Real Answers from Real Pilots

Pre flight procedures

What do you usually do prior boarding? Do you walk to the aircraft with the other pilot? How long before the flight do you board? Where is the briefing room located?etc.

Another question is: the ual 757 does flights to Europe as well as domestic flights… can a 757 pilot do both international and domestic flights?
Thank you,
Tom

Tom,

At United we usually meet in the Flight Planning Area (a large room with computers and tables) to go over the route, the weather at the departure airport, destination airport, any alternate airports and the en route weather. We also go over the maintenance history of the airplane. From there we generally walk to the airplane together. We try to be onboard between 60 and 45 minutes prior to departure.

Once we are on the airplane, the Captain usually briefs the Flight Attendants while the FO does the exterior inspection of the airplane. From there we both check the airplane’s various systems and program the Flight Management Computer.

Yes, if you are on the 757 at United you can expect trips to anywhere the airplane flies, both domestic and international. When I was on that airplane it was not uncommon for half my month to be spent stateside while the other half was overseas.

Chris

Tom,

We will meet in the Crew Lounge (located in a secure area at the airport). Contract requires us to be there 60min prior to Dep but most crews are there 90. We’ll print the weather and flight plan and then get a briefing from the dispatcher which will review everything from the weather to any aircraft maintenance issues, notices to airmen (NOTAMS), any pilot reports from flight that have gone that route, VIPS on board, etc. Sometimes we’ll walk together, others not (usually depends if someone wants Starbucks or not). FO does the exterior inspection (aka “the walk-around”) unless there’s an RO (Relief Officer required on flights over 8hrs) in which case the RO will. Each pilot will do his respective “flow” (checking of systems, switch positions, adj seat etc). Flying pilot will program the FMS, both pilots will crosscheck. FO (or RO) will get current weather (ATIS, Automatic Terminal Info Service) and clearance (confirmation of your flight plan, transponder code, altitiude etc). Flying pilot will brief the departure. CA will brief the FAs. Before Start Checklist…

Adam

Tom,

At the regional level the preflight duties include all of what Chris and Adam said, but we go at a much faster pace. With 4-6 legs a day and 25min between them, we generally do most of those duties on the fly (as opposed to meeting in a briefing room). My duties as an FO are to walk-around the aircraft, verify that the plane is being serviced (fuel, commissary, cleaning, etc.), program the FMS according the clearance, get the weather report, and run my prestart “flow”.

I have flown with crews that are very close together (usually the senior guys and gals) and usually we walk to the plane together when we start the day after an overnight, and then there have been trips where it was more like every man for himself…less fun of course.

Yarden