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What Airline Pilots Won't Tell You  
User currently offlinegrimey From Ireland, joined Jun 2005, 453 posts, RR: 5
Posted (1 year 1 month 3 weeks 5 days 8 hours ago) and read 17081 times:

BBC article:

http://www.bbc.com/travel/blog/20130...-what-airline-pilots-wont-tell-you

Main Article:

http://www.quora.com/Airlines/What-a...rline-pilots-wont-tell-you?share=1

Can anyone confirm / disagree these stories? or does anyone have any additional fun facts that the flying public don't know about?

31 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlinefrancoflier From France, joined Oct 2001, 3766 posts, RR: 11
Reply 1, posted (1 year 1 month 3 weeks 5 days 8 hours ago) and read 17015 times:

I drink the coffee, or the tea, it certainly isn't that good, but it beats nodding off at the controls after a few boring hours.

Yes, the seatbelt sign gets forgotten at times. Not a big deal, you should remained buckled up at all times when seated anyway.

"Delays aren't ATC's fault" Duh.

The rest is relatively true, thought not exactly shocking news to anyone...

One of those dubious '10 things' list article that I am surprised to find on the BBC rather than on the Yahoo website...



Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit posting...
User currently offlinewinstonlegthigh From United States of America, joined Nov 2012, 119 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (1 year 1 month 3 weeks 5 days 8 hours ago) and read 16851 times:

If I were a journalism major in college, I would probably cry myself to sleep on a regular basis after reading some of the material that gets published and then thinking about how much tuition is costing me.


Never has gravity been so uplifting.
User currently offlinejns13 From United States of America, joined Jul 2013, 32 posts, RR: 0
Reply 3, posted (1 year 1 month 3 weeks 4 days 22 hours ago) and read 15849 times:

I found the item about "ATC delays being the airlines fault" a little silly. I mean, obviously they're not ATC's fault, but they're not really the airlines fault either. The consultant makes the point that the airlines pack in as many flights as possible regardless of the weather, but those schedules are completed months in advance of any weather warnings. By that qualification, airlines would probably end up cutting half their flights on some days.   

User currently offlinejagflyer From Canada, joined Aug 2004, 3528 posts, RR: 4
Reply 4, posted (1 year 1 month 3 weeks 4 days 17 hours ago) and read 15058 times:

At my airline the potable water tanks must be sterilized at given intervals and afterwards a sample is taken from multiple water outlets (lavs, galley, coffee maker) for microbiological analysis. Health Canada (or Transport Canada) does random sampling on any plane they choose that is in Canada. I've seen them come onboard our flights and the guy mentioned he's done many airlines at YYZ (LH, AC, EK, etc). We also do not take on potable water at certain airports due to bacteria concerns. I feel safe drinking the potable water but I prefer bottled water where possible.


Support the beer and soda can industry, recycle old airplanes!
User currently offlineAirPacific747 From Denmark, joined May 2008, 2408 posts, RR: 24
Reply 5, posted (1 year 1 month 3 weeks 4 days 17 hours ago) and read 14524 times:

I don't think the coffee tastes bad.

Yes, we sometimes forget about the seatbelt sign.

Yes, sometimes we don't know exactly where we are, but if we turn on the terrain button, you can see the coastlines, etc. It'll give you an idea, plus you can see nearby airports as well.


User currently onlineB747400ERF From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2013, 456 posts, RR: 1
Reply 6, posted (1 year 1 month 3 weeks 4 days 15 hours ago) and read 12398 times:

If they think the water is not good on airplanes, just wait until they see what happens to the water from your tap at home!

User currently offlinesuseJ772 From United States of America, joined Aug 2005, 819 posts, RR: 1
Reply 7, posted (1 year 1 month 3 weeks 4 days 15 hours ago) and read 11978 times:

From the QUORA article:

"People don’t understand why they can’t use their cell phones. Well, what can happen is 12 people will decide to call someone just before landing, and I can get a false reading on my instruments saying that we are higher than we really are."

