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bob34
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Questions For Airline/Freight Pilots

Sun Feb 21, 2010 12:34 am

I only had about 300 questions, but the search function answered most for me.

It would be really appreciated if some folks here could help me with the few remaining (so far) questions I can't get clarity on.


1. Autoland Usage
- I've read that most pilots will flip off the autopilot as an autoland does not count as a landing in the logbook?
If so, how far before the threshold would one typically kill the autopilot? OM? MM?
If not so, what goes into the decision to use autoland or not?


2. SIDS/STARS
When do you learn what SID/STAR is in effect along with the active runway?
For a SID, I would imagine it's initially in the plan, and then confirmed by ground or clearance?
For the STAR - do you avoid putting it in the FMC until you hear from ATC the approach clearance or is the STAR determined long before that and usually correct.
The first point on the transition - is it always in the flight plan, or do you have to fly direct off your flight plan to the transition?

3. Shutting down the aircraft:
- Is it *parking brake * seat belt sign * fuel cutoff * beacon
- How do you know if you're getting external power or you'll need the APU (I can guess it's probably obvious... but)
- For short turn, do you leave the IRS switches in NAV mode?

4. 250 kts below 10,000ft
- Do you typically plan 240kits in case wind shift throw you over 250? Is it a big deal if you hit 251 or 252 for a brief second or two?
- For aircraft that need more than 250 below 10,000ft, it it understood by ATC by the aircraft type, or does someone need to be notifed?

5. Reading Material
Are there any books out there that really walk someone through all the steps a real pilot takes from the time they pick up their paperwork to the time they turn it back in? I'd love to see a book that explains all the little things like nav/beacon/landing/taxi light procedures, taxi restrictions, and smiling for the passengers.  

Appreciate any little bit of information to help me simulate real operations on my PC flight sim. It's as close as I'll ever get to flying a real plane, but I want to do it as real as possible.

Thanks so much.

Bob
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CosmicCruiser
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RE: Questions For Airline/Freight Pilots

Sun Feb 21, 2010 1:17 am

Quoting bob34 (Thread starter):
I've read that most pilots will flip off the autopilot as an autoland does not count as a landing in the logbook?

No it's recorded as a ldg for the capt.
If so, how far before the threshold would one typically kill the autopilot? OM? MM?

Depends, you can hand fly it from where you wish are usually no later than 500'

If not so, what goes into the decision to use autoland or not?
Quoting bob34 (Thread starter):
For a SID,

Is it needed or required

Quoting bob34 (Thread starter):
For the STAR

How well do you know the airport? Should be anticipated

Quoting bob34 (Thread starter):
Is it *parking brake * seat belt sign * fuel cutoff * beacon
- How do you know if you're getting external power or you'll need the APU

parking brake. transfer power to GPU, fuel levers, beacon, seat belt sign

ramp tower tells you if GPU is available at your gate.

Quoting bob34 (Thread starter):
do you leave the IRS switches in NAV mode?

no

Quoting bob34 (Thread starter):
Is it a big deal if you hit 251 or 252 for a brief second or two?

no

Quoting bob34 (Thread starter):
For a SID

ATIS, anticipation, ATC clearance
 
lowrider
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RE: Questions For Airline/Freight Pilots

Sun Feb 21, 2010 2:39 am

Quoting bob34 (Thread starter):
1. Autoland Usage

I almost never use it. My carrier doesn't conduct any ops that require its useage and I enjoy manual landings. The only time I will use it is if the weather is right at the bottom and I am significantly tired. If the weather is marginal, we are required to conduct a coupled approach. If conditions enough, I like to kick off the autopilot at 2500 agl, and sometimes as far as 25 miles from the airport

Quoting bob34 (Thread starter):
SIDS/STARS

I look at what is filed on the release, and what is applicable to the runway in use and our direction of flight. Even if you get a SID assigned in your initial clearence, it can change during taxi. For STARs, I look at what is filed, what is applicable, and what we were cleared for. If in doubt, I ask ATC for clarification.

Quoting bob34 (Thread starter):
3. Shutting down the aircraft:

Varies by aircraft, but you usually stick with the parking checklist. Generally you will set the parking brake, shut down the engines and any other systems, then shut off the beacon. Signs and other lights as directed. Our operating assumption is that we will have ground power everywhere we go, unless otherwise noted on the flight paperwork. We have to re-align the IRUs at least every 18 hours, so we just shut them off at the end of each flight.

