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Ask the Q400 pilot a question.....

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Guys as you know we have several Q400 pilots on the team. If there's something you've always wondered about the Q400 and its operation in service we'll do our best to clear it up for you here, so feel free to ask. 

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OK.

 

How the hell is this a junior airplane? I have thousands of hours on jets and yet I am still strungling with this airplane.

 

Jets are easy. This is hard. This should be the most senior airplane in any self-respecting fleet :)

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I've got a question. What's the normal takeoff pitch. I normally hit around 6-8 degrees, and on landing what's the normal pitch? Like 2-4 degrees? I normally hit 5 degrees, and around what altitude do you guys flare at? 

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Fabo - the reason you're struggling is because for all that it's a small aircraft, it has a LOT of power and even though it has a glass cockpit and two FMCs (or one, the second FMC is an extra cost option from the factory) it leaves you to do a lot of the work. Its autopilot is pretty basic and most Q4 pilots don't trust the VNAV, so use VS and some maths to work out descents. However that said, if you're willing to stick with it, you'll find it one of the most rewarding aircraft out there. It has just enough technology to keep the button pushers happy but unlike the 777 or the A320 if you completely cock it all up on the approach you can bang out the AP and get a good rate of descent whilst still slowing down. In the big stuff - go-around!

 

Flightman21 - I was taught by Josh to pitch up to around 15 degrees after rotation. In the Majestic it's sometimes a little less than that, depending on flap config. Either way you want to get the nose off the ground, rotate to between 10 and 15 and do nothing apart from raise the gear and if necessary push 'NAV' if you want the airplane to track the SID until the acceleration altitude which we set at 1000 AGL. Then push the nose over towards 10 degrees and as long as you're beyond Vfri (flap retraction speed, which you should be if you haven't been too ham fisted) then pop the flaps up, autopilot in, props back to 900 and turn the bleeds from min to norm. Then run the after takeoff checks. I can't say I've ever paid too much attention to the landing pitch as I'm too busy feeling my way down! In flaps 35 you definitely have a much, much flatter profile and you have to make a more conscious effort to get the nose back up to a flare pitch without banging the tail, easily done in a Q400. I'll get one of the guys to give you a more comprehensive answer on this. 

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OK.

 

How the hell is this a junior airplane? I have thousands of hours on jets and yet I am still strungling with this airplane.

 

Jets are easy. This is hard. This should be the most senior airplane in any self-respecting fleet :)

I think by "junior" is that its what all the junior pilots get as a newhire at Republic Airlines, with more senior pilots bidding up to the E170 (and gasp, E195... at a regional! SCOPE anyone!?). However, as far as difficulty in learning, it's more difficult than jets to fly, as you have to actually fly the airplane. 

I've got a question. What's the normal takeoff pitch. I normally hit around 6-8 degrees, and on landing what's the normal pitch? Like 2-4 degrees? I normally hit 5 degrees, and around what altitude do you guys flare at? 

 

I'll second what Ben wrote... on landing at Flaps 15º I'd keep the max at aroun 4-5º: if you're at the correct speed (Vref or Vref+5), this should give a normal (maybe firm?) touchdown with minimal float. Being at Vref or above also protects you from a tail-strike, and is more important than memorizing a particular pitch attitude, which will change based upon your landing weight. 

 

As far as takeoff, I honestly can't remember- but I do remember that 7-8 degrees is where the tailstrike could occur at higher gross weights. You should be off the ground though before this happens, since you'll be above V2 anyway.

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Fabo - the reason you're struggling is because for all that it's a small aircraft, it has a LOT of power and even though it has a glass cockpit and two FMCs (or one, the second FMC is an extra cost option from the factory) it leaves you to do a lot of the work. Its autopilot is pretty basic and most Q4 pilots don't trust the VNAV, so use VS and some maths to work out descents. However that said, if you're willing to stick with it, you'll find it one of the most rewarding aircraft out there. It has just enough technology to keep the button pushers happy but unlike the 777 or the A320 if you completely cock it all up on the approach you can bang out the AP and get a good rate of descent whilst still slowing down. In the big stuff - go-around!

 

 

 


I think by "junior" is that its what all the junior pilots get as a newhire at Republic Airlines, with more senior pilots bidding up to the E170 (and gasp, E195... at a regional! SCOPE anyone!?). However, as far as difficulty in learning, it's more difficult than jets to fly, as you have to actually fly the airplane. 

