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Ode to the 767

Ode to the 767

An American Airways Boeing 767-300

January 10, 2019

MY FONDNESS for the 757, Boeing’s venerable, inimitable twin-jet, is nicely documented. However hey, how a few shout-out for it’s barely greater sibling, the 767?

The 767 is a twin-aisle, longish-haul airliner that first flew in 1981. With a seven abreast, 2-Three-2 format in financial system, it’s a quasi-widebody with seats for round 210 passengers, relying on configuration. It was developed at the side of the single-aisle 757. Regardless of an apparent measurement distinction, the planes have comparable inner techniques and nearly equivalent cockpits, permitting pilots to fly each fashions.

I hate saying it, however each jets are by most measures out of date. They’re a uncommon sight elsewhere in the world, the place carriers way back despatched them to pasture. However right here in the U.S. it’s one other story. The 757 and 767 fleets at the huge three — American, United, and Delta — nonetheless quantity in the a whole lot. The intensive upkeep overhauls and cabin refurbishments required to hold them operating aren’t low cost, however neither is changing them outright. Plus the rattling issues are so remarkably versatile. Brief-haul or long-haul, home or worldwide, these machines can flip a revenue throughout the entire spectrum of stage lengths and markets. In the case of the 757, as I talked about earlier than, there merely isn’t a more moderen aircraft that may match its mixture of vary, capability, and effectivity.

I haven’t up to date my logbook since who-knows-when, however I’ve obtained roughly the similar variety of hours cut up between the two fashions. I’ve been flying them for eleven years now on routes throughout 5 continents. My earlier raves for the 757 however, if given the selection, I’ll all the time decide the “seven six” over its smaller sister. The 767s at my service are, on common, newer than the 757s, which suggests the cockpits are cleaner (the filthiness of airliner cockpits is a topic for an additional time). They’re additionally roomier and, due to a in a different way designed recirculation fan, a lot quieter. (Humorous the way it’s the ergonomics and creature comforts that imply a lot. You in all probability anticipated me to say one thing about velocity or engine thrust.) Plus the aircraft is, properly, greater, and there’s that pilot ego factor. Flying in the U.S. I get to say, “heavy” after our radio name signal, which brings out the little child in me.

Curiously, at virtually twice the measurement, it’s the 767 that’s lighter and extra twitchy on the controls. That is due principally to a pair of inboard ailerons, which the 757 doesn’t have, and which make the jet surprisingly delicate on its roll axis (i.e. turns). It’s additionally fairly mild on the pitch axis (nostril up and down). The 757 is recalcitrant and heavy, notably on takeoff, requiring a great flex of the biceps to get the nostril up. The 767, even at 400,000 kilos, may be flown with two fingers.

With respect to carry and energy, each jets are fairly rattling muscular. In my earlier story I boasted about the 757’s implausible efficiency on brief runways. Properly, the 767 can do it too. After which some…

Cockpit of a Boeing 767.


We’re at Boston-Logan. We’ve simply referred to as for push when the man on clearance supply asks if we will take runway 22R. The longer, parallel runway is closed for some cause. “Standby a second,” I inform him.

I take a look at the chart. “That’s only 7800 feet!” However we ship for the knowledge and all of it appears wonderful.

“Yeah, we can do that.”

We’d already arrange and briefed for runway 22L. So issues get very busy for a couple of minutes. We’ve to evaluation the new thrust and flap settings, enter the revised takeoff knowledge into the FMS, plus reload the departure process, reviewing all the related turns and climbs and velocity restrictions, that are totally different now. The taxi route, too, has modified and wishes to be briefed. When that’s all accomplished, we re-run the checklists. Then it’s time to begin the engines and get shifting. We’re blocking the alleyway and two inbound jets are ready; the apron controllers are antsy for us to roll. Consider it or not it’s these first jiffy off the gate, lengthy earlier than you’re in the air, which might be a few of the busiest and most work-intensive minutes of a flight.

The brief runway means a flaps 20 takeoff, which is considerably uncommon. Even so, the numbers say we will use decreased thrust all the method down to an assumed temperature of 45 levels Celsius. That’s some monster efficiency on a aircraft this heavy, with two-hundred individuals and eight hours of gasoline.

I really like flaps 20, as a result of the V-speeds are so tame, and also you’re off the floor in beneath twenty seconds. V1 at this time is a measly 144 knots — about twenty lower than it’d be at flaps 5. This can give us low (safer) tire speeds and a pleasant, gentlemanly rotation with tons of runway remaining.

It’s my flip at the controls, and we’re in the air by the time we’re abeam the previous TWA gates at terminal C. I see the management tower to my proper, zipping by out of the nook of my eye, and the previous 16th flooring statement deck the place I spent so many afternoons as a child.

