View Full Version : Dash Eight operations at low level on Border watch
31st Jul 2012, 06:48
Question on hand flying the Dash Eight at night below 1000ft over water. Anecdotal evidence (therefore open to personal views) that the Coastwatch Dash Eight operation policy is to hand fly if operating low level below 1000agl. Reason given is that monitoring the autopilot overloads both pilots and thus it is "safer" to have one pilot hand flying. Of course it may be there is an AFM limitation on use of autopilot below 1000ft.
This seems to contradict general opinions that hand flying is potentially dangerous since the PNF can be "overloaded" watching the PF fly by hand.
I must say that the PNF would be watching the other pilot like a hawk hand flying below 1000 ft from water or terrain and that it would a far more comfortable proposition to to have the autopilot engaged during that period especially on a dark night over the sea. Unless of course there is an AFM limitation. Any thoughts?
31st Jul 2012, 07:00
Sustaining DHC8 can only be engaged above 1000 AGL on departure but able to be used below that during flight.
31st Jul 2012, 09:01
The hawk watch depends on your comfort level of of the other operator, regardless of whether the autopilot is engaged or not.
The reality is that even with a good crew you would expect both crew to be alert when operating at this level.
31st Jul 2012, 10:28
I am not a pilot but I think the minimum altitude at night over water is 1500ft.
31st Jul 2012, 11:39
Operating height much lower.
It all depends on what your operation is authorized for, it can be much lower (legally) than 1500
31st Jul 2012, 11:46
down to 200ft by day and 600ft by night but a whole lot of other boxes need to be ticked (safety bearings, type of vessel, distance from land) before descending below 1500ft at night
1st Aug 2012, 03:30
A lot of these guys are also ex-RAAF P-3 drivers too, accustomed to operations at LL over the sea.
1st Aug 2012, 05:09
A lot of these guys are also ex-RAAF P-3 drivers too, accustomed to operations at LL over the sea, not your bog standard Qlink bus driver.
1st Aug 2012, 08:32
Yeah, I'll edit that. I didn't mean that the way it sounded. I mean they are trained and experienced in LL ops, rather than RPT sectors.
1st Aug 2012, 09:14
1st Aug 2012, 09:56
1st Aug 2012, 10:09
Below 1000' at night? Never done it, besides landing and taking off, but would I use the AP....No Way!
1st Aug 2012, 10:46
Absolutely. We got nosebleed if we went above 200ft, day or night..... :p
2nd Aug 2012, 04:02
A lot of these guys aren't ex p3 or RAAF pilots, they just find it hard to get jobs any where else! Although it is a good transition out of the military for ex RAAF pilots. Too scared to go lower I guess cause they don't have the same training standards as the RAAF?:)
2nd Aug 2012, 04:11
A lot of these guys aren't ex p3 or RAAF pilots, they just find it hard to get jobs any where else! Although it is a good transition out of the military for ex RAAF pilots. Too scared to go lower I guess cause they don't have the same training standards as the RAAF?
Not to mention that pay cut they're likely to have to take to go from being a SQNLDR/FLTLT P-3 driver.
2nd Aug 2012, 05:12
Could it be a flight manual limitation?
The C-130J Super-Hercules II has a limitation regarding operating the autopilot below x feet AGL.
2nd Aug 2012, 05:22
Is there even any need to go lower than 200ft? Its not as if they can stop and pick someone up out of the water.
2nd Aug 2012, 07:29
Pass -A - Frozzo:
Not sure about the "Super" Hercules but the L382 model limitation page had the following:
Autopilot Limitations (E-4 and AP - 105).
1. Do not operate with the Autopilot on during take-off and landing.
2. Do not operate the AP - 105 autopilot when the TRIM FAIL or AP FAIL annunciator lights are illuminated.
3. During ILS coupled approach, do not operate with the autopilot engaged:
(a) below 200 feet above ground level (AGL).
(b) When flying over the Localizer transmitter.
2nd Aug 2012, 08:07
Nothing beats the old jew canoe that Skywest had down low level at night time.
2nd Aug 2012, 09:16
Aerorescue drop rafts from 200 ft and photo passes at 100 ft day ops.
2nd Aug 2012, 09:39
There are currently no ex-RAAF P3 drivers, or any other ex-RAAF drivers, employed at present. The only ex RAAF driver recently left. Ooops sorry, there's at least one driver with some RAAF training. Few, if any, experienced ex-RAAFies would put up with the terms and conditions.
2nd Aug 2012, 12:09
In any case.. A profile decent to 600ft at night 20 mile offshore with the flight director on in a 2 crew machine and a great big radar should not present too many issues...
2nd Aug 2012, 12:19
10 miles off shore and with a couple of experienced guys driving that radar down the back - but yeah your point still stands
3rd Aug 2012, 01:57
Ops conducted IAW CAO 95.23.
No option, no choice. Read it and then comment.
4th Aug 2012, 07:06
P3- 100' by day 300' night/IMC. All hand flown.
4th Aug 2012, 09:44
probably just a story, but was told that standing instuctions for P3 at low level (day or night) was for 1st pilots to hand fly and for 2nd pilots to "stay dry"
4th Aug 2012, 11:15
The best instrument in the P3 is the CVS indicator...essentially an instantaneous VSI. You can see it out the corner of your eye and any time you are +-300 ft/min, it shows a number readout which grabs your attention. So even at 300ft at night (realistically 330 ft to avoid the warning system flashing bright red lights in your eyes), you've got a fair while before hitting the water.
4th Aug 2012, 11:51
I'm sure you meant 125 feet SP. If memory serves, but not to be relied upon.
We moved up from 125' to avoid the taller radar masts ;)
It made CCA intercepts easier, too....
5th Aug 2012, 07:43
Customs Dash 8:
Sometimes Lsalt depending on terrain proximity.
Mixture of CAO 95.23 and company SOP. In a CAR 217 operation, all the same as far as CASA concerned - i.e. the law!