Transcribed Interview 6

Interview 6

March 26, 2014



(Creating taxonomic structure)

Emergencies, Jet vs. Airplane, “Experience doesn’t matter”


S: Okay, can you see these? This is what I’m putting together, these charts. Uh, so the first chart I have is, kinds of air emergencies, and I have them separated, and you’ll have to tell me if I’ve gotten any of these wrong of, if something doesn’t go…where I have it. I have them separated into pilot, mechanical, and weather. Does that sound right so far.

T: uhh yeah that sounds pretty good.

S: would it be kinds of air emergencies or kinds of emergencies in general. Does that make any difference?

T: Well you could have an emergency on the ground so, uh,

S: That would make a difference.

S: What kind of emergency could happen on the ground.

T: You could have a fire on the ground, cargo fire, engine fire, when you start the engine, malfunction ….. emergency ….

T: Uh, have uh, if you landed, had to make an emergency landing and you were —– might overheat the brakes, and that might start a fire. Those are some of the things on the ground.

S: Okay, and then for, these kinds of air emergencies., I have weather broken down into thunderstorm, or tornado. And I didn’t put snow in there because I was thinking snow was sorta special because, you can fly through it, do I include it there?

T: Well taking off, would be the snow, but in flight, you have icing.

S: Okay.

T: And uh, the bigger airplanes don’t usually do that it’s the smaller airplanes that have more of a problem, with icing…uh, if its too —- it starts collecting on the wings and you can’t get rid of it.

S: The, will that way the plane down and take it out of the sky?

T: Well icing, the problem with icing, if it starts collecting on the wings, it destroys the —-. But the bigger airplanes have such powerful anti icing systems, that its usually never a problem, in the air.

S: Okay.

T: Remember what I said you know about taking off, you know snow or icing, you get the ice. Well talk about that —— —- mumbles—–. Don’t know if you remember that.

S: No, no I don’t remember. I remember, remember seeing ice crystals on windows, from time to time…is that the…..

T: Yeah, and airplane gets de-iced because you can’t have snow or ice on top of the wing because that would prevent the airplane from creating lift. And that’s how and airplane flies, and that’s why they are de-icing the airplane, cleaning the wings off.

After de-iced you have only have so much time —–.

S: Is that something a pilot has to do or will that, the plane automatically de-ice itself.

T: Well, that, sprays that fluid, on the wings. The pilots job is to make sure that fluid works — and if its looks like it stopped working you’ll have to go back and ——–.

T: Like I don’t know how much further you want to go into it-

S: No that’s fine, we don’t have to go further into it. Um, I think I’ve been going- I still, I still don’t really get the hang of this- but we’ll just go back to weather. And um, ok. So thunderstorm and tornado and snow, which, I’ll specify about take-off… and vs. flying. Are they’re any kind of weather emergencies that I should include with that.

S: Um, I was considering flash lighting, lighting, thunder….that isn’t in thunderstorms…

T: Well no, that’s the other thing, weather does not have to be an emergency. It just have to be avoided. It can become an emergency if you don’t proper avoiding, avoidance.

S: Okay, thank you, I needed to know that-

T: That’s why you always want to avoid thunderstorms, and tornadoes in a thunderstorm. Remember I was talking about those microburst.

S: Yeah.

T: That’s a big thing.

T: And the other big thing, its called wind sheer. Which is usually associated with the thunderstorms.

S: Would the tornado be associated with the thunderstorm more, or the tornado.


T: Uh, tornadoes are associated with thunderstorms.

S: I mean the microburst.

T: Microburst are associated with thunderstorms too. There is a bunch of them together. Uh, other weather factors, high winds. We talked about snow. I mean, a hurricane; heavy, heavy rain. We talked about icing in the winter.

T: One time I was up in Bradely, Heratford Conneticut and we had to de-ice the airplane, so we were all ready to go, and we started taxiing, and the airplane, just needed a little power, just a little power and the airplane was going sideways. It was the ramp. The ramp was a solid sheet of ice. The airplane was physically going sideways on its wheels. I’m glad there was no one in front of us because we had no control of it . uh Delta, the airport did not know- it was the black ice, on the entire ramp. They actually had a- they got a big truck and poured sand in front of our tires and let us out.

S: Was this in the winter time?

T: Yeah- icing- yeah.

T: That’s another example of icing, that’s icing on the ground.


S: Is there anything else that could get in the way, when you are taxiing?

T: Other airplanes.


T: That’s why we have a ground control, so they can sequence you out to the runway. I mean you get a busy airport like Chicago, you have to- I mean its pretty amazing- you have to be careful. Um, and do what ground controllers are telling you to do. They’ll tell you who to follow and then you gotta follow them. Uh, they’ll tell you to stop at certain point- you gotta stop, that could be, if you didn’t listen to the ground controllers at a busy, busy airport, you could have an accident.


S: Is ground control part of air traffic control or air they separate

T: No that’s part of Air Traffic Control, uh, Ground Control takes you out to the runway, ground control, like when you are number 1 or 2 or 3, ready for take-off, they switch you to the control tower. The control tower clears you, to go on the runway and clears you for take off and then once you take off, you are in the departure control, and once you climbing, remember when we were talking about that, you go into different sectors.

