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p--and--t

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Federal law bans smoking in all Australian airports, and international and domestic flights. Smoking was banned on all domestic flights in late 1987, on any flight within Australian airspace in 1990, and on all international flights to / from Australia in 1996.
Regular reports of China Southern Pilots among half dozen other airlines smoking in the cockpit. Smell allegedly very apparent in premium cabins on several flights. Not travelled on them in a premium cabin nor within last 4 years so not speaking from experience.

 

Flashback

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Regular reports of China Southern Pilots among half dozen other airlines smoking in the cockpit. Smell allegedly very apparent in premium cabins on several flights. Not travelled on them in a premium cabin nor within last 4 years so not speaking from experience.

Please try not to quote TPG, they're the most uninformed and sensational blog out there. There are many others who could provide a realistic view...
 

p--and--t

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Please try not to quote TPG, they're the most uninformed and sensational blog out there. There are many others who could provide a realistic view...
I believe there are at least a handful of AFFers who have reported in the last 2-3 years in other threads smelling cigarette smoke infrequently on flights to/from China.

Edit: and I see it was actually legal up until the beginning of last year under Chinese law..
 
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JessicaTam

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[mod hat]
A reminder of the purpose of this thread from the first post:
As this is an "ask the pilot" thread, we ask that non-pilot members refrain from answering questions that have been directed to pilots until the pilots members have had a good opportunity to answer the question (i.e. at least 7 days). Posts contrary to this request or discussions that get too far off topic may be removed or moved to a more appropriate thread or forum so we can retain order and respect in this thread.
I.e. not for general discussion.
[/mod hat]
 

Skiddy_au

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The Qantas evacuation flight has made me ponder something. Would pilots feel comfortable flying large jets into an airport you had never flown into or simulated before? I know the Qantas flight went into Exmouth, which I'm sure is an airport that appears in the simulator, just imagining a weird confluence of events that might have you landing where never expected, ie Mexico City or Mombassa, or somewhere like that.
 

jb747

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The Qantas evacuation flight has made me ponder something. Would pilots feel comfortable flying large jets into an airport you had never flown into or simulated before? I know the Qantas flight went into Exmouth, which I'm sure is an airport that appears in the simulator, just imagining a weird confluence of events that might have you landing where never expected, ie Mexico City or Mombassa, or somewhere like that.
The vast majority of airports are quite straightforward, and you wouldn’t need anything more than a quick read of their approach charts to safely fly to them. And those hours spent in the cruise aren’t all just a case of whiling away the time, staring out the window. Charts for airports along the way are often pulled out and studied. As the Captain, you’d have a passing familiarity with any airport that you’d potentially use on a flight. SO, and FOs would be working on it.

When QF flew from HK to London, it involved passage over some very high terrain. We had escape paths from the company, but all of us had looked closely at the many airports that we might have used, as they were often surrounded by very high terrain.
 

Quickstatus

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HKG-LHR would take you north of the Himalayas - over the Tibetan / Mongolian plateau . That’s about 15000feet elevation in places.
Can you please give an example of how this could affect a flight along that route?.
Decompression over Tibet instead of South China Sea, high airport - can land can’t take off?
 

drb1979

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JB - with the recent Wuhan flight do you know how they would have handled fuel and maintenance?

Is it likely they fueled for the round trip and possibly had a engineer on board, given they'd likely want to limit exposure to any local maintenance staff, and of course minmise the risk of being stuck in Wuhan?

Do you think there would have been any specifc ground handling aspects - i.e. keep an engine running to ensure they could start up and get out of there? (what would happen if the APU failed!)

(actually given they would on the ground for 6 hours I doubt they did keep an engine running!)
 

Franky

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JB - with the recent Wuhan flight do you know how they would have handled fuel and maintenance?

Is it likely they fueled for the round trip and possibly had a engineer on board, given they'd likely want to limit exposure to any local maintenance staff, and of course minmise the risk of being stuck in Wuhan?

Do you think there would have been any specifc ground handling aspects - i.e. keep an engine running to ensure they could start up and get out of there? (what would happen if the APU failed!)

(actually given they would on the ground for 6 hours I doubt they did keep an engine running!)
If it's relevant, Learmonth is also a civil airport so there should be no specific handling aspects, other than the size of the aircraft if that matters.
 

drb1979

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Thanks, I was more wondering about how they would have handled the Wuhan part of the trip!

Presumably they had enough food/supplies for a few days if anything happened, I assume they'd be reluctant to leave the plane?
 

jb747

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HKG-LHR would take you north of the Himalayas - over the Tibetan / Mongolian plateau . That’s about 15000feet elevation in places.
Can you please give an example of how this could affect a flight along that route?.
The routes tend to be more northerly, with the most southern that we could use being L888. Whilst we all had to do the 888 qualifying sims, it was very rarely used after 2004 (when I went back to the 747), and I never flew it. Apparently it was very prone to bad, continuous, turbulence. Given the terrain, that makes sense.

