Question for the wide body guys/gals

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402_pilot
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Question for the wide body guys/gals

#1 Post by 402_pilot » Mon Aug 08, 2016 8:30 am

I hear that F/Os on the long haul fleets get very little actual take offs and landings on the line because of priority given to captain currency or auto land verifications. I even heard a rumour of some guys not touching the controls outside of the simulator. Any truth to this? Any F/Os on the 777/787/767/A330 mind sharing say how many landings you do on the line per month, or per year?
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Re: Question for the wide body guys/gals

#2 Post by DBC » Mon Aug 08, 2016 9:17 am

Operating FO will do every other landing unless it's something odd like a Cat III day or if the captain needs it to maintain currency. The only reason this would be is if the captain had been sick for an extended period or maybe had a part management role. Every pairing I have done in the past year has had the FO doing one of the landings.

On the 4 man crews it is possible for the Augment FO to go long periods without takeoff or landing if that is all they bid.

Per month an FO on the 787 or 777 might do 3-10 depending on if they do entirely long haul or transcon flights.
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Re: Question for the wide body guys/gals

#3 Post by altiplano » Mon Aug 08, 2016 10:01 am

As said, you take turns on a pairing except in rare cases.

Some guys that only do the augment flying will lose currency and have to go to sim and get 4 hours pay for some t/o and lndgs... But I heard that they added more stuff in recently, maybe to discourage guys from losing currency.

I think at C3 the 340 guys were doing captain only for currency reasons... I don't remember the reason, but maybe they were only doing 2 pairings a month to India or something like that...
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Re: Question for the wide body guys/gals

#4 Post by 402_pilot » Mon Aug 08, 2016 10:20 am

Thanks for the quick answers! One more quick question: I see dual tillers on the some of the AC aircraft. (777,787) Do the F/Os taxi their sectors?
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Re: Question for the wide body guys/gals

#5 Post by The Raven » Mon Aug 08, 2016 1:33 pm

402_pilot wrote:Thanks for the quick answers! One more quick question: I see dual tillers on the some of the AC aircraft. (777,787) Do the F/Os taxi their sectors?
I'm retired now, so unless things have changed, generally no. The Captain taxis.
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Re: Question for the wide body guys/gals

#6 Post by Old fella » Mon Aug 08, 2016 2:49 pm

What is the most challenging item for a pilot transiting to wide body flying for the first time
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Re: Question for the wide body guys/gals

#7 Post by squash junky » Mon Aug 08, 2016 3:41 pm

Old fella wrote:What is the most challenging item for a pilot transiting to wide body flying for the first time
What I noticed was people were intimidated by the size and had to get used to the momentum of a bigger a/c
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Re: Question for the wide body guys/gals

#8 Post by altiplano » Mon Aug 08, 2016 5:59 pm

Depends on the captain. I've flown with several who don't mind the F/O taxiing. If not out, then maybe to the ramp after landing...

Toughest think to get used to for me flying widebodies was managing rest particularly when the monthly sked didn't turn out as hoped for... Speed/size/mass you get used to pretty quick, but maybe it depends on the individual ..
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Re: Question for the wide body guys/gals

#9 Post by DBC » Mon Aug 08, 2016 7:29 pm

Old fella wrote:What is the most challenging item for a pilot transiting to wide body flying for the first time
I would say fatigue without a doubt, the schedule can do real damage to your body and is the only thing that keeps consistent as you learn the new plane.
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Re: Question for the wide body guys/gals

#10 Post by Old fella » Tue Aug 09, 2016 6:58 am

DBC wrote:
Old fella wrote:What is the most challenging item for a pilot transiting to wide body flying for the first time
I would say fatigue without a doubt, the schedule can do real damage to your body and is the only thing that keeps consistent as you learn the new plane.
As older pilots get close to their retirement age, long haul wide body flying must take a toll on their bodies. With the multiple time zones and international date line on a YYZ-Far East flight return flight has to be hard on them even though said guys/gals fly fine equipment like B787/777.
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Re: Question for the wide body guys/gals

#11 Post by complexintentions » Sat Aug 20, 2016 9:39 pm

Fatigue is the #1 reason by a long, long shot why Emirates is losing pilots in droves. From a job where you can make over 20k/month CAD tax-free. No amount of money or fine equipment can make up for the fact of feeling absolutely shattered all the time.

