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Ask The Pilot

Captain Halliday

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Sorry it’s taken a couple of days but it’s all about planned alternates. Geraldton and Kalgoorlie are suitable for the 737. With typical payloads that can be almost max fuel. So no definitely can’t even hold Adelaide let alone an east coast port.

I think people distrust PER weather because they’ve been caught out on unforecast weather before. The alternates themselves can get choked up pretty quick with aircraft before they can no longer be an alternate for other aircraft.

Similar thing happens for CNS. I’ll always carry TSV even if the weather doesn’t require it.
Who makes the call on how much fuel you upload beyond the company issued flight plan? Is it the captain, or the pilot flying the sector?

Are there any ports where fuel isn’t available or you don’t fuel for operational reasons (I’m thinking small ports with limited infrastructure and quick turnarounds). If so, who decided on fuel upload if you’re flying one sector each?
 

AviatorInsight

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Who makes the call on how much fuel you upload beyond the company issued flight plan? Is it the captain, or the pilot flying the sector?

Are there any ports where fuel isn’t available or you don’t fuel for operational reasons (I’m thinking small ports with limited infrastructure and quick turnarounds). If so, who decided on fuel upload if you’re flying one sector each?
The captain always has the final say regardless of who’s flying it. Most guys/girls will ask for my input and then make a decision from there.

There’s a few ports we don’t upload and tanker the fuel, HTI, CBR, MKY, MCY, LST, AYQ and basically all the regional ports. That’s not to say that fuel is not available. If it turns out that we need to upload then we will. But we’ll come up with a figure before we leave the major port for both sectors, the return trip fuel will be included in the outbound flight plan and gives us a figure to work off.
 

jb747

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.... but in reality you’re not going there unless you’re on fire. There is absolutely nothing around. You’ll be able to get in there but struggle to get out again.
It's amazing how quickly, when things start turning to pooh, that you'll go from "don't risk scratching the jet", to "I don't care if they can't get it out".
 

jb747

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Whilst fuel (and actually all of the operational decisions) are the captain's call, most people will at least listen to what the other pilots want. It's not just a number that I want(ed) from them, but the rationale behind it. There are times when zero extra is reasonable, and others when loading up to maximum landing weight is best. Company plans offer the minimum legal, not necessarily the minimum sensible.

I recall one flight from Melbourne to Dubai, with four man crew. SO 1 wanted zero. SO2 about 2 tonnes. FO 6 tonnes. I took eleven. We needed every ounce. Whilst fuel, and carrying it, is expensive, fuel that you didn't take is possibly much more so.
 

harvyk

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The captain always has the final say regardless of who’s flying it. Most guys/girls will ask for my input and then make a decision from there.

There’s a few ports we don’t upload and tanker the fuel, HTI, CBR, MKY, MCY, LST, AYQ and basically all the regional ports. That’s not to say that fuel is not available. If it turns out that we need to upload then we will. But we’ll come up with a figure before we leave the major port for both sectors, the return trip fuel will be included in the outbound flight plan and gives us a figure to work off.
CBR is a place that you tanker in fuel? Is that because we don't really have the infrastructure for refueling aircraft or is it like everything else, the CBR tax makes it cheaper to tanker?
 

AviatorInsight

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CBR is a place that you tanker in fuel? Is that because we don't really have the infrastructure for refueling aircraft or is it like everything else, the CBR tax makes it cheaper to tanker?
Price would be my first guess. Plus it takes forever to get the refueller out and loaded.
 

Major

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I'm not sure I understand how you could depart without completing all details in the FMC. What charts would they be referring to ?

 

AviatorInsight

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I'm not sure I understand how you could depart without completing all details in the FMC. What charts would they be referring to ?
Not the FMC. That database is different depending on the company would want. It would be the approach charts.

For example, our database includes airports down to 1300m for emergencies, such as Esperance. We don’t have charts on board for that, but I can pull up the RNAV approach in the FMC and fly it if we absolutely needed to.
 

jb747

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I think we're talking about physical approach charts. Good old paper. Many airlines use iPads for this now, but you still need to check the you have them all, and that they are up to date. The FMC might have had the data, but it's only part of what is needed.

