dfwjim1
Topic Author
Posts: 2193
Joined: Fri Sep 09, 2011 8:46 pm

Hand flying commercial jets - routes

Sun May 19, 2019 11:38 pm

Just curious...are there any routes out there in which commercial jets are hand flown from take off to landing?
 
GalaxyFlyer
Posts: 3402
Joined: Fri Jan 01, 2016 4:44 am

Re: Hand flying commercial jets - routes

Sun May 19, 2019 11:46 pm

Not where hand flying is required, at captain’s discretion unless required for the approach by policy or regulation. CAT II & III are usually autopilot required as are many RNP AR approaches.

In the old days, 80s, I flew with lots of pilots who hand flew great majority of the time. B727 autopilot was rough enough that it was a cruise device. I’d fly frequent short legs take-off to touchdown in the Global.. The C-5 autopilot was such we hand flew most of the time except late climb, cruise and start of descent, of course PARs and local proficient flying was hand flying. Flew two NAT crossings by hand, one in each direction when the A/P wouldn’t couple.

GF
 
Woodreau
Posts: 1776
Joined: Mon Sep 24, 2001 6:44 am

Re: Hand flying commercial jets - routes

Mon May 20, 2019 12:09 am

Probably the last flights flown under Part 121 that were routinely flown without autopilot were beech 1900 flights. The airlines just didn’t pay for the autopilot option.

Flights can be flown without autopilot or if the autopilot is deferred under the MEL. Without an autopilot the aircraft is restricted to nonRVSM airspace (below FL290 or above FL410. So flights can occur without an autopilot.

I remember one turn DFW-BUF on a CRJ-700, the autopilot was deferred. I didn’t think we would go and that the captain wouldn’t accept the aircraft but he did. because he was a management pilot he rarely flew and so he was also getting line checked.

So while we’re on the way to Buffalo, the captain is handflying. The flight attendant calls up and mentions that several of the first class passengers declined their meal and if we wanted lunch? Of course the check airman and I wanted lunch. So we’re both having lunch and chatting away while the captain was working his butt off maintaining altitude in cruise.

I would do DFW-ACT or DFW-GRK turns without autopilot because the flight is just 12-16 minutes from off to on.
Bonus animus sit, ab experientia. Quod salvatum fuerit de malis usu venit judicium.
 
GalaxyFlyer
Posts: 3402
Joined: Fri Jan 01, 2016 4:44 am

Re: Hand flying commercial jets - routes

Mon May 20, 2019 12:18 am

You’d really cancel for a deferred autopilot? How hard is it to hand fly? Like I said, I’ve done two Atlantic crossings in C-5 and six on non-autopilot-equipped fighters. Do a 7.8 with 7 refuelings or a 10.2 with three ARs.

Actually, RVSM made it easier to hand fly—you had to stay below F285 and much to to hand fly down low.

GF
 
TTailedTiger
Posts: 1274
Joined: Sun Aug 26, 2018 5:19 am

Re: Hand flying commercial jets - routes

Mon May 20, 2019 12:59 am

GalaxyFlyer wrote:
You’d really cancel for a deferred autopilot? How hard is it to hand fly? Like I said, I’ve done two Atlantic crossings in C-5 and six on non-autopilot-equipped fighters. Do a 7.8 with 7 refuelings or a 10.2 with three ARs.

Actually, RVSM made it easier to hand fly—you had to stay below F285 and much to to hand fly down low.

GF


I was under the impression that the autopilot was a required item at most airlines. Doesn't the pilot flying load the flight plan into the FMS and the pilot monitoring checks it? I'd be afraid something would go wrong when winging it and breaking out the nav charts. There is a reason commercial flights don't crash on a regular basis like they did up until about the early 80's. Automation and crew resource management have the biggest contributors to aviation safety. If I heard that a critical system like the flight management and autopilot were inop, I'd remove myself from that flight.
 
meecrob
Posts: 101
Joined: Sun Jun 19, 2016 6:15 pm

Re: Hand flying commercial jets - routes

Mon May 20, 2019 1:24 am

TTailedTiger wrote:
GalaxyFlyer wrote:
You’d really cancel for a deferred autopilot? How hard is it to hand fly? Like I said, I’ve done two Atlantic crossings in C-5 and six on non-autopilot-equipped fighters. Do a 7.8 with 7 refuelings or a 10.2 with three ARs.

Actually, RVSM made it easier to hand fly—you had to stay below F285 and much to to hand fly down low.

GF


I was under the impression that the autopilot was a required item at most airlines. Doesn't the pilot flying load the flight plan into the FMS and the pilot monitoring checks it? I'd be afraid something would go wrong when winging it and breaking out the nav charts. There is a reason commercial flights don't crash on a regular basis like they did up until about the early 80's. Automation and crew resource management have the biggest contributors to aviation safety. If I heard that a critical system like the flight management and autopilot were inop, I'd remove myself from that flight.


