88

It was only very slightly higher than our plane by mere meters. You think you saw a plane at the exact same vertical level as yours, when in fact it was at least 300 metres (1000 feet) above or below your level. It can be very hard to judge differences in level for the untrained eye, especially over the ocean and at night when there is nothing to reference ...


76

They do! Well, at least some of them. There is for example a project called TAMDAR (Tropospheric Airborne Meteorological Data Reporting) that e.g. Icelandair is a part of. There is a document published by the Icelandic Meteorological Office about it. Another example is MOZAIC/IAGOS: Atmospheric Research Using Commercial Airliners.


69

This is an excellent question, and helps illuminate several important aspects of the way perception works in aviation. But first... Any near-miss or other air-proximity incident would have been reported If there had been any risk of a collision, it would have been reported, unless somehow (and this is astoundingly unlikely) the entire flight crew of both ...


60

I work in the aviation industry, specifically repair, maintenance and engineering. While not an engineer myself, I work alongside them. Adding anything to an airframe, internally or externally, always has a cost in time, materials and funds. Our company is in the process of modifying ERJ regional aircraft with seatside electrical outlets for passenger ...


51

A sea plane was just going around it. It was very loud and got like 10 feet from the shore. It's just going in circles and won't take off and leave. As has been pointed out in other answers and comments, if the aircraft is taking off or landing, there are no regulations requiring distance from persons or structures, at least that I know of. What you may be ...


51

In the US, a controller has the authority to treat any situation as an emergency, and they do. I have had controllers "declare" an emergency multiple times, even when I thought I did not have an emergency. There are some advantages to the controller. His work gets shed to others, and his supervisor is at his side to assist. At one point, after ice, ...


43

If you have concerns over the safety of what is going on, here is what you should do: Record a video with your phone. Try to get the N number (it should be painted in large letters on the side of the aircraft). Record the date/time and your exact location where you shot the video from. File a report with the FAA, preferrably by calling the hotline number. ...


43

Having a small bird in a cockpit, or anywhere on board, would not be a problem during a normal flight because a normal flight should have a wide safety margin. However, a situation can change extremely rapidly from safe-and-normal to heavy workload to full-emergency due to any number of factors, including weather, mechanical issues, airspace/congestion, etc....


41

Generally speaking a pilot can (physically) do whatever they want: ATC doesn't have a remote control. If you push the throttles forward and pull back on the yoke you will take off, no matter what mean things the folks in the tower are shouting at you over the radio. Practically speaking doing so can get you into trouble: You may be met in the air by planes ...


35

Civilian aircraft have flashing lights based on manufacturer design preference. As others have stated, aircraft like Boeing and Airbus have different patterns. However, military aircraft can often select the pattern they want to use. This helps military pilots identify key tactical aircraft during night operations, such as the tanker flying around the ...


35

Well, there's always someone.In January 1954, American TV and Radio personality Arthur Godfrey buzzed the Teterboro control tower with his Douglas DC-3, resulting in the suspension of his license: In the mid 1950’s, Arthur Godfrey was preparing to take off from Teterboro Airport in his private DC-3. He requested a take off on a runway which was into the ...


28

Aviation always uses UTC time. This is from the FAA's AIM, but other countries do the same for obvious reasons: 4-2-12. Time a. FAA uses Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) for all operations. The word "local" or the time zone equivalent must be used to denote local when local time is given during radio and telephone communications. The term "Zulu"...


28

There are indeed only two 'official' classifications of aviation incidents, which are defined in ICAO Annex 13. Accident. An occurrence associated with the operation of an aircraft which takes place between the time any person boards the aircraft with the intention of flight until such time as all such persons have disembarked, in which: a) a ...


28

This is an educated guess, based on history: Electric razors were once well known as prone to generating elctromagnetic interference -- the ones available in the 1940s could pretty well blanket a nearby AM broadcast radio receiver. However, in similar time frames, it was very important for oxygen masks to fit closely on the face, and beard stubble, besides ...


27

Yes. For example, in the US (I don't know what procedures are used in Indonesia), controllers are instructed (see 10-1-1): If the words “Mayday” or “Pan-Pan” are not used and you are in doubt that a situation constitutes an emergency or potential emergency, handle it as though it were an emergency. Because of the infinite ...


