Which aircraft do pilots prefer to fly?

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Captain Joe is a pilot and a Youtube star. He was a guest at BAYERN 1 moderator Marcus Fahn and gave him secret pilot knowledge and answered all questions about aircraft.

Status: 02/11/2020

Who is captain joe?

Captain Joe's real name is Joe Diebolder and is a pilot. When it's not in the cockpit, he publishes videos on YouTube. In it he gives a very entertaining answer to everything there is to know about aviation: Can a passenger land an airplane? Do pilots listen to music while flying? Why are planes delayed? And how are contrails formed? With over a million subscribers, Captain Joe is one of the most successful Youtubers involved in aviation.

Record flight through storm "Sabine" - how can an airplane withstand that?

With the help of "Sabine" there was a record flight: a British Airways Boeing flew from New York to London in four hours and 56 minutes - almost one and a half faster than usual. How can a normal passenger plane, which normally flies around 800 km / h, withstand that?
Captain Joe: "No, physically it can't get too fast. The base speed is supersonic, but the plane moves more or less in its air package and is actually not that fast at all. It is really pushed through the air with this tailwind. And the shadow cast by the aircraft on the ground is the speed over the ground that the aircraft travels, and that is much higher than the actual speed at which the aircraft is moving. "

How does the pilot know that turbulence will occur and what do you do then?

Before we take the flight, the captain and co-captain do a very detailed briefing. You talk through the flight carefully and also look at the maps that the meteorologists have made available to us. And on them you can already see where thunderstorms can occur. When we see something like that, we also point out to the crew when we are coming into a turbulence area. If we as pilots have the feeling that the turbulence is really strong during the flight, we will make an announcement and ask you to buckle up. If now the announcement comes: "Cabine crew, please take your seats", so: flight attendants, please take your seats, then the turbulence will be quite strong. However, this happens very rarely and is usually not dangerous because the aircraft continues to fly normally after a few minutes.

Why do the window blinds have to be open for take-off and landing?

The sun visors must be open for safety reasons. Suppose something happens during take-off or landing, e.g. an engine ignites. Thanks to the open panel, the passenger can see that an emergency exit on the left side will not work. So the passenger orients himself to the other side. For the same reason, the interior lighting is dimmed a few minutes before landing when approaching at night. If there is an emergency here too, the passengers' eyes have already got used to the darkness and evacuation can take place more quickly.

How can suitcases get lost?

Captain Joe says that he has already seen suitcases fall off the conveyor belt while loading or unloading the aircraft. Sometimes suitcases say goodbye during the transport with the small apron cars. The lost suitcase is sometimes lying around on the premises for a very long time until someone picks it up and returns it to the Lost and Found. He also once informed an apron pilot that there was a suitcase somewhere.

Suitcases tend to get lost on connecting flights. As a passenger, you are usually faster on the connecting flight than the suitcase. And as soon as the passenger is on board, the pilot usually makes the decision to take off. There is then no waiting for the suitcase.

How do delays occur? After all, there is no traffic jam in the air.

In fact, there are also traffic jams in the air. An example: Munich Airport can land 60 aircraft in 60 minutes. But when a huge thunderstorm approaches, everything slows down because of the bad weather. Since airplanes cannot pull over like cars, they fly so-called holdings or holding loops. If I'm waiting for my departure in Berlin, the air traffic controller may not even let me take off. Because actually you want to avoid these queues. It is also more comfortable for passengers to wait on the ground and not circling through the air. This leads to traffic jams and thus delays.

Which airport in the world is particularly difficult to fly to?

There are only a few airports that are really difficult to fly into. First and foremost, it depends on the weather in which you have to fly to the airport. At large airports such as Hong Kong or New York, there is also the number of aircraft that are in the air at the same time. There the air traffic controller speaks continuously to the pilot on one frequency. Because of the high volume of flights, the pilot has to concentrate tremendously in order not to miss any instructions.

When does the pilot dump kerosene on the plane?

