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Old 11th Aug 2012, 12:10   #1 (permalink)
 
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The Air Canada Boeing 767 "Gimli Glider" 1983 accident re-visited.

In July 1983 a Boeing 767 of Air Canada lost both engines in the cruise due fuel exhaustion. The crew made a successful dead stick all flaps up landing on a 7000 feet abandoned airstrip at the former RCAF base at Gimli. Manitoba. Full details available on Google under Gimli Glider.
Many of todays airline pilots had not been born then and apart from occasional re-runs of TV Air Crash Investigation, the full story and lessons learned from that accident have been lost in the mists of time.

As part of the investigation into that accident Air Canada tested several crews in the Boeing 767 simulator by having them run the identical scenario - that is double engine failure in cruise and forced landing with no power. The results showed that all crews crashed the first time. In later years, Captain Bob Pearson who was in command of what he called The Gimli Glider said he had wished that Air Canada had given him training on even just one double engine failure and dead stick landing during his 767 simulator training, and it would have given him the vital experience to successfully pull off his own landing. As it was, he was an experienced former glider pilot and fell back on that experience to carry out a full sideslip final approach all flaps up. His flying was a feat of superb airmanship.

I am writing this post having just watched the story on Air Crash Investigation and afterwards I wondered what lessons had been learned since then in terms of aircraft handling of high altitude loss of all engines and the planning of a dead stick landing. I get blank looks from airline pilots who think it will never happen to them and not to worry.

In my view nothing has been learned because simulator training has become more of regulatory box ticking than practical application of pure flying skills. There is nothing new about that. There have been several documented cases of dead stick landings in airliners since the Air Canada incident in 1983. Yet in this scribe's experience on jet transports I have rarely seen pilots being given dual instruction practice at dead stick landings in the simulator. In any case it is evident that most check captains and simulator instructors had never done one and it would be a case of the blind leading the blind. What a dreadful indictment on "modern" simulator training.

It took around 17 minutes for the Air Canada to lose both engines and get on the ground. There was no clear choice of landing ground and the rate of descent was such that the captain was fortunate to have Gimli airstrip within gliding range. Even then it was only because he used a violent side slip manoeuvre to avoid a disastrous over-shoot that he was able to stop the 767 on the airstrip. .

Today's typical simulator cyclic training covers 4-6 hours per year of handling per pilot, of which it can be guaranteed 90 percent will be on automatic pilot and occasionally asymmetric thrust. Company policy rarely, if ever, allows pilots in the simulator to train for loss of all engines at high altitude to the logical conclusion of a dead stick landing. Today's pilots coming from cadet schools directly into jet transports know only automatic navigation and button selection. In effect they are airborne data processors with little practical flying skills. Don't take my word for it, PPRuNe threads have discussed this for years.

Having been in the fortunate situation where simulator time has been made available to practice loss of all engines culminating in a forced landing, I can assure readers they will almost certainly crash the first time they try to dead stick a transport jet in the simulator. Just like student pilots need several forced landing practices during the private pilots licence training, an airline pilot will need several practices in the simulator from high altitude before feeling confident he could emulate the Gimli glider situation. Monitoring an autopilot coupled approach and landing takes far less judgement calls than a dead stick hand flown forced landing yet training departments count the pennies and opt for more automatic landing practice. No wonder airmanship is considered irrevelent in the modern airliner.

Until a pilot of an airliner attains handling competency then the chances of a successful dead stick landing in real life are grim indeed. The time is well overdue for training departments to add another competency sequence in pilot training records and that is dead stick landings.
Remember all the Air Canada crews crashed when tested after the Gimli glider event. There is a big lesson there for flight departments. We need to get our flight safety priorities right... Following the magenta line with no engines will not help dead stick landing judgement

Last edited by Tee Emm; 11th Aug 2012 at 12:22.
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Old 11th Aug 2012, 13:53   #2 (permalink)
 
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I've been tested a few times in the sim on double engine failure/glide approach and landing. The sequence comes about in the training rotation about every four years or so. It isn't that difficult.
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Old 11th Aug 2012, 14:09   #3 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
. No wonder airmanship is considered irrevelent in the modern airliner.
Yawn

Wasn t it by the way the Canadian pilot who took off with less fuel than the minimum because of some fuel weight conversion issue?wasnt it the same captain who did not check fuel during cruise?

He saved the day but he wouldnt have had to show his superior skills had he done his work properly in the first place.

There is more chance of an old glider dying of a heart attack than a dual flame out with no relight possible....

Your thread is flawed.

Last edited by de facto; 11th Aug 2012 at 14:27.
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Old 11th Aug 2012, 16:51   #4 (permalink)
 
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The technique taught by the RCAF for deadstick approaches on single engine jets works reasonably well for multis, viz:

Try to arrive over any available runway at 5000' above ground (or multiples thereof) - at 210k. (Reckon on losing 5000' in a 360 turn)

At 5000' start an orbit with a view to arriving high on (shorter than usual) finals, selecting flap and gear as required (bearing in mind selections may be slow).

