ERFly
Topic Author
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Joined: Thu Aug 22, 2002 12:47 pm

Southwest Autothrottles

Mon Mar 10, 2003 3:15 pm

Just had a question...Are Southwest pilots allowed to use the Autothottles on the NGs (-700s)?

I know they're disabled on the -300s and -500s and non-existent on the -200s. But from looking at the pictures, they seem to be in working condition on the NGs.

Could someone please clarify?
 
MD88Captain
Posts: 1224
Joined: Wed Nov 14, 2001 9:50 am

RE: Southwest Autothrottles

Tue Mar 11, 2003 2:51 am

No. The AT on the -700's are disabled like the autobrakes.
 
Guest

RE: Southwest Autothrottles

Tue Mar 11, 2003 3:18 am

Hello,

Why would the autothrottle be disabled?

Regards
EAC_732
 
futureatp
Posts: 190
Joined: Sun Feb 27, 2000 3:07 pm

RE: Southwest Autothrottles

Tue Mar 11, 2003 6:19 am

EAC 732,

If I remeber correctly from articles i've read about Southwest, it is about a philosophy Southwest has about the operation of thier aircraft. They want pilots to be acitivly involved with the operation of the aircraft. They do not want "button pushers" according to an article I read some time ago in Airways mag. And it is also a way to save money I guess. Because youre not training your flight crew to be current on the operation some of the extra's.

Just an outsiders assumption!

John
 
Guest

RE: Southwest Autothrottles

Tue Mar 11, 2003 7:25 am

Hello John,

Thanks for your comments, if they disable the throttle that means they will have to manually control the thrust levers. This would mean that they would have to keep moving the throttles into the correct position to control the desired speed. Can anyone explain in more detail about the use of having Autothrottle disabled?

Regards
EAC_732
 
AJ
Posts: 2295
Joined: Wed Nov 03, 1999 3:54 pm

RE: Southwest Autothrottles

Tue Mar 11, 2003 8:48 am

A flawed logic perhaps?

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Using automatics when fatigued or operating in difficult conditions can be extremely useful if they are used properly!
 
avioniker
Posts: 1099
Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2002 5:38 am

RE: Southwest Autothrottles

Tue Mar 11, 2003 9:05 am

Considering WN's penchant for on time and early arrivals (which some blame for the picture above), It's my opinion that is the sole reason for the Autothrottle being disabled in the NG's. (Of course I agree completely that eliminates the need for a separate qualification and currency requirement.)
The NG Autothrottle interfaces somewhat differently than previous aircraft. Very simply stated it is not only for speed or N-1 control. The FCC and ATS share the responsibility for VNav, Speed control, VNav Path and Altitude.
Previous aircraft ATS had little to do with Altitude or VNav Path control.
By disabling the ATS WN has reduced the number of possible malfunctions enormously.
They've also, however, disabled the NG's ability to manage fuel burn more efficiently through the FMC interface.
Just one man's opinion, mind you.
One may educate the ignorance from the unknowing but stupid is forever. Boswell; ca: 1533
 
n521na
Posts: 457
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RE: Southwest Autothrottles

Tue Mar 11, 2003 12:27 pm

So their -300s and -500s can use VNAV but their 700's cannot? Is that correct? If not, do they even bother programming the performance section of the FMC?
 
shaun3000
Posts: 439
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RE: Southwest Autothrottles

Tue Mar 11, 2003 4:26 pm

Yes, and that's also the only real Southwest crash I'm aware of. Compare that to other airlines!
 
avioniker
Posts: 1099
Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2002 5:38 am

RE: Southwest Autothrottles

Wed Mar 12, 2003 10:56 am

VNav is a mode used to control the climb path and normally directed or commanded by the Flight Management Computer System. In the NG aircraft the Autothrottle has a big part in controlling this function while interfacing with the Flight Control Computer and the FMC. With the ATS disabled VNav becomes a function solely of the FMC/FCC and elevator control in response to the pilots' throttle setting. The flight director is a function of the FCC so the autopilot need not be engaged to use VNav.
VNav is usable without ATS in the 700's unless deactivated or not installed. Some airlines have disabled this mode, I don't know about Southwest.
One may educate the ignorance from the unknowing but stupid is forever. Boswell; ca: 1533
 
scxmechanic
Posts: 479
Joined: Sat Dec 25, 1999 10:20 am

RE: Southwest Autothrottles

Wed Mar 12, 2003 11:08 pm

Some of you will be shocked to know that we are installing Auto Throttles in the 3/5/7 series aircraft. I don't know the reason behind this. But I know its fact.

