Jump to content

B757Guy

Members
  • Content Count

    112
  • Joined

  • Last visited

Everything posted by B757Guy

  1. Glad to see they plan to upgrade equipment, but long term, this will be a moot point, unless the tunnel and Portal Bridge issues are corrected. The tunnel itself is a few short years away from needing a complete overhaul, which will limit the number of trains into Penn Station to maybe less than 10 an hour?
  2. Happy New Year Amtrak Unlimited. Had some down time, and figured I'd share some experiences from flying over the Arctic. Climb maintain FL240, for xxx 881 Heavy, came the blast from my headset, as we climbed through some light chop… Thanks to the craziness of Crew Scheduling, and a friend of mine begging to swap trips, so he could be home for his 20th anniversary, I had a rare flight that started in Chicago (ORD), rather than my normal crew base in Newark (EWR). My fiancé, who is also a pilot, but with a different airline is working on this holiday week, so off I go to Tokyo’s Narita International Airport. Forgetting the craziness that is O’Hare, with it’s endless taxiways and jammed frequencies, I can finally relax a little. This afternoon, we are a 4 person crew, and the relief crew heads for the bunks, to catch some sleep, before they relive myself and my First Officer in about 3 hours. We will continue this routine of 3 hours on, 3 hours off until we arrive in Japan tomorrow, around 4:30PM, local time. Flying to japan from the United States is always interesting. Most people think that a flight from the Midwest, or the east coast would head west, possibly passing over San Francisco or LA. But, and much to the dismay of the flat earthers, the shortest distance between two different points on a map is NOT a straight line, but actually an arc across the globe, called a great circle route. The great circle route from Chicago to Tokyo, curves up into western Canada, and then cuts across Alaska, over Denali National Park. The route then hugs the Russian peninsula of Kamchatka, before we pass over northern Japan, and descend into Tokyo. The route is about 5500nm. However, todays flight also needs to take into account turbulence and the jet stream, and how to either take advantage of it, or avoid it. Today the stream is working to our disadvantage, as it typically does headed west. Therefore, rather than fly into it, and fight a 100+ knot headwind, we will fly north of it, and fly directly over the top of the world, flying what we call a polar route. Leaving Chicago, and passing 18,000 feet, we take up a course directly north, with a heading of 360 degrees. In a few hours we will over fly Hudson Bay, and the very far northern territory of Nunavut in Canada. At this point, still having flown a 360 degree heading, will we start our turn northwestward, to the very high latitudes of the Artic Ocean. Our route will touch 79 degrees north, before we turn south over Russia. Within about two hours of take-off, we enter an area where our magnetic compasses become unreliable, swinging wildly, so we use true north as our reference. Looking at our charts, I try and wrap my head around the fact our nearest diversion airport is either Barrow, Alaska, or an airport in Sweden who’s name I still can’t pronounce, both of which are 1,000 miles away to the south, despite being on opposite sides of the planet. We are about 4 hours into our flight, still heavy with fuel, at FL340 (34,000 feet) zipping along at Mach .83 when a message comes in from our dispatch with our fuel freeze temperature. If the fuel we have on board is allowed to cool to the point it freezes, it would lead to a very bad day for all, so on polar flights, my airline actually takes a sample of the fuel on board, and cools it to determine it’s exact freezing temperature. This number is relayed to us via satellite, while in flight, and inserted into our flight management computer. If the fuels gets within a few degrees of this number, we get an alert. Our options, however, are a limited to warm the fuel. We can either fly faster, or fly lower, both of which can have implications for our carefully planned fuel calculations when we left Chicago. Our flight today passes through 10 different large ATC sectors called FIRs, or flight information regions. Each of these FIRs has its own rules regarding communication and position reports. The 777 has five different communication systems on board. VHF, HF, something called Controller Pilot Data Link Communications, (CPDLC), along with Automatic Dependent Surveillance Contract (ADS-C), both of which are data transmission networks. CPDLC is kinda cool, as it allows us to essentially text message with controllers. We also have SATCOM on board as well. Each of the ATC sectors we fly into supports some, or all of these comm networks, and we must have at least two available at one time. Coming down from the high latitudes, we make landfall off the Artic Ocean, over part of Siberia. The view from the flight deck is surreal, with nothing but white vastness, and rugged looking mountains below us. There is literally no sense of human civilization below us, as far as the eye can see. The view stays like this for hours. Soon, we begin our descent into Tokyo. The sun has never really set on this almost 12 hour, 37 minute flight across the Artic. We have crossed 9 time zones, into tomorrow. Curiously, the sun dipped briefly below the horizon, only to rise again as we left the upper latitudes, east of the International Date Line. Finally, the runway emerges out from the late afternoon gloom of a rainy day in Tokyo, as my First Officer smoothly lands our 777 onto the 11,000 foot long strip of asphalt in front of us, after almost 13 hours aloft, having flown to the very edges of our planet.
  3. B757Guy

    Happy New Year, from the Flight Deck

    Thanks Devils Advocate!
  4. B757Guy

    Happy New Year, from the Flight Deck

    More than likely, the crew just wanted you back in your seat, hence the comment about landing in 15 minutes. Glad you got to fly on it! I never was fortunate enough to do so, but then again, did routinely fly faster than she could, while in the Air Force.
  5. B757Guy

    Happy New Year, from the Flight Deck

    I wonder if possibly you were over the Chesapeake Bay, and not Long Island at this time? It would be an odd arrival into IAD, as most international flights are routed into IAD a different way, but certainly possible. Do you recall your altitude at the time? It's also quite possible the flight crew told you that, simply to get you back to your seat sooner.
  6. B757Guy

