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Old 11-10-2009, 01:06 PM   #201
PartysOver
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Re: Ask me about being an airline pilot or flying in general

Also, do airplanes fly at different altitudes if they are within X radius of each other?
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Old 11-10-2009, 01:13 PM   #202
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Re: Ask me about being an airline pilot or flying in general

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Have you ever had a near miss on a runway or in flight? Are different runways usually used for takeoffs and landings, and if not, how often does a runway "switch?" I.e., will a runway do 10 minutes worth of takeoffs and then do a landing, then back to takeoffs?
Almost had a Lear Jet land on me once at Dulles. Passed about 20 feet over my plane (a Grumman Tiger, 4 seat single engine) while were sitting on the runway awaiting takeoff clearance. Scared the crap out of me. He didn't even see me and I came close to dying and not even knowing what hit me.

Runway use is determined by the wind. We takeoff and land into the wind, so the runway will switch when the wind switches. Quite often airports will delay the switch until pilots complain of landing or taking off with a tailwind. This is because it's a pain to "turn the airport around" and results in delays until things settle back down. In the 767 we can land with up to a 10 kt tailwind but after that we can't even accept the landing clearance.

And while on the topic of runways, they are numbered for their magnetic heading. So if the runway points due west, it's runway 27 (they drop the last zero off). At the opposite end of the same runway you will see a big "9" painted, for 90 degrees or due east.

So obviously, the possible runway numbers are 01 to 36 and it has nothing to do with how many runways the airport actually has. For parallel runways they add a letter (e.g. 19L and 19R at Dulles).

I once read a novel which lost all its appeal to me when the author had the pilot accept a clearance to taxi to runway 40.

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Old 11-10-2009, 01:22 PM   #203
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Re: Ask me about being an airline pilot or flying in general

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Could a passenger jet do a barrel roll?
Yes, but it's not allowed. The prototype Boeing 707 (the first U.S. passenger jet) was rolled by the Boeing test pilot Tex Johnston on August 7, 1955 (22 days before I was born).


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Old 11-10-2009, 01:25 PM   #204
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Re: Ask me about being an airline pilot or flying in general

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LOL!

If this flying thing doesn't pan out, you may have a future writing for the late night shows!

Great post, appreciate the effort.

Thanks my fiend.
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Old 11-10-2009, 01:29 PM   #205
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Re: Ask me about being an airline pilot or flying in general

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At risk of TSA busting me for a hijacking:

This is from Kevin Nealon's stand-up act. I saw him at Gonzaga last month and he was clean and boring... should have seen Dave Attell.
If you're referring to the bra-bomber line, I never heard anyone else use it...strictly from my own brain. If Kevin came up with it too, it's only because it's a fairly obvious joke.
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Old 11-10-2009, 01:33 PM   #206
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Re: Ask me about being an airline pilot or flying in general

Great thread and thanks for taking the time WOXOF.

I'm an avid fisherman, spend many evenings drifting Boston Harbor opposite Logan. The thing that always amazes me is the sheer volume of landings happening at peak times. From jumbo intl's flights to the pesky little go-carts with wings (showing my ignorance of aviation, I know), one after another, every 15-20 seconds it seems, a plane lands.

How dangerous is this scenario? Does each plane have a dedicated air traffic controller? What is protocol on which plane has right of way? Often times in these situations of heavy volume, looking east you can see planes stacked for miles waiting for final approach, at varying altitudes. If something happens on the ground which closes runways, what happens?
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Old 11-10-2009, 01:36 PM   #207
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Re: Ask me about being an airline pilot or flying in general

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Just wanted to chime in and say thanks for the great thread. One of the most informative I have ever read on here.
Thanks.

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I fly in and out of Atlanta on Delta a few times a month. Since it sounds like you do mostly international now I doubt you have ever been my pilot, but you never know.
I was based in Atlanta for a brief period, January to June 2001, flying the 727. Since then I've been based at either Cincinnati or New York.

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And to end with a question. What is up with the incessant gate changes in Atlanta? Every single flight lately we have gotten in right on time, and then sat, just waiting for a gate to open up. I guess that isn't much of a question, but more a gripe, but its something I haven't experienced at other airports. Purely a volume/staffing issue?
You are probably right about the causes. Personally, I avoid Atlanta at all costs. I go there twice a year for recurrent training and that's more than enough.

