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Old 29th Apr 2019, 16:23
  #4588 (permalink)  
L39 Guy
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Canada
Posts: 55
Originally Posted by PerPurumTonantes View Post
Just like a goalkeeper who dives the wrong way during a penalty shoot out. Last line of defence and he failed. Clearly should have trained better.

Any pilot who looks at the FDR tapes in detail and doesn't get a shiver going down their spine, and a feeling in the back of their mind "yep, on a bad day, that could have been me" is either genuinely a superhero or has an overestimation of their own abilities. Which is just as dangerous as low abilities.
First, a question. Are you a pilot and a professional pilot? Your previous post regarding 21 years in safety leads me to think not.

I have read both reports and have imaged them in my mind about what I would do in a similar circumstance. For the part between lift-off to flap retraction when it was solely an unreliable airspeed condition, I thought of the case early in my career when I was an FO on a B737-200 and we got stick shaker immediately upon lift-off (no other bells or whistles). I recall the incident clearly; myself and the Captain looked at each other in surprise, we confirmed that the engines were putting out the expected power (EPR), the attitude of the aircraft was correct and the controls were not mushy...no reason to believe that we were in a stall. The second thought was training we received about UAS in the simulator as I believe UAS was a result of AF447. This time there was bells and whistles (no stick shaker) but again revert to basic flying principles (power and attitude) to get some air underneath you first before troubleshooting but at all times someone flying the aircraft. In fact, the sole purpose of the PF (pilot flying) is to fly the airplane while the PNF (pilot not flying) does the troubleshooting/drill. Note that 0 of the 4 pilots in the accident aircraft did the UAS drill and that the incident aircraft the day before did and survived. That is not a coincidence as they were able to control the speed of the aircraft and were able to manually trim the aircraft.

With regard to when MCAS kicks in, yes, that will get your attention however MCAS is so aggressive (i.e. it is neither subtle nor insidious) anyone that knows how to hand fly an aircraft will immediately sense that something is wrong with the flight controls, pull back on the control column and trim aggressively to return to an in trim condition. And I don't mean little, tiny bursts of trim but holding the thumb switch down and really letting it rip.

Trimming out the control forces is an instinctive and unconscious action that 737 Driver has so nicely articulated that is a fundamental skill that pilots with 5 hours of flying time have. I was an instructor in the RCAF on jets and beginning with the second flight with a student (the first flight was a freebee for the instructor to demonstrate the aircraft including his aerobatic sequence!) we harped on trimming the aircraft. Once the student made trimming instinctive, theirs lives and that of their instructor got a whole lot better. This is long winded way of saying that it is impossible for a trained pilot to a) not trim the aircraft and hence nullify MCAS, and b) not determine that the trim is in a runaway (for whatever reason) and disable the trim using the emergency procedure.

I don't believe that doing what one has been trained to do requires superhuman skills; it is a matter of being trained and being prepared. And by being prepared I mean knowing the emergency drills for the aircraft. Perhaps I am "superhuman" in that regard as I regularly review them, particularly the memory items as the memory ain't what it used to be at 59 years of age. Rather than being superhuman, I subscribe to the notion that a professional pilot should know the memory emergencies for their aircraft. Call me old fashioned.
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