How enjoyable is that this? We didn’t use even half that runway, and we’re climbing at 4 thousand ft a minute! No approach might a 737 do this. They’d be skimming into the harbor at 170 knots.

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It’s simply after daybreak and the visibility at Charles de Gaulle is fluctuating between a thousand and fifteen-hundred meters. Fog, drizzle. That’s a bit of tight, however a lot good for a Class 1 ILS.

Every part is about up: the arrival, the transition, the strategy and the checklists. They don’t assign you a runway till pretty late in the descent, so there’s loads of speaking and button-pushing in the final fifteen or so minutes of the flight. We’ve briefed the ILS proper down to the sort of strategy lights to anticipate, and gone over the anticipated taxi route to the gate — CDG’s spaghetti snarl of taxiways being certainly one of the most daunting in Europe, requiring you to flip forwards and backwards between 4 totally different charts and diagrams.

We’re eight or so miles out on an extended remaining to 26R. Strategy management provides us a velocity of 170 knots and palms us off to de Gaulle tower.

“Bon jour,” says the tower controller, asking us to sluggish to 160 knots. We’re following an Etihad A380, he tells us. We will see him on the TCAS display. Whilst we decelerate it seems to be like the distance between us is shrinking.

“Reduce to minimum speed, please,” says the tower. Meaning about 150 knots for us, with all the things out. The flaps are at 25, the gear is down, and the touchdown guidelines is full.

“Go around,” says the tower. Yup, we had a sense this may occur.

With my left thumb I activate the TOGA switches hooked up to the thrust levers. The levers slid ahead and the engines roar — that grinding, deep-throated lion’s roar that solely high-bypass turbofans could make. I beloved that noise once I was a child, and I like it now, making it occur. The jet instantly pitches up to the command bars; the acceleration and climb are prompt. The facility and acceleration, kicking up by way of the seat of your pants, is extra than simply encouraging — it’s one thing fierce.

“Go around engaged,” says the captain.

“Flaps 20,” I say.

“Positive rate,” he says.

“Gear up.”

There’s a lot thrust that the climb feels virtually easy, as if the aircraft is floating, levitating upwards. Wow, I’m considering. Has this factor obtained some juice.

Again in the cabin, half the passengers at this level are in all probability whispering goodbyes to their family members. Go-arounds have a approach of scaring the bejeezus out of individuals. They’re abrupt, loud, and complicated: the sudden change of pitch, the energy growing, the gear clunk-clunking again into the wells, and so forth. “We were coming down, and then all of a sudden it was up, up up!” It’s not the most sensory-friendly factor for patrons, I admit. However for an airplane, that transition from descent to climb is completely pure. For the crew, it’s a busy maneuver, however a routine one simply the similar. If something, let all that racket guarantee you that the pilots and their aircraft are doing precisely what they want to.

“When we level at three,” I say, “Let’s do 200 knots and flaps 5.”

The missed strategy altitude is simply Three,000 ft. So now, solely a minute or so into the climb, the thrust levers come hauling again. The engines sound virtually as in the event that they’ve shut off (no, they will’t and won’t) and the nostril falls again to the horizon. Once more, it’s all completely pure, however doubtless a bit alarming to the vacationers again there.

I’ve obtained my eye on the airspeed, as a result of I don’t need to overspeed the flaps or slats as they transition to the 5 setting. However the jet handles it simply fantastic — easily and safely as you would hope for.

Then it’s one other massive collection of turns, descents, velocity changes and checklists as ATC brings us round. I’m flying whereas the captain is speaking to the controllers, eyeing the gasoline gauges and establishing the FMS once more. The aid pilot, in the jumpsuit between us, makes a PA and talks to the flight attendants. I’m simply hoping they don’t change runways on us, as a result of that may require loading the new strategy, verifying all the factors and altitudes, and one other strategy and taxi briefing.

Luckily they maintain us on 26R.

So, what do you assume the odds are for 2 go-arounds? Don’t snigger, it truly occurred to be as soon as, in a 757 at La Guardia about eight years in the past. However not at this time. This time we’re first in line for the runway, and the relaxation is all simply kinda boring.

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The 767 has existed in three primary variants. The unique, short-bodied -200 mannequin is all however extinct, whereas the -400 was a type of orphan venture that bought just a few dozen examples. The -300, notably the -300ER (prolonged vary), is the one you see mostly at the moment. Actually this aircraft stays in manufacturing. It’s been years since a passenger mannequin was bought, however Boeing continues to roll out model new 767-300 freighters, FedEx being the largest buyer. These have has a redesigned, 777-style cockpit. A army tanker, referred to as the KC-46, can also be based mostly on this airframe.


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