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Air Collision, Cockpit Rest, Retractable Tray, Communication and Gliding Sensation on a plane…
Flying - General
Written by Capt Lim   
Tuesday, 17 January 2012 09:05

Mid Air Collision DHL 757 and Tu 154
 
Hi Capt Lim,

I want to ask something different...

1. If both TCAS and air traffic control staff on the ground warn pilots when they are on a collision course with 2 different advices, descent and ascent, which advise would pilots follow?

2. During flight, how pilots keep themselves awake? When we are driving a car on the highway, it is easy to feel sleepy.

3. Do pilots have their meals/drinks at their seat?

4. Why are there a common radio frequency and an emergency frequency?

5. If a plane loses all engines and glides, is the gliding or dropping speed fast? Are passengers aware of it and do they feel uncomfortable at this dropping speed?

Ling

Hi Ling,

1. When there are two conflicting alerts from the TCAS (Traffic alert Collision Avoidance System) and the ground controllers, pilots would follow the TCAS alert. In the Mid Air collision between the DHL 757 and the Russian TU 154 over Zurich (see video above), the Russian pilot "wrongly" followed the ATC instructions and the planes collided.

2. Pilots are under a duty to have sufficient rest before they operate a plane. In some airlines, pilots are allowed short “controlled rest” during long haul flight at the cruise and at lean period with very strict rules being put into place.

3. Pilots are allowed to have meals/drinks at their seats in the cockpit. On the Airbus planes there is a retractable tray (see video below) for this purpose but not on the Boeing. For the Boeing planes, they require a portable tray (normally place on their laps!)

4. The common radio frequency is used for normal communication with the Air Traffic Controllers whereas the emergency frequency (121.5) is used for emergency purposes.

5. The average initial gliding speed for a jet plane is about 300 knots with all engines out. It is not very noticeable during the glide in the air except for the reduced noise level.

PS. To check for any latest updates or postings, you can follow my new Twitter at @CaptKHLim


Airbus Tray Table for Pilot Use

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