Ask The Pilot

Thanks for the various explanations. In this one, I was assuming that the aircraft was rising and falling for calmer air, and thinking that wasn't reflected in the trace. But with the cloud-top changing levels, the aircraft was maintaining its FL.

How does an aircraft maintain its flight level? (What does it measure?)
Flight levels are not referenced to the ground (or sea level). Flying at at constant flight level simply means that you’re flying at a constant air pressure level, and that may rise or lower as the atmosphere changes. But, as all of the aircraft are using the same pressure reference, it means that any deviation is followed by all aircraft (in the area) so separation is maintained. A flight level is not really your altitude.
And while the 'conversation' is about seat belt signs & management of them, on that China Air flight, the SB sign was on the entire time (4 hour flight) but after about two hours, toilet runs were allowed, at least during calmer patches in J.
Well, they must be safe. They’re cheap. Isn’t that how the argument goes?
Please explain.... 🙏
If I put on 10 extra tonnes of fuel on a 12 hour flight, when I land, I’ll only have about 5 tonnes of it left.…it will all be gone in 24 hours. It’s just a quick and dirty rule of thumb, but it gives an idea of how any extra fuel will disappear.
 
This youtube channel often has clickbait title / thumbnails, but in this case it proves correct....
Wondering what the pilots here think about the first clip.
There’s number of interesting shorts in the reference.

The landing aircraft is obviously too close, and probably should have gone around at around 200’. The departing aircraft has probably taken too long to get going after being cleared to take off. The landing aircraft is obviously well aware of the other aircraft, as he appears to delay his touchdown. The problem would be that if he decided to execute a late go around, he’s going to be overtaking the aircraft in front, and will probably lose sight of it, so it’s easy to see him taking this (landing) as the safer option.
Doesn't sound like your trip is off to a good start!
Well, QF got us here, even if it was a bit late and included the weird bus ride. The return isn’t until next week, but Rex have just cancelled the flight out of Coolangatta, so now we’ve rebooked with Virgin. My wife is looking longingly at cars, and wondering if we should just drive in the future. I’m currently thinking about a trip to Europe, and one of my major considerations is frequency of service. Airlines that have lots of flights have some way of fixing issues, whereas others that go places once in a blue moon don’t. We know who that rules out.
 
ATC one night were extremely helpful in getting us out of SYD after curfew. I had been called in and rushed to the aircraft to get a flight out to MEL.

We were just waiting on the load sheet and the clock was fast approaching 11pm. So when I got our airways clearance I also requested pushback and taxi at the same time. The controller knew what I was doing and gave us all of the clearances in one transmission with a comment that we “no longer need to rush”. We were about number 8 to depart anyway and got airborne at around 11:25pm.
The rules definitely seem quite weird at times.

Believe after 10.45 there's also a rule that aircraft use 34L/R where they can (crosswinds, light winds) even if departing aircraft using 16L/R.

Was a YT broadcast from SydSquad recently where due to a go around there were eight aircraft sitting on the apron waiting for everything to come in before 11 so they could take off on 16R.

Obviously runway efficiency drops considerably when you've got conflicting movements.
 
The rules definitely seem quite weird at times.

Believe after 10.45 there's also a rule that aircraft use 34L/R where they can (crosswinds, light winds) even if departing aircraft using 16L/R.

Was a YT broadcast from SydSquad recently where due to a go around there were eight aircraft sitting on the apron waiting for everything to come in before 11 so they could take off on 16R.

Obviously runway efficiency drops considerably when you've got conflicting movements.
That's correct. It's a noise abatement procedure that between 2245-2300 Local (every day), all departures will be off 16L/R and arrivals can be on 34L (only), 25/07, and 16L/R.
 
If I put on 10 extra tonnes of fuel on a 12 hour flight, when I land, I’ll only have about 5 tonnes of it left.…it will all be gone in 24 hours
In other words having X tonnes of spare/contingency fuel does not mean the aircraft will hopefully not use it and therefore retain X tonnes at the other end. The spare fuel gets used regardless. How much is used is then a fraction of the 24hr rule of thumb?
 
In other words having X tonnes of spare/contingency fuel does not mean the aircraft will hopefully not use it and therefore retain X tonnes at the other end. The spare fuel gets used regardless. How much is used is then a fraction of the 24hr rule of thumb?
If you want X tonnes of fuel extra at the end of the flight (and there isn’t really anywhere else that you’d want it), then you’ll need to load appreciably more than X.
 
Is this good piloting or just what you train for


And from the article

In a statement to the BBC, Austrian Airlines said the incident occurred after the aircraft flew into a thunderstorm "which was not visible on the weather radar", adding that no passengers were injured in the saga.

