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About skelsey

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    Manchester, UK
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    Aviation, sport, broadcasting.

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    Broadcast journalist and BAVirtual Director of Training.

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  1. skelsey

    VOR/NDB not automated swicht

    I believe so, just as is the case on the real 737.
  2. skelsey

    Best Flight Planner

    Personally: PFPX is excellent for messing around with routes and I like it for long-haul flight planning where I need to generate a route from scratch. However, Simbrief's OFP output formats are much more realistic, with much less faffing around in terms of aircraft performance profiles etc and highly accurate results (I've compared Simbrief plans to real OFPs and often the fuel burn figures are within a few hundred kg). It's also web-based so you can do your planning from any device with an Internet browser, you don't have to pay for a server subscription for weather, NOTAMs and NAT tracks, it exports to all the formats you could want and the new downloader is very convenient. It can also be integrated in to third-party websites (VAs etc) with all sorts of very cool features, and I've found Derek the developer very willing to assist in adding new features and hooks for developers. For instance, our Simfest Dispatch Centre uses a custom Simbrief integration with PSX BACARS to collect taxi time and contingency fuel statistics which we are able to automatically pass to Simbrief to provide automatic average taxi time and statistical contingency fuel figures -- which Derek in turn has provided the ability for us to place data on the OFP etc. That said, Simbrief's limitation is that the route that pops up when you type in a city pair is just the last route that someone used between those airports. This means that depending on who last used it, you may get a perfect CFMU-validated route or you may get a bag of nonsense -- you just have to apply some common sense (and the tools are there to validate and/or generate a new route if you so desire). Personally this doesn't bother me for short haul stuff as I always just paste in the real-world route. For long-haul where the real world route varies from day to day I often plan the route in PFPX, then paste the route string in to Simbrief for the paperwork...
  3. skelsey

    VHF 8.33 kHz spacing - IVAO

    It won't tune those frequencies because they are 8.33 channels and the PMDG radio, at the moment, is 25kHz only so can only tune in 25kHz steps (.000/.025/.050 etc).
  4. skelsey

    VHF 8.33 kHz spacing - IVAO

    Hi Jan, I thought IVAO had some sort of 25 -> 8.33 conversion process so you tune a 25kHz frequency but get the 8.33 channel? In any event, assuming IVAP uses Simconnect to get the frequency in the same way that vPilot does, there are some technical limitations in that in its basic form Simconnect only returns the first two digits after the decimal point (the FSX COM radio system is very basic and really still rooted in the days before even 25kHz spacing was commonplace) -- this is why there is no such thing as xxx.xx5. I think there may be a way to get all three digits but there I seem to recall it would require a different method which has some drawbacks. Having said that, it is possible for developers to create an 8.33-compliant radio because some have already done so.
  5. skelsey

    Does Ryanair really land hard as people say?

    Of course, absolutely. That's my point -- if ATC had issued a 180 to 5 or 160 to 4 speed restriction and the guy was flying faster than that and messing up the spacing, then fair enough... ...but if they hadn't issued a speed restriction of any description, then I don't see how they can turn round and complain that the speed the pilot subsequently chose to fly messed up their plan!
  6. skelsey

    Does Ryanair really land hard as people say?

    So had ATC issued an actual speed restriction? If not then... well, seems a bit rich to then complain what they really wanted was for the aircraft to fly a particular speed...
  7. skelsey

