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levg79
Topic Author
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4-Person Crew?

Tue Aug 30, 2005 4:11 am

Hello everyone!

After browsing through the a.net photo database, this particular photo raised some questions:

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Photo © Peter de Groot



This is the first time I see a DC-8 carry a navigator. I'm aware that some modern airliners do, such as TU-154, but I always thought that the DC-8 had a flight crew of 3. Can anyone shed more light on this?

Leo.
A mile of runway takes you to the world. A mile of highway takes you a mile.
 
BMIFlyer
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4-Person Crew?

Tue Aug 30, 2005 4:14 am

Quoting Levg79 (Thread starter):
Can anyone shed more light on this?

Yes, look at the caption for the pic  

Quote:
A unique shot to Airliners.net! While currently most airliners have 2 crewmen in the cockpit, 30 years ago they carried 4:2 pilots, an engineer (on the right) and a navigator (left). Everyone is hard at work here somewhere over the Atlantic on one of the longest DC8-30 flights, YVR-AMS

Lee

[Edited 2005-08-29 21:16:48]
Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own
 
EI321
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4-Person Crew?

Tue Aug 30, 2005 4:14 am

Maybe the captions wrong? Is it just an obserber?
 
BMIFlyer
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4-Person Crew?

Tue Aug 30, 2005 4:16 am

Quoting EI321 (Reply 2):
Maybe the captions wrong? Is it just an obserber?

I see 4 people on the flightdeck  Wink



Lee
Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own
 
levg79
Topic Author
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4-Person Crew?

Tue Aug 30, 2005 4:16 am

According to the "Aircraft Data & History" section on this website, DC-8 has a flight crew capacity of 3, not 4.
A mile of runway takes you to the world. A mile of highway takes you a mile.
 
vc10
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RE: 4-Person Crew?

Tue Aug 30, 2005 5:07 am

Prior to INS introduction for civil aircraft which was with the 747 in 1969 civil airliners when flying in a nav sector [ oceans /deserts ] would require a navigator. Now this was true for B707 and VC-10 so I presume the similar aged DC-8 was the same. So for these sectors it was a 4 man crew, however on a non nav sector the aircraft could legally be flown by the 3 man crew i.e. no navigator

In the 1970s INS sets were retro fitted to most long haul aircraft and they were then flown over all sectors by a 3 man crew
 
levg79
Topic Author
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RE: 4-Person Crew?

Tue Aug 30, 2005 5:22 am

VC10, thank you for your explanation. Now another question arose... How would the navigator "navigate" in those sectors, such as oceans and deserts? I know this might sound as a stupid question, but I really don't know.
A mile of runway takes you to the world. A mile of highway takes you a mile.
 
vc10
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RE: 4-Person Crew?

Tue Aug 30, 2005 6:06 am

Basically it was Astro [star shots ] navigation with dead reckoning mixed in with it when the clouds got in the way

Then there was Doppler, an on board system which could give ground speed and drift by measuring the doppler shift of a transmitted radio beam, but it was not always reliable over deserts

Then there was various radio navigation system [ Loran, carousel, and
ADF ] in some areas of the world [North Atlantic especially ]

I have heard a navigator talk to a " weather ship " for a position fix , but usually in the middle of winter with constant cloud cover they could only loosely tell you their position, Anyway after weeks at sea they were more interested in talking to our stewardess over the radio rather than bothering with a position.

Normally a navigator would use a mixture of the above, but you soon learnt never to bet with the navigator as to how many heading changes would be required in a cruise sector as you always lost

Little vc10
 
iakobos
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RE: 4-Person Crew?

Tue Aug 30, 2005 6:30 am

The 707s I knew in the early 70s had 5 crew seats, though only 3 were occupied.
I would be surprised the DC-8 and CV-990 of the same period would have been different.

Perhaps VC-10 remembers when the radio officer became history (68-69?) ?
 
EMBQA
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RE: 4-Person Crew?

Tue Aug 30, 2005 6:50 am

I always thought that the DC-8 had a flight crew of 3. Can anyone shed more light on this?

Early production 'Overwater' Model DC-8's carried a four person crew. 2 pilots, a Flight Engineer and a Navigator. The same held true with early 707's. You need to remember that at that time, the quality of radio's and navigation aids where not the best.
"It's not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog"
 
air2gxs
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RE: 4-Person Crew?

Tue Aug 30, 2005 8:04 am

A little more on the DC8. Many of the aircraft used to have a sextant port installed in the roof of the cockpit. The navigator would get his fix using that port.

