Just a quick one to say HI to everyone - I missed the site while being in India for 11 days!
Had some hairy moments in Mumbai on the way home but they are for another day.
Here's a quick rundown of the flying that was involved ;-
19th April: Newcastle (NCL) - London Heathrow (LHR)
So... the flying started on a low for me. The 757 is pretty much my least favourite plane to fly in for real. It's a real "pile 'em in" layout (even with BA) and I had less leg room than I ever have on BA's 737-400s.
To me the 757 is about squeezing the most possible amount of passengers into a Narrow-bodied aricraft. The aisle suffers, the seat pitch was poor and allround this was didn't come close to what was laying ahead on the beautiful 747-400. The 767 is wonderful plane for passengers but the 757 is only really positive for an airline's accountants, maybe flight crews... it's no fun for passengers in my opinion.
20th April: London Heathrow (LHR) - Mumbai, India (BOM)
What can I say! I generally prefer Airbus but there is still no plane better to fly on that the 747. I was lucky enough to be in Business Class in a Flat Bed seat, and with more room around me than you could ever need. The Champagne was coming around within 10 mins and was followed by high quality food options and some great Entertainment from the Club World entertainment system. The -400 has more powerful engines and you really feel them on take-off but also you really feel them kick in when the aircraft gets higher than FL100 and accelerates beyond 250 kts.
Allround a wonderfully enjoyable 9 hour flight.
21st April: Mumbai (BOM) - Bangalore (BOM)
Jet Airways is India's premier domestic airline and the business class zones on their 737-800 and -900 are the best you can get worldwide on a 737. So the NG proved smooth and quiet for this 1.35 flight although we experienced a big "kick" of wake turbulance 2 mins after take-off which was a little scary for some. 2 x very high quality Curries later (served with silver wear) and we touched down.
28th April: Bangalore (BLR) - Mumbai (BOM)
Boeing 727-800 Economy
As above but in Economy as they had no Business Class seats left. The smallest Seat pitch I have ever flown in.... Unbelievable!! I am 5' 10" so not hugely tall but my knees were firmly planted into the seat in front..... THEN HE RECLINED HIS SEAT ! This was a 2 class config plane and I think there were still almost 200 people packed onto this 737!
Extremely uncomfortable and hot but good experience!
29th April: Mumbai (BOM) - London Heathrow (LHR)
Wonderful BA Business Class on the -400 again, only difference to the previous 747 flight was that this one came with a rather grumpy (no doubt tired) cabin crew.
29th April: London Heathrow (LHR) - Newcastle (NCL)
Airbus, at last ! (Although I can't pretend I would have preferred A340 business class over the 747 Business class ).
This was the oldest A320 I have ever been on and possibly the oldest in BAs fleet. It was not marked but I believe it was a -100 series from 1989 or 1990. So... wider seats and aisle than any 737 (including NG) and then WOW - for anyone that has never flown on an early A320 with the screaming CFM engines, you don't know what you're missing. This thing sounded exactly like a Formula 1 car at full throttle. The acceleration was swifter than any other plane on this trip and the climb was swift. The noisiness of the engines meant that the cutting in and out of the engines (through AutoThrust management) was really noticible and some passengers looked a little scared when the Aircraft hit 250 kts about 3 mins after take-off at a levelling out altitude of 3000 (The Heathrow SIDs involve some low altitude transitions)....as the cutting of the engines was striking... it did sound like they had cut out ! Likewise when the Aircraft flew through 10,000 the engines went crazy and you could really feel the pull. As always with Airbus the landing was incredibly smooth and light.
So theres a small run-down of the flying element of the trip. I'm off to sleep the jet lag off now so will come back on tomorrow and perhaps talk about some of the funny (and some scary) aspects of working in India.
What an amazing country - Sincere, Safe, Gentle, Dangerous, Slow, Frustrating, Bureaucratic, friendy..... real contrasts !
