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Visit Cockpits

Sun Nov 28, 1999 3:37 am

I just made a "feedback" on older topics, and I saw somme comments about visiting flight decks. When I first read that US (and CD, but, where's the difference?) carriers do not allow visits, it stunned me. But the truth is that I can understand it. American society has become ill and ridiculous about safety. Don't they ask if you carry bombs or drugs? Do maybe hijackers answer "yes, I do"?. What can you expect from americans? They recommend you to lock the door of your room in the hotel, although it can not be opened from outside. They first lock their cars doors, and only after start engine. They rate a film PG just because it is supposed (not explicit) that someones are making love. They count the number of penetrations in "Eyes Wide Shut" because just one more can change the film rating. Or they add "virtual people" to an orgy (to an orgy!!!!) so the orgy can not be seen, for the american version of the film. They censor one breast in a film, but they allow one well known single-father singer to destroy a car with an axe in a children's video clip. They have a law that allows women to be nude from over their waists in the streets of a famous city, because of no discriminations for reason of sex, but they arrest women doing top-less in beaches... Anyway. I highly encourage whoever likes to fly to visit the cockpit. If you show an interest, (and a respect for the ATC comms.) you will even be allowed to land on the jumpseat. Pilots (usually) love to fly, and love people who love the same they love. Once, on an OA's A-300, ATH-MAD-BCN, I landed in MAD, and I asked to be allowed to take off: they invited me to that T/O, and I made the whole MAD-BCN in the flight deck. Do you know why? Because I was flying ATH-MAD-BCN instead of ATH-BCN just for flying some longer. (and so I told it to the pilots. It is true, anyway... I used to do fly via MAD) Why not? Why not give satisfaction to passengers? to flight lovers? Why not break pilots' rutine by revealing to interested people some secrets of flying? What's the danger? Is it really to prevent hijackers? Are you (they) serious?

Big turbulences and best wishes to everybody, and psychologic treatment for some others...

RE: Visit Cockpits

Sun Nov 28, 1999 3:53 am

Sometimes you won't get to the flight deck because of workload. Especially on a short flight there is no time to entertain a viewer and at times their interest can be distracting. Trying to entertain a visitor can and does at times, take away from the real job at hand which is to fly the airplane. Jumpseat visitors are great and it's nice to see people who love the business but please remember that we do have a job to do..
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Our Society

Sun Nov 28, 1999 4:26 am

Well, you stumbled upon a topic that Americans and Eurpoeans can debate for hours. yes, in a way our society has become ill about safety. We are a very strict country with laws for just about eveything, as well as a history filled with violence going back 200 years. Our constitution gives citizens the "right to bear arms". They banned cockpit visitors here for "safety" reasons. We have extensive screening at airports for guns & drugs because we've become a much more violent society. Many drugs that are legal elsewhere in the world are strictly illegal here and if you're coming off an international flight and have those drugs you will be sent home on the next flight. They know if there are drugs because your suitcase is sniffed by a dog before it gets to the baggage claim area.

When I heard from a friend who visited England that British cops don't usually carry guns I was stunned. I still can't believe it. Here, not only is the gun a must, but they have powerful killing guns (9mm semi-auto.) and bulletproof vests are part of the uniform. We have kids who kill like adults; school shootings. Here in my town the local banks hired security guards to stand outside JUST IN CASE it gets robbed, and you better believe they are armed with fully loaded guns.

All this violence & restrictions kind of makes me sad to be an American. But life goes on.
Bruce Leibowitz - Jackson, MS (KJAN) - Canon 50D/100-400L IS lens
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The FAA Has Gone Too Far

Sun Nov 28, 1999 5:05 am

As a pilot in the UK, nothing is more satisfying than showing an enthusiast around the flightdeck. It was the very inspiration for becoming a pilot when I was 8 years old and did the same thing on a flight to Orlando. We have some very interested visitors, some very nervous visitors, and some who go out of the door knowing about 200% more about how an aircraft flies than when they came in. This is incredibly satisfying for pilots, and for some people can make a trip much more worthwhile.

I know of many US citizens who travel on Virgin or BA when they fly to the UK just because they know a flightdeck visit will always be welcome.

Never in 9 years have I been concerned by a visitor, when some people are really enthusiastic we often let them ride the jumpseat for landing which they always love.