Many of the ones I have worked on lately have the AT computers already installed. And no, they aren't old units that were never removed. These are shiny new boxes.. I don't know what the deadline is for having them activated. Could this possibly be for the pending Domestic RVSM procedures that are to go into effect in the next year or so?

V-Nav is disabled in all SWA 3/5/7 series acft. There is a cover that is installed over the switch on the MCP on the older MCP's. The newer push button ones on the 700 have a INOP/DEACTIVAED decal above it I believe.
But let me say this... Just because it says deactivated doesn't mean it doesn't work.. Its just that our guys aren't supposed to be using it.

But I wouldn't be surprised to see it activated when the AT is put back on line.
 
bio15
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RE: Southwest Autothrottles

Wed Mar 12, 2003 11:38 pm

Hi, I was wondering, what is ATS?

-Alfredo
 
LMP737
Posts: 4859
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RE: Southwest Autothrottles

Thu Mar 13, 2003 3:17 am

SCXMechanic:

Once your auto-throttles are up and running don't be surprised if you see this write up, "Auto throttles will not engaged when selected". About a year and half ago there was a 737-800 that came into my station with this exact write up. Upon further investigation I found that a fellow AMT at an other station had placarded it inop. Do you know what my "fix" was? Turning up the brightness knob for the MCP. As you probably already know if the brightness is turned all the way down you won't see the green announciator light for the AT switch. Fortunately the AMT who placarded it did not throw another MCP in.

That actually happened at another station. They thought the MCP was bad so they installed a new one. A big waste of money. It was not until that night that someone figured out what the "problem" was.
Never take financial advice from co-workers.
 
avioniker
Posts: 1099
Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2002 5:38 am

RE: Southwest Autothrottles

Thu Mar 13, 2003 6:30 am

737,
Guess what? That's not an uncommon write up. Just thank your lucky stars that AA didn't take the "Sleep Mode" option for the MCDU's. BTW if you go up on a plane that's been sitting for over 8 hours and you have VOR off flags, recycle the CB's. They do go to sleep.

ATS = Autothrottle System
FCC = Flight Control Computer
FMC = Flight Management Computer
FMCS = " " " System
MCP = Mode Control Panel

Sorry for the acronyms. They confuse even the most experienced. (Especially when some newly graduated engineer doesn't know the old ones and resorts to inventing new. NG aircraft especially...)
One may educate the ignorance from the unknowing but stupid is forever. Boswell; ca: 1533
 
scxmechanic
Posts: 479
Joined: Sat Dec 25, 1999 10:20 am

RE: Southwest Autothrottles

Thu Mar 13, 2003 12:38 pm

LMP737,

Thanks for the info.. I've never heard of that before.. But sounds good to me. I will store it away in hopes I can recall it when and if needed.

How is the vote going? You think you all will go AMFA? I don't believe you will be disappointed.

It seems like a lot of work creating everything from scratch. But its a great relief not having the Reamsters around.

See ya!
 
LMP737
Posts: 4859
Joined: Wed May 08, 2002 4:06 pm

RE: Southwest Autothrottles

Thu Mar 13, 2003 1:15 pm

SCX:

Here at AA I haven't heard much about the AMFA drive lately. The way things are looking right now I'll probably be looking for another job very soon.
Never take financial advice from co-workers.
 
concorde1518
Posts: 723
Joined: Thu May 17, 2001 12:02 pm

RE: Southwest Autothrottles

Sat Mar 15, 2003 1:16 pm

1) So, is the VNAV not usable on the older MCP's since there's an actual cover versus a decal over the switch (for the pilots that may cheat)?
2) What is the policy on the climb? Do the pilots climb with VS hold (according to the books)?
2) After the ATS is installed, will the FMC's work with full VNAV like any other airline, like, say DL (even if they aren't supposed to be using VNAV on WN)?
3) So, you're installing ATS now, are any completed aircraft flying on the line right now? if not, what is the projected date?
4) will this require a familiarization course to train the pilots on the ATS?
5) If you go by the book, and don't use VNAV, is the FMC still fully filled out, or can you skip the performance pages and use the OPC as your reference?

