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Thread: Rosetta Stone: How to Speak "Frog" for Boeing Pilots

  1. #1
    CloudDancer's Avatar
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    Feb 2005
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    Rosetta Stone: How to Speak "Frog" for Boeing Pilots

    Since we have quite a few "airline pilots" that hang around the joint, I thought I'd put up something quick that is appropriate, but even the NON-airline pilots might enjoy it.

    Mostly, I just wanted to let ya'll know Ah'm still alive an' kickin' and I sure haven't fergot who "brung me to the dance", even as I spend my time trying to take advantage of the opportunity to spread the CloudDancer "gospels" nation, if not WORLD-wide.

    And as I say to the guys and gals who welcome me back to work and ask how I'm doin.... "I'm a'SANE an' SOBER! An' I even got PAPERS to PROVE IT!"


    Our company is getting rid of the seven-threes (Boeing 737's)this year and forcing all the pilots onto the Airbus. I wrote this and posted it on our pilot web board, for all the crusty old guys with the "If it ain't Boeing, I ain't going" stickers on their flight bags. Thought you might get a kick out of it. Feel free to diseminate as needed.

    ************************************************** ***
    I thought we should have a thread were us EXPERT (*) Airbus drivers could offer the incoming exiles some of our most profound titbits of wisdom. Therefore I shall commence with the following.

    1. The most important word I kept missing them say in groundschool was..... TRAJECTORY! You are not flying an airplane (normally). You are MODIFYING A TRAJECTORY. I kept MISSING that word. So, when I got to the stimulator, I kept trying to FLY the damn thing. A'yankin' here and a'bankin' there and.....GODFREY DANIELS It just don't work

    ANS. LET GO DAMMIT . Take that itsy-bitsy liddle gold-edged, black square box in the center of the flight director display an' PUT it somewhere and then....LET completely GO of the damn thing If'n it (the plane) ain't following the proper trajectory (i.e. doin' what you want) grab aholt of yer’ JOYstick (No, Sky King...... Yer’ an Airbus operator now...your OTHER joystick dummy )

    Grab aholt of yer’ JOYstick an’ jus’ TICKLE that liddle black box in the center of the flight director a half-a-box to the left, right, up or down an’ then....(here comes the important part) jus’ LET GO again Repeat that complex maneuver as many times as necessary to achieve the proper TRAJECTORY for your flying missile.

    Somebody finally got that through my village-boy bush-pilot thick skull about sim session # 12 or so, right before I was about to flame out. I swear....if I had’da OWNED a chainsaw back in those days, our 1st Bus sim would’a never survived. Fortunately, somebody told me the trick an’ we BOTH survived to fly another day.

    2. I don’t care how much flying experience you have. If you ain’t flown the ‘lectric jet stuff yet; the first few months will go like this.

    Stage 1. Up ‘til at least...oh 300 hrs time-in-type, up to maybe 500 hours; You’ll be sitting like Johnny Bench behind the plate catching The Big Unit. Only you ain’t giving him any signals about what to throw. Also...Randy Johnson on the mound, ain’t giving YOU any idea of what he’s gonna’ throw either. Or WHEN.

    So. There you squat (sit on the edge of your seat)....waiting. You KNOW there’s a ball coming. Most likely a curve, could be down in the dirt, or over your head. But you KNOW it comes fast So you wait. Spring-loaded. Muscles tensed, ready to react. And......NUTHIN’ happens. Until you take a deep breath, relax your shoulder muscles a liddle and th....DING Oh SHITAKE

    Stage 2. For the next three to five hundred hours, you seat back in your seat, definitely more relaxed than in Stage 1, but not completely. You may or may not have by now discovered the “stirrups” (Okay footrests. But “STIRRUPS” conjures up happy memories of a former part-time job.....) You recline your seatback slightly and most of the muscle tenseness is gone. When the “DING ” comes now, you pop-up like a well over-used child’s jack-in-the-box toy, to address whatever “itch” your aging French whore-of-an-airplane THINKS it needs to have scratched at this particular moment. You have, by this time, eliminated (as much as humanly possible) the common and occasionally embarrassing foul-ups that all new A320 pilots make frequently. Things such as radio frequency swap/losses and stuff like that.

    Stage 3. After 700 to 1,000 hours-in-type or so, you have now mastered the intricacies of fully automated flight. You discover just how far back your seat will recline and bitch when there is no headrest on your seat. The cold crew meals now REALLY piss you off because you know there’s an oven nearby. You haven’t spent this much time with your feet elevated (in the men’s case, at least) since you were in gym class in high school. Catnaps, even full-blown sleep events are normal again and the cockpit echoes with the sound of saws felling large timber (drooling optional). Your reaction to any noise OTHER than the CRC (continuous repetitive chime....a really baaaad thing) is to crack one eye half-open and croak to your flying partner “WHAT does this airplane want now ?” In short, you will be chiding yourself for NOT having made the transition a DECADE ago, at least

    Also by now, your instrument “scan” has deteriorated to close to zippo. Your stick and rudder skills have deteriorated to the point where a student pilot on his first supervised solo has a better sense of “feel” for his aircraft than you do for yours. Which bring me to.....

