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Old 11-09-2009, 11:48 AM   #51
W0X0F
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Re: Ask me about being an airline pilot or flying in general

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Originally Posted by Matt Williams View Post
OP,
Have you died in a plane crash since starting this thread?
Your concern is touching.

Sorry for the absence...didn't realize there would be so many posts in such a short time. I'll try to get on here more often throughout the day.
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Old 11-09-2009, 11:49 AM   #52
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Re: Ask me about being an airline pilot or flying in general

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Originally Posted by RayPowers View Post
I'm (optimistically) assuming he posted the thread, went to bed, and is going to answer questions when he gets up today.
BINGO! You nailed it! (thanks for the defense)
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Old 11-09-2009, 11:50 AM   #53
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Re: Ask me about being an airline pilot or flying in general

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Probably, but it's more fun to bust his chops this way.
I LOVE 2+2!!!
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Old 11-09-2009, 11:54 AM   #54
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Re: Ask me about being an airline pilot or flying in general

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Originally Posted by RoundTower View Post
also, he provided a shining example of how to make a good OP for an ask me thread.
Thank StevieG for that. He was the guy who suggested I start a thread here (in response to one I had in B&M). I wasn't even aware of OOT (evidence of a real lack of intellectual curiousity; I never scrolled down far enough to see it).

He also included the following:

"Also note proper technique - give a little exposition in the original post to avoid the common questions, and also to indicate why you make a good candidate for starting that kind of thread. "
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Old 11-09-2009, 11:57 AM   #55
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Re: Ask me about being an airline pilot or flying in general

Would you recommend aviation as a career choice to a 20-year-old fictive son of yours? I feel like it's an awesome job when you're 45 (that's when you land it) but that with the computerization of a good portion of the process and as unions lose strength the wages and conditions are bound to decrease.

Have you ever flown a European/Asian airline? How'd it differ? I feel like the US is a unique market wrt airlines and is operated kind of like an in-between Ryanair/Easyjet and British Airways but then again that's more from the passenger POV and really shouldn't make much difference for the pilot.

How is flying in African airspace? Any different? Is there a lack of radar technology over a lot of the Sub-Saharan continent?

RE: private jet, I don't want to derail, but my uncle was a contractor on this $22M mansion/summer house being built for an old man in FL. Turns out the guy was the private pilot of the owner of the Budweiser distributor in the Chicago area and when Mr. Budweiser died, the pilot married his widow who also wound up dying ~2 years later. So our pilot winds up with a ~$2B windfall. Clearly that's the way to go.

EDIT: did you make an ask me in another forum? I feel like I've read a thread similar to this in the past, or possibly just read a post of yours in that live poker forum. Great OP. And, to add to the toilet question, are pilots allowed to open the cockpit door during flight? I thought it got locked at take-off and unlocked at landing.

Last edited by Jim14Qc; 11-09-2009 at 12:04 PM.
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Old 11-09-2009, 11:57 AM   #56
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Re: Ask me about being an airline pilot or flying in general

Favorite routes?

Ever had anyone ridiculous in a cockpit jumpseat?

What kind of plane did you enjoy flying most (prop/jet, also class)?

Ever been deadheading and notice the pilot do anything "wrong" during a route and get freaked out?
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Old 11-09-2009, 12:00 PM   #57
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Re: Ask me about being an airline pilot or flying in general

Do mobile phones that are turned on really have potential to wreak havoc with your instrument panels and communication devices?

Is it the case where if a few mobile's were on, it's no big deal, but if 200 passengers all had them on, it would be an issue?
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Old 11-09-2009, 12:00 PM   #58
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Re: Ask me about being an airline pilot or flying in general

Who's the whinier group: IAM (mainly CSRs and GA's since rampers tend to ***** amongst themselves), AFA, ALPA?

do you think any of the majors will go out of business in the near future?
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Old 11-09-2009, 12:02 PM   #59
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Re: Ask me about being an airline pilot or flying in general

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OP,

I have days when I'm at my sharpest, and days when I'm just "off" - absent-minded, distracted, etc. Maybe I didn't sleep well, ate something weird, or whatever. I assume that most people have days when they're considerably less than their best. What about airline pilots and what about you? Have you ever been out-of-sorts enough in the morning to think "Man, I'm not sure I should fly a plane today"?
If it's bad enough, you don't fly. Fatigue is the big one and pilots have to be their own check on this. At my previous airline, the company was very progressive on this issue and, unfortunately, many pilots took advantage. But fatigue could be a real issue if you're flying 6 legs in crappy weather with de-icing, weather delays, etc and a 12-14 hour duty day.

