AVmail: November 18, 2013
Letter of the Week:
Investing in GA
Regarding the "Question of the Week": I'm not a person equipped to make financial investments in projects. But I believe in investing in GA and can do that with time and information. I have been going into the local schools to give talks about my 13 years as a local (female) banner tow pilot. The kids are wide-eyed, and it really instills interest in GA. With all the opportunities for kids to seek interests these days, there is nothing like sharing a passion to get them thinking about flying instead of video games!
When to Squawk
During an air traffic controller-pilot interactive meeting, an emergency descent scenario was discussed. It was apparent that ATC expected the pilots to squawk 7700 as soon as possible to alert all controllers in the descent path to clear the way for the emergency aircraft.
The memory/immediate actions on most emergency checklists do not include "Squawk 7700," and the crew may only change the TCAS squawk when they have time to read and do the checklist. The pilots in the group did mention that it was a good practice to change to emergency squawk 7700 at the earliest.
Is it possible for manufacturers to include TCAS squawk 7700 in case of emergency descent as a memory item? In case of engine failure, TCAS is used in TA ONLY mode. Perhaps emergency descent checklist should also direct pilots to change to TA ONLY mode.
How Many Engines Do You Need?
Regarding the story on the A380 crew that continued the flight after the failure of one engine, the writer of your article reveals a twin-engine bias/mentality in basically condemning the crew for pressing on. They have four engines -- not three, or two -- and that is part of the advantages of having a reasonable number of engines for crossing an ocean. I condemn the airlines and the regulatory agencies for allowing oceanic airline operations on only two engines. The Emirates crew still had more engines than than most airlines take off with.