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Yellow Box Archive

48 Hour Forecast

The BlueBrief home page has a yellow box containing topics that I feel we all can use a reminder about on occasion.
The following is an archive of those past topics.

Remember, your FOM / FCOM always has priority.


Attention A320/321 First Officers

Remember during your after landing flow, the TURB switch on the new RADAR Panel should not be turned off.  Only turn off the top 3 selectors.

Entering Fit For Duty PIN

Just a reminder to Captains, when you send your ACARS FFD form, you are also signing the dispatch release.

The Captain affirms the following with an ACARS electronic signature:

  -- The flight can be conducted safely.
  -- Meets pilot route qualifications of
          14 CFR Part 121.697(a)(4)
  -- The aircraft is in airworthy condition.
  -- Fitness for duty as per 14 CFR 117.5(d)

Calculating Holdover Time with Light Freezing Rain can be confusing.

To determine Holdover time, you must know the precip Condition & Intensity.

Well, "Light Freezing Rain" sounds like it covers both, right?  Not Exactly.

This is actually a CONDITION that our Ops Specs allow us to depart with, but will lead you to a Holdover Range.

With Light Freezing Rain, you determine the intensity, based on the environment.

If there is no wind and you will not be taxiing behind an A380 during a 7PM international push, and you didn't notice much ice on the aircraft when you arrived at the airport, you might go with a longer Holdover Time on the higher end of the range.

On the other hand, if you see 2 A380s de-icing before you, or it's windy, or there was quite a bit of accumulation on the aircraft, you might consider a shorter Holdover time.

Bottom line, just because the ATIS is reporting, LIGHT FREEZING RAIN, do not always use the longer Holdover Time, since you read the term "Light" in the weather report.     

WATRS No Fly Zones

Recently with adverse weather right in the middle of our busy WATRS airspace and limited coverage from SJU Center, ATC has attempted to assign airways that tracked thru our TALSU No Fly Zone. Anytime you are assigned an airway higher than L459, pay extra attention to the track.

A quick check is to search for TALSU, using the search tool in JeppFD Pro, and  do not fly east of that intersection.

“Why don’t we do the Accumulator Brake Check during the Captain cockpit setup on aircraft 703 and up?”

During a recent A320 Recurrent Line Check, the crew asked me this question, and I thought it might be a good topic to cover here on BlueBrief. 

Prior to aircraft 703, braking was controlled by a series of mechanical shuttle valves and electrical controlled valves.  The valves would move as needed, but some were unmonitored.  If a valve was in the wrong position, you may or may not get an ECAM message depending on the failure.  This is the reason we do the Accumulator brake check during setup, as well as the “Brake Check”, just before taxi.  You may not have any other indication that there has been a failure.

Beginning with tail 703, there were several changes to the brake system.  The primary addition was the single ABCU or Alternate Braking Control Unit.  This computer monitors all normal and alternate brake components.  If a failure is sensed, an ECAM message will be generated.  For this reason, the Accumulator Brake check during the setup is not required.  

For standardization, we still are required to do the “Brake Check …. Pressure Zero” test just before taxi to confirm brake transfer from Yellow to Green pressure on all 320/321 aircraft.

Method 1 vs Method 2
When you see Method 2 listed in the upper right corner of your dispatch release, do you really understand what that means?     Click here for a Brief Explanation     You can also refer to the FOM for more details.

Alternate Fuel MCDU Entries in A320

Remember during your DIAFRIPS setup, the new SOP is to enter the ALT FUEL shown on the release, if the FMS calculated burn shown on the INIT B page is less.

ie; if the calculated Alternate fuel burn is indicated at 1.7, but the release shows 2.3, you should enter 2.3.   The R1A software now allows this.  Notice it is now in Blue rather than green, so you can edit the field.

Northeast Weather on HF
Remember if you have departed the Caribbean, and you are out of ACARS coverage, you can get a current weather report for many of the NE airports on HF Freq 6604. Remember to report back on the Freq, and get another SELCAL Check.

QNH ??

 I was asked the other day, as I passed thru ALBA's Grocery Store, what the "Q" in QNH stands for.

 The "Q" goes back to the Morse Code days in the 1930s.

 Q Codes were a type of shorthand.

 The Morse Code operator would request the
 local airport Sea Level pressure, by just sending QNH. 
 The reply would be "JFK QNH 2992", or whatever it was.

 There are 100s of Morse Q Codes.

 QNH, QNE & QFE were all pressure requests.

 The Q isn't really that important, but
 understanding Transition Level and Transition Altitude
 is important.

 Transition Altitudes -- Climbing (A Points up)
 Transition LeVel -- Descending (V Points Down)

 So here is a question to ponder:
 At MBPV, the Transition Altitude is 6000'.

