Airliners Live Newsletter | June 2024

Airliners Live Newsletter | June 2024

Airliners Live Newsletter | June Edition


Welcome to another addition of the Airliners Live Newsletter!

Don't forget to let us know if you're still enjoying these articles, although we do love journaling our happenings on the channel, we do hope you love reading them as much as we do writing them.

Don't forget to get involved in the Airliners Live Discord Server BUT..

Following popular demand, we now have an open group on Facebook called the "Airliners Live Community Group", you can join that here. Moderated by a couple of wonderful Airliners Live mods, it's free for anyone to join. It's a place where you can discuss anything Airliners Live, such as planes, travel, or even what you're having for dinner! 

The group now has over 500 members!! Incredible.


Anyway, over to Martin, who's going to kick off the first story!


The Elusive Apache...


When I used to work in Trafford Park, I was lucky to see some of the movements coming into Barton but I was never able to go and photograph them. This used to drive me nuts because we used to work in an industrial unit with very little natural light and I wanted nothing more than to grab my camera gear and get down to Barton.

One evening however, I did get lucky. A pair of Apache's came in just as I was clocking off work, so I raced home, grabbed my gear and waited anxiously for them to depart.

And I waited.... and waited.

It turns out, they were here for some night flying practice of some sort, so, didn't end up lifting off until after sunset. 

I came away, happy to have seen them but disappointed I didn't get the pictures I wanted.

That was that, years later I had left my job, gone full time on Airliners Live and hoped one day we would see the Apache's again at Barton.

I knew from speaking to the team in the tower they really wanted them to return. They even adapted the fuel on offer to encourage the newer Apache's to visit. 

But no such luck...

A couple of weeks ago, I really wasn't very well. I came down with a nasty cold and cough which kept me away from the shows and office for a week or so. I was on the mend but still wasn't right. Andy offered to do a solo southside show due to lack of power in the tower as I was still coughing quite a lot, however I hoped to be back in work the following day.

That afternoon... the phone rang. 

It was my Dad. "Some strange looking helicopter has just flown past my window here... you better get to Barton!" 

Dad seems to be an early warning system for Barton because they all seem to fly past his place his Prestwich on the way in!

I opened up ADSB and couldn't believe it. A pair of Apache helicopters have landed at Barton. I grabbed my camera gear, took some paracetamol and got in the car! I gave Andy a call on speakerphone to let him know and he also raced to get down.

We planned to stay landside (behind the fence with everyone else)

Although, we are very privileged at Barton to get a lot of access, we didn't want to push our luck as we understood these aircraft had been hard to get in - and didn't want the team having to then ask for permission to film. By the time I arrived they were on the ground and I got some images of them stationary. 

However, as I was leaning on the fence I got a tap on the shoulder. "You need to come with me" said the voice behind me. 

Two minutes later, thanks to the incredible team at Barton who had noticed us amongst the crowd, we were airside. 

Little did we know, that was just the start. 

Andy and I were able to get images with the aircraft and we got plenty of time to get the perfect shots! 

Sam was working that day too but couldn't resist a quick picture too!

However, during the walk around checks, unfortunately the second aircraft had a mechanical issue which meant it would be staying at Barton for a couple of days. 

So one aircraft departed and also did a circuit which was fantastic for the photographers and viewers at Barton. The other stayed and the crew secured the aircraft for its stay. Andy also got a great video which is up on our YouTube channel.

The day had been incredible, more than what we had hoped for. But to top it off, the crew of the stranded aircraft spent a large amount of time talking to us and other lucky visitors, telling us all about the aircraft, its capabilities and some stories of his time on station.

He probably didn't realise, but I am sure the time he took there made a lot of peoples day. Certainly mine.

A huge thanks to Barton and their team for the hospitality and support they have given to Airliners Live over the years. We have had some incredible opportunities and this by far, beats them all for me.

I have finally caught the elusive Apache!

These have finally landed!


After massive demand from the community over a long period of time (including myself), we finally got our hands on zip-up hoodies that we are extremely happy with.