This is a very rare case, but you can see it - then fuel leaks on the wing. This is done if, for example, there is a medical emergency on board, but there is no doctor and the crew can no longer help. Then the plane has to be landed as soon as possible. However, every aircraft has a maximum landing weight - and that must not be exceeded. Otherwise the aircraft could be damaged on landing. That means: the pilot has to reduce the weight and we can't drop suitcases. Therefore, fuel is drained in a controlled manner. It calculates exactly how many tons of fuel have to be thrown overboard in order to get below the maximum landing weight. But that happens very rarely. We practice this in the simulator, but thank God this emergency has never happened to me.

When does the pilot know when to land and which route to fly?

There are no signs in the air, but so-called "Airways". You can compare it to a motorway. On the ground, the dispatchers write the flight plan for us pilots, so actually choose a route for us. And they choose this route based on the wind. The best routes are where you have a tailwind because that shortens the flight time. And then there are real exits where you come off the air highway and fly an "Arrival", an arrival route into the airport. At the end of the day you always want to save flight time and of course fuel.

Do the pilots get the same food as the passengers?

No, the crew generally gets a different meal than the passengers. And care is even taken to ensure that the pilot and co-pilot do not eat the same food. The aim is to minimize the risk that both pilots will spoil their stomachs at the same time. It actually happened before. At that time, the flight attendants had to make an announcement and ask if a pilot was on board. Fortunately, there was a fellow pilot on board who took over the rest of the flight.

Why do pilots always nibble at the announcements?

The headset that we pilots wear has a small microphone on the front. And that is very close to our mouths so that the pilot can clearly understand when we read back his instructions. And we use exactly the same microphone when we make the announcements for the passengers. In addition, the loudspeaker in an airplane is not a Dolby Surround system. That's why it all sounds so overdriven and croaked. What the pilot says during his announcement is up to him. Many take this very seriously and above all want to tell something about the flight route. Personally, I always like to let passengers know where we are and where turbulence might threaten on the flight. And of course, many passengers expect to be told what the weather is like at the place of arrival.

What is the most dangerous thing about flying?

The start is definitely the most dangerous. The aircraft is still at a low altitude, the engines at full power. If gravel is thrown up from the runway or birds are sucked in, i.e. something at this low altitude damages the engines - then it becomes dangerous. You can actually say: as soon as the flight attendants get up and start the service, everything went well. But every passenger would also hear if something was wrong with the engines. Incidentally, the starting phase is most often trained in the emergency exercises. And that's where we pilots are best prepared if something really should go wrong.

As a pilot at the airport, how do you know where to go?

Pilots have so-called airport ground charts or taxi charts on board. These charts can be compared to a city map. The paths to the gates are marked there and provided with letters and numbers. Captain Joe explains that when he lands in Munich, for example, he changes frequency after landing on the ground and then the controller tells him: "CargoLux123", i.e. the aircraft's call sign, "Taxi Via Bravo 6, Sierra 3 , right on Romeo to Cargo Apron Stand 902 “. This is the release that I write down and read to him again. Then I look at the roll chart where exactly that is and help my captain to navigate the apron. Corresponding illuminated signs or signposts are attached to the ground to help the pilot to find the right way.

What was your most dangerous flight so far?

Not so long ago we started and immediately after the start we got between two thunderstorms. They weren't visible in advance on the weather radar. Normally you turn around then, but the thunderstorm had built up behind us too. So we had to fly through one of the thunderstorms. Unfortunately we were struck by lightning four times in 10 minutes while flying through the clouds. A lightning strike is not dangerous in itself because an airplane is a Faraday cage. But because of the up and down winds, we lost altitude and speed within the thunderstorm. But in the end we made it for sure!

Where do the pilot and crew sleep on a long-haul flight and for how long?