Lots of questions...
Thanks
 Smile
 
barney captain
Posts: 1422
Joined: Tue Nov 06, 2001 5:47 pm

RE: Southwest Autothrottles

Sun Mar 16, 2003 7:18 am

SCX,

Looking at your comments and profile, you must be one of our kick-a## mx dudes, you guys are the best I've ever seen. I just watched you guys in OAK change our #1 starter in under 15minutes, the folks never even had to get off the AC. Are you serious about AT coming our way? UGTBSM!!!! Never thought I'd see the day. The old guard in DAL is gone with some very positive changes coming down the line.

Now, with regards to the auto-brakes, we've had them up and running for over a year now.

Concorde, let me see if I can clear some of this up;

The VNAV is not authorized for use. There are a few 3/5/700's that have the VNAV switch uncovered and *sometimes* it is actually operable.

As far as climb goes, it is really technique only. Most guys use VS to maintain the computed climb speed (or close to it) on the CDU. I prefer using the MCP speed for the climb, when used properly, it does a nice job.

Even though VNAV is not hooked up, we still have VNAV info displayed on the CDU's and in the NG's also on the flat panel displays. It works perfectly; at the computed top of descent, all you do is pull the throttles to idle and pitch over (using VS or Control Wheel Steering) to maintain as close to a zero vertical deviation as possible. It's really very easy to maintain a profile descent that is every bit as accurate as full VNAV/AT without all the extra costs.

Hope this helps.
Southeast Of Disorder
 
marc kobaissi
Posts: 107
Joined: Thu Mar 29, 2001 2:31 pm

RE: Southwest Autothrottles

Sun Mar 16, 2003 8:15 am



Barney Captain,

Who/what is the old guard in DAL?




 
barney captain
Posts: 1422
Joined: Tue Nov 06, 2001 5:47 pm

RE: Southwest Autothrottles

Sun Mar 16, 2003 9:57 am

The Old guard was the upper management in the Flight Ops Dept that had a great reluctance to accept change (ie new technology). They have since been replaced with a group who is very forward looking in their approach while still keeping an eye on costs.
Southeast Of Disorder
 
AM
Posts: 598
Joined: Sat Oct 02, 1999 8:49 am

RE: Southwest Autothrottles

Sun Mar 16, 2003 1:41 pm

Barney Captain,

When using speed select during climb, do you use CWS or do you couple it with VS?

"... for there you have been and there you will long to return."
 
scxmechanic
Posts: 479
Joined: Sat Dec 25, 1999 10:20 am

RE: Southwest Autothrottles

Mon Mar 17, 2003 7:04 am

Barney Capt,

Thanks for your reply and your kind words.. We have some very good technicians here and some very average ones too. But its all good. We make do.

The autothrottles are on the way. I don't know when they will be activated. But new boxes are installed in the shelves down in the E&E. If you get a chance to look in one, you will prolly find the same thing. I guess the thinking is that ATS can better manage engine/acft performance when coupled with the FMC. Sounds logical to me. That and a high(?) cost index would save some $$ I suppose.

I have heard that some airlines engage the A/P at 500ft AGL and don't disconnect till 500ft AGL on landing just to get the max cost savings from the FMC.

Also, I hear EFIS is coming to -300/5's too. They will be upgraded to UAL and CO's style of EFIS. This is per one of the avionics instructors in DAL.

But shhhh You didn't hear that from me! LOL

Are you based in OAK? If so, you may fly with a buddy of mine. He is a rather new F/O, 2001 seniority. We used to work together prior to LUV, I was a flight mechanic and he was sitting sideways on a DC-10.


LMP737,

Sorry to hear you may join the many many others out on the street. I didn't realize you were with AA. I saw EWR and just assumed you were with CO.
How far are you from the bottom at your station? Man, I feel for you. I got the axe at TWA several years ago. So I know how it feels. Good luck and I'll keep my fingers crossed for ya.