Martin sporting the new "Tower" black hoodie

Finding the perfect balance between price and quality is always a challenge. We refuse to compromise on quality and want our products to be both durable and affordable. That's why we've spent a long time working with our supplier to bring you these stunning hoodies, offering the best of both worlds.

Close-up of the Tower design zip-up hoodie in red

You have options of two designs, each with three colours. The two designs feature the Channel Logo, but also a new design which we're calling the Tower design.

Go check them out on the Airliners Live Website.


Our "Summer" schedule


Each year we look forward to our summer schedule. This is where the hours at the RVP are extended into the evening providing incredible lighting from the already impressive vantage point. 

However this year we decided to start a month earlier, moving our Wednesday shows from morning to evening. However this year, we have been unlucky to say the least.

Rain has plagued our mid week shows so far this month however we really do hope for better weather this coming month to really show off why we do this time switch.

We are also able to welcome in more of our American friends into the stream as the show time fits their time zone a bit better. It's also a great time for people clocking off work as the shows run into the evening.

We would highly recommend coming down with your camera on a good weather day to make the most of the late night opening at the RVP. We would love to see your images in our community group and discord server. 

However, for now, we will hope for better weather and keep our fingers crossed that this month we can bring you the stunning lighting the late night show provides!

New Camera Replacement Fundraiser - An Amazing Response!


UPDATE (3rd June): We've now hit the target for this fundraiser, so please do not try and send any more support to it, but any extra that had been raised above the target will go towards some of the extras for the new camera. I've decided to leave this story in however as it does give you some background to all of this!

Huge thank you for the support, we managed to hit the goal just one week after it started, crazy!

After four years of impressive performance, and rock solid reliability, we have finally found that our oldest of our main stream cameras, which are Sony RX10 Mk4's, are finally starting to show signs of age, and will inevitably become unreliable for the live streams.

Pictured: Our Old Setup, Pre-2020: Panasonic Camcorder

Back in 2020, we decided to invest our own personal money into a new, game-changing camera, from a Panasonic Camcorder, to a Sony RX10. This upgrade was mind-blowing in the quality upgrade, and after both Martin and I had used Sony cameras for a long time, we knew they were ideal for the picture quality, as well as durability that we needed for our live shows.

Andy back in 2020 operating the first RX10 Mk4

Fast forward a few years, and we had 'expanded our fleet' of Sony Rx10's. Purchasing not one more, or two, but three more on-top of the original one. These saw use in our Vancouver shows, as well as Matt's remote feed at Manchester, and even the cameras found use in the studio, as well as travelling to places such as various airports across the UK, and even Lanzarote, Dublin, Lisbon, Amsterdam and Texas!

Our dual-cam setup, as used at the Runway Visitor Park, Manchester Airport

Although they've been well looked after, it's fair to say they've been through the elements at Manchester, through storms, snow, endless rain, and so-on.

After careful consideration, we believe it's time for an upgrade, and with a lot of research, and an offer from our partners at, we have a plan:

We're opting to get our hands on a pro-line Sony PXW-Z190 4K Video Camera.

After a community vote on our Super Sunday show on the 26th of May, the chat opted for us to open a fundraiser, that'll allow people to voluntarily contribute to getting this camera, since it's quite a large purchase, and this upgrade will improve the shows that we send out for free.

We were simply mesmerized by the overwhelming support, raising over £1,000 in just the first 24 hours of the fundraiser going live. The support we receive from our amazing community is insane, and this is just one example of that.

I don't want to bore you with the specifics of the camera here, but you can read all about the upgrade on the fundraiser here.

Once again a huge thank you to all who contributed to this fundraiser, the amount of support we receive from this community is overwhelming, and we hope that we make it all worth it for you folks!

Wake up!! There are colours in in the sky


I will be totally honest.... I forgot. 

I took myself off to bed, relatively early for me and I was out for the count. Meanwhile, a flurry of messages were taking place, in our mod chat discussing if I should be woken up for this or just left to sleep!

Luckily, Andy and Jen know me too well. "He will be gutted if he misses this" Andy messaged. 

So Jen woke me up and for a moment I had absolutely no idea what she was on about. She went back outside leaving me to come round and within 10 mins, I was up, dressed, camera packed and ready to go!