Really? I have heard of the "buzz in the headset" problem from cell phones, but I have never heard of it effecting the altimeter. I don't even know how that would happen given it is a static pressure system.



Currently at PIE, requesting FWA >> >>
User currently offlinesilentbob From United States of America, joined Aug 2006, 2103 posts, RR: 1
Reply 8, posted (1 year 1 month 3 weeks 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 11397 times:

Most people probably don't want to know that something is most likely broken on the airplane. Rarely will you fly on an airplane that doesn't have some minor issue (and even a major one from time to time) that has been deferred.

Quoting suseJ772 (Reply 7):
Really? I have heard of the "buzz in the headset" problem from cell phones, but I have never heard of it effecting the altimeter. I don't even know how that would happen given it is a static pressure system.

The most common issue I've heard of is actually a TCAS error.


User currently offlineGentFromAlaska From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 3149 posts, RR: 1
Reply 9, posted (1 year 1 month 3 weeks 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 10603 times:

With some 200 plus flights under my belt. I'm struggling to remember if I've ever been told who is actually driving the aircraft; specifically landing it, the pilot or the first officer. Possibly once landing on a WN flight in SEA we had a missed approach. We were over the runway only to have the thrusters kick-in. we went airborne again and back around. The flight deck intercom was inadvertently left open. I remember hearing ATC telling us to maintain 300 which I understand was altitude and not a compass heading.

I don't think the flight deck wants you to know it's a continuous training cycle and the first officer is probably at the helm landing the aircraft.

Citing the continuous training cycle. I've also been told you are more likely to pick up a less experienced FO at a crew base.

[Edited 2013-07-27 18:00:47]


Man can be taken from Alaska. Alaska can never be taken from the man.
User currently offline93Sierra From United States of America, joined Apr 2010, 418 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (1 year 1 month 3 weeks 4 days 13 hours ago) and read 10121 times:

300 was a heading. Not alt.

User currently offlinesuseJ772 From United States of America, joined Aug 2005, 819 posts, RR: 1
Reply 11, posted (1 year 1 month 3 weeks 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 9486 times:

300 was definitely heading. That is way too low of an altitude even for a go around.


Currently at PIE, requesting FWA >> >>
User currently offlinebrilondon From Canada, joined Aug 2005, 4226 posts, RR: 1
Reply 12, posted (1 year 1 month 3 weeks 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 8974 times:

I don't believe that this is from an airline pilot unless he is wishing he was. Most of what was stated are urban legends and have very little basis in fact.


Rush for ever; Yankees all the way!!
User currently offlinePassedV1 From United States of America, joined Oct 2012, 221 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (1 year 1 month 3 weeks 4 days 12 hours ago) and read 8418 times:

Quoting suseJ772 (Reply 7):
Really? I have heard of the "buzz in the headset" problem from cell phones, but I have never heard of it effecting the altimeter. I don't even know how that would happen given it is a static pressure system.

On a modern transport, there is no pitot/static connections to the primary instruments. No direct readings off of any gauges really, all get routed through some electric circuit to the display in the cockpit so everything is potentially effected by cell phones.

I had a cargo smoke light falsely illuminate that was later attributed to a cell phone in the cargo hold pressed up against the detector and still on in the luggage.

United Airlines tested the ipads for use in the cockpit as an EFB and when they turned on the WIFI on the 737 an SG failed. They are in the process of determining if it was caused by the WIFI signals.

Quoting brilondon (Reply 12):
I don't believe that this is from an airline pilot unless he is wishing he was. Most of what was stated are urban legends and have very little basis in fact.

the urban legend is the belief that there have been zero incidents related to electronic interference. There have actually been quite a few.

There are two separate issues that are constantly getting mixed up. Your ipod/laptop without the WIFI enabled has virtually zero chance of causing interference in an airliner. Things that transmit though, could and have caused problems. (By problems I mean documented interference, not necessarily causing any actual problems for a flight...i.e. a crash.) Additionally, I have only heard anecdotally about one case of Wi-Fi interference. All the other confirmed cases involved cell phones.