The important thing is to remain close to the field to maximise opportunities for emergency equipment.

It is better to slide off the far end of the runway at low speed than land short at high speed!

We found most pilots got it right first time after a suitable pre-briefing. Aircraft like the 757/767 are really quite good gliders!
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Old 11th Aug 2012, 16:59   #5 (permalink)
 
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de facto

Quote:
Yawn

Wasn t it by the way the Canadian pilot who took off with less fuel than the minimum because of some fuel weight conversion issue?wasnt it the same captain who did not check fuel during cruise?

He saved the day but he wouldnt have had to show his superior skills had he done his work properly in the first place.

There is more chance of an old glider dying of a heart attack than a dual flame out with no relight possible....

Your thread is flawed.
I just don't get the relevancy of your post to the opinion of the opening post.

To me you are off-the-topic which is response training, not causal factors.
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Old 11th Aug 2012, 22:30   #6 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
I just don't get the relevancy of your post to the opinion of the opening post.
Be it , i dont see the relevance of chosing a case of pilot neglect that ended well for bashing a generation of new pilots as having no airmanship.
Quote:
To me you are off-the-topic which is response training, not causal factors.
Obviously in that case one is closely linked to the other ,wouldnt you say?

I am all for more manual training /practice in the sim,such as dead stick landings,but i doubt dead stick landing technique is high on the list of appropriate training...id rather train them on ovoiding overruns,landing long and deep,as this is the major cause of accidents these days.

I just dont like this constant old dude pilot bashing on new pilots,thinking they were the holly grail to aviation...if only..

Last edited by de facto; 11th Aug 2012 at 22:34.
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Old 11th Aug 2012, 23:36   #7 (permalink)
 
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Tee Emm, I don't know about but I've practised at least 3 dead stick landings in the sim over the last couple of years and the sim training sessions that I do focus on handling and decision making.
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Old 11th Aug 2012, 23:41   #8 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
I just dont like this constant old dude pilot bashing on new pilots,thinking they were the holly grail to aviation...if only..
point made and accepted
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Old 12th Aug 2012, 02:05   #9 (permalink)
 
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The 767 landing with no fuel and the Hudson river splashdown were examples of good airmanship. With the new computer monitoring pilots I don't think it is going to happen much with the new pilots any more.
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Old 12th Aug 2012, 03:11   #10 (permalink)
 
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No, but after the AF flight we wonder what talent without automation other crews have now. Most crews worked there way up to flying airliners in the past but now schools push them into airline cockpits with little experience. I don't think it is safe, do you? Stall recovery is so basic, learned in the 3rd leason.
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Old 12th Aug 2012, 04:18   #11 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
There is more chance of an old glider dying of a heart attack than a dual flame out with no relight possible....

Your thread is flawed
Well, that didn't take long, did it? And so typical of those well known breed of cynics on PPRuNe who resort to sneering sarcasm rather than shut up if you have nothing to offer but an ill-mannered reposte. Readers would prefer a reasoned line of professional discussion - not sarcasm which is the lowest from of wit.
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Old 12th Aug 2012, 08:36   #12 (permalink)
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Chaps, Tee Emm's OP was a fair introduction.

You might disagree - and that's fine - but can we play the ball and not the player, please ?

All engines out is an interesting exercise in competence and self confidence. I've seen folk in the sim make a hash of it, do it well and, in the case of one airline group I recall (Chinese - most, and probably all, ex-MIL) who had no standardised technique, all did it differently .. and every one of them got in just fine first time around (some tidier than others but, nonetheless, all were successful).

The fact stands, though, that a practice exposure in the box is cheap insurance for a not very common .. but certainly not rare .. occurrence.
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Old 12th Aug 2012, 12:19   #13 (permalink)
 
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We don't formally teach total engine failures to a halt but we do run modules where it's possible for an instructor to allow an exercise of this kind to run to completion, should it be working out reasonably well. Otherwise, there is a fortunate restart.

We also discuss the various control methods available but the primary focus is on what might have caused the stoppage (fuel icing, volcanic ash, whatever) and responding appropriately to try and get the engine(s) to relight.

There are many ways of conducting a glide approach, all having their own good and bad points. Most of them appear to fall into two main categories:

a) Come in at normal speeds but higher than usual:

+ More thinking time
+ Adjustable
+ Can be flown like a steep NPA
+ Non-flying pilot can monitor more easily
- Requires positive control of the approach angle
- Unfamiliar position/picture

b) Follow the standard vertical profile in the latter stages but faster:

+ Problem reduced to one dimension
+ Familiar position
+ Less affected by wind
+ Allows a precision/coupled approach to be used if available, down to 0/0
- Timing of gear/flap more critical
- Good energy management required

The "spiral down onto short finals" method works too but it can be more difficult to monitor and how successful it was may not become obvious until quite late.

