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Piedmont 727 cruising altitude
Posted by: Steve Lyons (---.chartertn.net)
Date: July 13, 2003 10:00PM

Here's a question for all of you Piedmont 727 Captains.....

On my first ever flight in my life.....Piedmont flt 59 TRI - CLT - TPA, the Captain came on the mic and said we were cruising at what sounded to me like 43,000ft. Our next VOR was Brunswick GA cause he said we were going to see Brunswick in our wondow on the left along with the Ga coastline.
Could I be remembering that wrong? Or was it common for Piedmont 727s to cruise at 43,000ft?
You see, the thing is, I have been flightsimming for four years now, logged 2,900 flightsim hours and I have not encountered anyone other than myself who commonly cruises at 43,000ft. And it doesn't appear that the real airlines go above 32,000 very often. Is that accurate?
Please shed some light on this for me, I would appreciate it.
Even better, if there is a Captain out there that flew flt 59 in your career, either when it went that route OR when they changed it to TRI - CLT - IAH around 1984.
Thanks!

Steve
Old Piedmont Ramp and C/S guy TRI / CLT

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Re: Piedmont 727 cruising altitude
Posted by: Will Braun (---.ipt.aol.com)
Date: July 16, 2003 02:18AM

Steve, I passed my 727 FE written about 25 years ago, and really only flew the 72 for about a year, so this info is definitely from the back reaches of my memory and not verified with any manuals. But, I think that FL330 was about our maximum service ceiling, with much of a load. On hot days, it was tough to get to 330. BTW, FL320 is not available for a cruising altitude without RVSM.

HTH
Will

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Re: Piedmont 727 cruising altitude
Posted by: Steve Lyons (---.chartertn.net)
Date: July 16, 2003 10:25PM

Thanks very much Will.

From that, I get that your top alt was 32,000. Now that is exactly what the default cruise alt is on FSNav for these types of aircraft.
MD80, 727, 737 etc etc.
And that is a good alt to be at for cruising. I notice that the aircraft goes somewhat or seemingly faster at 43,000. But I did not know if most Boeing aircraft could make it that high. Or if there is some kind of regulation on that. (There seems to be on everything else!)
These are little tid bits of information that I pick up where I can, not actually ever having flown a real aircraft, just the virtual variety.
I enjoy it very much.
I also sometimes wonder how real what I am experiencing is compared to the real aircraft. I am using FS98 at present but also have used fs2000 and fs2002. I prefer fs98 for almost flawless movement and framerates, which adds to realism. Contrary to popular belief, even though fs2000 and fs2002 have excellent scenery, they lack alot in realism IF the aircraft stops in mid flight and waits for the processor to catch up! LOL

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Re: Piedmont 727 cruising altitude
Posted by: John Wiley (---.dialup.mindspring.com)
Date: August 12, 2003 09:39PM

The cruising altitude depended on weight and engines. The -200s I flew had -7, -9 and -15 engines and for some reason, the -7s (the lowest thrust producing engine) was the one we always used going to Houston in the summer so we had a chance to play in the thunderstorms.

The -15 airplane was the one we took to the west coast and was the heaviest and most powerful but still the takeoff briefing was something to the effect that 'if we lose an engine after V1, open all tanks and dump down to 3000 or until we turn final."

For the -7 airplanes, cruise was in the high 20s and low 30s. -9s routinely went in the low to mid -30s for cruise. I had a light weight -15 one night that we took to 41,000 en route to Dayton and the crew mentioned it was the highest they had ever been in a 727.

We also flew faster than most of the machines in service today. When I first got on the 727, we normally cruised at 0.86 Mach but then backed it down to 0.80 Mach. Climb was routinely done at 300kts or greater until 0.78M. We cruised then at 0.80 Mach and pulled the throttles back to descend at 0.80M until 320-340kts. Of course, anything above about 320kts and it was difficult to hear. After years in the Boeing, now it is just difficult to hear.

