View Full Version : Flying B737-800 and -200 together?

31st May 2000, 14:55
I noted with interest the comments about mixed fleet flying on th Airbus 32/33 series.
Our company operates a fleet of B737-200 Advanced and have just placed an order for B737-800's. They want us to fly BOTH a/c concurrently and operate them as a common fleet.
The EFIS on the -800 has been "dummed down", from the PFD/ND to an EFIS/MAP display(which depicts round, analogue primary flight instruments and a map display on EFIS).
The feedback from those who have alredy completed the differences course in Seattle is mixed and I reserve my opinion until I have 'got the T-shirt'.

Many of you out there in Europe and the USA have obviously either been through this exercise, or currently have experience about this.

Is it possible, plausible and, ultimately, safe to operate these to a/c as one fleet?

31st May 2000, 17:40
Our company went through a similar exercise with the 200 and 300.
The final decision was not to fly both types together mainly because of the lack of alt capture on the 200.
I understand there are 200's with a more advanced autopilot which do have alt capture and are more suited to the mixed fleet operation.

31st May 2000, 20:10
Does this Mixed Fleet Flying have any benefits for pilots at all? Is it only company benefit and how much will it be ?

Can anybody point me to a company where this really works out? Are they mainly operating as with Airbus or Boeing planes ? What do you reckon as valuable size for this concept ?

Just curious for future perspectives. That's all !

Flap 5
31st May 2000, 21:11
There are considerable variations between 737's of the same series number. The British Airways 737-200 has a full Sperry dual autopilot and PDCS which is considerably more advanced than your basic 737-200.

With the Airbus on the other hand you would be hard pushed to see any immdediate differences between an A320 cockpit and an A330 cockpit, yet the A330 is a considerably larger aircraft. You fly them both in exactly the same way as well. The A330 has a little more momentum on the approach, a higher flare height and your sat further forward of the nosewheel for taxying. That is it!

As has been pointed out in other threads Airbus have got it right on this one. Boeing are still in the dark ages.

31st May 2000, 22:11
Thanks all for your input. Just to clarify:

Currently, we operate 3 types of aicraft on our short-to-medium range services; namely, a mixture of B737-200 Advanced (with Dual channel, Cat IIIa Autoflight, PDCS, GPS, P&W JT8D-17A Engines); Airbus A300's and Airbus A320's. The company wants to rationalise our fleet into ONE type, which, after many months of competitive bidding between Airbus and Boeing, has ended up in the order of 21 B737-800's to be operated as a common fleet with the -200advanced.

The advantages to the company are a single short/medium range fleet with one set of instructors, check pilots, rostering & admin staff, schedulers, parts & other maintenance considerations and a more efficient fleet operation on the whole.
The advantages to the pilots, so far, are only the anticipation of extra command requirements, speeding up the advancement process. I can't think of any more. Can anyone else?

My question is, can these two different, yet similar, a/c be operated as one fleet?

31st May 2000, 23:16
Peter_US, you asked :
"Can anybody point me to a company where this really works out?"

I recently jumpseated with Ryanair. We sat on the tarmac for 90 minutes so ample time for chat, and one of the things the pilots told me was about how they fly a mix of 737's.
If you want to know what it's like, contacting them seems a good idea.

1st Jun 2000, 12:30
In our company as well in KLM there is enough experience with mixed-flying.
The 800 looks like an 737, but handles differently, its heavier, longer and has different performance.
It is perhaps a simple comparison, but flying the 200 is like having an analogue wrist-watch, while flying the 800 is like having a digital one...
I like flying the 800 very much especially flying PFD&ND, we had some experience with EFIS MAP during certification in Seattle but I find it a waste. We and KLM are mixing 300(EFIS/MAP) with 800 (PFD/ND) and it is possible as long as you are very, very carefull, Good luck...

Ugly Jet Captain
1st Jun 2000, 22:34
The largest 737 operator in the world operates over 315+ 200/300/500/700 aircraft in a common fleet. Southwest Airlines.

I disagree with some of our procedures in relation to automation and the dumbing down of the 3/5/7 fleet to make it compatible with the 200's. We operate without VNAV and autothrottles and have no EFIS 300/500 aircraft. The 700 depicts steam gauges and has a map diplay on the right pilot display unit. The management regularly states that they want our pilots "in the loop" and hand flying the jet and staying in touch with the situation at hand. My opinon is that we could handle the difference and the reason is found in "old school" thinking on managements part.

I flew a "full up" EFIS 300 and both advanced and basic 200 models while at America West. I had little trouble transitioning between the types. I look to the fact that I fly several civilian jets and props on my days off and I seem to keep them straight.....just have to brief the differences before operating them.

