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Speaker off while headsets on.

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Speaker off while headsets on.

Old 11th Jun 2018, 09:44
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Speaker off while headsets on.

I hesitate to write this as I expect a flood of heated responses but here goes.For many years an argument has carried on among Airbus pilots concerning the use of the cockpit loudspeaker volume knob.There are two basic positions. 1. It must be on loud enough to hear the radio transmissions always unless there is a specific reason to turn it off or down such as he is listening to HF. 2. It can be turned right down or off when headsets are used.Argument 1 is claimed to be backed up by the SOP but the SOP does not state that it must be set to the 1 oíclock position AND LEFT THERE FOR THE WHOLE FLIGHT.Argument 2 is claimed to be backed up by the MEL which implies that only 1 level of redundancy is required but this is hardly iron clad.I fully understand the argument in favour of leaving it on, but I personally have over many years experienced a problem when I am using headsets and the other pilot has his speaker on, in this situation there seems to be an interference between the sound coming from my headset and the sound coming from his speaker. I theorise that this may be due to wave interference but whatever the cause I know it is a problem for me. It causes me to miss calls and that is not good.I was wondering if there is any official literature on this subject.
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Old 11th Jun 2018, 09:59
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I used to hate when some skippers will insist to keep the headset on and loudspeakers open at the same time. Like you say, it creates very annoying interference making the communication more difficult to undestand. I really don’t undestand why people will do that. If my colleague or I forgot to tune down our loudspeaker, we notice immediately and we will tune them down straight away. You are 2 in the cockpit with 2 headsets so you already have redundancy.
Personnaly if my FO agrees, I ask headset off as soon as pratical especially on the A321 which is a very quiet cockpit usually around 15/20000 feet and put it back on about the same altitude. It’s doable to do the flight without headset on the A320 series. Done it before. A bit noisy during climb on A319 tho. If some people think this cockpit is very noisy they should fly an Islander. xD

Last edited by pineteam; 11th Jun 2018 at 10:11. Reason: Typo
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Old 11th Jun 2018, 10:40
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I never notice this interference unless the speaker is wide open. My conclusion is that certain individuals must have some very sensitive auditory canals. Some FO's complain even when the volume is less than half way open. Fine, whatever rocks your boat, I'll turn it down, but it's odd!

The problem arises when both pilots take off their headsets and forget to open the speaker volume. Where is your redundancy then?
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Old 11th Jun 2018, 11:01
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I agree there can be interference, but not all the time and it's more noticeable from the other guy's speaker than yours. Occasionally putting the headsets on after cruise, I forget to turn the speaker down (or the other guy forgets). We're lucky that we have a culture where we can just ask the other guy to turn it down and it's usually accompanied by an "oops - sorry" and we go about landing and sorting out where to go for dinner.
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Old 11th Jun 2018, 11:05
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Iím with Penko on this. In fact I seem to recall an incident I read about where a crew did exactly that. Might have been a CHIRP (UK) report. Turned off the volume and forgot about it. Iím pretty certain itís not ďwave interferenceĒ because one wouldnít expect to see a time delay between the headphones and the speaker. However, Iím niether a fan of the loudspeaker being set too high either. Itís only my personal opinion but I see the loudspeaker as a backup in the way that PENKO is suggesting. We might all say we couldnít make a simple error like that but maybe on a four sector day or at 30W in the middle of the night.....
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Old 11th Jun 2018, 11:23
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Forgetting to put the volume loudspeaker up when removing the headset is like forgetting to put your socks before your shoes. I’m not saying it can’t happen but it’s unlikely. It’s like an automatism for me. When we agree to remove the headsets, it’s loudspeaker on first and only then headset off. In the airspace I fly, there is always someone talking every 10 seconds. So in case there is an usual silence, I would know pretty fast something is wrong. xD I don’t recall being on that situation. And yes I do forget and do mistakes like any other pilots. But this one is easily avoidable with discipline.
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Old 11th Jun 2018, 11:31
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Murphy’s law?
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Old 11th Jun 2018, 11:33
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Originally Posted by pineteam View Post
Forgetting to put the volume loudspeaker up when removing the headset is like forgetting to put your socks before your shoes. Iím not saying it canít happen but itís unlikely. Itís like an automatism for me. When we agree to remove the headsets, itís loudspeaker on first and only then headset off. In the airspace I fly, there is always someone talking every 10 seconds. So in case there is an usual silence, I know pretty fast something is wrong. xD I donít recall being on that situation. And yes I do forget and do mistakes like any other pilots. But this one is easily avoidable with discipline.
I don't wear shoes that often. Sometimes it's flip flops, sometimes I'm bare feet, sometimes I wear shoes without socks.

For years and years I have flown with the volume up. Suddenly there is an FO in the base who insists on turning down the volume, so suddenly I break my routine and turn the volume down. In this scenario, only a super pilot will never ever forget to turn the volume up again in the cruise. I know no super pilots.
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Old 11th Jun 2018, 12:17
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Originally Posted by PENKO View Post
I don't wear shoes that often. Sometimes it's flip flops, sometimes I'm bare feet, sometimes I wear shoes without socks.

For years and years I have flown with the volume up. Suddenly there is an FO in the base who insists on turning down the volume, so suddenly I break my routine and turn the volume down. In this scenario, only a super pilot will never ever forget to turn the volume up again in the cruise. I know no super pilots.
I’m no super pilot but I don’t know any case that forgetting the loudspeaker had resulted in a loss of communication.
Surely in the past I got distracted and simply did the mistake to first remove my headset and did not turn up the loudspeaker volume up immediately. But within few seconds you would realise your forget to level up the volume as unless it’s not your day and your FO also forgot his loudspeaker, you should realise the sound is coming only on one side but mainly due to the fact than flying into chinese airspace it’s pratically impossible not to have more than 10/20 seconds of radio silence.

