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PPL visiting the flight deck

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PPL visiting the flight deck

Old 31st Mar 2011, 18:48
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PPL visiting the flight deck

I have my PPL completed, ATPL groundschool in progress, and I will soon be visiting my family in Australia so have several long-haul flights coming up (LHR-MEL). I'd like to see if I can visit the flight deck and have a chat to the pilots about their work, what they like, don't like, any tips... (I don't know many professional pilots, and definitely none in Europe, so I want to make the most of the opportunity!) I realise it might not be possible for security reasons but would like to ask anyway. My questions are: when and how?

I'm expecting that during boarding and the early part of the flight it would be quite busy so maybe I should wait until later, but then there are meal services, flight attendants get busy with other things?, ....

I'm also unsure whether I should ask one of the flight attendants to speak to the captain or whether I could write a note. The note would let me give some background but maybe a note would be unusual.

Anyone flying for an airline who can tell me what they would prefer? Or any other advice/suggestions?
DiamondC is offline  
Old 31st Mar 2011, 19:01
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Very difficult to get access to the flightdeck these days during flight. We usually try and accomodate people at the end of the flight. We quite often get people wanting a look around or just simply to ask a few questions. Usually a quick request with cabin crew is all thats needed once we're on stand.
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Old 31st Mar 2011, 19:15
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As Mikecr says, just explain to the cabin crew your request, they'll sort it out for you.

No need to worry about standing on ceremony, most professional pilots enjoy meeting anyone with an interest in what they do.

Last edited by Artie Fufkin; 31st Mar 2011 at 19:16. Reason: spelling
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Old 31st Mar 2011, 19:21
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I have been sitting in the jumpseat for entire flights during PPL-training and now as a private pilot. I use one technique that usually works for me. Some times it don´t but if you want to enter the flight deck this is what you should do.

Never say why to the flight attendant! If you say you want to sit in the jumpseat, they will say no.

What I do is, I approach the cockpit during boarding and I say, "excuse me, may I just ask the captain a quick question?" Usually they say yes. If they wonder why, I tell them that I am a private pilot and I would like to know something about the aircraft bla bla bla. Once I enter the flightdeck I introduce myself, show them my PPL and explain my interest etc, and if I may join them. I have done this 6 times now and 3 times I have gotten the jumpseat. 2 said no due to SOP:S and one had a third pilot in the jumpseat.

Good luck!
fabbe92 is offline  
Old 31st Mar 2011, 19:31
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Unfortunately you won't be allowed near the flight deck on a BA aircraft from once the push back has become until the engines are shut down at the far end. Unless they are dealing with a technical issue of some description or are short of time, I'm sure they would be delighted to show you round the office and answer a few questions. What would be useful is to sit in on the before-start checklist including the emergency brief.
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Old 31st Mar 2011, 19:39
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Do as fabbe said, should work

Ill have jump-sited my last 15 flights or so But dont ask on international flight, if its really bad weather or if capt. is old guy (they usually say no).
GL m8!
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Old 31st Mar 2011, 20:00
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Of course, I have had the fortune of meeting friendly, down to earth captains in the flightdecks. That really helps
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Old 31st Mar 2011, 21:56
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Thumbs up

Whether you get access to the flight deck is down to the CAA of that country, company policy and the Commander.

I think if you make yourself known to the FO or the Captain, they will be more than happy to answer any questions you have, I know I am more than happy to help, and quite enjoy it when people show an interest. It is such a shame that we cannot grant access to the flight deck anymore on British Reg aircraft, as it is great to share your enthusiasm with like minded people.

Dont be shy to express an interest, nine times out of ten you will find most guys or girls are willing to chat with you. Sometimes it is tricky with tight turn arounds but I always try to find the time .
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Old 1st Apr 2011, 11:16
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In total agreement with @cat3c here. We love to have people who take an interest in what we do. Sadly Ryanair policy like many other European airlines means that we are not allowed to have people on the jumpseat in flight but certainly a chat pre or post flight is something I always try to make time for. Good luck
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Old 1st Apr 2011, 16:27
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How old are we?

I used to do a lot when I was in my 20's and early 30's but as I turn 40 I become flight deck shy and I don't ask any more unless it happens to fly with a skipper I know.

Ah those wonderful memories of flight deck visits when I was try to ask for a visit for a hope of a landing there...

Rwy in Sight
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Old 1st Apr 2011, 18:58
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I thought it was strictly tabboo and forbidden by most airlines these days for obvious reasons, and that crews risk their jobs to do so. Usually, I have been on the jump seat from take-off and for most of the trip coming from my country to the UK, but only because of being a close friend of the Cpt or FO, or if the friend FO was not on board, would contact the Cpt of the flight saying that friend so-and-so is on board, if he can accomodate him. (the good thing about a small airline where most crews actually know each other or are friends) Even so, I am always obliged to exit the cockpit once over UK airspace and for landing because of UK regulations. I know this, and the crew friends remind me of this. On TO from UK, I have sit in cabin, and get called up after leaving UK airspace.
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Old 1st Apr 2011, 20:43
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That's handy to know, thanks cyflyer.

FD visit I have to repost. 2001/2002 UK to Athens or Corfu. Any chance that the kids (and I) visit?

So, clearing France and heading down the Adriatic we are summoned. Good few minutes, kids mesmerised. Run into CAT, and it's time to go. Quite bad before we can leave the cockpit.

Return to seats, saying "sorry about that" to all the wide-eyed fellow passengers.
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Old 2nd Apr 2011, 14:11
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Yeah, its a fantastic experience, especially being there for the TO. Worth paying double the airfare to experience that. And being able to shoot loads of photos also. Pity the evil-doers of this world spoilt it for everyone. It will never go back to the way it was unfortunately.
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Old 2nd Apr 2011, 16:48
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Yeah, its a fantastic experience, especially being there for the TO
I much prefer being in there for landing really. You see more due to the nose down attitude. TO you just see the sky, and on the B738, due to the location of the jumpseat, you cant relly get a good look out of the side windows.
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Old 2nd Apr 2011, 17:31
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i think this thread is awesome and the next time im flying i will certainly be asking about the jump seat, does anyone know if Thompson pilots would do this?? im currently doing my ppl at Liverpool and loving every minute of it and hoping 1one day to have my ATPL.........
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Old 2nd Apr 2011, 17:35
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One of my most memorable lifetime experiences was BUE - SCL in the cockpit of a 747. Of course it was before a certain Mr. DustBin Laden effed things up for everyone.

I will always be grateful to a certain Lufthansa captain for that privilege.
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Old 2nd Apr 2011, 18:12
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i think this thread is awesome and the next time im flying i will certainly be asking about the jump seat, does anyone know if Thompson pilots would do this
Im afraid unless you are an employee of the airline, no. They will however let you in once engines are off to have a look around as per company policy.
My jumpseat in flight was with Thomson, but only because Im an employee.
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Old 3rd Apr 2011, 06:26
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Wanna-be-there, I wouldn't complain too much about the view from the 738 FD. Its great from any airliner. But as you mention 738, here's one of my shots from last summer, cruising at 40,000' somewhere over Europe.

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Old 3rd Apr 2011, 06:35
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I should mention that good FD photos are notoriously difficult to achieve because of the vast exposure difference between the outside and the interior. Its a very careful balancing act.
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Old 3rd Apr 2011, 11:07
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Wanna-be-there, I wouldn't complain too much about the view from the 738 FD
Yeah, when your stood up the view is great, but I mean when your actually sat down and strapped in, Take off isnt that great for the view, but landing is spot on due to the nose down attitude
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