The routes that we used, had us tracking more or less north from HK until almost abeam Beijing, and then heading west. You passed north of Urumqui. That kept the really big stuff well to the south.

Depressurisation escape routes were provided by the company for all of these routes. Because you couldn’t just turn off these airways at any point, you might have to continue ahead, or do a u-turn, to get to a way point which would allow you to descent and divert. Places like Xian and Urumqui were considered. The terrain is very high, and you almost certainly won’t be able to descend to 10,000’ straight away. The 747 had a lot of oxygen, sufficient to allow you to remain up at about 20,000’ until you were beyond the high ground.

QF30, threw some interesting herrings into the planning considerations used for any of these flights. The aircraft had just completed the China crossing before it landed in HK.


Decompression over Tibet instead of South China Sea, high airport - can land can’t take off?
As we didn’t go near Tibet, the lack of 747 capable airfields wasn’t an issue.
 
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Quickstatus

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Did the 747-400 require ground navigational aids to assist in flights over Western china?
Prior to GPS and data link, how did aircraft navigate through uninhabited areas like western china or the oceans
I believe inertial navigational aids require periodic updates from ground based stations?

What herrings did QF30 raise?

On these high terrain operation, the other scenario would be a one engine out. How would you know if the terrain ahead will accomodate a one engine out. I understand weight, air temp, prevailing winds, anti ice may play a role here. If not enough maybe a fuel dump? Some areas have a minimum safe altitude of 20,000 feet.

L888 – escape routes
Development of the L888


Screenshot 2020-02-05 10.17.26.png
 
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jb747

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JB - with the recent Wuhan flight do you know how they would have handled fuel and maintenance?
I don't specifically know what they did, so anything I say is simply my best guess.

Is it likely they fueled for the round trip and possibly had a engineer on board, given they'd likely want to limit exposure to any local maintenance staff, and of course minmise the risk of being stuck in Wuhan?
Wuhan to Learmonth is slightly less than Singapore to Melbourne, and from memory the load for Sin-Mel was in the order of 80 tonnes. The limitation you'd have to worry about would be landing weight in Wuhan. So, empty weight would be about 185 tonnes, and max landing weight about 285 tonnes, so you could probably land with about 100 tonnes on board. That should be sufficient.

I'd expect them to have taken a couple of engineers.

Do you think there would have been any specifc ground handling aspects - i.e. keep an engine running to ensure they could start up and get out of there? (what would happen if the APU failed!)
If the APU snuffs it, you need ground power and air. That's all connected without any crew input, so it shouldn't have any real effect. You can't keep an engine going. Burns too much fuel, and loading isn't going to happen with an engine running.
 

jb747

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Did the 747-400 require ground navigational aids to assist in flights over Western china?
The IRS would constantly update itself using whatever aids (especially DME) that it had available. With the occasional update, it would rarely be outside a mile or so of the real position. I think the worst I ever saw was after a flight across the Pacific, when it had had no update for about 11-12 hours. In that case it was out by nine miles. The -400 made it very easy to compare FMC position and navaids. You could literally draw them both on the nav screen for a quick comparison.

Prior to GPS and data link, how did aircraft navigate through uninhabited areas like western china or the oceans
I believe inertial navigational aids require periodic updates from ground based stations?
Data links allow communication, not navigation. We had to rely on HF, which was generally very poor. Getting a clearance to go around weather, or change level could be a long process.

FMCs calculated a best bet on the aircraft position by comparing all three IRS positions. It was quite good at removing information from the least accurate system. Nowdays, position accuracy in the mid Pacific would be in 10s of metres, but even 30 years ago, it would have been under 10 nm.

What herrings did QF30 raise?
The assumption that all of these operations are based upon, is that you'll have sufficient oxygen available to enable you to stop your descent above the these very high safety heights, for long enough to get beyond the areas of high terrain. The routes aren't available to all aircraft, because the chemical systems don't provide enough gas to enable the escape to be completed. The 747 had a lot of oxygen available per passenger, and so using these routes wasn't an issue. QF30's dual issue of depressurisation and compromise of the passenger oxygen system meant that it had pretty much zero time available at altitude. Ultimately, it was decided that this was such a low probability item that it wasn't worth considering...but anything that can happen once, can happen again.

On these high terrain operation, the other scenario would be a one engine out. How would you know if the terrain ahead will accomodate a one engine out.
Routes will not be available if an aircraft cannot fly them engine out. This is much more limiting for a twin than it is for a quad. At maximum take off weight, an RR powered 747-400 would be able to maintain FL260, with one engine out. At the weights, and temps, you're really going to see, you'd have no trouble staying above FL300. The ground would still look close though.
 
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JohnM

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It's Friday, so that means the Aviation section in the Oz. It also means Byron Bailey commentating.

