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jb747

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And the compression fractures to boot. Don’t know where I read it but there was some anecdotal evidence that those who ejected have a far higher incidence of brain cancer later in life. One would assume something to do with the disruption of the spinal fluid.
Back issues for those who eject are very common. Don't know about brain cancer; I've never heard that comment before. Those from the non knuck world would probably argue that you can't get cancer in something that doesn't exist.

A couple of years ago, I created a contact list for all who'd flown the Aussie A-4s. It was never a long list, and we've lost a few lately. I was talking to an old A-4 mate just the other day, and he was saying that he'd recently spent some weeks in hospital after having back surgery, all related to his ejection back in '79. In his case, he was doing about 300 knots when he ejected....and 2-3 seconds later, he was in a full chute. The A-4 was one of the aircraft that had an explosively opened chute (aka ballistic spreader gun).

Are there many scenarios where pilots can even try to slow down before ejecting? I'd have thought if they get to the stage of considering ejecting, it's either do that ASAP and have say a 30% chance of dying, or not eject and have a 99.9% chance of dying.
Many ejections are premeditated. In the case of the Mirage, you were supposed to eject with any form of undercarriage malfunction. In the A-4, if you had tanks, you might be able to land on them, but otherwise it would be a walk home. So, you'd probably be able to fly to an area allocated for ejections, and then go out at an altitude and speed of your choosing. Many engine failure scenarios would allow you time to slow the aircraft. Loss of control cases, which are probably most ejections anyway, would tend to happen at slower speeds.


Those 10th's of seconds between ejection could be an eternity. While trying to look into this more I came across an F14 fatality where such a delay of 0.4 seconds meant the back set occupant survived but the pilot did not.

F-14A crashed on approach to USS Abraham Lincoln
That's quite a famous accident. Not so much because of the loss of the aircraft, but because of the sex of the pilot.

Thanks for that (I think). Not sure about when jb747 did his training but in my time (circa 1970) we all did a trial half charge ejection up a set of rails as part of our Aviation Medicine training.
That was good fun, though I suppose it could be a bit like having everyone you've ever met kick you in the backside at once.

Just to clarify one thing. Many aircraft, possibly most aircraft, don't have command ejection. The Macchi, Mirage, PC-9 and PC-21 as examples do not have it.
It was fitted in the TA-4, and I think it's ubiquitous across all USN aircraft. It was selectable. For our first few rides in the aircraft it was selected to the rear, but after we went solo it was moved back to front only. My A-4 manual doesn't include much TA-4 information, but I'm pretty certain that the rear seat would always fire if the front seat handle was pulled, irrespective of the position of the rear arming handle. That means that if you were doing a solo flight in the trainer, and had to eject, the empty rear seat would still fire.
 
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straitman

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Looking at that list you might be a bit reticent to go up with anyone named Ellis! :)
The one on 19/11/70 was Rob Ellis from my pilots course and it was his first night solo. We had been at Pearce for 5 months at that stage and it was the second fatal accident in that period.

Certainly put the wind up us as most of us were due to do our first night solos in the next few nights.
 

jb747

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One from my pilots’ course too.

Amazing how many of the people in this list I’ve met along the way. Mark Kelly flew one of the very last QF 747 flights.

But it brings out how even military flying has become much safer. Accidents in the Mirage were almost common. The A-4 was even worse, though it was mostly because of where they operated (i.e. the ship). The F18 has been in RAAF service since 1985, and doesn’t rate a mention on the list. I think they’ve actually lost 5 aircraft, which is quite extraordinary over the time the RAAF have been operating them.
 

Saab34

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As a young pilot learning the hard way via the GA route something that has astounded me along the way is automation in the bigger machines and stick and visual skills which appear to be non existent. Coming from someone who flies VFR stick and rudder all the way in all sorts of weather, I guess it’s a bit of a shock.

I was watching this video and I’m sort of taken back by the amount of time the eyes are down and not out the window.

Is this just normal behaviour and something I need to prepare myself for in my future years. Doesn’t seem too good for traditional stick skills.

I guess the same could be said for flying an approach. You can hear when the AP disconnects when on an Airbus narrowbody if seated up the front and it amazes me that this usually occurs at a few hundred ft/a mile to run. It’s a blue sunny day why wouldn’t you fly it right down Final?

Or is it just and Airbus thing. Or a cadet thing.
 
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jb747

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Small, camouflaged, and very fast. To be honest it’s a wonder there were never more mid air collisions. But, I’d forgotten about this particular accident (if I ever knew), and it reminds me of the event at LAX, where a 737 landed on top of a smaller commuter flight. In that instance, the smaller aircraft’s lights disappeared into the sea of lights around the touchdown zone, and the 737 never really had a chance to see it. The wreckage slid over taxiway D, which is normally quite busy, and ended up crossing the north south taxiway that was near the current S. It was a terrible accident as it was, but it had the potential to be much worse.

