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A Question About Changeover Of Pilots For Longhaul  
User currently offlineegph From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2006, 233 posts, RR: 0
Posted (3 years 2 months 2 weeks 6 days 20 hours ago) and read 3944 times:

Hey guys,

Very sorry for the very vague thread title but very best I could come up with. My understanding of flights with more than about say 6 hours flying time is that the same crew that few the outbound cannot then fly the flight back. Therefore they overnight in their destination and fly back the next day's flight (or whenever the next flight is if it isn't daily). However my question is, what if one of the flight deck crew (or indeed cabin crew) gets ill on the stopover (say food poisoning or the like)? Is there always a surplus so that someone can stand in for the ill crew member? I know at home bases there are standby crew but say an IB crew with an ill captain in SJO or MH crew in FRA. I know if say it was an AA crew at LHR, AA would probably have more than one crew available in London though.

17 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlinebrenintw From Taiwan, joined Jul 2006, 1569 posts, RR: 1
Reply 1, posted (3 years 2 months 2 weeks 6 days 18 hours ago) and read 3897 times:

In a case where one pilot became incapacitated while on a layover, the airline would delay the return flight and fly in another pilot from a suitable base. Either the pilot will fly in on the carrier's own metal (next scheduled flight) or on another carrier's metal (if there's a few days between scheduled flights).


I'm tired of the A vs. B sniping. Neither make planes that shed wings randomly!
User currently offlinenws2002 From United States of America, joined Feb 2008, 854 posts, RR: 0
Reply 2, posted (3 years 2 months 2 weeks 6 days 18 hours ago) and read 3885 times:

Flight attendants are normally staffed above minimum crew on international flights.

User currently offline411A From United States of America, joined Nov 2001, 1826 posts, RR: 8
Reply 3, posted (3 years 2 months 2 weeks 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 3864 times:

Our ops specs are such that one flight deck crew (three, two pilots, one flight engineer) can remain on duty for eighteen hours, three sectors maximum, followed by thirty six hours (minimum) rest in HOTAC.
If one pilot reports sick, the flight is delayed accordingly.
Cabin crew are a different story.
We carry one extra on very long sectors, and if one reports sick prior to departure, he/she is left behind.
No problems encountered, so far.


User currently offlineGoBoeing From United States of America, joined Jun 2000, 2679 posts, RR: 14
Reply 4, posted (3 years 2 months 2 weeks 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 3857 times:

Quoting egph (Thread starter):
Very sorry for the very vague thread title but very best I could come up with. My understanding of flights with more than about say 6 hours flying time is that the same crew that few the outbound cannot then fly the flight back. Therefore they overnight in their destination and fly back the next day's flight (or whenever the next flight is if it isn't daily). However my question is, what if one of the flight deck crew (or indeed cabin crew) gets ill on the stopover (say food poisoning or the like)? Is there always a surplus so that someone can stand in for the ill crew member? I know at home bases there are standby crew but say an IB crew with an ill captain in SJO or MH crew in FRA. I know if say it was an AA crew at LHR, AA would probably have more than one crew available in London though.

egph -

Another way it can be solved, and this is an actual example.

One of two first officers gets sick in FRA. Flight needs three pilots to ATL since it's blocked more than 8 hours.

Flight is filed FRA-BGR (Bangor, Maine) at M.85 and the block time is now 7:55.

Meanwhile stateside, a reserve captain and F/O are deadheading from some hub to BGR to meet the flight there.

The flight lands in BGR, the transatlantic pair is done and the reserve crew hops in and they're legal for most of the rest of the day.

Sick F/O at FRA just rides home as a passenger when able.


User currently offlineJRadier From Netherlands, joined Sep 2004, 4650 posts, RR: 50
Reply 5, posted (3 years 2 months 2 weeks 6 days 2 hours ago) and read 3642 times:

Quoting nws2002 (Reply 2):
Flight attendants are normally staffed above minimum crew on international flights.

And if they are not, you still have options available. Say you are operating a 189Y 737-800 (the maximum) with 4 F/A's, and a maximum of 50 passengers per F/A as per all regulations I am familiar with.

You are at an outstation with no spare crew (and no way to get them there soon) and one F/A goes sick. This leaves you with 3 F/A's, including one purser (very important!). In the regulations I'm familiar with (EASA) you have the option to limit the amount of passengers according to the number of F/A's, so that would mean 3x50=150 passengers maximum. Depending on rebooking options and the actual paxload it might be a wise idea to operate the flight with a maximum of 150 passengers.