It makes me wonder if the FAA have gone too far. Particularly in view of the fact that even if a terrorist is on board a lock on the flightdeck door is not going to stop them. Since every cabin crew member has a key this makes getting onto the flightdeck as easy as going to the restroom for a terrosist, how many cabin crew do you know who would not surrender their key, or unlock the door, with a knive at their throat or a gun pointed at their head?

In conclusion the rule is preventing many hundreds and thousands of individuals having a taste of the great job that we do, while adding absolutely no security to flight safety whatsoever.

Just my opinion of course, many disagree with me, but I will always remember flying to Orlando when I was 8...

A320/330 pilot.

RE: The FAA Has Gone Too Far

Sun Nov 28, 1999 5:25 am

I agree. Airport safety is a joke in America. I am a pilot for a U.S. major Airline and I too was very inspired by a cockpit visit as a kid. I think that all the secruity hipe in the air and on the ground is solely to make the flying public FEEL safer and not actually BE safer. I worked at DFW when I was in college and in about two hours after starting there had figured out how to get around all the secruity. It isn't hard. All of it is just for show. I agree with you about the cockpit door too. A locked door won't stop a terrorist but it may stop a drunk who is trying to voice his opinion to the pilots and be dissruptive. Like most laws in America, they are passed so that people think that their reps are doing something. After every major problem in the the U.S. a new law is passed that doesn't prevent it from happening again but does really punish law abiding citizens. If keep giving up our freedoms like this we won't have a society left, more like a prision.
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RE: The FAA Has Gone Too Far

Sun Nov 28, 1999 6:46 am

I can agree, and I have never flown a non-U.S. carrier. THe security is a joke. You know, on my last flight, I had bought a slice of pizza at the airport snack shop and was rushing down to my gate with a bag in one hand, and the slice on a paper plate with a cup of coke in the other, when I had to pass thru security.

Well, no one inspected my bag but they insisted on looking under the plate, lifting the crust to look under the slice, and in general checking the pizza from all angles before giving it back to me. That was a joke and a waste of my time standing there.

Who knows, maybe they were checking it because they couldn't believe I'd be stupid enough to pay $6 for one single slice of pizza.

By the way, this was at the New Orleans International Airport.

Like I said earlier, we have laws for everything here. The FAA, being a part of the government, is an incredible beaurocratic machine bogged down by its own regulations.
Bruce Leibowitz - Jackson, MS (KJAN) - Canon 50D/100-400L IS lens
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RE: Visit Cockpits

Sun Nov 28, 1999 11:30 pm

A couple weeks ago i was at the flightdeck of a Ba 734 under landing at Stockholm/Arn, It was very nice pilots they show me all the things in the Cockpit...

Joystick for flightsim. Yokes for real planes.
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Cockpit Visit

Mon Nov 29, 1999 12:41 am

Yes!Some countries made the laws to keep passenger away from the cockpit.
I have an experiment on flight from BKK to HKG on China Airlines. I asked for the cockpit visit when the planes over Vietnam airspace. The Flight attendent said "You can't visit the cockpit. This is the law of Taiwan." I just want to know who made this law. Yes, few years ago, many planes hijacks were happened in China and Taiwan. So, they made law to not allow passenger for cockpit visit. But, all hijacks were happened during the flight and someone said they have a bomb or something likes that.And flew to Taiwan or China. None of the hijacks was happened due to cockpit visit. For an avaition enthusiastic, visit the cockpit during the flight is a best thing to do on flight. But, more and more airlines/countries don't allow cockpit visit. For example, an ANA pilot was killed on deck. So, all Japanese carriers baned the cockpit visit.
I want to say, a good airport security system can keep hijacks away. So, don't aviod the hijacks by keeping passenger away the cockpit.

Finally, as I know, China,Taiwan,South Korea(North Korea?I think very few people have flown on it), Japan, carriers don't allow cockpit visit in Asian region.
And Dragonair and Cathay Pacific are welcome for the visit. Singapore, Garuda Indonesia, Thai, Phillipines are also welcome for the visit.
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RE: Cockpit Visit

Mon Nov 29, 1999 1:08 am

Yes, Japan banned it in May or June, just after a maniac stabbed an ANA 744 captain to death. He took the controls and flew the 747 - with 517 on board down to 980' before an off duty pilot regained control! You really can't blame them for that. Indeed, I was in Japan last March and was allowed to visit the cockpit of a JAS MD90; crew was very polite and pleasant.

