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UA 727 question...Jeff S., perhaps?

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Hi all,I was just checking out some 727 cockpit photos on airliners.net (getting all psyched up for the Captain Sim and DF releases), and I noticed that even in relatively recent photos of UA cockpits, there's no FMC or other RNAV retrofit visible...or at least none that I can pick up. Did UA really have their '27 drivers navigating by hand up until the bitter end? What was the deal? (it would have been really cool if it that were true :-) ):-outta

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You are correct, the 727 does not have an FMC, it employs an Inertial Navigation System (INS). This system is capable of tracking position change to determine current locations (based on time rate of change of acceleration and predetermined initial position, if I recall). If you search on the web for Inertial Navigation System and/or INS, you should find some decent explanations. :-)BTW, did you run across my 727 cockpit shots on a.net? The most recently loaded one was just used in a presentation given by Jeppesen to various airlines as the "before" pic on the topic of where technology is going. :-)Regards,http://mywebpages.comcast.net/jsnyder99/sigs/photopiper.jpg | [LINK:www.airliners.net/search/photo.search?photographersearch=Jeffrey%20L.%20Snyder&distinct_entry=true|AIRLINERS.NET PHOTOS] [link:www.biblegateway.com/bgaudio/english/NIV/Max%20McLean/RM/bgaudio.pl?selection=1|AUDIO BIBLE] ] JEFF_S_KDTW@YAHOO.COM[/font

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So UA just kept INS units in its 27's until they were retired from the fleet, then? I was just asking about UA's arrangement (or lack thereof ;-) ) as opposed to, say, ATA, which had modern-style FMC's installed.My familiarity with the INS is limited to whatever I learned from using Ralph Tofflemire's original 747-200 panel from about 2 years ago...I assume the units would have shared some basic similarities, though.And yes, I found your pics on airliners.net. I remember you also posted them in the forums a while ago, and they're some of the clearest and best 27 pics out there to boot, which is how your name ended up in the title of the thread :-):-outta

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>I agree Jeff's 3-holder pics are some of the best around :) Those were my very first picture on a.net--I wish I had that photographing opportunity back, because I think I could have gotten even better pics. At that time I was just using the "office" camera. More importantly, John, you don't recall what United used, do you? I don't think they even used an INS and my scan of my UA 727 Ops leads me to think it was just VOR - VOR. I know I talked to Dave about this, but I can't recall the specifics with regard to UA.Regards,http://mywebpages.comcast.net/jsnyder99/sigs/name.jpg

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Jeff I opened up my UA 727 T&R and P&P manual to see what I could find on this the only thing I can find is the VOR and the FD. I am almost 100% positive that and INS is not even installed on the 27's the only 3 advanced systems on the 727 are TCAS, ARCS, and WX radar panel. I know Dave and I talked about this but I have totally forgot. I really need to get my hands on a UA 727 FMJohnualfan@msn.com

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Yeah, this was the photo that got me thinking...http://www.airliners.net/open.file/168625/Lespecially when compared with this one, an AA '27:http://www.airliners.net/open.file/137135/L:-outtap.s. if it was just vor-to-vor nav on the UA '27s, as recently as a few years ago, what effect would this have had on the flightplans? More VORs instead of airways? (John, I think you mentioned a while back that you had a big stack of UA 727 f/p's, so perhaps you know) As cool as it sounds, I'm much too young to imagine modern flight without the conveniences of RNAV :-lol

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>Yeah, this was the photo that got me thinking... >>http://www.airliners.net/open.file/168625/L >>especially when compared with this one, an AA '27: >http://www.airliners.net/open.file/137135/L >>:-outta >>p.s. if it was just vor-to-vor nav on the UA '27s, as >recently as a few years ago, what effect would this have had >on the flightplans? More VORs instead of airways? (John, I >think you mentioned a while back that you had a big stack of >UA 727 f/p's, so perhaps you know) As cool as it sounds, >I'm much too young to imagine modern flight without the >conveniences of RNAV :-lol Looks like we will need Dave to setp in on this. I just open my folder with my FP's and I have one of the 72Q's that Dave sent me. The routing is as follows.ORD.GIJ.J146.WOOST.J34.DJB.J162.MGW.EMI3.BWIJohnualfan@msn.com

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"Looks like we will need Dave to setp in on this."Hi John,I assume you mean DaveKDEN? Whatever happened to him, he used to post often here? In this current depressed aviation climate, I hope he hasn't been affected. Bruce.

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>"Looks like we will need Dave to setp in on this." >>Hi John, >>I assume you mean DaveKDEN? Whatever happened to him, he >used to post often here? In this current depressed aviation >climate, I hope he hasn't been affected. >>Bruce. Bruce, Yep I mean DaveKDEN he is still around but does not post much real world stuff keeps him busy. Johnualfan@msn.com

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Just went out to Airliners net and checked out some of your photos. Nice work Jeff!

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TJ,Very few operators of the 727 have anything more sophisticated than VOR & ADF installed in their aircraft, with the exception of TCAS and GPWS. Perhaps there are some operators today that have upgraded to FMS/GPS, but largely it just wasn't cost effective due to the remaining life on the aircraft, and the fact that certification/installation costs for this type aircraft could soar to several hundred thousand $$ per aircraft. Short remaining fleet life precludes making those upgrades for most operators.... it is after all, all about profit! :-)I flew the 727 in 1987-88, and VOR NAV was indeed the norm. That is still all one REALLY needs for domestic flight ops, and it's not that bad!We had "portable INS" installations available just for ferrying the aircraft' to Europe for short contracts, but only then were they used.Though it is slightly more work, VOR Airway navigation can still get the job done today, and qualified pilots don't mind doing it, unless they are exceedingly lazy anyway! :-)Hope that answers your question....Regards,Tim Sanders

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>Though it is slightly more work, VOR Airway navigation can >still get the job done todayIn case someone wonders, airways are usually made up of VORs (and sometimes NDBs), and the intersections on the airways are always defined by two VOR radials or a VOR radial and DME.Some SIDs and STARs have intersections that are just coordinates (i.e. without any relation to a radio navaid), and then the aircraft of course needs some kind of inertial navigation to find the fix.Martin767 fetishistIt's a lot like life and that's what's appealing

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Thanks so much for all the great replies! I wouldn't have guessed that an airline like UA would decline to shell out the money for an FMC retrofit...but it sure is cool that they kept it old-school until the end of the '27's service! Guess I'll have to practice my airway navigation by hand on the Richard Probst panel before I take a crack at the Captain Sim or the DF version... :-beerchug:-outta

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Well would you be surprised to know that Northwest Airlines DC-9 fleet (over 150 airplanes) still only has Vor's and no INS or FMC? It's all I ever needed in over 8000hrs flying them.:-)Ed Weber a.k.a tallpilotNWA Retired

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Surprising, yes, but still very cool.Does anyone know, then, where I could get some (preferably free) airway charts--or similar documents--in order to correctly navigate the airways by hand?

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Hi Jeff,I last flew Captain on DC-9 N8909E (nose # 9151)on the 6th of January 1990 from PHL to Mke. In June of that year I checked out in the DC-10 and never went back to the DC-9. I have logged a total of 8356hrs in the DC-9 and have flown -10 (series 14) -30, -40, -50 and MD-80 models. During all those hours I never had an engine failure or had to shut an engine down and the only mechanical problems were false landing gear indications, one generator failure and minor instrument failures which says a lot for the quality of the maintenance at the Airlines I flew for, (North Central/Republic/Northwest)I didn't find N8923E in my log book.Regards,Ed Weber a.k.a tallpilot

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