Longhaul flying patterns and chronic fatigue is a massive, growing problem worldwide. I think one day the industry will look back in horror at present rostering and say "what were we thinking?!". But for now everyone leans on the automation and hopes nothing bad happens while they're half-dead at the controls. The insidious part of fatigue is that most tired pilots won't even know just how tired they are.

Sorry if this is slight topic drift, but it does certainly tie to the hardest part of widebody flying. The adaptation to the a/c isn't that hard.
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Re: Question for the wide body guys/gals

#12 Post by heavymetal » Sun Aug 21, 2016 9:08 am

Spot on complexintentions
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Re: Question for the wide body guys/gals

#13 Post by Old fella » Sun Aug 21, 2016 3:47 pm

Be interesting to hear/read about duty/fatigue during the 1950's piston banging days aka DC-6/7 and Supper Connie on international trips, long ones there I can imagine...........
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Re: Question for the wide body guys/gals

#14 Post by gofly » Mon Feb 13, 2017 1:59 pm

I guess I'm not very smart, and don't have any 705 flying experience, but can somebody explain this to me. Regional carriers are gruelling, I get it. 14+hour days, work 20 days a month, sleep in crappy motels and eat gross motel food - it's bad. But widebody? That was supposed to be the point where you have "arrived", so to speak. Work 8 days a month, nap enroute the plane while relief pilots take over, 1-3 day layovers in 5-star hotels in fancy destinations. Where does this exhausting fatigue come from? Not trolling, btw, just genuinely curious.
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Re: Question for the wide body guys/gals

#15 Post by mbav8r » Tue Feb 14, 2017 6:36 am

I'm not a wide body guy, I can speak to your view on Regional, at Jazz nobody is working 20 days unless they volunteer for overtime, at worst junior pilots are scheduled for 18 days of reserve but if you are called in for 15-16 of those you would be at the max credit hours for the month and be able to drop the remaining reserve days if any are left. I've never been scheduled for 14 hours and in 10 years I've worked to 14 hours a handful of times from operational delays, most of the time my duty day is 9-12 hours, often I'll have 6-7 hour days mixed in a pairing. Also in 10 years I've never slept in a crappy motel, the standards for our hotels are higher than I would have for personal travel. I've heard the other regionals are a little closer to what you describe but you make it sound almost unbearable, i don't think any of the regionals are as bad as you describe.
Now, I have friends who fly wide bodies the fatigue comes in from the back of the clock flying they do. If your doing long haul, your going through many time zones and trying to sleep at odd hours and a good chunk of the flying is at night, all night.
The hotels would be the same standard as domestic, I doubt they stay in five stars, in case you haven't heard, Pilots are overpaid and customers don't want to pay what it cost to fly, so if the airlines can save some money on hotels, they will.
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Re: Question for the wide body guys/gals

#16 Post by Black_Tusk » Tue Feb 14, 2017 7:15 am

gofly wrote:I guess I'm not very smart, and don't have any 705 flying experience, but can somebody explain this to me. Regional carriers are gruelling, I get it. 14+hour days, work 20 days a month, sleep in crappy motels and eat gross motel food - it's bad.
Where do you get this idea? Work at most 12 hours, usually shorter (10), stay in places like the Fairmont and other nice hotels.. 13-15 days a month...
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Re: Question for the wide body guys/gals

