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From a Boeing to an Airbus - Pilot Point of View

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From a Boeing to an Airbus - Pilot Point of View

Old 11th Nov 2006, 02:13
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From a Boeing to an Airbus - Pilot Point of View

Hello

I've been flying during the last 2 years a B767-300ER. It was my first aircraft as a pilot and I enjoyed it a lot: simple to understand, easy to understand scan flows and routines and a reliable aircraft.

Now I'm starting the A320 type rating.

Question: from you experienced folks that flew both a Boeing and an Airbus, what are the main differences between them from the pilot point of view?

What suggestions do you have for me to be more efficient while studying?

Tks. Andre
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Old 11th Nov 2006, 06:38
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Hmmmmm. A retrograde step I fear. The Scarebus will probably frighten you at some stage by doing things that Airbus says it can't ....... and then later, very grudgingly, agrees is a software problem.
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Old 11th Nov 2006, 07:41
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Dead stick and dead throttles ----------- deadly wrong design.
Always follow ECAM, unless it is wrong --------- and it is, especially when you would desperately need it.
etc.
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Old 11th Nov 2006, 07:59
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Originally Posted by Gretchenfrage View Post
Dead stick and dead throttles ----------- deadly wrong design.
Always follow ECAM, unless it is wrong --------- and it is, especially when you would desperately need it.
etc.
Excuse me, what are you talking about?

Dead throttles? You CAN use the thrust-levers (!) like on any aircraft else.

Dead stick? Only if you switch off all five Flight-cntl-computers

Deadly wrong design? No, just different to BillBoeing.

Wrong ECAM? If so, it should have been corrected bei paper check list.
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Old 11th Nov 2006, 07:59
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Fly a computer,they say? It is a Very Nice computer...

I have only sim time on the A320. My PIC experience includes the 737 Classic.


Going from the old lady to the A320 was an eye opener. First thing you will notice is how apparently easy Airbus has made your job. From the ingenious Flight Control Laws of the FBW system, to the easy to follow ECAM action items when things go 'by-the-book wrong', to the lights out - all is well control panel design, I think you will find your short bus experience a pleasant one. They have thoughtfully pre-programmed many of the systems tasks for you. (not unlike the 777)


It bears repeating:

The Airbus FBW and systems design make it more difficult for a flight crew to screw things up completely in most normal operations and the standard non-normals. Workload is minimised.

I have learned:

Fear not the computers and fly her.

The transition to the sidestick (I'm a leftie) was no problem from either seat.

Obey the ECAM. If all else fails, the thing's got a bunch of reset 'buttons'. (CBs)

Green=good White=informative Amber=bad

I would recommend some sim time with the focus on non-standard (are they ever standard?) failures with an experienced crew member and take notes during any debriefings.

More (real) wisdom beyond my pittance hopefully will follow.

Last edited by vapilot2004; 11th Nov 2006 at 10:00. Reason: SP and more
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Old 11th Nov 2006, 09:43
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Not easy to advise you on this one. Try to go with an open mind. I am far more experienced on Boeing than on Airbus. This doesn’t mean I am any good at either. I have now been on the Airbus for around 18 months and it still catches me out at times. However the Airbus will probably grow on you. I was partly against it at the beginning, but now although I sometimes still get a bit puzzled with it, I am starting to like it. Get to learn how to use ECAM. If after using ECAM you still have time, look at the QRH and if you still have time dig out the FCOM 3. Listen to those good guys that have been on it for some time. Be methodical and disciplined with it. Not always easy.
Good luck.
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Old 11th Nov 2006, 11:01
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Airbus or Boeing???

For me it is just a question of attitude. I always liked the planes I flew. When you change brand, you change philosophy. But I found it really easy to adapt.
I flew B737 (200 to 500), the famous DC10 and I'm on A330 since 8 years (after 2 years of A340). I've more than 18.000 hours and still like to switch off everything (A/P, F/D, A/T) and can tell you the bird is flying great even in rough conditions.

Ecam? very helpful in case of...

Side stick? yes, it's rather sensitive in the beginning but a few hours in the sim and you feel it.

Fixed throttles? switch off the A/T whenever it suits you.

The attitude limitations?? Tell me how often you would need more than 67° bank with pax on board.

But if a Cy offers me place on B777 I would not hesitate to take it.... just for the pleasure to discover another plane!!!