Early B747's also had this port. As INS became more prevelant and reliable, this port was renamed the smoke evacuation port.
 
flymia
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RE: 4-Person Crew?

Tue Aug 30, 2005 9:12 am

As this is a long flight do you think there was a relief pilot also maybe sitting in the cabin? Or were rules not as strict back than.
"It was just four of us on the flight deck, trying to do our job" (Captain Al Haynes)
 
L-188
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RE: 4-Person Crew?

Tue Aug 30, 2005 10:52 am

Quoting Levg79 (Thread starter):
I always thought that the DC-8 had a flight crew of 3. Can anyone shed more light on this?

INS didn't come along until the early 1970's. Before then a navigator was required.
OBAMA-WORST PRESIDENT EVER....Even SKOORB would be better.
 
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HAWK21M
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RE: 4-Person Crew?

Tue Aug 30, 2005 5:46 pm

Quoting Vc10 (Reply 5):
Prior to INS introduction for civil aircraft which was with the 747 in 1969 civil airliners when flying in a nav sector [ oceans /deserts ] would require a navigator. Now this was true for B707 and VC-10 so I presume the similar aged DC-8 was the same.

Similiar for a B732.
Could the 4th crew be an Observer/Relief Pilot.Any alternate views available.
regds
MEL
I may not win often, but I damn well never lose!!! ;)
 
FBU 4EVER!
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RE: 4-Person Crew?

Tue Aug 30, 2005 6:09 pm

I rode on the flight deck of SAS DC-8's several times when my father was a co-pilot in the mid-sixties.The plane always had a 4-man crew,and I even saw the navigator use the sextant on several occasions.The flights were CPH-ANC and ANC-TYO.
"Luck and superstition wins all the time"!
 
vc10
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RE: 4-Person Crew?

Tue Aug 30, 2005 8:08 pm

Now "LAKOBOS" I might be getting a bit aged  old  but not old enough to remember Radio Operators, who I believe went out of existence in the early to mid 1950s.
However I was, in the 1960s, a Flight Engineer on a Bristol Britannia [312 ] which still had a Radio Operators position but no radio operator.

The extra seat mentioned was officially for an observer /check airman as crews would require on-route training and or checking . Unofficially it would be for the prettiest female passenger that could be found [all male crews in those days] , who of coarse had to strapped in for T/off or landing and as this seat was normally next to the F/E this procedure was referred to as Engineers perks.

Anyway be Happy little vc10  Smile
 
iakobos
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RE: 4-Person Crew?

Tue Aug 30, 2005 9:25 pm

Quoting Vc10 (Reply 15):
but not old enough to remember Radio Operators, who I believe went out of existence in the early to mid 1950s

OK, since age takes precedence I will correct something here.
(sorry there is no smilie for "extremely old")

No the radio officer did not disappear in the 50s, they did vanish when I was in last years at (a very relevant) school, second half of the 60s. (66-67?)
Many converted as radio/navigator, IIRC the official name of that crew member for a very few years (3-4?), before it became solely navigator.
The 5th seat on 707 (at that particular time) was dedicated to the radioman and became (I guess) the seat of the radio/navigator, No 4 becoming free for the occasional "preferred pax" or line inspector or observer.

Seats were arranged as follows
3 seats almost in line on the left side, Cap / Nav / Radio
2 seats on the right, FO - FE
That's at least what could be found on 00-TEB/TEC/TED
 
vc10
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RE: 4-Person Crew?

Wed Aug 31, 2005 2:15 am

lakobos,
Well perhaps the name /title means different things to different airlines , but definitely during the 2nd world war and for some time after wards aircraft were built with a specific station on the aircraft for a dedicated Radio Officer. This station was equipped with a morse key and sometimes a trailing aerial which he had to remember to wind in before the aeroplane landed and on some early aircraft fitted with weather radar the operation of this was again the R/O job.

Now the early Lockheed Constellation [749 ] , and Britannia had R/O position but the later models of each had no such position and no R/O and these were 1950s aeroplanes. Also I do not remember any such position on BOAC's 707 and they operated initially with 3 crew + a navigator.

However as I said different airlines had different requirements and the Russian operators still carried an operator up to a few years ago who did all the R/T calls whilst the aircraft operated in the western world as the pilots English could not be guaranteed to good enough .

One thing I have learnt over the years though is in aviation never say something definitely is,

so do not worry be happy

little vc10  white 
 
timz
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RE: 4-Person Crew?

Wed Aug 31, 2005 7:05 am

Quoting L-188 (Reply 12):
INS didn't come along until the early 1970's. Before then a navigator was required.

