Just for you pilot chaps:
ETOPs is Extended range Twin engine Operations, it used to be EROPs and is sometimes called Engines Turn Or Passengers Swim. It came about with the advent of efficient twins like the 757 and 767 which started easing out the DC10 and Tristar (3 engines) and the 747 (4) for the simple reason they burn less fuel.
The manufacturer has to prove high levels of reliability in all sorts of systems, not just engines, things like hydraulics, electrics and believe it or not, shitters. There has to be some serious redundancy too. The operator has to prove their training and procedures are up to speed and away we go.
The system splits into 3 bits of time really. Firstly get your approvals as above. Next, on the day do a load of theoretical planning which has to tick all sorts of boxes and is valid up until the point the aeroplane moves under its own power, ie starts to taxi, the so called “despatch” point and after that, it all switches to real time and the third bit which is en route contingency planning and monitoring. The aircraft also needs to have an enhanced pre flight check done by the spanner wielding fraternity.
The approval will be specific to the type and operator. The vast majority are “180 minutes ETOPs”. On the day, minor faults can reduce that so say you have a nav system out, you’re approval will state that that reduces you to say “138 minutes ETOPs”. Hold that thought.
All twin aircraft must stay within 60 minutes still air (ignore the effect of wind) flying time of a useable airport at a speed which is designated as the single engine flying speed in the approval unless they are ETOPs certified and all the above is done. For the 787 this means stay within 400nm of a suitable airport. Suitable means ATC, long enough runway, nav aids, fire cover etc. Note, weather or indeed the serviceability of any of that kit isn’t considered. Yet.
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Look at the map above,you’ll see some circles with eg “400 TXKF”. That means 400 nm from Bermuda (CYYT is St Johns, Canada, EINN is Shannon and LPLA is Lajes in the Azores. Go outside those circles and you’re ETOPs and must play the game.
Next up, on the day, you must stay within 180 minutes flying time at the designated single engine flying speed of a suitable en route alternate (ERA). For the 787 the speed is 400 kts, 3 hrs (180 mins)= 1200nm in still air. This time though we need to make sure @exbluejob and his mates aren’t out on the piss, nobody’s dug a hole in the runway, the firemen aren’t on this piss with the ATCers and there are no tropical revolving snow storms forecast. There are stricter than normal limits on the weather based on what nav aids are available.
On the map above, the planners have selected the airports stated. In reality there will be dozens down the eastern seaboard that fit the bill but the next bit dictates which ones get chosen. We can now go flying and from here on in I can do what the feck I want and the weather limits etc I use are less restrictive than in the above planning phase.
On the above map you’ll see some lightning type arrows with some data on them. Look at the bottom left one which says “CYYT 604nm Heading 027” and “TXKF 461nm Heading 213”. These are called Equal Time Points (ETPs) and they do what they say on the tin. At that point it will take me the same TIME to fly onwards to St. John’s (CYYT) as it will to fly back to Bermuda (TXKF). The distances are different because now we are going to consider the effect of wind (this tells me there’s a tailwind going north, we will be going faster so will cover more ground in the same time).
You must have enough fuel at each of these ETPs to either go on or go back. It’s for that reason that you pick carefully because you don’t want to be carrying more fuel than necessary. If you think about it, generally the last one is the problem one but not always. Going to Barbados we normally have to load extra because there’s a lot of nothing round that part of the world. The fuel is planned on a range of scenarios like a Decompression on one engine and takes the worst case.
En route we monitor fuel burn and systems etc and can bin the plan if we need to. I recently had to divert off exactly this routing because someone was taken seriously ill but I didn’t go to St. John’s, I went to JFK as there’s better medical care, it was nearer and I wanted it in my log book.
That’s it. Simples!
Back in the day we did all this manually, computers do it all now and we just give it a sense check, launch, drink tea and discuss who’s going to do what to whom amongst those on either side of the flight deck door should the extremely unlikely opportunity arise (at which point most of us would run a mile).
