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Flight Crew Rotation On 17-hour Flight  
User currently offlineJawed From United States of America, joined Sep 2006, 482 posts, RR: 0
Posted (7 years 11 months ago) and read 5416 times:

I took a 17-hour non-stop flight in a Malaysian Airlines 777 from EWR to DXB the other day. I'd like to know how the crew rotates duties in the cockpit. Obviously the same two people don't fly the entire way.

How many pilots and F/O's are on the plane, total?

When do they switch duties?

Do the pilot and F/O swap simultaneously as a team with another team of two, or do they switch individually?

Do airlines save money by making flightcrews fly/sleep/fly on one flight (ie flying more than one segment), or does a flightcrew only fly a single segment on such a long flight?

22 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineAirWillie6475 From United States of America, joined Jan 2005, 2448 posts, RR: 1
Reply 1, posted (7 years 10 months 4 weeks 22 hours ago) and read 5291 times:

Quoting Jawed (Thread starter):
How many pilots and F/O's are on the plane, total?

When do they switch duties?

I'm not sure about that part of the world but in the U.S, pilots can't fly more than 8 hours a day at the controls. In long haul, usually there is only one CA, one FO, and the rest relief pilots. As for how many, that would depend on the length of the flight and the flight rules that airline is operating under. However for ultra long haul flights such as yours, I'm guessing there has to be at least 3 relief pilots.


User currently offlineChewingPlastic From Canada, joined Oct 2006, 57 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (7 years 10 months 4 weeks 18 hours ago) and read 5240 times:

Quoting AirWillie6475 (Reply 1):
there is only one CA, one FO, and the rest relief pilots.

Yes, but don't relief pilots also either have to have a Captain or First Officer rating too?


User currently offlineBellerophon From United Kingdom, joined May 2002, 584 posts, RR: 59
Reply 3, posted (7 years 10 months 4 weeks 13 hours ago) and read 5200 times:

Jawed

...I took a 17-hour non-stop flight in a Malaysian Airlines 777 from EWR to DXB the other day...

17 hours? 17 hours?

The flying time, in a B777, EWR-DXB, non-stop, should be around 13 hours

If you took 17 hours to fly non-stop in a B777 from EWR-DXB, then something must have gone very wrong.

You can travel from EWR to DXB on Continental faster than that including a three hour transit stop at LGW!

Bellerophon


User currently offlinePanPan From United States of America, joined Dec 2005, 104 posts, RR: 0
Reply 4, posted (7 years 10 months 3 weeks 6 days 23 hours ago) and read 5121 times:

Was that a charter flight?? Malasia doesn't fly Newark to Dubai. Their Newark flight(which is a 772) stops in Stockholm on the way to Kuala Lumpur.

User currently offlineJawed From United States of America, joined Sep 2006, 482 posts, RR: 0
Reply 5, posted (7 years 10 months 3 weeks 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 5068 times:

I was pretty sure it was 17 hours actually. Perhaps it was the flight back (the reverse) that was 17 hours. I took the flight in the year 1999, and at that time it was a non-stop Malaysian Air flight in a 777 from Newark to Dubai.

User currently offlineChewingPlastic From Canada, joined Oct 2006, 57 posts, RR: 0
Reply 6, posted (7 years 10 months 3 weeks 6 days 15 hours ago) and read 5053 times:

Quoting Jawed (Reply 5):
I took the flight in the year 1999

Huh? I thought it was the other day.


User currently offlineZBBYLW From Canada, joined Nov 2006, 1991 posts, RR: 6
Reply 7, posted (7 years 10 months 3 weeks 6 days 14 hours ago) and read 5040 times:

Quoting Jawed (Thread starter):
took a 17-hour non-stop flight in a Malaysian Airlines 777 from EWR to DXB the other day.



Quoting Jawed (Reply 5):
flight in the year 1999

It has been a very long day for me but these two quotes seem to not agree with eachother. Also can a 777 that was available in 1999 fly 17 hours non stop? Just some interesting questions.



Keep the shinny side up!
User currently offlineCgagn From Canada, joined Sep 2003, 345 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (7 years 10 months 3 weeks 6 days 12 hours ago) and read 5012 times:

Something doesn't add up here.