Apologies for the spelling mistakes - been up over 48 hours without sleep
So good to hear you are back home safe and sound after travelling in one or even several of these new fangled flying machines - they will never be popular I'd much rather sail out on a P & O liner (and have done) - one can always have a stroll on the promenade deck after dinner and think of these poor sardines packed in a tin and zooming along heavens high at a terrific speed - so fast that they sometimes get there before they have left - suffering from jet lag!!!
No kidding, Kid - it's nice to have you with us again
Very nice to have you back.
Yeeeeey, GPS-Kid is back! We all missed you, hehe.
That was a nice explanation of the flights! I like them, especially the A320 one. I prefer Airbus too! As always! You are right about the landings. They are done so smooth. I've on a A320 many times and I love that plane. Well, I love all of the Airbus planes.
GPS-Kid, did you get to see the Maiden Flight of the A380 in India? It was awesome!! I recorded it in two videos.
Well, I'll see you around the forums.
You had quite a trip and an assortment of aircraft to try out.
Glad to see you back!
Welcome back, Kid!
Great write-up on the trip. Can't wait to hear the rest.
And regarding your BLR to BOM segment, I think reclining seats in coach should be illegal. And if there must be reclining seats in coach, it should be illegal to recline them during meals!
What aircraft was your favorite?
Glad you had fine trip and did you get the Deli Belly by any chance
Thanks for the welcome backs !
I managed to escape without Delhi Belly thankfully, but that was mainly thanks to taking a bottle of Gaviscon and 4 x boxes of Zantac ! You can kind of prevent Delhi Belly by getting plenty of Alkali into your stomach ready for the onslaught of strong flavours and general overeating!
To be clear though, I truly believe that Indian cooking is the finest in the world, albeit that everything is a lot spicier than we have with Indian cooking in the west.
Ed - You are right about the reclining seats - it is just a joke to offer them in this seat pitch ! I have never experienced such an uncomfortable flight. India being India it is obsessesed on class and class distinctions, and the difference between the Economy / Coach and the Business Class on these 737-800s is striking. Anyway, I'm not a snob and I don't regret this sector - it was valuable life experience !
My favourite flight had to be the outgoing 747-400 from London to Mumbai (formerly Bombay) in Business Class. You are just spoiled - sooo comfortable in the Bed-Seat, A la Carte menus and food, endless Champagne and quality Red and White Wines, and 18 different feature films, as well as a Games Entertainment system. You can also move around the cabin without haveing to climb over anyone and there are 4 washrooms for 32 people.... now that's my sort od odds !
However, on both 744 flights I was in the middle of the aircraft (laterally) with no window view and the flight is just so smooth that for 90% of the flight you just don't feel like you're flying.... So I would say this was my favourite flight but the A320 was my favourite plane on the journey as it felt like I was flying in a Sports Car!
Wheneve I've flown on A320/A319s in the past they've been rather new (such as EasyJet's new A319 fleet), with the MUCH quieter GE or RR engines - I'd never flown on an early CFM A320.... once up in the cruise it sounded just like a Classic 737-400 but you're conscious of the acceleration and G Factors during the T/O and Climb... check it out on paper, the A320 is a FAST plane, both in terms of the 0.82 Cruise which beats any 737, but moreso in terms of the acceleration and climb performance.
I did catch the A380 flight Agus, on the BBC World Channel - but it was a short report repeated throughout the day so I'm gonna trawl the web later and find more !
Anyoo.... it's GREAT to be home! I've come home to the arms of my loving partner but also to my newly released copy of "Airliner Pilot".. Looking forward to trying it out but I will be replacing the default planes with some of the great commercial add-ons... using the Aircraft Import Tool.
How are others finding this innovative new add-on ?
Lastly, but most importantly, great to hear from you Mr DaveC, I hope this finds you in good health and hope you're able to get back on here more often. I'm back on email in the office on Tuesday, so will drop you an email to see how life is treating you my friend... I'm not falling for any of that stuff about taking a Boat overseas instead of flying I know about you and sailing !
WELCOME HOME BUDDY!!!!