26

If it's a small bird bedded down quietly under the jumpseat, I don't think I'd worry about it too much. Presuming that you found out about it while up at altitude, the question is, are you safer cruising for XX minutes to get to your destination, descend, and land, or are you safer cruising for a shorter time while you return to your departure airport, ...


24

As an anecdotal answer to your first two questions, paved runways used by air carriers that have obviously noticeable vertical curves are a minority but not uncommon. Unless they've redone the runway at Stansted, north of London, there's a significant hump in the middle. I used to operate through it at night in the early 1990s. As a bit of fun, we'd arrange ...


24

Sounds like a market protectionist move by the nations. i.e. The airlines of UAE and Turkey are relatively new. At least their current expansion to a scale that is competitive with the major international airlines is relatively recent. Their airports have also undergone fairly recent expansions to capitalize on their geographical location as hubs between N. ...


24

A flight requires pilot & copilot when the aircraft being flown requires it. A multi-crew aeroplane is one that requires a flight crew of at least two pilots. One of them is the pilot-in-command (the captain) and the other is the co-pilot (or first officer). All jet air transport aeroplanes and the vast majority of turbine powered air transport ...


23

In the US, you are not required to inform a doctor that you are a pilot. However, on the application for a medical certificate (Form 8500-8) you must list all "visits to health professionals" in the last three years, including type of professional and the reason for the visit. The medical examiner uses that information to guide questions to ask about your ...


23

The certification specification for aircraft are deliberately a bit vague on the topic. This allows manufacturers to come up with creative solutions that may have been prohibited if specific angles where required in the specification. For large aircraft, EASA has requirements CS25.773 in the Certification Specification 25 (CS25) PDF which is included below ...


23

The regulatory bodies are reluctant in defining a regulation for that. Because there are first officers who do not hold an Airline Transport Pilot License. The airlines would need to add an extra flight member for that rare situation. Instead, it's up to each airline's SOP when it comes to Crew Resource Management. There are various assertiveness training ...


22

Yes, a pilot-in-command may take off at his own discretion if absolutely necessary in the interest of safety. Rules of the Air (ICAO Annex 2) apply: 2.3.1 Responsibility of pilot-in-command The pilot-in-command of an aircraft shall, whether manipulating the controls or not, be responsible for the operation of the aircraft in ...


21

Given that the runway is over 3000m, those undulations don't look very big. I doubt they had much to do with the landings in the video. It's hard to make something that long completely flat. The FAA has advisory circulars for all sorts of stuff in and around an airport. One does cover flatness. Airport Design Advisory Circular Page 77 has ...


20

Aside from the issues of weight and complexity, there are potential legal and political considerations regarding commercial carriage of certain kinds of observational equipment. Korean Airlines Flight 007 was shot down by a Soviet interceptor in 1983 when it inadvertently flew over Soviet territory leading the Soviets to believe it to be a military ...


19

The US does have specific regulations that require the pilot to ensure that passengers are briefed on certain safety issues, although there's no requirement that the pilot must do it personally. Here are two regulations from the part 91 (all flights) and part 121 (scheduled airline flights) regulations. There may be others. 14 CFR 91.107(a)(2): No pilot ...


18

Generally absent a specific prohibition you can take a photo of anything you can see with your eyes from public property (like a sidewalk). That includes airports, airplanes, bridges, tunnels, police officers, kittens, and unicorns. (For more in-depth information check out Andrew Kantor's excellent article and Bert Krages' excellent one-page flyer on ...


18

The same thing that prevents the passengers in your car from hijacking it and using it to run people down or drive it through a mall: It's your private car and you generally know the people that you let in to it. The same applies to private aircraft.


18

As it stands, that 'border' between FL600 and above is undefined, and unregulated. There is no international agreement on the vertical limit of state sovereignty. Today, the need to settle this gap in the law is growing in importance. More and more states are developing their own domestic space launch capability. Few of these new space powers ...


18

Is there any insurmountable technical or legal limitation to equip commercial airplanes with Earth Observing instruments? This question would probably be better answered on space.se, by people who know what are the advantages of a satellite over an aircraft and the reasons why missions are not conducted on aircraft. However several aspects indeed differ ...


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