Ask The Pilot

jb747

Enthusiast
Joined
Mar 9, 2010
Posts
11,155
Pilots, as I was flying back from CNS yesterday I started to wonder what your ideal flight length / timing is? Is it the 1-2 hour triangle route, 3-5 transcon / trans Tasman, 6-9 SE Asia / Hawaii or the >10 hours long haul? I can imagine that each of these length flights has positives and negatives.

I realise that this is a bit of a 'how long is a piece of string' question and somewhat down to personal preference but curious as to what each of our resident aviators prefer - particularly given it sounds as if over your careers you've done a mixture of all.


I hated domestic flying, whether it was the hour or two east coast monorail, or the longer transcontinental. My favourite flying was the 767 Asian flying which was mostly in the 7 to 11 hour range. Flying across the Pacific was okay, in limited amounts. I quite liked flying to Europe, preferably from Asia. Really long flights, like Dallas, were not something I went back for more of... Sometimes a decent destination was a good offset for a dull or super long, or just badly timed, flight.
 

Hvr

Enthusiast
Joined
Jun 27, 2007
Posts
10,729
Qantas
Platinum
Construction of a $2.6 billion motorway extension to Sydney Airport is predicted to cause delays for motorists driving to the international and domestic terminals, and poses a potential distraction to pilots landing at the main runway.

How are these types of distractions handled by the airport? Are they handled differently between airlines?

Just how bad are nearby works that use night lighting?

As always thanks for your responses.
 

jb747

Enthusiast
Joined
Mar 9, 2010
Posts
11,155
How are these types of distractions handled by the airport? Are they handled differently between airlines?

Just how bad are nearby works that use night lighting?

Cranes intruding into the approach paths could force runway length reductions, and stop use of instrument approaches. Potentially cranes could also force weight reductions on long range flights.

I've seen lights on various works over the years, but I don't recall any that were all that distracting on approach.

It will be up to the airport authority to ensure that they have means of quickly stopping the work if necessary. LAX didn't do this a couple of years, ago, and ended up with multiple diversions when cranes were stopping use of low vis approaches on a foggy morning.
 

AviatorInsight

Established Member
Joined
Oct 5, 2016
Posts
1,002
Pilots, as I was flying back from CNS yesterday I started to wonder what your ideal flight length / timing is? Is it the 1-2 hour triangle route, 3-5 transcon / trans Tasman, 6-9 SE Asia / Hawaii or the >10 hours long haul? I can imagine that each of these length flights has positives and negatives.

I realise that this is a bit of a 'how long is a piece of string' question and somewhat down to personal preference but curious as to what each of our resident aviators prefer - particularly given it sounds as if over your careers you've done a mixture of all.

Domestic is by the far the hardest. The short hops SYD-MEL, MEL-CBR, MEL-LST are very busy and there’s lots going on. What goes on during a 14hr flight happens on 40min flight just a lot quicker. Eating becomes secondary and you know you’re doing well when you have 2mins to shovel in something.

The 737 has no room at all, (the average person won’t be able to fully stand up without hitting anything) so sitting in a small seat for the 5 odd hours to PER usually gets broken up with frequent bathroom breaks just to stretch the legs.

So having said that, I preferred the long haul routes. AUH was my favourite as there was plenty of different countries to fly over all with their own unique procedures and was usually much more calmer during the flight.
 

AviatorInsight

Established Member
Joined
Oct 5, 2016
Posts
1,002
How are these types of distractions handled by the airport? Are they handled differently between airlines?

Just how bad are nearby works that use night lighting?

As always thanks for your responses.

Coming into any major city is always bright, I’ll usually need to turn up the instrument brightness so it kind of matches the luminance from outside. Even the freight terminal in Port Botany with all their lights isn’t a problem, so I don’t think this will be too distracting either. We’re too busy concentrating on the approach and landing to notice anything else.
 

747sp

Intern
Joined
Dec 19, 2014
Posts
74
On Sunday VH OEH took a group of disabled kids for a charity joy flight over Sydney for about an hour. From flightradar24 the flight never got above 5,000 feet. I assume it was so the kids could get a good view but are there any special requirements on the crew to fly at that level and JB did you every get to do a charity flight and was it good experience ?
 

jb747

Enthusiast
Joined
Mar 9, 2010
Posts
11,155
On Sunday VH OEH took a group of disabled kids for a charity joy flight over Sydney for about an hour. From flightradar24 the flight never got above 5,000 feet. I assume it was so the kids could get a good view but are there any special requirements on the crew to fly at that level and JB did you every get to do a charity flight and was it good experience ?

