rjpieces
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When Do Pilots Use The Bathroom During Flight?

Tue Jun 15, 2004 1:18 pm

I was just wondering when pilots use the bathroom these days. On flights in the US, is it required that the cockpit door be shut the whole flight? If so, what do the pilots do?

What about on longhaul flights? Surely the pilots must use the bathroom and eat and even change pilots. I've also heard that El Al NEVER opens the cockpit door. Any thoughts are appreciated.
"Millions long for immortality who do not know what to do with themselves on a rainy Sunday afternoon"
 
scottysair
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RE: When Do Pilots Use The Bathroom During Flight?

Tue Jun 15, 2004 1:25 pm

Yes, I saw with the pilot was come out with the cockpit and went to the bathroom during on the flight and keep with the cockpit door close all of the times.
 
ArmitageShanks
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RE: When Do Pilots Use The Bathroom During Flight?

Tue Jun 15, 2004 1:26 pm

I've seen pilots use the bathroom pretty soon after takeoff and during cruise. I wouldn't think there are any official regulations about it... When you gotta go you gotta go.

I'm sure they are pretty quick about opening and closing the door to the cockpit... Minimal chit chat.
 
ordpark
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RE: When Do Pilots Use The Bathroom During Flight?

Tue Jun 15, 2004 1:48 pm

I don't know about EL AL, but United's pilots go when they have to....just make shure the cockpit door is locked.....
 
scottysair
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RE: When Do Pilots Use The Bathroom During Flight?

Tue Jun 15, 2004 1:49 pm

Correct and make sure keep locked with the cockpit door all of the times.
 
cx123
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RE: When Do Pilots Use The Bathroom During Flight?

Tue Jun 15, 2004 2:08 pm

I know in AA on the MD 80, the FA will use a Drink Cart to block the entrance to the cockpit. It is actually funny trying to see the FA jamming the cart and trying to remove it after the pilot has finished using the bathroom.

I know in CX there is a dedicated toilet in the upper deck on 744 for the pilot.

Also they serve F Class meals to the pilot, so they have to open the door.

I guess the risk in 744 is less as there are less people on the upper deck.

BA has CCTV on the upper deck
 
alexchao
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RE: When Do Pilots Use The Bathroom During Flight?

Tue Jun 15, 2004 2:11 pm

I have seen what CX123 described on AA's Super 80s. Fortunately, the purser on my flight was much more experienced and didn't have any problem securing the cart into place and then removing it.

In addition to the cart, another flight attendant stood in front of the cart.

Our purser used this method to deliver meals to the pilots as well.
 
ualonghaul
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RE: When Do Pilots Use The Bathroom During Flight?

Tue Jun 15, 2004 2:46 pm

For some reason i always see pilots come out on short domestic flights numerous times like they have to prove to the F/C cabin that they look pretty in their uniforms and are hard at work talking about the wife and kids and other watercooler subjects up front and need to come relive themselves many times.

I never see pilots come out on longhaul flights more than once or twice. Once you are allowed to fly longhaul i guess you have a little more control over your bladder.
 
FLY777UAL
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RE: When Do Pilots Use The Bathroom During Flight?

Tue Jun 15, 2004 2:55 pm

On UA, a cart is always positioned across the aisle blocking any entry (and the carts are HEAVY!), and a flight attendant enters the cockpit and locks the door to comply with the rule of two--two crew members in the cockpit.

F L Y 7 7 7 U A L
 
SonOfACaptain
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RE: When Do Pilots Use The Bathroom During Flight?

Tue Jun 15, 2004 2:56 pm

At US Airways, a F/A goes into the cockpit until the pilot comes back.

-SOAC
Non Illegitimi Carborundum
 
SA7700
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RE: When Do Pilots Use The Bathroom During Flight?

