I sometimes fly a 172 with G1000. I know how about 2% of it works. Does that mean I shouldn't be flying it? - I can use the basic flight instruments, the radios, the transponder, the VOR and ADF and ILS and GPS, but there's vast amounts of it still unknown. Are you really saying that nobody should fly such an aircraft until they know all 487 different ways of inputting a waypoint?
(Don't worry, I won't be trying an instrument approach in IMC on my own until I've learned another 2% or so
Then we will have to differ, I wouldn't fly it if I didn't know how it worked. Maybe it's just me. I see your point about the a/c being safe to fly whether it's fitted or not. I just like to know how stuff works if it's fitted and I'm not happy if I don't know how it works.
No, but you should understand its full functionality to the extent applicable to your privileges, which are (e.g.) VFR. So yes you do need to know how to enter a flight plan, for example, and the different autopilot modes.
If you have an unfamiliar system on the aircraft you need to know at least enough to understand if you can keep it turned off ... if you can't keep it off, you should at least understand if it has any modes of operation that can change the information available or do anything with the basic flight controls.
So if an aircraft has an autopilot you should at a minimum either keep it off (so you can't accidentally engage it) or understand how to use it. Not necessarily every bit of esoteric functionality, but how to recognise all of the potential modes, how to switch to the modes you may require and the associated emergency procedures for the device.
. Nothing I do VFR requires an autopilot. While I understand the benefit of the autopilot *IF* you're proficient in it's use, if I was to enter IMC, the last place my attention would go is some esoteric bit of kit I don't understand. Scan, and a steady 180 turn. Should be pretty basic?
If it is so basic how come the accident record is so full of instances where VFR pilots have lost control after getting into IMC ?
This is the classic case of confusing "what should be" from "what is".
Obviously VFR pilots should not be in IMC conditions but it seems to me silly that in a technologically advanced aircraft when suddenly all visual references go away rather than start a panic attempt to interpret the instruments and start manovering, why not teach engaging the device that will hold the wings level and level flight attitude ?
Now the pilot can take a deep breath, give himself a smack upside the head for being stupid and plan how he is going to get back to VMC ?
mm_flynn - well put, more lucid than I, and ContactTower, again I agree. My main point was that not knowing how to use it, said pilot would have been better off focussing on something other than the autopilot - statements blaming avionics training for the accident seem a little wide of the mark from my point of view, but then I can be as black and white as anyone here.
thing - not a bad thing for sure, but I don't believe it makes me 'dumb' if I do otherwise; from my perspective as a hirer, I rarely meet the same set of avionics in two different aeroplanes, and as Rod1 points out they can be complex beasts. I'm happier sticking with the stuff that I know and understand, rather than bringing something I partially understand into the picture. Luddite perhaps..
Big Pistons - I don't know. If that option is available, and you know how to invoke it, great. Don't I recall something, perhaps a cirrus now being fitted with a big red 'help' button to return everything to straight and level? But I do wonder why a) people do go 'inadvertent' IMC in the first place, and b) why it so often goes wrong. Delayed decision making? Refusal to accept the situation? Inadequate training? (foggles really don't come close IMHO) I guess that's a whole other thread. I am not instrument rated, but have had some instructed time in real solid IMC. As a vanilla PPL it was a bit of a shocker, but if you stick to the basics, it seemed perfectly survivable. I'm equally sure if I'd dropped the scan for 10-20 sec it would have all gone very very pear shaped.
I know you can fly your spaceship on a map, compass and stopwatch, but nobody (apart from some pilot forum personalities) is actually going to be doing that.
I did on Sunday!
There were storms all over the place, so any flying was going to consist of picking a route through or round them, so I didn't bother to plan a route, no lines on the map, nothing entered into the GPS, I just went flying. Navigation was entirely by looking at the weather, picking a gap, thinking "I can probably get to so-and-so", estimating a heading from looking at the map, and flying that heading (I didn't bother with the stopwatch). The passenger probably spent more time looking at the G1000 than I did.
