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e38
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Re: Cargo Pilots: a different breed of airmen?

Tue Aug 28, 2018 9:05 pm

Quoting BravoOne (Reply 45), “What’s not so funny is the number of hull losses some freighter ops have incurred over the 20 years.”

BravoOne, that’s an interesting observation. Could it be crew experience or is the mission more hazardous than passenger ops?

With regard to some of the pilots I have met who fly for cargo airlines other than FedEx or UPS (for example Kalitta, National Air Cargo, Atlas, ABX, etc), it seems they had something in their background for which they could not get hired by FedEx, UPS, or a major passenger air carrier in the United States, such as no college degree, failed checkrides, DUI/DWI, failed drug test, some form of felony conviction, etc.

e38
 
e38
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Re: Cargo Pilots: a different breed of airmen?

Tue Aug 28, 2018 9:44 pm

deleted. Duplicate post.
 
BravoOne
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Re: Cargo Pilots: a different breed of airmen?

Wed Aug 29, 2018 10:48 am

[quote="e38"]Quoting BravoOne (Reply 45), “What’s not so funny is the number of hull losses some freighter ops have incurred over the 20 years.”

BravoOne, that’s an interesting observation. Could it be crew experience or is the mission more hazardous than passenger ops?

With regard to some of the pilots I have met who fly for cargo airlines other than FedEx or UPS (for example Kalitta, National Air Cargo, Atlas, ABX, etc), it seems they had something in their background for which they could not get hired by FedEx, UPS, or a major passenger air carrier in the United States, such as no college degree, failed checkrides, DUI/DWI, failed drug test, some form of felony conviction, etc.

e38[/q

Both FedEx and UPS have vey high hiring standards and have a robust group of applicants to choose from. I don't think that flying for Atlas or Kallita makes anyone less of a professional but sometimes the cards are not dealt the same way to all the players. I think flying for someone like Atlas would be extremely challenging, especially over an entire career. Probably make you an old pilot before your time.

The fact is freighter operations do operate closer to the margins and their exposure remains greater IMO. Having said that looking at the FedEx or UPS accidents over the last two decades would lead you o believe they were well within those margins when the accidents happened. I won't go into the accident history of Flying Tigers which merged into FedEx, but their accident history was pretty ugly right to the end.
 
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YSAPW
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Re: Cargo Pilots: a different breed of airmen?

Thu Aug 30, 2018 5:46 pm

Thanks for all the replies. Most of them are interesting reads. Since some questions are related directly to the actual cargo flying, would some of the cargo pilots share some worthy anecdotes regarding the cargo they were actually flying. I guess most of us would never imagine certain things that actually fly or happen on a cargo flight. For example, someone mentioned they were transporting large amounts of Euro notes to Greece.

Has anyone experienced some issues, say an animal getting loose on the cargo deck. Or transporting certain hazmat’s that have leaked or caused any issues (I remember reading a post about a Helicopter being transported, which leaked a lot of fuel). Or having encountered certain illegal items while on flight, or so (say drugs, or ivory nowadays, I don’t know).
 
BravoOne
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Re: Cargo Pilots: a different breed of airmen?

Thu Aug 30, 2018 8:21 pm

All you have to is read the reports of the UPS 747 at DBX, or the Asiana 747 out of ICN to dee that flying cargo cna be hazardous to your well being
 
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trpmb6
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Re: Cargo Pilots: a different breed of airmen?

Thu Aug 30, 2018 8:31 pm

The Bagram crash is the one that scares me the most. I actually have dreams about flying on a plane that stalls like this sometimes.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M01RmcKsm2k

Feel so bad for those guys, they had nothing to do with the load shifting. And those last few seconds had to be terrifying.
 
BravoOne
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Re: Cargo Pilots: a different breed of airmen?

Fri Aug 31, 2018 12:31 am

Did they have a Load Master on board?
 
acmx
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Re: Cargo Pilots: a different breed of airmen?

