PPRuNe Forums - View Single Post - Ethiopian airliner down in Africa
View Single Post
Old 28th Apr 2019, 15:59
  #4506 (permalink)  
737 Driver
Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: USA
Posts: 217
Originally Posted by HundredPercentPlease View Post

Your mic may be stuck.
I will keep repeating the first commandment of aviation - FLY THE AIRCRAFT, first, last, and always - as long as there is a single aviator out there who denies that this was not the crew's primary responsibility and does not make a credible argument that the tools to do so were unavailable to them.

​​​​​​If I asked WHY the crew just did not "fly the aircraft" in the Eastern 401 accident, everyone knows the answer. So WHY did it happen here?
And this is precisely the direction that I believe the conversation should go.

I find several things unacceptable about these accidents (your list may be different):

1. It is unacceptable that Boeing designed MCAS in such a way that it produced such a hazardous failure mode,
2. It is unacceptable that the FAA and various certification authorities delegated so much of the oversight,
3. It is unacceptable that the airlines, in conjunction with Boeing and the certificate authorities, were too focused on minimizing the training rather than maximizing the safe introduction of the MAX, and
4. It is unacceptable that the flight crews, given everything we know about the malfunction, were ultimately unable to FLY THEIR AIRCRAFT into a stabilized state and land safely.

Now, of these four items, which one does the professional pilot corps have the most power to address?

Rightly done, the goal of a post mortem into the crew response is not an exercise in assigning blame. It is an exercise in determining what went wrong and what can be done so that future crews do not meet such an ill-fated end.

Germane inquiries would look at the background and experience of the crews, training policies and standards, hiring standards, and corporate policies and culture. While it may be a delicate subject, the individual backgrounds of the accident pilots should be looked at to see if they had any history indicating problems with airmanship skills or discipline.

We can also hold up a mirror and look at our own experiences. Have we become too complacent? After all, aviation is very, very safe. Most of the time, the manufactures get it right, the regulators get it right, the dispatchers get it right, the weather forecasters get it right, the maintenance folks get it right, Air Traffic Control gets it right, and the trainers get it right. Most of the time. Checking, re-checking and employing a high degree of vigilance is a lot of work. Turning off the magic and hand-flying is work. Insisting on a high standard for yourself and your flying partner is work.

Engaging the automation and letting HAL do all the work is seductive. How many of us know someone who bids the easy wide-body flying because they want to sit back, chill and not really fly? How many of us spend most of our sim prep time trying to learn the script (and the answers) rather than digging into some aspect of our aircraft or operation that we've become a bit rusty on? How many of us spend more effort on planning our layovers than planning our flights? Are we becoming handmaidens to some future accident/incident that should have seen coming?

I've been guilty of all these sins and more at one time or another. Fortunately, some external event will usually come along and remind me of my obligations. The MAX/MCAS debacle has been one of those events.

I don't think anyone of us ever wants to see another accident like Lion Air or Ethiopian. So yes, Boeing needs to build better aircraft, the certificate authorities needs to exercise better oversight, and the airlines need to stop trying to get by with minimum training at a minimum cost. And we need to do everything in our power to become better aviators.

Last edited by 737 Driver; 28th Apr 2019 at 16:10.
737 Driver is offline