite severe ramifications. I recall being given a 767 in HK that had a brake MEL applied. As part of the MEL, the landing gear had to be left extended for two minutes after take off. Not an issue in most places, but out of HK, you then needed to have a look at the gear down despatch performance chart, to ensure that you could legally depart in that configuration. And, lo and behold, the weight limit, which was only going to apply for that two minutes, meant that you could carry enough fuel to get to the destination, or passengers, but not both.
 
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ChrisGibbs

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I recall being given a 767 in HK that had a brake MEL applied. As part of the MEL, the landing gear had to be left extended for two minutes after take off. Not an issue in most places, but out HK, you then needed to have a look at the gear down despatch performance chart, to ensure that you could legally depart in that configuration. And, lo and behold, the weight limit, which was only going to apply for that two minutes, meant that you could carry enough fuel to get to the destination, or passengers, but not both.
As a passenger I've had a couple of these incidents where there was an issue with the brakes. The first on a BA744 out of Boston into Heathrow. The PIC said they would have to keep the gear down for X minutes prior to retracting the gear (i presume waiting for the wheels to stop spinning). From this I assume after takeoff on a modern passenger jet the brakes are automatically engaged when selecting gear up? The take off from Boston was off 15R and out over the Atlantic so terrain clearance wouldn't have been an issue. The 2nd scenario was in an A330 between Melbourne and Sydney. The PIC explained the acceleration during the takeoff and climb rate would be greater than normal. We took off from RWY27 in Melbourne with a light load of PAX's. We rotated well before the intersection with 34/16 and the climb rate was much steeper than normal. I imagine from a pilot's point of view this would add a little excitement compared to a routine day. In the case of the 767 in HKG did you have to assume a worst case scenario (i.e engine out) when determining single engine / gear down take off performance calculations?

Hence in the case of the A330 off RWY27 in Melbourne would the rising terrain either side of the extended centerline come into play when calculating single engine / gear down take off performance? A couple of years ago I was lucky enough to spend 90 minutes in the 767 sim with Bob Small. I remember him saying the 767 could climb 'like a home sick angel'.
 
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ChrisGibbs

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Was on Friday evening's 14/6 QF26 744 service from HND-SYD. Flying in/out of either NRT or HND on a regular basis you would be forgiven to think that you were driving your way back to Sydney as the time and distance from the terminal to the threshold of RWY34R is huge. Due you factor an overhead for taxi time (based on distance) at the likes of HND and/or NRT compared to other airports like LHR, JFK, HKG and SIN that can have extended taxi times due to the amount of traffic.
 

jb747

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As a passenger I've had a couple of these incidents where there was an issue with the brakes. The first on a BA744 out of Boston into Heathrow. The PIC said they would have to keep the gear down for X minutes prior to retracting the gear (i presume waiting for the wheels to stop spinning). From this I assume after takeoff on a modern passenger jet the brakes are automatically engaged when selecting gear up? The take off from Boston was off 15R and out over the Atlantic so terrain clearance wouldn't have been an issue. The 2nd scenario was in an A330 between Melbourne and Sydney. The PIC explained the acceleration during the takeoff and climb rate would be greater than normal. We took off from RWY27 in Melbourne with a light load of PAX's. We rotated well before the intersection with 34/16 and the climb rate was much steeper than normal. I imagine from a pilot's point of view this would add a little excitement compared to a routine day. In the case of the 767 in HKG did you have to assume a worst case scenario (i.e engine out) when determining single engine / gear down take off performance calculations?
We are conservative by nature, as we generally get to any accident first. So, yes, you always consider the engine out case, and that can be very limiting. The reason for the earlier take off and steeper climb would be that the MEL (or perhaps the Captain) also required the use of TOGA, instead of a derate. I no longer have copies of the MELs, so I can't check.

Hence in the case of the A330 off RWY27 in Melbourne would the rising terrain either side of the extended centerline come into play when calculating single engine / gear down take off performance? A couple of years ago I was lucky enough to spend 90 minutes in the 767 sim with Bob Small. I remember him saying the 767 could climb 'like a home sick angel'.
The cases being mentioned here can be handled in a couple of different ways, the simplest of which is to arbitrarily add weight to the take off numbers. The rising terrain is catered for by tailored charts (i.e. made up for that specific runway), and they allow for engine out performance and the local terrain. This often leads to a specific clean up procedure to maintain terrain separation.

The 767 had a lot of performance, on two engines... Going back to the 747 after the 767, and it was just like flying the 767, but in slow motion. Bob did my check out flight on the 380.
 
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jb747

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Was on Friday evening's 14/6 QF26 744 service from HND-SYD. Flying in/out of either NRT or HND on a regular basis you would be forgiven to think that you were driving your way back to Sydney as the time and distance from the terminal to the threshold of RWY34R is huge. Due you factor an overhead for taxi time (based on distance) at the likes of HND and/or NRT compared to other airports like LHR, JFK, HKG and SIN that can have extended taxi times due to the amount of traffic.
The schedules normally allow 20 minutes for taxi out, and 5 for taxi in. Each airline will have its own ideas about that...and I suspect that even within the same airline, different sections may use different values.
 

ayebee

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As a passenger you notice typical sequences.
Recently on 2 TAP A332 flights it seemed a bit different.
#1 was at Boston, where the engines were powered up at the gate and run for 10 minutes before push back.
#2 was on approach to Newark. After a normal descent, we were held at maybe 6000ft for a number of minutes doing a zigzag before lining up. The undercarriage went down, and it was only then that the flaps were applied, all the way in one go, and we landed a couple of minutes later.

Do either of those seem unusual ?
 

wansze82

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Interesting thread. I work for the Bureau of Meteorology. I'm curious how useful our services are to pilots?
 

flychrisfly

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Do the company sim sessions taken when learning to fly include how to park a plane using the various automatic and manual methods that airports use?
 

jb747

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Interesting thread. I work for the Bureau of Meteorology. I'm curious how useful our services are to pilots?
That will vary depending upon who you fly for, and where you go. In my case, as most of my flying was outside of Australia, I used BoM issued TAFs and TTFs, but pretty well everything else was sourced by the company from overseas.
 

jb747

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Do the company sim sessions taken when learning to fly include how to park a plane using the various automatic and manual methods that airports use?
There are no 'automatic' parking methods. All parking is done manually (although my car can park itself), but the displays that you follow may be automatic.

I don't recall ever seeing it in the sim, and to be honest, it would be a waste of sim time. The aircraft are almost always parked from the left hand seat, not only because some aircraft don't have tillers for the FO to taxi (737), but because the guidance has to be accurately set up for the pilots' eye position, and it can't be set up for both seats.

By the time an FO is doing his command training, he will have seen the aircraft parked hundreds of times, and will already be familiar with the various parking systems.

Over the years, I've watched them change from very simple systems, that mostly used parallax to guide you, to complex electronics with fancy displays. Guess which ones are easiest to use, and most reliable.
 
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Major

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During the push back, is the guy attached to the comms cord a LAME looking for something specific or a ramp guy to continue ground comms ?
 

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