KAVL From United States of America, joined Aug 2004, 10 posts, RR: 0 Posted (9 years 3 months 4 weeks 1 day 9 hours ago) and read 5478 times:
Something I've always wondered about, if anyone could entertain it:
I believe the cockpit of every airliner has a seat for the captain, and one for the FO, but some cockpits have a third crew position behind these two seats, facing sideways in front of an enormous panel of instruments and switches.
What does this third person do? Also, do all larger aircraft have this position,
or is it a thing of the past, being that only older aircraft seem to have it?
Once you have tasted flight, you will walk with your eyes turned skyward, for it is there you long to return - da Vinci
Starlionblue From Greenland, joined Feb 2004, 16375 posts, RR: 66 Reply 1, posted (9 years 3 months 4 weeks 1 day 7 hours ago) and read 5249 times:
That would be the flight engineer position. As you correctly surmise, it is a thing of the past. In the old days, engines required more nursing and care than today. Nowadays, FADEC (Full Áuthority Digital Engine Control) allows the two pilots to monitor the engines while they fly the plane.
On even older planes, you would often have a navigator and/or a radio operator.
The F/E position dissapeared around the 1970s.
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - from Citadel by John Ringo
Most modern airplanes are flown by only 2 crewmembers, as the systems are much more modern than in former days. Glass-Cockpits, newer overhead panels, and more computers to control the systems, compare old 747 versus newer ones:
Dsuairptman From United States of America, joined Jul 2003, 854 posts, RR: 0 Reply 5, posted (9 years 3 months 4 weeks 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 4845 times:
Actually DL and AA didn't see an end to their FE crews until the late 1990s or early 2000s when they put the 727 out to pasture.
You still can find numerous FE equipped plans flying in third world countries and well known cargo airlines ie: FEDEX and UPS, though FEDEX does modify some used DC10s to a MD-11 style cockpit requring only two pilots.
TripleDelta From Croatia, joined Jul 2004, 1083 posts, RR: 7 Reply 8, posted (9 years 3 months 4 weeks 9 hours ago) and read 4699 times:
AIRLINERS.NET CREW PHOTO SCREENER
As Nudelhirsch pointed out, even some modern Russian aircraft have several crew stations more than on other aircraft. On some flights, the An-124 and 225 can carry a complement of 18 crew, 6 of which are responsible for flying the thing, while the other 11 + loadmaster are specialists in various aircraft systems and are equipped to fix basically any part of the plane that does not require big, highly-specialized tools.
While GPS has facilitated navigation a lot, it is still not very widespread in northern regions, Siberia to name one. Along with the lack of ground aids in the form of radio-nav stations, careful navigation is essential and to minimize errors, much as you would cross-check INS systems in old jetliners, two navigators are used on each flight. In this form, the essential flight crew on the big Antonovs is:
- communications officer
- two navigators
Iakobos From Belgium, joined Aug 2003, 3310 posts, RR: 36 Reply 12, posted (9 years 3 months 3 weeks 6 days 3 hours ago) and read 4536 times:
I do not see why GPS (the US Navstar version) would not be complete, the 24 or so satelites cover the globe.
I suppose anyway that Russian planes are depending on (or also) on their own GPS system (Glonass).
Pilotpip From United States of America, joined Sep 2003, 3119 posts, RR: 11 Reply 13, posted (9 years 3 months 3 weeks 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 4436 times:
Someone mentioned to me that the primary reason that many russian aircraft have 6 stations (navigator, radio operator, F/E, Mechanic, Captian, F/O etc) is mainly because they didn't have to worry about the bottom line in the communist days as much as their western counterparts. You have to provide work for people, why make two pilots multitask?
I laughed the first time I heard it, but DC-9s had two pilots long before anything like RNAV was common in aircraft.
Klaus From Germany, joined Jul 2001, 21346 posts, RR: 54 Reply 14, posted (9 years 3 months 3 weeks 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 4422 times:
Iakobos: I do not see why GPS (the US Navstar version) would not be complete, the 24 or so satelites cover the globe.
They cover all longitudes, but their orbits are not tilted high enough to cover the poles - there simply is no satellite in a polar orbit (maximum inclination is only 55 degrees, as far as I know).
Galileo will have some of the satellites in polar orbits to cover the poles as well. That could make it unnecessary to rely mainly on the other navaids on the transpolar flight routes when it´s operational.
Iakobos From Belgium, joined Aug 2003, 3310 posts, RR: 36 Reply 15, posted (9 years 3 months 3 weeks 5 days 4 hours ago) and read 4406 times:
I checked, there are 29 Navstar sats in orbit at 20,200km, basically echeloned in six different planes of 4 each + spares.
At any point on the globe and at any time, at least 5 satellites are visible.
Only 3 are needed to get a position report.
There are still some problems with using GPS in the field. Coverage at the higher latitudes is limited to certain, yet predictable, hours of the day. At times accuracy is diminished by the low incident angles of the satellites to the horizon. In addition, parties using GPS have reported interruption of service for as long as 72 hours at a time when the system was down for maintenance. Before planning to use GPS, use the software provided with your system to check availability of coverage at your expected location. If GPS is a part of your work in the field, you will likely have to plan your work day around the "windows" of satellite coverage.
You can probably find older a.net threads that confirm this as far as aviation is concerned.
Among Galileo´s aims are better coverage and higher reliability than GPS is offering.
Iakobos From Belgium, joined Aug 2003, 3310 posts, RR: 36 Reply 19, posted (9 years 3 months 3 weeks 4 days 19 hours ago) and read 4328 times:
I remained sceptic about the supposed unusefulness of Navstar at the poles.
This is the conclusion I found at gpsworld.com, it was drawn by a specialist Canadian team making extensive testing for the benefit of NATO.
High-Latitude Performance. Regarding satellite geometry at high latitudes, we found that, in general, newer-generation receivers with multiple tracking channels (many with 12 or more channels) appeared to show very little performance difference at high latitudes, most likely due to the increased redundant information provided by tracking all satellites in view. Also, vertical dilution of precision (VDOP) at the North Pole is only slightly lower than corresponding values at lower latitudes, making GPS a truly global system.
Iakobos From Belgium, joined Aug 2003, 3310 posts, RR: 36 Reply 21, posted (9 years 3 months 3 weeks 4 days 16 hours ago) and read 4299 times:
You never sleep Klaus ? ...it makes two
The INS is certainly the primary tool, and it is already twice redundant I think, the GPS could be the secondary.
I guess only a pilot with transpolar experience could tell.
Still, since we started there..., the Russians have their own system, which for sure works in the arctic latitudes.
...I do give up sometimes, but not often.