CRJ200 Airline Pilot

The personal experiences, thoughts of an CRJ captain

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Essential crew supplies that you need for your trips.

A Cool Aviation Watch – Torgoen T6 E6B and Zulu Time Watch

Posted by Jeffrey on October 22, 2008

It is every pilot’s dream watch besides a Breitling, of course.

The Very Cool Torgoen T6 E6B and Zulu Watch

The Very Cool Torgoen T6 E6B and Zulu Watch

The Torgoen T6 E6B/Zulu Time Watch Is The Watch To Have!

When I first saw the Torgoen T6 E6B/Zulu Time Watch, I thought this is one cool watch! It is affordable, and it looks great too! I love the Orange Face, which, by the way, if you were concerned IS non-radioactive. (Yeah, I was concerned too.) It really jumps out of the norm without be being obnoxious.

And I guess, as microchips get smaller, it was only a matter of time when the endearing E6B was finally made smaller, too.

Now, if you are looking for a very cool and useful online E6B, check out the E6B Emulator. http://www.csgnetwork.com/e6bcalc.html

If you are a beginner or even seasoned flying veteran, you will want to get this watch. It has EVERYTHING!

  • Zulu time by a single red hand (my favorite feature)
  • 24 hour clock (my second favorite feature)
  • Calculate time, distance, and speed (my third favorite feature)
  • Ounces to grams
  • Kilograms to pounds
  • Miles to kilometers
  • Currency conversion
  • Multiplication and division
  • And much more!

It’s durable, has a three-year warranty, and makes a great gift!

If the orange face is too much for you though, it comes with a steel bracelet and black face or
black leather and black face as well.

So do something nice for yourself. You know you’ve always wanted this watch, so get it!

Till next time…

P.S. If you are looking for tradition E6B computers, here are two that I recommend, the second one being my favorite and the one I used when I was a flight instructor.



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How To Speak on the Radio!

Posted by Jeffrey on October 19, 2008

Learn Good Radio Communications

As I was flying around California today, I cringed listening to some of the radio communications I heard from both general aviation pilots and professional pilots, including my own first officer.

Now I don’t claim to be the end-all-be-all of radio communications but I do strive to communicate properly, as should you. Due to the nature of flying, radio transmissions need to be succinct, precise, and to the point because there are often several pilots trying to communicate with air traffic control (ATC) at any one time and sometimes there is a lot to be said. Furthermore, ATC hates to have to repeat themselves! So you better be sure and listen close the first time.

If you ever listen to ground communications in the busy airports like Chicago O’hare (ORD) or Dallas-Fort Worth (DFW) or Los Angeles International (LAX), you will hear some of the most rapid-fire communications in the world. In ORD, you have to pay attention and respond when given an instruction because…if you don’t…you will be singled out…and that is always embarrassing. ORD is a little different too because the “normal” radio communication procedures often go out the window. On occasion I’ve heard Ground give instructions to ten airplanes at once in rapid succession. So forget about giving a read back.

Now today, we departed San Diego (KSAN) and landed on 25L in Los Angeles (KLAX).  Upon landing, we were cleared to cross 25R and turn right on taxi way Bravo. My first officer simply replied, “Cleared to cross, turn right on Bravo.”

What is wrong with this? If you guessed that he didn’t say which runway, i.e., 25R, the runway we were cleared to cross, you are right. Now it was obvious which runway we were cleared to cross but that doesn’t mean it is alright to not include it in the transmission. The FAA’s number one “call to action” right now is to reduce runway incursion.  You can read more about it here.

Here is another example…and I hear this a lot in ORD. ATC will say, “<Airline> 123…fly heading 140, maintain 5000 till established, cleared ILS approach 10, 180 knots to the marker, contact tower 120.75 at the marker.” This is what <airline> 123 says, “We will do all that.” I hear this from major and regional airline pilots all the time. And there are several problems with this kind of response.

  1. Did you really get ALL the instructions? Even though you may have done this thousands of time, can you really be sure that you heard exactly what the controller said.
  2. It lacks professionalism.
  3. It shows a lack of respect for the process which is to ensure a successful arrival.

Here is one more example.

When holding short, a pilot will call tower and say something like, “LAX Tower, <airline> 123, holding short 25R, ready for takeoff.” Now this may seem innocuous enough but it is wrong. When you say “Takeoff,” you are stating a action command. Tower is the only one that can issue a takeoff clearance. By saying “takeoff,” a pilot could basically misunderstand the clearance. Hard to imagine, but it happens. When holding short of a runway, it is important that you say, “LAX Tower, <airline> 123, holding short 25R, ready for departure.” Now this may seem trivial, but as a professional, it is up to you to communicate professionally. It comes with the job.

So what can you do. As a future professional pilot, you can prepare yourself by practicing with your instructor or if you are already a pilot, review your knowledge on proper communication etiquette.

Here are a few options to consider:

So, don’t be one of those pilots with bad radio communication procedures. Pick up one of these tools so that you can communicate like the professional pilot you want to be. 