Tue Jun 15, 2004 5:27 pm

Seated on the upperdeck of SA 744's; you see pilots, F/O's and cabin crew come and go. Needless to say, the cockpit door is never open for long periods of time, however long enough to get a peek when you are seated in an aisle seat.  Big thumbs up
When you are doing stuff that nobody has done before, there is no manual – Kevin McCloud (Grand Designs)
 
DoorsToManual
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RE: When Do Pilots Use The Bathroom During Flight?

Tue Jun 15, 2004 5:40 pm

Generally pilots try and wait until after landing, then go in during a turnaround (I work for an airline that generally only flies shorthaul).

Failing this, there is another procedure, which is blindingly obvious so I don't have a problem writing about it: flightdeck calls cabin crew on interphone (2 chimes), crew member waits outside door looking out towards passengers (menacing, door-man look optional  Big grin ), pilot comes out for a pee. We've also got CCTV, so pilots can scan outside before letting anyone in.

No, our flightdeck door doesn't stay "shut" all the time.

regards
 
ZKSUJ
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RE: When Do Pilots Use The Bathroom During Flight?

Tue Jun 15, 2004 7:33 pm

I presume that they go when nature calls. Just out of interest about the cockpit doors, I was on an NZ 733 form WLG to AKL and they left the cockpit door wide open for a good 15-20 minutes during cruise, you could see the pilots drinking their coffee etc... I was by the wing and I could see straight into the flight deck, I saw all the panels etc...
I bet this would never happen on a US airline.

SUJ
 
RT514
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RE: When Do Pilots Use The Bathroom During Flight?

Tue Jun 15, 2004 10:28 pm

While flying Business Class on an AC domestic flight this past January, I managaed to catch a glimpse of this exciting process.

The pilot exits, one FA goes into the cockpit and locks the door. Another FA remains in the galley and politely turns away anyone wishing to use the lavatory. Pilot exits, enters cockpit and then the two FA's continue their duties. The cockpit door was controlled by an electronic locking device that required input, presumably in the form of a security code.

It's actually very interesting, you could tell that this was a well rehearsed procedure.
 
buckfifty
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RE: When Do Pilots Use The Bathroom During Flight?

Tue Jun 15, 2004 10:50 pm

It's actually very interesting, you could tell that this was a well rehearsed procedure.

You make it sound like it's an opera or something. Come on everybody! We're talking about bodily functions here!

I mean, when I have to pee, I have to go pee. When I have to go poo, I will go poo. Just have to call the F/A in the cockpit, hopefully a nice one, so that the other guy sitting in the cockpit will have a nice time while I relieve myself.

That's all it is. Nothing magical about this whole thing. Well, peeing anyway...
 
RT514
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RE: When Do Pilots Use The Bathroom During Flight?

Wed Jun 16, 2004 12:24 am

I mean, when I have to pee, I have to go pee... That's all it is. Nothing magical about this whole thing.

Not quite that simple when piloting a commercial aircraft considering the added security measures that disgusting events in the world have necessitated. I can say that I was not surprised that there are specific procedures when security of the cockpit is vulnerable, whether it be for "peeing" or anything else.
 
buckfifty
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RE: When Do Pilots Use The Bathroom During Flight?

Wed Jun 16, 2004 12:48 am

Not quite that simple when piloting a commercial aircraft considering the added security measures that disgusting events in the world have necessitated.

But actually, what I'm trying to say that it is quite simple. The procedures are in place not only for washroom breaks, but for other instances where pilots need to be in the back for any specific (or non-specific) reasons.

Things like this people get used to quite easily. All it means is that there should be an F/A in the cockpit so that the pilot flying is always at the controls (and thus not having to get up out of his or her seat to open a door), as obviously the doors are locked now at all times.

The CCTV works quite well, though we are still required to have a F/A in the cockpit when the other pilot leaves. Just in case if there is an emergency, and the F/A can be there to help with the checklists, or if the remote door latch mechanism fails for some reason.
 
RT514
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RE: When Do Pilots Use The Bathroom During Flight?

