irishpower
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Do Similar A/c Have Different "personalities"?

Wed May 02, 2012 8:23 pm

This question is for the pilots out there.

When you get to the airport and you see the registration of the a/c you are about to fly are you thinking about individual a/c characteristics at all? For example -does one 744 in your fleet fly differently than another?

For example- If I was a BA 744 pilot and when I got to LHR I saw I was flying G-CIVO today, do you recognize that plane as being say -

more or less difficult to fly than normal?
Slower or quicker to respond to pilot inputs?
Smoother or less smooth of a plane?

Or is all of this just psychosomatic and all a/c feel and fly the same?

Just curious.
 
Type-Rated
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RE: Do Similar A/c Have Different "personalities"?

Wed May 02, 2012 8:39 pm

Yes they do have some small differences.

Some are more reliable than others
Some handle more smoothly than others
Some are "tighter" than others, usually due to age.

This applies to most all aircraft too from the smallest trainer to the largest passenger transport.
Usually the older the aircraft is the more idiocracies it will have.

You can take two identical aircraft and check all their specs out, the specs will be within tolerances but their handling will be slightly different.
Fly North Central Airlines..The route of the Northliners!
 
aloges
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RE: Do Similar A/c Have Different "personalities"?

Wed May 02, 2012 8:58 pm

AFAIK, it does exist. I can't remember for the life of me where I read the report, but several years ago I learned that LH sends only certain 747s from FRA to EZE: those with a slightly lower fuel burn. That way, they land with larger reserves and reduce the risk of diversions.
Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened.
 
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AirPacific747
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RE: Do Similar A/c Have Different "personalities"?

Wed May 02, 2012 9:04 pm

Quoting type-rated (Reply 1):
Some are "tighter" than others, usually due to age.

  

Back to the topic: yes there can be differences.. but not only in flying characteristics or fuel burn, but also in small differences in the cockpit.. for example, I prefer the newer Airbus aircraft with the new types of liquid crystal displays. Looks nicer  

I also remember that I had a favourite aircraft at my school.. we used Diamond aircraft at the school, but there were often various kinds of problems with them.. one of them however, just seemed to work perfectly. If I had the choice, I would fly in that plane instead of the others.

[Edited 2012-05-02 14:14:23]
 
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kc135topboom
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RE: Do Similar A/c Have Different "personalities"?

Wed May 02, 2012 9:17 pm

In the KC-135A/E/Qs I have flown the difference from one "A" (or "E" or "Q") model to another can be huge in the way it flies, Boom controls, fuel burn, and even off-load rate. Some tail numbers always seem to have cronic electrical or hydraulic problems, other tail numbers seem to work hard to stay out of maintenance's hands.

In cars, there use to be a saying not to buy a car built on a Monday or a Friday. A "Wednesday" car was ideally what you wanted as it would give you less trouble over its lifetime.

The same could be said for airplanes, except unlike most cars which are assembled in less than a day, airplanes take days, or weeks to assemble. So instead of days of the week for airplanes, I'd say stay away from those assembled towards the end of the month, esspecially if the company seems to be rushing assembly to meet the monthly quota. Or airplanes that are assembled in the last few months before a strike, or during a labor dispute.
 
PGNCS
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RE: Do Similar A/c Have Different "personalities"?

Wed May 02, 2012 10:16 pm

There are certain differences, but in a large fleet most will not stick in your mind enough to recall unless there is something truly out of the ordinary about it. I recall one 767 that was universally dreaded due to chronic reliability issues, for instance. If you fly the same aircraft for more than one leg especially you might notice oddities due to rigging or tolerance issues (e.g. one reverser comes out faster than another; throttles are stiffer than on other aircraft, etc.) In smaller fleets it's easier to detect differences, as there are fewer aircraft to "get to know."
 
nutsaboutplanes
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RE: Do Similar A/c Have Different "personalities"?

