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Chewey

Just cause we have a bunch of airplane lovers

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When I was in product development school I developed a case study on the systems engineering approach taken by Boeing with the 777. It was the biggest ever undertaken for a plane, because it involved a huge amount of engineering not only the plane, but flight routes, landing areas and maintenance procedures all to get their initial ETOPS certification.

In any case, I recall exactly reading about that AA 757 and the hilltop. It's interesting that Boeing said that the speedbrakes would have made no difference, because, if I recall correctly, that same auto-retraction is built into the 777 FBW system. They also studied that United DC10 that made the emergency landing using just wing-engine thrust and developed software programming that would allow the pilot to fly normally with the yoke, but the computer would compensate for any known damage and make the plane react according to what the pilot requested via the yoke. When you look at the safety systems and the reliability of modern aircraft, it's absolutely incredible what great machines they are. To think that only 100 years ago the Wright Brothers flew that little plan a few hundred feet. That's some pretty incredible product evolution in a short time.

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Yeah...I definitely don't think flying in the next 100years will advance as far as aviation has since the Wright Brothers. Its really amazing where flying has gone in that short a time. My latest fear is the push for single pilot airliners or no pilot airliners. I understand getting rid of flight engineers. But going from 2 pilots to 1 or even none? No way.

Interestingly, Airbus just filed a patent for a windowless cockpit due to the inherently lousy aerodynamics by putting windows in a fuselage, let alone cockpit windows!

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I don't think the flying public will accept a single-pilot plane. No way in h3ll I'll get on one. I don't care how good the automation systems are. They help a pilot do what a pilot does best, which is watch for anything that can go wrong, plan for contingencies and keep his plane safe. Sometimes that means doing something that no computer programmer ever expected the plane would have to do. If I recall correctly, it was Fifi that famously landed in the Hudson after eating a flock of geese. I expect that was all old-fashioned stick flying by the Captain to put that plane down, and, besides, I know for sure it was good old fashioned eyeballs in the Captain's head that picked out that exact pathway down to the river and the exact spot to set his plane down without hitting anything at all. That's why the Captain needs windows, and that's why we need a two people up front who know what they're doing. I feel a soapbox rant coming on now, better step down before I take this thread off course :thththsoapbox2-1:

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You know, speaking of the C17 and what an amazing chunk of engineering that plane is...

I don't know if it's my American "arrogance" or whatever, but when I'm booking a flight, I will always choose an airline that flies Boeing planes over anyone else. I'll take a 737 over and A320 every chance I get, and a 777 over about anything else in the sky. I studied the 777 in-depth in a systems engineering class one time, and I have tremendous respect for the great people in Washington that designed and build that beast. I've never been on a 787, but I look forward to flying in one of those. Boeing knows what they're doing. From what I've read, as well, most pilots prefer the Boeing cockpit design philosophy- and if pilots prefer it, that's more reason for me to fly with them.

Absolutely! Call it arrogance call it whatever, it's American made. I'm sensitive about this subject because I support anything and everything American built. It's not necessarily a "we're better than you" attitude, actually it's nowhere near that. It's about supporting the US economy and US innovation and American ingenuity etc. All this crap started way back in the early 80's when the Japanese auto industry revolution went out of control. I refused to buy a Honda, or a Toyota or a Datsun < remember those pieces of @#$%@#? lol. So it's a lot more about patriotism for me (no wonder we LOVE the New England Patriots around here dang now it makes sense lol) than arrogance or conceit or anything like that. Now my wife, she likes those German POS cars so I have no choice when it comes to that LOL! :D If I had it my way, I'd put her in a brand new Stingray or Roushe GT instead of that German crap roller she likes. But hey, that's just me.

Not saying Boeing hasn't had its share of crashes, but just this morning I got up, put the news on and there's this Lufthansa Airbus crashing over the Alpes with 148 passengers on board and likely no survivors. :(

You could buy some from the scrap yard a while back. A local retired SkyHawk driver in town got a striped A4. They trucked it in on a flat bed put it together at the edge of the airport here. It sat there for about 10 years, the story I was told, it came with out an engine and he ran out funds to get one. Finally he scraped it. I stiill dont know if you can get them now though.