Till next time…

Here are some related entries you might want to read:

Posted in Captain Insights, Crew Gear | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

Another Year, Another FAR/AIM

Posted by Jeffrey on September 30, 2008

777

Boeing 777

There are a few things that happen every year: New Year’s, Easter, the 4th of July, and a new FAR/AIM.

One of my best flight instructors once said, “If you don’t have a current FAR/AIM, all you have is a history book.”

If you are reading this blog you probably know what a FAR/AIM is. If you aren’t a pilot, but plan on becoming a pilot, it is an acroynm that you will eventually learn to love and hate.

FAR is the acronym for “Federal Aviation Regulations.” It is the definitive, though sometimes ambigious and open to interpretation, laws of the skies. It is written by the FAA and states what we can and can’t do in the world of aviation. It is composed of many sections (i.e., Parts) for many different areas of aviation. In my job, I am held to Part 121, which outlines the operating requirements for domestic, flag, and supplemental operations, or more simply, airline operations, in my case.

Here is a list of the FAA Regulations that are most likely to affect you:

  • Part 61 – Certification of Pilots, Flight Instructors, and Ground Instructors
  • Part 91– General Operating and Flight Rules (If you fly just for fun, you fall under Part 91 operations)
  • Part 141 – Flight Schools generally operate under Part 141
  • Part 121 – Airline Operations
  • Part 135 – Commuter and On-Demand Operations (better known a “Charter Airlines”)

Confused yet? That’s alright. I’m about to make it easier for you here in a few minutes.

Now the FAA doesn’t seem to know anything about making things easy for the pilot and general public. When I went looking for the regulations on their website, www.faa.gov, it took a few minutes to narrow it down and get to the right page. (Note: I’ve included the links to the appropriate pages above.) They don’t seem to understand how things are searched for and they don’t present it very well either. Oh, well.

Back to what I was talking about. Now these FAR’s are long and if you have an Internet connection and want to look them up on the website that’s great…but it’s not very useful. You can also subscribe to AOPA (www.aopa.org), to access the FAR information through their portal but again, if all you are doing is subscribing to get the FAR’s, just get it for free from the FAA. Granted AOPA has a lot of great material as well, so it’s your choice.

The best option is to buy a book published by ASA or Gleim, so that you can refer to it.

When I was a flight instructor, I carried my FAR/AIM around with me like a bible. Though I was a pretty good at remembering regulations, eventually I would be asked something that I didn’t know and would have to look it up.

And if you are really serious about your flying and want to stay sharp, consider getting flash cards so that you can review them regularly:

  • Flashcards for FAR– Maintain a solid core knowledge of the Federal Aviation Regulations (FAR’s) with these flashcards or if you’re an instructor, prepare your students for their checkride.
  • FAR Flashcards for ATP (Parts 119, 121, and 135)– Flashcards keep your cockpit skills sharp and help you prepare for that important test, checkride, or interview!

Talk to any pilot and they will tell you how important it is to stay up of the latest regulations least you break one and get violated and get your certificate suspended or revoked.

Well, I didn’t cover the Airman Information Manual (AIM) so I will do that during my next entry.

Till next time…

And don’t forget to sign up for my RSS feed or email updates, to stay current on my entries. You can sign up on the top left corner.

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The Dreaded Airline Interview

Posted by Jeffrey on September 27, 2008

An aviation acquaintance of mine in Australia, Glen Solly, has written an outstanding ebook called

A Pilot’s Guide to the Successful Interview

that is relavent no matter what country you live it. Once you read his bio, I think you will agree with me that he is more than qualified to give meaningful advice regarding the dreaded airline interview.

So, if you are going to your first interview, or your 10th (hopefully not!), you are going to want to pick up this ebookand study it. I’ve read it and it is packed with super useful and insightful tips about preparing for and going to an interview. He gives you ideas on what to expect and how to handle different situations in the interview. And, he uses a technique called Unique Selling Proposition (USP), which if you have studied marketing at all, is the basis for selling a product. And you can bet, when you go to an interview, you are “selling” yourself. I don’t mean that in a “selling your soul” kind of way but what I do mean is that you are marketing yourself so that they want to hire YOU over the pilot next to you.

Here is an outline of what you will get:

  • Realizing Your Potential
  • The Employment Process
  • Preparing for the Interview
  • The Mechanics of the Interview
  • Positive Attitude, which includes Mental Toughening and Visualization — I loved this section!
  • A Checklist
  • A Quiz
  • Sample Interview Questions
  • And Dealing with Rejection

The “Dealing with Rejection” is a great add-on section because though you always want to be positive and believe that you are going to get the job, the truth is that that is not always the case and what you need is mental ammunition to get you going again after a big let down.

You can see that his ebook covers a wide range of topics, is updated regularly and has acceptable depth to keep you reading. It will help you get your first acceptance letter to the airline of your choice.

Go pick it up now, you will be glad you did. Click Here!

Posted in Crew Gear | Tagged: , , | 2 Comments »

Sennheiser HMEC 25-KA Headset: What Is So Great About Them?

