Monday, August 31, 2009

Airbus versus Boeing? ([email protected])

Here's a couple of questions from my enRoute column (askdoug)

A330 (Photographer Erik Ritterbach in FRA)

B777 (Erik's photo)

Are there major differences between flying Airbus and Boeing?
There are two aircraft builders in the medium to large aircraft range, Boeing and Airbus. As far as differences, let me put it this way. If there was a room of Boeing pilots and Airbus pilots, the Boeing pilots would be in one corner and the Airbus pilots would be huddled in the other corner. Both pilot types think their plane is better. Airbus utilizes the "joystick" but Boeing still uses the control column to fly the airplane. Both companies make great airplanes, but think of it as cars. One car drives on the other side of the road.
Some Boeing jokes against Airbus:
At least a Boeing pilot has someting between his legs.
Luckily the earth is curved so an A340 can get airborne.

Q: Most common phrase heard in the cockpit of Airbus aircraft?
A: "What's it doing now?"

I am an Airbus driver and I can't think of any anti Boeing jokes. Is this an omen? All kidding aside, my next airplane will probably the B767.

How often do pilots switch from the type of aircraft they fly?
A pilot is only licensed to fly one aircraft type at a time. Sure there are variances in models and that's allowed. I am qualified on the Airbus 320, but I also fly the A319 and A321. I can not fly the A340 or A330, but I did for seven years. Flight attendants on the other hand are checked out on all aircraft types. Pilots switch aircraft types because of promotions, lifestyle, base transfer, pay, and change of pace (domestic versus international).


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