    Arrival Procedures EGLL

    As others have mentioned: broadly the standard vectoring pattern (assuming westerly operations) is: Hdg 265 off LAM at MSL +1 (about FL80 typically). Hdg 120 off BNN Hdg 080 off OCK Hdg 260 ish off BIG (essentially: aim at OCK!) The streams are then merged roughly abeam Heathrow, descending toward about 5000ft (so the LAM arrivals for instance will be turned to about hdg 120 to merge with the BNN stream whilst the BIG arrivals will be turned to merge with the OCK stream) by the Intermediate Director. This produces a northerly stream heading roughly downwind descending toward 4000ft and likewise a parallel southerly downwind stream. The aircraft (both north and south) are then handed off to Final Director who manages the final sequencing on to the ILS, typically turning one on from the north, then one on from the south and so on, descending towards about 3000ft and then further with the ILS. The point at which the aircraft establish on final varies - usually anywhere from about 10-18NM out (the busier it is the further out final tends to wander). Standard speeds are 220kt off the hold, 180 kt on base and 160 to 4DME on final though these can be and are varied. When it's quieter there are many shortcuts on offer and aircraft may be given straight in from LAM or even around WCO on easterlies. As mentioned above, there are some vectoring diagrams on the VATSIM UK website.
  8. Figures of this kind stated on public facing websites = simplified figures designed for marketing purposes, not proper technical information! In Airbus' case, their interest is in marketing the maximum theoretical capabilities of the aircraft -- in terms of seating capacity and range, but not necessarily saying that range is achievable with a full payload (range, incidentally, in NM, is a pretty nebulous concept anyway in aviation as it's air distance, not ground distance that counts). In Lufthansa's case, they're giving their typical seating configuration and, I would guess, a simplified/rounded figure perhaps based on their particular configuration and assumptions about payload which are likely to be different to Airbus's. In either event, as I say, neither figure is really worthwhile as a technical reference.
  9. skelsey

    Does Ryanair really land hard as people say?

    That's quite a big claim. Got a source for that? There are some very strange statements going on here... Reverse thrust: one very good reason for using lots of reverse is that the average RYR turnaround is very short. Using full reverse reduces the amount of energy put in to the brakes. Plenty of 737 (especially) operators do the same, and there are plenty of pilots for all airlines who will tell you that they would rather use a bit more reverse ALL the time rather than go off the end. You know, safety first... I'm yet to meet a pilot from any airline (and I know several who do or have worked for FR) who says "yeah, the policy is to land at 1.8g every time to save the tyres" or that such considerations are even thought about. Pretty much universally, the approach is to aim for a safe controlled touchdown in the right spot, and, subject to the first two parameters being satisfied, make it as gentle as possible. But landings are fickle things and sometimes you crunch it in. The priority of any airline training department as far as landings are concerned is 1) don't break the aeroplane and 2) don't go off the end, so quite obviously, especially in a slippery jet like the 737-800, the emphasis is on putting it down in the right place and at the right speed over floating it three quarters of the way down the runway for a perfectly smooth touchdown and going off the end. But that's hardly unique to FR and certainly nobody is ever going to end up in the chief pilot's office because their landings are too soft. Minimum fuel? Yes, absolutely, carrying excess fuel where unnecessary costs money and is discouraged. But that's not unique to FR either. It's a commercial decision: to quote an ops manual "the cost of an occasional diversion is less than the cost of routinely carrying excess fuel". That's not, incidentally, from Ryanair's ops manual either. Minimum fuel is not in itself a problem provided a decision to divert is taken early. See above: the airline is quite happy to absorb the odd diversion rather than pay for everybody to routinely load an extra 200kg 'for mum' every time even when it's severe CAVOK and no delays are anticipated. Of course, if the weather forecast etc warrants it then it is the commander's prerogative to take extra -- all airlines (ANY airline) really want is that that decision is thought about properly and with some level of justification rather than just "oh, just bung on an extra tonne." Can you think of any company of any description where an employee would be permitted to spend hundreds or thousands of units of currency on a whim without any sort of formal justification? To be clear, I'm not saying that pilots should not take the fuel they feel necessary. But it is reasonable to remember that at the end of the day there's a reason we talk about commercial pilots -- the role is about 1) ensuring safety but, subject to 1), 2) having some commercial awareness and responsibility, and just like any business that means avoiding unnecessary waste and expenditure. We could take off with full tanks every time (or as full as possible taking MTOW in to consideration. That would make reaching the original planned destination highly likely because you could hold for hours if necessary. However, the cost of carrying that fuel around would quickly make it commercially unviable. Taking minimum fuel just means a diversion is more likely. As I say -- that is a commercial decision taken by the airline and as long as crews are prepared to make a decision to divert earlier it is not a problem. At the end of the day, what's the difference between arriving with minimum fuel, making an approach, not getting in and diverting immediately or arriving with 30 minutes extra fuel, holding for 30 minutes, making an approach, not getting in and diverting then? Both flights will eventually land with something very close to their final reserve fuel. Both crews could just as easily be caught out and end up landing with less than final reserve if anything further goes wrong. For what it's worth: every pilot I have ever known who has worked for FR has said that the training is top notch and very thorough. Why? It's very simple: for all Michael O'Leary's faults, he does recognise that safety is cheap when you compare it to the cost of an accident...
  10. skelsey

