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Old 29th Apr 2019, 00:21
  #4540 (permalink)  
737 Driver
Join Date: Apr 2019
Location: USA
Posts: 217
Originally Posted by PerPurumTonantes View Post

In quiet cockpit, vmc, no distractions, no turbulence, hands on controls: 3 seconds. 1: a/c is just "doing its thing". 2: thats weird. 3: wtf? Hit elec trim.

But. With stick shaker distraction: add time. With any other alarm, add more time. Add IMC, double it. If you're concentrating on another task: Add time. With noise that masks clacks: more time. Add "I have control" there's another half second. Add fatigue: more time.

MCAS is a slow-motion catastrophic control surface failure, taking 12 seconds. (For those who haven't followed all 228 pages of this thread, see this post detailing why MCAS is so insidious and lethal to a pilot.) You're treating it like an engine fail on takeoff. It has more in common with wonkazoo's snapped rudder cable. An engine fail on takeoff you'd pretty much expect to see at some point in your career. Before Lion Air and ET, no-one would be expecting to see trim runaway. This surprise factor again adds time.

They ran out of time.

Every time you say 'just fly the plane' or 'basic airmanship' or 'get another career' you're completely ignoring human factors. This is as dangerous as not knowing how to fly the aircraft. And this is why you're getting such a deservedly robust response from others on here.
Not ignoring the human element at all. Yes, the Captain was sufficiently distracted that he failed to take the most basic steps to fly his aircraft. There are all sorts of reasons why this can happen, but my point is that it should not have happened.

A significant part of the training of a professional pilot is how to handle things when things are going wrong. There is not a one of us who hasn't been in a sim when lights were flashing, alarms were blaring, systems were malfunctioning and the plane was trying to do something that it wasn't supposed to do. Is there some specified level of distraction at which we are excused from doing our job? If there is, I haven't heard of it.

And what is that job? At a minimum, when all is going to hell and you are really not sure what else to do - FLY THE AIRCRAFT. Turn off the magic, set the pitch, set the power, monitor the performance, trim the aircraft, move to a safe altitude. Do that until your head clears and you can sort out what else needs to be done. This action should be as reflexive as executing your takeoff reject procedures - if you have to think about it, you're too late.

Being able to respond correctly under pressure and distraction is one of those things professional pilots are supposed to train for and expected to do. There is no "pause" button we can hit to stop the motion. We need to have the ability to shake off the distractions and FLY THE AIRCRAFT, first, last, and always. Yes, there is some level of turmoil that will overcome the best of us, but the events surrounding these accidents come no where near that threshold.
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