Under what conditions would this type of storm not be visible on radar? Pax says 'on approach', 20 mins out. If that's true, could the hail have come from far above them, and therefore not appeared on the radar?
 
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Is this good piloting or just what you train for.
You don’t train for this sort of thing specifically, but like most training it provides the lego bricks for you to assemble into whatever you need on the day. Any time I see images like this, I always wonder what the engines look like, as the fans would have been eating this stuff as well.

First option with the sort of reduced vis that they had would be to do an auto-land. The systems for that shouldn’t have been affected. Looking at the coughpit images, whilst the Captains windscreen looks just about opaque, the FO’s may have provided enough visibility. Failing that, slow down, put the oxygen mask on (which incorporates goggles), and open the #2 windows. You’d only need to look out for the flare, the rest can be flown on the instruments (or automatically).
Under what conditions would this type of storm not be visible on radar? Pax says 'on approach', 20 mins out. If that's true, could the hail have come from far above them, and therefore not appeared on the radar?
You don’t want to be downwind of storms as they can throw stuff at you, but, generally this sort of hail isn’t going to be at high levels. On approach, and 20 minutes out are mutually exclusive. Approach is probably less than 5 minutes. 20 minutes is top of descent. At low levels you could be ducking and weaving around storms, and simply get boxed in. There comes a time when you might have no choice but to transit the storms, and as long as everyone is strapped in, there shouldn’t be too many issues. But, not always. Hail doesn’t show up as anything other than rain, and it may not even show up that well.
 
Good evening, I would appreciate the thoughts of the pilots in the community about entry pathways into this career.

My 16 year old son has wanted to be a commercial airline pilot since he could talk. His entire life revolves around aviation and always has done.

At the moment he is choosing subject ms for year 11 and 12 and discussions have become more focused on what sort of entry pathway he should be aiming for; does he complete a Bachelor of Aviation, or should he put his energy into trying to get a Cadetship with an Australian or UK airline (he has dual citizenship). Given the (apparent?) shortage of pilots, it seems that, if he’s able to get one, a Cadetship might be an effective way of getting him where he wants to be.

He’s doing everything we can think of to make himself a strong candidate in the future: Airforce Cadets, Leadership training, Duke of Edinburgh etc

I’d love advice on what pathway you would pursue if you were starting out at this point in time (which if you believe the media is that there is a pilot shortage). Also, is there anything else he could be doing to increase his chance of reaching his goal?

Thank you so much,
Tasha
 
Good evening, I would appreciate the thoughts of the pilots in the community about entry pathways into this career.

My 16 year old son has wanted to be a commercial airline pilot since he could talk. His entire life revolves around aviation and always has done.

At the moment he is choosing subject ms for year 11 and 12 and discussions have become more focused on what sort of entry pathway he should be aiming for; does he complete a Bachelor of Aviation, or should he put his energy into trying to get a Cadetship with an Australian or UK airline (he has dual citizenship). Given the (apparent?) shortage of pilots, it seems that, if he’s able to get one, a Cadetship might be an effective way of getting him where he wants to be.

He’s doing everything we can think of to make himself a strong candidate in the future: Airforce Cadets, Leadership training, Duke of Edinburgh etc

I’d love advice on what pathway you would pursue if you were starting out at this point in time (which if you believe the media is that there is a pilot shortage). Also, is there anything else he could be doing to increase his chance of reaching his goal?

Thank you so much,
Tasha
Welcome to AFF - I'm sure you will get some good advice here
 
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I’m currently thinking about a trip to Europe, and one of my major considerations is frequency of service. Airlines that have lots of flights have some way of fixing issues, whereas others that go places once in a blue moon don’t. We know who that rules out.
Would rule most of them out I think! Very few would have more than one a day from a selected Australian international airport to a European destination.
 
If you want X tonnes of fuel extra at the end of the flight (and there isn’t really anywhere else that you’d want it), then you’ll need to load appreciably more than X.
And then probably start working out how much of the self loading or other cargo is going to need to be left behind...
 
Good evening, I would appreciate the thoughts of the pilots in the community about entry pathways into this career.
I’m not quite sure how to start here, as it’s not a simple process of getting a licence and then putting your hand up for a job. At the higher levels (i.e. airlines and air force) the pilot training system is literally a culling machine. It’s not designed to get weaker students through, but rather to identify them and remove them from the stream. At the lower levels (some GA schools) it’s designed to stretch your training out as long as possible, before you realise it’s not for you, to maximise their return.

