US Airways - February 2013 - (Page 11)

embark Did You Know? News, Notes, and Inflight Insights How does autopilot work? Is there a smart way to pack? Murielle Heer, a flight attendant of 19 years, explains how she packs for life on the road. ★ Captain Bob Skinner answers this question: Autopilots were first introduced in the 1930s to relieve pilot work­ load and enhance flight safety. Autoflight systems incorporate the autopilot, autothrust, naviga­ tion, and other automated sys­ tems that help the crew manage their workload throughout all phases of the flight. Only a human pilot can reason and make safe decisions, but an autoflight system can help the pilot manage the multi­ tude of tasks required to fly an aircraft in varying weather. The technology provides the crew with better situational awareness and improves decision making. On modern jetliners, the autoflight system can perform a landing, but it’s not often used for that purpose. However, the auto­ flight system is used for a good part of each flight. In general, one of the pilots will fly the air­ plane manually at initial takeoff, engage the autoflight system for the climb, cruise, and descent to the arrival airport, and then take over manually again to land. Because engagement and disengagement of the autoflight system is so smooth, most pas­ sengers won’t notice a difference between autopilot and manual flying. The most important thing is organization. Everything in my suitcase has a designated spot, so I can reach in and get whatever I need in a second. Plus, I notice immediately when something is missing. ■ I always pack a medicine bag for any ail- How much weight can a plane carry? “this is a complex question,” says mike Pulaski, manager of operations engineering. many factors determine a plane’s takeoff weight. “Factors include runway length and obstacles, like any big buildings near the airport,” Pulaski explains. runway conditions, such as rain or snow, also influence weight limits. of course, weight also varies by aircraft type. an empty airbus a320 weighs about 97,000 pounds. the maximum weight limit is 169,000 pounds. the difference, 72,000 pounds, is the amount of weight that can be loaded onto the plane. ment because it’s a terrible feeling to be away from home and sick. ■ Earplugs — I take them everywhere. When staying in hotels or traveling as a passenger, they’re an absolute must. ■ Nonperishable snacks. I always have nuts, crackers, granola bars, and small packages of oatmeal. ■ Airplanes are usually cold, so bring a sweater or vest. ■ Some kind of entertainment such as a puzzle, book, or movie. ■ Always pack your medication, even something as simple as aspirin, in your carry-on. ■ Buy a bottle of water in the terminal and keep it with you at all times. Or better yet, bring a reusable bottle that you can refill at the airport. ? February 2013 illustrations by nigel holmes all that weight — including passengers, bags, cargo, and fuel — also must be arranged so that the aircraft is properly balanced. Fuel can only be loaded into the fuel tanks, which are typically in the wings. so bags, cargo, and occasionally passengers may have to be moved to maintain appropriate balance. the overall factor is always safety. “our passengers are very important,” Pulaski says. “safety is paramount.” 11

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of US Airways - February 2013

US Airways - February 2013
Table of Contents
CEO Letter
From the Editor
Did You Know?
Making It Happen
Hot Spots: Best Literary Pilgrimages
Wine & Dine: Top Chefs on This Year's Trends
Wine & Dine: Comfort Food
Great Escapes: Secret Mexican Hideaways
Adventure: Best Hikes in the Valley of the Sun
Gear Up: Romantic Gestures
Destination 48: Phoenix
Travel Feature: La Magnifica Costa del Pacifico
US Airways Feature: Sky-High Sips
Best of Living: Scottsdale Saddles Up
Special Section: Chateau on Central
Best of Living: The Reef Residences at Atlantis
Williamsburg: Rediscovering the Revolutionary City
Arts Spotlight: Ovation
Special Section: Kentucky
Riding Lessons: Miller School of Albemarle
The Arts of Orange County
Must Read: Pandora's Lunchbox by Melanie Warner
Great Dates
Readers Resource Index
Your US Airways Guide
Video Entertainment
Audio Entertainment
U.S. and Caribbean Service Map
International Service Map
Airport Terminal Maps
US Airways Fleet/Customs & Immigration
Passenger Info/Contact US Airways
US Airways MarketPlace®
Giving: US Airways' Do Crew
Window or Aisle?

US Airways - February 2013