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blink182
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Cargo Crew Scheduling

Fri Oct 14, 2011 2:29 pm

Does anybody have insight on how air cargo crews are scheduled? Cargo routes tend to be a lot more varied and circuitous with less frequency. For example, SQ Cargo might fly SIN-ICN-ANC-ORD-BRU-AUH-SIN and 2x weekly at that. How do pilots rotate through?
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wilco737
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RE: Cargo Crew Scheduling

Fri Oct 14, 2011 2:38 pm

Quoting blink182 (Thread starter):
How do pilots rotate through?

I don't know how SQ Cargo does it, but at LH cargo. Flew for them more than 3 years. If a flight only comes around twice a week, you either have 4 or 3 days off at the destination. Makes the trips a lot longer, but you have more time to see and explore the destination...
We had a trip: FRA-DKR-VCP-CWB-UIO-BOG-CUR-FRA. It was at least 9 days long, but sometimes up to 14 days, depending how many flights are scheduled.
Due to the length of the trips you have 2-3 trips a month. Now on the 744 I have 4-5 trips a months because the trips usually are 3-4 days long only.
Being at cargo means being away from your family longer. That was my experience during my 3.5 years.

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lowrider
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RE: Cargo Crew Scheduling

Fri Oct 14, 2011 2:54 pm

For non-sched cargo, scheduling seems to be a never ending game of whack-a-mole.
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blink182
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RE: Cargo Crew Scheduling

Fri Oct 14, 2011 3:40 pm

Wilco, how were the legs divided up? What about crews? I know that Cargo flies places commercial normally wouldn't, and for on ground safety reasons or perhaps hotel costs, I'm curious as to whether airlines might schedule four or five crew members on a given trip, say DKR-VCP-CWB-UIO, layover at UIO, then fly UIO-BOG-CUR-FRA?

Interesting answer, thanks!
Give me a break, I created this username when I was a kid...
 
wilco737
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RE: Cargo Crew Scheduling

Fri Oct 14, 2011 3:47 pm

Quoting blink182 (Reply 3):
Wilco, how were the legs divided up? What about crews? I know that Cargo flies places commercial normally wouldn't, and for on ground safety reasons or perhaps hotel costs, I'm curious as to whether airlines might schedule four or five crew members on a given trip, say DKR-VCP-CWB-UIO, layover at UIO, then fly UIO-BOG-CUR-FRA?

No, one crew flies all that. Night stops were in DKR, VCP, UIO and CUR. So you fly on one day to DKR, stay there for about 24 hours until the next airplane comes along with another crew. Then you take the airplane to VCP, another 24 hour stop there. Another crew continues the trip. Next day you take another airplane coming from DKR to CWB and UIO in one duty time. In UIO we had 2 days off as there is not an airplane coming around daily. The trip changes in VCP, some continue to EZE, others head back to DKR, others continue to UIO.
So after 2 days in UIO you continue to BOG and CUR in one duty time. In CUR you have 2-4 days, depening on schedule off and then you continue back to FRA. The airplane is usually no longer than 2 hours on the ground while the crew stays in the hotel.But it is all flights with 2 pilots only... So you are away from quite some time, but not only you, the other crews as well.
So the hotel and crew costs are rather high, but the profit on these routes is pretty good as well from what I heard.

wilco737
  
 
canoecarrier
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RE: Cargo Crew Scheduling

Fri Oct 14, 2011 4:02 pm

Quoting wilco737 (Reply 4):
So the hotel and crew costs are rather high, but the profit on these routes is pretty good as well from what I heard.

Right, but they're not paying for the stews. A cargo crew of 2 would have to spend a lot of nights in a hotel to equal what it would cost in relation to crew costs just for one night if you were flying passengers.

