Airline captain dies mid-flight

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Travel' started by sobore, Feb 15, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. sobore
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    sobore Gold Member

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    http://www.odt.co.nz/news/world/197950/airline-captain-dies-mid-flight

    A Czech Airlines plane has made an emergency landing in Prague after the captain collapsed and died in mid-flight, the company said.
    The ATR propeller aircraft on a regular flight from Warsaw to Prague with 46 passengers on board, landed under the control of the co-pilot and no one was injured.
    "Safety of passengers was not threatened. The landing was conducted without complications by the second pilot," the airline said in a statement.
     
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  2. sobore
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    sobore Gold Member

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    It sill makes me a bit queezy to know in-flight we are down to one person who can operate the aircraft.:eek:
     
  3. jbcarioca
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    jbcarioca Gold Member

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    Millions of people fly happily with just one pilot, including a few jets. Why queasy? Do you want two bus drivers too? What's the difference, I ask out of academic interest?
     
  4. sobore
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    sobore Gold Member

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    The bus I can drive. :)
    I guess it's more about risk mitigation. The more pax on board the more the more options needed for flight capability. (I guess there is some FAA rule for this)
    I have flown with one pilot before, 5 people in a seaplane, certainly one pilot was fine.
     
  5. jbcarioca
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    jbcarioca Gold Member

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    There is such a rule. US Federal Aviation Regulations (FAR) cover aircraft certification and the minimum crew requirements for Transport Category aircraft (the ones we fly with scheduled airlines) are specified in FAR 25. They all require two pilots or more. There are a tiny number of single pilot aircraft certified under FAR 25, but they are a rarity and you probably will not fly in one operated by an airline. The most common such aircraft is the Cessna Citation SII and V, which are part 25 certified aircraft that permit single pilot operation under and exception granted by the FAA. Some earlier Citations were certified under Part 25 fro dual pilot operation, and Part 23 for single pilot operation. Aircraft with a MGW above 12,500 pounds normally must be two-pilot aircraft. It is a major pain to get pilot and insurance approval for single-pilot jet operations. As one who had such a privilege I can tell you it is a really special experience.

    I could go on, but I am sure I have told you more than you wanted to know.
     
  6. sobore
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    sobore Gold Member

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    Great info! Thanks! Are there any large transcon aircraft that require 3 pilots?
     
  7. jbcarioca
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    Yes, many of them. Even DC-9's are three pilot aircraft. Almost all early jets and earlier propeller airliners are at least three pilot aircraft. Some aircraft required as many as a half dozen. (Pilot, co-pilot, navigator, radio operator, flight engineer, and a second flight engineer). It was common to have four pilot crews until turbine powered aircraft became common because the huge piston engines required constant maintenance and fiddling during flight. Turboprops eliminated most of that role. Later the flight engineer/navigator functions were merged. Now new airliners are all two pilot aircraft. There may be an exception, but I do not know of one.
     
  8. sobore
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    sobore Gold Member

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    Thanks JB. I sure am leaning a lot!:)
     
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  9. MSPeconomist
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    Me too.
     
  10. airshadow
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    Me3
     
  11. autolycus

    autolycus Gold Member

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  12. jbcarioca
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    Wow! I had not seen this. Boeing-centric for sure, but it really described the evolution quite well. Another side of this is the bad weather capabilities that also reduced workload, including synthetic vision etc. It is those kinds of innovations that led to the single-pilot jets. The type rating course for a single pilot jet basically fails the mandatory equipment that enables single pilot certification anyway.

    In another place I can tell you the story in real life when I was flying a single-pilot Citation 525, brand new with less than 100 hours. On approach to Zurich airport (some of the most complex approaches known to aviation are there), in winter with icing and low clouds I lost the primary flight display, autopilot, primary navigation computer and tail deicing. I survived, at least partly IMO because I had gome through the simulator course only three weeks before that tried to fail systems until the pilot could not handle it. Luckily I can tell the story...
     
  13. Merlin
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    That might have been true until April 21, 1965. At that date the FAA announced the abolishment of a weight limit (80,000 lb) for two man crew operation; henchforth, it would be based on design and certification criteria. The early DC-9-10s were offered in two versions: MTOW 77,000 lb for US operators and MTOW 83,000 lb for overseas operators. From the outset, Douglas designed the DC-9 for operation by two pilots, and Douglas also believed that the FAA would eventually approve the staffing level at increased weights. How ever, as a fall back, consideration had been given to a three-man cockpit for US airlines and a two-man configuration for the unrestricted overseas customers.

    From the above, the DC-9 never flew a three-man cockpit, but some early 737s did (like at United).
     
  14. jbcarioca
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    As usual you are correct, Merlin. There were three pilots on board for some of the early DC-9-10 operations, but that was based on operating the 83,000 version in the US and there really was not a place for the third pilot other than a jump seat. There remains some confusion about what took place when regarding early DC9/B737 operators, but both ended out as two pilot operations fairly early. By contrast B707/B727 were designed and planned as three pilot airplanes.

    Thanks for keeping me on my toes Merlin!
     
  15. HaveMilesWillTravel
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    I loved flying with one pilot on Tropic Air in Belize. I was sitting right behind the pilot and was already planning my move should he have even just slightly coughed or shown any other signs of "distress". Surely my few hours of Microsoft Flight Simulator many years ago would have come in handy to bring that puppy down safely in some jungle clearing :)
     
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  16. rdraper

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  17. desamo

    desamo Gold Member

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    Cape Air flies a lot of small flights with only one pilot. In fact, on a full flight, the 9th pax will go in the co-pilot's seat. At least that happened once on a PVD-MVY flight -- the one that was canceled mid-flight because the airport closed after we took off.
     
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  18. Jeff the Wanderer

    Jeff the Wanderer Silver Member

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    I've flown on 60+ single pilot flights. Of course, I jumped out of the plane when we got to 10,000 feet, so I wan't too concerned with how the plane was going to land safely. I had other more important things to worry about.....like avoiding the power lines and trees.

    A bit more on topic, this was some pretty interesting information. Thanks for sharing.
     
  19. NYCAdventurer

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    I been on a few commercial flights where passengers had to sit in co pilot position. I even sat there once myself!
     
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  20. General_Flyer
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    Long-Haul flights usually operates in 2 sets.. So we're looking at four pilots, even if they only operate two at a time.. :p
     
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  21. jbcarioca
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    Cape Air flies the Cessna 402's under Part 135 (air charter basically, but can be scheduled) and their larger aircraft under Part 121 (scheduled airline service). The difference is that the part 135 rules are far less rigid than are the Part 121 rules. Single pilot, fewer than 10 passengers aircraft are Part 135, so single pilot is permitted. Does that make sense?
     
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  22. autolycus

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    I imagine much of the US, especially Alaska, would be completely cut off from the rest of the world if they didn't let small plane operators fly with just a single pilot. A single turboprop Cessna can only hold so many people and so much cargo. An extra 150-200lb of weight on every flight would be a ridiculous waste. Besides, they're flying such short distances and almost entirely (entirely?) under VFR, one pilot should be able to handle the job just fine.

    I do find it interesting that they're essentially operating as a charter but with a published schedule. It makes sense in a lot of ways.
     
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  23. jbcarioca
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    Actually when reviewing the many rules for FAR 135 a fair number of them were designed with Alaska in mind. Without air charter Alaska would be a much more difficult place to be.
     
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