Send a resume to SWA. I hear we are still hiring in some locations. I know we are adding more to this station in the next week or so. We have gone from 11 mechanics in Jan 2002 to just over 27 now I think. But they have all been transfers. But voids left by them have to be filled.

 
scxmechanic
Posts: 479
Joined: Sat Dec 25, 1999 10:20 am

RE: Southwest Autothrottles

Mon Mar 17, 2003 7:44 am

Barney Capt,

Send me a an email, I have some other info that might surprise you.

boeing727@att.net

 
Rick767
Posts: 2613
Joined: Sun Jan 30, 2000 8:11 pm

RE: Southwest Autothrottles

Mon Mar 17, 2003 7:47 am

"I have heard that some airlines engage the A/P at 500ft AGL and don't disconnect till 500ft AGL on landing just to get the max cost savings from the FMC."

Whilst our airline does not suggest altitudes at which to connect / disconnect the automatic systems, our SOPs do state that:

"Wherever possible, it is recommended that the autopilots, FMC and Flight Director Systems are used throughout the flight to achieve maximum efficiency of aircraft operation, irrespective of weather conditions and the type of landing intended."

It does mention however (in a different location) that minimum height for autopilot engagement is 500ft AAL and that below 1,000ft ARTE on the approach, the autopilot may only remain engaged if coupled to an ILS glideslope or in V/S mode. In V/S mode 300ft ARTE is the minimum disconnect, 180ft ARTE with a single channel ILS glideslope and no minimum (of course) for 2 or 3-channel ILS autoland.
I used to love the smell of Jet-A in the morning...
 
concorde1518
Posts: 723
Joined: Thu May 17, 2001 12:02 pm

RE: Southwest Autothrottles

Tue Mar 18, 2003 2:06 am

So, once the autothrottles and EFIS come (for the classics) will the books still discourage VNAV use, or will ops become similar to that of, say UA's 737s?

 Smile
 
barney captain
Posts: 1422
Joined: Tue Nov 06, 2001 5:47 pm

RE: Southwest Autothrottles

Thu Mar 20, 2003 12:40 pm

AM

Sorry for the late reply, just got back from a trip. VS, CWS, and MCP speed are all separate A/P pitch commands and can't be used together. MCP commands the A/P to hold a specific speed, which is why I like it for the climb. VS simply holds a specific VS and CWS maintains the last pitch input. Hope this helps.

SCX,
You have mail.
Southeast Of Disorder
 
Rick767
Posts: 2613
Joined: Sun Jan 30, 2000 8:11 pm

RE: Southwest Autothrottles

Thu Mar 20, 2003 5:39 pm

Barney,

Do you actually ever use CWS?
I used to love the smell of Jet-A in the morning...
 
avioniker
Posts: 1099
Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2002 5:38 am

RE: Southwest Autothrottles

Thu Mar 20, 2003 11:10 pm

BTW with the NG autopilot when CMD is selected CWS is the default mode of engagement until the pilot selects a mode like ALT HLD, or LNAV. Of course that depends on the options your company selected when they bought the planes.
Anybody out there know if there are any obvious differences between the Collins and Honeywell autopilots?
One may educate the ignorance from the unknowing but stupid is forever. Boswell; ca: 1533
 
barney captain
Posts: 1422
Joined: Tue Nov 06, 2001 5:47 pm

RE: Southwest Autothrottles

Fri Mar 21, 2003 4:22 am

Rick

Sure, for almost every descent. Without VNAV, I find it the easiest way to hold the path descent. A lot of guys use VS, but for me, it's easier in CWS b/c you can make more gradual pitch changes. Usually however, once the idle descent is started, it takes very little pitch change to keep it on profile.
Southeast Of Disorder
 
Rick767
Posts: 2613
Joined: Sun Jan 30, 2000 8:11 pm

RE: Southwest Autothrottles

Fri Mar 21, 2003 6:10 am

Barney,

Yes I can see the application of CWS without VNAV. We have no procedures or practical training involving the use of CWS on our aircraft (indeed only some of our older 757s and the 762s actually have it installed!).

We are given some theoretical training on it's use but nothing practical.
I used to love the smell of Jet-A in the morning...
 
AM
Posts: 598
Joined: Sat Oct 02, 1999 8:49 am

RE: Southwest Autothrottles

Fri Mar 21, 2003 7:03 am

Thanks Captain. I thought MCP selected speed was just an autothrottle mode independent from the selected pitch mode.
"... for there you have been and there you will long to return."

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