Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Charlie Victor Romeo

I looked at my referrer logs and discovered that people are finding this blog searching for it by name, "Cockpit Conversation." I wondered if they remembered the name, but not the non-matching URL, or whether they were looking for something else. Googling revealed that the first few hits on Cockpit Conversation, are this weblog, or people reviewing it, but subsequent hits refer to transcripts from the cockpit voice recorder or CVR, one of the "black boxes" required to be on board certain airplanes, according to one of the most fiendishly complicated sections of the Canadian Air Regulations. In summary, you have to have an operating CVR in order to take off in a multi-engine turboprop with two pilots, in an airplane authorized to carry more than 30 passengers, in an airplane with between 20 and 30 seats authorized to carry fewer than 30 passengers, or an airplane with ten or more seats, if the airplane was manufactured after October 11th 1991. Oh, and if you're carrying cargo, without any passengers or seats, but are operating under part 705 of the regulations you need a CVR, too. Yes, that's the summary.

You would think that having every word you said in the cockpit recorded would make you self conscious and stifle cockpit conversation, but you quickly come to ignore it. If you want to say really really bad things about your management, some CVRs have a button you can press, which supposedly runs some sort of self-test function, and also apparently disables recording for a few seconds, in a way less obvious than simply switching off the CVR for a moment. I'd think you could wait until you got to the hotel, or at least the shuttle, to bitch about management. They don't bug pilots' hotel rooms, as far as I know.

Along with the airline distaster sites and conspiracy theories, Google returned a Broadway play called Charlie Victor Romeo and consisting entirely of actors reciting CVR transcripts. They do make fascinating reading, but I hadn't realized that they might be of general enough interest to draw a non-aviation theatre crowd. I once had pilots read different roles from a CVR transcript as part of a training exercise I was co-ordinating. I remember someone who hadn't heard me say that the scripts I haded out were actual transcripts commented, "Don't quit your day job to write for Hollywood."


Anonymous said...

Sounds like a top play. I pity the poor souls who recorded the originals.

Anonymous said...

Read those rules again, girl. They're less than half as complicated as you make them seem. The first paragraph, with all the talk about passengers and seat counts, is about Flight Data Recorders. The CVR paragraph is trivial by comparison: Two or more turbine engines and two pilots required? Then CVR required.

I'm impressed by the play, and especially its creators' goal of making something that aviation folk wouldn't cringe at. Too many cringeworthy movies are out there. "Global 904, contact New York tower at 107.3." Yuk yuk.

Aviatrix said...

You're right, Benji. I lumped both black boxes together in my head and when I looked up the law I skimmed it and failed to note when one was required without the other. That will teach people to believe what they read in blogs.

Bob said...

Just happened upon this conversation... I'm one of the creator/directors of the play "Charlie Victor Romeo,) and am glad to answer any questions you might have about the work. Our website is Charlie Victor Romeo and we are very happy to say that we've finally been able to take our stage performance to another medium with a film, which is premiering at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival next week.

Charlie Victor Romeo Film @ Sundance

Bob Berger
Charlie Victor Romeo