Korean Air doesn't allow it, but Cathay is superb (absolutely nothing to do with their being my favourite airline). QF and AN carriers also good. I think Australian pilots generally are very good about this. I flew with two major middle eastern airlines; Australian pilots were good with the jump seat, but not Arab pilots; however, they did allow me up and I would have no doubts about their flying ability - it's just a cultural thing.

I'm not sure I'd really like to take the jump seat with Korean Air!
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Mon Nov 29, 1999 10:29 am

When talking about locked cockpit doors, the PSA flight that crashed after a disgruntled USAir employee shot his boss and both pilots comes to mind.

However, a locked cockpit door DID NOT prevent this crime from happening. The suspect made a flight attendent, at gun point, open the cockpit where he did his dirty deed.

I'm glad that I'm not alone in this. I too believe that the FAA has their head up their rear-end and need to see a proctologist soon! There are a lot of other places where they could beef up the laws and this is one law that shouldn't be there.

I have to agree with Bruce. As a student pilot, nothing makes me happier then when I take a friend up on a lesson and see that person's eyes when we approach to land.

- Neil Harrison
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Speaking Of Cockpit Visits,

Mon Nov 29, 1999 10:41 am

The crash of MS990 comes to mind. Has anybody considered the possibility that someone who was in the jumpseat forced the Co-Pilot to nose-down? Do they even know if there was a jumpseat rider on that flight? Maybe someone with a grudge pretended to be an enthusiast and then took advantage of the one crewman left in the cockpit?

I would hate to think someone like that could give enthusiasts worldwide a bad name.

Is Egyptair good about giving pax. tours and/or jumpseats?

It was just a thought.
Bruce Leibowitz - Jackson, MS (KJAN) - Canon 50D/100-400L IS lens
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RE: Our Society

Mon Nov 29, 1999 11:01 am

None of that makes me sad to be an American (except for the school & church shootings). What makes me sad is that other nations don't care about a lot of that stuff, such as illegal drugs, etc.

Two phrases come to mind for you, Turbulence:
-Better safe than sorry
-Be prepared.

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RE: Visit Cockpits

Tue Nov 30, 1999 12:15 am

I know how tight is security in US airspace and I feel sorry for american enthusiasts because you can have that chance in US airlines, but you always can try in european airlines, I've visited already some cockpits in some airlines and in all time the crew was very happy to show you everything and some of them even invite you to stay and chat with a bit. I recall visiting the following cockpits:

CS-TBO - B. 727-082QC - TAP - Lisbon/Azores
CS-TEP - B. 737-282Adv. - TAP - Azores/Lisbon
HB-INI - DC-9-81 - Swissair - Lisbon/Geneva
HB-IPD - A310-200 - Swissair - Zurich/Lisbon
I-DAVK - MD83 - Alitalia - Milan/Lisbon

From all these the best was with the A310 from Swissair, they had just 2 pilots and the jump-seat was empty so I had a great time talking with both crews, we even saw a B. 757-200 from LTS passing over us!!!
CV990, the Maserati of the skies!
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RE: Visit Cockpits

Thu Dec 02, 1999 2:05 am

Bruce: your history about the pizza is incredible, but I believe: typical american.
Phil330: i'd love to fly with you. I greately agree with you. I'm sure you're a great pilot.
In general, I agree with everybody about safety on board. Specially with how preventive can be a locked door, or how happy most pilots feel of showing thier job to enthousiasts.
FLY777UAL: you can say many things, but about american society illness, I agree with Bruce. About phrases, it is also said that:
it is better to be on ground wishing to fly,
than fly wishing be on ground.
But sometimes you MUST fly. And hijackers or drunks or crazies do not ask politely to seat jump...

Big turbulences and best wishes for everybody.
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Thu Dec 02, 1999 5:31 am

We know that there wasn't a jumpseater that jumped in the Captain's seat, beacause from what I've heard, the Co-Pilot wasn't suddenly surprised to see an unauthorized person in the Captain's seat.

Also, when the Captain came back, he sat in his seat. Besides struggling against the G-forces, he didn't struggle with another person to get into it.

If someone did jump in the Captain seat while he was away I would imagine the cool phrase "I put my faith in god" would be replaced with, "What are you doing?!"

- Neil Harrison
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Flight Deck For Landing In HKG

Thu Dec 02, 1999 7:02 am

I got to sit in the cockpit for the landing into HKG runway 13 in a Cathay Pacific 747-400. The landing was at night and there was NO wind. The pilot made it look so easy. He made a perfect landing. I will never forget this!

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