(OK so I knew the area well and visibilily was good enough to see each turning point from the previous one ...)
(This particular aircraft doesn't have an autopilot. I do fly others that do have them, and I know how to make sure they are switched off and that's all.)
Pace i dont dispute the roll rate, moreover i would agree if you are hand flying a cirrus in imc you need to be current but i am not sure many cirrus accidents can be simply attributed to reasonable aileron authority - are you of the contrary opinion?
As to systems knowledge most will get by most of the time knowing half the sytems. It is only when things go wrong you might wish your knowledge was more complete. When you need to disengage the ap can you go straight to the correct circuit braker? When the g1000 warns you of a fan fail do you shortly expect to lose the pdf and mfd? I have had both, and a few others, and you are really grateful for knowing the answers and more than less grateful when you realise you dont. The luxury of having the co on a mcd, flow chart the problem is great but in spo that is not a luxuy we have.
Far better to have a thorough grasp of the systems but perhaps not a reason to avoid flying.
Maybe the simple answer here is to put in more hours of instrument training during the PPL, is one hour REALLY enough? I found flying under the hood pretty easy, but it was a controlled enviroment with a competent instructor sat next to me, on a calm day. I suspect that this minimal training has virtually zero use when a panicing low hour PPL finds themselves in thick cloud with turbulance, and no one there to help them out....
As an aircraft engineer, I am fortunate to understand most A/C systems, or be able to work out quickly what does what, or ask someone to expain it to me, but to any other person, most modern aircraft panels are a very complex beast to understand fully.
So are people saying every pilot should know every feature of any aircraft they fly? I know about 50% of my EFIS total functionality, the rest would take me 100 hours plus to learn / set up.
I sometimes fly a 172 with G1000. I know how about 2% of it works
You two guys would have no trouble getting a job at Air France, flying A330s.
I would however respectfully suggest that you stick to cargo flights, and always fly together.
Seriously, I can only hope that you don't one day find yourself flying along and uttering one of the Airbus pilot phrases e.g.
"what is it doing now?"
"damn, it's doing that again"
I did on Sunday!
Well, you have just wasted a whole pile of your money.
People really ought to know how the autopilot works for example. By all means hand fly (I do a lot, especially in IMC when out and mucking about) but if you have some kind of an emergency (e.g. a passenger in distress) then the autopilot should come on immediately because it frees you up to deal with the situation.
It also dramatically reduces the workload so you are a much safer pilot. Practically all the stupid mistakes you read about most-mortem would not have been made by the same pilot in an armchair.
Maybe the simple answer here is to put in more hours of instrument training during the PPL, is one hour REALLY enough?
Not by a long way, because clouds tend to be found in quite a lot of places
I don't bother using a lot of the features of the G1000 for short VFR flights either, I just think it unnecessary, on a nice day I'll quite happily turn the GPS off and practice dead reckoning...I mean I would hate to forget how to do it completely!
Flying IFR completely different story, the whole route is entered and the autopilot on for the most of the cruise and more if necessary so that I can be concentrating on other things.
The problem with instrument training in the PPL course is that it only gets taught once and if someone not IMC rated enters IMC accidentally some 10 years later whether they had 1 or 10hrs training they might not remember how to do it.
Sitting in a clubhouse South of where the accident took place, drinking coffee whilst looking at the drizzle and low cloud, upon hearing of the event the question I asked was....Would the pilot have undertaken the flight in those conditions if the aircraft wasn't equipped with BRS?
Would the pilot have undertaken the flight in those conditions if the aircraft wasn't equipped with BRS?
Possibly; why not?
Loads of pilots will fly a twin in conditions where they would not fly a single.
It's the same thing really, only a lot cheaper
A twin gives you nothing in raw mission capability over a single, assuming comparable equipment etc.
you know I don't know a lot, but you really lost me on this; some clue?
On a typical modern GA autopilot, you start by pressing the AP button.