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One of my favorite Navy jets ever! The A4 Skyhawk and some pretty cool history with this bird, too. A lot of it's parts unfortunately littered all over the Sinai desert and Vietnam from being shot down by SA-2's in one of the biggest and greatest Arab-Israeli wars and of course the Vietnam war. This is the aircraft that John McCain got his $^& shot out of the sky over Vietnam only to spend 5 years in the brutal Hanoi Hilton.

Every time I see this plane I can't help but think of one of the greatest movies of all time, yeah baby, Top Gun itself and all those crazy, super fast maneuvers that Jester and Viper would make in those nimble Skyhawks, being chased by Maverick and Goose in those behemoth F-14 Tomcats lol. Loved that movie one of the greatest of all time! I never knew until recently that Tim Robbins was in that movie! That guy makes me thing of nothing else but Shawshank Redemption.

That pic above is before the US Navy realized this airplane needed a major upgrade in it's avionics package, especially as a Naval aircraft that had to chuck it long distances over water to get to its bombing destinations and back to the aircraft carrier, so they built the later models with that hump spine which gave the jet a completely new attitude.

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Here's a fun trivia for anyone who would happen to know the answer: If you look at that aircraft and particularly in Todd's photo, you can see those crazy goofy and tall landing gear (particularly the front one) and why did they build a relatively small, Naval aircraft which had to land on an aircraft carrier mind you and with tall landing gears are probably the worst thing for that with the arrestor wire etc? Why would they put such long and tall landing gears on such a small aircraft?

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Easy, so they can absorb the newbie's hard landings. I think they compress pretty good, so you need the room in the piston. Also look at those underbelly tanks! Needs clearance.

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In fact in the simulator thats how we practice....we turn off the flight augmentation computers so they dont "prevent" us from stalling the plane.

So what are the characteristics of that bird in a stall? Is it abrupt or docile or somewhere in between? Any fun stories of stalling the sim?

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The idea was that the A4's primary mission was to deliver the hydrogen bomb off an aircraft carrier. Funny and very interesting the mentality in most of the design aspects of the 50's and 60's were so "cold war" centric. The hydrogen bomb was fat, stubby with a huge front and in order to fit it onto the belly of that aircraft and have the clearance for the landing gear, they needed to make it tall enough. Then when it was never used for that purpose thankfully, it became strictly a ground attack aircraft. But then they realized that it didn't have enough power to fully load it for those short and fast catapult launches off the deck and so they changed the take-off protocol by adding only so much fuel to decrease its weight and increase it's weapon's load but then they added that goofy looking, air-to-air refueling probe you see in those aircraft carrier planes in that picture and so it would take off super light on fuel but fully loaded with weapons and there would be a refueler circling the carrier waiting for the newly airborne aircraft to pump in and top off its fuel while in flight and carry on its mission. Really fascinating stuff if you like this kinda thing.

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I have a bunch of cool pics of the harbor when the USS WASP was docked here in the summer of 2012 and there were some pretty cool military aircraft along with Boston Logan Airport and all sorts of boats cruising the harbor so it was the best of all worlds in one place it was great. I'll see if I can find them and post them.

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Thats interesting Hatem....good stuff.

Texas, as far as the stalls....in the sim its pretty docile. We don't train like we used to, where the main goal was maintaining altitude or losing a minimum of say 100ft......now the main goal is to break the stall and get the airplane flying again. These are mostly all takeaways from the AF crash. I did, however, get to do a test flight recently. Our Airbus facility is in El Salvador if you can believe that.....they actually do a really really great job down there with our overhauls. Anyway, got to experience firsthand the "alpha floor" event, which is when Fifi takes over and adds full firewall thrust. This occurs just before a stall to prevent one. It was neat to see the airplane do her thing to prevent the stall. Not something we do everyday.

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I love flying talk. Anywhere, anytime. I wrote about my TWA 727 sim ride nearly 15 years ago. Read on.

In the Fall of 1990 when I worked as Station Manager-JFK for Trans World Express/Metro Air Northeast, I got a chance to fly the TWA 727 simulator. After several months of working in JFK, I got to know a few people that had “connections.” The skd I worked placed me along side a TWA FIC, Ino Sylman. He taught me a few things about JFK and got me out of trouble a few times. Especially when I went head to head with USAir. It was a legendary event but that’s another story.

