Quantas flight 32 is making refueling stop in Singapore. The Airbus A380 is more than half way through a marathon 22 hour flight all the way from London to Sydney, Australia. After 2 hours on the ground, the crew is nearly ready to get the plane back in the air. Very few pilots are trained to captain an A380. Former fighter pilot Richard de Crespigny is in that elite rank.
“A380 is latest generation of innovation, automation and excellence and it is a largest, most complex aircraft in the sky.”
The main duty on this flight for first officer Mat Hicks is to monitor the vast number of electronic gauges and computer displays needed to fly this state of the art plane.
The gigantic A380 is a true double decker. The first jet ever built with two decks running the entire length of the plane. It dwarfs every other airliner in the sky. With enough space for as many as 525 passengers.
“The more automated aircraft get, it doesn`t necessarily make them easier to fly. Just makes them different to fly. ”
The A380 is powered by four massive Rolls Royce engines. Each can deliver 72,000 pounds of thrust.
“That is a wonderful engine, very reliable.”
At 9.57 a.m. local time, Quantas 32 lifts off right on schedule. Passengers get a unique view of the take-off thanks to a camera mounted on the A380’s tail.
There are 250,000 sensors monitoring every flight function on the aircraft. This is by far the most automated passenger jet in the skies. The ECAM or electronic centralized aircraft monitor keeps watch over myriad of on-board systems and alerts the crew to even the slightest malfunction. It is 10.01 a.m., the pilots are just 4 minutes into the flight. (BANG!)
“We are losing an engine, number two!”
De Crespigny wastes no time taking over control from the autopilot. 35 years of flying tell him what to do next.
“I pressed the altitude button, which would cause the nose to lower and the aircraft leveled.”
The captain assigns Hicks to decipher the ECAM data. He needs to evaluate every message and figure out how best to react to each one.
1) What was the origin and the destination of Flight 32? For what purpose did they make a stopover in Singapore? How long did they stay there?
The origin of Flight 32 was London and the destination was Sydney, Australia. They made a stopover in Singapore for refueling. They stayed in Singapore for two hours.
2) What aircraft type performed the flight? Are there many pilots trained to fly this type? What is a pilot required to do for re-training to become Captain? What does pilots’ training involve? What subjects are the most important?
Airbus A380 performed the flight. There are very few pilots trained to captain of A380. A pilot is required to be very experienced in flight practice and theory if he wants to be a Captain. Also a candidate to be a Captain must be an ATPL holder. Pilot’s training involves many hours of theory and a course of flight practice. The most important theoretical subjects are aerodynamics, meteorology and air navigation.
3) What was the Captain’s opinion of the A380?
The Captain said that A380 is the latest generation of innovation, automation and excellence. Also he said that A380 is the largest and the most complicated aircraft in the sky.
4) What were the responsibilities of the First Officer during the flight?
The responsibilities of the First Officer were to monitor the vast number of electronic gauges and computer displays and to report about flight performance to the Captain during the flight.
5) According to the film, what makes A380 such an outstanding machine?
The gigantic A380 is a true double decker. The first jet ever built with two decks running the entire length of the plane. With enough space for as many as 525 passengers.
6) Does the First Officer believe that A380 is easier to fly than other planes?
As said the First Officer, the more automated jet isn`t necessary easier to fly. It is some different to fly from convenient aircraft.
7) What are the main features of the cockpit of A380? What is the ECAM?
There are several features of the cockpit of A380 but the most important is ECAM. It means Electronic Centralized Aircraft Monitor.
8) What emergency did the crew encounter a few minutes after takeoff? How did the Captain respond to the situation?
The crew encountered with engine failure after few minutes of flight. The Captain took over control from the autopilot immediately.
9) What was the First Officer required to do in that emergency situation? Was it an easy task? Why?
The First Officer was required to decipher the ECAM data. It wasn’t an easy task because he needs to evaluate every message on figure out how best to react to each one.
10) What modern aviation technologies do you know? How do they facilitate pilot’s (ATC’s) functions? How do they increase flight safety?
I know several modern aviation technologies which facilitate pilot’s and ATC’s functions. All these technologies increase flight safety. One of them is TCAS (Traffic Collision Avoidance System). TCAS system warns of potential threats of other aircraft. If both planes have TCAS on board, in an emergency situation, the two boxes will coordinate with each other to come up with a vertical “solution,” commanding one plane to climb and the other to descend. Another system is EGPWS (Enhanced Ground Proximity Warning System) which gives the modern airliner a worldwide terrain database which greatly improves the safety margin, and even displays the potential hazardous terrain on the pilot’s displays. One more modern system is LLWAS (Low Level Windshear Alert System) which detects these rapid changes in windspeed and direction, most often associated with microbursts.