    Stage FOUR. NOTE DISCLAIMER Author’s Opinion NOTHING written subsequent to this line should be in any way construed to be anything other than the ramblings of a demented old bush pilot. Oh-kay? Understood? Do not....repeat DO NOT Take any, of what I am about to write as a recommendation to violate ANY company S.O.P.s, all of which I am a believer of and true adherent thereof.

    You have now learned to successfully manage the trajectory of your airsheen fairly well using 100% of the automation pretty much 100% of the time. I am proud and very happy for you.

    But. Could you FLY it? If you HAD to? ‘Cause despite all written previous, it really does and you really CAN fly it like an airplane Just turn the magic OFF

    Amazingly. Without a flight director one, without an autopilot, and yes, even without AUTOTHRUST ( and yes, it is MEL-able ) this machine can be FLOWN by hand with all the familiarity of the favorite real airplane of your youth. A 310 A Cessna 185, or even a J-3

    It GLIDES (Sully proved that ) It stores and expends energy and momentum It can even TURN while doing so And you still don’t need any feets on the rudder pedals Just like an AirCoupe

    Although of course, the HIGHEST LEVEL of AUTOMATION should normally be used... occasionally, just for PROFICIENCY mind you, you are allowed to HAND-FLY this airplane with reduced levels of automation under the F.O.M.. But this must be thoroughly pre-briefed; as most likely your flying partner will react with emotions ranging from to surprise to abject fear otherwise. Extreme real flying such as this, I would recommend only under the most ideal of operating conditions. Due consideration should be given to the current weather, traffic, airspace, your physical and mental conditions, existing workload (green , yellow, red, panic), when you’ve most recently eaten. Indulging yourself a potty-break just prior is considered good form as well.

    And don’t whatever you do; think that all this automation will save your a**, either literally or figuratively.

    And remember CALI DO NOT let this airplane take you somewhere where you do not WANT nor INTEND TO GO while attempting to “fix” the automation.

    To slay one of the common stereotypes about this airplane; while the standard question uttered by a new A320 pilot most likely is “WHAT is this damn airplane doing now ? ” You will find the answer to that question 99.5% of the time on...the FMA The FMA The FMA Most likely, it is doing exactly what you asked of it. Check the FMA.

    But if it doesn’t make sense and the correction is not fast enuff in coming; TURN THE MAGIC OFF One-at-a-time

    I used to tell the first couple of dozen captains I flew with as a new F/O on the block

    “Don’t be alarmed. If I get confused I start turning stuff off. The more confused I get the more stuff I turn off, until I reach the point where I am totally F’d up. At that point EVERYTHING gets turned off and I just FLY the damn thing myself, ‘cause I know how to fly ”

    Finally my sad, bewildered, and abandoned Boeing brothers and sisters; one last parsnip of information on the Airbus. You will never, as long as you live, as much as you fly her, come to know and love the Airybus in the same trusting way I assume you did your Boeings over the years.

    Neither a Mata Hari nor a Donna Reed she be; but rather much more like the Kim Bassinger character as Bruce Willis;s “Blind Date”. In the end, you’ll love her for her good qualities, while trying (and failing occasionally) to overlook her obvious bad ones.

    Oh, and one last note. After 16 years and 10,000 hours on her flight deck....still..... not an entire bid period passes without me uttering at least ONCE while in the cockpit “Now what in the hell is THIS all about.....?”


    (*) Definition of “EXPERT” An “EX” is a “has-been”, and a “spurt” is a “drip” under pressure
    Last edited by CloudDancer; 01-26-2011 at 04:43 PM.
    A SUPERIOR pilot, uses his or her SUPERIOR judgement, to stay out of situations which may require the use of their SUPERIOR skills.

  2. #2

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    Feb 2008
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    sobriety makes airline pilots wierd.
    If you get lost while flying, don't try hail a cop. Pick up the first railroad you find and hug it until you get somewhere.

  3. #3
    Ruffair's Avatar
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    Jan 2008
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    Thank you.

    The last sentence, (*) Definition....... sum's it up.

  4. #4

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    I didn't make it all the way through that lengthy post, but I loved the A-320. I loved the EFIS 737, too, but the Airbus was a giant step up. Not in quality, of course, but in technology. I flew the 757 for exactly long enough to bid off and back on the 'Bus. Did not care for that big smelly machine with the dead slow avionics.

    Airbus was not for everybody. We had some extremely sharp pilots who could not adapt to the new technology. They all flew the 737 like it was a Cub.

  5. #5
    Iflylower's Avatar
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    I thought you were gonna say one of em screwed up the light switches.

    Thanks Cloudy for the lesson.
    Last edited by Iflylower; 01-27-2011 at 04:00 PM.
    "There are three things in life that people like to stare at: a flowing stream, a crackling fire and a Zamboni clearing the ice." Charlie Brown

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