Happy landings
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Old 11th Nov 2006, 11:18
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Just don't compare why Boeing do this this way and Airbus do that that way.Airbus flightdeck like an office and Boeing is a piece of mechine.Airbus has superior FBW system,trust the computers while Boeing has great hardware system redundancy.Too bad they do work together.
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Old 11th Nov 2006, 12:00
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Originally Posted by Viscount Sussex View Post
:Try to go with an open mind. I was partly against it at the beginning
I do agree with Viscount Sussex. I've flown 8 years on Boeing (737-200 then 737-500 and now since 2002 on 747-400), I've flown 4 years on A340 also. At the beginning, as Viscount Sussex, I was totaly against Airbus philosophy. I've been an aerobatic pilot and glider instructor for several years and I thought Airbus CDVE is a non sense. Against all odds, I falled in love with A340. It's a wonderfull aircraft design to work with.
Just disregard people that haven't flown Airbus who are saying a lot of things without knowning really what they are talking about...
Just go with an open mind... You'll find a very efficient aircraft. I'm sure you'll appreciate it.
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Old 11th Nov 2006, 12:04
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a bad handler can get away with a lot on the airbus......a good handler can look very ordinary.
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Old 11th Nov 2006, 12:47
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Originally Posted by Bearcat View Post
a bad handler can get away with a lot on the airbus......a good handler can look very ordinary.
Philosophically succinct.


I am in awe Mr. Bearcat.
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Old 11th Nov 2006, 12:48
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Perhaps I'm not in position to comment as I've only ever flown the Airbus narrowbody series. I've flown the B737-300 simulator a few times - and enjoyed it despite having only used a side stick for the last 8 years!

I train on the Bus and many of the guys (and gals) I train are converting from the 737. Almost without exception the preferred platform is the Bus. A much better office than the 737NG and no comparison with the 733 is the usual comment. The Bus does do things a bit differently but in the normal day to day operation of the aircraft it is straight forward once you understand it. When you have problems the ECAM covers 95% of issues BUT it does require discipline, a methodical approach and good crew teamwork.

The Bus is a self monitoring aircraft - it will look after you to a certain extent. For example if you don't put the Packs on after T/O you'll get an ECAM caution. If you're flying round single engine without the fuel x-feed open you'll get an ECAM caution before you run the tank dry. The comments about protections..... well my car has got 6 airbags. I don't plan on using them but it's nice to know they are there! Probably the most useful protection for day to day operations is knowing that if you get a hard GPWS "Pull up" You can just hit TOGA and pull the stick the whole way back, instantly, without worrying. Did it recently in the sim and hit 11,000 FPM

The side stick and FBW are great. Sidestick doen not take long to master and the self trimming makes it a very easy aircraft to fly. I've read the comments about being not being able to monitor the other guys inputs due to no S/S feedback - and it's true, your monitoring channel is now purely a visual one. However, this has never caused me a problem.

Go in with an open mind, embrace the philosophy - don't fight it and you will see the Airbus is an excellent product.

A4
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Old 12th Nov 2006, 14:54
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Originally Posted by MrBernoulli View Post
Hmmmmm. A retrograde step I fear.
That was my feelling when change from 340 to 747-400. "A little step for man but a giant retrograde leap of 30 years in terme of technologie for the pilot".... Anyway B744 is a good funny aircraft and I love it. But when thing goes wrong I miss my 340....
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Old 12th Nov 2006, 15:11
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Originally Posted by Dirkou View Post
Hello
I've been flying during the last 2 years a B767-300ER. It was my first aircraft as a pilot and I enjoyed it a lot: simple to understand, easy to understand scan flows and routines and a reliable aircraft.
Now I'm starting the A320 type rating.
Question: from you experienced folks that flew both a Boeing and an Airbus, what are the main differences between them from the pilot point of view?
What suggestions do you have for me to be more efficient while studying?
Tks. Andre

Typed on the 707/727/737/757/767.. and 320.

I enjoyed the -320. Study so you know what the airplane is telling you and what mode it is in. The FMS is different so it will take some time to acclimate.

The side stick and non-moving throttles are a non-issue. You will find yourself spending more time actually looking at the instruments versus getting info from autothrottle tactile feel which may be wrong as they move whether the engine is still cooking or not.

The side stick eliminates the obstruction in seeing your displays. And once you learn to go back to your initial flight instruction of flying with your fingers you will find the 'bus a simple airplane to fly.

In windshear, you just pull aft... no hunting max AOA.. and no hunting for the 'nibble'.

Crosswinds, always an issue with new guys to the 'bus... remember the sidestick commands a roll *rate* rather than a fixed aileron position. So doing the cross control doesn't work well.

The Radio Management Units (RMU) can be confusing at first. Just think before you push buttons which is a good rule in any airplane.

And finally, do the same thing with the 'bus as with any other airplane.. play to the strengths, respect the weaknesses and then bid for the trips that pay the most, have the best layovers and the nicest flight attendants. Everything else is just parochial arguments.
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Old 12th Nov 2006, 15:40
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I flew the 733 and 737NG then converted onto the Airbus. I wasn't keen to go on the Airbus at first being a Boeing fan but after flying the Airbus for a couple of months I started to prefer it to the Boeing.

