This is a Hipmunk guest post from Scott Simko, a U.S. Commercial Airline pilot of over 15 years. His views and opinions are his and his alone and do not represent the airline of his employment or Hipmunk.
Our tires have just left the ground. We are airborne. We retract the landing gear and — barring no problems — hold a pretty steep deck angle until we are approximately 1,500 ft. off the ground. The flaps are retracted on an airspeed schedule and we accelerate to 250 kts. until we cross 10,000 ft., at which point we accelerate to our climb profile. (All of these numbers vary by aircraft and airline.)
Once we cross 10,000 ft., you’ll hear a chime indicating that we are out of sterile cockpit and flight attendants can go about their duties as long as we don’t expect turbulence.
“Sterile cockpit” is a time period during which crewmembers are only allowed to talk about crew-related duties. For pilots, it’s while the aircraft is taxiing on the ground until we are above 10,000 ft. (If we stop taxiing, we aren’t officially in sterile, but we don’t go crazy either).
I do my best to be impartial about airlines, but if you are curious and want to listen in, United Airlines offers what they call “Channel 9.” This switch lets the captain broadcast the ATC communications during flight to passengers. Though, it’s entirely at that captain’s discretion. Sometime during climb we engage the autopilot so that we can better focus our attention on navigating and monitoring ATC.
The image above is from Airplane. I hope no one gets mad at me for using it.