I understand what you are getting at TTailedTiger, but think of it this way: The pilots created the flightplan themselves, then inputted it into a computer for reference. Its not like they put in the departing airfield and the arrival airfield, and the computer came up with the flightplan. Autopilot and FMS are only tools. Would you not drive your car if the GPS nav and cruise control broke? I'd bet you could still manage to drive and navigate, no problem.
 
User avatar
william
Posts: 3096
Joined: Thu Jun 10, 1999 1:31 pm

Re: Hand flying commercial jets - routes

Mon May 20, 2019 1:56 am

SWA pilots used to hand fly a lot of DAL-AUS and AUS-HOU legs back in the day when SWA did not order its 737s with the latest gadgets.
 
User avatar
william
Posts: 3096
Joined: Thu Jun 10, 1999 1:31 pm

Re: Hand flying commercial jets - routes

Mon May 20, 2019 1:58 am

Woodreau wrote:
Probably the last flights flown under Part 121 that were routinely flown without autopilot were beech 1900 flights. The airlines just didn’t pay for the autopilot option.

Flights can be flown without autopilot or if the autopilot is deferred under the MEL. Without an autopilot the aircraft is restricted to nonRVSM airspace (below FL290 or above FL410. So flights can occur without an autopilot.

I remember one turn DFW-BUF on a CRJ-700, the autopilot was deferred. I didn’t think we would go and that the captain wouldn’t accept the aircraft but he did. because he was a management pilot he rarely flew and so he was also getting line checked.

So while we’re on the way to Buffalo, the captain is handflying. The flight attendant calls up and mentions that several of the first class passengers declined their meal and if we wanted lunch? Of course the check airman and I wanted lunch. So we’re both having lunch and chatting away while the captain was working his butt off maintaining altitude in cruise.

I would do DFW-ACT or DFW-GRK turns without autopilot because the flight is just 12-16 minutes from off to on.


On some DFW-GRK flights they perform a maneuver I call the corkscrew about 20 west of Waco, or over Gatesville. Its a maneuver I guess to scrub speed and altitude, but descending in a cork screw. Would you hand fly that?
 
CosmicCruiser
Posts: 2324
Joined: Tue Feb 22, 2005 3:01 am

Re: Hand flying commercial jets - routes

Mon May 20, 2019 2:12 am

did a couple, one being MEM-SEA with a deferred A/P in a 727. The F/O & I took turns flying the jet.
 
GalaxyFlyer
Posts: 3402
Joined: Fri Jan 01, 2016 4:44 am

Re: Hand flying commercial jets - routes

Mon May 20, 2019 3:08 am

TTailedTiger wrote:
GalaxyFlyer wrote:
You’d really cancel for a deferred autopilot? How hard is it to hand fly? Like I said, I’ve done two Atlantic crossings in C-5 and six on non-autopilot-equipped fighters. Do a 7.8 with 7 refuelings or a 10.2 with three ARs.

Actually, RVSM made it easier to hand fly—you had to stay below F285 and much to to hand fly down low.

GF


I was under the impression that the autopilot was a required item at most airlines. Doesn't the pilot flying load the flight plan into the FMS and the pilot monitoring checks it? I'd be afraid something would go wrong when winging it and breaking out the nav charts. There is a reason commercial flights don't crash on a regular basis like they did up until about the early 80's. Automation and crew resource management have the biggest contributors to aviation safety. If I heard that a critical system like the flight management and autopilot were inop, I'd remove myself from that flight.


An airplane should never be allowed to be in position where the pilots can’t take over and hand fly it. The autopilot is an aid to reduce workload, not the system that flies the plane. We use iPad or paper charts all the time.

The reason for better safety records since the “bad old days” is better technology, specifically EGPWS, TCAS, the FMS that displays the flight plan eliminating the pilots’ old need to develop a mental picture of the aircraft’s position. Plus we’ve learned taking off or landing in a TRW is risky and dumb, all crew members are valuable, but Skygods were not as common as thought. I flew with plenty of good CRM proficient old heads. Autopilots, FMS and lots of other equipment are subject to MEL deferral under set rules and captain’s acceptance.

GF
 
slcguy
Posts: 349
Joined: Wed Jul 09, 2008 12:09 pm

Re: Hand flying commercial jets - routes

Mon May 20, 2019 6:14 am

TTailedTiger wrote:
GalaxyFlyer wrote:
You’d really cancel for a deferred autopilot? How hard is it to hand fly? Like I said, I’ve done two Atlantic crossings in C-5 and six on non-autopilot-equipped fighters. Do a 7.8 with 7 refuelings or a 10.2 with three ARs.