Interesting info there though. We had a Polar pilot that used to commute on us all the time, I seem to remember him saying that from time to time he'd have to revenue travel somewhere to meet his plane. But, I could be wrong.
The beatings will continue until morale improves
 
wilco737
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RE: Cargo Crew Scheduling

Fri Oct 14, 2011 4:06 pm

Quoting canoecarrier (Reply 5):
Right, but they're not paying for the stews. A cargo crew of 2 would have to spend a lot of nights in a hotel to equal what it would cost in relation to crew costs just for one night if you were flying passengers.

Of course. I am with my crew here and we are 17 people. So many hotel rooms.

Quoting canoecarrier (Reply 5):
Interesting info there though. We had a Polar pilot that used to commute on us all the time, I seem to remember him saying that from time to time he'd have to revenue travel somewhere to meet his plane. But, I could be wrong.

Yes, happens at Cargo more often as well. I was deadheading a lot back then. But since I am on 744 PAX I haven't been deadheading at all. Just flying somehwhere and heading back home after 1-2 days.

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Horstroad
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RE: Cargo Crew Scheduling

Fri Oct 14, 2011 5:42 pm

Quoting wilco737 (Reply 4):
The airplane is usually no longer than 2 hours on the ground

how that? are the loaders in the world faster than they are in FRA? because here they need 2hrs both for loading and unloading...
 
Flyer732
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RE: Cargo Crew Scheduling

Fri Oct 14, 2011 5:52 pm

Quoting canoecarrier (Reply 5):
Interesting info there though. We had a Polar pilot that used to commute on us all the time, I seem to remember him saying that from time to time he'd have to revenue travel somewhere to meet his plane. But, I could be wrong.

At my company, we have crew on commercial airline flights all the time going to pick up planes and coming home from dropping off planes all the time. All our pilots are home based and travel all over the world to pick up our trips.
 
canoecarrier
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RE: Cargo Crew Scheduling

Fri Oct 14, 2011 7:55 pm

Quoting wilco737 (Reply 1):
I don't know how SQ Cargo does it, but at LH cargo. Flew for them more than 3 years. I

Out of curiosity, which do you enjoy more? Cargo or Pax? I've heard both sides, boxes don't complain if you don't grease a landing or having a crew is more fun on layovers.

Quoting wilco737 (Reply 6):
Just flying somehwhere and heading back home after 1-2 days.

Thats a much better schedule if you have a family for sure.
The beatings will continue until morale improves
 
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tb727
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RE: Cargo Crew Scheduling

Fri Oct 14, 2011 8:25 pm

Quoting lowrider (Reply 2):

For non-sched cargo, scheduling seems to be a never ending game of whack-a-mole.

Ready! Fire! Aim!!!!
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KAUSpilot
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RE: Cargo Crew Scheduling

Sat Oct 15, 2011 2:10 am

I'm an F/O for a sizable heavy freight airline which typically operates outsourced type ACMI agreements in scheduled operation but also does a considerable amount of non-scheduled charter work with 747 aircraft.

All pilots are required to work 17 days per month and may be extended involuntarily up to an additional 3 days should the company need to do so.

How that 17 days is divided up depends upon many factors (where you are based, time of the month, customer need, etc).

We get our schedules sometime between the 23-26th for flying in the subsequent month. Trip lengths vary from 3 days on up to 17 days. The Average trip is probably 10 days long and consists of 5 or 6 legs operating an airplane. Average leg length is about 8 hours.

What you really bid for is a work month "footprint" because the flying within your trip almost always changes considerably, sometimes even before you show up. This is because the airline is very flexible to customer requirements. If a shipment doesn't show up somewhere on time, they will happily delay, cancel, or reschedule the flight if the customer wishes to do so. This creates a ripple which might result in you being reassigned to a different flight, staying in a hotel an extra day, etc etc. Whack a Mole is a good analogy.