Edit: I’m using Telex 850 ANR headset. I guess using ANR headset make the interference worst compare to a conventional headset. Just a guess tho.











Last edited by pineteam; 11th Jun 2018 at 13:48. Reason: typo
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Old 11th Jun 2018, 13:05
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Who the devil goes around on speakers and headsets all day? That's pretty annoying, unless the headset volume is off in an ANR headset. Like someone else said, at the companies I've flown, pointing it out is sufficient to get the other person to turn off the speaker.

If somebody flew around with the speaker on all the time, I'd ask if he listens to music via his ipod headphone and speaker simultaneously.
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Old 12th Jun 2018, 08:23
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I hope you lot donít fly the A350, turn it down too far and you get a MEMO ďCAPT/FO SPEAKER LOWĒ ....so with headsets on we can only turn it down so far.....

We manage ok.
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Old 12th Jun 2018, 09:22
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I’m no super pilot but I don’t know any case that forgetting the loudspeaker had resulted in a loss of communication.
Don't bet on it. Jet Airways has done it twice in European air space. On the second occasion over Germany fighters were scrambled. But it shouldn't have happened. It is matter of doing it in procedural way. Increase the volume First then remove headset. Off course Jet airways is Murphy's airline. If any one can do it then they have done it.
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Old 12th Jun 2018, 13:00
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Originally Posted by Check Airman View Post
Who the devil goes around on speakers and headsets all day? That's pretty annoying, unless the headset volume is off in an ANR headset. Like someone else said, at the companies I've flown, pointing it out is sufficient to get the other person to turn off the speaker.

If somebody flew around with the speaker on all the time, I'd ask if he listens to music via his ipod headphone and speaker simultaneously.
Every China Airlines Pilot. With the volume set at exactly 1 o'clock. Why? Because the manual says so.
And asking them to turn it down is met with confusion, then refusal.
That also includes having the Cabin PA and Cabin Intercom reception on too. Don't ask me why, I have asked and answers range from, "it's Big Picture" to "IP told me to."
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Old 12th Jun 2018, 14:02
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We leave the PA volume up on ACP 3 for the CVR, not 1/2. That's hilarious. I fly with a few guys who fly around listening to PA's all day. With the amount of PA's we make, I don't see how they have time to listen to the radio.
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Old 14th Jun 2018, 05:32
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Originally Posted by Check Airman View Post
If somebody flew around with the speaker on all the time, I'd ask if he listens to music via his ipod headphone and speaker simultaneously.
LOL. Nailed It. All the pilots flying with the Telex 850 on the A 320 family will acknowledge that when the guy on the other side has his loudspeaker opened , it creates very annoying interference making the communication more difficult and therefore more prone to misunderstanding. Our company provides individual headset to the crew. So we all have the same ANR headset and I don't know anyone who can do the radio peacefully when I keep my loudspeaker opened. Out of the blue, I'm amazed that some airlines don't provide any headset to their crew and they must use the headset from the aircraft. Sounds very hygienic. xD
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Old 14th Jun 2018, 05:42
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The companies I've worked for all provided headsets in the plane. Seemed like a great way to share bits of lunch, hair, dead skin and sweat. No thanks.
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Old 14th Jun 2018, 10:44
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You should worry more about the toilet door handle, or the remote control in your hotel room.

I mean there isn’t too much of a health risk with headsets - you share all that dead skin sweat etc. at home with your family.

You can clean the aircraft controls and buttons with a sanitising wet wipe, (but who ever cleans the overhead panel controls or the cockpit door handle?), and can do the same with the company headset.

As far as speakers are concerned, with two audio sources, there is always the possibility of cancellation or amplifying effects, and if there is a time delay between the two sources, there could be echo effects ranging from a change of perceived ambiance, owing to a very short delay, or if digital processing is involved then there could be a longer delay which might affect the intelligibility. I personally have never suffered, but I do sometimes accidentally leave my speaker on, and as soon as the other pilot asks, I apologise and turn it off.

Last edited by Uplinker; 15th Jun 2018 at 09:05.
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Old 14th Jun 2018, 13:36
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Occupational risks

Originally Posted by Uplinker View Post
You should worry more about the toilet door handle, or the remote control in your hotel room.

...
Above all very sensible.

Following is from US Department of Labor data.

The most unhealthy jobs in America - Business Insider

22nd most unhealthy job
Airline pilots, copilots, and flight engineers

Top three health risks:

1. Time spent sitting: 93
2. Exposure to radiation: 73
3. Exposure to contaminants: 68

8. Flight attendant

Top three health risks:

1. Exposure to contaminants: 88
2. Exposure to disease and infections: 77
3. Exposure to minor burns, cuts, bites, or stings: 69


Best idea is to keep away from the flight attendents :-) JOKE!

(sorry about mad fonts, tried to fix it later but was not able to change size as far as I can see)

Last edited by jimjim1; 14th Jun 2018 at 13:40. Reason: add apology for mad fonts
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Old 14th Jun 2018, 15:44
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Originally Posted by Uplinker View Post


I mean there isnít too much of a health risk with headsets - you share all that dead skin sweat etc. at home with your family.

My sickness rate more than halved after I bought my own personal headset.
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Old 15th Jun 2018, 09:02
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Originally Posted by PENKO View Post
My sickness rate more than halved after I bought my own personal headset.

Out of interest, when you used the aircraft headsets did you always wipe them clean before use or just wear them as they were?

I havenít had a cold for at least three years, probably more.
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