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Airlines - Comments & Tips
Member Name: Dalesman
Airlines - Comments & Tips
Date: 31/10/01, updated on 31/10/01 (319 review reads)
Advantages: put your mind at ease, forearmed is forewarned, an general Understanding
There must be many folk out there who were frightened of flying, even more so now in the light of September 11th, however having just returned from another trip to the USA I have to say to you that transatlantic flying is even safer, with increased security, and tighter controls at both the departure and arrival airport, and on top of all this to most folk the art of flying a Jumbo Jet is still a mystery, how does it get off the ground..well in this Op I will give you a basic idea of how Civil aircraft fly...( I fly frequently and am a member of the Aviation Society at based at Manchester Airport)......
........sit back and enjoy the flight !!
Flying phobia?s?roots are usually centred around the feeling of being out of control and in the hands of someone else (the Captain) usually fuels this fear, in addition not understanding what all those sounds whilst on board are or mean, so in writing this account I am attempting to dispel in very basic terms (so experienced aviators don?t have a go at me here thank you!!!) the basics and myths of flying, what goes on at the airport and how the aircraft maintains flight for the layman?....
~~~ o0o ~~~ The Aircraft ~~~ o0o ~~~
Most of us will be flying in a twinjet (Boeing 737, 767, 777 and the Airbus series of Aircraft except the A340) or four engined jet aircraft (Boeing 747, Airbus A340 BAe 146) , additionally some of us may also be flying in an aircraft with twin propellers (Fokker F27, Fokker 50 Shorts 360 and the ATR 42 & 72 and Dash 8) the twin propeller aircraft are usually used on UK and European short haul flights such as the links between Leeds/Bradford and Amsterdam and other regional airports, and the type of engines used on these aircraft although they look ancient can be thought of as jet engines with propellers on the front?..some aircraft look small from the terminal area but when the time comes to board them inside you will find that they are quite spacious inside wit
h seating configurations on most long haul flights being 3-4-3 ( three seats by the window, four in the middle and three by the opposite window) this type of configuration can be found on the Boeing 747 and the Boeing 777, in other long hauls Aircraft like the Airbus A340, A330 and the Boeing 767, Tri-Star and MD11, DC10 the usual configuration is 2-4-2?
~~~ Why is the trend now only 2 engines rather than 4 engines?? ~~~
With modern technology, engines are becoming lighter, quieter, more powerful, greener and more reliable than some of the older engines on the 4 engined aircraft, in fact the 2 engines on the Boeing 777 are more powerful than all 4 of the engines on the 747 put together, aircraft operating across the Atlantic and Pacific have to prove that they can fly for 210 minutes on a single engine in the event of the shutdown of the other engine, this is called EROPS ( extended range Operations), This amount of time is long enough for them to reach the safety of the nearest airfield if they happen to be half way across the ocean..
On films that show flying sequences, we often hear the co-pilot (first Officer) call V1 and V2 on the take off run?V1 relates to the point at which the aircraft is committed to taking off, V2 usually follows a second or two later and is the point whereby the Flying pilot will pull back the control column and the aircraft will take off, safe climb out from the runway is V2 plus 10 knots which is when the undercarriage is lifted up into the belly of the aircraft?
~~~o0o ~~~ The Airport?.and our Flight ~~~ o0o ~~~
Lets pretend we are on a flight from Manchester to Orlando in Florida?.so we check in, show our tickets and passports get our seats allocated, have our baggage taken from us, and off we through security and passport control to the airside shopping facilities to get the pre-flight bits and pieces?..our baggage has been taken off us to go through various scanner and security
checks and eventually ends up in containers designated for the flight and type of aircraft for our flight which just happens to be a Boeing 747 ? 200 for today?
~~~ o0o ~~~ The Flight Preparations ~~~ o0o ~~~
Flight Operations somewhere down in the bowels of the airport have all the information relating to our flight, our proposed route ( flight plan) has been filed with Air traffic Control for their approval and we are waiting for that to come back, meanwhile the Captain and First Officer have decided for this outward flight to Florida who is going to be the Flying Pilot and who will be the non flying Pilot, because both have different roles to perform, and whoever is the non flying pilot on the outward leg will be the flying pilot on the return leg so the workload is equally shared ?both pilots will cross check ALL the paperwork and calculations, Cargo to be carried, number of passengers, aircraft details, fuel, weather conditions over the whole route, nominated diversion airports in the event of an emergency or bad weather at our destination?once a final weight figure has been calculated, the Captain can work out how much aviation fuel he needs to have uploaded on the aircraft and the first officer will have cross checked the calculations making sure that both agree, also on this particular aircraft we have a third member of the flight deck he is the engineer, who is responsible for monitoring the fuel, engines, Hydraulic Systems and various other systems on the aircraft?so all three having studied the paperwork and agreed on the final loading details, are armed with the flight plan now approved by Air Traffic Control ( ATC) are all ready to walk out to the Aircraft?..