QF has been doing those flights for many years. Everything about them is donated, from the aircraft, to the crew’s time. I’m not sure how they actually crew them though. They don’t appear within the bidding system. It may well be done by some pilots who are part of the charity itself.

I can’t see that there would be any special requirements. It’s just the same as any other flight...but without the middle bit.
 

flyer89

Member
Joined
Feb 28, 2014
Posts
316
QF has been doing those flights for many years. Everything about them is donated, from the aircraft, to the crew’s time. I’m not sure how they actually crew them though. They don’t appear within the bidding system. It may well be done by some pilots who are part of the charity itself.

I believe the skipper (DK) who did them for many years retired last year. So someone else needs to fill his shoes.
 
Joined
Sep 29, 2011
Posts
326
Qantas
Platinum 1
Was on the 26/11 QF1461Syd-CBR Dash-8 Q400 service - first flight of the day. It was due to depart at 0615. We boarded at around 0605 via gate 1C and the bus to the aircraft. With all passengers onboard the CSM gave a PA to say we were very overloaded and needed to offload 2 passengers who were only travelling with carryon and they would be put on the next available flight. Two passengers put up their hands and they were offloaded. About 5 minutes later and another PA from the CSM “we are still overloaded and require another 2 passengers to be offloaded”. Again two passengers put up their hands and were offloaded.

The question is would the weight and balance on a Dash 8 Q400 not be able to be calculated prior to the boarding of the passengers? If so why then board passengers then take off two then another two to get inside the weight and balance numbers?
 

jb747

Enthusiast
Joined
Mar 9, 2010
Posts
11,155
Was on the 26/11 QF1461Syd-CBR Dash-8 Q400 service - first flight of the day. It was due to depart at 0615. We boarded at around 0605 via gate 1C and the bus to the aircraft. With all passengers onboard the CSM gave a PA to say we were very overloaded and needed to offload 2 passengers who were only travelling with carryon and they would be put on the next available flight. Two passengers put up their hands and they were offloaded. About 5 minutes later and another PA from the CSM “we are still overloaded and require another 2 passengers to be offloaded”. Again two passengers put up their hands and were offloaded.

The question is would the weight and balance on a Dash 8 Q400 not be able to be calculated prior to the boarding of the passengers? If so why then board passengers then take off two then another two to get inside the weight and balance numbers?

I have a friend who used to fly the Q400, and if you give me a couple of days, I’ll see if I can get an answer from him.

To be honest, it strikes me as a bit odd. You aren’t going very far. I would not expect the Dash to carry much, if any, cargo. And I’d certainly expect the aircraft to be able to carry a full load of passenger, plus reasonable luggage, on what is, after all, a short sector.

The only other real variable is fuel, and I wonder if you had too much (for whatever reason). And not necessarily for take off, but it might also have been a landing weight issue.

In mainline, a provisional loadsheet was issued about 45 minutes out. That was good enough for us to make preliminary performance calculations. The final load sheet (legally) cannot be issued until all passengers, cargo, and fuel, are on board. The people doing the loading (and the load sheets) are not privy to any performance limiting issues. They only know the standard max figures, not numbers that you’ve just worked out. I’ve seen occasional cases where working the numbers with the ATIS gives you a number that is less than the final loadsheet comes up with. In that case you’ve got too lose a bit of weight before takeoff, generate new numbers using different performance parameters, or change runways. All three are regularly used out of LAX.
 
Joined
Sep 29, 2011
Posts
326
Qantas
Platinum 1
The only other real variable is fuel, and I wonder if you had too much (for whatever reason). And not necessarily for take off, but it might also have been a landing weight issue.

It was the first flight of the day for the aircraft. Not sure if the previous nights weather with storms throughout the night in Sydney causing various cancellations and delays would also come into play (i.e. the aircraft was fueled for a flight it didn't do the previous night). With Sydney's weather on Monday evening there was an extension to the curfew granted with a number of flights arriving into Sydney between 2300 and 2359.
 

mikenz

Member
Joined
Aug 30, 2013
Posts
152
Are QF still having issues with Canberra airport? Maybe they were carrying enough fuel to not have to refuel in Canberra.
 