#17 Post by gofly » Tue Feb 14, 2017 8:03 am

mbav8r wrote:I'm not a wide body guy, I can speak to your view on Regional, at Jazz nobody is working 20 days unless they volunteer for overtime, at worst junior pilots are scheduled for 18 days of reserve but if you are called in for 15-16 of those you would be at the max credit hours for the month and be able to drop the remaining reserve days if any are left.
That's cool to know things are that bad. I was thinking of the likes of Air Georgian and CMA, I guess. I have a little bit of inside info into both ops, plus the copious amount of ggn bashing on these forums. :D I'm glad the regionals aren't as bad as some people make them out to be.
The hotels would be the same standard as domestic, I doubt they stay in five stars, in case you haven't heard, Pilots are overpaid and customers don't want to pay what it cost to fly, so if the airlines can save some money on hotels, they will.
Again, just rumors. I don't know anyone who flies a widebody, but heard Air Canada has pretty high standards for crew hotels on international layovers. But anyway, I freely admit I know nothing, hence the questions. I guess I understand the challenge of adjusting to multiple time zone shifts, but it would seem to me that the overall more relaxed schedule of widebody ops and generous amounts of time off would mitigate that somewhat.
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Re: Question for the wide body guys/gals

#18 Post by yycflyguy » Tue Feb 14, 2017 8:28 am

gofly wrote:I guess I'm not very smart, and don't have any 705 flying experience, but can somebody explain this to me. Regional carriers are gruelling, I get it. 14+hour days, work 20 days a month, sleep in crappy motels and eat gross motel food - it's bad. But widebody? That was supposed to be the point where you have "arrived", so to speak. Work 8 days a month, nap enroute the plane while relief pilots take over, 1-3 day layovers in 5-star hotels in fancy destinations. Where does this exhausting fatigue come from? Not trolling, btw, just genuinely curious.
Your math doesn't work. How would someone work 8 days a month with 1-3 day layovers?

The reality is 18 days are common on wide body for the majority. 20 if you have training in that month. For every crossing in a month you lose one night of sleep. On the return flight from Europe you are up early on your circadian rhythm clock so it's not a great sleep either. South America scheduling means you do both flights through the night, so two lost nights of sleep per pairing. Each month you lose between 4 and 8 nights of regular sleep. Multiple that by 12 months in a year and see how you feel.

The hotels are pretty good. Not 5 star. Still not your bed.
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Re: Question for the wide body guys/gals

#19 Post by Old fella » Tue Feb 14, 2017 11:37 am

yycflyguy wrote:
gofly wrote:I guess I'm not very smart, and don't have any 705 flying experience, but can somebody explain this to me. Regional carriers are gruelling, I get it. 14+hour days, work 20 days a month, sleep in crappy motels and eat gross motel food - it's bad. But widebody? That was supposed to be the point where you have "arrived", so to speak. Work 8 days a month, nap enroute the plane while relief pilots take over, 1-3 day layovers in 5-star hotels in fancy destinations. Where does this exhausting fatigue come from? Not trolling, btw, just genuinely curious.
Your math doesn't work. How would someone work 8 days a month with 1-3 day layovers?

The reality is 18 days are common on wide body for the majority. 20 if you have training in that month. For every crossing in a month you lose one night of sleep. On the return flight from Europe you are up early on your circadian rhythm clock so it's not a great sleep either. South America scheduling means you do both flights through the night, so two lost nights of sleep per pairing. Each month you lose between 4 and 8 nights of regular sleep. Multiple that by 12 months in a year and see how you feel.

The hotels are pretty good. Not 5 star. Still not your bed.
Question? Lets say you are a left seat wide body pilot for 10-15 yrs and you feel that your body is getting a going over for the reasons you indicated. Can he/she go back to domestic flying on an A320 or the EMB, do you take a pay cut in doing so despite your length of service.
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Re: Question for the wide body guys/gals

#20 Post by Fanblade » Tue Feb 14, 2017 11:42 am

I think an opinion on fatigue is quite individual. Yes a long multi leg day at a regional can be tiring. But as flyguy pointed out losing over a nights sleep every week is exhausting too. Those who can sleep on a dime, anywhere, anytime, off body clock, will probably say they prefer overseas. Those who don't sleep well off body clock probably prefer domestic.

I average 15 days a month. 5 three day pairing to Europe. 24 hour layover at destination.

Imagine yourself doing the night shift. You finish work about 6 am. You get home about 8am. The next morning, 20 hours later, you need to be up at 4am for a 6 am shift.

How are you going to get two nights sleep in that 20 hour window?