C-GAGN



Widebodies flown on: A330-300,A340-300,A380-800,747-400,767-200ER,767-300ER,777-200A,777-200ER,777-200LR,777-300ER
User currently offlineDrP From United Kingdom, joined Jul 2005, 280 posts, RR: 4
Reply 9, posted (7 years 10 months 3 weeks 6 days 10 hours ago) and read 4994 times:

Anyway, to answer the question -

Quoting Jawed (Thread starter):
How many pilots and F/O's are on the plane, total?

There will be two sets of crew - ie 2 x Capts and 2 x FO's. Sometimes it would be possible to have 1 x Capt and 3 x FO's provided that at least one of the FO has an APIC (Acting Pilot In Command) rating, so he can relieve the Capt.

Quoting Jawed (Thread starter):
When do they switch duties?

Usually the first crew would fly the first 11/12 hrs of flight, and the second crew would take over. This obviously varies from airline to airline. There will be bunks in the flight deck for either crews to rest. This is a requirement as rest taken on board contributes to how long a duty you can do.

Quoting Jawed (Thread starter):
Do the pilot and F/O swap simultaneously as a team with another team of two, or do they switch individually?

They will swap one at a time I presume, as you cannot leave the aircraft with no-one at the controls as per SOP's.

Quoting Jawed (Thread starter):
Do airlines save money by making flightcrews fly/sleep/fly on one flight (ie flying more than one segment), or does a flightcrew only fly a single segment on such a long flight?

In a word, yes. Many trans-pacific flights especially could not operate without this rule, as for many airlines the max duty for a single crew would be about 13/14 hrs.



My pony plays the mamba . .
User currently offlinePope From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 10, posted (7 years 10 months 3 weeks 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 4936 times:

Last month's Flying magazine has a column about crew rotation on transatlantic flights that should answer your questions.

User currently offlineJawed From United States of America, joined Sep 2006, 482 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (7 years 10 months 3 weeks 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 4859 times:

Sorry, when I said "the other day", I meant in 1999. English is not my native language  Wink

User currently offlineHAWK21M From India, joined Jan 2001, 31702 posts, RR: 56
Reply 12, posted (7 years 10 months 3 weeks 5 days 7 hours ago) and read 4815 times:

Quoting Jawed (Reply 11):
Sorry, when I said "the other day", I meant in 1999

A week would be 2007  Smile
Cheers.

Quoting DrP (Reply 9):
They will swap one at a time I presume, as you cannot leave the aircraft with no-one at the controls as per SOP's.

One person from the pair is replaced.

regds
MEL



Think of the brighter side!
User currently offlineZvezda From Lithuania, joined Aug 2004, 10511 posts, RR: 64
Reply 13, posted (7 years 10 months 3 weeks 4 days 8 hours ago) and read 4739 times:

With the prospect of nonstop SYD/MEL-LHR flights sometime in the future, there has been some consideration given to how to crew flights of 20-22 hours. As far as I know, no jurisdiction yet has rules in place. One interesting idea is to have five pilots, two of which would be on duty for take-off and landing, say 3-4 hours at the start and end of the flight. They would be off duty the remainder of the flight. The other three pilots would rotate through the intermediate period, two flying and one resting. I believe each sub-group would need its own captain.

User currently offlineKearney From Canada, joined Nov 2006, 140 posts, RR: 0
Reply 14, posted (7 years 10 months 3 weeks 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 4727 times:

Id like to be a pilot who just does the taxi, takeoff and landing, and let the relief pilots take over for the rest of the flight!

User currently offlineStarlionblue From Greenland, joined Feb 2004, 17112 posts, RR: 66
Reply 15, posted (7 years 10 months 3 weeks 4 days 4 hours ago) and read 4698 times:

Quoting Zvezda (Reply 13):
I believe each sub-group would need its own captain.