 

Yeah, guys, thanks, but that is not actually what I was "asking". :)

 

Just a kind of a "sigh" that wonders how come newhires are usually placed in oftentimes the most complex type in the whole fleet.

 

I understand about the difference to jets though. It is nowhere near simple, but VERY rewarding plane to master...

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Thank alot for the replies guys! I'm mainly looking forward to what the landing pitch is, because in the q3 it's 2-3 degrees and many other aircrafts it's the same. But the Q3 is way lower than the Q400 So looking forward to a answer pertaining to the pitch. 

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Yeah, guys, thanks, but that is not actually what I was "asking". :)

 

Just a kind of a "sigh" that wonders how come newhires are usually placed in oftentimes the most complex type in the whole fleet.

 

I understand about the difference to jets though. It is nowhere near simple, but VERY rewarding plane to master...

 

Yup, that's it. As Josh said in a Q&A session, if you're the kind of pilot whose ego depends on the smoothness of your landings, you'll end up mighty depressed flying the Q400.....

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did you ever use a simulator for your training (official ones) and if yes how close does fsx with the majestic compare to it.

 

also how fun is it to fly a q400 compared to the other aircrafts you have flown and how hard is it to fly compared to the others you have flown.

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According to Josh our guy, the Majestic certainly flies accurately but unsurprisingly FSX cannot replicate the sense of motion that the real thing has and often you will sense say a sink on approach in the seat of your pants before the instruments tell you. This can't be felt in FSX. He also says that the real thing is MUCH easier to fly. They do use a Level D sim for training, which has a HUD. They never use it however at his airline and apparently it's only use is for banging your head on as you get in and out! 

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Yeah, guys, thanks, but that is not actually what I was "asking". :)

 

Just a kind of a "sigh" that wonders how come newhires are usually placed in oftentimes the most complex type in the whole fleet.

 

I understand about the difference to jets though. It is nowhere near simple, but VERY rewarding plane to master...

 

It's not about the airplane, it's about pay and days off, and sometimes, where you're based. It is a bit backwards though- I think it would be interesting if we all started in large airplanes, and moved to the smaller (more complex), and then ended our careers as CFIs (rather than beginning our careers), thus having a whole career of experience behind us. 

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I found the FSX Q400 very difficult to fly compared to the real thing. Added to everything you must do as pilot flying, you must run your own flows, setup the box/radios, talk to ATC. Add to that the distractions of being at home- the telephone, coffeemaker, skype, facebook are all at your side :)

 

Another aspect is control pressures- the real Q400 has a FCECU and an artificial feel unit to produce control pressures (elevator, trim force, rudder) which can't be simulated on home computers. If I push on the rudder pedals at home (I have a PFC pedals from the old FTD we had at the flight school that no one wanted), the nose will kick to the side. But you won't of course "feel it" sitting in a chair.

 

 

(And while beta testing, take extensive notes as well!)

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What's your favourite obscure/hidden feature of the aircraft (specifically in regards to the Majestic version)? It seems quite basic on the surface though you soon come to find that there's a lot more behind it. So if there's one neat fact about the aircraft, or ability or characteristic, what is it?

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Derek, here's one we talked about in the training - the nose wheel steering obviously it goes off for pushback to allow the tow bar and the nose gear to swing around to push you back out of the gate onto the taxiway. When you turn it on, it takes IIRC around 8 seconds to pressurise, which isn't a big deal as at this point you'll be running through the taxy checklist anyhow. Where you might come a cropper is at the holding point if you get a rudder problem (say an amber warning on the MCWP), the first thing you'll do is cycle the rudder from full left to full right and to do this you'd turn off the nose wheel steering, as it'll turn left and right with the rudder input which is a big no no when you're stopped. If then the caution clears and you in your haste to make up the lost time turn on the nose wheel steering, hit the gas from the hold round onto the runway you'll get a nasty shock as you plough straight ahead for 8 seconds :P 

 

Just a little quirk of the thing, and only the kind of stuff a guy who flies this thing everyday could tell you.  

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What's your favourite obscure/hidden feature of the aircraft (specifically in regards to the Majestic version)? It seems quite basic on the surface though you soon come to find that there's a lot more behind it. So if there's one neat fact about the aircraft, or ability or characteristic, what is it?