Actually, RVSM made it easier to hand fly—you had to stay below F285 and much to to hand fly down low.

GF


I was under the impression that the autopilot was a required item at most airlines. Doesn't the pilot flying load the flight plan into the FMS and the pilot monitoring checks it? I'd be afraid something would go wrong when winging it and breaking out the nav charts. There is a reason commercial flights don't crash on a regular basis like they did up until about the early 80's. Automation and crew resource management have the biggest contributors to aviation safety. If I heard that a critical system like the flight management and autopilot were inop, I'd remove myself from that flight.


Hand flying doesn't mean they are breaking out the old paper charts. Pilots can very easily follow the programmed FMS/FMC route, the difference is they are following the FMS/FMC route (the purple line on their displays) controlling the aircraft themselves versus the autopilot/auto-throttle. Most pilots would like to hand fly more but in a lot cases company policies require the use of the autopilot soon after takeoff. In most cases though, the pilots would probably only want to hand fly in good weather and just departures and approaches. For a jet in the flight levels it can be tedious and exhausting to maintain exact altitude, speed and course at cruise by hand and unless a very short trip most pilots would not want to fly the entire trip by hand. I would not want to fly with any pilots that can't fly a plane by hand, Asiana 214 comes to mind, they relied on automation, and didn't even do that well and crashed a perfectly good aircraft in conditions that any pilot would love to fly hand fly.
 
User avatar
Starlionblue
Posts: 19317
Joined: Fri Feb 27, 2004 9:54 pm

Re: Hand flying commercial jets - routes

Mon May 20, 2019 7:11 am

As slcguy says, hand flying and an FM route aren't directly correlated. The flight director will show guidance for the FM route whether the AP is on or not. The flight mode annunciator will display the same modes, and the flight director bars will show where to point the nose. The difference is that the human pilot is following FD guidance instead of the autopilot.

I'm guessing this is the reason our MEL states both autopilots can be inop for three sectors (with certain restrictions) but AP/FD inop is a no-go item.
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
AABusDrvr
Posts: 36
Joined: Sat Dec 03, 2016 6:48 am

Re: Hand flying commercial jets - routes

Mon May 20, 2019 9:37 am

On the 737 at my shop, any flight with the auto pilot deferred must be limited to 3.5 hours, or less. On a good WX day, at low traffic airports I'd probably be ok with it. Bad WX, going to a busy airport, or a multiple leg day, I'd lean towards refusing the airplane.
 
VSMUT
Posts: 2823
Joined: Mon Aug 08, 2016 11:40 am

Re: Hand flying commercial jets - routes

Mon May 20, 2019 12:15 pm

I've handflown an entire trip just for the fun of it once, and I've had autopilot failures a few times necessitating it. In my opinion, it is a good exercise to try to handfly it in cruise from time to time, but it is a tedious and boring task best left to the autopilot under normal conditions.
Takeoffs and landings are a different case completely.

As for flights done completely by hand, on the ATR you would most likely find them on really short flights done under VMC conditions between small airports. Air Tahiti's flight from Papeete to Moorea and similar short inter-island services are a good bet, but could still be done in autopilot.

GalaxyFlyer wrote:
An airplane should never be allowed to be in position where the pilots can’t take over and hand fly it. The autopilot is an aid to reduce workload, not the system that flies the plane. We use iPad or paper charts all the time.


This, a million times this. Many airlines, Irish ones in particular, have adopted the complete opposite mindset. They consider the autopilot the basic/primary mode of flying, while handflying is to be done only under specific conditions, best avoided completely. Completely bonkers.
 
Max Q
Posts: 7556
Joined: Wed May 09, 2001 12:40 pm

Re: Hand flying commercial jets - routes

Mon May 20, 2019 11:44 pm

Used to hand fly the entire leg on the 727 just for fun on the shorter
legs, it was such a delight to fly


I particularly remember sectors like IAH-SAT and EWR-DCA where I never turned on the autopilot
The best contribution to safety is a competent Pilot.


Guns and the love of them by a loud minority are a malignant and deadly cancer inflicted on American society
 
BoeingGuy
Posts: 6268
Joined: Fri Dec 10, 2010 6:01 pm

Re: Hand flying commercial jets - routes

Tue May 21, 2019 12:42 am

AABusDrvr wrote:
On the 737 at my shop, any flight with the auto pilot deferred must be limited to 3.5 hours, or less. On a good WX day, at low traffic airports I'd probably be ok with it. Bad WX, going to a busy airport, or a multiple leg day, I'd lean towards refusing the airplane.


IIRC, the Boeing MMEL states you can dispatch without the Autopilot for flights of 5 hours or less. Only if approach minima allow it also. Of course customers can choose to adopt more restrictive policies.
 