For once you have tasted flight you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been and ther
User currently offlinePWMRamper From United States of America, joined Jul 2009, 599 posts, RR: 3
Reply 6, posted (3 years 2 months 2 weeks 6 days 1 hour ago) and read 3632 times:

Quoting JRadier (Reply 5):
And if they are not, you still have options available. Say you are operating a 189Y 737-800 (the maximum) with 4 F/A's, and a maximum of 50 passengers per F/A as per all regulations I am familiar with.

You are at an outstation with no spare crew (and no way to get them there soon) and one F/A goes sick. This leaves you with 3 F/A's, including one purser (very important!). In the regulations I'm familiar with (EASA) you have the option to limit the amount of passengers according to the number of F/A's, so that would mean 3x50=150 passengers maximum. Depending on rebooking options and the actual paxload it might be a wise idea to operate the flight with a maximum of 150 passengers.

I believe (correct me if I'm wrong) the F/A minimums are not based on passengers booked, but passengers certified. So even if ONE passenger was booked on that 737-800, you would still legally need 4 F/As.


User currently offlineJRadier From Netherlands, joined Sep 2004, 4650 posts, RR: 50
Reply 7, posted (3 years 2 months 2 weeks 6 days ago) and read 3605 times:

Quoting PWMRamper (Reply 6):
I believe (correct me if I'm wrong) the F/A minimums are not based on passengers booked, but passengers certified. So even if ONE passenger was booked on that 737-800, you would still legally need 4 F/As.

This is true in regards to normal operations, but as with almost anythings, exceptions can be made. I have recently seen this exact scenario being executed.



For once you have tasted flight you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been and ther
User currently offlinenws2002 From United States of America, joined Feb 2008, 854 posts, RR: 0
Reply 8, posted (3 years 2 months 2 weeks 5 days 23 hours ago) and read 3563 times:

Quoting JRadier (Reply 5):
In the regulations I'm familiar with (EASA) you have the option to limit the amount of passengers according to the number of F/A's

US-based carriers don't have that option. The flight must have the minimum number of flight attendants that the carrier used to complete evac demo for the FAA. That number doesn't always equal 50:1.

The only exception I've ever seen to that regulation was during Hurricane evacuations from Houston. We had 737s and 757s departing IAH with only two flight attendants and a full load of passengers in limited cases. This was allowed by the FAA to get the aircraft, crews, and passengers out.


User currently offlineFlyASAGuy2005 From United States of America, joined Sep 2007, 7004 posts, RR: 11
Reply 9, posted (3 years 2 months 2 weeks 5 days 14 hours ago) and read 3438 times:

Quoting nws2002 (Reply 8):



  

Now, if they REMOVE seats, that's a different story. Back around the time DL slapped Delta Shuttle stickers on some of their 738s, they reduced the seat count, thus being able to lower the minimum cabin crew # by 1. In the rear of the a/c there was just this bare empty section on the port side were the rows of seats were. This has since been reversed though.



What gets measured gets done.
User currently offlineL1011 From United States of America, joined May 1999, 1649 posts, RR: 9
Reply 10, posted (3 years 2 months 2 weeks 5 days 1 hour ago) and read 3323 times:
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A few years ago, I flew on New Years Day from HNL to LAX on a Hawaiian DC-10. They announced that they were short on flight attendants so service would be minimal. After lunch was served, the flight attendants mostly stayed in first class, and weren't seen again in economy until just before landing. Does this mean that on a normal day they carried more than the mandated number of flight attendants, so if they were short by a couple they could still fly?

Bob Bradley
Colonial Heights, VA



Fly Eastern's Golden Falcon DC-7B
User currently offlinenws2002 From United States of America, joined Feb 2008, 854 posts, RR: 0
Reply 11, posted (3 years 2 months 2 weeks 4 days 23 hours ago) and read 3271 times:

Quoting L1011 (Reply 10):
Does this mean that on a normal day they carried more than the mandated number of flight attendants, so if they were short by a couple they could still fly?

Probably.

At CO we have an optional FA position on the 738/9 that is only used for full loads, we call it the load positon. If the flight is full and they do not have this extra FA we can still depart because we meet the FAA minimum, but the FA that are working the flight receive extra pay for the extra work.

All of our international flights depart with extra flight attendants, primarily to make sure BusinessFirst service can be accomplished efficiently without making the main cabin service take forever.