One day I asked Ino about simulators in JFK. He told me that TWA had the 727 and the

747. He made plans for me to fly the 727. I was so excited that I dragged out my Flight Engineer Test Guide and my maintenance manual for the 727 and began to study. I wanted to make this a great flight. I didn’t know who was going to be there and therefore didn’t know if any emergencies would be thrown at me. I wanted to be prepared.

It was a dark rainy night when I pulled into the Hanger 12 check point and then drove over to the simulator building. The guy let me in and took me to the simulator room. I climbed into the left seat of the 727 and he started it up. The simulator began on the taxiway. Then I taxied it onto RWY28 at IAD for night time departure. The Big Dipper was in view.

Knowing that the 727 mains are far behind the cockpit, I taxied half the a/c past the runway centerline before I turned to line up down the runway so as not to use up any runway getting straightened out. The right seater thought initially that I was going to taxi off the side of the runway but I explained what I was doing and he didn’t say another word. Because this was more like a joy ride, we didn’t do any checklists.

With the flaps set and lined up down the runway, I moved the throttles forward. I don’t remember what the setting was but it wasn’t fire walled. If he tweaked them, I didn’t know that either. We didn’t compute any numbers so I rotated around 160IAS. Once we had a positive climb, I called for the gear and eventually the flaps. We climbed to ten thousand and I flew it around to get use to it.

I did some slow flight with flaps up and then did some steep bank turns. Then I headed back to the airport for some landings. This would be a visual approach with the ILS. As we entered the base leg, the right seater pointed out a visual reference which also was the outer marker. It was a blue light that helped put some perspective into distance I think. So, I flew towards the blue light and lined up on the ILS. I called for the various flap settings and called for the gear. Doing a visual and following the localizer was easy. I was kinda chasing the glide slope though. The closer we came to the runway, I tried not to over control the plane figuring I’ll just make it worse. As we crossed the threshold, I pulled the throttles to idle. I tried to make a nice flare but ended up with a hard landing. But hey, it was a landing…on the runway….not a crash! I then extended the spoilers and engaged reverse thrust. That put a smile on my face when I could hear the faint rumble in the background. I exited the runway.

I took off again for another circuit around the airport. Again, my flare was bad and I landed hard. The right seater told me that with the 727, to have a good flare, you needed to push the yoke forward. This initially raises the tail first [and the mains] before the nose starts down. Unfortunately, I didn’t have enough time to practice this. I had enough time for one more run which would also be the most stressful and exciting run….ever!

All of my approaches to that point were visual and with the aid of the ILS. This time I took off and did a tear drop turn back to the runway I just departed from. No ILS to assist. My approach was not very stable. I ended up slamming on the runway so hard, I bounced back into the air 50 feet! (If this were a real 727 I’m sure the ripple panels behind the trailing edge would signal a required inspection.) I didn’t think I would be able to get it back on the runway without going off the end. I elected to go around.

I fire walled the throttles while calling for the gear. I instinctively pulled back on the yoke to initiate a climb. Suddenly, I get the stick shaker! At first I was smiling, “Cool the stick shaker,” but then I realized that it meant an imminent stall. I wasn’t smiling anymore. I knew the only way out was to trade altitude for airspeed. But how was I going to do that with only 50 feet?! I looked out the window to the horizon. I watched the horizon and used the dashboard [glare panel] as a reference and lowered the nose just the tiniest bit. Suddenly, the stick shaker ceased shaking and I started to gain speed. Slowly, I started to climb.

I made a climbing right turn to enter a left downwind, base and final approach. My final landing was a “non-event” but when we came to stop I realized my back was soaked! It was a beautiful flight. 42 minutes.

The guy riding in the right seat was somewhat impressed. He told me that when he let people take it for a joy ride, they usually crash. I was the first not to crash it. Not bad for only a C-172 pilot.

I don’t really know how well I would have done if they put me in IMC and then started throwing engine fires at me during final approach to minimums but I would have given them a run for their money.

My only regret is the TWE/Metro didn’t stay in business long enough that I could have asked for time on the 747. Having experienced some medical setbacks over time, the 727 ride was my greatest achievement. It proved to me what I already knew about the 727.

I could fly ‘er!

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Great story! It's always interesting how much our minds are able to 'buy-in' to the simulator and begin to stress about flying it as if it were the real thing. They are great training tools and have come a long way, especially in the last 20 years!

