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No Cockpit Door - What Do Pax Think?

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No Cockpit Door - What Do Pax Think?

Old 17th Feb 2009, 23:35
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No Cockpit Door - What Do Pax Think?

What do pax think about flying in an aircraft with no cockpit door? Is it interesting to see what's going on up front or would you rather not? One passenger told me he could see the pilots "panicking" and moving the control column. - just a normal landing in a gusty, crosswind.
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Old 17th Feb 2009, 23:54
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A great risk for the reason you state. Since pax have zero idea what happens on the other side of the door, taking it away will not help! I recall arriving into STN on a dark, blustery, rainy night on a GO 733 (I think) in November '99. I was in the jumpseat for reasons that do not matter. I was wearing headphones, and been briefed on what to expect and had been in a jumpseat several times before.

The FO worked VERY hard and brought off a great landing that had my toes curling as we reached threshold. The nose was off the centre line with the gusting wind but, at touch down he brought it smoothly back into line and all was beautiful. BUT he really did have to wrestle with the stick and anyone not expecting that and - and the flurry of switch pushing and lever operating - would not benefit! Certainly any anxious pax would need an ambulance.
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Old 18th Feb 2009, 02:43
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Try and Islander/Trislander, Twin Otter etc. No cockpit door, in fact you may end up sitting next to the pilot. Maybe not ideal for the nervous pax. And I always remember departing Heathrow on a Lufthansa 737-100 (yes, a -100) which had a curtain door that wasn't closed - on a reasonably calm day I was surprised how much difficulty they were having keeping it straight as we accelerated.

But then I'm one of those possibly irritating passengers who prior to 2001 would regularly request a visit to the flight deck.
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Old 18th Feb 2009, 03:46
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Ah, fond but distant early eighties memories of the scheduled Twotter from Gatwick (I think) to Birmingham and then East Midlands. Out of Gatwick, pilot (single crew operation) lights up a fag and sits back for a while. After landing at East Midlands, he was required to bring out a long chain and padlock and secure them round the column.
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Old 18th Feb 2009, 06:31
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I love it.

Then again, as a PPL, watching the professionals handle crosswind landings is instructive, rather than intimidating.

I had the great privilege of observing an approach and landing into a horribly stormy Dublin from the jump seat and learned a lot about handling a gusty cross wind - the guys were kind enough to debrief me on how they'd done it and it made me more aware and thus a better pilot
 
Old 18th Feb 2009, 07:52
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Long gone Crossair always left the cockpit doors open. Anyone sat in the first few rows aisle side could see what was going on throughout the flight. Enjoyed many a late night Sunday flight into Basle as a result
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Old 18th Feb 2009, 17:19
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I don't think it makes any difference. The kind of pax who are going to panic will do so regardless. I've seen it countless times here, where we have the Dash 7 & Dash 8 (cockpit door closed), and Twin Otter and Caravan / Grand Caravan (no cockpit door) operating the same routes. Pax who are claustrophobic, have control issues or simply don't like being tossed around in a smaller aircraft when the bumps come, have the same reaction regardless of equipment type.

Personally, I love being up-front / seeing what's going on up-front. But then, that's why I'm learning to fly.
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Old 18th Feb 2009, 19:03
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We normally operated our F27s in the 1970's with no cockpit door; just a curtain for night time use which was rarely used.

The view through the windshield from the aisle seats at the back of the cabin during an approach was of the runway, or rather whatever the aircraft was pointing at.

Any tiny yaw or pitch change was very, very exaggerated by the long distance from the windshield to the eye, and the very small angle of vision. Passengers would weep in terror as the pilots seemed to lose control and the aircraft appeared to swing wildly about the sky.

I'm sure someone can explain the geometry of this illusion in scientific terms that are beyond me.
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Old 19th Feb 2009, 06:28
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Capot

I've paxed on the F27 many times and watched the approach through the door space.

It always looked to me as if she approached with quite a nose down attitude - was that the case or was this an illusion, too?
 
Old 19th Feb 2009, 07:30
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Same here

Yes, Capot, F-27s flying regional routes in NZ a few decades ago must have had a similar SOP - curtain to the side and tied off for landings. It made for an interesting view into Wellington, especially in blustery conditions. As a frequent pax, I (along with others frequent fliers) used to count the number of "white knuckles". Average was about 50%, higher if the day was really rough. Whatever the reason, 'security' back then wasn't an issue.

I'm all in favour of security for pilots (and pax for that matter), but just where do we draw the line? Is it reasonable/feasable to fit a security door into a B1900? I know when they were fitted to some Saab 340s, they had to carry plastic water drums down the back to offset the extra weight up front. Overall the commercial payload was reduced and correspondingly the operating costs went up.

Final 3 Greens: I'm not sure why, but the F-27 does appear to have a pronounced nose-down attitude on approach. It looks that way both from on board and from the ground. Does it have a higher approach angle compared with other aircraft perhaps? Maybe someone with more knowledge of the F-27 could explain. Sorry, thread drift. Back to topic.