 

Oh gosh... hmmm.. I really liked the "ICE DETECTED" message, and how it was implemented. It's not very hidden though. 

 

Above all else, the sounds bring me back to a day at work in EWR. Probably the most accurate sounds you have in FSX with a turboprop.

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Is there a way with the Q400 to put an extended centerline from the runway in when there is no approach to the airfield?

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There is, using the P VOR function in the FMC which draws a virtual VOR radial to a point of your choosing. I can't quite remember how to do it without watching the videos again, however as we did it on the first lesson (seems a long time ago now)  :P

Let me find out. 

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A question more about the FSX/P3D Pilots edition from Majestic . . When I search for Q400 data practically everything that comes up is the Q400NextGen.  Does your training model use this NextGen upgrade and can you tell the difference in the cockpit between the two?  Has Majestic stated which specific model or year their model is based?

 

Question for the pilots:  I read that a Q400 with a light load, like a short ferry flight handles almost like a different airplane than a Q400 at MTOW.  Any comments on the extremes?

 

Thanks.

 

Ray

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I think once you enter the PVor, it'll give you the radial to enter on the waypoint definition page.


A question more about the FSX/P3D Pilots edition from Majestic . . When I search for Q400 data practically everything that comes up is the Q400NextGen.  Does your training model use this NextGen upgrade and can you tell the difference in the cockpit between the two?  Has Majestic stated which specific model or year their model is based?

 

Question for the pilots:  I read that a Q400 with a light load, like a short ferry flight handles almost like a different airplane than a Q400 at MTOW.  Any comments on the extremes?

 

Thanks.

 

Ray

 

The differences with the nextgen are primarily cosmetic- in the cockpit we had a digital clock, the cabin provided LED lighting as well as larger overheads, GPWS upgraded to mode 6, and added the option for landing with reduced Np (which is simulated in our Q400)


@raymar

 

The Q was very nimble to say the least, but harder to fly smoothly when empty. Being a very sturdily built airplane, you could expect a very firm landing.

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The differences with the nextgen are primarily cosmetic- in the cockpit we had a digital clock, the cabin provided LED lighting as well as larger overheads, GPWS upgraded to mode 6, and added the option for landing with reduced Np (which is simulated in our Q400)

@raymar

 

The Q was very nimble to say the least, but harder to fly smoothly when empty. Being a very sturdily built airplane, you could expect a very firm landing.

Thanks Brendan,

 

Regards,

Ray

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Being a very sturdily built airplane, you could expect a very firm landing.

I was just wondering, do pilots of the Q ever give out any passenger announcements giving out any inimitable pilot briefings to educate passengers on the forthcoming bump? I'm assuming that 'very firm' will wake up the passengers :)

 

 

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I was just wondering, do pilots of the Q ever give out any passenger announcements giving out any inimitable pilot briefings to educate passengers on the forthcoming bump? I'm assuming that 'very firm' will wake up the passengers :)

 

Naw, I think they were all always worried about delays and making their connecting flights more than the landing.

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I think that anyone who flies (as a passenger) regularly on the Q400 knows not to expect creamy smooth touchdowns....

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In the RL Q400, when taxiing I notice the prop pitch remains relatively the same (small angle) and then only when the PLs are in alpha the blades increase pitch into a higher angle.

 

In the MS Q400, its almost as if its directly linked to throttle % or throttle position. 

 

In either case, can anyone clarify which one is true?

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I think that anyone who flies (as a passenger) regularly on the Q400 knows not to expect creamy smooth touchdowns....

To be honest, I flew FlyBe Newcastle > Gatwick and back twice a week for 5-6 years and although some landings were firm, many were very smooth.   

 

One thing I always noticed was how the Q400 cabin crew used to hate the moment that the aircraft pulls onto the gate, and the pilot feathers the props - it sounds just like the engines have cut (even moreso in real life than in the MJC sim) and of course many passengers would start unclicking the seat belts and standing up to grab their luggage!

 

"LADIES AND GENTLEMEN.... the engines are still running.. please DO NOT unfasten your seat belts at this time!".......

 

So, as I experienced that 30 sec feathering time, about 300 times over the years, I was just wondering what the reason for it was, Ben? ....... Is it to allow cooling before the engines are cut?

 

Cheers,

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