Thursday, 23 February 2006 08:13
Hello Captain Lim,
It's a fabulous website that you have built for anyone from having a genuine interest in air travel to those aspiring to become a pilot! I really appreciate its breadth and depth of information, and your website is now my top recommendation to my friends who desire to know more about aviation!
I am in the process of applying for the cadet pilot program and encounter a few questions during my research that I hope you may help:
1. What happens if a fully loaded aircraft needs to abort the takeoff after V1? After V2?
2. Why does a certain airline fly the Polar route with Boeing 777 while another doesn*t? Is it true that Polar route is only flown in wintertime? If so, why?
3. Why doesn't Boeing "standardize" the cockpit like Airbus does?
4. When pilots chitchat in the cockpit, will their conversation be taped by the black box and circulated by engineers/personnel who handle the black box?
5. Airline captains are under pressure to carry as little fuel as possible while within the safety limit. How is the "fuel quota" kept track?
6. The last time when I flew from Beijing, there were still ice/snow on the wing at take-off. I have thought that the wings always need to be de-iced completely before taking off?
1. Pilots are trained not to abort a take off after the V1 (decision) speed as the safety of this action is not guaranteed. Manufacturers of plane assure the airlines that it is perfectly safe to abort a takeoff before V1 without any problems. To abort after V1 or V2 (theoritically, not possible to do so because V2 speed is achieved only after the airplane is already in the air) is a no-no! Why? The brakes pads are not designed to handle high-speed aborts and the plane is likely to run out of runway. Even if the remaining runway is long enough, the brake pads will get overheated and a fire is very likely. On the other hand, it is perfectly safe to continue with the take off after V1 after an engine failure as all pilots have been thoroughly trained to do so.
2. Flying the Polar routes is mainly a question of economics and also a decision based on airline policy. It is not true that Polar routes are only flown during wintertime.
3. Yes, standardizing the cockpit as Airbus does in the later generation planes is a good concept that Boeing was slow to implement until the Boeing 787 came along. According to Boeing, a Boeing 777 pilot only need to do a refresher course of about 3 days to upgrade to the new Dreamliner (B787) as the cockpit instrumentation is quite similar.
4. Any conversation in the cockpit is recorded in the CVR (cockpit voice recorder - a part of the black box) but they are automatically erased after every 30 minutes.
5. Minimum fuel policy varies from airlines to airlines but all are within the limits as prescribed by ICAO. As the cost of fuel escalates, carrying more fuel than what is required for a safe flight becomes uneconomical. Hence, airlines monitor the fuel uplifted by checking the minimum fuel planned with the actual fuel carried on board through the voyage reports or via the data link after airborne. It is the responsibility of the captain to justify any extra fuels taken (due to weather, technical reason. etc).
6. A deicing truck would remove any ice or snow on the wings after the pilot or the engineer deemed that it should be carried out. On a Boeing 777, it is permissible to proceed without any deicing with a light coating of frost up to one eighth of an inch (3mm) in thickness on the lower wing surface or any thin hoarfrost on the upper surface of the fuselage.