I would recommend that you write a letter to Delta (I'm sure there's an address on the web site) and tell them how much you fly and what your gripe is. Believe it or not, those letters get discussed at the operations meetings.
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Old 11-10-2009, 01:42 PM   #208
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Re: Ask me about being an airline pilot or flying in general

So Angela is domiciled in Atlanta? any deep south OOTiots want to take a flight on Delta and give a TR?
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Old 11-10-2009, 01:43 PM   #209
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Re: Ask me about being an airline pilot or flying in general

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thanks for a great thread.
do you follow flyertalk.com? it's an interesting view of the frequent flyers mindset.
No, but I am bookmarking it now for later perusal.

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one of my few regrets from my time with UA is that I never had the opportunity to jump down a slide. I was told, during a ditching exercise that it would look pretty bad if a corporate safety guy got hurt, so I never really had a chance to try it. upper deck of a 47-400, so it would have been a cool ride down. have you had a chance to do this, and, if so, is it as fun as I imagine?
One time, during initial training. Not as much fun as you might think, but I'm told I'm very hard to please.

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I tend to agree with your assessment of JK, btw.
Yeah, he's a dick.
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Old 11-10-2009, 02:03 PM   #210
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Re: Ask me about being an airline pilot or flying in general

Would it be possible to do a backwards flip with a Boeing or is there some limiter (or physics) that stops you from pulling the joystick back, going vertical and then upside down and then back around?
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Old 11-10-2009, 02:06 PM   #211
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Re: Ask me about being an airline pilot or flying in general

Wanted to pop in and say great thread.

Regarding the book outliers, you should absolutely get it and read it. The pilot/crash stuff is very detailed and he goes over the black box of some of these flights meticulously.

The colombian crash outside of JFK you mentioned is profiled. IIRC, they were put into three different holding patterns on their way to JFK because it was crazy backed up. Once they got there, they were put into another holding pattern. They finally got clearance, and had something like a missed approach and were supposed to just go around and try it again, but ran out of fuel.

Listening to their conversations with ground control is crazy. The guy says some random pilot speak like "fiver-niner-two roger we copy you ground control, and, uh, we're running out of fuel" Tossed in like an offhand comment. They completely ignore his passive suggestion and tell him to circle anyways, asking "is that ok for your fuel" and he just goes "ah, yeah, ok" Apparently the 3rd man on deck made a throat slitting motion because they were OUT, and he still couldn't muster the courage to talk up to a rude ATC person.


The Korean example was even crazier. The communication between the pilots was so ridiculously couched in layers of respect and authority. When approaching the island they were landing on, the co pilot says something like "the weather radar has really helped us tonight". He's trying to tell the captain that they can't see **** and why the hell are we doing a visual approach, but he's too timid and the captain is tired and misses his point completely. They are doing a visual approach and when something unexpected happens, the other two guys in the cockpit do nothing to stop the captain from doing something dumb. I think they hear "1000 feet altitude" or something, but that doesn't jibe with what they can see. Rather than saying "Pull up Now!" or "We have to pull up Now!" or anything direct, he again couches his language like "maybe a missed approach would be good" Crazy stuff.

I'm sure i mangled a bit of the details, but that's the general idea. Gladwell also talks about the specific reforms Korean Air made since these crashes, which pulled up their safety rating. I think he says that for an average crash there are an average of seven consecutive human (not mechanical) errors made that lead to the crash.
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Old 11-10-2009, 02:06 PM   #212
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Re: Ask me about being an airline pilot or flying in general

I'm sure you talk to a lot of military crossovers, do they ever tell you they're not happy with their job? Before I started actually flying fighters, all I ever thought I would do is fly in the military and then get out and fly commercial. Now after being in a single seat, carrier based fighter community, my god I could just never imagine flying commercial. It would basically just be a paycheck at this point. Who knows, couple more years, couple more near death experiences, I may just look into it.
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Old 11-10-2009, 02:31 PM   #213
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Re: Ask me about being an airline pilot or flying in general

5 star thread
I live in Las Vegas. One of my favorite views happens on clear nights. You can see the lights of approaching jets stretched out eastward in a straight line to the horizon.