I just picked up this thread and its absolutly GREAT to have you back. I'm jealous...u were flying and I was no more than 6ft above the ground all this time. Hey, let me just ask you one question about the accleration from 250kts above 10,000. To accelerate, due you just remain at 95% N1, (near or around, depending on your aircraft)...and just lower the attitude. Thats what I always do...when I lower the attitude, the speed gradually increase, and when I get close to my intended speed, I engage autothrottle...(keep in mind I have a habit of flying to 10,000 manually..It gives me a feeling of safety...
Well, once again, welcome back and we hope you get over that pesky jetlag soon, so that your ready and active to take on more of these posts...
Attitude and Speed Profiles during Climb, normally involve both changes to Thrust (Power, like the 95% N1 you referred to), and Pitch changes.
Generally, an Airliner will Take-off at a set Power Rating, such as 95% N1, and will maintain this immediately after take-off, the Pitch will then be maintained to keep a certain climb speed (V2+15 for example).
When the aircraft reaches an Acceleration Alt (usually around 3000 AGL), a slightly lower Power setting will be adopted (differs a lot but let's say around 92% N1), and as you rightly said, the Aircraft pitch will reduce to c much lower Nose Up Attitude, thus enabling the Plane to accelerate up to 250 kts, even though the Power from the engines has reduced.
At around 10,000 the nose up attitude will be lowered again to allow the aircraft to accelerate out of 250 kts up to the >FL100 climb speed which differs a lot according to the Cost Index and type of Aircraft. For example an A320 set with a Cost Index of 200 will accelerate to 330 kts at this point...... a CRJ200 would accelerate at around 270 kts at this phase.
Now a distinction applies here; In a plane without an Autothrust system, the Climb power rating will remain the same above 10,000 so it is simply a case that the pitch is changed to cause the acceleration.... The power is likely not to be adjusted until the plane reaches it's Cruise alt, at which time a lower CRUISE power rating will be selected (let's say 89% N1).
In an airplane with an AutoThrust system, the Automatic Flight System will be programmed so that it is aware that the aircraft is allowed to accelerate beyond 250kts, so when the aircraft reaches that alt, there are two likely reactions:-
1). The AP/FS will lower pitch as per the next phase of flight.
2). The plane will be aware that it is now permitted to exceed 250 IAS so the engines will produce extra power (up to the max rating for this phase of flight) to cause the acceleration.
.....in most large jet planes the engines are sufficiently quiet so that you may not notice changes in the engine power beyond a certain speed, but in the screaming CFM engined A320, you can really hear these changes and more noticibly you can really feel the pull !
Typical power setting phases for airliners are:-
Typical power setting that facilitates enough power for the take-off roll, Rotation and sufficient power to effect a go-around an the Minima level, if required. In many planes this is around 95% but there are some exceptions such as the 767 which includes max N1 ratings typcally over 100% !
Power is reduced to facilitate an econimical and efficient climb. Aircraft operate more efficiently and use less fuel the higher their altitude so Climb power is set to allow a fast but economical climb. CLIMB power ratings can often be changed using the "Cost Index" area of the FMS / MCDU.
At Cruise, power reduces from Climb power to Cruise. This is the power setting that will allow smooth, efficient cruise at the desired Cruise Mach speed. In a plane without Autothrust, that given Cruise N1 may need to be further reduced according to altitude, to avoid overspeeding (Check this out of your Wilco CRJ or ERJ add-ons !).
MCT (Max Continuous Thrust)
The power rating to be used when maximum power is used for any 'continuous' period. Aircraft engines would wear out incredibly fast if the engines were allowed to run at TO/GA power for long periods, so MCT is a 'safe' maximum thrust rating for prolonged (or Continuous) use.
Of course, as you've rightly pointed out, reductions in Power Ratings does not necessarily mean decelleration, as the power change will normally occur at the same time as change in pitch, which of course also influences airspeed.
Welcome back Kid, and great write-up of the flying !
I was in Bangalore a year ago, living it up in the 5 star hotels, setting up a new call centre.... where were you staying, I was in the Meridien ?