Ashatsea

RW Inflight Long Haul Question

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Once the aircraft is at cruise and the flight deck speakers are on and tuned. What is the FO and Second Officer doing (assuming the CAPT leaves the flight deck)? What are they required to check and what is the frequency? Do airlines specifically state that every *insert minute* the crew is required to scan all EICAS synoptics and verify fuel with FMC, and etc? Is their a RW airline procedure or checklist that they use?

Disclaimer I am not a RW pilot and the googles bring back no results.

Ash Keelson,

Edited by Ashatsea

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Hi Ash,

The following is all pertinent to the 777 as we operate them at Emirates. There is no requirement to check synoptics at any time neither for normal nor non-normal operations. The plane will alert you via an EICAS message for any non normal situation that requires your attention and direct you to the proper checklist (in most cases anyway). Status messages are not something you're required to do anything about as such other than to consider dispatch implications once you get to your destinations.

As for normal operations we're required to do time and fuel checks at least once every 60 minutes but most people I've flown with normally uses +-30 minutes. Other than that monitor radio and flight path (routing, airspace, terrain, weather etc) - and for myself I always play the game "What would I do if XYZ happened right now - what is my plan B and C"

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I like looking out the windows.  The view from the cockpit is the best seat in the house.

The guy I've flown with for almost two decades and I will get into such issues as what is beyond the edge of the universe, much easier questions to ponder than what makes women tick.

Edited by downscc
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5 hours ago, downscc said:

I like looking out the windows.  The view from the cockpit is the best seat in the house.

The guy I've flown with for almost two decades and I will get into such issues as what is beyond the edge of the universe, much easier questions to ponder than what makes women tick.

FYI, this is only volume one. No one knows how many volumes there will be!

the-book-understanding-women-has-finally

Edited by mcbellette
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10 hours ago, Ashatsea said:

Once the aircraft is at cruise and the flight deck speakers are on and tuned. What is the FO and Second Officer doing (assuming the CAPT leaves the flight deck)? What are they required to check and what is the frequency? Do airlines specifically state that every *insert minute* the crew is required to scan all EICAS synoptics and verify fuel with FMC, and etc? Is their a RW airline procedure or checklist that they use?

Here's another volume although it might not be as interesting as volume one above!

You pose some very interesting questions here and so does René's reply.  I suspect the answers you get will vary a great deal because it will depend on the airline, the aircraft type (e.g. glass or 'clockwork' instruments) and whether or not you are asking about a Shorthaul or Longhaul operation. Dan is spot on about the view, but there isn't much time to enjoy it on a Shorthaul flight when compared to a Longhaul one. Besides, you should be looking out for other aircraft because it is the ones that don't show up on TCAS that could hit you!  

Every flight is different, but It is vital when anything goes wrong in flight that one pilot manages the aircraft at all times, including navigation, communication and use of the autopilot (third pilot). In trying to answer your questions, it is perhaps worth comparing the operation of older generation jet aircraft with todays higfhly automated glass cockpit twin airliners.   

In the earlier generation of jet airliners most, if not all, of the important instrumentation is on view all of the time, so the crew workload tends to remain fairly constant throughout the flight; even if there is a relatively minor problem of some sort to deal with.  For example, if there is a slow hydraulic leak in one of the aircraft's systems the two pilots or the (sadly missed) Flight Engineer will normally discover it fairly quickly and the crew will then be able to take appropriate action to stop or slow down the leak before the fluid runs out completely and the system loss becomes a major problem.

However, in aircraft with glass cockpits and lots of automation (ie no clockwork instruments or Flight Engineer's station) this isn't always the case.  The workload can often increase quite dramatically when something goes wrong; especially if the pilots rely totally on their computers or automatic warnings to alert them to a slowly developing problem.  "What's it doing now?"  or *!?*?!* words to that effect are usually the first sounds recorded on the CVR!   For example, notification of the same slow hydraulic leak will often be triggered at a much lower fluid level and it might then be too late to stop or reduce the leak in time to keep the system available for the subsequent landing. 