Meanwhile we are all having coffees, buying newspapers and feeling a bit anxious abut the flight?..
The crew meet the Cabin crew discuss any operational issues, flight time, weather conditions and then the flight crew board the aircraft, whilst the cabin crew
prepare the cabin to receive everyone which today will be around 370 passengers, as it is raining the engineer has drawn the short straw, to walk around the outside of the aircraft to a visual inspection , checking the flying control surfaces ( flaps ), undercarriage, radio aerials, engines, noting anything irregular so as he can report to the captain on his return to the flight deck, whilst the engineer is outside the Captain and First Officer have been programming the Flight Computers ( all three of them ) with the route, passenger loadings and generally preparing everything for the flight..
~~~ o0o ~~~ The Flight ~~~ o0o ~~~
With all three crew members on the flight deck and the aircraft pre-flight checked passengers are all on board and the doors are just closing the Non flying pilot calls control tower for permission to push the aircraft back and start engines whilst in the push ( called Engine start and pushback) this is given and the Captain releases the brakes, a small powerful tug connected to the nose wheel of the Aircraft powers into life and the aircraft gently begins to move backwards away from the Terminal, the engineer opens the fuel valves, the Captain starts No 1 engine and as fuel begins to flow the engine spools up to life and stabilises, this happens in sequence with the other 3 engines, so by the time we have pushed back and lined up with the taxiway the Aircraft has all four engines ? ticking over? and the tug is disconnected and moved away, the ground engineer puts his thumbs up to signify all is in order and the ground equipment is all clear of the aircraft, the Captain asks the First Officer to radio for taxy clearance to the main runway, permission is given with an exact route to the threshold or holding point, the Captain powers up the engines to a taxy speed, and we begin to move, meanwhile the cabin crew give us our safety talk?in your own interests and the interests of other passengers, this is the point when y
ou should SHUT UP LISTEN and pay attention, even if you are an experienced flyer others may not be ?
This of you close to the wings will be able to see the leading edges of the wings move and the trailing edges also move, this is done to about 20 degrees which increases the surface area of the wings in preparation for take off ?all moving controls are checked by the Flight deck crew whilst in the taxy and by the time we arrive at the runway threshold all final checks will have been carried out and the aircraft is in a state of readiness for the take off?
Permission is given to ? line up and wait? that means to move onto the main runway which today is 24R face the aircraft down the runway and wait for permission to take off?this will be in a westerly direction, the cabin crew will have been told to take their seats and the Pilots are ready for take off?.
~~~ o0o ~~~ The Take Off ~~~ o0o ~~~
Permission comes through from the Tower?..climb level 50 to Wallasey VOR, clear take off.. this is giving the captain permission to take off toward Wallasey navigation beacon and to climb to 5000 ft, the engines are spooled up to take off power by the Captain and Engineer whilst the first Officer monitors the aircraft systems, the aircraft lurches forward and everyone is gently but firmly pressed into the backs of their seats by the thrust of the jet engines, we power down the runway to about 160 ? 180 MPH the First Officer calls V1???V2 lift off, positive climb ( V2 + 10 knots) Captain calls gear up and the aircraft settles into a safe climb out of Manchester runway 24R toward Wallasey below to the right we can see the M56 motorway and soon we'll be crossing over the M6 with the River Mersey on our right?.
~~~o0o ~~~ Gaining our Cruising altitude ~~~ o0o ~~~
As we gain our climb speed passengers with a view over the wings will notice that very quickly but in stages the leading and trailing edges of the wings are with
drawn into the wings, as more lift is generated with the speed of the aircraft, and the engines are powered back to a gentle hum, once airborne we don?t need as much engine power to maintain flight, further permission to climb is soon given to altitude 190 ( 19000 ft) and we change course at Wallasey to head over the Isle of Man, Belfast.
~~~ o0o ~~~ The Oceanic Clearance .......and arrival ~~~ o0o ~~~
Just after Belfast we are cleared to 28,000 ft, and we continue to make our way across Northern Ireland and upon reaching the western coast line of Eire Shanwick ( that is the special control centre based in Prestwick Airport that controls ALL Atlantic Traffic ) give us our Oceanic clearance today we get the track we wanted and are cleared to 33,000 ft our cruising altitude for the Atlantic, we fly out over the Atlantic towards St Johns Point in Canada some 3 hours away?. and upon reaching the Canadian Coast we turn South to fly down the Eastern Seaboard of the USa and are given further clearance to ascend to 37,000 ft, with almost half the journey done we are well on our way to Florida?.
I have asked Ciao to create a new section for nervous flyers twice now and had no response so the next bit has been combined from another Op....
The approach and landing side of flying at your destination...
OK.. we're cruising at 37,000 ft over the Atlantic on a flight, we are about 10 miles off the Eastern Seaboard of the USA flying down past the Carolinas (say around the Southern point of South Carolina) heading for Georgia State Boundary..our air speed is mach .84 (84% of the speed of sound) and with about 90 minutes to landing at Orlando...