Quoting bob34 (Thread starter):
For aircraft that need more than 250 below 10,000ft, it it understood by ATC by the aircraft type, or does someone need to be notifed?

It is known by most controllers which types commonly have this requirement. If the controller is unaware, a simple request for higher speed is rarely denied.

Quoting bob34 (Thread starter):
5. Reading Material

I don't know about generic books, as many of the things you mentioned are company specific, but there are DVD's that follow crews through various flights on various types.
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bob34
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RE: Questions For Airline/Freight Pilots

Sun Feb 21, 2010 4:50 am

So just as you're pulling into the gate, it sounds like someone is greeting the plane with the plug for the GPU so you don't kill the engines and leave the plane on battery. Got it. Must be fast because I feel the plane stop, hear the engines shut down and hear the seatbelt sign all in a matter of seconds.

By the way, I am truly impressed that you guys get that yellow line right up the middle of the nose wheel. Even with a reference point on the panel or using the inside/outside of your leg for reference, I'm still amazed walking through the terminal looking at all the planes lined up perfectly on that yellow line.

Another question (sorry, but I see so many conflicting answers):

Is it bad practice to put the strobes on before you are lined up? I've seen some say it's an indicator you are entering the active runway, and I've seen others say it's rude to the planes around you, therefore not until you're about to roll.

What about runway turnoff lights? Are they used under 10,000 for better visibility or just on the ground for visual reference?

Reverse Thrusters: Wait until the nose wheel is down? I'm guessing if you don't, it might slam the nose down.

And yes, I'm reading reviews on cockpit vids right now. I'm trying to find the most detailed ones out there. The few I have I can't hear the flight crew very well and the camera man has the camera out the window more than on the pilots.

Thanks for the great responses so far.

Bob
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RE: Questions For Airline/Freight Pilots

Sun Feb 21, 2010 8:46 am

]

Quoting bob34 (Thread starter):
Do you typically plan 240kits in case wind shift throw you over 250? Is it a big deal if you hit 251 or 252 for a brief second or two?

The regulation says that you may not exceed 250 knots indicated airspeed. Airspeed has nothing to do with gusts. you could have a 320 knot groundspeed and still meet the 250 KIAS reg.
 
AAR90
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RE: Questions For Airline/Freight Pilots

Sun Feb 21, 2010 9:12 am

Quoting bob34 (Thread starter):
If so, how far before the threshold would one typically kill the autopilot? OM? MM?
If not so, what goes into the decision to use autoland or not?

For most airliners/pilots, it could anywhere from ~FL180 down to ILS minimums. Use of A/P and when to turn it of is most often dependent upon the environmental conditions, airline procedures and pilot preference. IOW... it varies.

Quoting bob34 (Thread starter):
For a SID, I would imagine it's initially in the plan, and then confirmed by ground or clearance?

Correct. A SID (if used) will be part of your ATC clearance. In USA, one should have that clearance prior to taxi.

Quoting bob34 (Thread starter):
For the STAR - do you avoid putting it in the FMC until you hear from ATC the approach clearance or is the STAR determined long before that and usually correct.

I always enter the STAR on the flight plan, but it could be changed at any time by ATC. Having a STAR entered helps with FMC time/fuel calculations. It is very easy to make a change.

Quoting bob34 (Thread starter):
The first point on the transition - is it always in the flight plan, or do you have to fly direct off your flight plan to the transition?

It should be on the filed route. ATC computers need to "connect-the-dots" so if your filed flight plan doesn't do it already, ATC's computers should do it prior to issuing your clearance.

Quoting bob34 (Thread starter):
- Is it *parking brake * seat belt sign * fuel cutoff * beacon

Depends entirely upon the aircraft and airline checklist(s).

Quoting bob34 (Thread starter):
How do you know if you're getting external power or you'll need the APU (I can guess it's probably obvious... but)

Most airliners have a method to indicate ground power is connected, acceptable and ready for use [usually just a light on newer planes].

Quoting bob34 (Thread starter):
For short turn, do you leave the IRS switches in NAV mode?

Depends entirely upon the aircraft and airline checklists.

Quoting bob34 (Thread starter):
Do you typically plan 240kits in case wind shift throw you over 250? Is it a big deal if you hit 251 or 252 for a brief second or two? For aircraft that need more than 250 below 10,000ft, it it understood by ATC by the aircraft type, or does someone need to be notifed?