Now keep doing that 5 times a month for a year. A bunch of domestic red eyes can have a similar toll.

The least fatiguing job for me was with the regionals.
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Re: Question for the wide body guys/gals

#21 Post by Fanblade » Tue Feb 14, 2017 11:47 am

Old fella wrote:
yycflyguy wrote:
gofly wrote:I guess I'm not very smart, and don't have any 705 flying experience, but can somebody explain this to me. Regional carriers are gruelling, I get it. 14+hour days, work 20 days a month, sleep in crappy motels and eat gross motel food - it's bad. But widebody? That was supposed to be the point where you have "arrived", so to speak. Work 8 days a month, nap enroute the plane while relief pilots take over, 1-3 day layovers in 5-star hotels in fancy destinations. Where does this exhausting fatigue come from? Not trolling, btw, just genuinely curious.
Your math doesn't work. How would someone work 8 days a month with 1-3 day layovers?

The reality is 18 days are common on wide body for the majority. 20 if you have training in that month. For every crossing in a month you lose one night of sleep. On the return flight from Europe you are up early on your circadian rhythm clock so it's not a great sleep either. South America scheduling means you do both flights through the night, so two lost nights of sleep per pairing. Each month you lose between 4 and 8 nights of regular sleep. Multiple that by 12 months in a year and see how you feel.

The hotels are pretty good. Not 5 star. Still not your bed.
Question? Lets say you are a left seat wide body pilot for 10-15 yrs and you feel that your body is getting a going over for the reasons you indicated. Can he/she go back to domestic flying on an A320 or the EMB, do you take a pay cut in doing so despite your length of service.
You can bid back to domestic but it would be a pay cut. It's the one nice thing about having so many options at a major airline. It is not often to see it but it does happen. Usually people realize they aren't cut out for overseas as an FO or RP. They never bid overseas again as a result. There are lots of very senior pilots on domestic aircraft. It pays less but you feel better.
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Re: Question for the wide body guys/gals

#22 Post by complexintentions » Thu Feb 16, 2017 4:40 pm

I flew domestic multi-sector days for years, and have been flying longhaul for years.

In the former I would have days I was tired after, especially during IROPS in winter. In the latter I have constant fatigue, which is different. When you're tired you can recover with a good night of sleep or two. Fatigue is more general and is more long-term. Some people never fully recover. Burn-out is a real thing.

It doesn't really have much to do with the precise number of days you fly or how nice the hotels are. It's more about constantly shifting your body clock.

I enjoy the longhaul flying greatly due to the equipment, destinations, money, and more days off. In my own situation it's also been about opportunities, living in other places in the world and experiencing things I couldn't if I'd remained with domestic flying.

But it's far harder than the shorthaul, physically. When I "tire" of international flying I would definitely consider returning to domestic flights.
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Re: Question for the wide body guys/gals

#23 Post by Ancient » Sun Feb 19, 2017 5:33 pm

Thanks for your post complexintentions. I'm at a crossroads in my career with a good overseas opportunity for a long haul position for big bucks and another path of overseas regional for pretty good bucks. At first it was a no brainer for me. Show me the money and the big iron. But now I'm not so sure. I've felt the kind of chronic fatigue you describe when I commuted overseas rotationally and it's truly awful. Like you say it's not something you can fix in a couple nights. It can take weeks or months. I didn't realize how much long haul guys are affected by this until you mentioned it.
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Re: Question for the wide body guys/gals

#24 Post by flymore » Mon Feb 20, 2017 6:18 pm

Another question for the widebody drivers.
How do you kill time during cruise?
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Re: Question for the wide body guys/gals

#25 Post by yycflyguy » Tue Feb 21, 2017 10:03 am

flymore wrote:Another question for the widebody drivers.
How do you kill time during cruise?
Position reports, fuel checks, ATC communications, unique airport operations, weather updates... you know, pilot stuff.

Then the other stuff; eating, studying, family bragging, coffee, debating world politics, solving all the airline problems, more coffee, solving contract issues, cars, girls, motorcycles, more coffee, retirement plans, industry rumours, AvCanada :wink: layover plans, more coffee.... land.
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