~~~ o0o ~~~
The Cabin crew are serving the final snack of the flight (high tea..hot drinks and sandwiches) meanwhile on the flight deck the Captain gives an arrival/ approach briefing to the First Officer ( who is the non flying pilot on
this flight) and the flight engineer ( on Boeing 747-200's there is a third member on the flight deck called the Flight Engineer)
Captain is asking the engineer to monitor the engines through all stages of the descent and approach into Orlando and to monitor with the first Officer radio instructions from Air traffic Control (ATC), Captain says that he expects to be given a Runway 35 arrival at KMCO ( Orlando International) and that means that we will be making our approach in the vicinity of Orlando executive Airport some 10 miles North of KMCO...
We will expect descent instructions shortly from ATC and our aproach to Orlando will be via kennedy Space Centre crossing the coast line at 11000 ft continuing to descend to 5000 ft over Orlando executive airfield turning onto the ILS beacon ( Instrument Landing system used by aircraft to make an auto landing or approach onto the runway centre line)...
The Radio crackles into life Virgin 076 descend to flight level 21000 ft..the First Officer responds to the instruction and the Captain adjusts the altitude and speed control knob on the flight management system and the autopilot eases back on the engine throttles and puts the aircraft into a shallow descent the engines ease back in tone and the aircraft settles into a barely noticable slow descent from 37000 ft to 21000 ft which will take about 15 mins at a descent rate of 1000 ft per minute....
~~~ o0o ~~~
The Florida coast line is now visable ahead in the distance to those folk on the right hand side of the aircraft, we have descended in stages to 15,000 ft the Radio crackles into life again Virgin 076 further descent to 10000ft to be level by Kennedy navigational Beacon, first officer acknowldges the instruction back to the ATC and once again the aircraft is eased into a shallow descent towards the navigational beacon just north on the space centre, the Captain has programmed the Flight management computer to mak
e sure the descent is enough to ensure that the aircraft is flying level over the beacon at 10000 ft..
Upon arrival at the Kennedy Beacon ATC give us speed restrictions and vector routings to guide us towards the Southerly beacon at Orlando International Airport for Runway 17, so its a Runway change and we'll be making our approach from the south, the Captain adjusts the speed control to the instructed speed by ATC and instructs the First Officer to select the wing flaps in degrees of 1, 5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30 and 40 degrees these stages happen at certain points on the Flying Pilots command,so as the speed of the aircraft is reduced and at the appropriate indicated speeds the flying pilot will ask for the flaps to be extended to the next flap setting in the sequence until we are almost at the threshold of the runway when the final flap setting will be called for, so if you are sitting along side the leading or trailing edges of the wings you can see the edges of the wings moving outwards and downwards as the flap settings are increased, doing this increases the surface area of the wings creates more lift and allows the aircraft to fly much more slowly and safely for the final approach to the runway and landing
we are given permission to descend to 5,000 ft and to be level by the time we reach the southerly beacon, so upon reaching the beacon we are turned onto a right hand turn to fly towards the outer marker and eventually intercept the runway 17 ILS ...
~~~ o0o ~~~
Things occasionally tend get a little bumpy between Kennedy and Orlando as we descended through the various cloud layers, but then it is can be a little bumpy when flying through cloud..however, we are now lined up in the general direction of the runway at Orlando and have just been given permission to descend with the ILS when we've captured the radio signal, that means when we have intercepted the radio signal and are following a glide path down the runwa
y centre line to the runway threshhold and a safe touch down..safely lined up with the ils captured the Captain asks for gear down..First officer pulls the gear down lever and a rumbling noise can be heard as the landing gear lowers and locks into place, as we approcah the runway we are handed over to the approach controller and he gives us permission to land..
Just 100 ft above the runway we are on full flaps, gear is down, and the Captain is now flying manually, he pulls back slightly on the control column and the nose of the aircraft begins to flare up ( rise slightly) further slowing the aircraft and allowing the main wheels to touch the runway first..the nose wheel will touch down last, as this happens the captain selects reverse Idle (thrust)..this is not really a reverse mode, what actually happens is that a flaps or buckets built into each engine casing is moved into the jet thrust thus blocking the forward push and deflects the thrust slightly forward, this helps in slowing down the aircraft, in conjunction with the autobrakes, spoilers which kill the lift on the wings also pop up on touch down ( these are the little flaps on the top surface of the wings) they are also sometimes used as airbrakes in flight to slow the aircraft down or when starting a descent...
So we are at the end of the runway, and have been given a route to take on the taxyways to our allocated stand number at the terminal, hope you have enjoyed your flight and you are a little wiser and happier about how a huge Jumbo Jet is landed safely at an airport ( the principal is the same for most aircraft....
Flying is still statistically the safest form of travelling
0o0o0o0~~~~~ THE END ~~~~~0o0o0o0
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