Most FMC's default to 240KIAS at 10,000'msl (or transistion level), but it is easily changed. The 250 is a maximum speed limit. No, it is not a "big deal" if you momentarily go faster for a second or two, but 10KIAS and/or 10 seconds is considered "significant" (nothing official, just what FAA inspectors tell me). ANYTIME you need to exceed a speed limit, you MUST notify ATC.

Quoting bob34 (Thread starter):
Are there any books out there that really walk someone through all the steps a real pilot takes from the time they pick up their paperwork to the time they turn it back in? I'd love to see a book that explains all the little things like nav/beacon/landing/taxi light procedures, taxi restrictions, and smiling for the passengers.

None that I know of. Every airline has its own procedures so anything published would be specific to that airline only. Obviously, most airline flights are very similar, but the devil is in the details.  
*NO CARRIER* -- A Naval Aviator's worst nightmare!
 
saab2000
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RE: Questions For Airline/Freight Pilots

Sun Feb 21, 2010 12:48 pm

1. My airplane does not have autoland so that's a moot point. Autopilot will be clicked off anywhere from 20-30 miles out to right at minimums, depending on circumstances and mood. I tend to use the autopilot a lot but if the ILS is not very stable on a given day or airport (I can think of two which have less than very nice glideslopes...) I'll fly it by hand. Or if it's a visual approach to a runway with no navaids, like RWY 35 in PHL or the River Visual in DCA or Expressway Visual to 31 in LGA..... Those can only be flown by hand. But an ILS to mins in the soup is generally coupled with the ILS to or very near to mins.

2. The SID or Departure procedure is generally given by Clearance Delivery and is programmed into the FMS after we receive our clearance. An example is CLT, where they have RNAV SIDs. They are runway dependent and are flown in NAV mode. Otherwise it might just be a heading in which case we will start the turn in VMC at around 400' AGL. STARS are generally filed as part of the filed flight plan. But if there are any issues we can ask ATC for clarification. STARs can start hundreds of miles from the destination airport.

3. Shutting down is part of the "Shutdown Checklist", as you might imagine. In the case of my airplane it is Parking Brake Set and Checked, Generators 1 & 2 off, Boost Pumps off, Thrust levers Shutoff, Seatbelt sign off, Beacon off and Nosewheel steering off. Or something like that. But it is part of a checklist and the sequence is not unimportant. Each airplane and company will be slightly different.

My airplane does not have IRS and we leave the AHARS in the same position all the time. But it's a crappy system, not nearly as good as an IRS.

4. 250 Below 10,000' is not a huge deal if you go a few knots over for a few seconds. ATC doesn't have any way of telling speeds other than with ground speeds. If one airplane is on the same track and same altitude and the speeds are 30 knots different then one is probably going faster than the other. But otherwise no, it's no big deal if we exceed 250 below 10'000. That said, we should always try to be as close as possible. It is just part of being a professional.

5. Reading material? No clue....  
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RE: Questions For Airline/Freight Pilots

Sun Feb 21, 2010 1:40 pm

Quoting bob34 (Reply 3):
Must be fast because I feel the plane stop, hear the engines shut down and hear the seatbelt sign all in a matter of seconds.

You may not know if the APU is running or not. We stop, set parking brake and shutdown all but one eng. When ground pwr is plugged in we will see it on the elec synoptic, select it and shutdown remaining eng and beacon.



Quoting bob34 (Reply 3):
Is it bad practice to put the strobes on before you are lined up?

Strictly co. policy. For us ldg lites and strobes says we're rolling. Turnoff lites and taxi light when in position.

Quoting bob34 (Reply 3):
What about runway turnoff lights?

FL180 and below, kanding lites below 10,000'.

Our FMS defaults to 245kts at 10,000'
 
Goldenshield
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RE: Questions For Airline/Freight Pilots

Sun Feb 21, 2010 2:26 pm

Quoting bob34 (Thread starter):
When do you learn what SID/STAR is in effect along with the active runway?
For a SID, I would imagine it's initially in the plan, and then confirmed by ground or clearance?
The first point on the transition - is it always in the flight plan, or do you have to fly direct off your flight plan to the transition?

Here's an answer from a dispatcher's perspective.

For the most part, we file flights based upon "canned" routings, i.e.; generally, if the route is under 500 miles, the DP (if applicable,) route, and STAR (if applicable,) are going to be the same each and every time we file, regardless of what is actually flown; over 500 miles, more flexibility is allowed in routing which allows for a multitude of wind/weather deviations, unless ATC issues a CDR (Controlled Departure Route) which then MUST be complied with.

