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jb747

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The report mentions communication between the pilots and (I presume) SFO ATC (??). What radio is used for such long range communications
There's most likely a VHF to satellite link on the island. So, you talk on VHF, and it's retransmitted to SFO and back.
 

jb747

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@jb747 does SFO assume a minimum altitude responsibility for the oceanic crossing ?
SFO (Oakland) isn't the only area control centre for the Pacific, though it does look after the largest chunk. Flying out of Oz, you'll deal with Brisbane, Nadi, Auckland, then SFO. Southern routes might use Tahiti. I don't have a chart, but I think the bottom of the airspace is mostly FL200. Over islands, other airspace may be superimposed to give coverage from ground level, though mostly I expect it's uncontrolled.
 

Danger

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There is a newbie over on this thread who is looking for some advice. Some has already been provided which is what AFF is all about. If anyone else can assist, that would be super.
 

mikenz

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Are there many overnight slips in Australian domestic flying or do you always end up back at home base?
 

jb747

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Are there many overnight slips in Australian domestic flying or do you always end up back at home base?
AV will be able to give you the current state of play.

When I flew the 767 there was a mix of overnights and single day trips on its domestic operation. Single day trips were generally hated by the pilots, and fell to the most junior...who did them over and over. Short trips made for a terrible lifestyle...no life at all really.

From the company point of view, bringing you home each night removes the cost of accommodation and transport. From the pilots', it adds commuting to work to what are often long days anyway.

There are many reasons why I would never have considered going to the 737...and short trips would be top of the list.
 

flyer89

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There are many reasons why I would never have considered going to the 737...and short trips would be top of the list.
Are there many on the 737 who choose it and the lifestyle or are most considered ‘trapped’?
 

ChrisGibbs

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A couple of questions:

Over the last 20+ yrs of flying as a passenger most of the sectors, apart from a few, can reasonably boring. Some of the landmarks / events make what would be just another flight a little more significant:

- the old QF9 MEL-SIN sector, dependent on the track used and prevailing conditions, would track up over Uluru. On multiple occasions the tech crew made it special by banking the wings to gives the passengers on both sides a good view

- the various SYD-LAX flights are particularly boring. Dependent on the track flown the only standout land mass notable from a passenger perspective is Lord Howe Island about 1hour+ out of Sydney then on descent into LAX Santa Catalina Island

- what is now the QF25/26 SYD-HND-SYD sector and what was QF21/22 SYD-NRT-SYD flies over Guam and the equator. Even if you we trying to get some sleep you would know roughly where you where as the belt sign would come more often than not.

- on the old QF2 service from LHR into BKK during the daylight part of the flight just past Kathmandu in Nepal would give you a great view of Mt Everest and up into Tibet.

- on one of my QF149 SYD-LAX flights i recall we track significantly further to the north (up over Hilo in the Hawaiian Island). About an hour or so out of LAX we got to see an early morning satellite launch out of Vandenburg Base in Southern California

- flying the Canarsie approach into JFK was always exciting.


From a tech crew perspective what are some of the more notable sectors and sights you look out for on what would be just another boring sector....
 

D747

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jb747 when talking about your previous employer, you once said that you didn't get paid unless you were flying. Was there no retainer at all? That seems like an unusual arrangement.
 

AviatorInsight

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Are there many overnight slips in Australian domestic flying or do you always end up back at home base?
There are a lot of overnights at present. Having said that it very much is a lucky dip with the way rostering is at the moment. I prefer bidding for trips for the reasons JB stated below (no commute to/from work every day, dealing with the Blu Emu, etc). Although next week is 5 days in a row of day trips. Each 12hrs and 4 sectors. Going to be a long week!
 

AviatorInsight

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Are there many on the 737 who choose it and the lifestyle or are most considered ‘trapped’?
In Virgin, it's more about lifestyle. Some couldn't be bothered dealing with another type endorsement. The seniority numbers going even for FO on a wide body are going to very senior pilots that a lot of the current captains are bidding for FO on them to try and get off the 737. SOs need to go to the 737 before applying as an FO on the wide body.

So yes some would consider themselves trapped just waiting for their shot onto the wide body. My next command will definitely be on the 737 unless I choose to go to the ATR for it (done the turboprop thing), or unless Virgin decides to get Ejets again... I'm just buying my time for the first jet command.
 

jb747

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Are there many on the 737 who choose it and the lifestyle or are most considered ‘trapped’?
About the only ones who choose the 737 are very junior and going there as it's the first type they can get either an FO or command slot on. FO slots on the 380 are mostly people who are easily senior enough to get command on the 737, but they'd prefer to wait as FOs until their seniority will get them a slot on the 330 or 787. Once on the 737, they could well be trapped for a long time. In some restricted circumstances, we've even had 380 SOs go to 737 command.

Another group are the over 65s...they cannot remain on international ops, and have to move to the 737 or retire. Few last more than a couple of years, but they have the ultimate option to get out.

Within QF, the 737 was originally an Australian Airlines aircraft. There are two streams of pilots prior to the date of the merger, with a combined list for anyone joining after that date. For the AA pilots, anyone in QF before the integration had rights to the long haul types before them (and vice versa). Basically though, there would have been a substantial group of ex AA pilots who would never have had the seniority to get on to the long haul aircraft, before the age limit ruled them out. A large number of the 787 captains have come from this group. So, it's certainly possible, for many reasons, to be trapped on an undesirable type.
 
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jb747

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jb747 when talking about your previous employer, you once said that you didn't get paid unless you were flying. Was there no retainer at all? That seems like an unusual arrangement.
Did I say that? Must have been drinking.