Joined
Sep 29, 2011
Posts
326
Qantas
Platinum 1
A number of years ago when the QF 744's were doing the QF9 MEL-SIN-LHR sector we were taxiing for take off. We got to the holding point of RWY20C and sat at the holding point for around 60+seconds with the engines spooled up. We eventually took and made our way to LHR. During the flight I was talking to the FO who was doing a walk around and he said he didn't know whether to do a PA on what was going on. Apparently, given the forecast for foul weather in LHR, they planned on as much fuel as possible including a 20-30 minute taxi to RWY02L. A late runway change in Singapore to RWY20C reduced the taxi time and left the aircraft above MTOW hence the need to get rid of some fuel. Besides knowing you are above MTOW is there anything else that stops the aircraft from taking off - e.g. autothrottle doesn't engage when above MTOW?
 

jb747

Enthusiast
Joined
Mar 9, 2010
Posts
11,155
A number of years ago when the QF 744's were doing the QF9 MEL-SIN-LHR sector we were taxiing for take off. We got to the holding point of RWY20C and sat at the holding point for around 60+seconds with the engines spooled up. We eventually took and made our way to LHR. During the flight I was talking to the FO who was doing a walk around and he said he didn't know whether to do a PA on what was going on. Apparently, given the forecast for foul weather in LHR, they planned on as much fuel as possible including a 20-30 minute taxi to RWY02L. A late runway change in Singapore to RWY20C reduced the taxi time and left the aircraft above MTOW hence the need to get rid of some fuel. Besides knowing you are above MTOW is there anything else that stops the aircraft from taking off - e.g. autothrottle doesn't engage when above MTOW?

No, nothing stops you from going. You just spool up, and watch the weight display on the FMC....
 
Joined
Sep 29, 2011
Posts
326
Qantas
Platinum 1
JB747 - a while back I was talking with a QF A380 Captain who retired back in 2018 after 34yrs on the 767's, 747's and A380... I asked him whether he felt it was worth the move from the 747's to the A380. He was Sydney based. While he enjoyed the A380 he believed he *may* have had more flying and more variability in destinations if he had of remained on the 747's (HND, HNL (back then), JNB, HKG (back then), SFO, YVR and SCL) as compared to the A380's (LAX, LHR, SIN). His favorite aircraft remained the 767's for pure performance. I do remember him saying the 76's when empty climbed like a home sick angel...
 
We've Increased Our Flying to 30 Destinations Across Australia. Book With Us Today. Change Your Flight, Fee-Free and As Often As You Like for Travel up to 30 Apr 22*. Contactless Check-in. Special Safety Protocols. New Cleaning Practices. Online Check-in.

AFF Supporters can remove this and all advertisements

jb747

Enthusiast
Joined
Mar 9, 2010
Posts
11,155
Sydney base picks up more varied flying than Melbourne. On the 380 he also would have had HKG and DFW, as well as LAX, LHR and SIN. It's still not much and does become monotonous. I made the move to the 380 when it was expected that there would be 20, and that their destinations would expand well beyond what they have. Whilst I enjoyed the aircraft, and am glad I made the move, there is no doubt that the flying would have been more varied on the 747. On the other hand, some of the destinations were never high on my list of places to go, so that balances things somewhat.

Those of us who flew the 767 in it's heydays in the 90's, loved the aircraft. It would have been nice to have flown the -400 (updated coughpit). The 747 conversion, for those from the 767, was described as being just like a 767...only in slow motion.
 

RSD

Active Member
Joined
Feb 13, 2010
Posts
841
Those of us who flew the 767 in it's heydays in the 90's, loved the aircraft. It would have been nice to have flown the -400 (updated coughpit). The 747 conversion, for those from the 767, was described as being just like a 767...only in slow motion.
Sounds like I (and many others) missed out on much of the 767's heyday - the QF 767's were very very tired by the time I flew on them, the KQ ones were very ratty as they didn't believe in cabin maintenance, the MS ones were quite good though.

JB747 - with the move back to twin engine long haul aircraft are there any out there now that have comparable performance to the 767?
 

albatross710

Established Member
Joined
May 15, 2004
Posts
3,407
Would air-to-air refuelling be an option for making long haul flying cheaper and faster. for instance, LHR-SYD could be one hop.

  • Less take off fuel so the cruise is higher sooner
  • Less weight to carry over the distance. no need to carry the Singapore- Sydney fuel all the way from LHR
  • Smaller aircraft structure as overall weights will be less. shorter takeoffs

Refuelling could be over the middle east ( wont that be exciting) , Over India, Over Indonesia. Over Arctic for pan-atlantic flights

Admittedly there are a few technical and aircrew issues to overcome and retrofit. Would the fuel savings make that big a difference?

Alby
 

Enhance your AFF viewing experience!

From just $6 we'll remove all advertisements so that you can enjoy a cleaner and uninterupted viewing experience.

And you'll be supporting us so that we can continue to provide this valuable resource :)


Sample AFF with no advertisements? More..
Top