List of famous people who you have flown?
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Old 11-10-2009, 02:32 PM   #214
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Re: Ask me about being an airline pilot or flying in general

Let's say I'm flying on a commercial jet and, in some freak coincidence, both pilots have heart attacks and die mid-flight. No one on the plane has any flying experience. What are the chances that I, or any other reasonably smart person who knows nothing about flying a plane, could somehow land the plane without killing everyone on board?
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Old 11-10-2009, 02:44 PM   #215
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Re: Ask me about being an airline pilot or flying in general

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I'm sure you talk to a lot of military crossovers, do they ever tell you they're not happy with their job? Before I started actually flying fighters, all I ever thought I would do is fly in the military and then get out and fly commercial. Now after being in a single seat, carrier based fighter community, my god I could just never imagine flying commercial. It would basically just be a paycheck at this point. Who knows, couple more years, couple more near death experiences, I may just look into it.
Ask me about being a fighter pilot thread please
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Old 11-10-2009, 02:47 PM   #216
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Re: Ask me about being an airline pilot or flying in general

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Originally Posted by Damon Rutherford View Post
Let's say I'm flying on a commercial jet and, in some freak coincidence, both pilots have heart attacks and die mid-flight. No one on the plane has any flying experience. What are the chances that I, or any other reasonably smart person who knows nothing about flying a plane, could somehow land the plane without killing everyone on board?
AFAIK chances wouldn't be that bad. I think he said earlier in the thread that the 767 has the capability to auto land, they just aren't allowed to use it or something along those lines.
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Old 11-10-2009, 02:59 PM   #217
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Re: Ask me about being an airline pilot or flying in general

when planes collide in mid air (i know it's obviously a pretty small sample size) do they just not see each other until it's too late because of how fast they're going? is there some sort of standard guideline like "if you see another plane coming at you, steer to the right"? i know it happens about once every seven billion flights or whatever, but that seems like a hard one to wrap your brain around (as a passenger).
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Old 11-10-2009, 03:25 PM   #218
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Re: Ask me about being an airline pilot or flying in general

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This has nothing to do with pilot/flying but why would anyone live in northern va if Dulles isn't their main hub? It seems like North Jersey or Atlanta or a western airport would be better. (I grew up ~10 miles south on the Parkway and dated a girl in Countryside)
Commuting is a quality of life choice. It's obviously more convenient and easier to live at one's domicile and I did that during my 7 years at ACA (based at Dulles). Here's some of the factors in my particular quality of life decision tree: I have parents and 3 brothers in Northern Virginia and I like them in my life, in a big way. New York is not a place I want to live; property taxes there are twice what I pay here and it makes the D.C. area look like a pastoral scene. In fact, most of our NY based pilots commute to NY.

Here's another wrinkle to living at your domicile: I was Cincinnati based and was involuntarily displaced to New York. Now, if I had lived in Cincinnati I could then pick up and move to NY but many pilots choose not to disrupt their family's life that way.

Here's an extreme example of how bad this can get. When I was Chief Pilot at ACA, we had 3 bases for the Dornier 328J pilots: BOS, LGA, and CVG. When we started shrinking this category, we first shut down BOS and those pilots could move to either NY or Cincinnati (or go to other equipment). Some of them chose to be LGA (La Guardia) based. A few months later, we closed the LGA base and now the only choice left was Cincy. Less than 6 months later that also closed and they all had to come back to Dulles. Potentially 3 moves in less than a year for anyone who chose to follow their domicile.

We have guys who commute into NY from the west coast and I just flew with a guy who lives in Lyon France and commutes from there. They've all made a choice that it's worth doing for them.
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Old 11-10-2009, 03:36 PM   #219
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Re: Ask me about being an airline pilot or flying in general

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Also, do airplanes fly at different altitudes if they are within X radius of each other?
Yes. Controllers provide separation between planes on Instrument Flight plans using either vertical or horizontal separation. In the terminal environment, lateral separation must be at least 3 miles for planes at the same altitude. An exception to this is when one aircraft reports the other "in sight." At this point the controller can pass the burden for separation off to the pilot with the phrase "maintain visual separation."

In the en route phase of flight, lateral separation is a minimum of 5 miles and I don't think the controller can pass the buck to the pilot here. In fact, they have software on the FAA computers (often referred to as the snitch) which will report any controller whose planes violate minimum separation.

For a discussion of this, see
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Separat...fic_control%29

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Old 11-10-2009, 03:45 PM   #220
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Re: Ask me about being an airline pilot or flying in general

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Ask me about being a fighter pilot thread please
Maybe in the future, certainly not during another pilots thread. Depends on interest level as well.
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Old 11-10-2009, 03:51 PM   #221
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Re: Ask me about being an airline pilot or flying in general

Are you guys merging your seniority lists with the NW pilots, or is the former NW operation essentially going to keep operating separately as USAir/America West seem to do?

