PPRuNe Forums - View Single Post - Ethiopian airliner down in Africa
View Single Post
Old 29th Apr 2019, 01:04
  #4542 (permalink)  
wonkazoo
 
Join Date: Nov 2015
Location: Bay Area, CA
Posts: 65
Originally Posted by 737 Driver View Post
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.
I'm sorry 737 Driver for my failure to express to you the reality of what happened as opposed to your jaundiced view of what should have happened. I'm going to take one more stab here for the benefit of others reading this thread, alas I do realize I am likely tilting at windmills.

"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."

While you were sitting there in the sim your body's adrenal system is sitting quietly, secure in the knowledge that the furthest you will fall is the ten feet down the entry stairs when you exit your session. I don't care how many alarms you are facing in a simulation- it is, by definition, a simulation. On the other hand, coming face to face in an instant with the knowledge and reality that your life is about to end and it may or may not be in your control to alter that course will cause your adrenal system to kick into high gear, almost certainly to an extent you have never experienced before. Having experienced this myself and in a literal life or death moment I can attest to the fact that the reaction of your body is going to cause things to happen that you basically can't even imagine. So first things first: There is no way to test for how an individual will react in such a circumstance, just like there is no way to simulate such an occurrence. Stop fantasizing about the day you will heroically react perfectly and save the day. You won't, and if you do save the day it will be in spite of your own body's reactions, not because of them.

"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."

Sorry, but that is so much macho BS, and it undercuts and underlies everything you have written. Once again: Could the pilots have done better?? Yes. But placing yourself in their position and declaring loudly and repeatedly that you would have done great had you been there and all they had to do was fly the airplane is simply gross ignorance writ large. Each crew had a cascading series of complex failures, at the end of which a little hidden genie would politely but insistently spool the trim forward until the airplane was in an unrecoverable state. Lest we forget- the ET crew did cuotout the trim, they just didn't do it quickly enough to prevent yet another hidden factor from coming into play.

Finally: "We need to have the ability to shake off the distractions and FLY THE AIRCRAFT, first, last, and always."

From an obviously intelligent guy/gal that is the most ignorant piece of horse$hit I've seen offered here. You (Yes, I mean 737 Driver in this instance) are no more able to "shake off" the effects of your adrenal system than I am able to become an African American female. It is insulting and denigrates our noble profession to continue to offer the "hero pilot" trope as the answer to everything human that goes sideways in a cockpit. It's because of ignorance like this that concussions remain an overly significant issue in sports, with kids fighting to play on despite being at severe risk, because "that's what the tough guys do. They shake it off and keep playing."

If you cannot or don't want to accept these realities that's fine, and for sure I'm going to stop trying now to explain them to you as I am fairly sure people must be tiring of this game. At the same time I do hope sometime soon you are able to grasp the things you cannot see now, in a way that will make you a better pilot, to the benefit of your passengers and crew. As well that you will stop making the tiresome argument that you could have done it just fine and the crews obviously should have been able to as well if they had simply followed your advice and FLOWN THE AIRPLANE!!

Warm regards,
dce



wonkazoo is offline