Posted by Jeffrey on September 18, 2008

Sennheiser HMEC-25-KA ANR HeadsetSennheiser HMEC-25-KA Headset for Regional Jets

If you fly the CRJ 200, or any jet for that matter, and you are looking for a new headset, consider the Sennheiser HMEC-25-KA ANR Headset.

No doubt, the deep technical specifications are important but for me the technical specs go way over my head but the quality, comfort, and price of this headset puts it way above the rest.

Now there are a lot of different types of aviation headsets by Sennheiser.

I’ve broken it down in a chart for you to make it easier which one is right for you.

 

Price

NoiseGard Supply

Connector

HMEC 25-CA

$633

2 x AA Battery Power Pack

XLR-5

HMEC 25-CAP

$689

24 V DC, XLR-3 Connector

XLR-5

HMEC-25-KA

$633

2 x AA Battery Power Pack

Stereo Jack / PJ-068

HMEC-25-KAS
(Stereo)

$726

2 x AA Battery Power Pack

Stereo Jack / PJ-068

HMEC-25-KAP-2

$726

24 V DC, XLR-3 Connector

Stereo Jack / PJ-068

HMEC 25-KAP-2

$726

12-35 V DC, XLR-3 Connector

Stereo Jack / PJ-068

HMEC 25-KAP-2R

$569

12-35 V DC, XLR-3 Connector

Stereo Jack / PJ-068

HMEC 25-KAX

$726

12-35 V DC, XLR-3 Connector

Stereo Jack / PJ-068

HME 25-KA-2

$406

Not applicable

Stereo Jack / PJ-068

HME 25-KA-2R

$295

Not applicable

Stereo Jack / PJ-068

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

…but which one is the right ONE for you?

 

I’ll tell you right now, the Sennheiser HMEC-25-KA ANR Headset is the one that I own and the one I think you would be most happy with.

 

For the are MOST part they are essentially all the same:

  • light weight (7 oz. or 170 g)
  • extremely comfortable
  • outstanding Noise Reduction Rating (NRR)
  • compact
  • adjustable headset
  • adjustable microphone

The differences are either the NoiseGard™ power supply for the headset or the microphone/headset connectors.

 

So let’s get started.

 

The Microphone

 

The –CA series use one cable, the XLR-5, connector for both microphone and headset, whereas the –KA series uses two connectors (normal configuration for most jets), one for the microphone and one for the headset.

 

Both the – CA and  –KA microphones get their power by using either 24V DC or the 12-35 V DC from the airplane internal power supply and provide crystal clear communications.

 

The Headsets

 

The –CA and –KA both use a power pack that require 2 x AA batteries to power the noise canceling feature of the headsets BUT it is not required if you don’t want to use it.

In order to use the NoiseGard™ on the –CA and –KA versions you have to turn on the battery pack, which has a two-color LED (Power On (Green)/Low Battery (Yellow) indicator); however I very rarely use it in the CRJ200. The quality is so good, that even without the NoiseGard™ on, the interference is substantially reduced and the headset provides extremely clear communications.

Often, I find that when I get in the CRJ, I have to turn down the intercom volume from the previous captain because their headset didn’t filter out the ambient noise. There are times though when I do turn the NoiseGard™ on because either the airplane ambient noise requires it or there is too much static over the airwaves or I am going into a terminal area where I don’t want to miss a single communication.

By turning NoiseGard™ on, the clarity of radio communications improves 10-fold.

Fun Facts of Know and Tell

Did you know that when people use headphones, they tend to choose a higher volume than they would with loudspeakers. As we all know, listening with high volume levels for a longer time can lead to permanent hearing damage. As pilots, permanent hearing damage could seriously reduce the number of years you could fly. Because the NoiseGard™ circuitry reduces the ambient noise, the headphones can be set at a correspondingly lower level leading to more comfortable hearing conditions and thus protect your hearing.

How does the NoiseGard system work?

The headphone is a Sennheiser NoiseGard™ system. It is a dynamic headphone system which, in addition to reproducing the original audio signal, electronically cancels the low frequencies of ambient noises. This active noise compensation operates on the principle that sound and ”anti-sound“ (in phase opposition) cancel each other out. Like matter and anti-matter. The NoiseGard™ compensation circuitry in the headphone requires an extra power supply, hence the battery compartment has been integrated into the headset cable (see illustration on the right), but like I said above I hardly every use.

Clearly intelligible communication is ensured, and the pilot no longer has to turn the volume up to overcome ambient noise.

Conclusion

The Sennheiser HMEC-25-KA ANR Headset is a great headset! The Sennheiser HMEC-25-KAS is the stereo version. It is more expensive and all you get is the ability to control the volume on the headset which no one ever uses, so why pay for it? All the other headsets in Sennheiser series are a bit too expensive for me or don’t have the proper configuration for the CRJ200.

 

The Sennheiser HMEC-25-KA is light weight, affordable, and extremely comfortable. I’ve had mine for over five years and have never had a problem with it and it fits easily into my flight bag as well. This headset absolutely pays for itself over time.



Posted in Crew Gear, Flying the Line | Tagged: , , , , , | 4 Comments »