Le Vieux

Last edited by Old 'Un; 19th Feb 2009 at 07:39. Reason: To tidy a clumsy wording
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Old 19th Feb 2009, 08:48
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I did a couple of F50 trips from Stockholm to Berlin in early 90s with very light loads -on the second trip it was just me . On the first one I had an aisle seat a few rows back and was very aware of the swing about /yawing on approach .It alnost seemed like the FO who was flying let it wander a fair way off course then just booted it back straight rather than make constant corections. The other thing that stuck was the fact that we appeared to be headed for the approach lights not the runway but from my plane spotting days in the 60s I did recall that F27s had a marked apparent nose down attitude on aproach so wasn't too worried.

The second trip however was fantastic because a young LH crew asked me to join them ( me being the sole pax) about half way through the fight and let me stay upfront for the landing at Templehof-fantastic experience.

Digressing a bit but on the theme of slightly odd aircraft flying attiudes I flew several times around Europe on early DC8s used by AZ Swissair KLM etc when their LHR loads got too big for Caravelles or DC9s and lightly loaded these seemed to soar effortlessly aloft but with very little nose up attirude anyone else recall that
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Old 19th Feb 2009, 09:10
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Since pax have zero idea what happens on the other side of the door
That's a hell of a statement... but unfortunately, this is probably true for the most part.

Personally I would love to be able to see what happens during takeoff and landing. In fact, on some aircraft, there appear to be cameras somewhere on the outside of the aircraft looking at the ground. The images are placed on the screens in the cabin. Conveniently (or not, in my view) these images are not shown when we get below a certain altitude....

Maybe someone could build a transparent airframe
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Old 19th Feb 2009, 09:35
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Old'Un

a B1900 won;t ever get one since the regulations clearly state that with 19 pax or less there is no need for a door. However, should the aircraft of 19 seats or less have a door, it MUST be a secured one for operations in the US...

That of course improves safety. Go figure...
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Old 19th Feb 2009, 09:36
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Reminds me of that old story of the Twotter Pilot who leaves his seat during the cruise and hands two peices of string (apparently attached to the column) to the old lady in the front row and asks her to keep the thing straight and level whilst he goes down back to the toilet

Cameras on most aircraft I travel on as a passenger these days (long haul) and I've never known them to be switched off at any point on the approach no matter what the weather. Had a couple of approaches recently where I thought it may have been a good idea to switch them off though! felt sorry for the passengers who couldn't understand why the runway appeared to be way off to the side of the aircraft
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Old 19th Feb 2009, 09:51
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felt sorry for the passengers who couldn't understand why the runway appeared to be way off to the side of the aircraft
Have you been on an A340-600 with a camera mounted on the top of the vertical stabiliser?

Looks just like a screen shot from a flight sim game
 
Old 19th Feb 2009, 16:49
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It made for an interesting view into Wellington, especially in blustery conditions.
Are there ever any non-blustery days in 'Windy Willington'?
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Old 19th Feb 2009, 18:05
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Heard a story many years ago about a woman passenger on a flight with no cockpit door. She complained about the fact that the pilots were “clearly lost as they had to constantly refer to their maps”.

She also observed that it was only by great “good luck” that they popped out of the cloud and the runway was right there !!!

B-E
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Old 19th Feb 2009, 19:44
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Old 20th Feb 2009, 10:14
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Capot

Any tiny yaw or pitch change was very, very exaggerated by the long distance from the windshield to the eye, and the very small angle of vision. Passengers would weep in terror as the pilots seemed to lose control and the aircraft appeared to swing wildly about the sky.

I'm sure someone can explain the geometry of this illusion in scientific terms that are beyond me.
I think this is related to parallax.

Parallax - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Hope this helps.
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Old 20th Feb 2009, 13:09
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It is remarks like this
One passenger told me he could see the pilots "panicking" and moving the control column. - just a normal landing in a gusty, crosswind.
and
Heard a story many years ago about a woman passenger on a flight with no cockpit door. She complained about the fact that the pilots were “clearly lost as they had to constantly refer to their maps”.

She also observed that it was only by great “good luck” that they popped out of the cloud and the runway was right there !!!
that makes me believe whatever the size of aeroplane, a firm screen needs exist blocking all forward view! These comments do nothing for aviation, and will be repeated for life by the culprits. An awful one was the woman who complained 'the pilots had obviously been drinking' to the Police after several go arounds in bad weather. That caused a lot of trouble. If she had done it to me, I would have tracked her down.

I used to fly the HS748, a low wing equivalent of the Fokker Friendship. When you slow up and take flap, the nose down attitude is pronounced. It is to do with the long straight wing and the need to lower the angle of attack. It does make viewing forward from the rear cabin through the cockpit window very disconcerting and unpleasant. Try walking around with your eye looking through a picture tube- the smallest movement shows as apparently much larger.
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