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PPL flying a 747

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PPL flying a 747

Old 10th May 2007, 23:25
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PPL flying a 747

Could a PPL fly a 747? This is the discussion that I've had with my colleagues tonight. Clearly some tuition would be required! But could it be achieved with the correct type rating and training?
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Old 11th May 2007, 02:31
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I expect so, but you can only fly it for non hire and reward on a PPL and of course you would have to have it as a type on your rating page. Once you have done an approved groundchool and the simulators (about a couple of months) and the base training you will then have it on your licence. But I doub't you could rent one with just an hour on type, so the rquired training to get to the stage you could, well with no jet experience - it would take a very long time. And then the CAA would take an interest and want to assess your operation. And you would have to find a like minded PPL because it's licensed as a two crew aircraft. And insurance?

Yes, its possible, but highly improbable.
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Old 11th May 2007, 03:11
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Does John Travolta have a CPL or PPL when flying his 707?
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Old 11th May 2007, 03:37
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He's only got his PPL, theres a thread about it here on PPRuNe, not too sure where it is tho!
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Old 11th May 2007, 07:32
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http://www.pprune.org/forums/showthread.php?t=266790
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Old 11th May 2007, 08:17
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With a slightly different aspect, there's an article in this months UK Pilot magazine discussing whether a PPL could land a 747 in an emergency. The vote was no.

On this subject, ie with training is it possible, I'm not sure how this would work as the 747 is certified as a two crew aeroplane, so you'd need at least 2 PPL's. Assuming it's privately owned, the CAA would be interested in all the other arrangements like standard operating procedures etc.

I reckon it's a no-goer.
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Old 11th May 2007, 08:47
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Could a PPL fly a 747?
It depends on your definition of 'a PPL'. There is no reason to believe that a person could not fly a 747, or any other aircraft, purely by virtue of the fact that he or she holds a PPL. The licence that one holds is no measure of experience or ability - for example, I now hold only an NPPL (arguably a lower status of licence than a PPL) and I can fly, and have flown, a 747.

The practicality, however, is slightly more complex. Before commencing a B747 type rating course (assuming that it was a first MPA type) you would need 100 hours PIC, an MCC course, a valid MEIR and a pass in the ATPL exams. You would also need to find an approved TRTO that was prepared to take you on as a customer and a B747 operator that was prepared to allow you to complete the mandatory flight training in their aeroplane.

The answer to the question is, therefore, yes in theory but probably no in practice.
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Old 11th May 2007, 11:58
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Isn't there a weight restriction on the type of a/c you can fly with a PPL?
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Old 11th May 2007, 12:57
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there's an article in this months UK Pilot magazine discussing whether a PPL could land a 747 in an emergency. The vote was no.
If you can find your way around the FMS, set up the autopilot and autothrottle and put down the gear and the various stages of flaps as required, the plane will land itself on a cat III runway.

There are a number of simulator operators who are able to teach even student pilots how to manage a manual landing.

But if you have just came out of a spamcan with no IR, there's rather a lot to learn in a very short time.
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Old 11th May 2007, 14:24
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I am sure that a private pilot who flies something reasonably quick and understands "flying by numbers" would have no problems landing a 747 - once he found out how to disconnect the autopilot, operate the flaps, and looked up the various numbers (like Vref, but I dare say 150kt would do). A handheld GPS would do just fine for navigation to, say, Manston.

I gather than the AP will disconnect anyway if you yank the yoke hard enough.

Finding the VHF radio, and how to use it, would be harder, IMHO.
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Old 11th May 2007, 18:51
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this sounds good !!

does anybody know where I could look to book a 747 trial lesson ?
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Old 11th May 2007, 21:36
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LOL , dream on IO540 .
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Old 11th May 2007, 23:01
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Isn't there a weight restriction on the type of a/c you can fly with a PPL?
Not any more. According to JAR-FCL 1.110, "Subject to any other conditions specified in JARs, the privileges of the holder of a PPL(A) are to act, but not for remuneration, as pilot-in-command or co-pilot of any aeroplane engaged in non-revenue flights."
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Old 11th May 2007, 23:04
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Not any more. According to JAR-FCL 1.110, "Subject to any other conditions specified in JARs, the privileges of the holder of a PPL(A) are to act, but not for remuneration, as pilot-in-command or co-pilot of any aeroplane engaged in non-revenue flights."
Ahhh, therein lies the rub. Boeing got the 747 certified as an airplane.
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Old 12th May 2007, 03:37
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Anyone could land a 747-400!

The Hollywood scenario of a cabin attendant being talked down by a controller or pilot on the ground was discussed on one of those long Atlantic crossings one night. So I had a go at talking down Mrs W while she was flying a very realistic 744 simulator we had on the computer at home. No problems. Provided the route to the destination was loaded, most people could be led through entering the approach and making the correct autopilot selections for it to do an automatic approach and landing.