Fri Aug 31, 2018 1:08 pm

Yeah the loadmaster was on board with 4 crew and 2 mechanics.

An NTSB press release says “The investigation found that National Airlines’ cargo operations manual not only omitted critical information from Boeing and from the cargo handling system manufacturer about properly securing cargo, but it also contained incorrect restraining methods for special cargo loads.”

That was a sad day.
 
ZeroCGO
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Re: Cargo Pilots: a different breed of airmen?

Mon Sep 03, 2018 9:08 pm

The Bagram clip is used in my training material for cargo buildup and restraint, it's a real eye-opener to many of my new hires, especially when I explain to the class what caused the aircraft to crash in the way that it did. I work in below-wing cargo at PHL, and every day is an adventure. Wouldn't trade it for anything.
 
wing
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Re: Cargo Pilots: a different breed of airmen?

Wed Sep 19, 2018 7:57 pm

We fly passenger and cargo on the same roster A330/340 and A330F.
Honestly I prefer cargo flights, because little boxes can't complain and they don't get sick either.And yes I change my uniform to fly with something more comfortable :)
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YSAPW
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Re: Cargo Pilots: a different breed of airmen?

Wed Sep 19, 2018 8:30 pm

Cool, I did not know that you could be flying both passengers or cargo, depending on the roster. Do you need some special training to do that? I mean: the airplane flies the same, but some additional training regarding carrying people vs cargo (I don’t know, for example how to handle an emergency if you are carrying people vs freight, etc).

Another thing that I have wondered: some cargo flights have these crazy (but cool imho) routes, say: Frankfurt, Dakar, Sao Paulo, Mex, Frankfurt (yes, im saying this based on the video of the Lufthansa Cargo MD-11 on PilotsEyeTV). How does it work if you fly for that company – do you know well in advanced that you´ll be one week away? Or you fly sometimes to one point and back, and some other times you fly these big routes?
 
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Starlionblue
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Re: Cargo Pilots: a different breed of airmen?

Thu Sep 20, 2018 2:55 am

YSAPW wrote:
Cool, I did not know that you could be flying both passengers or cargo, depending on the roster. Do you need some special training to do that? I mean: the airplane flies the same, but some additional training regarding carrying people vs cargo (I don’t know, for example how to handle an emergency if you are carrying people vs freight, etc).

Another thing that I have wondered: some cargo flights have these crazy (but cool imho) routes, say: Frankfurt, Dakar, Sao Paulo, Mex, Frankfurt (yes, im saying this based on the video of the Lufthansa Cargo MD-11 on PilotsEyeTV). How does it work if you fly for that company – do you know well in advanced that you´ll be one week away? Or you fly sometimes to one point and back, and some other times you fly these big routes?


AFAIK it's the other way around, as in you need some extra training for cargo flights because you don't have cabin crew to do certain things. Extra emergency equipment training, for instance using the defibrillator. In the pax operation, we know we carry one on board but the cabin crew are the ones trained to use it.

The cargo guys also have to regularly do some stuff we don't, for example close the doors. I've closed a door for real all of once, on a ferry flight.
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
BravoOne
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Re: Cargo Pilots: a different breed of airmen?

Fri Sep 21, 2018 1:44 pm

Pan Am, Northwest, American Flying Tigers, TIA, Wolrd and TWA routinely co mingled cargo and pax flying. Nothing special and done all the time.

My experience says all crewmembers are trained of how to open and close doors?
 
RetiredWeasel
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Re: Cargo Pilots: a different breed of airmen?

Fri Sep 21, 2018 3:42 pm

As one who flew as SO and FO on NW's freighters and passenger 747-200s concurrently, the training involved was integrated into 'differences' training which added some time in both initial and continuity training. But I don't think it was more than a day or so in initial and couple of hours in continuity training.

As far as opening the doors, on a freighter, I never had to operate the main cargo door or the nose door (on those so equipped). That was done by either MX or the cargo folks. But we did open and close the upper deck door and the main access door frequently.
 
BravoOne
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Re: Cargo Pilots: a different breed of airmen?