And no, I didn't remember all this stuff. I just happened to keep a lot of my manuals and have one handy right here in my office.

Wiley

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Re: Piedmont 727 cruising altitude
Posted by: Rocky (---.215.167.53.nw.nuvox.net)
Date: November 12, 2003 02:38PM

Steve: I served on both PI's 727 - 100's: first as F/E and then F/O. I can't remember seeing flight altitudes above 410 in passenger service. However, we did go two FL410 during initial flight trraining with Boeing company instructors aboard. Generally speaking --If I remember correctly, " The Coffin Corner," [a term given to speed ranges between high speed stall buffet and low speed stall buffet] was about 10 to 20 knots at flight altitudes, at, or above F/L 410. Not many a captain would venture above F/L 390 with that equipment in those days.

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Re: 727 cruising altitude
Posted by: G.H. Oliver (---.lv.keyoncom.net)
Date: May 24, 2004 01:38AM

Steve: I'm sure you have enough input on the altitiude capability of the 727.
I also enjoy the fs98, 2000 etc. Latest challenge with a fs2000 and 727
on the 4,300 metres (14,100 ft)Bangda Airport , tibet (china) highest airport in the world. I think the runway is about 18,000 ft. long. Anyway quite a takeoff run before you get off.
I'm not a p.a.l. employee but have many friends and relatives that were there for a long time.
My background consists of many years on the real 727 of all series, the latest being the REW (re-engined with winglets). They replaced the outboard engines with engines off the MD80 (JT8D-217). Center engine remains the same (Jt8D-7) or whatever. An impressive performing aircraft with the increased power. The modification came too late for most operators since newer aircraft were already available.
The certified maximum altitiude for all the series is 42000 feet. The lighter
weight 100 series with a light fuel load can fly at 41000 ft but not until
the last hour or so of the flight. The 200 series with a large load would
probably cruise at 330 or 350 with 370 the maximum near the end of the flight.

On an unrelated note, does anyone remember the f27 prop incident at LYH
in the 1960's. A ramp agent injured and saved by another, possibly station
manager. I don't recall all the details. (LYH-Lynchburg VA.)

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Re: 727 cruising altitude
Posted by: Chip (---.proxy.aol.com)
Date: May 26, 2004 02:21AM

>On an unrelated note, does anyone remember the f27 prop incident at LYH
>in the 1960's. A ramp agent injured and saved by another, possibly station
>manager. I don't recall all the details. (LYH-Lynchburg VA.)

Mr. Oliver, I'm not proof-positive certain, but as a native (now removed) of the Hampton Roads (VA.) region, I do remember hearing of an incident in the local news of a man walking into the spinning prop of a Piedmont plane. I was in my early or mid teens at the time, and I would place this incident at anywhere from fall 1968 to spring 1970. The rescuer, as I remember, was a flight attendant from the involved Piedmont aircraft. The news stated that she had previously worked as an E.R. nurse at Norfolk General hospital, but decided to become a Piedmont stewardess so she could 'see some of the world.' Also, my recollection of the incident had the location as being at ROA (Roanoke), with the aircraft being a Martin 404. Still, that's been a long time ago, longer than the accurate shelf life of my memory. Yet still, the incident you mentioned could be an entirely different one altogether.

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Re: Piedmont 727 cruising altitude
Posted by: G.H. Oliver (---.lv.keyoncom.net)
Date: May 26, 2004 05:18AM

To: Chip

Yep, I think the ROA incident was a different one but I will try to get more info.
Of course that's very hard to do as many persons are not around anymore.
I'm from hampton but was on the other side of the world during that period.
Started my career as an aircraft fueler.

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Re: Piedmont 727 cruising altitude
Posted by: bill fleming (---.blueridge.net)
Date: May 26, 2004 12:36PM

the station was lyh. the aircraft was a fh227 . the crew had a fuel door open light on,. which was under the right nacelle. the agent walked around the engine and into the right prop. george hendricks and i flew from roa to lyh with spare ac . george didnt tell me what happend untill we were in the air. the fa who was a medic saved the boys life .

