The morning was promising: The horizon a golden yellow urging me to wake up for a walk. The time was 0600am at UTC+5.30, and I wanted to catch the sunrise despite my late night due to an excited conversation with a recently Type rated A320 first officer, someone I’d prefer to call a Flying Beauty. It was amazing jotting down her experiences, having come from an ATR 72. The day before, she had sent me a mail that was more like a daily account of her type rating experience.

The excited conversation made me stop her and ask: “Wait, how do you manage your vertical navigation for the ATR 72?”, She giggled. In stark contrast to her new “paradise” A320, where the FMS is worth worshiping, I was mildly surprised to learn that the climb of the ATR 72 is at a fixed 170kts IAS, or 190kts in icing conditions. The power levers are kept in the “notch”, and the power management selector knob at “CLB”. Upon reaching cruise, the knob is rotated to “CRZ”, and the speed that the aircraft stabilizes in cruise is the cruise speed. Descent is on vertical speed, to maintain a speed of 240kts IAS.

Thats it. As simple as that. Isn’t that wonderful?

Ofcourse, such simple profiles don’t give you the best economy. But I guess the actual savings by following a real economical profile wouldn’t be much.

A former airline captain, who had been with Indian Airlines on the HS748s, Boeing 737-200s, and the A320s, before moving onto the 737 Classics and NGs at Jet, had got me his Boeing 737-200 Basic manuals. It was a pleasure (and pain) to have the 10-kg box full of manuals weighing me down! Folders in red, and font in gold made for a nice combination. “dare you damage them” said the Captain of yesteryears.

He was wearing a red checked shirt and blue pants from his Air Deccan days. And his booty is worth a steal! I’ll be going over to his place on the weekend to flip through the manuals of the “Basic” to get a basic understanding of a basic cockpit with basic automation.

As I’m typing his out, I am practicing the ATR vertical profile on a simulator just to understand something so simple that it gets hard to believe.

Automation addiction.

Have a nice night, my beloved aviators!