Wed Jun 16, 2004 1:11 am

But actually, what I'm trying to say that it is quite simple

I would have thought so too! It was apparent that a specific set of procedures were being followed, however.

As commercial aviation in Western countries is specifically targeted by terrorists, there are many things done on a flight that used to be simple but just aren't so simple anymore. As I personally saw, a pilot going from the cockpit to the lavatory is one thing that just isn't as casual and as simple as it once was.

This September will be the first time I will be on an American airline post 9/11 and I expect that things will be quite different compared to flights on American carriers in the past.

Bear in mind, Buckfifty, I'm not necessarily disagreeing with you. I'm just relaying what I observed.

[Edited 2004-06-15 18:13:41]
 
jamotcx
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RE: When Do Pilots Use The Bathroom During Flight?

Wed Jun 16, 2004 1:21 am

Last summer I got to get a nice peak inside the cockpit  Smile

I was chatting with the cabin crew at the front of the plane and the pilot went to the loo. I kinda held the door open and had a good look  Smile And no we werent on the ground.


Jamo
 
Simongkhon
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RE: When Do Pilots Use The Bathroom During Flight?

Wed Jun 16, 2004 4:10 am

Yanks go to the bathroom, Europeans to the loo...... lol.
 
lnglive1011yyz
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RE: When Do Pilots Use The Bathroom During Flight?

Wed Jun 16, 2004 5:33 am

Just to add my $0.02 here, on my recent flight aboard Skyservice to CUN from YYZ, we had a inflight cabin computer control system problem (lights/t.v's and IFE system shut right down), the Purser knocked on the cockpit door and was talking to the pilots for a good 2 minutes with the door open...

I think they use common sense. I wouldn't be surprised if they communicate with the cabin crew to ensure that there aren't any 'suspect' people looking like they're going to charge the cockpit as soon as it opens..

Again, just my 0.02$!

1011yyz!

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Horus
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RE: When Do Pilots Use The Bathroom During Flight?

Wed Jun 16, 2004 6:05 am

I know that Qantas B747-400s have toilets for the pilots in the cockpit itself. They are located in the back right corner of the cockpit and look exactly the same as noraml toilets.
EGYPT: A 7,000 Year Old Civilisation
 
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Bruce
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RE: When Do Pilots Use The Bathroom During Flight?

Wed Jun 16, 2004 6:41 am

Here is how it worked on my last CO EX flight w/one FA & two pilots. First the FA watched the bathroom (at the rear of the ERJ) and when the last person who occupied it left, she came back and locked the door. Then she went to the front and talked to the pilot on a microphone. The FO came out of the cockpit and the FA went in, and he made sure the door was locked with the FA and Captain inside. He walked to the back, used the lav, then walked back up and used the mic to talk to the cockpit. Then the door opened, and the FO went in & the Capt. came out (so the FO & FA were inside), made sure it was locked, went to the back, then back up, called the cockpit on the mic, the door which was locked from the inside was opened and the FA came out, Captain went in, and locked back up again.

bruce
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dbo861
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RE: When Do Pilots Use The Bathroom During Flight?

Wed Jun 16, 2004 6:53 am

When one of the crew members leaves the flight deck, the PIC must put on an oxygen mask incase of a rapid decompression in the cabin. If the copilot isn't in his/her seat, and there is a decompression and the pilot isn't wearing the oxygen mask, everyone would die.

One of my professors who is a furloughed 737 pilot told us about this in my Air Transportation class.
 
buckfifty
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RE: When Do Pilots Use The Bathroom During Flight?

Wed Jun 16, 2004 7:39 am

When one of the crew members leaves the flight deck, the PIC must put on an oxygen mask incase of a rapid decompression in the cabin. If the copilot isn't in his/her seat, and there is a decompression and the pilot isn't wearing the oxygen mask, everyone would die.

