Flight Plan

My flight plan....to encourage, mentor, guide those pining for the sky. I'm also here to virtually open the flight deck door for those who want to take a peek at the many aspects of aviation.....enjoy!

...and welcome aboard!...


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Thursday, December 2, 2010

December's enRoute

Here's December's line up! (I'm not sure why they didn't post November's) One of our reader's young son got his name up in lights for asking about static wicks. You can too by sending in your questions. Here's a link to my enRoute blog.

Knowing the static wick question made the cut, I took a few pictures of them myself. But they unfortunately didn't make the cut. See below.

Q: What are those small “sticks” on the wings?
David Tobin

Those sticks are “static wicks,” which disperse static electricity. Very dry air and flying near thunderstorms can create a buildup of electricity. You’ll see the wicks on the trailing edges of the wings, wingtips and tail, and they can be numerous: There are 13, for example, on just one wing of the Airbus that I fly! These metal sticks provide a conductive path from the aircraft back to the atmosphere. For fuelling, a grounding wire is connected to the airplane to rid it of static buildup.

Q: Why is landing gear retracted immediately after takeoff, but deployed well in advance of landing?
Amit Pushkarna

The landing gear is tucked up into the belly immediately after liftoff because of its immense drag. For landing, we configure the aircraft to slow down by lowering the flaps and landing gear in sequential order, starting 10 to 15 miles from the runway, depending on aircraft type. There’s a lot going on in the landing phase, so procedure dictates that the gear must be fully extended three to eight miles back.

Q: What happens to an aircraft when it overnights at an airport?
Julian Wang
Lee’s Summit, Missouri

Many aircraft remain at the gate and are readied for the morning, while others are moved “off gate” to sit out the night. During winter, external heaters are maintained to keep everything toasty, mainly to protect the water system from freezing. Some aircraft have scheduled checks, and, frequently, we are met by a maintenance crew as the last passenger exits. Checks are done either at the gate or, for more extensive checks, in the hangar.

Static wicks (lots of them)

"Static wicks - a la stratocumulus background"


WILLO2D said...

Hi Doug,

Useful info on extending the gear on approach - thanks. Also thanks for the info on "V" speeds a few post's back. I need to get a question put together on weight distributions and fuel loads but will e-mail that if it's OK with you - possible commercial issues?

Do you recall the Wx image link I sent a couple of months ago? DT have another set here: Supercell TS images... enjoy;) but avoid!!

Kind regards,


PS Snow chaos has reached this corner of Hampshire, UK - SNOW

WILLO2D said...

Doug, Apologies: SNOW link is duff! Try this - More Snow

Christer said...

WOW- that's an amazing shot of a supercell! Certainly nothing I'd want to fly through....thanks for sharing that link WILLO2D.

From the Flight Deck said...

IanH. From a meteorological point of view that "baby" was awesome! From a pilot's take, it makes my skin crawl.

It had great rotation. I.E ready to spawn a funnel cloud or tornado. Run for the hills!

Thanks for the post!


From the Flight Deck said...

Will02D (IanH). Took a look at your pics. Batten down the hatches!

Snow doesn't belong in your neck of the woods. Funny here in Toronto we are looking over
our shoulders...waiting...waiting....

I hope you had a snow shovel at least. :)

Good luck with it all!


WILLO2D said...

Thanks Doug,

We HAD a snow shovel... bought a few years ago in Sweden! It finally expired this morning but, being plastic, was consigned to the re-cycle bin! A replacement is on the way!

Pleased you, and Christer, liked the supercell images - yeah, best avoided!!

Kind regards,


From the Flight Deck said...

IanH I bet snow shovels are at a premium! It even happens in Canada when we get a storm.
People are caught off guard after retiring the old shovel. And we theoretically know snow. :) :) :)

Speaking of which, I better get mine out of the basement. If I do that, it will ward off the snow gods.

I know about "weather gods" when I put in a pool and a sprinkler system at our last house.
It ended up being the wettest summer on record. lol

Adam aka "The Winnipeger" said...
This post has been removed by the author.
Adam aka "The Winnipeger" said...

I know how you guys feel!!
Up here in the middle of Canada we got a big dumping of snow!! I had to clean my driveway 5 times now! 4 out of the 5 were really bad! Hopefully the snow gods will take Winnipeg into consideration! lolol Thanks,
The Snow Covered Winnipeger,

From the Flight Deck said...

Adam from Winterpeg (I know, I know you heard that line a thousand and one times) :)

My condolences regarding the snow. I think it looks great there and NOT here. lol

I remember during my weatherman days I partook in a weather conference in the middle of February in CYWG.

There was an outbreak of freezing fog ladening buildings and trees with "hoar' frost.
Of course, the media loved that word "hoar" not "whore." Actually, that brings me back to a time
I taught air cadets and asked the definition of "hoar frost." This is a family blog so I'll stop there. :)
Oops, I'm digressing.

During the conference I had my wallet stolen out of my hotel room. Fond memories. :)

Adam aka "The Winnipeger" said...

I hear that line all the time!!
One thing i like about winters in "Winterpeg" lol, is that it may snow a lot, be -40C but the sun still shines brightly with a blue sky! What do you know, just like today!
I have never heard of a wallet being stolen in Winnipeg, but you never know when something like that can happen.
The Snow Covered Winnipeger,