July 12, 2010

Time Flies - Low Fares!

It's not that I haven't had anything to blog about. I just haven't gotten around to it. Life has been pretty good, as of late. Sorry, I must be away from the computer!

A little recap while I was gone. I went on a nice long road trip on my vacation about a month ago. I started out in Minneapolis.

After two days of baseball and mild offense to the Delta invasion at the airport, I moved on to Houston. It was hot, humid, and I saw some baseball there, too. But the highlight was definitely the time I spent with my buddy Josh "flying" an E145 simulator. A few pics and a video:

Then off to Denver, with the highlights of driving through the middle of nowhere....

Oh, and then I stopped in North Platte and watched some trains...

Yup, I just put up a bunch of pics from a rail yard.


Since I've been back, work has had its ups and downs. I've been outlining a new post about descent clearances, though it keeps growing on me. Couple that with a few related incidences that frustrated me last week and I've decided to take some more time with it. For now, I'll just leave you with the visuals above.

Till next time...



Dave Starr said...

Blogging rule one.

Never, ever apologize. there actually is a life outside the Internet, and we are happy with what we get. I am very glad, though, to see you back.

And super glad that you included the train pictures. Keep writing, when able, and most of all,keep enjoying life ... it is way too short to waste.

Anonymous said...

Here's a thought for your post: I always hated crossing restrictions. From experience I found that pilots frequently made sure they made the restriction by getting down much sooner than they needed to. Even if you included "pilot's discretion" to the restriction, it turned out most pilots didn't have much.

Modern FMSes may have changed that some, but I saw a lot of it even with glass cockpits. I preferred to do my own part in saving the planet and kept airplanes as high as I could before clearing them down.

I tried to point out to trainees that there were two absolute limits in the profile a pilot could fly--stay as high as possible as long as possible then dive at the fix. I call that the high profile.

Or, they could dive right down to the cleared altitude then coast into the fix at it. I call that the low profile.

Obviously, there are an infinite number of combinations between those to extremes. My own method was nearer the high profile. What I cautioned my trainees about was that when flying the high profile, speed changes wreck everything.

For example, if you're running a 350 knot problem and a high profile, you're dead if the guy you're feeding starts slowing you down. Airplanes cannot slow down and come down at the same time. That's probably the first lesson a high altitude controller (in particular) learns.

Because they're so far from the destination, pilots in high altitude come nearer a high profile descent than do those near in and below FL240. Consequently, as they're motoring along at Mach .85/350 knots (if there's anyone left doing that) on a high profile descent, and you slap them with 250 knots, the conversation has just started.

That's one of the lessons I tried to teach--if you're going to have to do that, give them an alternative of some kind to eliminate the conversation sure to ensue at a time (when you're scrambling for speed reductions) when you really don't have any to spare.

Hope this helps or is even relevant nowadays.

ZJX, ORD, ZAU retired

Anonymous said...

Controllers should keep in mind the winds at altitude as well. If they are going to descend the aircraft on a high profile with strong tailwinds, its probably not going to work