Redbellyguppy
Posts: 203
Joined: Sat Apr 01, 2017 3:57 am

Re: Hand flying commercial jets - routes

Tue May 21, 2019 4:45 pm

The only thing that makes hand flying somewhat of a nuisance is that the fa and pax keep moving around, so it changes your trim. Other than that it’s easy and frankly, my happy place.
 
Woodreau
Posts: 1776
Joined: Mon Sep 24, 2001 6:44 am

Re: Hand flying commercial jets - routes

Tue May 21, 2019 4:56 pm

GalaxyFlyer wrote:
You’d really cancel for a deferred autopilot? How hard is it to hand fly? Like I said, I’ve done two Atlantic crossings in C-5 and six on non-autopilot-equipped fighters. Do a 7.8 with 7 refuelings or a 10.2 with three ARs.

Actually, RVSM made it easier to hand fly—you had to stay below F285 and much to to hand fly down low.

GF


I didn’t think we’d cancel. I thought he would see if he could do a tailswap. Leave the autopilot deferred plane to do short turns.

I don’t remember if we swapped flying back and forth on the flight or not. I do remember me and the check airman eating out lunch and remarking that he was working too hard.

william wrote:
On some DFW-GRK flights they perform a maneuver I call the corkscrew about 20 west of Waco, or over Gatesville. Its a maneuver I guess to scrub speed and altitude, but descending in a cork screw. Would you hand fly that?


I’m not familiar with the corkscrew maneuver you’re talking about. But for DFW-ACT and DFW-GRK we would routinely do these flights with out the autopilot because the flights were less than 20mins.

ACT is DARTZ.ACT. GRK is DARTZ.ACT TENAT
The controller would routinely leave us high going to ACT so it was always a high speed dive into ACT with the brakes deployed.

I always liked checking in with GRK tower because it was a military field. “XYZ flight 1244 visual one five, gear up.” I assume it annoyed the controller because the answer was always “check gear down”. And our response would be “roger double checked gear up.”
Bonus animus sit, ab experientia. Quod salvatum fuerit de malis usu venit judicium.
 
triple3driver
Posts: 130
Joined: Tue Mar 12, 2019 1:24 pm

Re: Hand flying commercial jets - routes

Tue May 21, 2019 5:53 pm

We usually would handfly the CRJ for very short hops, I don't remember how long they were exactly, but I remember thinking whenever I was pilot flying how far I progressed, that not too long ago I was flying little Cessnas and now I was in control of an entire passenger jet. A truly unforgettable feeling. It's a similar situation with the 737, there's only been a few times that I remember when we handflew it for the whole flight, usually on extremely short hops or ferries. The A330 is a different story, since we usually fly it trans-Atlantic, we only handlfly it at the beginning and end of the flight, we don't really fly it ourselbves during cruise due to the length of the flight, although sometimes over the drink we do give handflying a go. I will say though, that I, among many, don't turn on the autopilot until we reach cruising altitude or maybe lower depending on weather, and we usually do our descents manually weather permitting.
If you can walk away from it intact, it was a good landing!
 
N1120A
Posts: 26495
Joined: Sun Dec 14, 2003 5:40 pm

Re: Hand flying commercial jets - routes

Wed May 29, 2019 4:23 am

The US regionals have started encouraging more handflying, especially when outside RVSM airspace. I know airline guys who actually rely more on the AP during short hauls - think LAX-SAN, where you get a bunch of frequency changes and are on a departure, climb, cruise for about 5 minutes and on an arrival and approach - than they do on longer flights where they can sit down and get relaxed. Of course, above FL280, the AP needs to be on.
Mangeons les French fries, mais surtout pratiquons avec fierte le French kiss
 
Yikes!
Posts: 333
Joined: Sat Oct 13, 2001 4:51 pm

Re: Hand flying commercial jets - routes

Wed Jun 05, 2019 4:07 am

With non-complex DP's and/or STAR's, there is no reason a flight cannot be hand flown other than passenger comfort limitations. More and more airlines are encouraging pilots to fly to top of climb and from top of descent to re-familiarize themselves with "flying the airplane" .

With a complex DP, it is well advised to use the AP at the soonest opportunity to avoid space/noise infractions.
 
FlyHossD
Posts: 1906
Joined: Mon Nov 02, 2009 3:45 pm

Re: Hand flying commercial jets - routes

Wed Jun 05, 2019 12:34 pm

Max Q wrote:
Used to hand fly the entire leg on the 727 just for fun on the shorter
legs, it was such a delight to fly


I particularly remember sectors like IAH-SAT and EWR-DCA where I never turned on the autopilot


When I was IAH based, I used to hand fly IAH-AUS and/or AUS-IAH just for the sake of proficiency. There was one first officer who objected to the increased workload it placed on him, so I used the autopilot in that case..