The argument for having cell phones allowed in flight actually has less to do about the lack of interference that cell phones cause and more about the behavior of cell phones when they don't have a signal. When there is no signal, current cell phones go into a high-power transmit mode in order to search for a tower. Once the cell phone establishes a connection, it lowers it's power as much as possible to preserve battery life. There has been some talk about putting a mock "cell tower" on airplanes to prevent this behavior and keep the phones that are left on in a low transmit power state.

As far as the other things said in the article, they were all true. As far as the coffee goes, I generally don't drink the coffee or take ice. It's not just the tanks...it's the fact that you don't know where the water/ice came from. Did they just service the potable water in Mexico City yesterday? If you are coming back to the US on an international flight, chances are really high that the ice in your drink came from that country. Needless to say, there are many countries with sanitation standards that aren't quite as high. It's a lot less risky if you just stick to canned beverages.


User currently offlineflydeltajets From United States of America, joined Feb 2006, 1882 posts, RR: 2
Reply 14, posted (1 year 1 month 3 weeks 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 8253 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Quoting B747400ERF (Reply 6):
If they think the water is not good on airplanes, just wait until they see what happens to the water from your tap at home!

What's wrong with the water that is tested multiple times daily?



The only valid opinions are those based in facts
User currently offlinercair1 From United States of America, joined Oct 2009, 1323 posts, RR: 52
Reply 15, posted (1 year 1 month 3 weeks 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 7998 times:
AIRLINERS.NET CREW
CUSTOMER SERVICE & SUPPORT

Quoting PassedV1 (Reply 13):
When there is no signal, current cell phones go into a high-power transmit mode in order to search for a tower.

This is true. Go to an area with no cell service, or weak service, and you will see a dramatic decrease in battery life.

Quoting PassedV1 (Reply 13):
There has been some talk about putting a mock "cell tower" on airplanes to prevent this behavior and keep the phones that are left on in a low transmit power state

It would have to cover all frequencies and actually talk to the phone (register). In my house I have a repeater for the cell company I use. Visitors with that cell service find that battery life is fine. Visitors with a competing service see their battery die quickly.

Plus - why would this be of benefit. If it was a fake tower - yes, your battery life would improve - but you would have no service so you'd have no value in it. Better just turn off the transmitter on the cell phone (airplane mode). Or perhaps you are talking about 'interference' being limited because the phones would be in low power mode.



rcair1
User currently offlineA346Dude From Canada, joined Nov 2004, 1284 posts, RR: 7
Reply 16, posted (1 year 1 month 3 weeks 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 7825 times:

Quoting GentFromAlaska (Reply 9):
I don't think the flight deck wants you to know it's a continuous training cycle and the first officer is probably at the helm landing the aircraft.

Citing the continuous training cycle. I've also been told you are more likely to pick up a less experienced FO at a crew base.

Generally crews swap back and forth with the captain flying one leg, then the FO flying the next. I don't see how flying out of a crew base would affect anything.



You know the gear is up and locked when it takes full throttle to taxi to the terminal.
User currently offlineTheRedBaron From Mexico, joined Mar 2005, 2216 posts, RR: 8
Reply 17, posted (1 year 1 month 3 weeks 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 7682 times:

I dont want to know what is on the MEL list.... Ignorance is Bliss...

TRB



The best seat in a Plane is the Jumpseat.
User currently offlinekanban From United States of America, joined Jan 2008, 3559 posts, RR: 26
Reply 18, posted (1 year 1 month 3 weeks 4 days 11 hours ago) and read 7395 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

I always understood the no cell phones or electronic devices was to ensure the attendants could get the passenger's attention if needed.. if everyone has ears plugged with music or conversations (even texting) the chances of hearing are slim.