How many times have you had the emergency equipment rolled and waiting for you as you landed with some kind of problem?

Would you favor or disfavor lifting the restrictions on foreign ownership of US air carriers?
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Old 11-10-2009, 03:53 PM   #222
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Re: Ask me about being an airline pilot or flying in general

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Great thread and thanks for taking the time WOXOF.

I'm an avid fisherman, spend many evenings drifting Boston Harbor opposite Logan. The thing that always amazes me is the sheer volume of landings happening at peak times. From jumbo intl's flights to the pesky little go-carts with wings (showing my ignorance of aviation, I know), one after another, every 15-20 seconds it seems, a plane lands.

How dangerous is this scenario?
Good questions August. Not dangerous at all. It's a well choreographed flow of aircraft using feeder fixes and standard separation criteria.

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Does each plane have a dedicated air traffic controller?
No. A busy airport will have one and often two approach control sectors (north and south, or east and west) whose controller is responsible for metering the flow of traffic onto final approach for the active runway and turning the plane over to the tower (local control) for landing clearance. During very high volume, there may be additional layers of approach control. Coming into JFK during rush hour, the first approach controller takes us from Eastern Long Island in to about Islip and then turns us over to "Final", the last approach controller for traffic arriving from the East.

If the volume gets too great, they may refuse more traffic resulting in airborne holding at fixes outside the approach sector. It may also result in a ground stop for any traffic about to take off for that airport and the ground stop will remain in effect until they get a handle on the volume of traffic.

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What is protocol on which plane has right of way?
It's pretty much "first come, first served" with ATC. A 747 does not get priority over regional jet, even though it may be carrying 6 times as many people.

In fact, I remember years ago coming in to Dulles to land in a small single engine plane and the Concorde was told by tower to hold short of the runway for landing traffic: me! That plane was burning more fuel in the minutes it had to hold short than my plane would have used to fly to Texas. I even offered to the tower to do a left 360 degree turn so that the Concorde could depart. "Negative" he said, "cleared to land". The controllers have no incentive to minimize unnecessary fuel burn.

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Often times in these situations of heavy volume, looking east you can see planes stacked for miles waiting for final approach, at varying altitudes. If something happens on the ground which closes runways, what happens?
At night the line of aircraft lined up can be seen for 20+ miles and is a pretty sight. If the runway closes (e.g. a departing aircraft blows a tire and leave debris on the runway), it can create short term chaos as the landing aircraft all have to be vectored to holding patterns, if there was only one landing runway, or to the stream for the other runway. This can easily create lots of delays down the line and result in airborne holding for aircraft still hundreds of miles away.

BTW, VIP movement, like the President coming into NY, causes the same thing. They stop all takeoffs and landings when he's anywhere in the vicinity.
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Old 11-10-2009, 04:00 PM   #223
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Re: Ask me about being an airline pilot or flying in general

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It's pretty much "first come, first served" with ATC. A 747 does not get priority over regional jet, even though it may be carrying 6 times as many people.

In fact, I remember years ago coming in to Dulles to land in a small single engine plane and the Concorde was told by tower to hold short of the runway for landing traffic: me! That plane was burning more fuel in the minutes it had to hold short than my plane would have used to fly to Texas. I even offered to the tower to do a left 360 degree turn so that the Concorde could depart. "Negative" he said, "cleared to land". The controllers have no incentive to minimize unnecessary fuel burn.
This sounds incredibly inefficient and wasteful when you compound it over decades and probably 100,000+ airports. Is it because it's safer this way? Or any other valid reason?
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Old 11-10-2009, 04:02 PM   #224
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Re: Ask me about being an airline pilot or flying in general

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Maybe in the future, certainly not during another pilots thread. Depends on interest level as well.
Fair enough, I'd be interested
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Old 11-10-2009, 04:02 PM   #225
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Re: Ask me about being an airline pilot or flying in general

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Originally Posted by kitaristi0 View Post
Would it be possible to do a backwards flip with a Boeing or is there some limiter (or physics) that stops you from pulling the joystick back, going vertical and then upside down and then back around?
Sounds like you're describing an Immelmann Turn, named for Max Immelmann, the WWI fighter pilot who originated that move. It's a half loop and then roll the airplane from inverted back to normal flight. Great move for escaping someone at your 6 o'clock trying to shoot you down. Not so good in the airline environment.

Could it be done? Sure. But not on an Airbus. The flight control software would never allow the plane to achieve the extremes of roll and pitch attitude required for this maneuver.
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