I just finished a 24 day trip by combining a 10 day trip on Sept. 21st-30th with a 14 day trip October 1st-14th. This is on the long side for one of our trips, but not uncommon. The routing was as follows:

Travel from home in IAH to PHL on USAirways
Ground Transport PHL-DOV
1 night in DOV
DOV-HHN
2 nights in HHN
HHN-IQA
IQA-KWI
1 day in KWI
Deadhead on EK KWI-DXB
1 day in DXB
DXB-HKG
3 days in HKG due typhoon related cancellations
HKG-KGF-LUX
1 night in LUX
Ground transport LUX-FRA
Deadhead on LH FRA-EWR
Ground transport WRI
2 days at WRI
WRI-RMS
Ground Transport RMS-AMS
AMS-DXB
1 day in DXB
DXB-JNB-EBB
3 days in EBB
EBB-DXB
1 day in DXB
DXB-ALA-PVG
1 day in PVG
PVG-ANC
Deadhead on company freighter ANC-JFK
Commercial home JFK-CLT-IAH on USAirways

http://i973.photobucket.com/albums/ae219/randomperson8008/octtrip.gif

The trip was done with a mix of 2, 3 and 4 man crews. We also have loadmasters and mechanics on many legs. The entire 24 days consisted of about 90 hours of actual freighter flying over 14 legs. International deadheads are in business class. All deadheads including ground transport are paid at about 35% of flight pay.

I will get at least 16 days off after finishing this 24 day trip but hope to make it closer to 30 (don't have my Nov. schedule yet but am hoping not to go back to work until the second half of November).

Hope this helps.

Map of 6 months worth of flying (operating flights only):

http://i973.photobucket.com/albums/ae219/randomperson8008/routes6months.gif

As I type this I am quite tired, having been awake about 36 hours during my final day of travel, so I apologize for any grammatical errors.
 
FlyboyOz
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RE: Cargo Crew Scheduling

Sat Oct 15, 2011 4:11 am

Wow...that's an interesting trip report!! You're so lucky that you've been flying a lot and visit lots of different places. BTW...I know you're tired but did you enjoy flying??

[Edited 2011-10-14 21:17:10]
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KAUSpilot
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RE: Cargo Crew Scheduling

Sat Oct 15, 2011 7:48 am

FlyboyOz; yes I very much enjoy flying to earn a living. As Mark Twain once said: the key to success is making a vocation your vacation. To make this type of flying worthwhile, however, decent compensation is necessary. I miss out on lot of personal time that your typical 9-5'er gets and it's very much a "truck driver" type of solitary lifestyle. The compensation is nothing spectacular but is at least enough to get us F/O's in the top 20% of American wage earners with the captains in the top 1-5%.

Also, someone asked about which pilot gets which leg. As most of you know, I'm sure, a pilot needs 3 takeoffs and landings every 90 days to stay current (at least under U.S. FAA rules). This requirement is the driving force in determining who flies; usually the pilot on the crew who hasn't landed in the longest amount of time will get to fly the leg. Sometimes the schedule presents you with a struggle just to stay current. For instance, I only performed 2 of the takeoffs and 3 of the landings in the 24-day trip above trip (I was flying with a senior F/O who was finishing his upgrade to captain for much of the trip, therefore he was doing most of the flying under the supervision of a check captain while I played the role of relief pilot).
 
wilco737
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RE: Cargo Crew Scheduling

Sat Oct 15, 2011 10:44 am

Quoting horstroad (Reply 7):
how that? are the loaders in the world faster than they are in FRA? because here they need 2hrs both for loading and unloading...

If the flight is full then they need 2 hours....

Quoting canoecarrier (Reply 9):
Out of curiosity, which do you enjoy more? Cargo or Pax? I've heard both sides, boxes don't complain if you don't grease a landing or having a crew is more fun on layovers.

I currently enjoy PAX more because I am hoe more often and see my girlfriend more often... And the roster is fixed, not so many changes...

wilco737
  
 
airtran737
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RE: Cargo Crew Scheduling

Sat Oct 15, 2011 2:35 pm

Quoting horstroad (Reply 7):

how that? are the loaders in the world faster than they are in FRA? because here they need 2hrs both for loading and unloading...