From the start I found the Airbus by far more comfortable to work in compared to the Boeing. It doesn't take long to get used to the sidestick and some of the thing the Airbus can do are fantastic, an NDB approach is so easy in the Airbus and you can fly a typical crosswind landing technique (even though it's not recommended) as long as you remember you can't keep applying the side stick to the left or right otherwise it will continue to bank in that direction, all you do is apply a little bit of side stick to get some bank on and let go of the stick, the Aibus will hold that bank angle and just use a touch of rudder to keep it straight just as you cross the threshold of the runway it seems to work well but is a bit more trickey than the Boeing.

The only downside to the Airbus compared to the Boeing seems to be build quality. Some of our oldest Airbuses are only a couple of years old, even ones that are a couple of months old are starting to fall apart on the interior side of things.

I'm sorry but I can't see a 25 year Airbus airframe flying in 3rd world countries like some of the very old Boeings.

Both makes of aircraft are brilliant but if I had the choice I think I would take the Airbus.
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Old 12th Nov 2006, 17:40
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The only drivers to knock Airbus are the dinosaur pilots who haven't flown them yet. I've flown B727-200, B747-400 and now A319. Wonderful a/c to fly whether it be a CAT111B autoland or a manual thrust, autopilot out visual approach onto a runway with no instrument or visual aids. Tip: Try to learn as much of the Airbus talk as possible (MCDU, ELAC, SEC ect.)There are lot's of these. Side stick is the best thing since sliced bread. Boeing should drop the ego and get rid of the yoke. Having flown the best handling airliner ever designed (B727) I believe I'm qualified to say this. The Americans invented it anyway (F16). The ECAM is great but can lead you down the garden path in one or two emergencies, so know your QRH. It takes a bit longer to get comfortable with an Airbus than a Boeing but I guarentee you'll love it.
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Old 12th Nov 2006, 17:48
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airbus boeing

Big difference when you get hungry, on the bus you don't have to eat with tray on your lap!!!!!!!!
Happy flights
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Old 12th Nov 2006, 18:15
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There is a load of rot talked by Boeing pilots about the 'Bus, Flying it will not be a big problem - I went 757/767 to the 320 (now on 330 as well) the biggest problem you will have on the 320 is performance which is not as good as the 767, though operating in the States it is not quite the same problem as operating out of the Greek Islands! Don't believe everything you hear from those that have not flown it , and enjoy.
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Old 12th Nov 2006, 20:31
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Originally Posted by RTO View Post
Having a dead stick and throttle must be the worst design flaw in any modern airliner, no wonder the french are taking the A320 designers to court.
What in the world are you guys talking about "d/c the A/T at any time" ??? what does that give you? CLB thrust when you want to decend? Manual thrust?. how is this rectifying the fact that the A/T provides no feedback, keeps you effectivly out of the loop and does not give any early warning of an A/T failure?
Dead stick dead throttle. Do you know the likelyhood of ending up with a dead stick? Absolutelty minute. In 8 years and 6000 hours on the Airbus I've had ONE failure in flight of one of the FIVE computers. If you lose all five you can still fly the aircraft through rudder and trim whilst you get at least one of the flight control computers back online. The chances are extremely slim.

To play devils advocate - how many rudder hardovers does it take to spin in? No I don't want an A versus B debate but some of the comments about Bus are just not valid/biased.

Yes -shock horror you CAN disconnect the A/THR at ANY time - wow!!! If you disconnect the A/THR correctly i.e. retard THR LVRS to the present thrust postion as indicated on your engine display and then disconnect, you get........ current thrust. Why would you get CLB thrust?

It's true that A/THR does not give physical feedback by moving the levers so you DO have to adapt and improve your visual and aural scan. In 8 years this has not been a problem for me. If you've disconnected the A/THR you won't get a warning about A/THR failure.....coz it's not in anymore. If it's active and it fails - believe me you will get a warning!

I think the comment about the French taking Airbus to court just shows what a stupid world we live in - and is symptomatic of the "let's sue someone culture" so beholden to those on the other side of the pond..... If you operate the aircraft how it is supposed to be operated then it's no big deal.

A4
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Old 12th Nov 2006, 21:33
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"How come I read reports of AT failure in the bus causing speed loss, mode reversion and decend, and the flightcrews first discovery is the TA that follows from the aircraft decending onto traffic below?"


out of interest can you give us a reference to these reports? I would be interested to read them.
As for Dead stick I've had 12 years and 7000hrs never had one flight control computer fail. Its a fantastic aircraft and has looked after me well.


p.s How do I put quotes in the blue box thingy? (makes an airbus look simple)

Last edited by longarm; 12th Nov 2006 at 21:35. Reason: ignorance
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