S: Departure control, where do you go after that?

T: Its called a Center Control- above 18,000 feet.

T: Let’s say Washington Dulles ground gets switched over to Dulles tower, there you take off, Dulles tower hands you over to Dulles Departure, climb to 18,000 feet Washington Departure uh, switches you to Washington Center- then they have control at the high altitude. Remember I was talking about the center controls, there’s like-

S: Cockpit controls…. (no)

T: There’ 8 of them in the United States.

S: Oh, no I don’t remember that

S: Was that- ok- um, up around Canadian Airspace then down into Maine is that what that is-

T: Yeah when we cross the Maine, which is, Canadian Controllers hand us off to Boston Center- that’s one of the big centers- then Boston Center hands us off to Washington Center. And then, now, we’re over Allentown, and we start to descend and going into Approach ——-.


S: That’s pretty cool how that’s all spaced out and worked out.

T: Yep


T: Its kinda cool how they can hand you over, from one controller to the next. I don’t know where Boston center is but Washington center is right in Leesburg.

S: So there are- I mean they’re centers, but they’re not necessarily towers. They can be located in places that aren’t airports.

T: The centers they only control high altitude airspace. A center does not control anything below 18,000 feet.

S: Okay, I’m going to go back to kinds of air emergency’s and I took weather out of that, I have air, pilot & mechanical, but those can also be ground emergencies too.

S: Mechanical I have stall, and engine fail- could you give me one more example for a mechanical fail, or mechanical emergency.

T: Mechanical? Well, there’s hundreds. Uh, actually a stall- that’s not a mechanical emergency that would be a pilot emergency.

T: Uh, a mechanical emergency would be hydraulic failure.

S: Okay

T: That would be a big emergency, doesn’t happen very often.

T: The airplane controls are moved by hydraulics, they are backed up by multiple hydraulics but if you lose one hydraulic system, uh that’s an emergency,

T: What other’s did you list?

S: I listed the stall, and the stall- I had a question about that- that can be broken down into aerodynamic and enginge-

T: Oh, okay. Yeah- that’s true. We did the engine stall today, its funny you mentioned that. Uh, that could be confusing-

S: Would the engine be mechanical and the aerodynamic be pilot?

T: Yes.

S: That does make it very confusing! But I’ll write that in there.

T: An aero dynamic stall, is when air flow over the wings is interrupted-

S: And it stops-

T: You lose lift.

T: An engine stall, you know a jet engine works by air being sucked into the engine. The air is compressed, the air is ignited, the compressed air has fuel, and then the fuel is ignited and it shoots out the back. So an engine stall would be that air being sucked in- for some reason, uh, let’s see whats the word, it gets upset- uh, it doesn’t flow right- there’s a couple reasons for that but then- what is happening inside the engines is the turbons- are not spinning like it should.

S: Okay- the result of that, would be the plane losing power then?

T: For one engine. You still have the other engine. The airplane isn’t going to fall out of the sky.


S: Do all planes have two engines?

T: Some have four


T: A lot of jets today have two, some have four.

S: Ok, I guess that might be going a little, in depth-

T: Sorry what were you going to say-

T: I was just going to say we had a, a its called a compression stall- of one of those engine stalls- we actually had one- today- and what happened was, there’s a big loud bang- and each side of the temperature, one of the gauges, in our cockpit engine gauges- the engine overheats and you have to shut it down.


S: Okay, could you give me an example of a pilot error- either in the air or on the ground.

T: Uh… Let’s see well, I guess in Chicago, there’s a couple airplanes, the wing tips have actually hit other airplanes—and we’re kinda talking about that- those guys, didn’t follow the ground controllers instructions. So they should have been where they were, and uh, its usually a big airplane you know, you can’t even see the wings.

So- you have to uh, that’s why you have to follow the ground control instructions. So yeah, its been a couple times where, these planes have hit wingtips and that is pilot error- they just aren’t following instructions. Uh, another one would be well, taking off, with snow, snow and ice on the wings. Crashing the airplane. I don’t know if you remember, maybe 4 or 5 years ago a corporate jet was taking off out of — Colorado, got a couple feet in the air and that’s all they did. Remember what I said about the snow on the wings.


T: Doesn’t create lift.

S: Right and that’s what makes it fly.

T: I mean, they were barreling down the runway, this plane never took off and eventually the runway ends, and they’re still going 150 miles and hour, but they’re not flying. I don’t know why- it never got de-iced for some reason. So its usually a combination, you know when pilot error. Usually an accident there’s a combination. You know that corporate crash that didn’t get de-iced.

S: It could, it could be weather, mechanical, -even though weather’s not necessarily an emergency, it could be weather, mechanical & pilot or mechanical and… it could be any of them.

T: Yeah, yeah like that instance they took off with snow on their wing, it was pilot error but the weather- contributed, to the accident.

S: Okay, that’s, that’s all for that one.