For the most part, the DP we file may or may not be used. ATC will reassign the departure if the current configuration does not allow that which is filed. The revised DP will be assigned in the clearance. ("Airliner XXX, Cleared to XYZ via ABC departure, DEF transition, direct GHI, then as filed.")

AAR90 noted that the ATC computers don't like gaps in the flight plan. He's correct. The following example shows why. For example, I could file "SGF.J105.BAYLI.BENKY1.KORD" or I could file "SGF..BAYLI.BENKY1.KORD". Both of these are perfectly legal, but I could not file "SGF.WIMPI.BENKY1.KORD", as WIMPI is not a transition, and the ATC computer will automatically reject this plan.
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bob34
Topic Author
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RE: Questions For Airline/Freight Pilots

Sun Feb 21, 2010 6:36 pm

Excellent information all. Thank you.

So using the turnoff lights below FL180 is something new to me. Good info. I'm guessing that's pilot discretion or company policy, not a FAA thing.

Having a transition waypoint on my flightplan is a must.

Putting the SID/STAR in at the beginning helps the flight time/fuel calculation.

Planning is done with SID/STAR and always subject to change by ATC - never leave a gap in the flight plan.

Autopilot/Autoland is pilot discretion along with perhaps some company policy based on conditions and common sense.

Shutdown procedures - seems the engines aren't fully cut unless the APU is up or the ground power is in, although one engine cut while GP is plugged in may be common.

This is great stuff and really appreciated. These little details mean a lot to someone not exposed to the day-to-day.

Thanks,

Bob
KMEM

[Edited 2010-02-21 10:37:31]
 
CosmicCruiser
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RE: Questions For Airline/Freight Pilots

Mon Feb 22, 2010 1:25 am

Quoting bob34 (Reply 9):
using the turnoff lights below FL180 is something new to me. Good info. I'm guessing that's pilot discretion or company policy, not a FAA thing.

It's pretty standard. I'm trying to remember if it was the FAA or who that started the "see & be seen: program years ago.
 
Woodreau
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RE: Questions For Airline/Freight Pilots

Mon Feb 22, 2010 5:11 am

Quoting bob34 (Thread starter):
5. Reading Material
Are there any books out there that really walk someone through all the steps a real pilot takes from the time they pick up their paperwork to the time they turn it back in? I'd love to see a book that explains all the little things like nav/beacon/landing/taxi light procedures, taxi restrictions, and smiling for the passengers.

There is such a book or books - it's called the company flight manuals, GOM/AOM, Vol 1, Vol 2, or whatever the airline chooses to call it.

The paperwork is turned in and left at the originating station before we close the aircraft cabin door for departure (and is kept and filed at that station for x number of days - the number 90 days comes to mind although I am not very confident of that number.) We can't leave with the paperwork in the aircraft - we keep our copy, but our copy usually ends up in the trash before we get out of the aircraft at the destination, unless a really enterprising FO collects all the paper to place it in the recycling bin somewhere (I had one of those FOs.)

Quoting bob34 (Thread starter):

3. Shutting down the aircraft:
- How do you know if you're getting external power or you'll need the APU (I can guess it's probably obvious... but)

It is aircraft and airline specific, some aircraft the engines are shutdown and left to run on battery before the GPU is plugged in - if at all. Sometimes, there won't be any external power available at all. For these types of airplanes though (turboprops and the Embraer 145 come to mind), the battery runs down very quickly.

Most aircraft will leave an engine running to wait for the ground power to be connected or run off the APU until ground power is connected.

After flying the system a bit - You tend to know which stations are good at plugging in and so you "know" not to start the APU, and you know which stations are slow to get the ground power plugged in, or the GPU just can't power the aircraft - it looks good initially, then it dumps the load - usually right after you shut down the engine or APU and everything goes dark. - so you just run the APU the whole time during the turn.
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CosmicCruiser
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RE: Questions For Airline/Freight Pilots

Mon Feb 22, 2010 12:58 pm

Quoting woodreau (Reply 11):
After flying the system a bit - You tend to know which stations are good at plugging in and so you "know" not to start the APU,

We're told on the in range call to the ramp if GP is available or not. We will have it 99% of the time ( for fuel savings) and some ramps have a curfew for APU usage too.
 
midcon385
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RE: Questions For Airline/Freight Pilots

Mon Feb 22, 2010 8:58 pm

Regarding reading material, perhaps you might try "From the Flight Deck" by my good friend Capt. Doug Morris, of Air Canada. See http://www.captainmorris.com/products.html

Hope this helps...

Tim
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