The sleeping area for the pilot and crew is well hidden, but as a passenger you can sometimes see the entrance to it. If you walk down the cabin to the end of the aircraft, then the cabin is a little further suspended in some places. The ceiling of the aircraft is kind of coming towards you. A ladder leads up exactly at these points, under the ceiling of the aircraft. There is a small sleeping cabin in which you can sleep very well. How long you sleep there depends on the length of the flight, explains Captain Joe. You split up as a crew and then rotate through it. On a 10 hour flight you would be able to sleep for about three hours before the next one is allowed to go to bed.

How often do you practice emergency situations as a pilot and how often do you check your flying skills?

Every six months I have to spend four hours in a simulator in which we practice emergency situations. These non-normal situations or emergencies change with every simulator session. Some of the emergency situations come up every time, such as an engine failure during or shortly after take-off. It then depends on the correct processing of the memory items, these are checklists or procedures that we have to know by heart. Then new errors are added, which again depend on working thoroughly with the checklists and on good communication and cooperation with the captain. You have passed the test if you land the plane safely. I am often asked how realistic these simulators are. These simulators are as real as the actual aircraft and only have a 0.1% deviation from reality. As strange as it sounds, I enjoy the sessions in the simulator because you get more and more confidence in your aircraft and keep expanding your technical understanding.

Could a passenger land a plane?

The short answer is no. But I can also explain that. I tried this out with my sister in a flight simulator. The hardest part is communication. I simulated that I was sitting in the tower, my sister was the passenger in the cockpit. And by the time she knew how to talk to me about what she heard me about, too much time had passed. If the communication is established, it would theoretically work. My sister made it in the end. But: that was only in a flight simulator. In reality, there are also factors such as nervousness. That's why I can't imagine it.

Why are almost all planes white?

You know it in summer: when you sit in a black car with black leather seats, the sun makes the seats incredibly hot. Because the black color reflects the sun's rays only poorly. A car painted white reflects the sun ten times better than a black car - and the same applies to an airplane. An aircraft is cooled down to minus 56 degrees while it is in flight and adjusts to the outside temperature again after landing on the ground. If the aircraft were black, the temperature differences would be even greater and the extreme fluctuations would unnecessarily burden the material.

What was your most extraordinary flight?

"I recently transported two beluga whales from Shanghai, China, to Keflavik, Iceland," says Captain Joe. The animals are four meters long, each weighing a ton and on board were large aquariums in which the whales were transported. The preparations and the flight were incredibly exciting, says Captain Joe. Thank goodness there was no turbulence on the flight, so the animals arrived safely in their new home.

Why is it always so freezing cold on the plane?

On hot summer days we switch on the so-called auxiliary power unit, short APU a. This is an auxiliary engine that produces electricity and operates the air conditioning. Usually the pilot sets the temperature to 18 degrees while the passengers go on board. After the engines have started, they take over the air conditioning. During the flight, the aircraft skin cools down and radiates the cold into the cabin. So if the pilot forgets to change the temperature from 18 degrees after take-off, it can get quite cold in the cabin in the long run. Captain Joe explains, however, that the flight attendants can contact the pilots at any time to raise the temperature. By the way, it's always pleasantly warm in the pilots' cockpit.

How many hours do you have to practice before you are allowed to fly a passenger aircraft for the first time as a pilot?

There is no general answer to this question, because it differs from continent to continent. Captain Joe tells us that you need about 2500 hours of practice in the USA before you can fly an airplane with 200 passengers more. In Europe there are much less: with Captain Joe it was only 250 hours. However, at the beginning you only fly as a co-pilot and accompany a very experienced pilot from whom you can learn a lot. That's why the system is very safe.

Where is the safest seat on the plane?

You can answer this question yourself with a little experiment: Drop a glass bottle on the floor. They will make sure that the neck of the bottle does not break, only the rest of the bottle. In the case of an airplane, the bottleneck is the end of the airplane. There, due to construction work, the aircraft is more stable than the front part of the aircraft. Therefore, statistically speaking, the back seats on the plane are safer. But that's not a guarantee, explains Captain Joe. "And flying is and will remain the safest means of transport in the world," said Captain Joe.

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