    Under the Hood: Part 1: The Instrument Scan

    Thank you both!
  11. skelsey

    Landing altitude B747-800

    I know Dan, I know - I was just having a bit of a light-hearted dig at the 737's expense rather than being genuinely critical. Not always easy in text!
  12. skelsey

    Landing altitude B747-800

    Well as a late 1980s construction myself I like to think I'm pretty modern!! 🤣 (The irony of course is that even the 30 year old -400 really is a modern jet in comparison to the 737 -- whatever Boeing might call the latest re-hash -- NG, Max, you name it -- it's fundamentally still rooted in some very antiquated gear in the name of commonality! Routinely having to set the cruise and landing altitude manually in the pressurisation system every time you go flying just seems a bit uncivilised, doesn't it? 😁)
  13. skelsey

    Ice Detectors

    One other point about wing anti-ice is that as Jim says, it is more common to use it as a 'de-icing' system to remove ice which has already built up rather than as an 'anti-icing' system like the engine anti-ice. This in part is due to the risk of 'runback ice' forming - remember it is only the leading edges (and often indeed only a portion of the leading edges) which are heated, so what you don't want to do is have moisture hitting the heated leading edge, staying liquid, running back over the top surface of the wing and freezing there, where there is no means of removing it. By waiting for some ice to build up and then turning on the anti-ice system, on the other hand, it is much more likely that the ice that has built up will break away cleanly. There is one addon which has accurately simulated the aerodynamic effects of icing, incidentally...
  14. skelsey

