Low visibility: How aircraft operate in foggy conditions

As winter closes in, the nights are getting colder and there’s more moisture in the air. Combine the two and you’ve got the perfect recipe for fog. Whilst it’s great for the photographers out there, we all know that fog combined with air travel normally results in delays and disruption. Fog-bound airports are forced to … Continue reading Low visibility: How aircraft operate in foggy conditions

Behind the scenes: What goes on in the flight deck during a diversion?

From take off till touch down, most flights run pretty smoothly. As airline pilots, we do this hundreds of times a year. However, every so often, something happens which means we are unable to land at the planned destination. Be it bad weather, technical issues or problems in the passenger cabin, once in a while … Continue reading Behind the scenes: What goes on in the flight deck during a diversion?

What’s going on in the flight deck before departure?

Sat up in the gate area waiting to board your flight, the big windows of the terminal building often let you peer down through the flight deck windows. Inside, the two figures seem to be calmly going about their work, maybe taking a sip of something hot from a mug, chatting away. As you make … Continue reading What’s going on in the flight deck before departure?

How pilots stay alert on ultra-long-range flights

Last week, Qantas operated the world’s first commercial flight between New York and Sydney, a 19-hour and 16-minute epic journey. It was part of the airline’s “Project Sunrise”, a study into the feasibility of super-long-haul flights for both machine and human. While the 787 Dreamliner is a great aircraft to operate such ultra-long-range (ULR) flights, humans aren’t … Continue reading How pilots stay alert on ultra-long-range flights

How pilots keep you safe whilst flying through strong winds

We know summer is officially over when the leaves start to change colour, Starbucks start selling Pumpkin Spice Lattes and strong winds batter the country. Autumn brings not only some of the most challenging conditions for pilots, but also some of the most satisfying. It’s the time when our flying skills really come to the … Continue reading How pilots keep you safe whilst flying through strong winds

Behind the scenes: What goes on in the flight deck during a rapid descent

Last week, Delta Air Lines Flight 2353 was on its way from Atlanta to Fort Lauderdale when it experienced problems with the pressurisation system. The pilots descended the aircraft from its cruising altitude of 39,000 ft. down to 10,000 ft. in accordance with their Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) before diverting to Tampa. My colleague, Katherine … Continue reading Behind the scenes: What goes on in the flight deck during a rapid descent

How pilots handle an in-flight engine shutdown

For most passengers, the idea of losing an engine mid-flight is as bad as it gets. You’re 43,000 feet above the ocean, it’s the middle of the night and you’re miles from the nearest airport. For some, they may imagine the pilots fighting with the controls as they struggle to keep the aircraft airborne. However, … Continue reading How pilots handle an in-flight engine shutdown

The Art Behind a Comfortable Landing: How Pilots Calculate Bringing an Aircraft to the Ground

They say that what goes up must come down and landing an airliner is probably the most challenging part of the job. Guiding a 190ton aircraft with 220 people on board to an area just 60m wide and a few hundred metres long takes great skill, judgement and concentration. However, the thought process for the … Continue reading The Art Behind a Comfortable Landing: How Pilots Calculate Bringing an Aircraft to the Ground

Preparing for the Worst-Case Scenario: What Pilots Are Thinking During a Dual Engine Failure

As a pilot, a dual engine failure is something that you will probably never experience in your entire career. Yet, last week in Moscow, the day which we never expect to occur happened to the two pilots operating Ural Airlines Flight 178 to Simferopol. As they rotated their Airbus A321 into the air, the aircraft hit a … Continue reading Preparing for the Worst-Case Scenario: What Pilots Are Thinking During a Dual Engine Failure

The Science Behind a Beautiful Aircraft Takeoff

As you’re relaxing into your seat, waiting for takeoff, the focus in the flight deck is at its peak. The culmination of the last two hours of briefings and checks is almost upon us. The flashing white strobes on the wingtips and tail are turned on and the bright landing lights illuminate the path ahead. … Continue reading The Science Behind a Beautiful Aircraft Takeoff