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Re: Piedmont 727 cruising altitude
Posted by: Donnie Martin (---.proxy.aol.com)
Date: May 26, 2004 01:10PM

I can answer some of the questions regarding the two seperate incidents regarding something or someone geting hit by a prop.

The first incident and it was ruled an incident by the FAA, was of a fuel truck rolling through the prop of an F-27. The F-27 was having a single engine stop in ROA or had just started the right engine for departure. Another F-27 behind this one was being refueled. After the fueling was complete, the refuler reached into the cab of the tender and disengaged the power take off (PTO) which also engaged the brakes. Having not set the parking brake, when the PTO was disengaged the brakes were released. The refuler then turned his back and proceded to the other A/C with the fuel slip. Then fuel truck then rolled through the turning prop of the F-27 in front of it. This was witnessed by myself and others. Agent Emory Bowers saw the truck rolling down the ramp and out into a grassy area adjacent to the taxiway and thought someone was in the cab and possibly injured or killed. Emory ran after the truck and determined that noone was inside. Fortunately noone was hurt or injured. The cab of the truck was destroyed and the tank was damaged, but did not rupture. I took pictures and still have them of the truck and the bent prop. A blown up version of the pictures were sent to all stations at the time. The flight was cancelled and after an engine change the A/C continued in service. This happened in early to mid 60's.

The other accident happened circa 1969 in Lynchburg. "CR" Blcakmon was the station manager there at that time. A flight, I believe 235, was having a single engine stop. Someone noticed that the dust cover on the fueling port behind the right engine was hanging down and blowing in prop wash. The Captain asked the agent unloading to go around and secure the dust cover. Agent Donald Younger ran around the nose and straight into the prop. It took a great portion of his face away including his nose, which was found in a grassy area and packed on ice and sent with him to the Medical College of Va., hospital. Flight attendant Janice Salyers had medical training and was credited with probably saving Younger's life. As I recall she was prepared to perform a tracheostomy if necessary. I believe she also flew with Younger to Richmond on a private plane, furnished by Falwell Aviation. I came to LYH as manager in Dec., 1970 and was there when Donald Younger came back to work. After all that he was not a very handsome guy and I was instructed to keep him out of most public contact. He later got into trouble passing bad checks and some other things that I will not go into. Piedmont was able to get him back on worker's compensation. All this was before we had long term disability and in some cases, Don was not treated as we would have liked. The doctors wanted to do more cosmetic surgery, but workers compensation would not pay for it.


There was a third incident that happened in Asheville in the Martin 404 days. A 404 takied into a C-22 unit (Power Unit) sending debris all the way over the terminal building into the parking lot. I was not there and that is about all I can tell you about that one.

Donnie Martin

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Re: Piedmont 727 cruising altitude
Posted by: Donnie Martin (---.proxy.aol.com)
Date: May 26, 2004 01:10PM

I can answer some of the questions regarding the two seperate incidents regarding something or someone geting hit by a prop.

The first incident and it was ruled an incident by the FAA, was of a fuel truck rolling through the prop of an F-27. The F-27 was having a single engine stop in ROA or had just started the right engine for departure. Another F-27 behind this one was being refueled. After the fueling was complete, the refuler reached into the cab of the tender and disengaged the power take off (PTO) which also engaged the brakes. Having not set the parking brake, when the PTO was disengaged the brakes were released. The refuler then turned his back and proceded to the other A/C with the fuel slip. Then fuel truck then rolled through the turning prop of the F-27 in front of it. This was witnessed by myself and others. Agent Emory Bowers saw the truck rolling down the ramp and out into a grassy area adjacent to the taxiway and thought someone was in the cab and possibly injured or killed. Emory ran after the truck and determined that noone was inside. Fortunately noone was hurt or injured. The cab of the truck was destroyed and the tank was damaged, but did not rupture. I took pictures and still have them of the truck and the bent prop. A blown up version of the pictures were sent to all stations at the time. The flight was cancelled and after an engine change the A/C continued in service. This happened in early to mid 60's.