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cptback.jpg

I did some Googling and I think this is the sim I used I'm not certain where this is as it was pretty dark inside when I arrived. Could be JFK but I know they shipped it out some time ago so who knows.

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Awesome story. Reminds me of when I was a young instrument pilot and still wrenching on the EC135 in the USAF, and the pilots that knew I was a pilot would sneak me into the sim with them. It was cool to fly that sim as an got to do some aerial refueling! And they thought it was quite hilarious to kill 2 or 4 engines with a 50kt xwind. Good times!

Chewey is right too.....the sim is super realistic, and you really get into the mindset that you are really flying. Nerves and sweat and everything that goes with it. The 4hr session usually flies by.

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What do our resident airline pilots think of this crazy situation with this Lufthansa Airbus that took a dive into the French Alps?

It would be nice to get TexasPilot's and CJ's and whomever else's take on this really unfortunate crash but more importantly, the extremely bizarre behavior by the copilot who apparently locked the captain out of the cockpit and deliberately reprogrammed the autopilot to crash the airplane. This is really messed up

It's not even a question of any medical condition or if he lost consciousness or something along those lines. Just very disturbing behavior. It has to be a deliberate act but why? We might never know why he did this, actually.

What they described was on the voice recording with the screaming by the captain and the passengers once they realized they were going to crash must've been unimaginable.

Did any of your respective airlines have a meeting about this or anything?

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You know, I've been wanting to ask that question here myself, but I didn't even know how to broach the subject, or really feel like I could put any thoughts into words that would be appropriate. I, like I'm sure many others, have been almost in a state of shock over the horror of this mass murder. it has left me numb trying to understand how it could happen. In the end, I don't expect I ever will understand, and I must chalk it up to one more bad person doing terrible things to others.

One thing I was wondering is how well various pilots within a fleet get to know each other. Basically, do you often fly with the same first officer, or do you not get to know each other very well? On a ship, for example, the crew can become like family, and if someone is on the verge of a breakdown, other crew members might have a chance to spot odd behavior and intervene. Same with police, or astronauts, or many other high-responsibility close-knit working conditions. Are air crews similar, and how could this person have been identified earlier?

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Boy it's big news there's no doubt about it but I still get a kick on how much life some of these news stations get out of something like this for example, CNN has been on a tear about this and they even pulled out this statistic out of their asses I couldn't believe - 24 of 7,244 airline crashes were deemed purposeful. I'm not sure what's more disturbing the 24 that were done with some insane purpose or that there has been 7,244 crashes? At first, the latter number seems shocking to me, but when you compare it to the amount of flights in general, it must be a very low number, or is it?

Joe, you bring up an interesting point that I gave a little bit of thought to but that's as far as it went, However, now that you mentioned it it's got me thinking: if this is a taboo subject to raise amongst our valuable members whom happen to be pilots and specifically airline ones, then I sincerely apologize and just please disregard the question and thoughts. I'm usually of the mindset that anything is debatable if one chooses to within reasonable taste, of course, but I think you have a very valid point, Joe. I can see why this would be very difficult to talk about especially for certain individuals. The more I think about this event the more I find it quite disturbing.

But, some interesting thoughts arise and particularly the issue of the cockpit door and it's accessibility which is designed to keep the bad guys out but in this case it ended up doing exactly the opposite and who'd've thunk of that scenario? If the people who designed and engineered the locking device and planned it with the inside lock and the outside, coded keypad that only allows 30 seconds of unlocking time but that still can be overridden by the individual inside the cockpit seems to have missed this possibility. I guess the entire safety net instilled into the whole locking of the door and it's procedure takes into account that both, captain and copilot will always be as one unit and on the same page and always the good guys and never took into account that there could be a possibility where those two individuals would be conflicting. That actually blows my mind! Why? Because if there was ever a case that should've indicated that possibility and that they should've implemented or put a system in place that would've allowed for the one good guy to succeed would've been the Egypt Air case. Almost exactly the same thing happened there except the captain got back in and fought the co-pilot to regain control only to watch the copilot shut the engines down deliberately and by then they were way too in altitude to do anything about it. But the point being is that there was a serious case where there it was a deliberate act by one of the pilots to crash the airplane and so you would think that they would've put a lot of thought into that scenario and possibly created a way for this Lufthansa pilot to save the situation, especially with something that seems simple enough as access to the door locking system to get back into the cockpit. IMO, they missed this one and missed it badly. Shame.

