Monday, July 27, 2009


TCAS, Traffic Alert and Collision Avoidance System. Each plane once issued with the enroute clearance will be given a 4 digits code for the transponder, termed as squawk code. In this case, the code that we got for our flight to BRU was 3721, key in to the TCAS panel as shown on the left picture above by my copilot before we begin our flight. When the transponder selected to ON, it will continously giving information to the Air Traffic Controllers and other aircrafts transponders . The ATC will see the information for the particular plane base on the squawk code such as the planes callsign, position, altitude, heading and speed. For other aircrafts, please refer to the picture of the Navigational Display on the right. Click on the picture for bigger image. The white diamonds indicate the position of other aircrafts flying nearby with the altitude differences. In this case, the aircrafts heading is 315 deg and there are 4 other aircrafts flying nearby. The nearest is 2000 feet above, +20, one at 40 nm away, 6000 ft below , 2 aircrafts at 50 nm away at 5000 ft below and 2000 ft above. We were flying at 38000 ft over Turkey, LTAC in the ND is Ankara airport.

Beautiful countryside of Belgium as we descending toward Brussels airport. Finally ,after 6 hours and 40 minutes in the air, we were cleared to land on runway 25L BRU.

Brussels in the morning, view from my room.

Actually very seldom to have a sunny day in Brussel. Most of the time cloudy or raining.

Well, time for me to catch up with the lost sleeping time.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Machine

The cockpit. No control steering, replace by joysticks, can be seen in this picture at the extreme left and right. Only one pilot can have control at a time and when not in used,during autopilot operation the control sticks are locked by solenoid. In front of the pilots seat is a table each which are stowed in this picture. The engines control situated at the central pedestral so that any pilot can handle the levers easily.

The powerful engines , 56000 lbs of thrust each.

The engines controls. The levers numbered 1,2,3 and 4 are for the respective engine. Basically pilots need to position the levers into Idle, Take Off or Climb detent and after that the Auto Thrust will do the work,adjusting the engines power to the required speed.

The Engines Instruments.

All the reading can be seen there, and all controlled automatically.

Latest Pictures of Sydney

Sunday, July 19, 2009

EY 454

If you think my last take off to JFK was real heavy, wait until you finish reading this story.
Last night I was out of Abu Dhabi for Sydney on Airbus A340-600. Total number of crew was 19, with me the only Malaysian on board as the Pilot in Command. ( Bangga sangat, Melayu World! ). Total passengers were 297 and the fuel I ordered was 142,000 kg and that was the minimum fuel required to fly to Sydney including the reserve and contingencies. So the total weight for take off was 378,000 kg, just short by 2000 kg for the maximum limit. After computation, the rotation or lift off speed was at 170 knots or 315 km/hr. Wow that was fast! Just imagine a metal tube traveling at that speed on the ground. Even Michael Schumacher got jealous!

How do we compute the take off speed? Well for each airport, there is a take off chart and what we have to do is just get the wind direction and speed and the take off weight. From the chart, read out directly the take off speed (VR). Beside the VR speed, V1 and V2 speed also can be obtained.

V1 is the go no go speed or decision speed. If any malfunction occurs before V1, the remaining runway length is available for you to stop the aircraft or to abort the take off. After V1, the take off should be continued because the remaining runway length is not sufficient for stopping.

V2 is the safety speed at which the aircraft having one engine failed can safely climb out.

Airbus makes the life easy for the pilot by setting the program for this take off computation installed in laptops. All the pilots in the airline that I am working with are issued with a laptop each so that we can compute the speeds fast and accurate. That is why Airbus removes the steering wheel in the cockpit and replaces it with table.

Using this laptop, V1,VR and V2 speeds can be found simply by filling up the required data on the left hand side.

Friday, July 17, 2009


This is about my recent flight to JFK, New York, 10 Jul 09. Very heavy weight takes off on the Airbus 340-600. Even though 4 engines used to accelerate the longest aero plane in the world down the long hot Abu Dhabi International Airport runway, it took slightly over a minute to get airborne. The lift off speed was at 167 knots or at about 307 km per hour for 368,000 kg big bird. The Maximum Take Off Weight for this aircraft is 380,000 kg. The lift off speed or the rotation speed (Vr) must be followed strictly in order to avoid any catastrophic disaster. If pilot try to rotate or make the aircraft airborne before reaching the correct Vr speed, necessary ‘lift’ to lift the plane off the ground is not sufficient yet. What will happen then? Rotation means the pilot pulling the control stick aft ward to command the flight control surfaces through the flight control computer to move the control surfaces, the elevator in this case to pitch the plane up. Fly by wire aircraft, does not use cables or push rods anymore. The nose will pitch up but as the lift force for lift off is not sufficient yet due to the low speed, the plane will stay on the ground. Bear in mind A340-600 is 75.3 meters long, the main wheels located at the midpoint. When the nose pitches up, the tail section relatively will go down and due to the length of the plane, it easily strikes the runaway! The plane will get airborne though when it reaches the correct speed. The Tail Strike can damage the structure or make a hole which forms a leak for the aircrafts pressurization. When that happened, no other choice but have to return for landing .This incident happened to an Emirate aircraft 4 months back during take off in Melbourne.

The pitch limit angle is presented as V in this PFD, Primary Flight Display during take off.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009


I was in Paris from 3rd to 5 July 09. 50 hours on ground, took the chance for a small tour to the city ,even though been there a couple of times already. Probably the nice 24/25 deg C sunny days were so tempting.

From the hotel, I took the shuttle bus provided, about 30 mins ride and got down at Palais de Congress. Boarded the train there and stopped at Champ de la Mar station. The Eiffel Tower is only about 5 mins walk from the station.

Beautiful flowers at the park, overlooking the base of the tower.

This one I snapped from my hotel room at 10 pm local time there. Night time is short in summer.

Taken from the cockpit as I was taxying out for take off. The lagendary concorde.

Busy Charle de Gualle Paris airport as usual.

The front door of Notre Dame.

Another shot at the tower before i head back.