Most pilots are very mission oriented and will gut it out but the big thing is to let the other pilot (or pilots for international) know what you're dealing with.

It can be a factor in accidents. I remember making an approach at night in blowing snow to Binghamton NY years ago after being on duty for 12 hours. No way you can be as sharp in that situation. We fall back on procedures, checklists, and the crew concept (I've heard it said often "It's not a mistake until we both make it.")

I could tell you stories of my single pilot days though...

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Old 11-09-2009, 12:06 PM   #60
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Re: Ask me about being an airline pilot or flying in general

Do all big jets now have sophisticated HUDs? How big of an asset are they?
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Old 11-09-2009, 12:08 PM   #61
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Re: Ask me about being an airline pilot or flying in general

What do you think of the Red Bull air races?

Reminds me of a little sports car on a twisty mountain road.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VkG2dRZxjv0
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Old 11-09-2009, 12:09 PM   #62
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Re: Ask me about being an airline pilot or flying in general

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Originally Posted by kevin21 View Post
In % terms how in control are you the pilot of the plane?

Computers/Systems etc
Much more on a Boeing than an Airbus. The airbus computers won't let a pilot do things "outside the envelope." This can be good as in the case of Sully's landing. While coming down to the river he held the stick all the way back. The computer ensured that the nose never came high enough to stall but that it was at the slowest safe speed possible (disclaimer: I don't fly the Airbus so I may be oversimplifying this). On a Boeing, the pilot would have to achieve this balancing act himself.

On the other hand, the Airbus has had at least a few accidents because the computer decided it knew better than the pilot and would not, for example, allow for application of max thrust.

On the Boeing 767 we fly mostly with autopilot on and autothrottles on. We set speed, altitudes and headings on the Mode Control Panel and the computer interprets this and provides input to the A/P and A/T. But we can (and do) click these off at any time and go back to the way Wilbur and Orville did it. No way to do that in an Airbus.

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Old 11-09-2009, 12:16 PM   #63
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Re: Ask me about being an airline pilot or flying in general

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I'm still curious about the Minneapolis situation and exactly what the autopilot does or does not do. Do you program in your destination or just give it a heading and altitude? I ask because if you actually set your destination I would assume it would have started their descent at the appropriate time or at least alerted them to the fact they should be descending and were about to blow by their destination at 38,000 ft.
You are right.

We program in the entire route, complete with lateral navigation (LNAV) and vertical navigation (VNAV). Once airborne with LNAV engaged, the plane will fly unaided to the destination. In the real world we are often given changes enroute.

The vertical portion requires pilot action. Though the VNAV knows where the descent should be started, it won't start down until the pilot sets an assigned altitude on the Mode Control Panel (MCP). This is because we can't actually start down until the controller has cleared us. If we fly past the descent point calculated by the computer and haven't yet started down, we will get an alert, something like "SET MCP ALTITUDE". If we see this, we would probably ask the controller for lower altitude.

As mentioned in an earlier response, it in inconceivable to me that these guys did this. They had to miss radio transmissions and also the fact that the display on their PFD (Primary Flight Display) no longer showed a magenta line (the route of flight) as they passed by their destination.

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Old 11-09-2009, 12:20 PM   #64
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Re: Ask me about being an airline pilot or flying in general

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What do you do when you fly to a city and don't fly again for a day or whatever? Just hang out at the hotel or do you sight-see as much as you can?
I like to see the place. We do have some crew members who are known as "slam clickers" (slam the door to the room, click the deadbolt), but at least on international we usually set a time to meet in the evening and go out for dinner. If it's a place I've never been I will set out to explore it and do some sightseeing. International layovers are usually a minimum of 24 hours, so you have some time.

On domestic trips, the layover may only be 12 hours give or take. Not much time for other than a meal, some exercise, and then sleep before starting over.
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Old 11-09-2009, 12:22 PM   #65
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Re: Ask me about being an airline pilot or flying in general

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Originally Posted by ShipDaSherb View Post
Have you ever forgotten to put the passenger cabin A/C on or accidentally left the "fasten seatbelt" sign on for a long time?
I've got a good story about this one, but I've been at this a while and I'm going to go play golf. It's 70 degrees here in Northern Virginia and I've got to get outside.

