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Old 29th Apr 2019, 04:34
  #4552 (permalink)  
L39 Guy
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Canada
Posts: 55

I have enjoyed your contribution to this discussion, particularly your first post, but I think you are offside with this post. 737 Driver is doing an exceptional job of articulating what a lot of us professional pilots both on this forum and elsewhere think about this whole MAX affair: MCAS needs to be tweaked (although fundamentally there is nothing wrong with a single sensor device that prevents a stall but intervening in the flight controls like numerous other aircraft), the industry (manufacturers, airlines, CAA's, pilot unions) needs to have a serious look in the mirror as they have been whistling past the graveyard way too long with poor training and over reliance upon automation, etc.

In the final analysis, however, the professional pilot who knows how to fly an aircraft with all of the auto stuff turned off and with bells and whistles blaring has to be able to gain and maintain control of the aircraft. If any of the MCAS accident crews had done that we would not be having this discussion; in the Lion Air incident the day before the fatal one, the crew did, in fact, do the UAS drill (unlike the crashed aircraft cases) and that gave them time to assess the situation and the aircraft control to trim the aircraft, although it is unforgivable that a jump-seating, B737 rated pilot from a different airline had to tell them to turn the stab trim off - that tells me lots about Lion Air's training that 0 of 4 pilots could recognized a stab trim runaway.

Unlike your harrowing experience with the broken control cable for which there is no published, let alone simulator trained procedure, there are procedures for the MCAS event. First, the UAS which is a pretty simple emergency even with bells and whistles blaring - auto stuff off, 10 degree pitch, 80% power. Neither of the fatal aircraft crews did that; the recovered aircraft crew did. Is it a coincidence that the crew that did the drill survive and the others that didn't did not? That should tell everyone something. And remember, the stab trim problem did not manifest itself until after the flaps were raised minutes later.

A stab trim runaway too is a published procedure for not just the B737 but any aircraft with electric trim - fly the aircraft, trim as necessary and if that does not work turn off the electric trim and revert to the backup trim (mechanical in the case of the B737, electric in the case of many other aircraft including the B767, B777 and B787). I haven't flown the B737 for 15 years but having done lots of hand flying with it (it had a very basic Sperry autopilot) one learned how to trim including using continuous trim particularly during flap selections; judging by the lack of continuous trimming by the pilots (but intermittent bursts instead according to the FDR printouts), this tells me that they lack the basic hand flying skills likely because they have spent most of their lives as Children of the Magenta Line, i.e. autopilot cripples. This ties in with my earlier comment on this post as well as one a week or two ago that the industry has to do a rethink of the notion of not hand flying and allowing those hands and feet skills to atrophy. I am sure that you would agree that in your harrowing experience it was your hands and feet skills that saved your bacon not an autopilot.

I am not going to repeat the rest of the analysis as that has been beaten to death on this forum but I, as a 36 year/26,000 hour professional airline pilot who also taught flying for many years, wholeheartedly agree with 737 Driver. If it is of any value, when me and my flying buddies discuss this over coffee we have 100% agreement that this is an entirely manageable situation - we are all ex B737 drivers too. As unpleasant as it is to criticize someone who is no longer on this planet and is unable to defend themselves, these accidents scream "pilot error" for not fulfilling their role as the last line of defense in the Swiss Cheese model.

While you question 737 Driver's credentials, I would be interested in the credentials of those who keep arguing with him - what, if any, flying experience do they have? How much professional flying experience? How much B737 time? If the consensus of my coffee buddies is any gauge, I would think that the majority of professional pilots would agree with myself and 737 Driver that one has to fly the aircraft first then deal with the emergency, particularly since nothing is on fire nor are any pieces falling off the jet. And dealing with emergencies with bells and whistles going off is part of the job for which one has to be trained to overcome in order to focus on flying the aircraft, solving the problem and getting the aircraft back on the ground.

Last edited by L39 Guy; 29th Apr 2019 at 04:37. Reason: First sentence struck out following retraction however the balance of the post is relevant.
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