But the chavs can still get to Benidorm right?
Just for you pilot chaps:
Yes indeed we have a relationship with our speshal friends, the pilots. Although I have often wondered why we continue to have a carbon based interface in the cockpit. ATCO inputs control instructions electronically and they could easily be relayed by CPDLC direct into the FMS. Monitored by mode S to ensure they're doing as instructed, voila! I also wondered about 2 crew and was told that some airlines had considered putting a dog instead of a co-pilot, the purpose of the dog being to bite the pilot (flying) if he went to touch any of the flight controls.In case anyone is wondering, Pilots and Controllers have a very special relationship called, er, The Pilot/Controller Relationship.
Having heard some of the audio of 'spates' on you tube etc. I am disappointed at how very quickly ATCOs get snippy, they're supposed to be professionals. Everyone can make mistakes and it's very easy for someone doing the same thing day in, day out to fall into the assumption that everyone else is familiar and 'they should know that' but that's not the case. ATCOs are supposed to be there to HELP the pilots, not give them sh1t.A case in the past involved a mate of mine who made a silly, ill advised and frankly unwarranted comment to a controller. The controller took offence, reported it and the pilot was rightly severely disciplined. There was hell to pay in ATC land because the controller concerned got the hump over an off the cuff comment but it was the damaged relationship that worried them most.
This is a fairly recent innovation and I just wish we could somehow jointly fund it and make it more formal. It enormously improves the TRaining in Unusual Circumstances and Emergencies as we are reliant on pseudo pilots. Whilst they're great boys & girls and do their best they don't have any practical experience. It is, of course, quite time consuming to run several simulator exercises so there is an alternative called STAC (Scenario Training for Aircrew and Controllers) which basically means sitting around a table and shooting the sh1t. At least the ATCOs can hear what pilots would do faced with certain situations and explain why they're making that decision. The Pilots can better understand why ATC will respond in specific ways.We increasingly train together too. We are trying to get controllers into our simulator checks so they can see how we handle emergency situations and we go down to their TRUCE training, @exbluejob can tell you more about it, and we get to play real time scenarios as pilots for them to control which they “love” as it adds realism (in inverted commas because they actually get put under severe pressure, it’s like our sim checks, you’re livelihood is on the line so “love” is not something there’s a lot of).
LOL! Good for you for having a go, you just have to remember that those guys have had years of training and experienceAfterwards we get to play controller. I was ok with one aircraft, two got interesting, three was about my limit and four rapidly turned into a gang shag.
Actually it's usually weather that screws it up because most pax flights don't want to go through CuNim so pretty much everything gets turned off route (at their request). The worst in UK is the backbone of airway from London to Manchester with aircraft climbing up one side and descending on the other. When the thunderheads start crossing towards East Anglia so you're turning your aircraft more and more out towards the North Sea and then frantically trying to get them back in again to handover to Scottish. You can't turn them left because of the descending traffic. Oh vay!******** doesn’t want to turn left because there’s a thunderstorm there and it might mess his hair up / spill his tea.
Hats off to them. Because of course I have a hat and look a ******* twat in it.
Yes indeed we have a relationship with our speshal friends, the pilots. Although I have often wondered why we continue to have a carbon based interface in the cockpit. .
Passengers want windows in the back and Humans up front -
Windows being nothing more than additional weight and weak points - I will refrain from entering this ATCO Pilot spat and leave you to argue which of you is the more god like.
I thought the latest 'fad' was going to be basically TV screens? Sounds like a great idea to me especially if you get a picture like the one from up on the tail of the A380Passengers want windows in the back and Humans up front -
Windows being nothing more than additional weight and weak points
Engineers are the hidden gods, toiling in their windowless dark rooms doing whatever they do with the wiggly amps to produce their magicHad you noticed how neither of the contenders for the title “God” have mentioned Engineers? Anyway, there’s no argument, it was settled about 75 years ago when there were pilots but not controllers.
(Engineers are the other people I trust)