Monday, July 9, 2012

Its been a while!

Hi! I haven't been neglecting this blog; more just not 100% sure what to write about! But i thought of something that may be interesting. I thought i might try write a day in the life of me. For lack of much else to write about at the moment, i will try dumb it down and write a basic story of what i would do on say a standard flight, taking off to the south for a departure to head north.

The SID's are pretty straight forward out of Sydney. On a typical day, say on a flight to Port Macquarie, taking off to the south on 16L Sydney, we will be assigned the KAMBA 4 departure or the SYDNEY 3 departure. For this flight we are using the KAMBA 4 departure.

Still at the bay, Terminal 2, with the engines started -

After start drills commenced once the engines are brought out of feather to flight idle.. bleed air - on.. APU - off.. AC voltage - checked.. standby hydraulic pumps - on.. autofeather - select.. auxiliary fuel pumps - on.. flap selector to 5.. confirm the transponder is alt, auto.. de-ice pressure is 18psi.

After start checklist completed, we are ready for taxi..

Taxiing from terminal two in Sydney, you usually get a standard taxi route to the south, depending which bay you are on. For the controllers, we get issued to hold short of taxiway golf, or runway 25. Approaching runway 07/25, the clearance is usually to cross runway 07/25, taxi to holding point Bravo 10, runway 16L.

This is confirmed by the captain, and once clear of the crossing runway, we start with the taxi checklist.. confirm flight instruments are erect with no error or caution flags - checked.. assigned altitude - 3000 with alt select.. cabin - prepared..

We are ready.

At Sydney we exit taxiway Charlie with a left turn onto taxiway Bravo10 and call Sydney tower, 124.7 to let them know we are ready.

Cleared for take off... approaching the active runway he will call clear left and i will clear right to make sure there are no aeroplanes that the controller has forgotten about on the approach path. I put on the landing lights and strobes and the captain calls for the line up drills...

Transponder is still alt auto.. pitot heat - on.. weather radar - on.. control locks off and flight controls tested and free.. bleed air is min and off..

"Taxi checklist completed."

Since this is my take-off, the captain calls "your controls.."

"My controls, call me V1 at 107 knots, set power..."

"70knots........ V1... rotate"

"Gear up."

"500ft, turn left to track 080"...


At 600ft we do the acceleration drills.. as pilot flying I call "Flaps 0, bleeds on, set climb power..."
(The acceleration drills refer to a safe altitude where we are clear of obstacles, can clean up the aeroplane and accelerate to our climb speed and set the climb power. If we are to have an engine failure, this is the altitude we would accelerate at our best clean climb speed, get the flaps up and set maximum continuous power.)

Sydney tower then transfers us. "Contact departures, G'day.."

From this stage we are usually cleared to 5000ft, as inbound traffic is maintaining 6000ft. Once the new altitude is set, i would call for autopilot modes which i want to fly the aeroplane in. 

"Can i have flight director modes LNAV, indicated 170.. 12 miles on the TCAS and the after take-off checklist."

After take off checklist "landing gear - up no lights.. flaps - zero.. pressurisation - bleed air on, max and the rate 200FPM...."

Autopilot engaged.

7DME Sydney, left turn, track direct KAMBA.

Departures would then normally clear us to climb to flightlevel 180, once we are clear of the inbound traffic. Passing 10,000ft we do the transition drills which is setting QNH on the altimeter to 1013, standby hydraulic pumps to norm (which is off...), auxiliary fuel pumps off, and lights off.

"Checklist - Altimeters - 1013.. pressurisation - bleed air on max and rate 300FPM," 

"After take-off checklist complete - Speakers?"

At this stage our headsets come off, and we put the speakers on in the flightdeck. We get an estimate for arrival to the destination and i hand over control to make a cabin announcement...

"Ladies and gentlemen, from the flightdeck, good morning to you and welcome abroad..........."

Well, thats a standard day to about flightlevel 120 and about 30nm from Sydney. 


  1. Nice! How's the rest of the pax announcement go? Do you give them wind speed in km/h? :)

  2. haha nah, but i do have a standard thing i say.. :)

  3. Hi mike,
    Read your blog a lot find it very interesting especially as I'm in Darwin and getting my CPL with Darwin flying school and hope to work with Hardy's one day and then on to flying for an airline. Was just wondering if you could post a blog about all the stuff you do before you get to the aircraft like how long you arrive at the airport before you fly whether and getting all the dispatch performance info, as a budding airline pilot I can't seem to find much info about that side of airline life.

    Cheers mate! Andrew G

  4. Hi andrew,

    Thanks for reading! i will definately write something like that for the blog. Never really thought about it tbh. It's def different planning in GA.

    Good luck with the training

  5. Hi Mike. Thanks for the great post. No need to dumb it down for m ost readers - I think, but please be cautious with acronyms that may be unique to your country. You've got a lot of readers well beyond your own shores. It was a fun read and just wish that there were a few more of them to enjoy. Best wishes, -C.

  6. Hi Cedarglen,

    I actually didn't mean to write dumb it down, sorta meant to write abbreviated and more to the point.

    Glad you enjoyed it, i will try write more like this one in the future.

    Cheers for the acronyms advice, and thanks for reading

    Regards, Mike

  7. Hi, just came across you blog and find it really interesting. I am about to fly from Sydney to Port Macquarie this weekend. What is the average amount of time spent in the air on this leg, on a commercial flight?

  8. Hi, its about 45 minutes flight time, and about 1 hour from bay to bay in sydney, with average traffic/taxi etc.