Spoke to a retired airline pilot today. Capt Frank Elias retired about 5 years back from Air Deccan, after having flown the HS-748s with the late Rajiv Gandhi, the Boeing 737-200s for Indian Airlines, the first A320s for Indian Airlines, The Boeing 737-300/400/500/700/800 for Jet Airways, and the A320s for Air Deccan. Quite something.

So I wanted to know how he used o navigate on the 737-200. Without an IRS, and a GPS that is, while flying over the Bay of Bengal from Chennai to Port Blair.

“Radio Operator. He would fiddle with the radios of the LORAN-C and OMEGA to give us our course.”

And the topic shifted to the PDCS. An Advisory performance computer that would help the crew with take off/climb/cruise/descent figures. They didn’t fly with that coupled to the autothrottle. Was pretty hard I guess.

But he is one in a league of dying aviators: those who actually flew the airplane. Got me thinking loads: Operators of today, stand where when compared to the aviators of yesterday??

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