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What Do The Pilots Load Into The Flight Computers?  
User currently offlineFutureualpilot From United States of America, joined May 2000, 2605 posts, RR: 8
Posted (10 years 9 months 3 weeks 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 3712 times:

Before departure for each flight, I always see either the capt. or the First Officer in the cockpit goiung through the various checks and whatnot.

My question is, what data do the pilots load prior to each flight? How is this done? Do the pilots double check the data by hand? Will the a/c tell the pilots if it is not within the CG range or is this something the pilots must figure out by hand?

My best guess is they are loading the winds, winds en route, waypoints(unless they are pre-set and the pilot selects a flight or flight #), temp., pax loads, cargo loads, and the computer figures out how long the flight will take, what the best cruise alt. will be, how much fuel is needed...

thank you for your responses!

[Edited 2003-12-11 05:26:00]


Life is better when you surf.
13 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlineXFSUgimpLB41X From United States of America, joined Aug 2000, 4204 posts, RR: 37
Reply 1, posted (10 years 9 months 3 weeks 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 3696 times:

first of all..we initialize the FMS...all that is, is setting the initial position, and letting the system align itself and do its magic...then we go through and make sure all the defaults are where they should be and the proper systems are enabled (VOR, GPS, IRS blah blah blah).

Then the flight plan is loaded...you type in the origin, destination, alternate, flight number, and the route. Then you cross check the route, confirm it with the other pilot, and execute...


Then, you load the performance data..outside air temp first, then the loading on the airplane..fuel, passengers, cargo...altitude, enable advisory VNAV, then go to the MFD menu and set up the displays with the appropriate items (VNAV, speed, altitude, range to altitude, and high navaids)...

Confirm..and execute...copy active to the secondary so you have a backup.


We'd set up the ACARS, and get it ready to recieve our final perf data...that will be input if there are any changes to our prelim data.


Then you're off!


A quick summary, but that is the basics of loading an FMS



Chicks dig winglets.
User currently offlineOPNLguy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (10 years 9 months 3 weeks 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 3674 times:

>>>pax loads, cargo loads, and the computer figures out how long the flight will take, what the best cruise alt. will be, how much fuel is needed...

The computer that figures this particular stuff (and more) out is the one in the airline's dispatch office. We sent the resultant computer flight plan out as part of the dispatch release, and it goes to the flight's departure station, whereupon the crew gets it and does their thing with the FMC. We also file the flight plan with ATC.

(The above is based on a US Part 121 Flag/Domestic operation. Other US and foreign ops may well differ).


User currently offlineAJ From Australia, joined Nov 1999, 2395 posts, RR: 24
Reply 3, posted (10 years 9 months 3 weeks 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 3666 times:

It makes me miss the B747-400. Loading the FMC consisted of a few requests via the ACARS system that uploaded into the FMC, including the flightplan and enroute winds. Some airlines even allow uplinking of perfomance data!



User currently offlineCx flyboy From Hong Kong, joined Dec 1999, 6610 posts, RR: 55
Reply 4, posted (10 years 9 months 3 weeks 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 3659 times:

We do it a little differently on our 777 fleet.

First we check the date for the current nav load is correct. The data is updated every two weeks with disks sent from Honeywell. Updates include new waypoint names, SIDs/STARs, airfields, navaids etc...

Then we check the FMC position and give it an update based on the coordinates of our parking bay. We then enter the route, which is stored in the FMC. The route code will be something like HKGBKK3, which means it is the third HKG to BKK route in the FMC. It then brings up the entire route we will fly, which saves me from typing in each waypoint. On a long flight there will be a hundred or more of these, so typing each one in would take forever. We then enter the reserves fuel figure. This is so that the FMC knows the reserve figure and can tell us we have "Insufficient Fuel" if arrival fuel drops below this figure. We also enter the Cost Index and cruise altitude.



User currently offlineCx flyboy From Hong Kong, joined Dec 1999, 6610 posts, RR: 55
Reply 5, posted (10 years 9 months 3 weeks 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 3671 times:

Next, I cycle through and check the acceleration height and engine out acceleration heights are correct, and change if neccessary, as well as telling the FMC we are using a wet runway, if it is raining. I then enter a SID and runway for departure before moving on to check the route waypoint by waypoint against the flight plan on my clip board. After this I do a gross error check by ensuring the total distance in the FMC is similar to the one I am expecting to see.

Next I enter the navaids I need, and enter descent and cruise winds in. This is the most time consuming part, especially if we are doing a long flight. Some people enter the winds during the cruise as we fly along, but I prefer to enter them beforehand. Personal preference.