HKG and ICN are vastly superior to FRA which say a lot. There is a reason that ICN wins the best cargo hub award year after year. Those guys can spin a 747F in two hours.
Nice Trip Report!!! Great Pics, thanks for posting!!!! B747Forever
 
Fabo
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RE: Cargo Crew Scheduling

Sat Oct 15, 2011 9:54 pm

Quoting wilco737 (Reply 6):
Of course. I am with my crew here and we are 17 people. So many hotel rooms.

17.... And we felt 6 was a lot when A320 started appearing on charters here in KSC over 733...  

Anyway, thanks KAUSpilot for a very interesting report. Especially maps are nice to see.

wilco737, could you maybe plot a couple trips that a scheduled operator flies? We have one, and from the look of it, it is a pretty straightforward triangle-like shape, compared to a crazay all-round-the-world hopping of KAUSpilot, almost seems boring...  
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wilco737
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RE: Cargo Crew Scheduling

Sun Oct 16, 2011 9:48 am

Quoting Fabo (Reply 16):
17.... And we felt 6 was a lot when A320 started appearing on charters here in KSC over 733...  

IMpossible to remember the names 
Quoting Fabo (Reply 16):
wilco737, could you maybe plot a couple trips that a scheduled operator flies? We have one, and from the look of it, it is a pretty straightforward triangle-like shape, compared to a crazay all-round-the-world hopping of KAUSpilot, almost seems boring...  

The most famous is:

FRA-DKR-VCP-CWB-UIO-BOG-CUR-FRA (now it is not CUR anymore, it is Puerto Rico somewhere).
FRA-BLR-MAA-SHJ-FRA
Many far east flights both flights via KJA... Or FRA-SVO-NRT-KJA-FRA.
FRA-NBO-JNB-NBO-FRA.
FRA-ORD-MEX-DFW-FRA
FRA-YYZ-ATL-FRA

That's the one I remember. Many trips have changed since I left so I cannot tell them for sure. Usually it is 4 flights you do until you get back to FRA.

wilco737
  
 
canoecarrier
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RE: Cargo Crew Scheduling

Mon Oct 17, 2011 3:16 am

Quoting KAUSpilot (Reply 11):
As I type this I am quite tired, having been awake about 36 hours during my final day of travel, so I apologize for any grammatical errors.

Thanks for sharing that. I'll admit that my cargo experience was more limited more to experiencing on-demand cargo showing up with auto parts, human organs, and/or cancelled checks. Then the occasional call from someone needing a part, or whatever and we'd fly it in the middle of the night. Great report.

Quoting wilco737 (Reply 14):
I currently enjoy PAX more because I am hoe more often and see my girlfriend more often... And the roster is fixed, not so many changes...

Can't say I blame you!

Quoting wilco737 (Reply 17):
The most famous is:

FRA-DKR-VCP-CWB-UIO-BOG-CUR-FRA (now it is not CUR anymore, it is Puerto Rico somewhere).
FRA-BLR-MAA-SHJ-FRA
Many far east flights both flights via KJA... Or FRA-SVO-NRT-KJA-FRA.
FRA-NBO-JNB-NBO-FRA.
FRA-ORD-MEX-DFW-FRA
FRA-YYZ-ATL-FRA

So, these are scheduled LH cargo routes right? Or something similar to being regular cargo? If that's the case, you had to be flying fairly regular types of cargo out of these city pairs? Fruit out of South America, flowers out of Europe, who knows what out of the other cities. Or, am I completely wrong? Sorry for all the questions.
The beatings will continue until morale improves
 
wilco737
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RE: Cargo Crew Scheduling

Mon Oct 17, 2011 5:18 am

Quoting canoecarrier (Reply 18):
So, these are scheduled LH cargo routes right?