The -200's are going to go to a Texas base when the numbers get down to around 25 units for company convienence. We currently operate over 40 units today.

1st Jun 2000, 22:56
In Ryanair we are not rated to fly both the 200 and 800. They are operated as two seperate fleets. This has led to increased costs and rumours suggest that the 200's may be replaced by some second-hand 400's. This would restore the one fleet situation.

We currently operate 20 200's. Eight were bought from Lufthansa. These are CAT 3a certified with dual Sperry SP177 autopilots. The rest are a mixture of CAT 2 certified ex-Britannia and Transavia aircraft with Sperry SP77 autopilots (no altitude cpature). We have one ex-Dan Air 200 (EI-CJI) which has an SP77 autopilot with altitude capture.

Pilots are allowed to fly all of the 200's but our six-monthly PC's are alternated between the SP77 sim in Dublin and the SP177 sim in Heathrow.

With the phasing out of the 200's over the next few years I doubt if we will ever get to fly the 200 and 800 together.

Captain Flashart
2nd Jun 2000, 00:53
I used to fly HS125 and GIII,sometimes both on the same day. Others in the same airline flew B727 + HS125 or GIII. Nobody had any problems with it. What's the big deal here, or is someone looking for a demarkation dispute?

2nd Jun 2000, 20:00
All thanks for the first replies. MFF must be profitable. Keep watching.

2nd Jun 2000, 22:07
Furthermore, good training is the issue here, good training and exposure. We do a lot more than the minimum required training advertised by the manufacturer. We do 3 days groundschool, CBT and performance and 4 sim sessions,including the JAR-FCL Checkride.
This is followed by 4 Linetraining flights and 1 linecheck.
Then for some time you are dedicated to NG-aircraft. After this time mixing is allowed by the CAA when enough exposure on both types can be maintained.

Safety is no accident....

3rd Jun 2000, 10:46
Thanks for all the great info everyone - please keep your comments coming, I will be out of town until the 11th but will try & keep a check on what's news

Keep it safe out there....

5th Jun 2000, 13:09

Advise to look at : http://www.pprune.org/ubb/NonCGI/Forum1/HTML/005385.html

for some thoughts. !

12th Jun 2000, 00:34
Hi all
Thanks for the e-mails and replies, Peter_US thanks for the link.
But I have to wonder, is this all we can get from people with 737 experience? Surely some of our US based firends must have more to offer on this topic?
Please! - let all your friends, with the appropriate experience, know that we would like to hear from them and hear their opinions.
Keep it safe out there...

10th Aug 2000, 19:19
Hi all
Any more comments on this subjects from those with previous experience on this type of operation? Some comment from any of our fellow aviators at SOUTHWEST would be appreciated.
Any of the guys in our company that are alredy flying the line and have flown both types recently - give us some insight, please.

Keep it safe out there.

12th Aug 2000, 03:04
Hello everyone, it's my first time here.
My airline operates B737-300, -400, -700 and sometimes -500 for a subsidiary with the same type rating and crew. The basic problem is: How can we keep proficiency flying those airplanes since we have more than 40 -300, 4 -400 and just 5 -700? It's very difficult to balance flying hours among pilots and planes. Sometimes we wait more than 2 or 3 months to fly a NG. It's not easy to keep any pilot updated with the differences waiting for an opportunity to fly a "new model". Can anyone give some opinion about training and resource used to improve pilot skills and knowledge, in your airline?
Thank you...

12th Aug 2000, 18:30
BA 737 pilots are nearly all 'dual' rated on the 737. The -200 is a separate rating. Once you get the -400 rating (from the CAA) it also qualifies you to fly the 300,500,600,700 and 800.

Within BA there are 200, 300, 400 and 500 series a/c. There are even some differences between the different types of -400. i.e.-4Q8,-436,-4SQ. However the CAA seem to be happy with this situation!!!

12th Aug 2000, 20:17
I was chatting to an EasyJet crew on a jumpseat ride about the forthcoming delivery of the 737NG, and they said that the CAA would not allow EZY to operate three different 737 cockpits - some of EZY's 737-300s have 'clockwork' cockpits. I think these aircraft were from Southwest (the WN a/c only have a single FMC as well!) and Monarch. If Stelios wanted to operate the NG and the glass -300, the clockwork cockpits had to go, and they have now left the fleet, or are for sale.

So much for Boeing's assertion that the 737-3/4/500 and NG is a single type, the CAA don't even consider two different versions of the -300 to be similar enough to fly alongside each other, at least, not at an airline of EasyJet's stature.

