PPRuNe Forums - View Single Post - Ethiopian airliner down in Africa
View Single Post
Old 27th Apr 2019, 15:45
  #4443 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2018
Location: Central UK
Posts: 330
Originally Posted by Bend alot View Post
Perfect answer!

Just no mention of it in the fix.

As you are vocal and seems a very competent 737 pilot (certainly seems that way by your posts)

Can you detail how the/you cockpit would have responded after take off of the ET flight with you as Captain and with the 2-300 hr FO - who's job was who's when and why ?
Vee one, Rotate! Stickshaker sounds on rotation. Master Caution and other assorted warnings.
You immediately hit TOGA and check pitch attitude. Almost immediatey see from the aircraft's performance that it is climbing normally and feels normal. You're already somewhat sceptical about the stall-warning. You Tell PNF to crosscheck airspeeds.He does so and his and the SBY agree. You now know the warning is false. "Gear UP" "You have control, FLY the aeroplane Bloggs! climb maintain 10,000ft (at Addis), level at 200Kts do not retract flaps, my RT". Scan panel and assay the warnings. Looks like unreliable airspeed is the first to deal with. Memory items - Assure yourself the aircraft is indeed flying normally. Monitor the FO, tell him to reduce power if necessary, you don't need 5000fpm at this point. Once comfortable-ish locate of the stickshaker cb and pull it. (it was drilled into us at my 737 conversion that you need to be able to find that one quickly just to reduce stress levels once it is deteremined to be false).
Pan/Mayday call for radar circuit to land 15 mile finals to give us time.

I really don't think I'd retract flap in that situation. I don't know what's caused the stickshaker and associated stall warnings but I do know the airframe seems to be flying as normal. I'd like to think I had the wit not to disturb anything that might affect that and leave flap where it is. I'm going to need it in a few minutes time for landing, why retract? It's just addng another potential unknown into the mix and I'd simply rather avoid that altogether. Accuse me of being wise after the event if you like, but my first thought on reading the sequence of events was "why did they move the flaps?"
Let's assume I did raise the flaps and MCAS set off on it's tricks. By now the stickshaker has been shut up and we can think. We level at 10,000 clean and speed 250. Bloggs says the bloody trim keeps running forward and he has to keep motoring it back. This is weird. What the heck's going on? You watch it for a couple of cycles and it seems the automatic trim is doing things that are unasked for and unwanted. How is this difficult to contain - even if your company hadn't told you about LionAir, Boeing's STC and you were such a hermit you didn't read the news or discuss tech in the crewroom?
"Bloggs, we're going to revert to manual trim, tell me when you're in trim and I'll select the cutout switches. (I might even take control for a minute or two to see what he is experiencing.)
There isn't much of an existential threat in any of this, is there? Apart from a little sphyncter exercise in the first ten seconds after rotation once the stickshaker is silenced this can all be done in a conversational tone of voice, which is how I prefer to manage malfunctions.
Bloggs flies the circuit. Capt runs checks, briefs landing, talks to No1 and pax, takes control and lands normally if perhaps a bit overweight.

UNLESS - the big unless - you don't stop the stickshaker beating your brains to mush and you don't forget to fly the aeroplane (so runaway airspeed doesn't happen). I think this step is critical in creating an environment where logical thought can once again occur. No overspeed, trim still operable even if you did select cutoff switches before getting it somewhere cloise to normal.
That done, you land. No one dies. No hysterical outbursts in the media shrieking about Boeing's corporate greed and murderous incompetence, or the wicked complicity with the FAA and crooked approval standards. MCAS gets fixed relatively quietly - probably still with a fleet grounding - and all returns to normal. Most importantly, the airframe is intact and they can see what ent wrong right away.
Boeing perhaps adds a stickshaker cutoff switch to the panel somewhere...to aid those whose instructor wasn't as punctilious as mine. Thank you Al.

Having flown extensively with 200hr cadets fresh to the line in a major UK airline I'd not be much concerned about my colleague's (in)experience. Of course I can't comment on those from other training environments. In my experience he is probably as good as you at flying the aeroplane accurately, probably has at least as good if not better tech and systems knowledge so use him as a voice-activated autopilot as Mr Boeing expects you to do. At my conversion course we were told that Boeing's design philosophy was that the aeroplane was designed to be operated by a competent Professional pilot and an (insert name of continent) PPL. It does that as advertised. Ultimately a sucessful outcome hinges on that, and that alone. If other nations employ different standards of crew training and operating standards then this premise becomes faulty (through no fault of Boeing's) and all bets are off.

All the above only relevant If you stick to the correct procedures and employ a tad of (swearword alert) A!*[email protected]***p.

You are certianly in a different pickle if your company hasn't troubled to pass on the latest Boeing safety advice or promulgated lessons learned from the previous accident, but then why wouldn't any pilot on the same type take the trouble to find out himself - as if you could avoid learning all about it in the media - so how could they not have had an inkling that this was all deja-vu? I know Ethiopia is a bit insular but for heaven's sake!

A proper Western investigation into Ethiopian's operating and training standards would make interesting readng but that's not going to happen. We'll be lucky to get an unmolseted CVR which would tell us what really went on. I fear the final report may not tell us much useful at all.

Last edited by meleagertoo; 27th Apr 2019 at 16:17.
meleagertoo is offline