I also remember a 727 flight with an FAA Air Safety Inspector in the jumpseat. I hand flew it to cruise altitude, but when I tried to turn the AP on, it wouldn't engage. Just a moment later - seconds after I'd pointed out this dilemma - the #1 ADI failed. So I hand flew the entire 90-ish minute flight; the 727 handled so well that it wasn't difficult.
My statements do not represent my former employer or my current employer and are my opinions only.
 
stratosphere
Posts: 1672
Joined: Sat Sep 22, 2007 12:45 pm

Re: Hand flying commercial jets - routes

Wed Jun 05, 2019 12:57 pm

GalaxyFlyer wrote:
You’d really cancel for a deferred autopilot? How hard is it to hand fly? Like I said, I’ve done two Atlantic crossings in C-5 and six on non-autopilot-equipped fighters. Do a 7.8 with 7 refuelings or a 10.2 with three ARs.

Actually, RVSM made it easier to hand fly—you had to stay below F285 and much to to hand fly down low.

GF


At my last employer NW on the DC-9 at least you would almost always see the crew refuse the airplane for an autopilot inop. Auto-pressurization inop is another one the crews would refuse..
 
GalaxyFlyer
Posts: 3402
Joined: Fri Jan 01, 2016 4:44 am

Re: Hand flying commercial jets - routes

Wed Jun 05, 2019 2:07 pm

Didn’t happen at Eastern, you’d have a conversation with the CP unless it was low weather. Even during the “Max Safety” effort. But then NWA was “Cobra Airlines”.

GF
 
BravoOne
Posts: 3445
Joined: Fri Apr 12, 2013 2:27 pm

Re: Hand flying commercial jets - routes

Wed Jun 05, 2019 2:28 pm

GalaxyFlyer wrote:
Didn’t happen at Eastern, you’d have a conversation with the CP unless it was low weather. Even during the “Max Safety” effort. But then NWA was “Cobra Airlines”.

GF


As I recall hearing Eddie Rickenabcker was famous in his early days at Eastern, for not even having autopilots installed on his early piston airliners?? A pilots, pilot:)

I seem to recall flying the 707/720 across the Pacific on one or more occasions without the benefit on an autopilot, especially if you were homeward bound.
 
GalaxyFlyer
Posts: 3402
Joined: Fri Jan 01, 2016 4:44 am

Re: Hand flying commercial jets - routes

Wed Jun 05, 2019 2:49 pm

True story about Capt Eddie, along with all the other stories. It was like his ghost inhabited Ops. I flew with several guys, Don Staton comes to mind, who hand flew most of the time. Don would hand fly while eating lunch. F/O would always volunteer to take it, invariably, “I got it, son”. He was pretty smooth with old Boeing, too.

Homeward, lots of things are okay. My last hand flown crossing was one. Leveled off the Lippe Radar, couldn’t engage the autopilot. The F/E and I tried everything we could think. About 30W, one of the pilots tried the yoke disengage button and it coupled.

GF
 
RetiredWeasel
Posts: 706
Joined: Sat Jul 05, 2014 8:16 pm

Re: Hand flying commercial jets - routes

Wed Jun 05, 2019 7:51 pm

stratosphere wrote:

At my last employer NW on the DC-9 at least you would almost always see the crew refuse the airplane for an autopilot inop. Auto-pressurization inop is another one the crews would refuse..


Pilots don't arbitrarily say they won't fly the aircraft if the auto pilot is inop. They refer to the MEL and read the restrictions and that's usually after the dispatcher is involved and is fully aware of the restrictions. If the MEL says it is acceptable fly with restrictions like number of flights, hours or days, then refusing to fly it will find the aviator in front of the chief pilot trying to explain his justification. That has happened but rarely. As far as NW 747-200 go, I seem to remember if both autopilots were inop, the MEL prohibited transpacs.
 
blacksoviet
Posts: 1127
Joined: Thu Apr 21, 2016 10:50 am

Re: Hand flying commercial jets - routes

Wed Jun 05, 2019 10:44 pm

Woodreau wrote:
Probably the last flights flown under Part 121 that were routinely flown without autopilot were beech 1900 flights. The airlines just didn’t pay for the autopilot option.

Flights can be flown without autopilot or if the autopilot is deferred under the MEL. Without an autopilot the aircraft is restricted to nonRVSM airspace (below FL290 or above FL410. So flights can occur without an autopilot.

I remember one turn DFW-BUF on a CRJ-700, the autopilot was deferred. I didn’t think we would go and that the captain wouldn’t accept the aircraft but he did. because he was a management pilot he rarely flew and so he was also getting line checked.