I'll start with this one when I get back...
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Old 11-09-2009, 12:24 PM   #66
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Re: Ask me about being an airline pilot or flying in general

OP you are doing an excellent job on the Ask Me thread. Enjoy your round and watch out for the Black Swan.
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Old 11-09-2009, 12:29 PM   #67
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Re: Ask me about being an airline pilot or flying in general

cool thread. have you read 'the ethnic theory of plane crashes' chapter in malcolm gladwell's 'outliers'? i think it's a really cool chapter. it talks a lot about the relationship between the pilot and the first officer, how important communication between the two is, and how generally the plane is safer with the first officer at the wheel (because the more qualified pilot won't be afraid to speak up and say 'wtf are you doing dude?').
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Old 11-09-2009, 12:52 PM   #68
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Re: Ask me about being an airline pilot or flying in general

lol, the pilot with the stewardess photos seems like it could be my old landlord
from back in the day, same area too. was he aussie by any chance lol?

cool thread.
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Old 11-09-2009, 12:59 PM   #69
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Re: Ask me about being an airline pilot or flying in general

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Originally Posted by Yeti View Post
cool thread. have you read 'the ethnic theory of plane crashes' chapter in malcolm gladwell's 'outliers'? i think it's a really cool chapter. it talks a lot about the relationship between the pilot and the first officer, how important communication between the two is, and how generally the plane is safer with the first officer at the wheel (because the more qualified pilot won't be afraid to speak up and say 'wtf are you doing dude?').
I was thinking about this too.

I had a theory this concept might apply to to head surgeons and the "junior" surgeons, and a surgeon in another thread thought so too.
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Old 11-09-2009, 01:54 PM   #70
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Re: Ask me about being an airline pilot or flying in general

Where in northern VA do you live?
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Old 11-09-2009, 02:40 PM   #71
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Re: Ask me about being an airline pilot or flying in general

every time i get on an airplane i am firmly convinced that i am going to die. when i see the other passengers around me calmly reading books or falling asleep i always want to grab them by the shirt and yell "DON'T YOU REALIZE WHAT IS ABOUT TO HAPPEN?" but instead i just put the blanket over my head and rock back and forth until the beverage cart comes my way.

so, thanks for doing this, hopefully it will help me learn some things that will make me stop acting so irrationally (for some reason flying is the only thing i'm so retarded about).

i've always wanted to ask pilots questions when i see them sitting around the airport but obviously nobody likes to be bugged during their downtime so i don't bother. i'm sure 2+2 can come up with better questions than i have anyway.

i heard once from a guy going to flight school that the takeoff is the most dangerous part of the flight. is this true?
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Old 11-09-2009, 03:09 PM   #72
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Re: Ask me about being an airline pilot or flying in general

^^^

Expanding on this one -- OP, what thing(s) would you tell someone who is afraid to fly, or what things should that person know, that would be most helpful in allaying the fear of flying? What things don't we know about flying that, if we knew them, would help us realize that the fear of flying is unreasonable? I'm talking about either the science or the actual procedure of flying a jet, not the stats showing that flying is the safest form of travel.
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Old 11-09-2009, 03:15 PM   #73
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Re: Ask me about being an airline pilot or flying in general

Which airport is the most challenging for takeoff/landing and why?
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Old 11-09-2009, 04:34 PM   #74
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Re: Ask me about being an airline pilot or flying in general

1. Since it's fairly obvious you don't fly for UAL, can you comment on why your airline doesn't make ATC communications available to pax a la UAL's "Channel 9"?

2. What is your favorite airplane to fly? If not big iron, which is your favorite airliner to fly?

3. Have you ever filed a NASA ASRS form? Does your airline or union do anyting to encourage or discourage use of ASRS?

4. Were you flying on 9/11? If so, TR?
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Old 11-09-2009, 04:49 PM   #75
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Re: Ask me about being an airline pilot or flying in general

Quote:
Originally Posted by Maximum Rocknroll View Post
every time i get on an airplane i am firmly convinced that i am going to die. when i see the other passengers around me calmly reading books or falling asleep i always want to grab them by the shirt and yell "DON'T YOU REALIZE WHAT IS ABOUT TO HAPPEN?" but instead i just put the blanket over my head and rock back and forth until the beverage cart comes my way.

so, thanks for doing this, hopefully it will help me learn some things that will make me stop acting so irrationally (for some reason flying is the only thing i'm so retarded about).

i've always wanted to ask pilots questions when i see them sitting around the airport but obviously nobody likes to be bugged during their downtime so i don't bother. i'm sure 2+2 can come up with better questions than i have anyway.

i heard once from a guy going to flight school that the takeoff is the most dangerous part of the flight. is this true?

Not sure how accurate this is but Boeing is the reference listed for this chart.

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