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AviatorInsight

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During my last overnight flight I woke early to see an amazing full moon setting beneath the clouds. It got me thinking pilots must get too see some amazing acts from Mother Nature....please do tell :)

Seen plenty of sun rises and sunsets, and I always love a good full moon...easier to spot icebergs ;) Also seen some very impressive thunderstorms albeit from a far yet the most impressive was over Sri Lanka also, this thing kept going for miles and miles and still managed to hear a loud crack that made us think we had been hit by lightning.

But the thing I love to do most is on a pitch black night, in the middle of no where, I’ll turn down all the lights as safe as possible, and just look at the billions of stars and just marvel at the thought of infinite space.


I’ve never seen a meteor, have have seen satelites in geostationary orbit, Mars on a few occasions and plenty of shooting stars.
 

jb747

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I’ve never seen a meteor, have have seen satelites in geostationary orbit, Mars on a few occasions and plenty of shooting stars.

Meteors, shooting stars, aren't all that easy to see from the coughpit because we have a quite restricted field of view. Nevertheless, I've seen plenty over the years, and not just the sort that give a quick flash. Every now and then you'd see one that the seemed to take forever, and from which you could see bits shedding. I've actually seen three in daylight, but all from the ground.

I don't think that you can see geostationary satellites. They are a very long way up. Most of the satellites that we see aren't actually satellites at all, but are spent booster stages. What we see also tends to be in low orbit.

One sight that is now becoming quite rare, was called an Iridium flash. These satellites, for whatever reason were extremely reflective, and would occasionally reflect the sun right at you. When they did, they'd brighten up from a quite dim satellite, to about the brightness of Venus. But, it would only last a few seconds. It was quite predictable, and web sites would give you exact times and positions for the flash. The new generation of satellites don't show this behaviour.

This picture was taken about a month ago near Albury/Wodonga. It's a composite, meant to show the satellites. It's still a work in progress.

_D807485-Starlink 2.jpg

And this from the coughpit, avoiding a storm over Indonesia.

_D803000.jpg
 

RSD

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JB747 - when you was in the coughpit did you always try to have a camera handy to use during the less busy stages of flight in case something of interest suddenly appeared in the sky?
 

jb747

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I've seen three SAMs fired, thankfully from a nice safe position in my RAN days. All were Standard SM1, fired by our DDGs.

JB747 - when you was in the coughpit did you always try to have a camera handy to use during the less busy stages of flight in case something of interest suddenly appeared in the sky?

I virtually never carried a camera before the days of digital. I wish I had, but of course it was nowhere near as convenient as it is now. Over the last 10 years I often carried a DSLR, and of course, I had the fallback of mobile phone or even iPad.
 

Dale Eastham

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But the thing I love to do most is on a pitch black night, in the middle of no where, I’ll turn down all the lights as safe as possible, and just look at the billions of stars and just marvel at the thought of infinite space.
Thank you for sharing that - I've often sat in the 'back' at night wondering what it looks like from up front. When I have a window seat on night flights I'll sit for what feels like hours, looking out at the sky.
I imagine that view has to be one of the best parts about the job; im very jealous :)
 

AviatorInsight

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Thank you for sharing that - I've often sat in the 'back' at night wondering what it looks like from up front. When I have a window seat on night flights I'll sit for what feels like hours, looking out at the sky.
I imagine that view has to be one of the best parts about the job; im very jealous :)
Yes, it’s an awesome sight, unfortunately the photos I take just don’t do it justice.
 

captainroma

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Hey guys,

With the last two terrible tragedies of planes shot down by missiles, is is possible to install missile evasion means on a commercial plane? Like equipping with flares that fire when rockets approach ? Is there actually any means to detect an incoming missiles?
 

