StephenS
  • Member for 3 years, 2 months
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Why don’t airplanes use turn signals?
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79 votes

At uncontrolled airports, there is rarely enough traffic for signals to be needed, and pilots should (though are not required to) communicate with each other on CTAF—an option that cars do not have. ...

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Is the destination of a commercial flight important for the pilot?
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69 votes

The pilots in this case did know where they were going: Edinburgh. BA said a paperwork error was to blame, with the pilot following orders from Germany, where WDL’s head office had filed the ...

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Should I contact ATC if I don't have a transponder?
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49 votes

Every US controller I've ever heard from says they'd prefer to be talking to every aircraft in their airspace, period. This lets them know your intentions and allows them to move you around if needed, ...

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Is 'bouncing' an airliner on landing in high winds a deliberate technique, or something always unexpected?
47 votes

Bouncing a landing is neither intentional nor desirable. There are several reasons why a student pilot might bounce, but for a professional pilot, it's most likely related to wind gusts, which are a ...

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Why are special aircraft used for the carriers in the United States Navy?
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46 votes

It's technical, not political The F-35 was an attempt to do exactly what you propose, lowering costs by planned sharing of 80% of parts across variants, but it turns out that the USN's F-35C costs ...

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What can a pilot do if an air traffic controller is incapacitated?
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44 votes

In theory, if the lone tower controller is incapacitated, the airport is no longer controlled and pilots should use the standard procedures for uncontrolled airports, i.e. making traffic calls on CTAF....

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Private Pilot Compensation
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43 votes

The short answer is that in practice the FAA doesn’t care about “compensation” between family and bona fide friends. The long answer is that the FAA’s mission is to protect the general public from ...

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Low visibility spins and spirals: difficult-to-understand explanation of false perception
39 votes

Your vestibular system can only recognize acceleration. Your brain combines that with visual inputs to produce spatial orientation. (If the two disagree, you may get motion sickness.) When you are in ...

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Are test pilots certified to fly all aircraft types?
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36 votes

Since you didn’t specify a jurisdiction, I’ll answer for the FAA. Others should be similar. Pilots must be rated for the category, class and (if applicable) type of aircraft. Category is pretty broad, ...

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What does an absolute novice need to learn to make a successful emergency landing?
31 votes

ATC has successfully talked down folks with zero experience in GA planes, and if there's one thing you need to learn, it's how to call ATC so they can give you that help. Any pilot would be happy to ...

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Why do airports remove/realign runways?
30 votes

Three runways (or pairs) 60 degrees apart was very common. Where land was limited, two runways (or two pairs) at 90 degrees was almost as good. These generic designs could be built very quickly almost ...

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Why is the 5G rollout a problem in the USA but apparently nowhere else?
29 votes

If you read the FAA’s statements (not media reports) closely, you will find their complaint is merely that it hasn’t been proven not to be a problem, not that they actually expect a problem or have ...

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Is there a penalty for changing the approach procedure after accepting one?
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25 votes

There is no penalty per se, but visual approaches in particular have lower separation requirements, so having to switch you back to a non-visual approach may require ATC to make corrections (e.g. ...

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What do these white on red words indicate on a London Heathrow taxiway chart?
24 votes

They are named holding points; this allows them to say things like "taxi to RABIT" rather than "taxiway Bravo, hold short of taxiway Charlie". This saves a lot of time for ground controllers at busy, ...

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What triggers a CVR to start recording?
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23 votes

The CVR (and FDR) are continuously recording while the aircraft is in operation. In the days of magnetic tape, this was done with a continuous loop. In digital systems, the same is emulated by ...

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Why does V1 increase with headwind and decrease with tailwind?
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22 votes

V1 is the maximum airspeed you can accelerate to and then stop again without running out of runway. For the sake of simplicity, let’s assume that happens at the midpoint of the runway. If there is a ...

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What causes a Cessna 172 and its gear to shake violently after landing and braking?
22 votes

This shaking is the infamous Cessna nose-wheel shimmy. It is a result of the bungee connection between the nose wheel and the rudder pedals, which is required due to the way you work the rudder of a ...

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Can airliners land with auto pilot in gusty wind conditions?
21 votes

Why pilot make so much input,I dont see that plane is moving even his yoke movements are huge and fast? The plane isn’t moving much because as soon as the pilot senses either wing lifting, he is ...

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Can you request a new squawk code if you don’t like the one being assigned?
20 votes

You can request a new one, but it’s up to ATC to decide whether to change it. Some will and some won’t, but mostly it depends on how busy they are. I’ve seen discussions (in a private forum) about the ...

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May the tower use the runway while an emergency aircraft is inbound?
20 votes

FAA Order JO 7110.65W - ATC Procedures, Chapter 10 outlines how ATC should handle procedures for emergency situations Right at he very beginning, we see the most important part: 10-1-1(d) ...

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What unique challenges/limitations will I face if I start a career as a pilot at 45 years old?
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20 votes

You aren't crazy. People have started later than you and been successful. However, age does bring additional challenges, which one could argue is an ageist bias of sorts. The first is age itself. ...

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Do airline pilots ever risk not hearing communication directed to them specifically, from traffic controllers?
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20 votes

There is a ton of radio communication during the taxi, takeoff and departure phases, and then again during the arrival, landing and taxi phases. Pilots are generally very busy at these times and 100% ...

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Why was there no issue with the Tu-144 flying above land?
19 votes

The Concorde didn’t “refuse” to go supersonic over land; it was legally prohibited from doing so by every country it flew to/over. The Tu-144 produced the same sonic boom, but aside from a few ...

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Why do aircraft of the same model get progressively larger engines as they mature?
18 votes

Older planes were simpler and lighter, in part to make certification easier and in part to minimize the selling price and therefore maximize volume. Once that minimalist plane hits the market, though, ...

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Are there any publically available recordings of conversations between ATC and pilots?
18 votes

LiveATC.net has live and recorded ATC radio for most countries/airports. There are lots of flight tracking websites, e.g. FlightAware, that have live and recorded radar/ADS-B tracks. You'll have to ...

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Can a private jet take off without notifying anybody and land on private land in another country?
17 votes

In general*, any time people or cargo enter another country, they must do so at a designated Port of Entry, i.e. where customs and immigration officers are stationed. This is true regardless of ...

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How can I find places to store/land a private airplane?
16 votes

US airports are broadly divided into public and private. Public means anyone can use them, usually because that was a condition of receiving public funds, and private means you need the owner's ...

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Why cruise at 7000' in an A319?
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16 votes

It was because they could get there faster on a "TEC route." IFR flights are subject to congestion management at the ARTCC level, which means they have to wait their turn in line to be allowed into ...

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How can I communicate an emergency de-pressurization descent to the cabin as a passenger?
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15 votes

I’ve been a passenger on a plane in an emergency depressurization. The first thing to realize is that everything happens amazingly fast. Even as a (GA) pilot myself, it was almost over before I even ...

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Why do aircraft leave the cruising altitude long before landing just to circle?
15 votes

Airports can accept landing aircraft at a (mostly) fixed, constant rate. However, inbound aircraft arrive at different times and rates based on weather and other factors, regardless of the schedules. ...

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