It is considered good practice by the Longhaul pilots I know to 'doorbell' around the synoptics at reasonably regular intervals - say once every 20 or 30 minutes; rather than rely totally on computer generated EICAS warnings to alert them to any problem.  It is also good practice to select the appropriate synoptic whenever you make a change to it  (e.g fuel checks and configuration changes, door Auto/Man monitoring etc). 

There is no substitute for good airmanship and tactical planning; especially on Longhaul flights over sparse regions. Today's glass cockpit jet aircraft are very reliable, but this does not mean that the FO and Second Officer can switch off, relax totally and do nothing, or simply stare out of the window looking at the stars whenever their Captain leaves the flight deck.  If anything they need to have the same sort of in-depth knowledge of their aircraft's systems as their predecessors had in order to know what to do when something unexpected happens.  Who knows, the simple act of doorbelling around the synoptics at regular intervals just might give them those extra vital minutes or hours to prevent what could be a relatively minor problem from becoming a full blown emergency situation?

Bertie Goddard     

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As "Los Pilotos" mentions we do a check every Hr. Otherwise we constantly monitor flight path, FMC and  radios as necessary. Sometimes depends on location we use satcom or other means of comm instead radios. 

Usually each airline will have different procedures, for example on ours I will not leave the "deck", but we have a private bathroom and sleeping quarters.

The funny part is when we get our meals, I love that "cart show" when flight attendants try to protect the cockpit.  

In our days unfortunately due to security paranoia we don't leave the cockpit as we did before.    

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Pretty much what folks folks have said above, mostly paperwork such as hourly fuel checks, if ETOPS going through aide memories etc

 

Jake Barlow 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Skyflyer2018

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20 hours ago, killthespam said:

but we have a private bathroom and sleeping quarters.

What aircraft do you fly on? 

I ask because if I remember correctly the 777 as an example has the crew quarters in the tail, hasn‘t it?

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47 minutes ago, Ephedrin said:

What aircraft do you fly on? 

I ask because if I remember correctly the 777 as an example has the crew quarters in the tail, hasn‘t it?

The FCOM has crew rest quarters either in the belly or the attic but I don't think you want to be in the tail, which is behind the aft pressure bulkhead.

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11 minutes ago, downscc said:

The FCOM has crew rest quarters either in the belly or the attic but I don't think you want to be in the tail, which is behind the aft pressure bulkhead.

Mkay,

don‘t know what I am confusing it with then...

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1 hour ago, Ephedrin said:

What aircraft do you fly on? 

I ask because if I remember correctly the 777 as an example has the crew quarters in the tail, hasn‘t it?

It's 744 and 748. The FA  in the back and some at the end of the hump.

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On 4/14/2018 at 9:12 AM, Los Pilotos said:

As for normal operations we're required to do time and fuel checks at least once every 60 minutes but most people I've flown with normally uses +-30 minutes. Other than that monitor radio and flight path (routing, airspace, terrain, weather etc) - and for myself I always play the game "What would I do if XYZ happened right now - what is my plan B and C"

This is especially true for us on long legs like Vancouver to Australia!  A lot of water!!  Same holds true for polar Ops.

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Do the pilots really have their meals prepared in separate kitchens than the passenger meals? I think I saw this stated once on a YouTube catering video. And do the pilots have to eat different meals? I've flown over 3.5 million miles and I frequently saw pilots bring their own food (terminal takeout) on to the aircraft. Thanks!

Edited by MattS

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They are doing all those things you'd expect a professional pilot to do.

Filling out the nav log of the computer flight plan at a minimum which is a legal requirement i think in my country. The nav log will have the fuel remaining and time between waypoints. What they would do is complete and cross reference the actual fuel remaining with the nav log predicted fuel remaining to keep track of fuel usage.

They would also be using the nav log to document time expected at particular or all waypoints, and they will document the times that they actually cross them. This is for reporting to atc for traffic separation and also airmanship. Generally, HF communications is utilised as VHF is line of sight. Im not sure if other forms are used by pilots to communicate with atc.

Pilots would also be checking weather.... always checking weather. Weather along the track... at the alternates and at any place where they may have to land their plane if they had to. Also at the destination.