The other accident happened circa 1969 in Lynchburg. "CR" Blcakmon was the station manager there at that time. A flight, I believe 235, was having a single engine stop. Someone noticed that the dust cover on the fueling port behind the right engine was hanging down and blowing in prop wash. The Captain asked the agent unloading to go around and secure the dust cover. Agent Donald Younger ran around the nose and straight into the prop. It took a great portion of his face away including his nose, which was found in a grassy area and packed on ice and sent with him to the Medical College of Va., hospital. Flight attendant Janice Salyers had medical training and was credited with probably saving Younger's life. As I recall she was prepared to perform a tracheostomy if necessary. I believe she also flew with Younger to Richmond on a private plane, furnished by Falwell Aviation. I came to LYH as manager in Dec., 1970 and was there when Donald Younger came back to work. After all that he was not a very handsome guy and I was instructed to keep him out of most public contact. He later got into trouble passing bad checks and some other things that I will not go into. Piedmont was able to get him back on worker's compensation. All this was before we had long term disability and in some cases, Don was not treated as we would have liked. The doctors wanted to do more cosmetic surgery, but workers compensation would not pay for it.


There was a third incident that happened in Asheville in the Martin 404 days. A 404 takied into a C-22 unit (Power Unit) sending debris all the way over the terminal building into the parking lot. I was not there and that is about all I can tell you about that one.

Donnie Martin

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Re: Piedmont 727 cruising altitude
Posted by: Don Conner (---.bna.bellsouth.net)
Date: May 28, 2004 12:04PM

Re: The ROA fuel truck incident, I was the ramp agent getting the flight out when the fuel truck drifted into the turning prop on #2 engine. Gerald Wingo was assisting me, but had turned away to stop a passenger from coming out onto the ramp.

Re: The LYH agent injury incident. Joel Edwards was captain on the flight. After I transferred to BNA and was ramp supervisor, Joel flew trips through BNA to DEN on 727's. Because of the LYH incident he did not like anyone to get close to his aircraft until all the engines were shut down. Knowing this (I always liked Joel a lot), I would always caution our ramp agents prior to the arrival of his flight.

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Aircraft Ramp Incidents
Posted by: Don Shanks (---.triad.rr.com)
Date: June 22, 2004 11:41PM

I can add another incident to the list of aircraft/ramp accidents......I was Station Manager in BWI about 1970 and an agent named Bob (I don't recall his last name - it's been 35 years) and I were dispatching the flight. I was standing at the gate doing the ticket work while Bob was dispatching the flight. This was a Martin 404 and - as most of you know - we parked the power unit in front of the nose gear. There was a communications breakdown between Bob and the flight crew. Bob went to disconnect the CPU, climbed into the seat and started to drive it away. He had just cleared the nose wheel and was in front of the left engine prop when the aircraft brakes were released or failed - I don't know. I watched Bob as he looked up to see the the plane rolling and he panicked (understandably!) and stalled the CPU directly in front of the left prop. He tried to get off and get away from the prop but it was too late. That big 404 prop cut through the thick metal of the power unit like it was paper. Then, I suppose, it auto feathered because when it got to Bob, still in the seat, but trying to get away from it, it hit him on the left side of his body with the flat side of the prop (thank God!) breaking his left hip, several ribs, left leg, etc. Bob spent several weeks in the hospital and later returned to work. He later resigned to return to his home in BOS. I suspect that by now - on rainy days - Bob gets some aches and pains from the beating he took from that 404 prop 35 years ago.

