Dry run

Dry run

We start moving and I hit the start button on the timer. The preset time for the first leg of our trip starts counting down. It will start flashing and beeping once the previously calculated time is up.

I have a pretty fancy flight timer. It is a very specialized stop watch. It has a fuel timer, it can time up to 12 legs of a flight and it has a clock in my local time as well as in UTC. The Universal Time Coordinated is the international aviation time. All flight plans all over the world use UTC and UTC only. This is very important to avoid misunderstandings on trips across time zones.

The fuel timer is also very important. Obviously you don’t want to run out of fuel. But there is more: many airplanes have several tanks. They are not always used at the same time. The reason for that can be weight and balance or fuel overflow. So it is important to remember to change tanks as this is very easy to forget. The fuel timer is a count down timer. As soon as it reaches zero, it starts counting up again as well as giving its warning message. So the pilot knows how long it has been since he should have changed the tanks.

The count down of leg #1 is up and I get a beep. For every part of my trip (leg) I calculate the time that I will approximately need to complete it. As air is a dynamic medium and winds are changing, this is not an exact science. But the leg timer alerts me that I should be getting close to my next way point. It is a good idea to make sure now that I know where I am and that I am prepared for the change of course.

The change is completed. I turn the big, friendly knob on the timer and the D2 leg appears (Destination 2). I hit the start button again. The second leg is longer and I get my morning paper out. The timer starts beeping once more right as the train approaches my stop. Nobody pays attention to the guy with the funny looking stop watch. They have all seen worse things than a flight timer dry run on the subway. I love the big city!

To be continued…


(Originally posted on March 8, 2011 by tilbo at aloft.blog.com/dry-run/)

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