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United's "From The Cockpit"

Tue Nov 30, 1999 11:31 am

As I'm sure many of you know, United allows passengers on its flights (per pilots discretion of course) to listen in on communications with air traffic controllers. Living in San Francisco, most of my flying is with United and I've come to really enjoy it. Returning home the other day (CDG-SFO), on a beautiful, roomy 777, I listened almost the entire way. Being handed off to "Arctic control" was especially cool. Why don't the other airlines do this and how many people actually take advantage of it?
Happy (con)Trails

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RE: United's "From The Cockpit"

Tue Nov 30, 1999 1:25 pm

I wasn't aware that any airlines did this. Someone tell me more.
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Tue Nov 30, 1999 2:41 pm

UAL puts ATC on Channel 9. It's on the channel selector like any of those elevator music channels.

I don't know how they do it.

- Neil Harrison
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RE: United's "From The Cockpit"

Tue Nov 30, 1999 6:02 pm

United has been doing this for a couple years now. United used to advertise in their in-flight magazine that they were the only airline that offered ATC chat to passengers - they stopped advertising it like that in the magazine so someone else might be doing it now.

In the early days it was just offered on the widebodies, but now I beleive it's on all their planes (with music). It's been on all the 737s that I've flown in the last year, of which all had in-flight music.

Some of the pilots really make a point to try to get the passengers to listen. The last one I had mentioned Channel 9, the flight's callsign, and the different ATC layers that we'd be going through during the flight.

RE: United's "From The Cockpit"

Tue Nov 30, 1999 7:11 pm

They do that so that if the pilots miss a clearance odds are one of the passengers caught it and can relay it to the pilots.
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RE: United's "From The Cockpit"

Tue Nov 30, 1999 7:42 pm

I love United's channel 9. I mainly fly british airways and american airlines and I really wish the did this also. On the few united flights I take a year, I listen to channel 9 from when I get on the plane till I get off.
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RE: United's "From The Cockpit"

Wed Dec 01, 1999 1:16 am

I was on a UA flight last summer from EWR-SFO, and of course I was listening to channel 9. (The aircraft used was a 757).

We were level at FL350 and I heard our captain request FL390. ATC told him that he would have to wait a few moments for traffic. A short time later, up above, I saw what appeared to be a NWA A320 zoom by.

5 seconds later, ATC told our captain to climb and maintain FL390. The aircraft immediately increased power and rose.

It seemed so incredibly interactive !

RE: United's

Wed Dec 01, 1999 6:57 am

United has actually had this feature for quite some time now. I took a United Airlines B-727 from Los Angeles to Chicago way, way back in 1983 and one could already listen in on the transmissions. I don't remember the exact channel. It was a lot of fun and I stayed on that channel throughout the flight. It kinda ticked me off though when the flight attendants collected the headsets just as we started our descent. Listening to ORD controllers would have been the real highlight there! I was disappointed when our return flight to the West Coast was booked on TWA. It would have been really educational because the weather was bad and planes were stacked in holding patterns--in between breaks in the clouds, I saw planes flying above and below us.
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RE: United's "From The Cockpit"

Wed Dec 01, 1999 9:01 am

I first experienced this channel on 1/31/87 on a B727-222 flight from IAD to TPA. I wish all airlines had this feature on their entertainment systems.

Bob Bradley
Richmond, VA
Fly Eastern's Golden Falcon DC-7B
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RE: United's

Wed Dec 01, 1999 10:15 am

I fly United almost exclusively and love Channel 9. If it's not on I ask a flight attendant if the captain has "forgotton" to turn it on. Often that's the case. But occasionally a captain doesn't want the passengers to listen.  

Chicago is great listening....very busy traffic. You appreciate the job of the ATC staff when you hear them in action. You not only hear your flight but many others on the same frequencies. I enjoy the accents of the many foreign airline pilots flying in, out and across the USA.

It's also the best place to find out the scores of key games when you're flying. ATC always responds to a captain's request for a game update.
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RE: United's "From The Cockpit"

Wed Dec 01, 1999 10:18 am

I was once on a Delta 732 in which the ATC communication betweeen the pilot and control tower actually came over the cabin intercom. How's that for "interactive"!?
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RE: United's "From The Cockpit"

Wed Dec 01, 1999 11:00 am

I've never had the pleasure of experiencing channel 9
Bruce Leibowitz - Jackson, MS (KJAN) - Canon 50D/100-400L IS lens
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RE: United's "From The Cockpit"

Wed Dec 01, 1999 8:45 pm

I never experienced this in a plane as a passenger. It would be great if european airlines could do the same...
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RE: United's "From The Cockpit"

Thu Dec 02, 1999 1:30 am

Some of you mentioned that you listened to channel 9 on a UAL 727. i just flew on one the other day and it did not have that feature. I know the 737s and A320s do. If look in the channel guide in the magazine, the 727 is the only a/c that does not have this feature.

Although United is the only US airline doing this now, I know that American used to offer this, but has since stopped. In 1987 I listend on a 767 from JFK to SFO and DC10s from SFO-HNL, HNL-LAX and LAX-JFK. Four years ago on a AA 757 from RDU to LGA, I asked the FA if the service was available and he said it was stopped for security reasons. AA also had a camera in the cockpit of the DC10s which they turned on for takeoff and landing.
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RE: United's "From The Cockpit"

Thu Dec 02, 1999 8:24 am

Well this feature is available on "selected" 727/737 flights only. Alot of the times the captain simply chooses not to turn it on......regular music instead. Every time i take a 727-200 on the ORD-MSY/MSY-ORD route it is working.......and i agree that it is very interesting and a very good way to pass the time, for us airline buffs anyway.

Sorry I moved from SXM, looking for a new house on Anguilla now!
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Security Reasons?

Thu Dec 02, 1999 9:32 am

AA stopped having cockpit audio for security reasons??? What harm could it possibly do for someone to listen to the ATC? A person who is determined to hijack will do so anyway regardless of the audio.

Sounds like another stupid rule by the FAA in this country to "protect" us. For more on this see the thread on "cockpit visits".
Bruce Leibowitz - Jackson, MS (KJAN) - Canon 50D/100-400L IS lens
Posts: 201
Joined: Mon Jun 21, 1999 8:53 pm

RE: United's "From The Cockpit"

Thu Dec 02, 1999 1:02 pm

I used to use United frquently between AKL and MEL (sadly they cease this service this week due to nonstop LAX-MEL).

They never had from the cockpit running ever. I must have done 40 sectors in the last two years too!!!
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RE: United's "From The Cockpit"

Fri Dec 03, 1999 6:18 am

I appreciate being able to listen to the cockpit communications on some of the United flights. Always liked having it available when going into or out of ORD since there is so much going on in the area and it gives you some sense of what's going on around you as far as other traffic is concerned. As an aviation buff and a private pilot I find it interesting, informative, and fun and I enjoy seeing how the pros do it.

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