The Northern Lights were visible, all across the North. Something we rarely see this far south. All of the mod team were sharing some incredible images and it appeared I may have slept through the best of it ha!...

an incredible shot taken by Captain Mark

We made our way out looking for dark locations, however they are harder to find than you think up here. We tried Barton, however the floodlights on the hangers didn't help so we ended up in our local park.

We set up a blanket on the floor, and looked up. Jen found a neat trick where she pointed her phone camera at the sky, and this instantly showed the colours as they were really hard to see with your naked eye. They just looked like whispy clouds. 

Once Jen found them I pointed my camera in the direction and tried a 10 second exposure. 

Jen also got a mega picture on her phone! 

Well worth getting up for!

TAS Fair Next Month


Just a small reminder, I'm sure you've heard it all before, but next month you'll have the chance to meet the Airliners Live presenters, team, moderators, and community at one of our two huge annual channel meet ups at the TAS Memorabilia Fair at the Runway Visitor Park, Manchester Airport.

The Fair will take place on the 27th and 28th of July, however the Airliners Live stand will only be there on the Saturday 27th. It opens at 10am but we recommend you get there nice and early to avoid losing parking spots and for the most stress-free experience.

Read all about the memorabilia fair here

See you next month!

Flightlines | Descent planning.

Captain Mark Langston

So we’ve all seen Fezza in his Sim show fly a descent to land on a runway, he programs it all in and the aircraft follows the programmed path to the runway where he takes over.

But in real life, it very rarely happens like this certain airports like Pafos and Preveza have what’s called procedural approaches as they have no radar so you would follow the preprogrammed route , in real life, air traffic will take you off of the route at some point and give you headings to fly to either give you shortcuts or to get you away from other traffic.

So you need to know how to manage the descent because you’ve come off the pre-program Track and the computer can’t compute where you’re going as
accurately as you can, experience of an airport will give you a really good idea of how it’s going to work out, for example you’re almost guaranteed to get a couple of shortcuts at Geneva which will put you high, you have to consider the high ground so you can’t have high descent rates that’s why the speedbrake is known as the Geneva lever.

Really important is to soundly brief the approach, mention threats and HOW to mitigate them, weather including how it may affect the decent if the winds are strong and HOW you’re going to fly it with mitigation techniques for shortcuts etc. and we use ‘gates’ to enhance awareness, like “inside 15miles and outside 12 I’ll ask for flap1,” or “if I haven’t asked for the gear by 5 miles it means I’ve forgotten so please remind me.”

More about briefings in another edition of flightiness coming soon.

So how would we plan a descent?

Good descent management is a key factor in operating the aircraft efficiently. It is also an area which has the potential to cause problems for pilots converting to type, particularly if their experience has been attained only on smaller aircraft (with less momentum) or turboprops (which can usually descend and decelerate better).

An airbus, at a weight of 66T and speed of 270kt, has approximately 500 times the energy of a light aircraft in the descent. This energy (or momentum) manifests itself in the descent and deceleration to approach and needs to be handled carefully.

It is often commented on that "the aircraft doesn't go down and slow down!", although this comment isn't strictly correct, it does perhaps demonstrate the
importance of proper descent planning and management.

We start off by using our three times table so if we are at 33,000 feet, we times the number 33 by 3 which gives us 99 miles, we would add 5 to 10 miles to slow down so realistically you will need 109 miles to complete your descent.

All the way down all the way down you are constantly doing your three times table, sometimes air traffic will tell you how many track miles you have left to run and you can compare it to what you need, you have the range rings on the on your display you can use those to guesstimate the rough miles you have left and adjust accordingly.

We correct for wind by 1nm extra for every 10 knots of tailwind, or vice versa for a headwind.

You would start off initially in managed descent on an airbus or VNAV on a Boeing, when air traffic take you off on a heading, the Boeing will stay in VNAV and have a guess at your remaining miles, the airbus says no I’m not doing this and it will drop into either V/S or open descent.