You're saying all intercontinental flights had navigators until at least 1970? How about JFK to Bermuda? How about JFK to San Juan? How about US to Hawaii?
 
vc10
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RE: 4-Person Crew?

Wed Aug 31, 2005 7:58 pm

Timz,
JFK - San Juan----Do not know
JFK - Bermuda ----I do not think this was a nav sector as not that long
US - Hawaii ---- Yes that was a Sector requiring a navigator

Generally prior to the introduction of INS in the early 1970s you can say that a navigator was required on all trans Ocean flights [Atlantic , Pacific, Indian etc] and on trans desert flight like across the Sahara or the deserts of the middle east.

However, whilst the aircraft could use land based nav beacons, it would need no navigator, so on a route LHR to JFK the navigator would not start work until a bit west of Ireland and on a route say London to Nairobi then the nav section would only start as the aircraft crossed the north African coast whilst on that route's return from Nairobi the Navigator would start as soon as the aircraft got to top of climb

little vc10
 
FoxHunter
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RE: 4-Person Crew?

Wed Aug 31, 2005 9:54 pm

Navigators were common until the early 70s. Some airlines received approval for pilot navigation prior to the INS using a two stage Doppler computer and Loran A in the mid 60s. Others such as BOAC trained pilots for a navigator license. The last time I flew with a navigator, 1978, was with an American charter airline. DC8, across the Atlantic, and from the west coast to HNL.
Some companies the Navigator only worked over the water, others had the Navigators busy backing up the crew for the whole flight.
 
mandala499
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RE: 4-Person Crew?

Fri Sep 02, 2005 3:34 pm

I last flew my duty as a navigator in 2003  Smile
Testing and using standalone special nav equipment and we'd give "vectors" and even precise location for the pilots (50m track accurary)... Did an onboard simulated WAAS GPS approach to a non-prec airport... impressed everyone, but by the end of the approach I was out of voice, capt. half deaf, and everyone lost a liter in body fluids, including the ATC...

Kinda like flying blind... BUT, nothing beats the sliderule and stopwatch  Wink

Mandala499
When losing situational awareness, pray Cumulus Granitus isn't nearby !
 
jush
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RE: 4-Person Crew?

Fri Sep 02, 2005 8:45 pm

Yeah that was the time when the navigator ascetained the mpp (most probable point)...
Usually it was just a guess were they really were. "Hmm well i think it should be america now!
:D
There is one problem with airbus. Though their products are engineering marvels they lack passion, completely.
 
ZKSUJ
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RE: 4-Person Crew?

Sat Sep 03, 2005 8:46 pm

I was on an SQ flight from SIN-ZRH and we had 2 captains and 2 first officers. Does that count?
 
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longhauler
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RE: 4-Person Crew?

Sat Sep 03, 2005 11:25 pm

Air Canada operated the DC-8-40s, 50s and 61s with a four man crew when operating across the Atlantic, the Caribbean and to Bermuda. Captain, First Officer, Second Officer and Navigator. With the arrival of the DC-8-63s in the late 1960s came the INS, and they operated with a three man crew. (no Navigator)

Some of the DC-8-61s and 53Fs were retrofitted with INS, and thus flew with a three man crew. When flown domestically, the DC-8-40s and -50s flew with a 3 man crew.

The porthole in the roof was on all of our DC-8s, even the -63s, and was used when required for taking sun or star shots.
Just because I stopped arguing, doesn't mean I think you are right. It just means I gave up!
 
airxliban
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RE: 4-Person Crew?

Sun Sep 04, 2005 6:32 am

Quoting Vc10 (Reply 15):
Now "LAKOBOS" I might be getting a bit aged but not old enough to remember Radio Operators, who I believe went out of existence in the early to mid 1950s.

Didn't Soviet carriers have radio operators, in addition to the pilot, copilot, flight engineer and navigator? I guess when everyone has to have a job...
PARIS, FRANCE...THE BEIRUT OF EUROPE.
 
vc10
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RE: 4-Person Crew?

Sun Sep 04, 2005 6:50 am

Airxliban,

If you read my reply # 17 I think you will find I have already made that point about Russian airlines.

Not to worry though----- little vc10  Smile
 
Gemuser
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RE: 4-Person Crew?

Tue Sep 06, 2005 1:26 pm

QF B707-338 carried 5 man crews into the seventies.

Pilot, Co-pilot, Flight Engineer, Navigator & Radio Operator.
Particularly on the Wallaby route to South Africa where HF is your only means of contact for hours & hours and before SELCALL a radio operator is very necessary, not mention a navigator, as that is still v-e-r-y lonley ocean!

Gemuser
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