User currently offlinesuprazachair From Northern Mariana Islands, joined Feb 2004, 634 posts, RR: 0
Reply 19, posted (1 year 1 month 3 weeks 4 days 10 hours ago) and read 7243 times:

Quoting GentFromAlaska (Reply 9):
With some 200 plus flights under my belt. I'm struggling to remember if I've ever been told who is actually driving the aircraft; specifically landing it, the pilot or the first officer. Possibly once landing on a WN flight in SEA we had a missed approach. We were over the runway only to have the thrusters kick-in. we went airborne again and back around. The flight deck intercom was inadvertently left open. I remember hearing ATC telling us to maintain 300 which I understand was altitude and not a compass heading.

I don't think the flight deck wants you to know it's a continuous training cycle and the first officer is probably at the helm landing the aircraft.

Citing the continuous training cycle. I've also been told you are more likely to pick up a less experienced FO at a crew base.

I'm sorry, but this is just silly.

1. Missed approaches happen for a multitude of reasons and without regard to whether it is the captain or the FO flying.

2. 300 (as previously stated) would have been a heading, NOT an altitude. If you were assigned an altitude off 300 at SEA you'd be underground... Or if it was FL300 you'd be flying a helluva missed approach.

3. Though not a hard and fast rule, if you want to know who's flying the plane first pay attention to the captain's voice during the welcome aboard announcement. If the voice talking to you at cruise is the same voice then the FO is flying. If the voice is different, then the captain is flying. Sometimes the Captain likes to make all the announcements so it doesn't always quite work out.

4. Neither of us up front cares a lick if you know who is flying. That's why we don't tell you, because we don't particularly care.

5. New FO's fly everywhere.

[Edited 2013-07-27 20:52:13]

User currently offlineMSJYOP28Apilot From United States of America, joined Jul 2009, 221 posts, RR: 1
Reply 20, posted (1 year 1 month 3 weeks 4 days 10 hours ago) and read 7213 times:

Quoting TheRedBaron (Reply 17):
I dont want to know what is on the MEL list.... Ignorance is Bliss...

TRB

That actually is the biggest thing pilots wont tell you. The MEL/CDL deferral list can easily have performance limiting and operationally limiting items. Items that have huge weight hits and items that restrict the aircraft in altitude and also icing conditions. A pilot will never tell you the windshield heating system is deferred or the main landing gear door is CDL'ed.


User currently offlineA346Dude From Canada, joined Nov 2004, 1284 posts, RR: 7
Reply 21, posted (1 year 1 month 3 weeks 4 days 10 hours ago) and read 7074 times:

Quoting MSJYOP28Apilot (Reply 20):
That actually is the biggest thing pilots wont tell you. The MEL/CDL deferral list can easily have performance limiting and operationally limiting items. Items that have huge weight hits and items that restrict the aircraft in altitude and also icing conditions. A pilot will never tell you the windshield heating system is deferred or the main landing gear door is CDL'ed.

That being said, I would have no problem knowing what's been MEL'd. Everything deferred is a known issue and less likely to kill you then the next part to fail.



You know the gear is up and locked when it takes full throttle to taxi to the terminal.
User currently offlineBMI727 From United States of America, joined Feb 2009, 15744 posts, RR: 27
Reply 22, posted (1 year 1 month 3 weeks 4 days 10 hours ago) and read 7013 times:

Quoting MSJYOP28Apilot (Reply 20):
Items that have huge weight hits and items that restrict the aircraft in altitude and also icing conditions. A pilot will never tell you the windshield heating system is deferred or the main landing gear door is CDL'ed.

Chances are that passengers would get a little pissed to find out that they or their bags couldn't make a flight because of a maintenance issue.