So while we’re on the way to Buffalo, the captain is handflying. The flight attendant calls up and mentions that several of the first class passengers declined their meal and if we wanted lunch? Of course the check airman and I wanted lunch. So we’re both having lunch and chatting away while the captain was working his butt off maintaining altitude in cruise.

I would do DFW-ACT or DFW-GRK turns without autopilot because the flight is just 12-16 minutes from off to on.

When did Silver Airways retire the Beechcraft 1900?
 
Zeke2517
Posts: 44
Joined: Wed Jan 09, 2013 4:29 pm

Re: Hand flying commercial jets - routes

Thu Jun 06, 2019 4:12 pm

blacksoviet wrote:
Woodreau wrote:
Probably the last flights flown under Part 121 that were routinely flown without autopilot were beech 1900 flights. The airlines just didn’t pay for the autopilot option.

Flights can be flown without autopilot or if the autopilot is deferred under the MEL. Without an autopilot the aircraft is restricted to nonRVSM airspace (below FL290 or above FL410. So flights can occur without an autopilot.

I remember one turn DFW-BUF on a CRJ-700, the autopilot was deferred. I didn’t think we would go and that the captain wouldn’t accept the aircraft but he did. because he was a management pilot he rarely flew and so he was also getting line checked.

So while we’re on the way to Buffalo, the captain is handflying. The flight attendant calls up and mentions that several of the first class passengers declined their meal and if we wanted lunch? Of course the check airman and I wanted lunch. So we’re both having lunch and chatting away while the captain was working his butt off maintaining altitude in cruise.

I would do DFW-ACT or DFW-GRK turns without autopilot because the flight is just 12-16 minutes from off to on.

When did Silver Airways retire the Beechcraft 1900?


February of 2014, according to wiki.
 
chimborazo
Posts: 233
Joined: Sun Sep 25, 2011 7:51 pm

Re: Hand flying commercial jets - routes

Thu Jun 06, 2019 6:56 pm

Out of interest can anyone describe the Airbus way of hand flying at a cruise level. I understand the 737 for example having flown the sim manually but wonder what the difference is with the “trajectory control” and no manual trim switch on a bus. What happens when passengers move..?
 
Woodreau
Posts: 1776
Joined: Mon Sep 24, 2001 6:44 am

Re: Hand flying commercial jets - routes

Thu Jun 06, 2019 7:02 pm

You point the nose where you want the airplane to go and let go or rather let the sidestick center. The plane keeps the nose pointed where you let go of the sidestick.

As passengers move around or drink carts roll up and down the aisle you move the sidestick to counteract the change just like any other plane. Instead of trimming to hold the new attitude the plane does it for you.
Bonus animus sit, ab experientia. Quod salvatum fuerit de malis usu venit judicium.
 
JAGflyer
Posts: 3563
Joined: Tue Aug 10, 2004 5:31 am

Re: Hand flying commercial jets - routes

Thu Jun 06, 2019 8:46 pm

RetiredWeasel wrote:
stratosphere wrote:

At my last employer NW on the DC-9 at least you would almost always see the crew refuse the airplane for an autopilot inop. Auto-pressurization inop is another one the crews would refuse..


Pilots don't arbitrarily say they won't fly the aircraft if the auto pilot is inop. They refer to the MEL and read the restrictions and that's usually after the dispatcher is involved and is fully aware of the restrictions. If the MEL says it is acceptable fly with restrictions like number of flights, hours or days, then refusing to fly it will find the aviator in front of the chief pilot trying to explain his justification. That has happened but rarely. As far as NW 747-200 go, I seem to remember if both autopilots were inop, the MEL prohibited transpacs.


All the pilot has to say is he/she is not comfortable due to "safety" reasons. You can't question one's judgement and once you say it's due to a safety concern most respectable carriers won't push it any further. It's no longer (at least in Europe/North America) a culture of "just do it or you lose your job". As a dispatcher, I can think of more pilots who'd veto flying without a functioning A/P than those who would take the aircraft.
If you flew today, thank a Flight Dispatcher!
 
GalaxyFlyer
Posts: 3402
Joined: Fri Jan 01, 2016 4:44 am

Re: Hand flying commercial jets - routes

Fri Jun 07, 2019 1:13 am

Maybe I’m old fashioned, but if the A/P is MEL’d, there isn’t an operational requirement for the autopilot and fatigue isn’t a justifiable reason, I’d be hard pressed to turn a plane down. Low IFR, RVSM/RNP required, late in the duty period, yes; but just willfully saying no, I don’t get. You’re a pilot, you can’t hand fly, really?