(I'm sure I mentioned this before, hope it's not on the same thread from a few months ago. D'oh!)


vertical speed
13th Aug 2000, 11:55
Cedarjet- eJ have NO fully clockwork 737's-- just a couple of a/c with clockwork engine gauges. ALL a/c have dual FMC's and are Cat 111a equipped. We are told that the older 737's with the auto/man VHF nav setups will progressively be sold odd as the -700's arrive. Once that is done we wil just have a mix of quite new -300's and the 700's.

Few Cloudy
13th Aug 2000, 22:37
BTW - just got me a JAR license (finally!!) and see that I am now qualified to fly B737 300-800 (300 flown) and also DC9 MD80 MD88 and MD90 (DC9 and MD80 flown).

This ain't got anything to do with keeping current on varying types but it shows what the authorities think of it.

21st Sep 2000, 02:43
Frontier Airlines, based out of Denver flies Boeing 737s 200s and 300s as a mixed fleet. We aslo have both types of 300s steam gauges and glass. In ones day work a crew may get two fly all three variants.

motions coming on!
21st Sep 2000, 03:28
Sorry to be picky guys, but the 737 is single FMC. The option is one or two CDU's. Now somebody's going to tell me i'm wrong. Again!!

[This message has been edited by motions coming on! (edited 21 September 2000).]

21st Sep 2000, 13:49

I think its probably safe (as long as the SOP's are sorted), but a bad idea. The 200 and 800 should be flown as two diff types, because they are two diff types. I don't see the -400 boys operationg the Classic!?? They're both Jumbos. If your company wants a common fleet, get rid of the old 200's. They've more than overstayed their welcome and I'm sure the other two small 737 operators in SA could do with the hardware.

Operating the 800 with the 200 type displays is like buying a Ferrari and sticking Toyota badges all over.

By the way, since you don't email me any more, congrats are in order I believe.....

Hans Cholder
21st Sep 2000, 19:03
It seems that quite a few airlines are mixing their 737's as time progresses. A few years ago there was a U.S. airline that flew -200 combi,-300,-400. A crew may see all three types in a day. The flying was more interesting and better schedules in the -200QC's. A pilot could fly the -200 for months and not see the cockpit of the -400 until it came time for a sim evaluation.

Another U.S. airline presently flying the -200 combi,-400,-700 and next year the -900. Their answer so far has been to separate the -200 from the rest of the fleet. This is mainly due to the specialized flying in the 200's(gravel strips, cargo/passenger ops, special airports, and the region that the 200 works best for the company.) On the other hand, the -400 and 737NG are much more technologically advanced (not meaning to state the obvios here)and management has chosen to keep the "hi-tech"(heads up displays, RNP performance in addition to the major differances) grouped together. There is a requirment that in order for a crew member to stay qualified on the -700 they must have flown it in the preceeding 30 days.

It seems that the easy solution, if an airlines is going to operate a mix of 737's, is the Southwest approach. Make the cockpits as similar as possible.

Hope it helps, good luck, keep us posted.

22nd Sep 2000, 19:54
Motions coming on-
Here's the rebuff you were expecting.
Yes, a 737 does have 2 CDU's but, in order for an extended ETOPS certificate to be issued it must have, amongst many other items, 2 FMC's. I am referrin to the magic box-of-tricks that lives downstairs in the E&E, and not the CDU's that us pilots type on. So, some 737's do have 2 FMC's.

22nd Sep 2000, 20:01
Hi all
Thanks for all the valuable info.
It would be great if more people from SAA would comment on their experiences so far - those that now have quite a bit of time on both.

From my perspective, the a/c are much the same, yet very different. The obvious handling difference is the greater inertia and the -800 feels alot heavier in pitch.
Wrlock is right, as long as the SOP's are sorted and as common as possible to the 2 a/c, there should be no problem.
Our more important colleagues are trying very hard to iron out all of those items, a job which is a much larger task than what seems evident. Thanks, guys.

Keep it safe out there...

16th May 2001, 00:55
Hope you'll excuse this contribution from a lowish hr PPL student but, in the case of Kegworth, wasn't there a link of some kind between there being some subtle differences between 737 models and fact that the wrong engine was shut down? Something to do with which engine drove the aircon, if I recall correctly.
Safe flying!

16th May 2001, 01:44
Yes bang on.But mainly that the crews were told to distrust the vib meters on the -200.
But unfortuneately the AVM on the CFM56-3/-4/-5 is really accurate.
But then BMA's experience of the PWJT8D was with the DC8 so somehow followed over to B737-400 crew training.

16th May 2001, 02:13
Hans Cholder mentions an airline that I am intimately familiar with.