Fri Sep 21, 2018 4:13 pm

There use to be a 777 door trainer at the Boeing 2501 building. Have idea where that went. While flying a 757 / 767 corporate aircraft we did our door training down a UAL facility in SFO.
 
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Starlionblue
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Re: Cargo Pilots: a different breed of airmen?

Sun Sep 23, 2018 4:08 am

BravoOne wrote:
Pan Am, Northwest, American Flying Tigers, TIA, Wolrd and TWA routinely co mingled cargo and pax flying. Nothing special and done all the time.

My experience says all crewmembers are trained of how to open and close doors?


We are all trained to open and close doors. However as flight crew on a passenger aircraft we almost never actually touch a door, apart from our yearly encounter with the door trainer.
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
B777LRF
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Re: Cargo Pilots: a different breed of airmen?

Sun Sep 23, 2018 4:25 pm

YSAPW wrote:
Has anyone experienced some issues, say an animal getting loose on the cargo deck.


Once flew a very expensive racing horse to TLS. After off-loading he broke out of his pen and went galloping across two active runways before seeking shelter in an Airbus hanger, where he had a quiet little shit. Neither ATC, the airport or Airbus were impressed.
Signature. You just read one.
 
CosmicCruiser
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Re: Cargo Pilots: a different breed of airmen?

Sun Sep 23, 2018 11:00 pm

I flew my first horse charter from SYD-HNL. There were several horses onboard and were all winners of the big races like Kentucky and Queens Cup. I was a bit nervous about keeping the temp right and no rapid maneuvers. When we landed I asked the head handler how they did and he just said "oh they know who they are; they would rather fly than ride in a trailer". I always thought that was funny.
 
RetiredWeasel
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Re: Cargo Pilots: a different breed of airmen?

Mon Sep 24, 2018 2:28 am

Flew 12 ostriches from ANC to NRT once on a 747F. An animal handler was accompanying them. They were breeding stock on their way to Beijing. I (SO) took the handler downstairs once to check up on them, and he said they were a little stressed. He asked me to turn the temp down to 50 degrees F and I did. Calmed them down I guess.

Edit: Whenever you brought animal stock into NRT, when deplaning, you had to rub the soles of your shoes in a large pan of disinfectant at the bottom of the airstairs. Figured it shortened the life of my black hushpuppies a certain amount.
 
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YSAPW
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Re: Cargo Pilots: a different breed of airmen?

Mon Sep 24, 2018 2:53 pm

B777LRF wrote:
YSAPW wrote:
Has anyone experienced some issues, say an animal getting loose on the cargo deck.


Once flew a very expensive racing horse to TLS. After off-loading he broke out of his pen and went galloping across two active runways before seeking shelter in an Airbus hanger, where he had a quiet little shit. Neither ATC, the airport or Airbus were impressed.


Just laughed out loud. Cool story, as the others that follow. Thanks for posting.
 
747Whale
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Re: Cargo Pilots: a different breed of airmen?

Thu Dec 13, 2018 1:48 pm

I don't know that freight pilots are a different breed: it's an airplane, after all, and it's going from A to B, but there are a lot of different kinds of freight operations, and in general there tends to be some polarization in who flies on what. In the US, there are the top paying, top performers such as UPS and Fedex. There are smaller operations that feed the big boys, carry the mail, etc, and some airlines have their own aircraft that do only cargo (Northwest, for example, had it's own cargo operation). There are bush operations such as Everts in Alaska, that flies (among other stuff) classic aircraft like the DC-6 and C-46. Then there are the supplemental operations.

A few years ago the rest and duty regulations were re-written in the US to address fatigue more fully, and for the first time incorporated circadian issues (jet lag). These changes affected all the airlines, except the supplemental cargo, who were completely left out. It's sometimes referred to as the "great carve-out." That may tell you something about flying the supplemental side.