GF
 
User avatar
Starlionblue
Posts: 19317
Joined: Fri Feb 27, 2004 9:54 pm

Re: Hand flying commercial jets - routes

Fri Jun 07, 2019 2:49 am

chimborazo wrote:
Out of interest can anyone describe the Airbus way of hand flying at a cruise level. I understand the 737 for example having flown the sim manually but wonder what the difference is with the “trajectory control” and no manual trim switch on a bus. What happens when passengers move..?


As Woodreau says, you just point the nose where you need it, and continually correct any deviations. Just like any other aircraft except for automatic trim. It's very intuitive. You can optionally switch to the "bird" which shows you exactly where the aircraft is going, but the normal flight director is easy enough to follow. On the 350 you can kinda have both by using the velocity vector display, which shows where you are going, in addition to the flight director, which shows where the nose is pointing.
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
RetiredWeasel
Posts: 706
Joined: Sat Jul 05, 2014 8:16 pm

Re: Hand flying commercial jets - routes

Fri Jun 07, 2019 3:41 am

JAGflyer wrote:
RetiredWeasel wrote:
stratosphere wrote:

At my last employer NW on the DC-9 at least you would almost always see the crew refuse the airplane for an autopilot inop. Auto-pressurization inop is another one the crews would refuse..


Pilots don't arbitrarily say they won't fly the aircraft if the auto pilot is inop. They refer to the MEL and read the restrictions and that's usually after the dispatcher is involved and is fully aware of the restrictions. If the MEL says it is acceptable fly with restrictions like number of flights, hours or days, then refusing to fly it will find the aviator in front of the chief pilot trying to explain his justification. That has happened but rarely. As far as NW 747-200 go, I seem to remember if both autopilots were inop, the MEL prohibited transpacs.


All the pilot has to say is he/she is not comfortable due to "safety" reasons. You can't question one's judgement and once you say it's due to a safety concern most respectable carriers won't push it any further. It's no longer (at least in Europe/North America) a culture of "just do it or you lose your job". As a dispatcher, I can think of more pilots who'd veto flying without a functioning A/P than those who would take the aircraft.


Well I don't dont know what airline you worked for, but at the one I worked if the MEL said it was OK to fly with or without some restrictions, and a pilot refused (might take a couple of times) then he would most definitely find himself in front of the chief pilots desk to explain his actions. Especially if other pilots are flying the same aircraft with the MEL restrictions and the union hasn't stepped in to defend him. It happened at my former airlines, and the pilot was basically grounded for medical reasons. (not autopilot issues but other). Now having said that, I'm pretty sure there were autopilot MEL restrictions (like both not working) that kept the 747 from launching on extended flights. And I don't know any pilot at the old NW who would enjoy flying an 11 hour transpac without at least one autopilot working.
 
N766UA
Posts: 8216
Joined: Thu Jul 29, 1999 3:50 am

Re: Hand flying commercial jets - routes

Fri Jun 07, 2019 2:46 pm

JAGflyer wrote:
RetiredWeasel wrote:
stratosphere wrote:

At my last employer NW on the DC-9 at least you would almost always see the crew refuse the airplane for an autopilot inop. Auto-pressurization inop is another one the crews would refuse..


Pilots don't arbitrarily say they won't fly the aircraft if the auto pilot is inop. They refer to the MEL and read the restrictions and that's usually after the dispatcher is involved and is fully aware of the restrictions. If the MEL says it is acceptable fly with restrictions like number of flights, hours or days, then refusing to fly it will find the aviator in front of the chief pilot trying to explain his justification. That has happened but rarely. As far as NW 747-200 go, I seem to remember if both autopilots were inop, the MEL prohibited transpacs.


All the pilot has to say is he/she is not comfortable due to "safety" reasons. You can't question one's judgement and once you say it's due to a safety concern most respectable carriers won't push it any further. It's no longer (at least in Europe/North America) a culture of "just do it or you lose your job". As a dispatcher, I can think of more pilots who'd veto flying without a functioning A/P than those who would take the aircraft.


Just put the thing in the flight director! For the 2 times a year you face a deferred AP it isn’t that challenging.

So here’s a question: under what circumstances is autopilot actually required? A deferred AP keeps us out of RVSM airspace and prohibits Cat II approaches, for example. What about ETOPS? I was riding on UAL to Hawaii once and we flew in circles burning gas for hours before returning because the autopilots weren’t working...
 
GalaxyFlyer
Posts: 3402
Joined: Fri Jan 01, 2016 4:44 am

Re: Hand flying commercial jets - routes

Fri Jun 07, 2019 4:24 pm

Curious, that, i wonder if they had enough fuel to fly out at F280.