Taxying past wreckage is one of the more thought provoking events in aviation.
 

flyer89

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Small, camouflaged, and very fast. To be honest it’s a wonder there were never more mid air collisions. But, I’d forgotten about this particular accident (if I ever knew), and it reminds me of the event at LAX, where a 737 landed on top of a smaller commuter flight. In that instance, the smaller aircraft’s lights disappeared into the sea of lights around the touchdown zone, and the 737 never really had a chance to see it. The wreckage slid over taxiway D, which is normally quite busy, and ended up crossing the north south taxiway that was near the current S. It was a terrible accident as it was, but it had the potential to be much worse.

Taxying past wreckage is one of the more thought provoking events in aviation.
It’s a particularly chilling episode of air crash. ‘91? What were you flying into LAX at that point? The -400?
 

jb747

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As a young pilot learning the hard way via the GA route something that has astounded me along the way is automation in the bigger machines and stick and visual skills which appear to be non existent. Coming from someone who flies VFR stick and rudder all the way in all sorts of weather, I guess it’s a bit of a shock.

I was watching this video and I’m sort of taken back by the amount of time the eyes are down and not out the window.
Ah, stick and rudder. They are part of a basic skill set that is part of the foundation that other flying is built upon. But, they are of quite limited value in day to day 380 operations. Firstly, the rudders are footrests. They are used for engine failures, correcting crosswind in the flare, and via the nose gear steering for take off and landing roll. Beyond that, they have no use at all. If you watch videos of large aircraft making approaches in gusty weather, you will see lots of rudder activity, but none of that is pilot activated, but rather it’s all either the yaw damper or the FBW.

It is almost impossible to accurately pick attitudes when there is nothing in front of you. Pitch changes of fractions of a degree are the the normal response to deviations during an approach. You can’t see that. On take off we needed a half degree reduction in pitch during gear retraction. Impossible to pick other than on the AI.

Beyond that though, I used to regularly see pilots, who when flying manually would be ‘looking through’ the flight director, instead of following it (or turning it off). Without exception, they were all terrible IF pilots.

Is this just normal behaviour and something I need to prepare myself for in my future years. Doesn’t seem too good for traditional stick skills.
As I said, those traditional skills are just one part of the skillset. Pilots who manually fly on pitch black nights, or in poor weather do nothing beyond increasing the overall risk to the operation. It also loads up the other pilot, who now needs even more attention on just what the other bloke is up to.

I guess the same could be said for flying an approach. You can hear when the AP disconnects when on an Airbus narrowbody if seated up the front and it amazes me that this usually occurs at a few hundred ft/a mile to run. It’s a blue sunny day why wouldn’t you fly it right down Final?
If I was going to manually land the aircraft, I normally disconnected at 1,000’. If I went below that it was almost invariably for an automatic landing. Why would I fly it down finals? It’s not as if I haven’t done it before. Remember too, that almost all landings of large aircraft are at the end of long flights. We just want the flight to be safely over.

Or is it just and Airbus thing. Or a cadet thing.
The Airbus has a much more capable autopilot than the Boeing, but I flew them both more or less the same way. 1,000’. On departure, I normally waited until it was clean before engaging the autopilot.

I never flew with the zero hour cadets as FOs. But, yes, I don’t think I’d want them touching it at all!
 

Fergo747

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Question for our pilots and apologies if this has been asked before, I did search the thread but found nothing.

Typically when I've watched videos of commercial pilots, and based on many discussions on this thread, there is typically a pilot flying (PF) and pilot monitoring (PM). From what I understand this is to ensure that each pilot knows their role, particularly during key phases of flight and that there aren't mixed messages / mixed responses to certain situations that could have a detrimental impact on the operation.

So onto my question then. Watching a recent youtube video (link here) I was very surprised to see both pilots with their hands on the yolk and the engineer (I'm assuming) controlling the throttles. See screenshot below if you don't want to watch the video. Is there any reason you can think of for this operation over the 'typical' one of PF and PM? Thanks for your response.

1601252893184.png
 

jb747

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My suspicion would be that the controls are extremely heavy. There are four hands on the controls, and they seem to be flying from their shoulders. A 747 is easily flown with one hand, from the wrist.
 

mjt57

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Unashamed advert here. I asked Kevin Sullivan about this, and he got back to me almost immediately. He said that he even had an engine fail on his very first conversion flight on the aircraft. This is his book about automation, and it's an excellent read.
Flicking through the channels yesterday or Saturday that Air Crash show was on and his incident was the episode. They had him on and "Muzzi" the FA who QF screwed over comprehensively.
 

Fergo747

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My suspicion would be that the controls are extremely heavy. There are four hands on the controls, and they seem to be flying from their shoulders. A 747 is easily flown with one hand, from the wrist.
Thank you. Logical explanation that I had not actually considered. Appreciate the response
 

jb747

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It’s a particularly chilling episode of air crash. ‘91? What were you flying into LAX at that point? The -400?
At that point I was a 747-400 First Officer.