Reading the online reader comments show, particularly today, a polarisation between those who regard Bailey as a guru and those who criticise what he said.

Any comments on his article, pilots:?

Is he insensitively presumptive on the possible cause of the C-130 crash?
Instrument training a lifesaver for pilots
Byron Bailey


Last month was a sad time aviation wise what with the tragic loss of the C-130 firebomber tanker and her American crew, possibly from structural fatigue of the wing main spar.
The equally tragic helicopter crash involving basketball superstar Kobe Bryant was a very different kind of accident.
This helicopter was not certified for flight under IFR (instrument flight rules) conditions and the pilot was cleared by air traffic control to operate under SVFR (special visibility flight rules) where the visibility requirement is reduced from the normal three miles to one mile but the pilot must still remain clear of cloud (fog is just cloud in ground contact).

It appears the pilot may have inadvertently entered fog as he turned back, being unable to continue to the destination. ATC and flighttracker suggest that the helicopter suddenly descended in a turn and crashed at a high speed of 164 knots, above the maximum speed of 155 knots for a Sikorsky S76 helicopter.
It has long been known that it is very dangerous for a non-instrument-rated pilot to enter cloud as loss of control due to spatial disorientation will result fairly quickly.
The human inner ear cannot detect roll rates below a certain threshold so when an undetected slight roll develops, the nose will drop slightly causing a speed increase. The pilot, thinking the wings are level, pulls back on the controls which only tightens the turn ending up in loss of control in a death spiral.
Even experienced instrument-rated pilots can experience the “leans” (spatial disorientation) which only training can overcome.
This is particularly vulnerable on takeoff due to the acceleration affecting the function of the inner ear which can give false physical symptoms to the pilot who must only believe what his eyes are processing from his AI (attitude instrument).
In 2004, an Egyptian Boeing 737 took off from Sharm el-Sheikh Airport and crashed a couple of minutes later into the sea. The flight data recorder revealed the captain was losing a battle with a severe case of the leans and the cockpit voice recorder had urgent calls from the co-pilot of “bank” and “speed”.
A Mirage fighter pilot colleague of mine was lost after a formation takeoff on a dark starless night out over the sea with no horizon. Concentrating visually on the left wingtip of the formation lights of his element lead it was during the turn reversal roll through 80 degrees from 40 degree right bank to left bank at 450 knots and 1000 feet that he was heard to say “bugging out”. His inner ear would have been giving serious false sensations from the quick afterburner takeoff to 450 knots and tied in with the rolling motion meant when he broke formation he had only seconds to transition from heads up looking out to instrument flying.
The most important step in becoming a professional pilot is to get instrument rated through proper training.
Your life could depend on it.
Byron Bailey is a former RAAF fighter jet pilot and flew B777s as an airline captain.
 

jb747

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It's Friday, so that means the Aviation section in the Oz. It also means Byron Bailey commentating.
Is he still there?

Reading the online reader comments show, particularly today, a polarisation between those who regard Bailey as a guru and those who criticise what he said.
I don't think there is any polarisation about what pilots think of him.

Is he insensitively presumptive on the possible cause of the C-130 crash?
He talks about two things in this article. The C-130 gets a very short comment, about something that brought down one tanker some years ago. It's certainly a possible reason. The LA helicopter crash is used to lead into a discussion of the illusions and issues of flying in IMC. They are very real and have killed many pilots. Again, though, we don't know if that was the cause of the crash.
 

jb747

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Pilots thoughts on this!
Having any liquids over the pedestal has been a no no for ever. Of course, "it won't happen to me" is a syndrome that exists in all walks of life, so people do manage the occasional spill or breakage. Pretty rare though.

There have always been rules for how drinks are passed forward by the cabin crew. They should go around the outside of the seat, so that they are never over the pedestal. If you are religious about this, there should be no issue.

Looking at an image of the 350 pedestal, the major difference between it and the 380, is that the start switch has been moved from the overhead, to a position between the two fuel control switches. I guess I'd have to assume that the problem switch is actually the fuel control switch, but I don't know how, or even if, they differ from other Airbus types. I'd really have expected the 350 (fuel control switch) to be more or less the same as the 380, and, as far as I know, it wasn't subject to uncommanded shutdowns.

 

AviatorInsight

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It's Friday, so that means the Aviation section in the Oz. It also means Byron Bailey commentating.

Reading the online reader comments show, particularly today, a polarisation between those who regard Bailey as a guru and those who criticise what he said.

Any comments on his article, pilots:?
Eh. Seems like it was just another piece for him to make money on.

He mentions the C130 for a sentence then moves onto the helicopter crash of VFR into IMC. In where a flight under the visual flight rules was being flown into instrument meteorological conditions.

Ok yes I agree, cloud is a killer of inexperienced pilots in IMC, but once again he’s speculating on both fronts. But not before he could get in a heart stopping story about a mate on the Mirage.
 

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