I'm interested in what airline he was furloughed from. This is the first time I've ever heard of something like this.

 
rjpieces
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RE: When Do Pilots Use The Bathroom During Flight?

Wed Jun 16, 2004 7:44 am

I've heard that as well, that the PIC must have an oxygen mask on if the other pilot is out of the cockpit.

If the copilot isn't in his/her seat, and there is a decompression and the pilot isn't wearing the oxygen mask, everyone would die.

Slight exaggeration!!!!
"Millions long for immortality who do not know what to do with themselves on a rainy Sunday afternoon"
 
Pe@rson
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RE: When Do Pilots Use The Bathroom During Flight?

Wed Jun 16, 2004 8:09 am

If a counsel, juror, defendant, judge, or other essential body in a trial requires the toilet, the trial will be adjourned until that person returns. It would be foolish to hold it in for great lengths - just as it would in the air. So when nature calls, you must do what you have to do, hence the procedures.
"Everyone writing for the Telegraph knows that the way to grab eyeballs is with Ryanair and/or sex."
 
gigneil
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RE: When Do Pilots Use The Bathroom During Flight?

Wed Jun 16, 2004 8:18 am

Its certainly not the first time I've heard of the PF having to don an O2 mask while the other seat was vacant.

Rapid decompression at that altitude would otherwise very likely cause everyone's death.

N
 
rjpieces
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RE: When Do Pilots Use The Bathroom During Flight?

Wed Jun 16, 2004 8:26 am

Rapid decompression at that altitude would otherwise very likely cause everyone's death.

What would be the difference if there was a rapid decompression with both pilots in the cockpit?
"Millions long for immortality who do not know what to do with themselves on a rainy Sunday afternoon"
 
buckfifty
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RE: When Do Pilots Use The Bathroom During Flight?

Wed Jun 16, 2004 8:30 am

Rapid decompression at that altitude would otherwise very likely cause everyone's death.

Chances are, in a really rapid decompression, the chances of two pilots piling on the oxymasks in time and one pilot doing the same thing is about equal (re: Payne Stewart and his Learjet crew). So in that case then, perhaps the pilots should be wearing oxy masks all the time then?

Anyway, this is just a theoretical devil's advocate viewpoint, and perhaps up for discussion, though I haven't read any scientific facts on the matter, except for the time of useful consciousness.

In any case the airline I work for does not have this requirement, and there are several others I know of that also does not have this requirement.

I'm interested in knowing which airlines still have this rule of thumb.
 
dbo861
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RE: When Do Pilots Use The Bathroom During Flight?

Wed Jun 16, 2004 9:04 am

"I'm interested in what airline he was furloughed from. This is the first time I've ever heard of something like this."

United
 
emorypilot
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RE: When Do Pilots Use The Bathroom During Flight?

Wed Jun 16, 2004 9:32 am

I sat in on a charter jet company's refresher course one time because I knew the chief pilot. It seems like I remember them saying something about a reg requiring one crew member to be wearing oxygen at all times above a certain altitude? (FL410 rings a bell). This is not always done. The warning was if an FAA official checked the oxygen tank and it was 100% full they could be repremanded.

Matt
 
NightFlier
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RE: When Do Pilots Use The Bathroom During Flight?

Wed Jun 16, 2004 10:23 am

I recall on a flight from Hollywood International to New York JFK on JB the first officer came out of the cockpit to use the bathroom. When he was in the bathroom the Capitan began rolling the plane left and right giving the passengers a scare and the first officer, F/A and me a laugh.  Big thumbs up
Airplanes are only as good as the people who fly&fix them.
 
NWAFA
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RE: When Do Pilots Use The Bathroom During Flight?

Wed Jun 16, 2004 10:43 am

Everyone,

This is one of those questions that should NEVER EVER be talked about here in this forum. We KNOW that people are out there studying the daily operation of the US Airlines looking to bring danger once again.

PLEASE everyone, for the safety of ALL OF US IN the industry, don't discuss anything about procedures like this!

