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77 votes
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How are banners kept upright?

The tow line has the "Y" connection to a pipe/rod along the leading edge of the banner. This keeps the leading edge perpendicular to the tow direction. The bottom end of the pipe/rod is weighted so ...
Gerry's user avatar
  • 20k
53 votes
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Why are 'ghost flights' necessary?

Airliners are both larger and more complex than the small aircraft you're familiar with at your local flight school. For an example of some of the items to consider, see: What do you need to do to ...
fooot's user avatar
  • 73.4k
48 votes
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What is the purpose of a walled area in the vicinity of Heathrow Airport?

It allows them to do a run-up test of the engines without blowing debris at other parked aircraft, people, or things on the ground. [Credit to Ralph J] The walls have a structure that allows the ...
Ron Beyer's user avatar
  • 36.2k
38 votes
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Who operates delivery flights for commercial airlines?

When I worked for Boeing as an intern in 2000, I got to see Boeing’s wide body delivery center in Everett, WA. Back in those days at least, the airlines brought out a crew of lawyers, aircraft ...
Romeo_4808N's user avatar
  • 74.1k
33 votes

First time passenger flight by two pilots?

It is never “the first time”. What he is really saying is that after many hours of flying the aircraft (or an approved simulator) this is the first time doing a revenue flight with passengers. ...
Mike Sowsun's user avatar
  • 37.8k
28 votes

Why are 'ghost flights' necessary?

Perhaps this adds little to the answer already posted, but I feel it needs to be emphasized that airliners are designed to fly. Designed to fly a lot, in fact. Like, spend a significant portion of ...
Peter Schilling's user avatar
26 votes
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How much leverage do commerial pilots have on cruise speed?

There is something called the "Cost Index" - it is basically how you choose between speed and fuel economy. Company dispatchers, after knowing that a flight has been delayed, will calculate this value,...
kevin's user avatar
  • 39.8k
23 votes

Why do helicopter operations avoid IFR?

Helicopters do not avoid IFR. They will, however, try to avoid IMC for safety reasons. The same is true for airplanes in the same weight class. Just because the pilot is IFR rated and the aircraft is ...
Dean F.'s user avatar
  • 16.5k
23 votes

Will getting a 4-year degree actually make a difference?

Airlines in North America are starting to waive degree requirements but they will compensate for that by demanding much higher flying experience, or at least graduation from one of the aviation ...
John K's user avatar
  • 132k
21 votes
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What is the process to disconnect ground electric power before pushback?

When is the GPU disconnected? Airports have rules regarding APU use, to reduce noise and pollutants near airport gates. Airline operating procedures usually specify when to start APU and engines. The ...
mins's user avatar
  • 74.8k
19 votes

What's the shortest amount of time a commercial airplane will be on the ground in between flights?

I flew SA-226/227 Metroliners for two different commuters back in the 1980s. If we were behind schedule, station managers had the option of asking the pilots to do an engine-running turn. The ...
Terry's user avatar
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19 votes
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Did these pilots break any regulations by hand-flying an A320 for most of the cruise?

I think they were humouring you Cloud. Hand flying a jet at level cruise speed is not fun. It takes a lot of concentration and the novelty quickly wears off, and there is a high risk of getting ...
John K's user avatar
  • 132k
19 votes

Why don't commercial aircraft use tail hook technology?

Because passengers really don't like enduring that kind of deceleration on landing. Scares them. Injures them. And if Junior is playing with his seatbelt latch at the wrong moment, there's a real risk ...
Ralph J's user avatar
  • 51.8k
19 votes

Why do helicopter operations avoid IFR?

Helicopter IFR operations do exist, but the short answer to the thrust of your question is: helicopter IFR is inherently more dangerous than fixed-wing IFR due to the lack of stability. A properly ...
Ben's user avatar
  • 14.6k
19 votes

Are there passenger flights with stops in the middle?

These "direct" flights are actually not unusual, at least in the US. I was surprised by this discovery based on the routes I personally tend to fly, but fortunately we have the Bureau of ...
Peter Schilling's user avatar
19 votes

who determines and at what point how a (larger) airport is configured for operations for the day?

