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What’s it like flying a Boeing B777?


     By GMR Consulting - Eric M Perle Airline Pilot and Expert Witness

PhoneCall Eric Perle at (212) 792-4029


GMR Consulting - Aviation Consultants and Expert Witnesses
Although each aircraft responds differently to inputs, weather, routes and everyday piloting skills, the B777 was developed to ease many of the usual distractions from older warning systems, poor pilot technique and recognition of a scenario that could be going very wrong.

The B777 is an advanced wide bodied aircraft which handles more like a bus than a sleek sports car meaning it takes more time to react, make a control input to the flight control systems and wait for a response. A captain has to make sound and concrete decisions quickly to ensure the safety of his or her passengers.

The B777 is completely “fly by wire” meaning transmitters and receivers have replaced any control or lever which used to be manipulated by cables and pulleys. All the flight controls as well as throttles, speed brake, parking brake, etc are completely controlled electronically.

The first thing that a pilot notices is the size of the cockpit. The B777 is like a B767 on steroids. The second thing he notices is that the glareshield controls (Mode Control Panel) as well as the front instrument panel is much less cluttered, thanks to the six large EFIS screens which replace smaller, dimmer screens.

Another difference between the B777 and other conventional airliners is the span of the wing (201 feet) and length of the fuselage (212 feet). When a pilot is being trained on the B777, extended training is spent on making wide turns while taxiing, knowing where the wingtip is during these turns and paying close attention to your ground speed. Due to the cockpit being two stories high, the aircraft seems to be traveling slower than it actually is.

On the outside, a quick sign that an aircraft is in fact the B777 can be verified by looking at its main landing gear. It has six wheels on each main gear with the two rear wheels being “steerable” to help in turns. Further, the B777 has fantastic stopping capabilities due to the additional brakes located on the main gear wheels. A B767 for example has eight brakes (four on each main gear). The B777 has an additional four brakes due to the added wheels on each main gear.

In my opinion, the best thing about the B777 is its range. My office changes each and every flight. Due to the long range capability, I am liable to be in Asia one week, the Middle East the following week or South America/Europe the next. What a dilemma!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Eric Perle
Eric Perle is a Single and Multi Engine Airline Transport Pilot with in excess of 34700 flying hours. He is currently a Senior Captain and Line Check Airman for an international airline, flying B-777's long haul. He is frequently engaged as an Expert for complex aviation litigation by attorneys acting on behalf of both plaintiffs and defendants.

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While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer.
For specific technical or legal advice on the information provided and related topics, please contact the author.

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