iFly Blog - Capt Stephen

Latest Travel Tips And Updates

Takeoff & Climb

From the cockpit,

Thus far, most of our posts have looked at the steps leading up to takeoff. Today we’ll examine what happens once the plane departs terra firma. While the takeoff and climb legs might appear simple and self-explanatory, both involve important steps that greatly contribute to the safety of each flight. V1:  A Critical Airspeed Although we previously reviewed the need to calculate speeds [...]

Preparing to Launch: Coordinating with Support Crews

From the cockpit,

            In the previous few posts, we discussed the internal and external preflight inspections airline pilots conduct prior to departure. In addition to those important tasks, pilots must coordinate with a variety of support crews to ensure the aircraft is ready for pushback. While these support teams are largely capable of completing their respective tasks independently, the captain is [...]

Turbulence Revisited: Additional Sources of Bumpiness Aloft

From the cockpit,

In our last look at turbulence, we discussed the various forms of low-level turbulence; bumpiness found below approximately 15,000 ft. With this post, we’ll cover causes of high-altitude roughness. As an airline passenger, most of your travel time will be spent in high-altitude cruise. Turbulence encountered during this stage of flight will likely last longer than most low-level turbulence e [...]

The decent

From the cockpit,

Regardless of the distance traveled or the time spent aloft, all airplanes must eventually return to earth. For passengers, the descent leg means the flight is almost over. For the crew, the descent phase involves communication, coordination, planning, and even math. Let’s examine some of the highlights your pilots deal with after leaving cruise altitude. Econ Descent In Selecting the [...]

Preparing to Launch: Preflight Inspection 2

From the cockpit,

Last time, we highlighted many of the cockpit tasks airline pilots perform prior to each departure. In this post, we’ll head outside the airplane to examine the external aircraft walkaround. This preflight procedure is equally important to all pre-takeoff cockpit checks and is a mandatory part of each flight leg. Through the walkaround, pilots are able to further enhance the safety and comfo [...]

Approach and Landing

From the cockpit,

In A Look at the Descent Leg, we discussed some of the steps pilots take upon vacating cruise altitude. With this post, we’ll go into more detail about the final portion of the descent segment: the approach and landing. As you probably know, this final segment is one of the most vital of the entire flight and requires the crew’s full attention. Let’s examine some of these duties your crewmem [...]

Takeoff & Climb

From the cockpit,

Thus far, most of our posts have looked at the steps leading up to takeoff. Today we’ll examine what happens once the plane departs terra firma. While the takeoff and climb legs might appear simple and self-explanatory, both involve important steps that greatly contribute to the safety of each flight. V1:  A Critical Airspeed Although we previously reviewed the need to calculate speeds [...]

The cockpit door

From the cockpit,

In the post-9/11 world of commercial aviation, security is no doubt at the forefront of air travelers’ minds. From invasive body checks to restrictions on liquid carryons and constant reminders about prohibited items, air travelers have come to accept security as an ever-present reality of airline flying. In addition, these security measures don’t end after passing the metal detectors. Once [...]

Turbulence: Understanding the Causes of a Rough Ride

From the cockpit,

For most air travelers, turbulence is a word that invokes at least a little dread and discomfort. However, in most cases such apprehension is at least partly due to fear of the unknown. Once we better understand the subject, our newfound knowledge can help allay unnecessary anxiety. With this series of posts, we’ll examine the causes of turbulence and methods for avoiding and mitigating any [...]

Collision avoidance 1

From the cockpit,

If you’ve spent much time as a commercial airline passenger, you’ve no doubt noticed the large number of airplanes that operate into and out of each hub airport. Perhaps you’ve wondered just how all those airliners avoid each other, as well as all other forms of air traffic, when airborne. With this post, we’ll explore some of the procedural safeguards in place that help keep aircraft a safe [...]

The cruise altitude selection

From the cockpit,

In Avoiding Other Aircraft, we highlighted the cruise altitudes available to pilots depending on the type (VFR/IFR) and direction of flight. With this post, we’ll take cruising altitudes a step further and examine how to choose the best altitude for existing circumstances. As you might imagine, a variety of factors affect the altitudes pilots and dispatchers ultimately decide on. Let’s get s [...]

The Paperwork Pile of a Puddle Jumper Pilot

From the cockpit,

Many members of the general public share a common view of an airline pilot’s workday. This stereotype often involves a pair of pilots relaxing in the cockpit, sipping coffee, and occasionally monitoring the flight instruments while the autopilot does the rest. The average layperson might believe pilots enjoy this relaxing environment for 2-3 hours at a time before arriving at their destinati [...]

Pushback to runway

From the cockpit,

Once the passengers are loaded, the paperwork is completed, and the plane is preflighted it’s time to leave the gate. At this point, many passengers just want to get in the air. For the curious bunch, some important steps actually occur between the gate and the runway. With this post, we’ll examine what’s going on up front just prior to takeoff. A Concrete Maze Most passengers who’ve f [...]

Collision avoidance 2

From the cockpit,

In a previous post, we highlighted some of the procedural safeguards used to provide adequate separation between airborne aircraft. With this post, we’ll examine other methods to ensure aircraft remain safely separated from each other. All these procedures, methods, and equipment work together to maximize the safety of the national airspace system. Electronic Equipment Transponder:  T [...]

In-flight navigation

From the cockpit,

Prior to this post, we’ve highlighted airline pilots’ duties from pre-takeoff to leveling at cruise altitude. In this installment, we’ll examine a major component of the cruise leg: navigating from Point A to Point B. Unlike with ground-bound modes of transport, flight crews can’t rely on a solid network of roads or rails. However, vast as the wild blue yonder might be; the national airspace [...]

Preparing to Launch: The Preflight Inspection 1

From the cockpit,

Continuing our Preparing to Launch series, we’ll take another look at the duties airline pilots perform prior to takeoff. When you board an airliner, you’ve probably glanced into the cockpit and noticed the pilots intently engaged in some activity. If you’ve wondered what exactly they’re doing up there, we’ll demystify the process by highlighting some of these tasks. The preflight inspect [...]

Taxi and Parking

From the cockpit,

When the tires squeak (or slam) onto the runway, many air travelers think the flight has ended. For pilots, an integral stage of the process still remains; one prone to confusion and with a notable risk for error. In From the Gate to the Runway, we discussed the confusion and hazards of taxiing at large airports, as well as the tools pilots have to assist them with the taxi process. In this [...]