THANK YOU FOR FLYING NORTHWEST AIRLINES, WE TRULY APPRECIATE YOUR BUSINESS!
 
C130HERCULES
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RE: When Do Pilots Use The Bathroom During Flight?

Wed Jun 16, 2004 10:53 am

Let me say a big HELLO to everyone here. Finally I have joined!!!! Thanks to all for making this website one of the best with the most amazing photographs. I have learnt more about a/c's here than in the classrooms.  Smile
I have seen pilots going to the washroom as soon as we reached cruise altitude on some long haul flights. They even roamed through the cabin and chatted with the crew and pax. The cockpit door was locked at all times though.
Vacation - ''Time wasted between two flights''
 
texdravid
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RE: When Do Pilots Use The Bathroom During Flight?

Wed Jun 16, 2004 11:05 am

I agree with NWAFA!!

As much as I, and others would like to know about the daily routine of pilots and F/A's, detailed explanations would only serve to instruct and help out the radicals out there who want to bring harm to this industry and this country!
Tort reform now. Throw lawyers in jail later.
 
dbo861
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RE: When Do Pilots Use The Bathroom During Flight?

Wed Jun 16, 2004 11:17 am

Emorypilot~

FARs require pilots to use supplemental Oxygen at 12,500-14,000 feet MSLfor flight time more than 30 minutes. At 14,001 feel MSL, the pilot must use supplemental oxygen at all times. At 15,000 feet MSL, the pilot is required to provide all pax with oxygen. On airliners and all presurized plane, this pretty much become obsolete because of the pressurization so the entire cabin is provided with supplemental oxygen. Maybe this is what you over heard.
 
kith
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RE: When Do Pilots Use The Bathroom During Flight?

Wed Jun 16, 2004 12:53 pm

NWAFA makes a valid point but anyone whose flown before post 9/11 in the US will have seen this. In march I was stuck for 2hrs on the tarmac in ORD waiting for winds in LGA to calm down (1 runway in use) the engines were shut off so I had the pleasure, after asking, of talking to both pilots for almost 2 hrs. It was great to make fun of other pilots landings, guess at go arounds and argue about if its an A340-300 or -200. Too bad it can't happen in flight anymore. As for bathroom use, the cart/mean F/A makes sense, as does the oxy mask thing, (why you'll never see a pilot w/ a beard).
 
md80fanatic
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RE: When Do Pilots Use The Bathroom During Flight?

Wed Jun 16, 2004 9:43 pm

For God's sake people, only once did people penetrate the locked cockpit door and THAT is still very debatable whether that even happened at all. You all act as if the moment the cockpit door opens 6 terrorists will bum rush the pilots. Can you ever sleep on a flight anymore...or is your heart pounding 200 beats per minute worrying about terrorists all the time?

With all due respect.....Take a valium, will ya?  Wink/being sarcastic
 
mez
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RE: When Do Pilots Use The Bathroom During Flight?

Thu Jun 17, 2004 1:05 am

With all the activity of the flight attendants blocking the cockpit door with trolleys, occupying the flight deck for the duration of pilot absence,etc, there must be quite a slow down in service to the passengers. Do you think they appreciate the reason it takes longer than it used to? Should an extra cabin crew member be carried to assist with these extra duties?
 
citationjet
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RE: When Do Pilots Use The Bathroom During Flight?

Thu Jun 17, 2004 1:24 am

The requirement for pilot oxygen mask use is defined in FAR 121.333(c)(3).
121.333(c)(3):
If for any reason at any time it is necessary for one pilot to leave his station at the controls of the airplane when operating at flight altitudes above flight level 250, the remaining pilot at the controls shall put on and use his oxygen mask until the other pilot has returned to his duty station.
Boeing Flown: 701,702,703;717;720;721,722;731,732,733,734,735,737,738,739;741,742,743,744,747SP;752,753;762,763;772,773.
 
yow
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RE: When Do Pilots Use The Bathroom During Flight?

