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albatross710

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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
 

RSD

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Refuelling could be over the middle east ( wont that be exciting) ,
One suspects that there will be enough excitement for pilots over the Muddle East in the coming months once things come to a head with Iran without throwing air-to-air refuelling of civilian airliners into the mix
 

jb747

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Would air-to-air refuelling be an option for making long haul flying cheaper and faster. for instance, LHR-SYD could be one hop.
No. No. And did I say no.

Just do a YouTube search for air to air refuelling incidents. And wikipedia for accidents.

The airline pilots are not trained for formation flying much less air to air. You would never be able to get insurance. Touches, at the very least, would be guaranteed. The entire ATC system is about keeping aircraft apart, not having them join up multiple times during a flight.

Right now, airlines around the world are having issues keeping pilots trained in their core job (i.e. a manual landing).

  • 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
All of which is offset by the need to have multiple tankers along a route. If anything, the total fuel burn for the entire group would be much higher. As would the purchase, operating, and training costs. Remember that the aircraft would have to descend for every refuelling cycle too, so that just adds to the burn, and ATC issues.

Unless the tanker is travelling with you, as is done when taking a group of fighters on a long flight, you'll need to rejoin. This is fraught in daylight, and beyond interesting at night. It's also mostly done from an orbit...so factor that into the ATC and fuel burn issues.

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?
There would be NO overall saving. Quite the opposite.

Plus, as a pilot who has actually done air to air refuelling, I would not want the vast majority of airline pilots to be anywhere near the operation.

I took the shots below. The F4 people were good at it, but their aircraft was so thirsty that they spent a lot of time tanking. The A6 shot shows just one of the things that can go wrong. And, of course, the A4 guys are doing it perfectly.

1981 Diego Garcia F4J 034.jpg 1981 Diego Garcia A6 013.jpg 1981 A4G Tanking 003.jpg
 

MickC32

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With regard to crew rest areas, JB you've mentioned a few times that the airline puts them in because they have to but they do not have to make them comfortable (sorry for paraphrasing if I have it wrong). I was wondering if you have any intel on the current 787 rest areas and potential new ULH aircraft for Project Sunrise? Surely with such long potential shifts we all want well rested crew.

Other pilots, what about other airlines? Do they take the same view as Qantas?

Thanks, love the thread and appreciate your feedback. Cheers
 

AviatorInsight

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With regard to crew rest areas, JB you've mentioned a few times that the airline puts them in because they have to but they do not have to make them comfortable...
Other pilots, what about other airlines? Do they take the same view as Qantas?

Thanks, love the thread and appreciate your feedback. Cheers
Pretty much. If by comfortable you mean peaceful and can regulate temperature? Then yes. The seat to watch movies in was just an old business class seat from the 90s with a moveable tv screen and was pretty worn out. I could only last a couple of hours in that seat.

As for the bed? Well..it was as hard as a rock (I actually think a rock may have been more comfortable). I used to double up the blanket to try and create some sort of softness.
 

jb747

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With regard to crew rest areas, JB you've mentioned a few times that the airline puts them in because they have to but they do not have to make them comfortable (sorry for paraphrasing if I have it wrong). I was wondering if you have any intel on the current 787 rest areas and potential new ULH aircraft for Project Sunrise? Surely with such long potential shifts we all want well rested crew.
I think it depends on what they have come from. The 787 crew rest is wonderful compared to the 737. It’s appalling compared to the 380, or even the 747.

Other pilots, what about other airlines? Do they take the same view as Qantas?
Other airlines are very difficult to comment upon, as we never know just what their rostering looks like or what, if any, input their crews have with regard to the crew rest.
 
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Astro

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Hi all, love reading this thread. Thanks for your input.

I was on a VA SYD-MEL service the other day and we were delayed for around an hour after we'd boarded the flight. They couldn't close the doors... not because the paperwork hadn't arrived but because the baggage handlers were digging through bags trying to find someone's loose battery that had been checked in.

I understand why they would be eager to get that off the plane before they takeoff and I would expect as the captain of the flight and safety is paramount he wouldn't leave if he was aware of that being on board.

My question is how does that come about? Did a customer flag that or is there a scan to the bags that come on board. Lastly do you think the customer would have paid a fine? Each and every time you check in a bag they ask that question but perhaps someone forgot at the time and later realised.
 

AviatorInsight

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Hi all, love reading this thread. Thanks for your input.

I was on a VA SYD-MEL service the other day and we were delayed for around an hour after we'd boarded the flight. They couldn't close the doors... not because the paperwork hadn't arrived but because the baggage handlers were digging through bags trying to find someone's loose battery that had been checked in.

I understand why they would be eager to get that off the plane before they takeoff and I would expect as the captain of the flight and safety is paramount he wouldn't leave if he was aware of that being on board.

My question is how does that come about? Did a customer flag that or is there a scan to the bags that come on board. Lastly do you think the customer would have paid a fine? Each and every time you check in a bag they ask that question but perhaps someone forgot at the time and later realised.
I had this happen to me recently too. Sitting on the gate ready to go and the dispatcher hooks up and tells us there's a bag that got flagged going through the baggage security screening area and it had been identified as having a loose lithium ion battery pack inside. Luckily it was one of the last bags to be loaded so it didn't take long to find it but yes, this is just as frustrating for passengers as it is for crew.

