Re: 2nd Officer on a 767

Date:         28 Sep 97 00:53:42 
From:         "Mark E. Ingram" <markt@mickey.mo-net.com>
References:   1 2 3
Followups:    1
Next article
View raw article
  or MIME structure

On Mon, 22 Sep 1997, Jeffrey S. Aronsky wrote:

> Lucky you Mark. Wish I could hop into the jumpseat of MY favorite plane
> (The Boeing 747), but never got the chance. I wish I did. How was it
> though?

Just to clarify, I was not a revenue passenger who somehow managed to
cadge a ride in the jumpseat.  Rather, I was a qualified FAR Part 121
cockpit crewmember, who was authorized, under that particular airline's
Operations Specifications (with captain's approval), to occupy a cockpit
jumpseat for the entirety of the flight.

> What did it look like?

It looked very similar to what a person would see from one of the two
regular pilots' seats, *except* that owing to the left jumpseat's being
higher than the others, it provided an improved downward view out the left
side of the aircraft.  Thus, as we made a wide left turn after departing
LAX to the west, and then headed pretty much straight east (instead of
proceeding directly back over the center of the airport, which is common
for LAX departures), I could see surface features that were usually
obscured on other flights.

Particularly, I remember passing off the California coast just south of
Long Beach, and being able to clearly see the berthing of the _Queen_
Mary, and the white dome that at the time still housed the "Spruce Goose."

I'm quite sure you would enjoy a ride in the jumpseat of a 747, but you
would prefer more favorable circumstances than on my own last ride there:
By the time we made a late pushback at LAX, I had already been awake for
20 hours or so, and according to my internal clock, it was well past
midnight.  Since the forward jumpseat had already been claimed by a senior
captain on his way to work, I slouched into the little straight-backed
second jumpseat, and fought to say awake long enough to observe the
takeoff.

For five hours or so I squirmed around in that seat, alternating between
periods of deep sleep and semi-consciousness, during the latter being just
sentient enough to be aware of an aching back, swollen feet and a strong
sense of thirst.  When we arrived in HNL, it was still very dark, and so
there was little to see on the approach and landing.

BTW, the noise level in the 747-200's cockpit is fairly high, enough so
that virtually every crew with whom I have ever jumpseated has worn ear
plugs.  The DC-10, by contrast, is quiet enough that the vibrator in the
F/O's altimeter can be clearly heard during cruise flight.

Riding in the cockpit is ultimately always a thrill, though, and so I do
hope you someday get a chance to fulfill your wish.  Some of the non-US
carriers give more latitude to their crews in allowing cockpit access (my
non-pilot wife once got to ride in the jumpseat of a Mexicana 727), so
maybe you can plan your trips accordingly.

Regards,

Mark E. Ingram

MarkT@Mo-Net.Com (also mingram@mail.orion.org)