Thu May 03, 2012 3:52 am

I think the mechanics notice it much more than any other workgroup. Certain aircraft have repeat issues that you think you figured out and a few days later, the same write up appears again. These can be little things like ground power which is probably one of the more frustrating mx issues. Some aircraft just have a slightly different appetite for amperage and don't respond well to certain GPU's or jetway power.

The other major personality item is indicator lights for things like "door closed indication" for pit doors etc. Certain tail number get a reputation that is often well deserved in the mx world. This was certainly true in my years of work on the Boeing C17.
American Airlines, US Airways, Alaska Airlines, Northwest Airlines, America West Airlines, USAFR
 
jetblast
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RE: Do Similar A/c Have Different "personalities"?

Thu May 03, 2012 4:18 am

Quoting Nutsaboutplanes (Reply 6):
I think the mechanics notice it much more than any other workgroup. Certain aircraft have repeat issues that you think you figured out and a few days later, the same write up appears again. These can be little things like ground power which is probably one of the more frustrating mx issues. Some aircraft just have a slightly different appetite for amperage and don't respond well to certain GPU's or jetway power.

This. I work as ground staff at a 767 station for a major international carrier and certain airplanes stand out more than others. A few in particular have rusty rollers in the hold, some have smaller onboard closets, one in particular has a reputation for passengers dying on board. We have a relatively small longhaul 767 fleet so I think of each plane as somewhat of a family member as we see the same ones all the time!
Speedbird Concorde One
 
rwessel
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RE: Do Similar A/c Have Different "personalities"?

Thu May 03, 2012 4:32 am

Sure individual aircraft can have noticeably different characteristics, due to minor differences in rigging and whatnot.

An example: At the airport where I learned to fly they had four Schweizer 2-33s. While they all flew normal maneuvers about the same, they had markedly different spin characteristics. A couple were fairly normal, and were used for most spin training because of that. Another was, for some reason, almost impossible to spin except with the CG way back, and with a very aggressive spin-entry (almost a snap*). And one that was very easy to spin to the left, but would just sit there and mush about when trying to spin it to the right.

Pitot-static systems are also very sensitive to rigging. Minor differences in alignment of pitot tubes, or the fuselage shape around the static ports, can cause all sorts of differences in altitude and airspeed indications in non-coordinated flight between aircraft.


*not that such a thing is actually possible in most gliders
 
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sturmovik
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RE: Do Similar A/c Have Different "personalities"?

Mon May 07, 2012 11:53 am

We had about 9 C172s at our flight school, and the senior students would tell the newbies about the quirks of individual birds. There was one, for instance, that would shudder violently under normal braking - but worked fine if you underbraked or overbraked. Another had a penchant for PFD failures (all G1000 equipped) and despite many repair attempts it kept happening. There were also a coupla planes where one wing would routinely drop before the other in stall, with enough regularity that you could be prepared for corrections.
'What's it doing now?'
 
CaptainKramer
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RE: Do Similar A/c Have Different "personalities"?

Mon May 07, 2012 1:26 pm

I posted a response to this discussion that was off topic, more related to weights of aircraft not unique personalities of aircraft. Sorry. Going to start a new topic.

[Edited 2012-05-07 06:40:44]
 
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LAXintl
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RE: Do Similar A/c Have Different "personalities"?

Mon May 07, 2012 6:49 pm

Absolutely.

When I worked for an operator with 20 odd planes, each ones personality was distinct and well known.

Each bird was unique and had its own issues from cargo door problem, to another one with thrust reverser issue, to another with various indication light gremlins, to those with higher fuel burn bias.
From the desert to the sea, to all of Southern California
 
citationjet
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RE: Do Similar A/c Have Different "personalities"?

Mon May 07, 2012 7:36 pm

I read somewhere that Concorde pilots were assigned to fly only a particular aircraft. This was due to the differences (whether perceived or actual) between the various serial numbers of the Concorde model. I looked for a reference but couldn't find it.
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.

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