The supplementals (eg, Atlas, Kalitta, Southern, Western Global, etc) tend to fly for a number of different clients as well as carrying their own contracted freight, and often do a lot of military flights. It's common when there's a disaster to see a lot of use of supplementals to respond to disease outbreaks, earthquakes, tusunamis, etc with relief supplies. It's supplementals that you'll see doing most of the heavy lifting in and out of places like Afghanistan.

The type of cargo flying one is doing, the type of equipment, and the client or employer (or both) make for widely varying situations for "freight dogs." There's a popular logo seen around that shows a dog smoking a cigarette and says "OOSK" which is "order of the sleepless knights." Flying freight, one may end up on both sides of the clock on a regular basis, all over the world.

A groundschool instructor at Kalitta used to like to say "we consider ourselves the cream of the crap," and also "we stay next door to some of the finest hotels on earth."

More of the older aircraft are gradually winnowing out, but even the "new" equipment is often old. I can remember referring to the B747-400 as the "gucci bird" because it was so new and exotic compared to our Classic 747, while most of the world looked at the -400 as tired, old, and antiquated. It's relative.

I lost track of the number of rocket attacks I sat out, on board, in Afghanistan, while we had no way off the aircraft as no one would bring stairs.

Tech stops in Khabavorosk, watching the runway deiced with a jet engine on a truck. Paper plotting charts (going away soon). Scratchy HF radios. Getting on board the aircraft to find it loaded one end to the other with pallets stacked two-high of Lithium batteries...and each one placarded with large labels that said "do not stack." Airplane loads of cows to Kazakhstan. A killer whale in a tank. An airplane main deck lined one end to the other with missiles and explosives. Standing at attention during a solemn dignified transfer of remains as a serviceman is returned home, having carried him all the way from where he fell, and watching as his family receives the casket. Incredibly long legs. Rest facilities occupied by a mechanic who hasn't been off the airplane in 30 days. Cans of coke and bottled water floating in a filthy cooler that's probably got diseases floating inside that haven't yet been classified by science. Dysentery at night in the middle of nowhere with nothing to do but run aft every few minutes. Kidney stones in Abuja, Nigeria. Bodies in the wheelwell, frozen, stow-aways who would rather die than remain where they are. Flights into Ebola areas. Flights that change callsigns several times during the flight, while still airborne. Sitting in a ground school with a group of airmen who have, collectively, experienced every abnormal and emergency procedure in the flight manual, and a few that aren't. And on and on.

Many of the supplementals are filled with very experienced aviators who lack a degree and can't apply at better paying jobs. There's no lack of skill or experience, but for whatever reason, many find themselves at the freight operations not entirely by choice, or because it's comfortable, or close to home, or whatever their personal reason may be.

Some freight aircraft carry a mechanic on board, parts, and a loadmaster. Some freight operations require the pilot to do the loading and off loading. In some operations, the pilot ends up filing his own flight plans and doing his own flight planning. For many of the globe-trotting supplementals, the operations are conducted and feel more like a "Part 135" charter operation, just longer legs.

There are some freight pilots who want to get their days on the road done and get home. Others see it as an opportunity to see the world. I knew one pilot who loved to photograph; he'd go out at each layover to go into mosques to get images of colorful prayer rugs rolled and stacked, or old boats by the water. He'd promise those who let him take their photograph, that he'd bring prints, and sometimes he went back month after month searching until he found them and gave them their picture. Some simply go from bar to bar, brothel to brothel. Others do their college education while they're on the road, or study a language, or write.

There are few jobs that allow the variety and diversity that many cargo jobs do; some are out and back between the same two or three airports, and some involve several legs a night in a worn out Beech 99. Most involve a lot of night flight. It's possible to go all month and never see the same airport twice. Sometimes for months at a time. It's hard to beat the thai curry in Entebbe followed by a breakfast in Liege, a quick turn with a green lunch in new york and then something local in Sao Paulo...everyone marks their trips and their work differently.