Not sure as to why it doesn't flag then and there, but I'll see if I can do some digging around with the ground handlers next time I'm at work.
 

jb747

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My question is how does that come about? Did a customer flag that or is there a scan to the bags that come on board. Lastly do you think the customer would have paid a fine? Each and every time you check in a bag they ask that question but perhaps someone forgot at the time and later realised.
I suspect the passenger told someone, and it went from there.

Fines or penalties? No. People make mistakes. You want people to admit it when they have done so, so that it can be corrected...as happened here. If you resort to penalties, you’re immediately giving an incentive to keep quiet. This is exactly the same logic that is applied to aircrew errors by most (but not all) aviation regulatory authorities. You want pilots to admit their mistakes, not hide them.
 

RSD

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This is exactly the same logic that is applied to aircrew errors by most (but not all) aviation regulatory authorities. You want pilots to admit their mistakes, not hide them.
It would be nice if all industries applied that logic
 

mjt57

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This is exactly the same logic that is applied to aircrew errors by most (but not all) aviation regulatory authorities. You want pilots to admit their mistakes, not hide them.
One of my bosses years ago had the nickname "Ramset". Because if you stuffed up he'd nail you to the wall.
So, it was pretty much "deny, deny deny..."

Not a nice type and if he was still working, he'd find it difficult to adapt to today's climate of workplace bullying prevention (not that it happens much...).
 

AviatorInsight

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But how many mistakes is too many in the aviation industry?
There’s never a set number. Just look at any accident and there’s never just one mistake to be the cause. Sometimes it’s done at an executive level (as recent events have shown) and it’s then filtered down until you have mistakes made on the line that the holes then line up that will lead to an accident.

We are constantly mitigating threats and errors on every flight, refuellers, operations, ATC, cabin crew, passengers, weather, other aircraft, 30m runways, there’s plenty of them out there and ultimately it can be the strength of the company SOPs that can save the day.
 

AviatorInsight

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jb747

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Sorry. I wrote a reply to this the other day, but must have failed to hit the post button. An undetected error...

They are not common, though some places, and airlines, seem to manage it more than most. As best I can recall, there was only one during my time in QF.

They were probably most common at the old HK, Kai Tak. There are numerous images on the net showing aircraft at the moment of the strike. I can’t find it, but I recall one image that showed someone getting both #3 and #4 simultaneously....that’s a serious effort.

Causes? Generally a gusty, and very strong crosswind, badly handled.

At HK, if you went through the centreline on the turn off the IGS approach you really didn‘t have time, height or distance, to correct the issue, so a go around was the best response. Those who continued and tried to correct things in, or near, the flare, were setting themselves up for a strike. That’s what most of the HK images and videos show. I saw BA manage exactly this back in the mid 90s.

The quads can’t be flown like the twins during the flare in a crosswind landing. In smaller aircraft, as you flare, and then remove the upwind heading alignment with rudder, you can stop the downwind drift by applying a bit of into wind bank. You then land with that bank still applied. In the quads, you can’t necessarily apply enough bank to offset the drift. The idea is to flare, with all drift still intact. Then with the flare established, to gently remove the drift so that getting it straight coincides with the touchdown. The rudder is removed gently (none of this ‘kicking it straight‘ rubbish). If you don’t get all of the drift out, it doesn’t matter at all in the 747 (you can land with all of the drift intact), but in the AB’s you have to get it below 5º of drift.

Strikes will often be dynamic events. The aircraft may not have exceeded the geometric limits, though it was near them. There has been a control input, or gust, or even a solid touchdown, which causes the wing to flex down that last little bit to give the strike.

I’ve heard of some silly ones too. The one that immediately leaps to mind involves Air India. They had a 747 that had an engine failure, and during the landing the pilot decided to try to hold the failed engine as high as possible during the ground roll. There is zero reason for ever doing this. He succeeded, but in so doing hit the opposite engine on the ground as well.

The ATSB release doesn’t specify exactly where the strIke happened. Whilst it says ‘in the go around procedure’, the strike may have happened first, and then they elected to go around. Or they failed to hold the wings level during the initial go around actions, and so struck the ground. My bet would be that they tried to make a track correction very early in the go around (to hit the ground it has to be extremely low), and managed it then. It would be interesting to see how that track related to aircraft on the taxiway.

Strikes occasionally occur in the simulator, which is obviously the best place for them to be. There the major cause would be failure to adequately control the yaw (with rudder) during an engine failure during take off exercise. You’d be especially exposed to it with the engine failure at the moment of lift off.
 

OZDUCK

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Sorry. I wrote a reply to this the other day, but must have failed to hit the post button. An undetected error...

They are not common, though some places, and airlines, seem to manage it more than most. As best I can recall, there was only one during my time in QF.
I was sure that there had been a QF engine pod strike at Perth Airport but it took me ages to find it as it was actually 20 years ago. Low level windshear seems to have been the cause and the pilot responded appropriately but could do little to stop the strike. To quote "Although the pilot in command responded in a timely manner with appropriate control input, under the dynamic conditions that were encountered, it is unlikely there was sufficient available aileron/spoiler authority to counteract the high rate of roll that had suddenly been experienced. This resulted in the number 1 engine pod momentarily striking the ground as the aircraft touched down."

When I worked at the Perth Airport in the 1970's I used to like standing on the apron in front of the old International Terminal and watch pilots fight the wind as they came into land. It was always fascinating to see the skill involved in getting the plane to land safely. I gather Perth Airport winds can be a bit of a handful.

 

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