I was sitting at work today and letting my mind wander (it can be the only exercise I get...) when I started thinking about airlines that have different powerplants on one type of plane within their fleet. The catalyst was seeing one of the 747-400s Cathay Pacific recently aquired from Singapore Airlines (specifically, B-HKD) here at YVR
a few weeks back. These planes have PW
powerplants, in a 744 fleet which is otherwise all RR
powered. Other examples that come to mind are British Airway's B772s (RR and GE
), Air Canada's B763s (PW and GE
, I think) and American Airlines' B752s (RR and PW
). (I know the second two examples are mixed fleets due to one airline taking over another's planes, but the first two were by choice, so to speak.)
My question is, do the pilots in these airlines have to be seperately rated to fly each engine/aircraft combination? Do the various powerplants cause significant differences, for example, in takeoff speeds and performance for a given weight or even different MTOWs? Or are they pretty much the same from the pilots perspective? In my first example, would Cathay have had to hire new pilots to fly the PW
747s, or at least spend time and money retraining some of their current pilots, or is there just one rating for the 747-400?
I know that different engines means more spare parts need to be stocked and more training is needed for the maintainance crews, meaning added costs. I'm kind of curious how much it adds to the aircrew costs as well.