Everyone should have a chance to visit Louisville or Memphis and see how the cargo is handled; it's quite a wonder. Incredible, really, to see the whole machine at work. Impressive. At the same time, to stand at the head of the stairs in Karachi and be beckoned by a short dark man holding an MP5 submachine gun, to learn that all he wants is a pepsi...you meet interesting people in interesting places that may be full of wealth, poverty, or war, often a mix of all, and whether it's in this country or that, it could be said that the freight dogs are a unique subset, or just that it's a group of tired crew having unique experiences in interesting places. Cool aircraft, cool guys to fly with, some great food out there, and personally, far more than I ever thought I'd see in a lifetime.
 
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YSAPW
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Re: Cargo Pilots: a different breed of airmen?

Thu Dec 13, 2018 3:24 pm

747Whale wrote:
..... Cool aircraft, cool guys to fly with, some great food out there, and personally, far more than I ever thought I'd see in a lifetime.


If you would write a book, I would definitely read it.

Thanks for sharing!
 
LH707330
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Re: Cargo Pilots: a different breed of airmen?

Thu Dec 13, 2018 4:41 pm

^ +1, best post I've read here in a good while!
 
Aircellist
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Re: Cargo Pilots: a different breed of airmen?

Thu Dec 13, 2018 5:21 pm

+2, thanks a lot!

"Sitting in a ground school with a group of airmen who have, collectively, experienced every abnormal and emergency procedure in the flight manual, and a few that aren't."

Just wow! Respect.
"When I find out I was wrong, I change my mind. What do you do?" -attributed to John Maynard Keynes
 
rmilstre
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Re: Cargo Pilots: a different breed of airmen?

Thu Dec 13, 2018 6:07 pm

+3. Thanks, 747Whale! Lookin' forward to the book!
 
WPvsMW
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Re: Cargo Pilots: a different breed of airmen?

Thu Dec 13, 2018 8:39 pm

747Whale, I've enjoyed every one of your posts... esp. the one above. Post of the Year, in my book. I'm glad you discovered a.nut, and have brought your insights to it. Mahalo nui loa.
 
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TOGA10
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Re: Cargo Pilots: a different breed of airmen?

Sat Dec 15, 2018 12:06 pm

Fully agree with the commentors above. 747Whale, amazing post!
I wanna go back upstairs!
 
muralir
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Re: Cargo Pilots: a different breed of airmen?

Mon Dec 17, 2018 4:56 pm

747Whale wrote:
Flights that change callsigns several times during the flight, while still airborne.

That was an awesome post! Count me in on your pre-order list if you ever write a book :)

Can you explain this part though? Why would a flight change call signs mid-flight?
 
747Whale
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Re: Cargo Pilots: a different breed of airmen?

Mon Dec 17, 2018 6:48 pm

That would depend largely on the mission and the client, and in certain cases, the locale.
 
WPvsMW
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Re: Cargo Pilots: a different breed of airmen?

Mon Dec 17, 2018 7:06 pm

747Whale wrote:
That would depend largely on the mission and the client, and in certain cases, the locale.

is understandably discreet.

Changing callsigns is changing identities. Let's just say it's usually done as a safety precaution, which implies "adverse entities" are in the locale. Slotted in on a NAT, no need.
 
747Whale
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Re: Cargo Pilots: a different breed of airmen?

Mon Dec 17, 2018 7:23 pm

Quite so.
 
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flyPIT
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Re: Cargo Pilots: a different breed of airmen?

Sun Dec 30, 2018 2:11 pm

747Whale wrote:
A few years ago the rest and duty regulations were re-written in the US to address fatigue more fully, and for the first time incorporated circadian issues (jet lag). These changes affected all the airlines, except the supplemental cargo, who were completely left out. It's sometimes referred to as the "great carve-out." That may tell you something about flying the supplemental side.

To be clear, all cargo airlines were carved out including UPS & FedEx, not just the supplementals.
FLYi
 
747Whale
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Re: Cargo Pilots: a different breed of airmen?

Sun Dec 30, 2018 6:50 pm

You're right.

The supplementals abuse it a lot more, though.

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