Why do Aerospace Engineering students have to turn things in on time?
User currently offlineUTAH744 From United States of America, joined Jul 2009, 202 posts, RR: 0
Reply 23, posted (1 year 1 month 3 weeks 4 days 9 hours ago) and read 6172 times:

When I was a DC-9 F/O a wise old Captain told me to never lie to the passengers. I once saw him explain an hour delay to change an alternate pitch trim motor. He explained that if the primary motor went bad the alternate trim was what we would have to use to control pitch. He then explained that the mechs would be 30+ feet in the air changing the motor in the MSP winter weather. When they were done and the door was shut there was applause not because we were going, but because they knew why and were happy. I never lied to the passengers in my 21 years as a Captain.


You are never too old to learn something stupid
User currently offlineBMI727 From United States of America, joined Feb 2009, 15744 posts, RR: 27
Reply 24, posted (1 year 1 month 3 weeks 4 days 9 hours ago) and read 6139 times:

Quoting UTAH744 (Reply 23):
When I was a DC-9 F/O a wise old Captain told me to never lie to the passengers.

Good advice, but that doesn't mean you have to always tell the truth.



Why do Aerospace Engineering students have to turn things in on time?
User currently offlineGentFromAlaska From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 3149 posts, RR: 1
Reply 25, posted (1 year 1 month 3 weeks 4 days ago) and read 5165 times:

Quoting suprazachair (Reply 19):
Missed approaches happen for a multitude of reasons and without regard to whether it is the captain or the FO flying.

Yes they do. Traffic spacing, ground congestion. I've even hear of debris on the runway and yes new pilot inexperience which may include familiarization with the airport.


Quoting suprazachair (Reply 19):
Neither of us up front cares a lick if you know who is flying. That's why we don't tell you,

And there in lies the problem.

Quoting UTAH744 (Reply 23):
When I was a DC-9 F/O a wise old Captain told me to never lie to the passengers

As a pax I wouldn't expect anything less. credibility and the company brand is on the line.



Man can be taken from Alaska. Alaska can never be taken from the man.
User currently offlinesuseJ772 From United States of America, joined Aug 2005, 819 posts, RR: 1
Reply 26, posted (1 year 1 month 3 weeks 3 days 20 hours ago) and read 4682 times:

How is not knowing who is flying the plane a problem? There are a lot of things I'd like to know (I actually would love to know the MEL list) but on could care less who is flying and never once thought of that as a problem?


Currently at PIE, requesting FWA >> >>
User currently offlinebrilondon From Canada, joined Aug 2005, 4226 posts, RR: 1
Reply 27, posted (1 year 1 month 3 weeks 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 4599 times:

Quoting PassedV1 (Reply 13):
the urban legend is the belief that there have been zero incidents related to electronic interference. There have actually been quite a few.

That is one that I will believe.

Quoting flydeltajets (Reply 14):
What's wrong with the water that is tested multiple times daily?

I don't drink tap water due to the amount of Chlorine and Fluoride in it.

Quoting GentFromAlaska (Reply 25):
And there in lies the problem.

I don't care who is flying the plane and nor do I care how they are finding where I am going as long as I walk off the aircraft at the right airport and don't have to check in with any medical personnel.



Rush for ever; Yankees all the way!!
User currently offlineSpeedbored From United Kingdom, joined Jul 2013, 288 posts, RR: 0
Reply 28, posted (1 year 1 month 3 weeks 3 days 19 hours ago) and read 4514 times:

Quoting PassedV1 (Reply 13):
Quoting suseJ772 (Reply 7):
Really? I have heard of the "buzz in the headset" problem from cell phones, but I have never heard of it effecting the altimeter. I don't even know how that would happen given it is a static pressure system.

On a modern transport, there is no pitot/static connections to the primary instruments. No direct readings off of any gauges really, all get routed through some electric circuit to the display in the cockpit so everything is potentially effected by cell phones.

And on final approach, the pilots rely more on the radio altimeter. Even though this will operate on a totally different frequency from mobile phones, I can see how it could be possible for many phones transmitting at once to set up some sort of interference patterns that could mess with the radio altimeter.