Over the years I saw the result of four airliner accidents. That was by far the worst, but given how busy the taxiways it crossed were, it could easily have involved more aircraft.

Hong Kong the 747 that went swimming.
London, the 777 that lost both engines.
Dubai, the 777 that went around without power.
 

AviatorInsight

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Question for our pilots and apologies if this has been asked before, I did search the thread but found nothing.

Typically when I've watched videos of commercial pilots, and based on many discussions on this thread, there is typically a pilot flying (PF) and pilot monitoring (PM). From what I understand this is to ensure that each pilot knows their role, particularly during key phases of flight and that there aren't mixed messages / mixed responses to certain situations that could have a detrimental impact on the operation.

So onto my question then. Watching a recent youtube video (link here) I was very surprised to see both pilots with their hands on the yolk and the engineer (I'm assuming) controlling the throttles. See screenshot below if you don't want to watch the video. Is there any reason you can think of for this operation over the 'typical' one of PF and PM? Thanks for your response.
This operation would need great communication between the 6 crew members (a navigator is required with a GPS mounted on the dash?). Given the fact that this aircraft is over 45yrs old now and has a MTOW of 250t, I doubt there would be any fly by wire technology it making the aircraft incredibly heavy through the controls.

This is the only explanation I can offer as I’m not really in touch with Antonov types.
 
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AviatorInsight

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As a young pilot learning the hard way via the GA route something that has astounded me along the way is automation in the bigger machines and stick and visual skills which appear to be non existent. Coming from someone who flies VFR stick and rudder all the way in all sorts of weather, I guess it’s a bit of a shock.

I was watching this video and I’m sort of taken back by the amount of time the eyes are down and not out the window.

Is this just normal behaviour and something I need to prepare myself for in my future years. Doesn’t seem too good for traditional stick skills.

I guess the same could be said for flying an approach. You can hear when the AP disconnects when on an Airbus narrowbody if seated up the front and it amazes me that this usually occurs at a few hundred ft/a mile to run. It’s a blue sunny day why wouldn’t you fly it right down Final?

Or is it just and Airbus thing. Or a cadet thing.
Flying on instruments, means you can fly more accurately than with the MKI eyeball. There’s a lot more information you can get from reading the glass and you can catch any trends happening earlier.

Flying closer to the ground (below 1000ft usually), airlines have a stable approach criteria. If you’re not flying within those parameters you go around.

So it leads on to the fact that, these guys have been up flying all night/all day and are somewhat fatigued. The same can be said for narrow body pilots. If I’m on my 4th sector for the day I won’t be hand flying it from the same altitude that I was at the start of the day. I normally go flight directors off on the first sector of the day just to keep me honest.

You need to pick and choose when you decide to hand fly. I love it, but if there‘s any kind of weather, or pitch black night with a lot of traffic then you need to consider your offsider as it increases their workload too.

Beyond that though, I used to regularly see pilots, who when flying manually would be ‘looking through’ the flight director, instead of following it (or turning it off). Without exception, they were all terrible IF pilots.
There‘s really only 2 times I’ll fly through the director:
1. MARUB departure off 34R. Making sure the turn occurs at 500ft, not after.
2. SWIFT departure off 15 at Cairns. Basically the 400ft or end of runway requirement so we don’t fly over the city (and to avoid terrain).

In both cases, the flight director flies on a computed rate of change as if it was on the autopilot. This rate may not happen quick enough to comply with the above requirements. The 737 in particular will also on occasion “over bank” in LNAV especially if a sudden wind gust occurs. This was evident in Cairns.

But other than that, I fly the director.
 

Fergo747

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This operation would need great communication between the 6 crew members (a navigator is required with a GPS mounted on the dash?). Given the fact that this aircraft is over 45yrs old now and has a MTOW of 250t, I doubt there would be any fly by wire technology it making the aircraft incredibly heavy through the controls.

This is the only explanation I can offer as I’m not really in touch with Antonov types.
Thanks for the response. Yes, I would be interested to understand who has the 'lead' vs 'follow' role etc. Would be very interesting to properly witness the operation.
 

jb747

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albatross710

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Anyone still think that air to air refuelling of airliners is a good idea?
I think that was originally me - but I am well cured of that thought, although now with less air traffic.....

What do you think of the 130 making an out landing? My thoughts were that the 130 pilot wisely decided that with that aircraft the best place to be was on the ground asap
 

harvyk

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What's the protocols around eating and drinking (obviously non-alcoholic) whilst flying? (Talking airliners here)
For example, will the pilots eat meals whilst still actively flying, or will that only happen on breaks? Is there a minimum length flight which pilots would be offered a meal on? What about drinks and snacks?

Obviously each airline is different, so will take any answer as for that airline only.
 

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