 If you are cleared to climb to 6000', when level at 6000',
  should you be at 29.92
  or at QNH (Sea Level Pressure)???

 In the US and Canada the Transition Altitude
 is fixed at 18,000'.

This is known as the
Standard Pressure Region which operates
on a slightly different set of rules.

A bit of trivia ---  On the JFK CAMRN arrival,
whether you cross HOGGS at FL180 or FL190
is based on the altimeter setting at ACY, not JFK.

New A320/321 RADAR Panel Reminder

Please remember on your after landing flow to turn off the RADAR in the proper manner. 
The different look of the panel makes it easy to omit during your after landing flow.

Climb & Descend VIA

Climb & Descend "VIA" procedures are in
use now more than ever.

It is critical on the A320 that you be in the
habit of using MANAGED Climb or Descents
whenever possible.

If you are given a heading, then cleared
to a FIX, return to managed profile after
going direct or intercepting a course.

If you are on a Descend VIA arrival, the given
a heading for separation, the A320 will revert to
a V/S descent.   When cleared back on course,
return to Managed ASAP.

Also remember to readback the clearance as:

"Descending Via the xxxx Arrival"

"Climing Via the xxxx Departure"

Why do I do that?   What does it do?

Activating the Approach Phase

Why do we do it?

On the A320, knowing your Phase of Flight is very important. 
There are 8 phases:   Preflight –----  This is when you do your DIAFRIPS
                                     Takeoff  ------  Take off Thrust Set to Acceleration Alt
                                     Climb     ------  Acceleration Alt to Cruise Alt (CLB)
                                     Cruise    ------  At Cruise Alt to Starting the (DES) within 200 nm.
                                     Descent ------  Staring DES within 200 NM to APP Phase.
                                     Approach –---- Crossing a Magenta Pseudo WP (D) or Manually Activating.
                                     Go Around –-- Thrust Levers moved to TOGA.
                                     Done          ---- 30 Seconds after the last engine shutdown. 

Each phase triggers certain things to happen, and more important it arms the NEXT phase in some cases. A good example of this is that if you never get to your Cruise Altitude that is displayed on the PROG Page, you cannot naturally move to the DESCENT Phase, nor will you see a “Top of Descent” indication.   We move thru most of the phases automatically with little effort on our part.

The Approach Phase is a little different.   The FMS creates a Pseudo Waypoint that it uses to enter the Approach Phase.  If you cross it below 7200’ AGL in managed lateral control, you will switch to the Approach Phase. ( Pseudo Waypoints might be a good topic for another day.) In a perfect world, if you are doing a complete managed approach that might work.  If you are getting vectors, you may not pass that point until very late in the Approach.  To solve that problem and allow you to use managed speed if you wish, the FMS has a tool to manually “Activate the APPROACH PHASE”.  That’s really all there is to say about that.

What does it do?

The Approach Phase drives the managed speed down toward Vapp according to your flap setting, allows predictions to be displayed, displays the vertical deviation scale during a  Precision Like Approach, and arms the Go-Around course.  You can see this on your ND.  The missed approach course will display in blue (Armed).

The real test to see if you understand this is if you can look at your PFD/ND and know what phase you are in, and what is happening.

Entering A320 T/O Shift Data

Well, we enter the T/O Shift per SOP, as indicated by the OPS output or soon to be Aerodata output.

The FMS position updates at takeoff when we set TOGA or FLEX if a FLEX temp has been inserted.

In our aircraft, it first looks for a valid GPS Position.  If it sees one, the FMS uses that for the update.  If no valid GPS position is available, it will use the departure runway threshold position, adjusted further down the runway according to the T/O SHIFT you entered, as in an intersection departure.

So as you can see, most of the time the T/O SHIFT that you entered, does nothing. 


Password Information

You can now just change it via your iPad with the PASSWORD RESET
link provided using any internet connection.   Then, change it on your other mobile devices.

You might consider doing this on your own timeline, maybe the first of every other month.

Comply365, will then prompt you for your user name and PW during the next time you use it online.

It is important to understand, that your iPad does not have a password., only a screen unlock PASSCODE.  The installed Apps each have their own Password requirements.

Your email App will require the Password to be changed as well.



Displaying your CrewTrac Schedule on an iPad

Some of our pilots are still questioning how they can view their current or changed pairing data on thier iPad to be sure they are getting the legal rest or not exceeding duty or flt time limitations.

To view your current schedule in CrewTrac on your iPad
you will need to use a different selection under OPTIONS
than you did on the laptop.

Under OPTIONS, select SCHEDULE DETAIL to see a quick view of your current schedule.

If you need more information including HOTEL and Limo data, make note of the pairing number and pairing date.

GO back to OPTIONS and select PAIRING PRINT.