Open descent in the airbus and flight level change/ level change in the Boeing is a idle thrust mode, so the engines come back to idle and the speed is controlled by the elevator pitching the aircraft up or down to maintain the speed, a higher speed will dive towards the ground where is a low speed will have a shallower rate of descent, you can use speed to effectively maintain or get back on the correct
vertical profile.

If by-passing waypoints by more than 7 miles (e.g. in HDG mode) the Airbus FMGS will not automatically ‘sequence' the flight plan waypoints. This means that the FMGS may still assume that waypoints now clearly behind the aircraft are still to be flown over, resulting in many more calculated track miles than actually exist. This will of course result in an incorrect FMGS descent profile. In this instance, the waypoints behind the aircraft should be cleared from the route. NB. The ‘To' waypoint is displayed in the top right corner of the NDs.

Generally, if the aircraft is not on the correct profile, it is better to make corrections sooner rather than later in the descent.

The bus will give you an indication known as a donut to tell you whether you are higher or lower than the computer thinks you are compared to the correct vertical profile, the Boeing also does this as well, it has a gauge on the navigation display and there are pages in the FMC’s on both aircraft that tells you how high or low it thinks you are, but it is only as accurate as the information that you have programmed into it.

If you are given a level segment where they can’t descend due to traffic or terrain, it’s a really good idea to wind the speed back so you don’t get too far away from the vertical profile, when you are clear to descend next you would use open descent on the airbus or flight level change/level change on a Boeing and you would bring the speed up to Dive off and regain the profile. Once you’re back on profile you’ll be going faster than the flight management computer has calculated
your speed, you have too much energy! So a good rule of thumb is for every 10 kn faster than the calculated speed you need to get 300 feet lower than the vertical profile, Then you would bring the speed back to the speed and it will all come in perfectly. So if the computer has calculated a descent at 270 kn and you are doing 300 kn, you are 30 kn fast. So you would get 900 feet low before bringing the speed back.

The gear will give lots of drag if you’re high but you need to get the speed back and it’s uncomfortable for the pax due to vibrations and noise.

Flap 2 is a great way to get the height off close in but you’ll need to slow down first.

If you find yourself low you can use v/s to reduce the rate of descent or wind the speed back, the descent will shallow off to bring the speed back.

Below 5000 feet most airports will want you to do what’s called a CDA, a constant descent approach, that involves you doing a constant descent with a vertical speed of no less than 300 feet per minute and no level segments more than 6 miles. These are monitored by the airports and Statistics are given to each operator to see how their pilots are performing.
This is considered more environmentally friendly as it burns less fuel and is quieter for the Airport neighbors.
This is a really big subject how to do this and I will cover it in another episode of Flightlines.

So to summarise:

Brief HOW we wish to fly our descent, and strategies and mitigations we will use. Brief PM our ‘gates’ to enhance monitoring.

Ensure FMGC data is accurate.

DURING our descent monitor our profile via;
• MCDU PROG page
• VDEV ‘Donut’
• Changes to Head/Tailwind
• ATC Shortcuts or restrictions.

At higher altitude increasing airspeed and/or the use of speedbrake is effective to increase descent rate. Both together will give a high rate of descent which may become uncomfortable or inappropriate.

Lowering the landing gear will give us a very high descent rate, at the expense of
passenger comfort and environmental noise.

We need 3x our height – so from FL300 3x30=90nm, plus a mile for every 10 knots to decelerate to S speed.
We correct for wind by 1nm extra for every 10 knots of tailwind, or vice versa for a headwind.

Keep recalculating this all the way to the ground.

There is no shame to be had in asking for extra track mileage.

Close to the approach an appropriate technique would be to select Flap 2,180kts, with the gear down if required. This is a good compromise of an acceptable airspeed with a high amount of drag.

So there you have it, sounds complicated but with a bit of practice you’ll soon get used to it, it is one of the areas where new pilots struggle to get their head around but its always better to be a bit low and drag it in a bit than be too high and fast and end up going around!

Hope this has been useful and I'll see you all again next month.

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Many thanks for reading this month's newsletter, we hope you enjoyed it!

Feel free to let us know if you're still reading these, and have a wonderful June, of course!


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