GF
 
User avatar
Starlionblue
Posts: 19317
Joined: Fri Feb 27, 2004 9:54 pm

Re: Hand flying commercial jets - routes

Fri Jun 07, 2019 10:56 pm

N766UA wrote:
JAGflyer wrote:
RetiredWeasel wrote:

Pilots don't arbitrarily say they won't fly the aircraft if the auto pilot is inop. They refer to the MEL and read the restrictions and that's usually after the dispatcher is involved and is fully aware of the restrictions. If the MEL says it is acceptable fly with restrictions like number of flights, hours or days, then refusing to fly it will find the aviator in front of the chief pilot trying to explain his justification. That has happened but rarely. As far as NW 747-200 go, I seem to remember if both autopilots were inop, the MEL prohibited transpacs.


All the pilot has to say is he/she is not comfortable due to "safety" reasons. You can't question one's judgement and once you say it's due to a safety concern most respectable carriers won't push it any further. It's no longer (at least in Europe/North America) a culture of "just do it or you lose your job". As a dispatcher, I can think of more pilots who'd veto flying without a functioning A/P than those who would take the aircraft.


Just put the thing in the flight director! For the 2 times a year you face a deferred AP it isn’t that challenging.

So here’s a question: under what circumstances is autopilot actually required? A deferred AP keeps us out of RVSM airspace and prohibits Cat II approaches, for example. What about ETOPS? I was riding on UAL to Hawaii once and we flew in circles burning gas for hours before returning because the autopilots weren’t working...


With the caveat that this is operator MEL, and not the manufacturer MMEL, a quick check shows no ETOPS with both APs inop on the A330. However, no such restriction on the A350.
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
AABusDrvr
Posts: 36
Joined: Sat Dec 03, 2016 6:48 am

Re: Hand flying commercial jets - routes

Sat Jun 08, 2019 2:33 am

N766UA wrote:
JAGflyer wrote:
RetiredWeasel wrote:

Pilots don't arbitrarily say they won't fly the aircraft if the auto pilot is inop. They refer to the MEL and read the restrictions and that's usually after the dispatcher is involved and is fully aware of the restrictions. If the MEL says it is acceptable fly with restrictions like number of flights, hours or days, then refusing to fly it will find the aviator in front of the chief pilot trying to explain his justification. That has happened but rarely. As far as NW 747-200 go, I seem to remember if both autopilots were inop, the MEL prohibited transpacs.


All the pilot has to say is he/she is not comfortable due to "safety" reasons. You can't question one's judgement and once you say it's due to a safety concern most respectable carriers won't push it any further. It's no longer (at least in Europe/North America) a culture of "just do it or you lose your job". As a dispatcher, I can think of more pilots who'd veto flying without a functioning A/P than those who would take the aircraft.


Just put the thing in the flight director! For the 2 times a year you face a deferred AP it isn’t that challenging.

So here’s a question: under what circumstances is autopilot actually required? A deferred AP keeps us out of RVSM airspace and prohibits Cat II approaches, for example. What about ETOPS? I was riding on UAL to Hawaii once and we flew in circles burning gas for hours before returning because the autopilots weren’t working...


It's not about "challenging", it's about overall safety. I find hand flying straight and level mind numbingly boring, but on a departure, or arrival, in complex airspace it multiplies the work load exponentially. When you hand fly the jet, you load the other pilot up, and distract them from actively monitoring everything else, like they are supposed to be doing.

As long as I could articulate why I wasn't comfortable taking an airplane with anything MEL'd, I'd never hear another word from my chief pilot.

Our 73's have the HUD, so CAT II/III approaches are always hand flown, as long as the HUD is working, we are good to go. But with the autopilot MEL'd, we cant do RNP approaches at all, or "other than ILS" approaches with weather worse than 1000' and 3.

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: flyboynk, LH982 and 15 guests

Popular Searches On Airliners.net

Top Photos of Last:   24 Hours  •  48 Hours  •  7 Days  •  30 Days  •  180 Days  •  365 Days  •  All Time

Military Aircraft Every type from fighters to helicopters from air forces around the globe

Classic Airliners Props and jets from the good old days

Flight Decks Views from inside the cockpit

Aircraft Cabins Passenger cabin shots showing seat arrangements as well as cargo aircraft interior

Cargo Aircraft Pictures of great freighter aircraft

Government Aircraft Aircraft flying government officials

Helicopters Our large helicopter section. Both military and civil versions

Blimps / Airships Everything from the Goodyear blimp to the Zeppelin

Night Photos Beautiful shots taken while the sun is below the horizon

Accidents Accident, incident and crash related photos

Air to Air Photos taken by airborne photographers of airborne aircraft

Special Paint Schemes Aircraft painted in beautiful and original liveries

Airport Overviews Airport overviews from the air or ground

Tails and Winglets Tail and Winglet closeups with beautiful airline logos