Heard the Fiedler ABC interview - well done Richard de C.
I liked his presentation, his honesty and calmness.
Australians and Tall Poppy syndromes - get over yourselves for goodness sake. I hope I can handle any similar situation as well as he and the crew did that day.
So what if there is a little self-promotion (and I don't even think that's the case). Surely he's earned that right. Goodness knows the lousy, underperforming CEO's of companies are past masters at self-promotion and are paid far more than Qantas captains. Teresa Greens
previous post sums this up nicely. Also the Captain's admission of tears as stress-release and psychologists visits is refreshing. Of course I
am superman and I will never need that
but it's encouraging to have such issues discussed!
And comparing one method of post-event presentation to the behavior of Chesley Sullenberger
is also pointless. Sully's PR
spiel has also been exemplary. Both pilots have brilliantly displayed the calm and able demeanor we would like our much-pummeled profession to be represented by.
And the concentration on possible errors? Other than as a learning experience, why?
I believe the Sully crew didn't action the Ditching p/b item, naturally there was not much time in their case and the shock must have been godawful. Technically it was an error I suppose but I'm just glad not too much has been made of this in the US. If it were Australia, they would have been crucified on PPRuNe!
Some of Mastemas
questions however pose interesting topics for consideration. Specifically, what would you do if the calculated landing distance was in excess of 4000m? I don't know the answer - what can you do if essentially the only runway available to you on the day isn't long enough for the multiple failures you have suffered?
The other, apparently contentious issue (systems checks) before commencing approach has given me food for thought. It's not something I've ever been taught or practiced (whilst I've had EF's in Airbusses there have been no uncontained failures) and if The Australian interview is accurate, not something the two supernumerary check captains were also familiar with. I like Richards' reference to Gene Krantz's Apollo 13 logic (don't worry about what we've lost, find out what we have left). In the QF32 situation, realistically one none of us will ever have, it was a very sensible process and put the crew back in the loop when systems displays and ludicrous volumes of ECAMs and never-ending Master Warnings and Cautions just serve to confuse.
Having myself flown Airbusses for over 20 years now however it is abundantly clear that:
1) The ECAM is crap when there are multiple failures and
2) LAND ASAP
, be it red or amber, is a nebulous statement that in the wrong hands will lead to premature landings without full awareness of systems status, potentially until its too late. The fundamental exception to this is of course fire. The Swissair Halifax case is the best example here. Captain Zimmerman was being understandably thorough but fire waits for no man and destroyed the aircraft before it could return to land.
The other item Richard mentioned was an "Armstrong Spiral"
. I thought I knew everything about aviation but I haven't heard that term! Google searches have been unhelpful - from whom and what event does it get its name? The concept of gaining altitude from 7000' to 10000' above Singapore so as to be able to glide if necessary is also a little out of left-field but I think very sound. Sure I've always hit "speed hold" and possibly "heading hold" (as they did on the day) but invariably never climbed further. I fly a twin so perhaps in similar circumstances, that's even more important.
Neither the systems checks or the "Armstrong Spiral" are defined in Airbus procedures, they are cases of that oft-cliched but in this case appropriate term - airmanship.
Right? Wrong? Armchair/post-event experts fill your boots but the aircraft, despite it's best efforts at self-destruction, was landed safely.
Richard has served as a good example of crew and situation management. He's also given me, an experienced pilot, and others a couple of things to consider, whether or not I'd use them, and for that I'm grateful.
Not that they would ever use a pilot as a role model but Qantas management would do well to utilize the same thought, process and people management skills in running their disintegrating organisation that were demonstrated by the pilots of QF32 on that day.