They would also be doing all other things that would improve their situational awareness like reading terminal charts... jeppesen world wide text... high altitude airway charts and the airspace frequencies and airspace requirements. Theyll be maintaining a listening watch on various frequencies including but not limited to VHF 121.50 the emergency frequency.

Theyll also be monitoring aircraft systems... oh... did i say that theyll be constantly looking at and assesing weather and airports?

I think the better term to google would be "cruise duties" or words to that effect.

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I hate to disillusion a lot of you folks, but I had a kitchen timer that I would set to remind me when to make my next position report.  :smile:

 

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10 hours ago, Bluestar said:

I hate to disillusion a lot of you folks, but I had a kitchen timer that I would set to remind me when to make my next position report.  :smile:

 

Sounds pretty sensible to me.

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On 4/19/2018 at 5:08 AM, Bluestar said:

I hate to disillusion a lot of you folks, but I had a kitchen timer that I would set to remind me when to make my next position report.  :smile:

 

That sounds horribly out of date :happy:

We have a comms page where we can set reminders (waypoint, time, lat/long, altitude, fuel) .. the amount of timers i've set a timer and then forgotten what it was for :blush:

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2 hours ago, Los Pilotos said:

That sounds horribly out of date :happy:

Wilhelm is in that class of pilots that have flown and navigated with charts and sextants, stopwatches mandatory.  Sure it is dated, but I'll tell 'ya sonny we knew our stuff and were good at it.

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My brother said that these days it’s easier due to phones, iPads and available internet. Besides he likes to shoot some pictures and... always enjoys “random” conversations during NAT crossings. 10 years ago a good book was also useful. Of course all of that is done once the standard oversight is maintained.

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4 hours ago, downscc said:

Wilhelm is in that class of pilots that have flown and navigated with charts and sextants, stopwatches mandatory.  Sure it is dated, but I'll tell 'ya sonny we knew our stuff and were good at it.

Now you're talking, Dan! 

Back in those olden times when GPS, INS and even VOR/DME's didn't exist, navigating was a mysterious art to most pilots.  Apart from using the sun and stars to navigate by, a qualified navigator would often have to use other navaids, such as NDB's, Doppler, Consol, Loran C and even the weather radar's coastal ground returns to determine the aircraft's position. I am reliably informed that there was also a system originally meant for shipping on some aircraft called Decca, which relied on four ground based radio stations and special charts to plot your position across the North Sea. They were referred to as the master, red, green and purple transmitters and the navigator or pilots would have a degree in mathematics to calculate their position using combinations and/or multiples of 6,8,9, and 5 - by which time they would most likely have suffered a lane slip because the aircraft was travelling too fast for the system to catch up.

Incidentally, have you ever wondered why the B744 Beacon Light switch has a LWR position?

Bertie        

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52 minutes ago, berts said:

Incidentally, have you ever wondered why the B744 Beacon Light switch has a LWR position?

Presumably the same reason that the smoke evacuation handle exists?

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19 hours ago, berts said:

Incidentally, have you ever wondered why the B744 Beacon Light switch has a LWR position?

My guess is to be able to turn off upper beacon, which is located above the cockpit, for anyone of several reasons such as night IMC or since we are on this subject, perhaps to allow shooting the moon or stars??

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4 hours ago, downscc said:

My guess is to be able to turn off upper beacon, which is located above the cockpit, for anyone of several reasons such as night IMC or since we are on this subject, perhaps to allow shooting the moon or stars??

Correct! 

23 hours ago, skelsey said:

Presumably the same reason that the smoke evacuation handle exists?

You are both right.  The early B747's were fitted with three INS sets, but because their reliability was a bit of an unknown at the time a sextant was usually carried - just in case.  Turning the upper anti-collision beacon light off and opening the valve in the port would allow the sextant to be used.  The port is also used when it becomes necessary to evacuate smoke from the flight deck, so the LWR light position is now fairly redundant.

Bertie     

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4 hours ago, berts said:

The early B747's were fitted with three INS sets,

My first exposure to the triple INS was on the B707-320s. I'm trying to remember, some of them may have only had two.  The first airplane I remember flying with an observation bubble was the R4-D. 

I know I'm old.  ROFL

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