Thu Jun 17, 2004 2:16 am

Canadian Air Regulations stipulate on pax flights with an f/a that two people have to be in the flight deck at all times, including during washroom breaks for pilots. With the new cockpit door locking mechanisms, it's a safety issue for two people to be there (could be 1 pilot + 1 f/a, 2 pilots in a 3-crew cockpit or 1 pilot and 1 jumpseat crew member such as a dispatcher), in case the pilot becomes incapacitated and the door has to be unlocked.
 
kgin11
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RE: When Do Pilots Use The Bathroom During Flight?

Thu Jun 17, 2004 5:55 am

On a post 9/11 flight on Xmas Day, 2001 from OAK-HNL on AQ, after four hours of turbulence (I kid thee not), I got up to use the head. As I exited and stopped to stand in the galley, the captain came out to use the lav as well. I was still standing there when he exited the lav and we stood there talking about the turbulence, why it took us so long to finally find clear air at FL400 and how the "guys on the Maui flight said they had no rough air at all" (there's an AQ OAK-OGG flight that flies roughly at the same time as OAK-HNL), and then he opened the door to the cockpit where I saw the FO flying along with his O2 mask on and a deadheading somebody in the jumpseat (he wasn't wearing a uniform) taking a nap.

AS for the comment that these things shouldn't be discussed in forums for security purposes, I would add that it seems unlikely that a would-be villian should rely solely on a web forum for his 'intelligence.' OK, it's possible--I think it would be stupid if somebody posted something where a planned opening of a cockpit door was described. Just my two pence.
Kelley Gin
 
sleekjet
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RE: When Do Pilots Use The Bathroom During Flight?

Thu Jun 17, 2004 12:33 pm

Hey, they should just keep a jar under the seat.
II Cor. 4:17-18
 
dbo861
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RE: When Do Pilots Use The Bathroom During Flight?

Thu Jun 17, 2004 6:10 pm

"I sat in on a charter jet company's refresher course one time because I knew the chief pilot. It seems like I remember them saying something about a reg requiring one crew member to be wearing oxygen at all times above a certain altitude? (FL410 rings a bell)..."

"The requirement for pilot oxygen mask use is defined in FAR 121.333(c)(3).
121.333(c)(3):
If for any reason at any time it is necessary for one pilot to leave his station at the controls of the airplane when operating at flight altitudes above flight level 250, the remaining pilot at the controls shall put on and use his oxygen mask until the other pilot has returned to his duty station."

Are there any FARs saying charter pilots must put oxygen on when the copilot leaves the flight deck? FAR 121.333(c)(3) says so...but that's part 121 which covers scheduled air carriers. Charters would be under part 135.
 
chinaeastern
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RE: When Do Pilots Use The Bathroom During Flight?

Thu Jun 17, 2004 7:14 pm

one thing i have noticed is that air new zealand domestic flights constantly leave the cockpit door open for a long period of time. i'm used to it already and nice to see flight crew drinking coffee there
 
Sammyhostie
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RE: When Do Pilots Use The Bathroom During Flight?

Thu Jun 17, 2004 7:31 pm

I have never experienced this oxygen thing and i've worked for 2 charters and 1 secheduled airline!

The general rule I have always been taught is the f/deck call us, we get ready to go in, they open the door, we go in, thye come out.

There has to be 2 people in the f/deck at all times obviously. but I have never seen a pilot put oxygen on!

Its a nice break for us cabin crew, we get to have a well deserved sit down and have a drink and chat with the f/deck. (non-alcoholic of course!
 
MD-90
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RE: When Do Pilots Use The Bathroom During Flight?

Thu Jun 17, 2004 10:34 pm

hahahaha

Terrorists probably SHOULD use a.net for their information. It'd be a good way to get them to bungle the job.

Signed,
A former terrorist suspect

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