    Landing altitude B747-800

    ...and I feel as though we should also welcome the OP to a modern jet (!) which takes care of these sort of rather basic things for you! Rather another example of the 737 still being stuck in the 1960s, no matter how many shiny LCDs they put in the main instrument panel! 😁😉
  15. Our desktop flight simulators, for all their shortcomings, are quite good platforms for picking up and practicing the basics of instrument flight and navigation. In this short series of articles we will look at the basics of the instrument scan, flying basic manoeuvres on instruments, radio navigation procedures, instrument departures and approaches, and en-route IFR operations. The Instrument Panel The full panel is made up of the 'basic six' flight instruments. These in turn can be divided in to two categories -- the pressure-operated instruments, connected to the aircraft's pitot-static system, and the gyroscopic instruments -- which take their information, as the name suggests, from spinning gyroscopes. The 'full panel' is said to consist of the 'basic six' flight instruments, illustrated above. In modern Western aircraft these are typically laid out in the so-called 'basic T' layout highlighted above. The airspeed indicator (ASI), altimeter and vertical speed indicator (VSI) are the pressure-operated instruments and provide information about airspeed, height and rate of climb or descent. The remaining gyroscopic instruments -- the artificial horizon (or attitude indicator), turn indicator and heading indicator -- provide information about aircraft attitude, rate of turn and aircraft heading. Although modern airliners are equipped with a great deal of sophisticated electronic equipment, the basic six flight instruments and the proper techniques for their use have changed remarkably little since the first 'blind flying' experiments in the 1920s. As an instrument pilot you must learn to trust above all else what you see on the instruments, and become proficient in flying on both the full panel and the limited (or partial) panel. The B747-400 Primary Flight Display retains fundamentally the same 'Basic T' layout as a traditional analogue instrument panel. Photo credit: Markus Vitzethum For a given aeroplane weight and configuration, a particular attitude combined with a particular power setting will always result in a similar flightpath, be that level, climbing, descending or turning. Any change of power and/or attitude results in a change of flightpath and/or airspeed. For this reason, the attitude indicator (AI) and the engine power gauges (RPM, manifold pressure, N1 etc) are known as the control instruments. The remaining instruments are the performance instruments, as they show how the aeroplane is performing as a result of the selected power and attitude. Scanning The first step to becoming a proficient instrument pilot is to develop a good instrument scan. A pilot with a good scan is always looking at meaningful information: simply attempting to scan all the instruments all the time does not achieve this objective! Because power + attitude = performance, the attitude indicator is arguably the most important instrument we have available to us. As long as we have the correct power set on the engine gauges, and are holding the correct attitude on the AI, the performance of the aeroplane will be very close to what we want. Once set it is unusual for the power to change very much, and therefore only occasional glances at the engine gauges are required for confirmation. The attitude, however, will change dynamically and for this reason the instrument scan always starts and ends with the attitude indicator. The most common type of scan is known as the selective radial scan. Why? It is selective because only the instruments most important for the manoeuvre are selected and prioritised. It is radial because the scan is centred on the attitude indicator and moves radially out to another instrument, before moving back to the attitude indicator In straight and level flight, for instance, the most important instruments are: The AI (which indicates that the wings are level and the correct pitch attitude for straight and level is set) The altimeter (which confirms that the height is constant) The heading indicator (which confirms that heading is constant -- further, if the wings are also level it follows that the aircraft must also be substantially in balance) A simple scan for straight and level flight, therefore, could be AI - altimeter - AI - heading indicator - AI, and so on. Of course, it is prudent to also periodically scan the other instruments, but only perhaps every fifth or tenth cycle, for instance. A typical scan for straight and level flight. Note the emphasis placed on the AI, altimeter and heading indicator. What about a level turn? Again, the AI remains of prime importance to set the bank and pitch attitude, and the altimeter remains important to ensure height is being maintained. The turn and slip indicator is also important in order to maintain balance and rate of turn. However, if we are changing heading significantly, it is probably not necessary to scan the heading indicator at a high rate initially. For instance, in a standard rate turn of 3° per second, a 180° turn will take one minute: so initially we might only scan the heading indicator occasionally. However, as the target heading is approached we would want to scan the heading indicator increasingly frequently in order to ensure we roll out accurately. Remember, the proficient instrument pilot is always looking at relevant information. Typical scan for maintaining a level turn at constant bank angle. Note that the heading indicator will also need to be scanned increasingly frequently as the target heading is approached. Other useful scans include the vertical scan - used, for example, when referencing an enroute chart or other document - or the more relaxed circular scan, which may be used to monitor the aircraft’s performance in cruising flight, perhaps with the autopilot engaged. The vertical scan (left) and circular scan (right) may be used enroute when navigating, or in the case of the circular scan, to monitor the aircraft's performance when the autopilot is engaged Another type of scan is the inverted V scan. This scan - covering the AI, turn and slip indicator and VSI - may be used if an instrument failure is suspected, as the three instruments scanned are typically driven by independent systems. In many aircraft the AI gyro is vacuum-driven, whilst the gyro for the turn indicator is electrically driven. The VSI, meanwhile, uses the static system. As a result, a failure of any one of these systems would result in two out of the three instruments agreeing whilst the instrument driven by the failed system would show a discrepancy. The 'inverted V scan' is useful for determining if an instrument has failed Scanning Mistakes Apart from trying to look at too much at once, perhaps the most common error in scanning is fixation. For instance, the pilot may stare at the heading indicator, wondering how the heading has drifted ten degrees away from the target, missing that the aircraft has entered a climb. It is important to keep your eyes moving and keep seeking relevant information for the manoeuvre you are flying. Building an effective instrument scan is rather like reading a book, or this article -- rather than reading each individual letter, you are instead scanning and interpreting the words and sentences as a whole. In the same way the proficient instrument pilot will read the panel as a whole, rather than each individual instrument in isolation. In the next article in this series, we’ll look at putting the instrument scan in to practice with some basic flight manoeuvres and techniques.