It doesn't work like that, in long haul anyway (there are two separate contracts, with the short haul one being based on the goings on of 1989). I don't know how the short haul works. Thinking about it, there's actually a third, the 787...I also don't know how that works.

All long haul rosters have a minimum guaranteed pay. You'll get that even if you don't fly. The amount has varied over the years, but last time I had a roster it was about 90% of roster hours. But, when you fly, that attracts a number of other payments, and depending upon the aircraft you fly, adds a lot to your salary. So, doing a blank line, if you didn't get anything other than standby duties, your take home pay could easily be as little as half of a 'good' line's pay. I guess it felt like nothing.
 

jb747

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- the old QF9 MEL-SIN sector, dependent on the track used and prevailing conditions, would track up over Uluru. On multiple occasions the tech crew made it special by banking the wings to gives the passengers on both sides a good view
When I was flying the 767, we did that so regularly that I had a couple of waypoints that I used to add to the FMC route, and it would do the sight seeing automatically.

- the various SYD-LAX flights are particularly boring. Dependent on the track flown the only standout land mass notable from a passenger perspective is Lord Howe Island about 1hour+ out of Sydney then on descent into LAX Santa Catalina Island
It's a big ocean...I've tracked well north of Honolulu, down to thousands of miles south. Scenic if you happen to fly right over it.

- what is now the QF25/26 SYD-HND-SYD sector and what was QF21/22 SYD-NRT-SYD flies over Guam and the equator. Even if you we trying to get some sleep you would know roughly where you where as the belt sign would come more often than not.
Works on most routes across the equator. When you find the ITCZ, you'll get the seat belts for a while.

- on the old QF2 service from LHR into BKK during the daylight part of the flight just past Kathmandu in Nepal would give you a great view of Mt Everest and up into Tibet.
Always a bit of a game trying to work out which one it was. You didn't get all that close. I think somewhere in the order of 200 miles...but it's a big hill.

- on one of my QF149 SYD-LAX flights i recall we track significantly further to the north (up over Hilo in the Hawaiian Island). About an hour or so out of LAX we got to see an early morning satellite launch out of Vandenburg Base in Southern California
I've been told by quite a few of the guys that they've seen launches over the top of the airways from Vandenburg. I've seen one from the ground, but it wasn't much more than a vertical contrail.

- flying the Canarsie approach into JFK was always exciting.
Curiously, it's not much different to the geometry of one of the visual approaches to Brisbane...but it just seems more exciting. The IGS in HK was always interesting, especially in marginal conditions.

From a tech crew perspective what are some of the more notable sectors and sights you look out for on what would be just another boring sector....
From a pilot's point of view, boring is good. It means nothing is going wrong. Most of my flights were boring, so generally the ones that stand out had something unexpected happen. The Manila diversion is obviously at the top of my list. First flights, either solo or in command also stand out. The A4 solo, and 767, 747 and 380 first trips in command are all memorable. You remember the flights were someone died (and whilst that happens to most airline pilots, hopefully it's not often).
 

flyer89

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About the only ones who choose the 737 are either very junior and going there as it's the first type they can get either an FO or command slot on. FO slots on the 380 are mostly people who are easily senior enough to get command on the 737, but they'd prefer to wait as FOs until their seniority will get them a slot on the 330 or 787. Once on the 737, they could well be trapped for a long time. In some restricted circumstances, we've even had 380 SOs go to 737 command.
A friend of mine who has been at the airline over a decade recently got a training slot for FO A330 after being on the 737. I also, noticed that the training list included a number of SO’s going directly onto widebody FO positions. One would assume this was at least somewhat strategic on their part and they had been waiting a long time.
 

Hvr

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Basically though, there would have been a substantial group of ex AA pilots who would never have had the seniority to get on to the long haul aircraft, before the age limit ruled them out.

Is there a 'payback period'? Is it known to the pilots? I.e. if you're over a certain age the company won't get a return from the training investment for international long haul therefore you won't be selected?
 

jb747

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A friend of mine who has been at the airline over a decade recently got a training slot for FO A330 after being on the 737. I also, noticed that the training list included a number of SO’s going directly onto widebody FO positions. One would assume this was at least somewhat strategic on their part and they had been waiting a long time.
There was a period that the SOs (and FOs) call the lost decade. That basically coincides with Jetstar, with all of the growth going into them, but their flying done by a different group. In the early days, they were largely ex Impulse and Ansett. During that period, they slid into an age group in which their family responsibilities meant that moves had to be carefully planned and funded. Many would have taken a slot if it had presented earlier. Also many SOs, have significant backgrounds within the company. Some have command time with Jetstar, whilst others were 767 FOs. They won't be interested in the 737....many of them headed for the 787.
 

jb747

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Is there a 'payback period'? Is it known to the pilots? I.e. if you're over a certain age the company won't get a return from the training investment for international long haul therefore you won't be selected?
As it's a very long time since I needed to be concerned by the freeze period, I've not really taken much notice of it. The last time I had to think about it was in 89/90, when I was looking at a -400 FO slot. At that time it was 18 months, and my maths suggested that a move to the 747-400 as early as possible would unfreeze me for some potential 767 command slots. A number of people who were senior to me, moved later, and when the slots did become available, somewhat unexpectedly, they were frozen, and I wasn't.

Since then though, I think it's jumped to 3 years, before a type change is allowed. Rank changes on the same aircraft don't count. If the company assigns people (as they'll probably end up doing when the 747 is retired), they are frozen for less time...I think 18 months. Base movements don't count either.

I don't think they try to hold the over 65s to the time though.
 
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