Enter the full Pairing number and date (MM/DD/YY)

Then take a screen shot of your schedule by pressing the  HOME and PWR button together.   Scroll down a little if needed and take another screen shot.   You can do this on many Smart Phones as well.

Your iPad should be able to provide all the needed data, but at times you will have to use other options.

RNAV Visual Apps

Disclaimer:  The FCOM, FOM and ABG always has priority over BlueBrief

Remember when doing RNAV / FMS Coded visual approaches you need to answer a few questions before you start.

Is my type aircraft approved for this visual?
Do I have the correct Approach Chart out?
How is the App coded in the box?
What are the minimums?
What is the missed approach altitude?
When cleared, how do I arm it?
When do I disconnect the AP?

Answers will come from a variety of sources.

The ABG is a good place to start, but you will have to dig
a little deeper to resolve the other questions.  The A320 also has a very nice guide in the QRH page A25.


Example ... LGA RNAV Visual 31

The A320 is Approved for the LGA RNAV Visual 31 ..... The E190 is if both pilots have completed training.

Be sure you have the proper chart.  (RNAV Visual RWY 31, 19-0-2)

Coded as GPS 31 (Leave in PACHU)

The A320 QRH page A25 gives good guidance on minimums and the missed approach altitude.

Minimums are 500' above TDZE. (900'  - A321)  The chart indicated TDZE is '22, so the minimum is 522' or 922'.

No published MAP is listed, so the Missed Alt is 1500' AFE rounded up.  (1600', Set at Final APP)

On initial contact with LGA Approach, request the RNAV Visual 31.  You will eventually be cleared to 3000', direct PACHU, "Cleared RNAV Visual 31"

Proceede direct PACHU, and press APP to arm it.

Speed and Config over DIALS is critical.
Crossing DIALS at 180K and FLAPS 2 works good
Then Gear Down at DIALS, Push Speed
Flaps 3, Flaps Full, etc.

Remember the (500' A320), (900' A321) autopilot limitation.

Manually disconnect the Autopilot no less than TDZE + 500' / 900'.
This will occur as you are turning final.
"AP, FD OFF, Bird On" 

If you wait until it automatically disconnects you will be at 400' / 800' AFE, with a resulting red ECAM message.

If set up and briefed properly, this is a fun approach to do.

Remember all your normal calls, and don't forget to ACTIVATE THE APPROACH PHASE as usual.

If Offered a CDR ...  (Coded Departure Route)

1. Locate CDR on Release.
2. Can you Depart with the Min T/O Fuel?
3. Load the CDR Routing, then Ok to depart.
4. Above 10,000, notify dispatch of the new CDR Routing. 

There is no requirement to contact dispatch prior to departure.

Keep in mind MOT times listed, do not consider CDRs. 

Accepting a CDR before you are airborne may create a duty time issue if you are close to the limit. 

Global Entry

If you do many Island / Int'l trips, and haven't already done so, you may want to consider applying for Global Entry. The cost is $100 for 5 years

Click link below to apply:


SFO FMS Bridge Visual

Review the SFO ABG for the proper setup and procedure.

Mins .......... A320 = 513'         A321 = 913'

Be aware of the ABG note to ARM the Approach and set 1500' in the FCU when cleared. 

In Addition to this:

Use Managed Descent to get down to at least 2000', on whatever arrival you are on, at which point the Approach will capture just prior to SAMUL. 

Much like an RNAV App, that is the minimum altitude you need to get to, before the Approach will capture. 

Using only the APP Mode, will not capture the vertical path prior to SAMUL.

By the Numbers: (A320)
Cleared for the APP - Push APP - Set 1500'
Look for APP NAV in FMA
Top of descent - Press ALT to manage descent
Look for DES in FMA
Speed Brake may be needed
Expect a short level off at 2000'
Watch for FINAL APP in FMA
Set 3000' Missed App Altitude
Approach Captures, Descent Continues, etc.

(Coded as GPS 28R)


Remember, under normal conditions, with the autopilot on, the Pilot Flying (PF) enters the new assigned altitude, points to the PFD display and calls.

After that, the Pilot Monitoring (PM) points and confirms.
This should be a true challenge and response, with a slight delay between the PF and PM calls.  The PM should avoid the temptation to just repeat what the PF said, but rather reply with what they believe the new altitude should be.

The easy way to remember this is: whoever is responsible for guidance panel entries, sets it in, calls and points, then the other pilot responds.

Also, remember the  "16,000 for 17,000" call and "10,000" call is made by the Pilot Flying. The mode of the autopilot is not a factor in these two calls.  It is always the Pilot Flying in normal conditions.

The "10,000" call does not require a PM response.

The altitude awareness SOP can be found in chapter 3.4 in both E190 and A320 FCOMS.