    Happy New Year, from the Flight Deck

    The rules are different for foreign carriers, but I do not know what they are. As for the AE jump seat ride, if it was post 9/11, consider yourself very lucky, and the crew should consider themselves even luckier that they did not get caught.
  7. B757Guy

    Happy New Year, from the Flight Deck

    I can only comment on US based airlines, as that is who I fly for. Yes, an FA will be on the flight deck during a bathroom break as I mentioned, but that is it. Once we push back from the gate, only authorized individuals are allowed. US based airlines will not even allow jump seat privileges to a flight attendant, as a passenger, which is something we use to do regularly prior to 9/11.
  8. B757Guy

    Happy New Year, from the Flight Deck

    Nope, you are correct! 15 minutes did seem like a stretch... Oh, and it's not unusual for a very heavy 747 to fly above 250kts below 10,000 on take-off. This is done for safety reasons. Most military aircraft also have a wavier below 10,000, and often when I was a pilot in the Air Force, I would have my speed around 300kts below this.
  9. B757Guy

    Happy New Year, from the Flight Deck

    No, they can not be overridden by a PIC. The rules are very explicit. Unless you are authorized, once any US based airliner pushes from the gate, any non-authorized individuals must not be on the flight deck. Even a flight attendant is prohibited from sitting in the jump seat as a passenger. Having said that, on an aircraft with just two pilots, and no authorized jump seaters, the FA is required to stand behind the CA or FO while the other is using the bathroom. While at the gate, with the parking break engaged, we are happy to have a visitor pop in, provided our work load is light.
  10. B757Guy

    Happy New Year, from the Flight Deck

    SHORTS 360!!! I have about 200 hours in one. Loved every minute of it!One of the neat things, both the CA and FO had their own door to the flight deck.
  11. B757Guy

    Happy New Year, from the Flight Deck

    The Concorde flew subsonic at a higher speed - roughly mach .90, and also did not have the same sped restrictions below 10,000 feet that most other aircraft have, so it is possible, depending on where over Long Island they were, that they could cover that distance quickly, but probably not 15 minutes, given the various things needed to slow her down for landing config.
  12. B757Guy

    Happy New Year, from the Flight Deck

    Lol, this may sound funny, but I actually have very limited knowledge of the seats! I can tell you all matter of technical details on the airplane itself, but I actually have limited knowledge of the seat configurations for the cabins. The only thing we typically concern ourselves with is souls on board, and final weight, when it comes to the cabins.
  13. B757Guy

    Happy New Year, from the Flight Deck

    Hi, this flight was the 777-300ER (77W)
  14. B757Guy

    Happy New Year, from the Flight Deck

    We do tend to bring books and movies to watch, and our bunk area has IFE, too. It can be hard at times to rest, but you usually do at some point, which along with caffeine keeps us going. As to the fuel question, I'm going to pass on an answer, as I don't fly short haul routes any longer, and can't speak fully to the practice. It is however costly for an airline to follow this policy, and obviously not ideal for passengers either. Personally, as a captain, I would decline the aircraft if our operations folks put one of my flights into a situation like that.
  15. B757Guy

    Happy New Year, from the Flight Deck

    It is, and we often flip a coin to see who goes first. I try to be a good captain to the crew, but sometimes "fudge" it, so I catch a later break! However, for take-off and landing, it's all hands on deck, and all 4 of us are on the flight deck.
  16. B757Guy

    Happy New Year, from the Flight Deck

    Yep, you sure can. I've been fortunate to see them many times, and it never gets old!
  17. B757Guy

    United Airlines Lithium Battery policy?

    Yes, was meant to be humorous...
  18. B757Guy

    United Airlines Lithium Battery policy?

    Stick with United, the pilots are so much better trained than AA or Delta.
  19. B757Guy

    United Airlines Lithium Battery policy?

    Your laptop is fine. No need to worry.
  20. B757Guy

    Lion Air JT610

    Excellent point, but this issue is far greater than just an MX issue....
  21. B757Guy

    Lion Air JT610

    My understanding is that they will. However, the risk taker in me thinks shorting Boeing stock may potentially be a lucrative thing, as they have a huge mess on their hands with this. If this accident had happened to a US based airline, in US airspace, it would be a non-stop news cycle, and Boeing would be in far worse shape.
  22. B757Guy

    Lion Air JT610

    I can say this, both my airline, and the airline my wife flies for has it's pilots union in an uproar with Boeing over the MCAS system, and the lack of awareness they provided to the pilots. I've flown various Boeing aircraft almost my entire career in the military and now with my airline, and I'm very disappointed with them at the moment, for how they have handled the MCAS feature.
  23. Well, after 12 years and almost 9800 hours of time in the 757/767, it's time to say goodbye... I'm moving up to the 777, and off to school and sim work in 2 weeks. Looking into possibly taking Amtrak to get to our training base, but so far that doesn't seem to be working out! This will be my third Boeing type rating, having started my career on the 737 some 24 years ago! I'll get some pics and share when able...
  24. I'm having a difficult time following the logic of your post. Things are worse today than before, but we if we just turn the screws a little tighter in the same direction, then things will get better again? If we want flying to return to the much more relaxed and enjoyable flying experience from 20 years ago then maybe we should revert to the much more relaxed rules and regulations from 20 years ago. I realize that a more relaxed attitude toward modern travel may be hard sell to worrywart homebodies, but for those of us who travel regularly it would be a welcome change indeed. It's been a known fact that alcohol is one of the main factors in air rage cases. I've seen it many times. The relaxed rules and regulations of 20 years ago are gone forever. This isn't about tightening the screws, it's about dealing with the conditions of air travel today, which are never going to go back to the "good ole days," sadly....
×