The reason the -200 aircraft are operated as a single type is simply a matter of cost and managerial acumen. In order to integrate the other Boeings with the -200 a Side Letter of Agreement to the Collective Bargaining Agreement would be required. There are several problems with this. One problem is that any integration would inherantly provide efficiencies to the operation. A portion of these efficiencies would have to passed on to the entire pilot group through a quid pro qou. This particular airline hates to return anything to the pilot group. Another problem is that this agreement would probably require membership ratification of the Side Letter. Under the current atmosphere of pilot anger with management this would probably fail miserably. This Side Letter would probably have certain work rule restrictions that would tie the Company's hands to a certain extent. This Company hates to have to comply with these types of restrictions. Or to put it another way- if grown ups ran the airline there would have long ago been an integration of the -200 and the other Boeings and the operation would be more efficient.

As for the -900. It is currently built into the lines time for June. The only training that a 737-4/7/9 pilot will receive regarding the -900 is a training handout.

Continental has operated the -100, -200, and all their other 737's as a single type. There was recently a very good article regarding this in either Airline or Airliners magazine.

16th May 2001, 02:27
WestJet Airlines, based in Calgary in Western Canada, has a fleet of 23 Boeing 737-200 aircraft and is adding 4 737-700 aircraft during 2001.

During a jumpseat ride a couple of months ago the crew told me that WestJet intended to operate the two types separately from each other.

[This message has been edited by McGinty (edited 15 May 2001).]

16th May 2001, 02:30
Used to fly the 732,3 & 4 for BA. Was also rated on the 5,6,7,8! Seen one once!

Carbon Life Form
16th May 2001, 04:04
In my airline case it came down to the usual
deciding factor...money.

We operate the 737-300,500,700,800 and soon
the-900 with all crew's cross qualified. It
saves the company a fortune not having separate fleets, and the extra pilots required.

The 300s are a mix of pure analog, and a few
partial EFIS cockpits, the 500's are all partial EFIS, and the NG all have the 'dumbed
down' so called round dials on glass.

Basically four radically different cockpit configurations, not to mention different engines, dimensions,gross wts, systems etc.

As usual our union acquiesced to any fleet plan the company proposed without any consideration of any safety implications.

It really doesn't make much sense that we operate the NG with the dumbed down presentation, yet we also operate, again as a single fleet,the 752, 762 and the 76-400
with the PFD/ND display.

I suppose you can do anything the CAA or FAA
approve if your union allows, but a lot of pilots out there would disagree strongly.

16th May 2001, 09:56
What happens when it is time for a sim rating? Do you know before hand which simulator type you are going to be checked in, as this shouldn't be a problem as you are rostered on both fleets? Is this true?
I have heard that SAA has now stopped their pilots from operating on both fleets of 737's. Rumour has it (from SAA crew)that it was due to an excessive amount of hard landings on the NG's.

16th May 2001, 14:47
We are operating -400 and -800 in our fleet, both in the classic instrument layout.. It does not look to be a great difference. But to see people feeding the -400 FMS with M.80 for a high speed flight and operating the MCP on a 400 like the 800 (they have a different logic in reversion modes) showes me, that you really have to take care about what you do. Imagine, after weeks of flying the 400 you get a heavy inflight problem on a 800.
What I can recommend to you all, after entering the flightdeck, do a 30sec. review to make sure where you are today. It works.

I love the -800. Itīs like a small widebody aircraft and now with winglets...GREAT!!!

17th May 2001, 10:42
Thanks to all for adding their opninions and experiences to this topic.

Planecrazi - yup, you are right. SAA has now split their domestic fleet in two, the -200 and -800 are, for now, flown seperately and there are as many opinions on the viablility and necessity for this split as there are 737's aroung the world!
Basically, safety was the determining factor. There has been a huge amount of training onto both variants and there is a concern amongst some that some for FO's, the 737-200 is their first swept wing, jet type and they obviously need time to build confidence and experience before being converted to the -800. There have been numerous, alleged "hard" landings, but there is speculation about the definition/severity/measurement of "hard" - even Boeing are involved in this evaluation. The fleet split is only temporary for now, who know how long it will last.
The SAA -800's are also 'dumbed down' to enable the cross qualification, but with the two fleets now split, we wonder if they will change the -800 displays to PFD/ND??

17th May 2001, 12:03
At SABENA we used to fly mixed 732 and 733,734,735 for years without any major problems.
Both types were flown with their full capacity(VNAV,ND,EHSI on EFIS,CWS and ALT.capture on -200.
Our licence just mentioned B737 rated.
I heard there might be a different rating
with the new JAA licence?