In the usa, the 7110.65 3–5–1 is very very clear: a. The ATCT supervisor/controller-in-charge (CIC) determines which runway/s are designated RUNWAY IN USE/ACTIVE RUNWAY/DUTY RUNWAY. b. Assign the ...
randomhead's user avatar
  • 15.6k
17 votes
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When is the descent clearance requested from ATC?

Whether there are any formal policies for when to request descent will depend on the airline. However, I doubt formal procedures are established, since it should be pretty obvious to pilots when to ...
60levelchange's user avatar
17 votes

How does helicopter mustering make financial sense?

Two reasons: It is way faster and allows one person with a relatively cheap-to-run R-22 to do the work of several cowboys. You're paying for the cowboy 24-7 if they are on staff, which is usually ...
John K's user avatar
  • 132k
16 votes
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Why was this commercial plane highly delayed mid-flight?

If you look at the details, you’ll see the aircraft left the gate at 9:37, but only took off at 10:47. They probably received notice of the issue in MUC pointed out by Machavity while taxiing to the ...
jcaron's user avatar
  • 2,271
16 votes
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First time passenger flight by two pilots?

Just to point out the obvious: This got me thinking, does it ever happen that two pilots take their first passenger flight on a given type together You don't even have to know anything about ...
Jörg W Mittag's user avatar
15 votes
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Why are only captains allowed to taxi the aircraft?

Taxiing can sometimes be one of the more difficult tasks required on a flight, and affords one of the few opportunities to run into something. Historically, in the earlier days of crewed flying, a ...
J W's user avatar
  • 16.6k
15 votes
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During the holding procedure is it required that the pax must have the seat belt on?

There are no regulations which require passengers to be seated when the plane is flying a holding pattern, but there are a few practical advantages to keep the seat belt sign on during this phase: ...
kevin's user avatar
  • 39.8k
15 votes

Why are 'ghost flights' necessary?

In addition to all these great breakdowns of the technical aspects of planes airlines will lose their precious airport-slots if they fail to actually use them. I.e. if an airline pays for a (...
matthias_code's user avatar
15 votes

First time passenger flight by two pilots?

[D]oes it ever happen that two pilots take their first passenger flight on a given type together [...]? Yes, it does. In fact, it happened in exactly that flight you linked: Found out that it was ...
Bianfable's user avatar
  • 56.5k
14 votes
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During single-engine taxi, how is the asymmetric power compensated for?

First off, the thrust asymmetry problem is far less pronounced in large jet aircraft as compared with light twin engine propeller driven aircraft. Secondly, taxi operations generally don’t use very ...
Romeo_4808N's user avatar
  • 74.1k
14 votes

Why was this commercial plane highly delayed mid-flight?

Munich was closed for a short time due to a security breach The airport tweeted: “According to the information currently available, a person has probably entered the clean area of Terminal 2 through ...
Machavity's user avatar
  • 6,213
13 votes
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Why might a passenger jet fly at altitudes in a strong headwind when the winds are more favorable at a different altitude?

You assessment is flawed in that it does not take different air density in account. You state the following conditions: FL320 80 kt headwind 355 kt groundspeed 1000 nm distance and you are ...
casey's user avatar
  • 35.3k
13 votes
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Does the pilot in command always sit on the left seat?

No, the PIC does not always sit in the left seat, and there's no regulations about it. Most airplanes are configured so that the primary pilot would sit on the left, however there are military ...
GdD's user avatar
  • 54k
13 votes
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Why is the Beluga chartered out for oddball missions, but not the Dreamlifter?

The 747LCF cannot haul any cargo except Boeing’s own cargo as its type certificate only allows it to carry Boeing’s own cargo. Whereas A300 Beluga’s type certificate limitation section only refers to ...
vasin1987's user avatar
  • 8,138
13 votes

Who operates delivery flights for commercial airlines?

In the bunch of European airlines I’m familiar with, it was usually an airline crew, very rarely a third party hired crew. Since customer acceptance happened at the delivery centre (required fixes are ...
Cpt Reynolds's user avatar
  • 4,807

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