As far as the FMC goes, that's it. Next I set up the communications page.


User currently offlineCx flyboy From Hong Kong, joined Dec 1999, 6610 posts, RR: 55
Reply 6, posted (10 years 9 months 3 weeks 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 3643 times:

The Comms page is more for the company monitoring purpose. I enter the crew duty start times, flight time and number of sectors we are operating that day. I then enter the cockpit crew ID numbers, and who is doing the takeoff and landing. I also pre-enter all the data to request for take-off data information, like the temperature, QNH, runway code and condition, windspeed and also any MEL items which may affect our takeoff performace.

That is the basic set-up. At this point I start the flow pattern of the cockpit, making sure that the switches are all in the correct position. The PNF should at this point also have come back from the walkaround, and start going through the FMC and Comms page as I described.

When we are both done, we go an instrument check, checking tha altimiters and compass headings, before doing the Before Start Checklist. After this, we get a loadsheet, and get out fuel form from the refueller, which we check and sign. We run through the loadsheet checking it is all correct then enter the ZFW and TOW into the FMC, before punching in the takeoff data and V-speeds.


User currently offlineCx flyboy From Hong Kong, joined Dec 1999, 6610 posts, RR: 55
Reply 7, posted (10 years 9 months 3 weeks 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 3652 times:

With all this done, I give a briefing to the other cockpit crew (assuming I am PF), and do an EFIS check, selecting LNAV and VNAV as applicable and checking the runway heading and initial altitude set in the MCP panel (Mode Controller Panel i.e. autopilot panel). After this we are basically ready for the doors to be closed and for the Start checklist and pushback.

That is the oversimplified version, but it goves you the general idea. At a push, it can all be done in 30 mins if we must do a quick turnaround.


User currently offlineFutureualpilot From United States of America, joined May 2000, 2605 posts, RR: 8
Reply 8, posted (10 years 9 months 3 weeks 5 days 14 hours ago) and read 3626 times:

Wow....a little more planning and work than I do getting my 172 ready for an hour long flight to PSP! haha, I cant wait to do that for an airline, and I thank you for your responses. I love hearing the details about how a flight works!


Thanks again!



Life is better when you surf.
User currently offlineBruce From United States of America, joined May 1999, 5057 posts, RR: 15
Reply 9, posted (10 years 9 months 3 weeks 3 days 14 hours ago) and read 3426 times:

CxFlyboy, that's a lot to do!

So how do southwest pilots do all that not to mention the end of flight checks with their famous 30 minute turn arounds?

bruce



Bruce Leibowitz - Jackson, MS (KJAN) - Canon 50D/100-400L IS lens
User currently offlineXFSUgimpLB41X From United States of America, joined Aug 2000, 4204 posts, RR: 37
Reply 10, posted (10 years 9 months 3 weeks 3 days 14 hours ago) and read 3421 times:

Takes less than 5 minute to load the FMS when you know how to do it right. Southwest is no more special than any other carrier.


Chicks dig winglets.
User currently offlineCx flyboy From Hong Kong, joined Dec 1999, 6610 posts, RR: 55
Reply 11, posted (10 years 9 months 3 weeks 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 3390 times:

It may sound a lot, but for a short flight, it does not take too long. For longhaul it takes long only because you have lots of waypoints to check, and if you check each one properly, it can take a while. Also, entering winds for all the flight levels at regular spacings throughout the flight takes time too, but again, for a shorthaul you don't need to spend long doing it.

User currently offlineJgore From Argentina, joined Feb 2002, 550 posts, RR: 2
Reply 12, posted (10 years 9 months 3 weeks 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 3343 times:

Correct me if I'm wrong.

I recall in the ITVV Leisure 763 Gaitwick to Orlando video, in the very beginning of the video when the pilots were at the operation room with the flight map before external a/c check out, the pilot said that some airlines have a "pre-paid" service for the FMC. This means the a/c dispatching office throughout a wireless communication system, sends the flight plan to the FMC so that it's already loaded when the pilots get to the cockpit.

Is that true ?

Jgore  Smile


User currently offlineBa299 From United Kingdom, joined Jun 2003, 173 posts, RR: 1
Reply 13, posted (10 years 9 months 3 weeks 1 day ago) and read 3261 times:

For the BA's 777 it is almost the same as said by Cx flyboy for the moment we don't use the company route but we are studying the problem for the routes to south America. I prefer to enter the wind during the cruise for me it's is the one of the various ways to kill the time.

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