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Re: Piedmont 727 cruising altitude
Posted by: H. W. Robinson (---.185.147.31.Dial1.Washington2.Level3.net)
Date: July 26, 2004 11:49AM

Steve, Both times that I went to Hawii (once in 1970 and once in 1980) one on NW and one on Braniff, we were told that we were cruising @ 35,000' one way and 33,000 the otyher ways, for get which was which That's all I know. See Ya, Robin P/S: Braniff was the best both ways in 1st call and NW was also 1st class, so there were equal comparisons.
July 25, 2004------------07:58 am

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Re: Piedmont 727 cruising altitude
Posted by: Tony Gonzalez (---.ipt.aol.com)
Date: January 30, 2005 01:26AM

In response to Steve's original question, the 727 max certified altitude is 42,000 feet or FL420.

From what you said in your story, you were headed from CLT to TPA, and had not reached Brunswick yet, so sounds like you were on a south-southeast heading.

You were also probably above 29,000 feet, since higher altitudes are more fuel friendly.

Anyway, because of the rules, your direction of flight dictates (most of the time) what particular altitude you are assigned for cruise. My guess is that you were at 33,000 feet, which is not uncommon at all for the airlines to fly.

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Re: Piedmont 727 cruising altitude
Posted by: Chris Rumley (---.proxy.aol.com)
Date: February 14, 2006 10:47AM

B727-100 max alt is 43,000 but unless the airplane was empty, you weren't going to make it.

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Re: Piedmont 727 cruising altitude
Posted by: stevelyons (---.dhcp.kgpt.tn.charter.com)
Date: November 28, 2007 09:29PM

I appreciate all the info and the stories too!

After reading them, I will consider that day we were likely flying
at 33,000 ft. I am not sure if it was a 727-200 after reading online about
Piedmont operating the -100 at the time also.
I did not realize Piedmont still had the -100 in service in March 1982.
I am very familiar with the -9 and -15 engines, after all the years of working operational forms. Austin Morrison taught me everything I know about forms.
And -9/-15 engines.

Regarding the accidents in the previous stories told by others, that just reminds me of how fortunate we all are not to have experienced such tragedy.
I thank many people for that, epecially Clarence C Goodson, also known affectionately as "Papaw" at TRI.
I saw him a year or two ago at a TRI reunion.
Anyone who sees C.C. before I do, remind him that I got his last name right this time.
One of the first things I did on the ramp was get the tour by C.C. of the operations area and all the potential dangers, things to look out for.
I am eternally grateful to him for that! It may have very well saved my life and others as well.

I still am flight simming, now using FS2002.
All the large jets and some props.
I load down my aircraft folder with aircraft I have taken trips on in real life plus others.
It's great to relive those day in flightsimulator.
Those of you who are interested in having some fun, you may want to look into microsoft flight simulator. You can find it at most Walmarts and the Saitek ST290 pro is the best joystick for the price I can find. You can't beat it at $20.00!

Flying the simulator world and Loving it!

Steve

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Re: Piedmont 727 cruising altitude
Posted by: snorton70 (---.carolina.res.rr.com)
Date: February 23, 2010 04:21AM

Hi
Captain Harold Norton here and I flew the 727-100 and 200 and I have had both to 37,00o and any higher would cause it to fall out of the Skies. Most of my Jet time with Piedmont was on the Boeing 727. At a point and time I thought that I would retire flying same. How ever the Boeing 767-200 ER came along and I thought I died and went to Heaven as I spent much time at a Block Altitude of 41,000 to 43,000 and once above 41,000 we were above the jetstream going West to California.
Once above 41,000 we were above the weather and Piedmont had the good fortune to have GE Engines installed on our aircraft which allowed us to reach the higher altitude because of the larger Air Intake

The Boeing 727 will be the DC-3 of Jet Aircraft and was a very good Aircraft but The Boeing 767-200ER was a great improvement as is the Boeing 777 and now the ongoing 787.

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Re: Piedmont 727 cruising altitude
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Date: August 14, 2018 06:59AM

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