Overlaying all this is what is the definition of "success" when dealing with a dead-stick landing? Many would say that coming to rest somewhere on the airfield with everyone alive is the prime objective, like BA038. Hopefully, if the approach is under control, there is decent chance of a touchdown, rollout and stop on the paved surface.

There is a balance between the limited practice/training time available and the list of mandatory and "nice to do" items. Realistically, when choosing scenarios, you have to take into account the probability of something actually happening in real life as well as the intrinsic value of that exercise. Current trends suggest that it would be much more effective to concentrate on things like unreliable airspeed or CFIT than having all your engines fail...
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Old 12th Aug 2012, 12:57   #14 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
Be it , i dont see the relevance of chosing a case of pilot neglect that ended well for bashing a generation of new pilots as having no airmanship.
How do you figure this was due to pilot neglect? The A/C is released with the fuel gages deferred, he is brought paperwork that shows the correct fuel load was on the airplane (pounds instead of kilos, but nowhere in the paperwork it said that) I just don't see as to how he neglected to do his job????
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Old 12th Aug 2012, 13:33   #15 (permalink)
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From the report I saw, the crew didn't verify the correct fuel conversion, and the aircraft took off in violation of the MEL, both L and R fuel quantity indicators were u/s, this due to an engineer pulling c/b's. This all from an old documentary on TV, not from anything I've read, so maybe not accurate?
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Old 12th Aug 2012, 13:46   #16 (permalink)
 
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de facto is correct. There seems to be a group of mostly retired, or close to, people who uses every opportunity to declare how things were much better back in the day.

It seems mostly that now the grapes are out of reach they have become sour indeed. It became tiresome to listen to some time ago.
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Old 12th Aug 2012, 14:07   #17 (permalink)
 
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You might disagree - and that's fine - but can we play the ball and not the player, please ?
Certainly.
I reacted to the OP condescending tone on the rest of us...
Quote:
Well, that didn't take long, did it? And so typical of those well known breed of cynics on PPRuNe who resort to sneering sarcasm rather than shut up if you have nothing to offer but an ill-mannered reposte. Readers would prefer a reasoned line of professional discussion - not sarcasm which is the lowest from of wit.
Nothing personal,id rather have a young ccaptain who knows how to do a fuel conversion calculation,who checks his fuel regularly and who doesnt have to use his unskilled pilotage rather than an older one who is obviously praised here for his skills but who obviously put his entire aircraft in jeopardy.
Quote:
How do you figure this was due to pilot neglect? The A/C is released with the fuel gages deferred, he is brought paperwork that shows the correct fuel load was on the airplane (pounds instead of kilos, but nowhere in the paperwork it said that) I just don't see as to how he neglected to do his job????
Do you really think running an airliner out of fuel causing dual flame out would happen without any negligence from the crew??


I have nothing against the OP,just that this particular example doesnt fit the OP obvious will to display a lack of airmanship of this new generation he seems to despise.
Meaculpa if im mistaken.
The hudson river on the other hand showed amazing airmanship,skills and some luck.
Quote:
There is a balance between the limited practice/training time available and the list of mandatory and "nice to do" items. Realistically, when choosing scenarios, you have to take into account the probability of something actually happening in real life as well as the intrinsic value of that exercise. Current trends suggest that it would be much more effective to concentrate on things like unreliable airspeed or CFIT than having all your engines fail...
Agree.
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Old 13th Aug 2012, 00:00   #18 (permalink)
 
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For 737:
Arrive over final fix (say 5 mile final) at twice normal height above airfield elevation with flap 5. So 5 miles would be at 3000aal. Have the airfield elevation selected in the altitude MCP window and position the arc ("green banana") halfway down the runway. Select gear down flap 15 and keep the arc on halfway down the runway, selecting more flap as desired/possible to achieve landing at a reasonable speed. Works a treat. Common practise in the sim if I have time to spare, and a good confidence booster. On the NG the APU can be selected onto both busses to give normal gear and flap operation, whereas on the Classic one has to choose which bus to power....one giving normal gear but alternate flap or vice versa.
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Old 13th Aug 2012, 01:44   #19 (permalink)
 
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Another very good simulator exercise for the keen and enthusiastic airman is approaching to land using only the thrust levers for flight path control assuming loss of all hydraulics. This involves all flaps up and no stab trim. Similar to what happened when the A300 was hit by a missile after take off in Bagdad and was forced to return to land with fire in aileron.

Ask the simulator instructor if you can give it a go. Most instructors would be happy to oblige even for their own curiosity. It is tricky and requires careful and intelligent use of thrust levers to avoid last minute loss of control if too high or too low. Performed successfully it gives the pilot great confidence. If you prang then repeat until competent just like any other training exercise.

Last edited by sheppey; 13th Aug 2012 at 01:50.
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