Words of Advice:

"We have it totally under control. It's one person coming from China. It's going to be just fine." -- Donald Trump, 1/22/2020

“We will not see diseases like the coronavirus come here..and isn't it refreshing when contrasting it with the awful presidency of President Obama."
-- Trump Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany, 2/25/20

"I don't take responsibility for anything." --Donald Trump, 3/13/20

"If Something Seems To Be Too Good To Be True, It's Best To Shoot It, Just In Case." -- Fiona Glenanne

"Flying the Airplane is More Important than Radioing Your Plight to a Person on the Ground Who is Incapable of Understanding or Doing Anything About It." -- Unknown

"There seems to be almost no problem that Congress cannot, by diligent efforts and careful legislative drafting, make ten times worse." -- Me

"What the hell is an `Aluminum Falcon'?" -- Emperor Palpatine

"Eck!" -- George the Cat

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Your Sunday Morning Big Prop Noise

Well, not a lot of noise, but here's American Airlines Flight 1 from IDL to LAX in a DC-7:



Note that en-route ATC was run through the company's radio network and that they flew VFR at cruising altitudes in the 20,000's. No "flight levels". After a few big midair collisions in 1956 and 1958, that all changed.

11 comments:

DTWND said...

Best line: "American Airlines makes nearly 1000 takeoffs each day. And the same number of landings.'

I should hope so!

Dale

CenterPuke88 said...

Don’t have the exact date in front of me, but VFR was permissible above 18,000 until around 1979, if I’m remembering correctly.

Old NFO said...

Interesting video... Better dressed pax, hand pumping the nose gear down, and the forerunner of the rabbit for landing. Can you imagine today's passengers putting up with an 8 hour trip coast to coast???

Comrade Misfit said...

OldNFO, remember, that the comparator was an 18-hour overnight flight in a DC-3 (with three stops for fuel) or a 3-4 day train trip. Being able to make that trip in eight hours must have seemed magical.

But they also didn't have to show up at the airport two hours in advance and I'll bet they got the baggage off far faster than the 40+ minutes at large airports these days.

CenterPuke88 said...

I can tell you that I never waited for baggage before 1980, it was always on the carousel before we got there, with attendants pulling the bag you indicated and checking the tag versus your claim check.

LRod said...

CP88
PCA (positive controlled airspace) has been around since the '60s. I used to lunch regularly with a retired controller from ZOA and he was apparently involved with the original implementation.

When I was doing my flight training at OPF in 1966/67 we were aware of having to have an IFR clearance at and above above FL240, and when I walked through the door at ZJX in '68 it was there. Worked it 240 and above the whole five years I was there.

I don't recall when the move to FL180 occurred, but my ZAU friend who hired in a month behind me tells me that they had PCA starting at FL180 from the time he got there. The long and the short of it is that the whole country went to FL180 sometime in the '70s (after '73), but PCA as a concept was in place at least a decade earlier.

LRod
ZJX, ORD, ZAU retired

LRod said...

Comrade,

ATC was moved into the civil service around 1936. The major carriers did separation and IFR activities in the NYC-CHI corridor prior to that, but when the feds took over, all enroute ATC was performed by the feds.

Now, that doesn't mean we had frequencies in the centers all over. In fact the companies and then Aeronautical Radio (ARINC), as well as FSS' handled much of the communications. It was a laborious process for airplanes to change altitudes or modify their routes with that system. And only slightly less so for position reports, which was how separation was maintained and confirmed without radar.

We used to do initial controller training simulating that environment up until the early '70s. We jokingly referred to the process as "buzz, buzz, ARINC".

By the time DC7s came along (1953) there was a well established network of enroute facilities throughout the country. And, yes, a lot of pilots chose to fly VFR On Top, because there was no Positive Controlled Airspace. Once the jets started to proliferate and closure speeds made visual separation risky, the option for VFR On Top above FL240 and later FL180 was removed.

Interestingly, VFR On Top is still permissible above FL600, which is where SR71s flew and U2s still do. Those (and B-57s) are generally the only airplanes that can get up that high, and usually are the only airplanes at those altitudes in an entire center's airspace.

LRod
ZJX, ORD, ZAU retired

CenterPuke88 said...

LRod, you forgot the WB-57’s. NASA plays with them now and then, and they like to fly high to an arrival fix and spiral down from “above FL600” onto the arrival.

As for VFR above FL180, we had one gentleman bopping along at FL205 in the early 80’s, who was interviewed by FSDO. His maps, rulebooks and such were from the late 70’s, and included VFR up to, but not including, FL240. My instructor loved to reminisce about pilots like that who “knew” the system they learned in and just ignored changes.

For those playing at home, the average U.S. flight numbers (4/5/20) are down between 56% (ZKC) and 78% (ZNY) at the major Centers. At the Core 30 airports, it ranges from MEM down 29% (FDX traffic, DFW next at 42%) to down 90% at TEB (plus JFK and LGA down 80%, EWR 79%). Net change is down 62%.

Comrade Misfit said...

No offense, but I called them "TCAs" and "ARSAs" right up to when I hung it up.

DTWND said...

Ah, yes. TCA's, TRSA's, ARSA's, control zones, control areas. I learned way back when. Brings back a lot of memories trying to recall the brain power used to pass the private pilot written in the 70's.

Dale

LRod said...

CP88

Re B-57s: right there, last paragraph.

I can't nail down when PCA went down to FL180 in the places where it had been FL240 (as I said, ZAU was FL180 at the beginning of PCA, as well as the core east west centers). All I can attest to is that the floor was FL240 in ZJX (and likely ZTL, ZDC, ZMA, and ZHU, as well). until at least 1973 when I left for Chicago. I kept up with aviation, so was aware that the change to go FL180 nationwide had occurred, but it wasn't in a facility in which I was affected. However, it had to have been mid to late 70s.

My original premise remains: PCA at FL240 and above was a thing in the '60s.

LRod
ZJX, ORD, ZAU retired