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No offense taken here. Yeah, pretty bad set of circumstances, and so so sad. Lovely CNN seems to be doing a fine job of explaining anything and everything about our secure cockpit door on the Airbus, so at least they save me from posting security procedures on a public forum! Good to know they are on the case as usual.

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As far as crews, back in the day, crews used to fly together for a full month, and then switch to another Capt or FO for another month. This is where we bid monthly "lines" of flying. Now we use a different system that saves the company money. So we now fly with a guy for 1-5days, and then its another guy a week later for another 1-5days. Of course you can bid to fly with the same guy....and that does often happen. So there is a chance to get to know someone very well. It also depends on the base. For instance, on the 320 in ATL there are between 125-150 FOs, and the same amount of Captains....so its easy to fly with the same guy frequently. On the MD88 in ATL however, there are around 600 FOs and 600 Captains. So its much harder to fly with the same guy 2x.

While the CVR is telling, I will be interested in the FDR data, which will probably show exactly how the descent was initiated, and what physical actions were taken in the cockpit during the descent.

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I'll say it here and I know many will disagree with me and that is truly okay. As soon as our wonderful government announced they were mandating reinforced cockpit doors shortly after 9/11, I said it was a bad idea. It was too reactionary in my opinion. The next 9/11 style attack will come from within. Nobody has a record until they do. I foresee terrorists brainwashing and enlisting young people with no records (already happening) to learn to fly, get airline jobs, bid lines to work together and guess what? They're protected behind a reinforced cockpit door from passengers who (since 9/11) will have no problem getting involved. I'm comfortable with relying on me and my fellow passengers to take down any terrorist who tries to do something like this. They know we won't sit idly by like we did pre-9/11. But I don't want them to gain entrance to the cockpit and lock themselves inside.

I understand pilots who would say they feel safer behind a secured door. I would too! But you and I aren't the terrorists.

My :Twocents:

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Cj, that's what I figured with the crews. It would be a lot better if two guys got to work together for a while. I bet it would prevent this kind of thing. Texas, I do hear you. My own thoughts, though, may be toward locking the door...

I think, in the end, the locking cockpit door is good. Really, I actually feel safer on a plane post 9-11 than I ever did, ONLY because I know the crew is isolated and able to do their jobs without interference, and if some ba$tard with a death wish decides to try something on the plane, we'll all be on him faster than stink on a pig, and he'll probably be dead. It's happened before where the "disrupter" ended up dying because of the passengers "restraining" him so effectively. For the record, TSA has NOTHING to do with my feeling safer on the plane. (side story... my company used to own a huge training center in Leesburg, VA that was often rented out by TSA for their own training. After observing them, we determined that it stood for "Thousands Standing Around."

In the end, the sad fact is that we can't protect against everything. Someone heIl bent on killing lots of people will always find a way to do it. Sometimes they use guns, sometimes it's bombs, other times it's poison, and sometimes it's airplanes. If someone really wants to spread destruction, it's going to happen. Sadly, for whatever reason, this guy decided to become a mass-murder, and he chose the tool that was most accessible to him. Thankfully, it's extremely rare, and we're all still safer on a big old 7X7 than just about anywhere else in the world. That says an awful lot for all the people that make that happen. If only hospitals had that kind of safety record (but that's another thread).

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And to think the tsa wants their own guns in the airport. Haha

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No, believe me......there are times one would NOT want to fly with a guy for a month straight. This system is wayyyy better. There are a lot of personalities around here, and standardization is what makes us able to perform together. But there are times where I'm very glad I only gotta fly with a guy for another day or two.

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Cj, come on man! You got about a jillion switches in that cockpit of yours. You mean to tell me that they didn't put in a mute button for an annoying FO? :yb624::yb624:

Seriously, I get your point. It's not like you can just move to a different desk if the guy next to you annoys the heck out of you.

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^^^^ now thatS some funny $hit.....I AM the annoying smartass FO! Im sure Capts can't stand flying with me.....all I wanna talk about is boats boats boats boats!!!!

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That's it CJ, you changed my mind...I guess I'll join the airlines. By the time I retire from active duty and could become an FO you'll be a captain and we'll set up as a hard crew flying out of FL and talk about boating for the next 20 years!

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