S: Ah lets see, sometimes you refer to airplanes as jets and sometimes you refer to jets as airplanes…and, sometimes smaller airplanes jets, and bigger airplanes jets, and just wondering (really…I’m just wondering here) if there’s any difference between the two terms.

T: Well usually a jet, when I refer to a jet, its not to do with the size, it’s the type of engine —-. Vs. an airplanes I’m probably talking about an engine with a propeller, if that makes sense.

S: Okay so a jet, what does a jet have.

T: A jet engine.

T: Turban.

T: You know the planes that Pocono airlines have. Those are airplanes. So, you know, a jet would be the one with the big hole in the middle of it. (he laughs.) No propeller.

S: Okay, thank you.


S: um could you give me an example of a regional airline?

T: A United Express

T: All the major airlines have express jets, remember I was talking about the code share. The kind of, like the small jet that we fly out of Harrisburg to Dulles. That’s- A United Express Jet.

S: A jet that is going from a spoke to a spoke- is that right to say?

T: A spoke to a hub.

S: and that’s very similar to the commuter—

T: Yeah- yeah they’re the same thing.


S: So I can classify them as the same thing.

T: I mean, they used to be different years ago.

S: Right but its been changing and they are more similar now.

T: The other thing to think about with the commuters and the regional airlines, they are called Feeder Airlines. They feed the bigger airlines. They supply passengers to the Hub. They bring passengers to the Hub, then the major airlines fly out of the hub with the bigger airplanes. That’s how a lot of people go on longer trips. There are some exceptions but that is the majority of —–.

S: Okay. Thank you

S: Push back, that means the same as leaving the gate?

T: Yeah

T: We don’t have reverse in the engine. So they have to push us back.

S: Oh, okay the tug crew does that.

T: Yeah the tug crew.

S: I had no idea, so you, you can’t go backwards, in any airplane?

T: uhh…not really. (lol)

T: You could but it would hurt the engine.

T: Basically, no. We have a reverse that slows us down, when we land- but we don’t have a reverse where we can actually back up.


S: Okay why is it that pilots don’t come out of the cockpit anymore, like they used to.

T: Security.


S: Whose responsibility is it to make announcements to the passengers on an airplane?

T: Well it depends on the type of announcements….you know, the flight attendants, well the flight attendants make most of the announcements. The flight attendants do the safety, demonstration. There thing we are required to do in the cockpit, at United, is the seat belt sign. Just to remind passengers that the seat belt sign is on- which is about the only announcement we are required to do.

S: Oh, okay.

S: I wasn’t going to say that the flight attendants are part of the cockpit crew, but…are they?

T: No.

T: They’re not. They are the cabin crew.

S: Is anyone else a part of the cabin crew?

T: Flight attendants.


S: Okay…did you remember when we listed United bases?

T: Yeah

S: Are those bases…just for United’s planes or do they share bases with another major airline.

T: Uh…are you asking, if other airlines come into the base, or come into the airport- is that what you are asking?

S: Um. I’m asking if other airlines-

T: Have the same-

S: have the same base yes.

T: uh there are some, some airports that have, uh, the same base. And uh, Chicago, is a United base and its also an American Airlines base., that’s the only one that I think is the same. Everybody else is really spread. Uh, New York there is probably a couple bases in New York that’s double. See Uniteds base that’s in New York is actually in Newark (NJ). So.

T: Newark that was a big continental base, which now is United.


S: Ok. Ah, that’s, that’s all I have for tonight.

T: Well that was short.

S: Don’t worry the next two will be longer.

T: It’s raining right now, you have flash flood warnings.

S: Yeah- its actually really raining outside, and I wasn’t, I did not know it was going to rain.

T: It was very nice here in Denver. It was about 70 degrees I wish I could have been outside. I am very dehydrated.

T: What else- I have to call mom again- Uncle Matt- his airline went out of business.

S: Um, hold on a second, I, when mom was explaining that to me she said that it HAD gone out of business, but was it once of those things where they weren’t sure if they were going to go out of business or not—

T: When was she talking to you about that-?

S: ahh a week ago I think…

T: Well it just happened yesterday, I don’t think she knows about that I have to call her. So-

S: Did he get the job in Japan?

T: He’s got an interview next month. So we’ll see. Its just too bad. No one’s going to hire him because of his age. Nobody in the United States.

S: Why! That doesn’t make sense to me-

T: He’s too old.

S: -he’s got all the experience.

T: Well I know, that’s what’s so strange. No airline in the United States is going to hire him. They want a new guy, not him. Because it cost them too must money.

S: To hire someone with experience?

T: No- they look at it- they want to hire somebody- and they want to train them, so they can stay with them- for 20-30 years, and if they hire someone like Matt. They are thinking about the cost of training him in their airplane, —- —– , only 11 years.

S: oh, oh! 11 years! Is… a long time.

T: I know.., but that’s if his medical stays…you know, its to them, they’re not, uh, I mean that’s the reality of the United States. So he might be livin’ in Japan for 5 years.

S: Wow.



(lots of systems, fire protection system, electrical system)



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