This keeps the wings level (**) and captures the current pitch attitude. It should annunciate PIT or similar. This gives the appearance of flying a heading but of course it doesn't do that. This also gives the appearance of holding altitude but it doesn't do that either.
Next, you press HDG. This captures and holds the current heading bug position. Remainder as above.
Next, you press ALT. That captures and holds the current barometric altitude.
So far so good. You are holding heading and holding altitude.
But let's say you press ALT again, due to "finger trouble". This puts you back in PIT mode, so you have lost altitude hold, but you may not notice for a while. The plane will slowly drift up or down.
Now let's say you press VS. The autopilot now expects you to select the desired vertical speed in +/- fpm. If you do nothing, it will auto-cancel the VS entry mode but will accept the VS value prevailing when you pressed VS, which was 0.
So now you are holding VS=0. Altitude hold is cancelled, and also any altitude capture is not going to happen unless you have preset some altitude above or below the present one, and the very gradual altitude drift which happens in the VS=0 condition just happens to go in the direction towards the present altitude.
In theory, holding VS=0 should be the same as altitude hold but it isn't, because the VS is derived by differentiating the internal barometer output, whereas the absolute altitude (to be held in ALT mode) is derived from the absolute output of the internal barometer. In the former case you are holding a derivative; in the latter case you are holding the absolute value. In the former case, a very slight error will gradually build up.
On my KFC225, there is a subtle bug (which Honeywell deny) whereby you can have it annunciating AP HDG ALT but it doesn't hold altitude... This is quite nasty. It is hard to replicate but it involves a long sequence of ALT, cancelling ALT, and changing the preset altitude in weird ways.
This stuff is a lot easier to explain with a real autopilot.
I am describing a fairly typical full-featured GA autopilot. They vary but not much.
Then you can get onto how the autopilot / HSI integration works. This is important to know for track capture operations.
(**) if the roll angle is more than ~ 7 degrees when AP is pressed, the autopilot will hold that roll angle. Now if you press ALT, this is how you can fly a constant altitude orbit
The 50% of the functionality I use in my EFIS is a huge leap from my old steam system. To give you some idea of the bits I do not use;
The W&B calculator. The system has a sophisticated W&B system which is way OTT for my machine. I have my own system which has worked for me for many years so I have not set this up and do not know how to use it.
GLS This is a simulated ILS using a combination of sensors and the GPS. It is quite powerful but I have not set it up and do not know how to use it as in my opinion it is inferior to HITS, which is set up.
The AP. The system has a full AP built in which integrates over a wide range of functionality. I have not fitted the servos, have not set the system up and have no idea how to drive it.
I installed the kit, did the wiring and set up the functionality I wanted. It may only be 50% of what it could do but I struggle to see the danger in that. The kit works well in simulated instrument conditions but with the exception of some of the engine instrumentation I have backups for everything. It would be possible to survive in IMC conditions with EFIS failure and I practise this.
I tend to go a bit with Rod here as not just in aviation but in many electrical / computer appliances they have many functions you will never use. But you must know how to operate the system and not sit there pushing buttons hoping something will happen and it doesn't. That is the worst scenario as an already freaked out pilot who doesn't know his aircraft and systems will lose the plot even faster if the autopilot starts doing it's own thing which isn't the pilots thing. If a pilot is not comfortable flying an aircraft raw with a number of failed systems then IMO they shouldn't be there! The systems and all the bells and whistles shoul be an extra not a requirement for it's pilot to fly!
Is this an appropriate moment for an experienced old phart like me to tell you of a wonderful poster that I saw in Dai H-H's office at Kidlington 35 years ago?
The scene was the cockpit of a twin taken from behind the two pilots with all the instruments lit up (there's a first) and nothing but cloud outside.
I just loved the caption:
"Instrument flying is an unnatural act - probably punishable by God".
I went solo in 1957 and have flown professionally and privately ever since and during that time I have spent an enormous amount of my time teaching instrument flying. If you have equipment on board your aircraft that might just help you to fly better and keep you alive, then you had better bl**dy well learn how to use it before you get yourself in very serious trouble.