Yes, they are flown regularly. Some routes are not daily, others are. I am not too much into the Cargo flights anymore, so I don't know the frequencies.

Quoting canoecarrier (Reply 18):
If that's the case, you had to be flying fairly regular types of cargo out of these city pairs?

Some I flew more often, others I didn't. Been only once to UIO as the trip was 9+ days long I didn't bid for it. And then i left 
Quoting canoecarrier (Reply 18):
Fruit out of South America,

Many, many flowers out of South America. Especially UIO. Being flown to AMS afterwads.

Quoting canoecarrier (Reply 18):
flowers out of Europe

Don't really know what is on board. Only dangerous good of course. But don't know about the other stuff.
Every once in a while an expensive German car being flown somewhere.

Quoting canoecarrier (Reply 18):
Sorry for all the questions.

No worries, that's what the forum is for, right?  

wilco737
  
 
blink182
Topic Author
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RE: Cargo Crew Scheduling

Tue Oct 18, 2011 4:53 pm

Quoting wilco737 (Reply 19):
No worries, that's what the forum is for, right?  

I'm taking advantage of this . Quick question for you: how much training is needed to transition between Cargo and pax versions of the same aircraft? Or, on a technical basis, can they be flown by the same crews?
Give me a break, I created this username when I was a kid...
 
KAUSpilot
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Joined: Mon Jan 28, 2002 2:15 pm

RE: Cargo Crew Scheduling

Tue Oct 18, 2011 7:33 pm

Quoting blink182 (Reply 20):
I'm taking advantage of this . Quick question for you: how much training is needed to transition between Cargo and pax versions of the same aircraft? Or, on a technical basis, can they be flown by the same crews?

About a 1 hour differences course in my case was all that's needed. That class covered BCF's and dreamlifters as well as passenger models. The -8 differences course will apparently be a little more comprehensive. So yes, the crews can fly both a freighter and a passenger plane in the same day if a schedule was built that way. Most differences from a flight deck standpoint are minor and are related to weights, engines, environmental/air systems, fuel, and hydraulics, at least in the case of the 744.
 
Fabo
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RE: Cargo Crew Scheduling

Wed Oct 19, 2011 9:09 pm

Yeah, but the customer service standpoint? And standart operations in passenger crew, how to call FAs and whatever, is that included? Or, how much would that take? (Assuming flight ops are same where possible in regard to air environment, W&B and so)

thank you for sharing insights with us btw.
The light at the end of tunnel turned out to be a lighted sing saying NO EXIT
 
KAUSpilot
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Joined: Mon Jan 28, 2002 2:15 pm

RE: Cargo Crew Scheduling

Thu Oct 20, 2011 9:29 am

Quoting Fabo (Reply 22):
Yeah, but the customer service standpoint? And standart operations in passenger crew, how to call FAs and whatever, is that included? Or, how much would that take? (Assuming flight ops are same where possible in regard to air environment, W&B and so)

There are a few paragraphs about "customer service" in our manuals...you read those and that's about all the training you get on it. Needless to say 75%+ of those of us flying freight have flown passengers for a living at some point prior, so at least one pilot has usually done it before. Aside from seatbelt signs, PA's, and chimes for the cabin crew, there really isn't that much procedurally different between a freighter and a pax 744.

Use of the cabin interphone is also laid out in our manuals. There is no formal training on it; if you haven't flown a pax plane before you either rely on the other pilot(s) to teach you or you experiment with it a little bit before departure. It's pretty easy to figure out. You just pick up the handset and talk when the cabin calls you. You dial the station you want to talk to on the handset if you want to talk to a particular F/A station.

The W&B forms are no different for us. The loadmaster or dispatch takes care of those details, the form they give us just lists out the weights and tells us the takeoff and cruise centers of gravity. In a pinch there are passenger weight and balance forms we can fill out ourselves but we aren't really trained on them unless we take the initiative to study them on our own.

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