I don't know. As far as I have seen on AA, with three pilots the two F/Os are sometimes on duty with the Captain resting. Only during cruise though. But maybe I'm seeing things.  Wink



"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots."
User currently offlineZvezda From Lithuania, joined Aug 2004, 10511 posts, RR: 64
Reply 16, posted (7 years 10 months 3 weeks 4 days 3 hours ago) and read 4685 times:

Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 15):
I don't know. As far as I have seen on AA, with three pilots the two F/Os are sometimes on duty with the Captain resting. Only during cruise though. But maybe I'm seeing things.

Right, but even with the captain resting, he's still The Captain and on duty in that sense. There are some situations for which he would have to be roused. I don't think you want to do that in the 20-22 scenario. The team that will be landing needs to be fully rested.


User currently offlineTristarSteve From Sweden, joined Nov 2005, 4052 posts, RR: 33
Reply 17, posted (7 years 10 months 3 weeks 4 days 3 hours ago) and read 4684 times:

Quoting PanPan (Reply 4):
Their Newark flight(which is a 772) stops in Stockholm on the way to Kuala Lumpur.

The present MH090/091 has an actual flight time of about 19hrs 30. Can go up and down more than hour depending on the winds. The sector KUL-ARN is about 11hrs 30 and ARN-EWR is just under 8 hours. On the longer segment there are two crews. Two captains and two F/Os. On the shorter sector there is usually one crew of two, but occasionally when the flight time is forecast over 8 hours then there is a crew of three, One captain and two F/Os. I haven't seen a three man crew for a long time.


User currently offlineStarlionblue From Greenland, joined Feb 2004, 17112 posts, RR: 66
Reply 18, posted (7 years 10 months 3 weeks 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 4653 times:

Quoting Zvezda (Reply 16):
Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 15):
I don't know. As far as I have seen on AA, with three pilots the two F/Os are sometimes on duty with the Captain resting. Only during cruise though. But maybe I'm seeing things.

Right, but even with the captain resting, he's still The Captain and on duty in that sense. There are some situations for which he would have to be roused. I don't think you want to do that in the 20-22 scenario. The team that will be landing needs to be fully rested.

Yes I see what you mean. But potentially you could have 2 Captains and 4 F/Os. So you have one rested Captain for takeoff and one for landing.



"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots."
User currently offlineZvezda From Lithuania, joined Aug 2004, 10511 posts, RR: 64
Reply 19, posted (7 years 10 months 3 weeks 3 days 14 hours ago) and read 4589 times:

Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 18):
But potentially you could have 2 Captains and 4 F/Os. So you have one rested Captain for takeoff and one for landing.

Why have a crew of six if a crew of five can do the job? Not only does one more pilot need to be paid for a very long flight, but the crew rest area requirements increase at the expense of revenue seats.


User currently offlineWestJetForLife From Canada, joined Jun 2005, 814 posts, RR: 1
Reply 20, posted (7 years 10 months 3 weeks 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 4583 times:

Now, this may seem like a stupid question, but, in the 1960s/70s/80s/early 90s, when the Flight Engineer was still around and common, did they have a replacement flight engineer for flights over 8 hours?

Now, granted, the engineer didn't do much during cruise (besides monitoring the systems from his panel), but even he would need to be refreshed, right?

Just curious.



I need a drink.
User currently offlineTristarSteve From Sweden, joined Nov 2005, 4052 posts, RR: 33
Reply 21, posted (7 years 10 months 3 weeks 3 days 11 hours ago) and read 4566 times:

Quoting WestJetForLife (Reply 20):
Now, this may seem like a stupid question, but, in the 1960s/70s/80s/early 90s, when the Flight Engineer was still around and common, did they have a replacement flight engineer for flights over 8 hours?

TWA used to operate Tristars JFK-ARN. One leg was over 8 hours and one was under. They had a 3 man crew on the under 8 hour leg and an extra FO on the over 8 hour leg. There was no spare FE. The extra FO used to deadhead on the shorter sector. I think their FOs were qualified to sit at the FE seat.


User currently offlineWestJetForLife From Canada, joined Jun 2005, 814 posts, RR: 1
Reply 22, posted (7 years 10 months 3 weeks 2 days 17 hours ago) and read 4457 times:

Quoting TristarSteve (Reply 21):

Oh yeah, that's right. First Officers usually go up from Flight Engineers. I forgot about that.

Thanks, Steve.



I need a drink.
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