OZDUCK

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Hey guys,

With the last two terrible tragedies of planes shot down by missiles, is is possible to install missile evasion means on a commercial plane? Like equipping with flares that fire when rockets approach ? Is there actually any means to detect an incoming missiles?
I am certainly no expert so can't comments on its effectiveness or otherwise but El Al planes are fitted with such a system. Israel Has The World's Safest Airline — And It's About To Get Even Safer
 
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Tropic

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Thinking of the concept of never ending space makes me appreciate how short life really is. Just a shooting star across the endless cosmic darkness ...
 

jb747

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Hey guys,

With the last two terrible tragedies of planes shot down by missiles, is is possible to install missile evasion means on a commercial plane? Like equipping with flares that fire when rockets approach ? Is there actually any means to detect an incoming missiles?
I am certainly no expert so can't comments on its effectiveness or otherwise but El Al planes are fitted with such a system. Israel Has The World's Safest Airline — And It's About To Get Even Safer

The Israeli system (and flares in other cases) are defences against heat seeking weapons. Basically fairly dumb ones as fired by shoulder launchers. These would be the most prevalent. They are also the least dangerous, as larger aircraft may survive a hit. The Israelis defended against one form of these on their A-4s simply by extending the tail pipe by about 3 feet. The weapon would hit what amounted to a rubbish bin attached to the back of the aircraft, instead of the structure.

The missiles that were fired near Tehran, and also at MH, were semi active radar guided weapons. These come in many varieties. Some use the ground radar for most of the flight (ground transmits, and the missile homes on the reflection), whilst others will switch to using their own radar as the range closes. Still others, take over the radar duties as soon as they are launched (fire and forget). Defence against these will require active electronic jamming, not just as broad band noise, but also deception jamming, which attempts to provide a false signal which causes the weapon to miss. To function, these systems actually need to analyse the radar, identify the system, and apply specific signals for that system. You’ll need to add chaff dispensing as well. This is well and truly military grade stuff. Turning it on would pretty much confirm you as a military target, and probably attract many more missiles. Air forces have large resources dedicated to dealing with these systems, and the aircraft that do take them on are flying very high risk missions.

In practical terms, you can’t reasonably defend against these systems.
 
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RooFlyer

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Can I ask opinions on this event (delta flight dumping fuel at 'low level' over LAX), particularly about the note that the flight did not request a fuel dump but obviously did one.

If taking off on 24L does immediately take you over water, can you think of any scenario that would require continued dumping over the land? I guess it all points to a cough-up.

 

jb747

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Can I ask opinions on this event (delta flight dumping fuel at 'low level' over LAX), particularly about the note that the flight did not request a fuel dump but obviously did one.

He doesn’t really have to request one. A twin engined aircraft with an engine out is in an emergency situation, at which point all of the rules go out the window. On the other hand, telling ATC that you are going to dump shouldn’t be an issue.

If I recall correctly the recommended minimum for dumping is 6,000’. Any emergency over-rules that. The rules are fading - probably ‘cos I’m not looking at them any more.

If taking off on 24L does immediately take you over water, can you think of any scenario that would require continued dumping over the land? I guess it all points to a cough-up.

We don’t really know just what the aircraft issue and status was. The engine was apparently compressor stalling, which almost certainly means that it’s physically damaged, most likely having thrown/eaten blades. It’s unlikely to have been a clean shutdown (of the sort you’d get with loss of the mechanical fuel pump).

There’s a balance to be struck here somewhere. Whilst the aircraft is certified by the FAA and Boeing (both of whom we trust) for a very long ETOPS period (5 hours or so) that does not mean that flying around on one engine for any longer than you have to is a good idea. So, back on the ground as soon as reasonably possible. Conversely, dumping takes time. You don’t really need to get the aircraft to MLW, but the closer you can get to there the better.

As for dumping over land, any scenario in which you want it on the ground ASAP, for instance a cargo fire with confirmation, would have me ignoring all of the rules. I’d stop the dump at around the start of finals. In that case I’m getting rid of as much weight as I can, as I want the quickest stop I can manage, so that I get people running away. If QF 30 had approached over land I would have continued the dump irrespective, as I wanted it on the ground ASAP and at as light a weight as possible.

Was it a mistake? On the very limited info we have, I don’t see the need for the hurry, so I’d say yes. Let’s see if that opinion survives a bit more information.
 

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