Sadly, nobody really knows where they’ll fit on the spectrum until their training has started.
My 16 year old son has wanted to be a commercial airline pilot since he could talk. His entire life revolves around aviation and always has done.
Which is most of us.
At the moment he is choosing subject ms for year 11 and 12 and discussions have become more focused on what sort of entry pathway he should be aiming for; does he complete a Bachelor of Aviation, or should he put his energy into trying to get a Cadetship with an Australian or UK airline (he has dual citizenship).
He should do a degree that will feed him. There is no rhyme or reason to the various degrees pilots have. The RAAF guys were either science or engineering, but I know of people with chemistry, pharmac_, medical, veterinary, finance and economics. IT. Law. Even music. Anything arts is probably a bad idea. The reality is that most people who start the journey to becoming a pilot, don’t complete it, so these degrees are of far more use than anything aviation related. Irrespective of the route chosen, he must have physics and maths.

The CASA mandated subjects for the various licences are all available online, and it shouldn’t be too difficult to do them whilst taking care of the ‘feed me’ degree.

The cadet schemes are expensive, do not have guarantees at the end, and are (at least in Oz) designed to push these new pilots to the lower end airlines that a group might own, that are otherwise unattractive to already qualified people. On the other hand, if you can afford them, manage to get past the selection process (they’re hard to get into, even though you’re paying for them), they’re probably the closest thing to a guarantee of something. Note that last time I looked, they were not an avenue to Qantas mainline, but could get you QLink or Jetstar. Rex runs their own, and I know many ex-Rex pilots who managed to jump to QF mainline.
Given the (apparent?) shortage of pilots, it seems that, if he’s able to get one, a Cadetship might be an effective way of getting him where he wants to be.
He’s 16 now. By the time he’s qualified, any shortage will have disappeared. The shortages are also not necessarily of pilots, but of pilots willing to work for the offered pay.

You should also have a think about the what the future will bring. Whilst automation is not ready for the prime time yet, very likely we’re only a generation of aircraft away from it becoming much more real. I’d have little doubt that in the course of any 16 year old’s career, it will take over most, if not all, of the job.

According to flying schools there is always a shortage, but their business is selling training.
He’s doing everything we can think of to make himself a strong candidate in the future: Airforce Cadets, Leadership training, Duke of Edinburgh etc
16. I’m pretty sure he can start private pilot training at that age. So perhaps a few hours might help to sort things out.
I’d love advice on what pathway you would pursue if you were starting out at this point in time (which if you believe the media is that there is a pilot shortage).
I’d like to fly an F35, so I’d follow exactly the path that I did. The military.
Also, is there anything else he could be doing to increase his chance of reaching his goal?
All of the selection systems are choosy. They do not need to take people who barely passed HSC. He needs marks that are as high as he can get, especially in maths and physics. It’s not that you’ll necessarily use them, but it’s a way of separating the applicants.

Even though I ended up an airline pilot, the best training that exists in this country is that offered by the RAAF. And they even fly some pretty cool aircraft, many of which are little different to the airliners used by QF.
 
This Virgin flight from Brisbane last Saturday afternoon took an unusual track. I assume this would be weather related?
1718331060510.png
 
It’s a Saturday, so RAAF probably not at work, though avoiding some of their airspace would have been my first thought. Been some pretty poor weather around Sydney lately, and you don’t really get a valid picture of what was going on with all of the other aircraft from these tracks.
 
This Virgin flight from Brisbane last Saturday afternoon took an unusual track. I assume this would be weather related?
View attachment 390583
Looks like there wasn’t enough controllers on and they’ve closed the airspace down over land. They do this and reroute aircraft out over the water. It’s happening more and more lately and unfortunately adding a significant amount of flying time.
 
He’s doing everything we can think of to make himself a strong candidate in the future: Airforce Cadets, Leadership training, Duke of Edinburgh etc
16. I’m pretty sure he can start private pilot training at that age. So perhaps a few hours might help to sort things out.
As a suggestion @Ticken2024 , if your son is involved with the Airforce Cadets, see if he can get involved in their gliding program. It's a good way to start flying, relatively cheap, and also give him the opportunity to try flying and see how he goes.
 
There’s number of interesting shorts in the reference.

The landing aircraft is obviously too close, and probably should have gone around at around 200’. The departing aircraft has probably taken too long to get going after being cleared to take off. The landing aircraft is obviously well aware of the other aircraft, as he appears to delay his touchdown. The problem would be that if he decided to execute a late go around, he’s going to be overtaking the aircraft in front, and will probably lose sight of it, so it’s easy to see him taking this (landing) as the safer option.
re the Mumbai separation video, I see FR24 blog has an article which provides more detail on actual distances, speeds etc.
 

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