If you had the charts, but the FMC didn't, then it should not have been an issue.
 

mikenz

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JB -Now you're off the books would you mind sharing your experience of the grounding of the fleet?

I'm interested in knowing how pilots were notified, what happened to employees who were overseas? Passengers? etc.

Thanks
 

jb747

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JB -Now you're off the books would you mind sharing your experience of the grounding of the fleet?

I'm interested in knowing how pilots were notified, what happened to employees who were overseas? Passengers? etc
Unbelievable over-reaction.

All we'd done was wear red ties, and make a very tame PA. There was never any chance of the pilots taking any action that would have affected the passengers. By going straight to the nuclear option, he burnt every chance of ever having a decent relationship with the pilots. The pilots would have considered mucking with the passengers to be a massive breach of faith (remember we were never the same group as the domestic pilots in 89), and yet AJ went to it as almost a first option. And after all of the cost and inconvenience, he did not get what he hoped for from Fair Work.

I'm not sure of exactly how we were notified. Most likely a fax under the door, as that was the normal means of contact in those days. All of the pilots in Singapore met up, and it was the biggest party (and hangover) that I've ever seen. They still had to pay us, and our hotel rooms, and everything else. Most of us got appreciable extra hours ($) when it came time to fix things.

Legally, they cannot strand staff overseas, otherwise they will lose their accreditation with the local immigration authorities. For that reason, it had zero effect on staff who were overseas. Hotel rooms had to be provided, or else. I'm sure he would have loved that not to have been the case, but then by the time the the two days were up, nobody would have been around...and how do you fix that.

I'm sure someone will tell me that it was some sort of industrial brilliance, but I've never understood the concept of setting yourself up to be hated by your staff. Up until that point he probably still had some supporters.
 

VPS

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Does anyone know anything about Dick Lang tours from Adelaide - what the planes and pilots are like. I can't find any recent reviews
 

747sp

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JB I was on one of the first flights between Sydney and Melbourne on the 787 and we had 4 crew. 3 captains from Qantas and one from Boeing. Was the role of the Boeing captain to train or are they more like a check captain?
 

jb747

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JB I was on one of the first flights between Sydney and Melbourne on the 787 and we had 4 crew. 3 captains from Qantas and one from Boeing. Was the role of the Boeing captain to train or are they more like a check captain?
Are you sure he was from Boeing? Perhaps CASA.

As the company already owned a bunch of 787s, albeit not in our colours, I don't think getting the initial batch of captains checked out would have presented much of an issue.

I've never seen the company use Boeing pilots for anything. He would not have any Australian training accreditation, so I'm not sure what he'd be there for.
 

747sp

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Hi JB more than likely I am wrong or misunderstood. If it was a CASA person what is their role ?
 

jb747

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Something like this...
I probably should explain this a bit.

In this instance, the aircraft doesn't appear to be using much flap (so not much drag). He's probably also fast. He touches down and skips (not really bounces) back into the air. He doesn't want to be there, so he pushes the nose down, and forces it back onto the ground, landing on the nose gear first. It skips/bounces back into the air, and the cycle repeats. Each touchdown is heavier than the previous one, until the nose gear collapses.

Any high bounce or skip in an airliner really should be cause for a go around. The same basic mechanism is at play. Generally a faster than wanted sink rate, which there is an attempt to counter at the last minute. The touchdown is very firm, but probably acceptable. But, the nose is now too high, and the aircraft takes off again. So, now you're a few feet up, the pitch attitude is higher than you want, the power is at idle, and you're probably now slow. Any nose down input at this point will give you much more sink rate than you want. So, the second landing will probably be very hard. If you push down enough, and the nose goes below zero pitch, you'll land nose gear first, and at that point the aircraft will be broken.

The only fix on the first cycle is to hold the attitude, and shove an handful of power into the equation...and when it settles down, go around.
 

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