Radios wouldn't be a problem. Most PPLs would recognise a the radio contol panel and tune a frequency, a non pilot should be able to pick up the hand mike and get a response. Tuning should be easily explaied, if the cock it up you brief them to press the transfer button and go back to the previous freq before they switch.



The 747 Classic is a different matter. I would say proabably not!
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Old 12th May 2007, 07:49
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There is world of difference between a cabin attendant and a competent (non-ME jet) private pilot

Isn't it funny how the one-line posts above contain the least amount of useful information

Why would the 747 Classic be harder?
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Old 12th May 2007, 08:12
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In the pilot incapacitation scenario, the senior cabin attendant is trained to be competant in reading A/C checklists in order to assist the pilot flying. Also she or he, is much more akin to the surroundings of an airliner flight deck than your average PPL. They may even hold a licence of their own, who knows?! With regards to just finding the autopilot, disconnecting and then simply flying the machine raw data. Well consider the more than significant difference to your average spam can. Speed control, flying the correct attitude and configuration, trimming, setting thrust, the list goes on . Whether it be a 'classic' or 400, I suspect most would be simply overwhelmed in no time.
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Old 12th May 2007, 10:03
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The answer is clearly NO...

I quote pilot may 2007 page 28: can a ppl fly a jumbo ?

'a novice would not even be able to get into the electrical seats without being shown how they work'

'it's just a whimsical VFR piston-pilot's pipe dream'

'all flight decks now have armoured doors with deadbolts that cannot be opened from the outside, sorry, you're gonna die'

'where is he? where is he going ? to whom is he talking ? a mere twenty minutes of faffing around will put the aeroplane at least 200miles further along tract, VHF radios have a 200 mile range so the aeroplanes probably out of the range of the ATC they were talking to, if he can figure out a frequency to select, where's the transmit button ? there are a couple but both are hidden away out of sight, one looks very like the button that disengages the autopilot, you're all dead'

'need to program the runway in use and its ILS into the flight management system, that has to be manually selected'

'at least his final moments will be beautiful...'
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Old 12th May 2007, 11:38
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sternone, I agree with you that a PPL, without any type-specific training would not be able to land a 747 successfully although I'd certainly try it if nobody better qualified would be on board after the pilots had become incapacitated. But that's not what the original question was about. That was about whether it would be legal to fly it, if properly trained (e.g. type-rated) on just a PPL, or whether a CPL/ATPL was required. And the answer seems to be "yes" although the type rating courses are currently aimed at ATPLs, and are taught to ATPL standards.

And no access to a 747 cockpit in-flight... I don't believe it. The cabin is stocked with rescue equipment such as axes and things, and I'm pretty sure that I can get into the cockpit with those tools after a few minutes of dedicated effort. And that's exactly how they should have been designed. After all, the point of the armored doors is not to block access completely (that would require a vault door), but to prevent hijackers gaining access *quickly*. So that the crew has time to send out a mayday signal, set the transponders, make its way to the nearest airport, dump fuel and do all the other things that greatly reduces the hijackers ability to carry out whatever their intentions were.

One of the main 9/11 problems was that there was no warning whatsoever. The planes just dropped off the scopes and nobody knew what had happened until some 90 minutes later. If the crews would only have a few additional seconds in which to send out the "mayday we're being hijacked" then the situation would have been much clearer from the start, and a much better response would have been possible.

How long does it take for a fighter on standby to scramble, take-off, head in the general direction of the airliner and find it on primary radar? That's the time the cockpit doors need to withstand an attack.
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Old 12th May 2007, 12:16
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Backpacker is right. This has already been widely discussed in the airline sections of PPRuNe in connection with the Cypriot B737 depressurisation incident, and others (so it's no secret). The cockpit can be accessed from the outside and at least one member of the outside crew knows how to do it. It doesn't involve forcing the door or anything like that.

Sternone - the UK pilot mags will print any old rubbish and the quotes you gave are a fine example. In any case, nobody would (in that situation) be trying to set things up for a Cat 3C approach; one would fly it manually, and a 747 will fly manually just fine. Nearer to a landing, one would slow down to say 250kt which is only a little faster than a decent IFR tourer, and I've seen ground speeds well above 200kt in a descent from say FL150 with tailwind.

If the competent private pilot had next to him a really dedicated FS2004/FSX sim player, they could do quite well. Many sim types fly real routes (which they check against Eurocontrol, believe it or not), real STARs, approaches, the works. They even use real ATC, provided (over the internet) by current or retired ATCOs.
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