User currently offlineGentFromAlaska From United States of America, joined Feb 2005, 3149 posts, RR: 1
Reply 29, posted (1 year 1 month 3 weeks 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 3784 times:

Quoting suseJ772 (Reply 26):
How is not knowing who is flying the plane a problem? There are a lot of things I'd like to know
Quoting brilondon (Reply 27):
I don't care who is flying the plane and nor do I care how they are finding where I am going as long as I walk off the aircraft at the right airport

Most of my flying across the last twenty years has been in Alaska through, around and over a lot of mountain passes usually in inclimate weather.

The RNP/GPS AS developed was prototype at my home airport. For me its more of an assurance in knowing more experience is at the helm. Lower 48 flying is no big deal sun or high overcast is no big deal.

To put it perspective Ketchikan; 150 miles south of Juneau is the rainiest city on the North American continent. With rain usually comes low ceilings/visibility and wind shear in the mountains. Landing on Juneau's runway 8 involves a roll hard left to line up with the runway in an area referred to as the cut. thirty seconds later you hear the wheels making contact with the runway. http://skyvector.com/airport/JNU/Juneau-International-Airport It's more evasive than the turn pilots have to make around the Washington monument landing at DCA from the Potomac route. Ironically landing in southeast Alaska the cabin is exposed to a lot more flap adjustments; easily double that than most of my lower 48 landings.



Man can be taken from Alaska. Alaska can never be taken from the man.
User currently offlineblueflyer From United States of America, joined Jan 2006, 4002 posts, RR: 2
Reply 30, posted (1 year 1 month 3 weeks 3 days 9 hours ago) and read 3345 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Quoting jns13 (Reply 3):
The consultant makes the point that the airlines pack in as many flights as possible regardless of the weather, but those schedules are completed months in advance of any weather warnings.

I don't think he was advocating a customized schedule day-by-day, but a more realistic schedule given the possible weather conditions for a given season, as opposed to one that assumes every day is a great day to fly.

A few years ago, I saw a news report on airline delays claiming, among other things, that Continental alone was scheduling more flights at the peak hour at EWR than the total available capacity for that hour. Between statistics and exhaustive historical weather data, we could come up with better seasonally adjusted arrivals rates that would be adequate for 80%, 90% of possible weather conditions, or whatever other percentage chosen, instead of the best-case scenario we seem to use most of the time. The problems are, some airports would have to become at least partially slot-controlled (eg EWR and ORD) and airlines would strenuously oppose anything limiting their ability to pack a maximum of flights in an impossible time window because it would increase the published time for some connections, at the risk of losing passengers to other carriers with shorter connection times.

Quoting GentFromAlaska (Reply 9):
I'm struggling to remember if I've ever been told who is actually driving the aircraft

I think the only times I have ever been told who is actually doing the flying were for special occasions. The last time I remember was two years ago, when the F/O was retiring and flying his last landing. The captain made a very classy speech, pointing out among other things that the F/O was extremely experienced and would have been on the left seat years ago were it not for being unfortunate enough to have been laid off from two failed carriers and thus having been at the bottom of a seniority list three times in his career. After the landing, the captain came back on the P/A to inform the less knowledgeable that sometimes, as was the case that day, a good landing needs to be a little rough (wet runway, etc...), and that the F/O's landing was one the captain would have been proud to call his own.

Quoting winstonlegthigh (Reply 2):
If I were a journalism major in college, I would probably cry myself to sleep on a regular basis after reading some of the material that gets published and then thinking about how much tuition is costing me.

I sincerely hope so. Good editors will tell you it is far easier to take a (insert random specialty) graduate and teach him to write to make him a specialized journalist, than to take a journalism graduate and teach him (insert random industry to cover).



I've got $h*t to do
User currently offlineAirPacific747 From Denmark, joined May 2008, 2408 posts, RR: 24
Reply 31, posted (1 year 1 month 3 weeks 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 2960 times:

Quoting GentFromAlaska (Reply 9):

When I do P/As, I often introduce myself, the captain and the cabin crew with names.


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