In the late seventies or early eighties one of our 747 crew rotations in the far east contained a positioning flight from CMB to KHI
by an Aeroflot IL62M.
It was a flight to remember.
Our positioning crew consisted of Captain, F/O, Flight Engineer (myself), Purser, Assistant purser and 11 cabin crew for a full pax 747-206.
By shear coincidence our purser was employed, before joining our airline, with the Dutch intelligence service and was very well able to understand and speak Russian.
After boarding, I asked (via our purser) for a jump seat during T/O or landing in the cockpit and the Aeroflot captain welcomed us (our captain and me ) in the very roomy cockpit, occupied by 5 crew members.
As it turned out, I was the lucky one for the starting, taxi and T/O and our captain was invited in the cockpit before the landing.
The Il62M cockpit crew consisted of Captain (only Russian speaking, very poor English), F/O (only Russian), flight engineer (only Russian), navigator (only Russian) and the RT operator (this was the one in charge, speaking very good english).
- Starting of the four Soloviev D30KU engines was as usual with our airline.
- Also Taxi -out was normal.
- Before line up at the runway the RT operator asked the tower for a 2-3 minute run up time.
- The power levers were very slowly symmetrically (two by two) advanced to the derated T/O setting.
- All engines were allowed to operate about one minute at derated T/O thrust, then the brakes were released.
After the T/O I asked about this procedure . The flight engineer answered in Russian : "our engines are not so good in transient conditions and to avoid overheat problems, we always allow for a thermal stabilization time."
Then he smiled an said : "But these engines are a lot better then the old Kutznetsov engines, installed at the older IL62 types.
Later on, during cruise, we talked further with the cockpit crew and it turned out that these engines were operating very close to the stall line during engine acceleration and deceleration and sometimes the mechanical fuel control could not fully cope with that.
The whole conversation was very nice , because both parties were eager to get some information about our current aircraft types. They asked a lot of questions about our 747's and we -in turn - were very interested in their procedures.
However, after landing, it turned out that our purser discovered during flight, that no passenger oxygen system was installed and we were flying higher than FL310.
As a conseq. this was the very last positioning flight with the IL62M, after contacting our 747 Chief-Pilot.
[Edited 2013-06-11 07:40:16]
Operating a twin over the ocean, you're always one engine failure from a total emergency.