Daniel Fahl Staff Writer
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Bio:Daniel Fahl is an airline captain and air travel columnist. Through his contributions to FlightAware and CNN.com, Daniel aims to both educate and ease the anxiety of the traveling public by making sense of the complexities of air travel. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Preparing for Flight
SubmittedIf you’ve ever peeked into the cockpit while boarding a commercial flight, you might not have realized that the pilots are in the midst of one of their highest times of workload. Many tasks must be accomplished prior to pushing back from the gate, and it takes a great deal of coordination between the pilots, flight attendants, airline operations, and ATC to prepare for flight. In this article, I’ll walk through a typical sequence of events that leads up to your departure. While you’re sitting at…
Preparing to Land
SubmittedMy recent article “Preparing for Flight” was so well received that I’m inspired to shine light on yet another high-workload phase of flight – arrival and landing. As I mentioned in the previous piece, one of the highest times of workload for flight crews occurs at the gate prior to departure. This is a phase of preparation that sets the precedent for a successful flight. However, alongside the intensity of readying for departure, follows an equally demanding phase of arrival, landing, and taxi…
SubmittedI’m often asked about the all-mighty autopilot and how truly capable the system is at flying the aircraft. We’ve all heard the saying that “airplanes practically fly themselves these days”, but little is known about the pilot workload behind managing and monitoring the automation systems on board today’s commercial aircraft. The automation used is extremely accurate, even more so in many cases than the pilots hands themselves. However, an autopilot can do an incredibly precise job of maintaining…
Respect the Sign
SubmittedTurbulence is a daily reality in aviation, but that doesn’t stop all pilots from doing their best to steer clear of it. The possible absence of visual clues where turbulence resides forces flight crews to rely on their knowledge of its causes as well as reports from other nearby aircraft to avoid it. Although a recent trend of turbulence related injuries might substantiate a dose of fear in the mind of some passengers, the likelihood of aircraft damage resulting in a crash is highly remote.…
Delays – There’s More than Meets the Eye!
SubmittedI think it’s safe to say that most of the audience here has endured the plight of a flight delay. Notwithstanding the frustration of not getting where you need to be, when you need to be there, the plethora of reasons as to why your flight could be behind schedule is at best overwhelming to comprehend. I’m bombarded by questions about delays from passengers, and it has dawned on me that there is a serious lack of information available to provide answers. That is until now. It’s my mission over…
The Changing Dynamic of Regional Airlines
SubmittedIt’s no secret that regional airlines are struggling to backfill outgoing pilots. As the baby-boomer generation of major airline pilots encroaches on the mandatory age-65 retirement point, experienced pilots from regional carriers are quickly being hired to fill their shoes. The result is a desperate need at the regional level to fill the void with a new generation of airline pilots – a void that is only getting wider. But can we expect the problem to spiral out of control, or is the airline…
SubmittedMy most recent FlightAware article highlighted many of the reasonings behind delays with a promise of future insight on how best to get from point ‘A’ to point ‘B’ on schedule. The following will provide such information to help you navigate around our current delay prone air-traffic system. I’ll also speak on the future of the ATC system which, albeit slowly, is headed in a new direction that promises to alleviate some of the frustrations we face regarding traffic back-ups. Allow me to begin…
Don't fret about crowded skies
SubmittedI'd like to share with the FlightAware community one of a handful of educational articles I've written for CNN.com/travel. In these articles I address the most common questions as well as concerns that I hear from my passengers. Thanks for reading! (www.cnn.com) More...
Thunderstorms and Flying
SubmittedTo everyone’s amazement, especially considering the dire predictions of a long winter, summer-like weather is already upon us. Maybe it’s just a short-term glitch, but warm unseasonable weather is spawning a great deal of thunderstorms in rare locations. For pilots, airline operations, ATC, and passengers, thunderstorms are a frustrating reality of summer time flying. With the undue arrival of fowl weather, I’d like to shed some light on what makes these storms such a problem for all things…
One Pilot’s Journey
SubmittedFellow Squawkers, a recent career upgrade has demanded much of my time - hence my temporary absence from FlightAware. With the aforementioned complete now, I’m happy to be back in the writer’s saddle, covering aviation topics intended to provide perspective from my view as an airline pilot. The gradual onset of airline pilot retirements and subtle signs of industry prosperity have allowed me to transition from my captain seat at a regional airline to the first officer seat at a major airline. A…
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