User currently offlineFlyASAGuy2005 From United States of America, joined Sep 2007, 7004 posts, RR: 11
Reply 12, posted (3 years 2 months 2 weeks 4 days 22 hours ago) and read 3246 times:

Quoting nws2002 (Reply 11):
All of our international flights depart with extra flight attendants, primarily to make sure BusinessFirst service can be accomplished efficiently without making the main cabin service take forever.



  

Many may find it a stretch but most airlines have a service standard for Y as well  .

DL has specific service requirements for both cabins and times that must be adhered to. In the event that they aren't fully staffed as they normally would be, there is a hybrid flow to be sure that Y is taken care of.



What gets measured gets done.
User currently offlineAirportugal310 From United States of America, joined Apr 2004, 3447 posts, RR: 2
Reply 13, posted (3 years 2 months 2 weeks 4 days 15 hours ago) and read 3159 times:

Quoting GoBoeing (Reply 4):
egph -

Another way it can be solved, and this is an actual example.

One of two first officers gets sick in FRA. Flight needs three pilots to ATL since it's blocked more than 8 hours.

Flight is filed FRA-BGR (Bangor, Maine) at M.85 and the block time is now 7:55.

Meanwhile stateside, a reserve captain and F/O are deadheading from some hub to BGR to meet the flight there.

The flight lands in BGR, the transatlantic pair is done and the reserve crew hops in and they're legal for most of the rest of the day.

Sick F/O at FRA just rides home as a passenger when able.

Great explanation. Also, a great way to get around the red tape and still be totally legal.

Thanks for the real world analysis

What are the repercussions in case of a delay on the hypothetical FRA-BGR leg in-flight?

[Edited 2011-01-29 21:43:53]


hit it and quit it
User currently offlinePWMRamper From United States of America, joined Jul 2009, 599 posts, RR: 3
Reply 14, posted (3 years 2 months 2 weeks 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 2959 times:

Quoting Airportugal310 (Reply 13):
What are the repercussions in case of a delay on the hypothetical FRA-BGR leg in-flight?

Correct me if I'm wrong, but once the plane leaves the Gate, the crew is legal, correct? If they were legal when they pushed, things should be okay.


I was reading on FlyerTalk a few months ago, and UA did something similar to this. A lengthy delay would have canceled the FRA-SFO flight, so they stopped in IAD and picked up a fresh crew instead of canceling.


User currently offlinenws2002 From United States of America, joined Feb 2008, 854 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (3 years 2 months 2 weeks 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 2905 times:

Quoting PWMRamper (Reply 14):
Correct me if I'm wrong, but once the plane leaves the Gate, the crew is legal, correct? If they were legal when they pushed, things should be okay.

Only if they can reasonably expect to arrive legally. In other words you can't just close the door and push back to make it legal.


User currently offlineTranspac787 From United States of America, joined Jul 2007, 3163 posts, RR: 13
Reply 16, posted (3 years 2 months 2 weeks 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 2904 times:

Quoting PWMRamper (Reply 14):
Correct me if I'm wrong, but once the plane leaves the Gate, the crew is legal, correct? If they were legal when they pushed, things should be okay.

Not necessarily. They typically have a calculated legal "OFF" time, referring to wheels up time and the dispatched ETE. I've seen it happen several times where crews have pushed back dangerously close to timing out if they weren't able to immediately take off. If there is any sort of line or delay for deicing or just the runways themselves, they'll sometimes come back to the gate after going illegal.



A340-500: 4 engines 4 long haul. 777-200LR: 2 engines 4 longer haul
User currently offlineGoBoeing From United States of America, joined Jun 2000, 2679 posts, RR: 14
Reply 17, posted (3 years 2 months 2 weeks 3 days ago) and read 2863 times:

Quoting Airportugal310 (Reply 13):
What are the repercussions in case of a delay on the hypothetical FRA-BGR leg in-flight?

There are none.

Once the thing is all planned out to be legal, 'unforeseen circumstances' such as ATC delays, stronger than forecast headwinds, and other stuff is all okay.

This is similar to a crew scheduled to start a daytrip that goes from, say, ATL to SLC and back for a block of 7 hours. If they enter a holding pattern coming into ATL on the way back they don't need to worry about exceeding 8 hours because they were legal at the start of the day. In fact, let's say they hold for an hour and then divert to MEM. By the time they've got a gate there, they're already at 8 hours 15 minutes. But, they are still legal to dispatch back to ATL for the same reason as before. The only thing at that point would be duty period. As long as they are projected to land before the 16 hour mark, it's fine (well, it's fine on paper. The fact that the FAA hasn't changed the 16 hour rule yet is reckless on their part).

"Legal to start, legal to finish."


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